By Carla Olivo, USMC Spouse

Dear Packers/Movers,

Despite the fact that as a military family we move every couple of years, military moving is NOT easy! In two short years, we fall in love with our house, our new neighbors, the kids’ school and the soccer team. So our military moves are sometimes heartbreaking and emotional. We and our possessions need to be handled with care.

Military Moving: We love how everything is wrapped so nicely!

But wrapping a plastic spoon and fork in six sheets of paper is a bit much! One plastic bowl wrapped in 10 sheets of paper is over the top! But please DO pack my grandmother’s china in 20 pounds of paper. And at the very least, can you ask me about the obvious trash (ie used pizza box, rolled up Kleenex, greasy paper plate etc) before you pack it?

Please show up ON TIME!

Our stress and anticipation builds with every minute we wait for your arrival. The later you arrive, the more chance that our ENTIRE pack and move out timeline can go awry. We go to great trouble to get our young children out of the house so they don’t see their treasured toys tossed in a box and to spare you from having them under foot all day. Same goes with our beloved pets. We usually ask a friend to watch Fido so you can work in peace.

When we are on our seventh military move and it has always taken 3 days to pack our household goods, don’t dismiss this info and schedule a 2-day pack out. Chances are it will take the full 3 days and adding that third day can really mess with the truck loading schedule. Having movers and packers in our home on the SAME day…..can you spell S-T-R-E-S-S-F-U-L?

When we ask to have the TV or the house telephone packed last on a 3-day pack out, could you please not have it unplugged and wrapped before the end of the first day? You will go home after the first day of packing; we will have 2 kids to entertain as we eat our takeout among the boxes. A little TV can go a loooong way!

We’ve had so many personal items broken or stolen in our many military moves.

Please don’t hold it against us if we linger in the room as you do our job. And despite what you’ve been told, our military salary is not double that of the civilian world so we do value what we own. It would be most appreciated if you could refrain on commenting on “how much” we have. We know based on our poundage, that we have about the same as most other military families. So being treated as if we are hoarders is not great for morale.

We often provide cold drinks and even lunch and snacks.

This is NOT part of the contract. We do this because we want to, not because we have to. Military moving is not fun for you or for us, but we do try to make it as pleasant as possible.

It is hot, we know! But please try not to sweat all over our things!

We can crank up the AC, turn on the fans, and even provide you with clean sweat towels. USE THEM! Do what you need to, but please don’t leave a sweat stain on my daughters brand new upholstered headboard. There is not enough Resolve or Lysol in the world.

If something accidentally breaks, just let me know about it. Do not try to discard it in the trash so that I have to claim that it was lost.

Please treat our things like you’d want your prized possessions treated.

We know to you this may just be a job…..with long days and sometimes impatient families. But you have a lifetime of our memories in your boxes, and to a military family, those are especially precious because it’s all we take with us on endless moves away from family and friends.


A Proud Military Family

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Carla Olivo has garnered numerous TV industry awards including the Associated Press award for Spot News Reporting, News Writing, Enterprise Reporting, and Documentary Reporting. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, a retired USMC Lt. Colonel and their two children.