How Not to Pack a Quilt, by Beverly Hicks Burch

How Not to Pack a Quilt

By Beverly Hicks Burch

In the last three years Tall & Handsome and I have moved twice and since 2003 I have moved four times. That sounds almost unbelievable when I say it, but it’s the honest to goodness truth.



Now I’ve moved a few times in the course of my life, and I’ve picked up a tip or two along the way. For instances, wrap jars of honey, boxes of salt, and for sure wrapping up boxes of straight pins, etc. are all worthy tips to follow when packing. I have done those very things on many occasions.

Another “novel” idea is to pack like items in the same box. A good example here would be to pack all food in one box or several boxes together, cleaners in another box, clothes yet in another box and so on. And even better idea is to mark these boxes with something more descriptive than “décor” or “lines” or “wicker” or “glass”.

Pack books in the small book cartons, mark them as books and mark what room they come out of and for goodness sake DO NOT SCATTER THE BOOKS AMONG 500 DIFFERENT BOXES…ok, excuses me…that was a little frustration slipping out, ya think?! Take if from me…there is nothing as frustrating to think you are unpacking “wicker” and find Tony the Tiger.

The last two moves I went through were some of the most traumatic experiences of my life…and they were “professionally done”…by a major national van line. I don’t know if I’ll ever recover. But, remember…most “hits” are “professionally” done…there are a lot of people out there swimming in concrete overcoats…and they just never got over it…

Our first move was in 2005 with this van line. T & H and I had very little time to find the place we were going to stay. We ended up getting a place that was decidedly way too small for what we needed and what we were use to. Then a series of situations took place and to make a long story short we stayed in the house longer than we wanted to, needed to, and should have (and that is yet another story). We never really were able to unpack except for the bare essentials…it was like living in a warehouse.

The few boxes we DID unpack gave us a glimpse into insanity. It was truly “nightmare on…well, our street”. Most boxes were marked “décor” giving us no real indication what was inside. Some boxes contained a hodgepodge, some food and some a cruel glimpse into a demented mind…it was truly anyone’s guess what was inside a cardboard cube. One day we thought we hit a true goldmine when we hit a box marked “clothes”. Sadly, inside there was one pair one underwear…and the rest was food…yes, food for human consumption.

A lot of the food for the kitchen was in the garage and a lot of the garage items were in the living room…and that was with me trying to give them direction and tell them where things needed to go. Take into consideration I had to be taken to the emergency room before we left Alabama. I had become so ill before we left because the trauma of the move became too much for me. So, by the time the moving truck arrived in Tennessee, I wasn’t in the best of condition. It also took them over a week to get our refrigerator and freezer delivered on a second truck and as a result we lost over $1,000 of food.

As I mentioned, many of our boxes were not unpacked by the time we got ready to move again…but, I had a really bad feeling about the contents…we still didn’t know what kind of havoc the first packers had done. Now what would these guys do?!

When we transferred again last year…and the same van line moved us. It was an even bigger nightmare from the very start. One of the male “packers” discovered a box of pennies I had been saving and he came and asked me for them as a “tip”…there was probably about $75 worth of pennies in the box.

Again, what we went through should never happen to anyone…especially during a move…and especially if you are chronically ill.

Now, what does any of this have to do with quilting? Tons!! Imagine my heart attack when I saw one of the guys tote my Bernina sewing machine off the moving truck in his hands, sans a box or its case!!! Now for you guys who do not sew, let me give you a comparative example…imagine seeing Mr. Van Line Hauler tote your best Tiger Woods golf clubs out of the truck cradled in his arms or over his shoulder without a bag…loosey, goosey…no protection! Or, he’s hauling you new plasma TV out of the truck without a box or protection and bouncing a set of kitchen steak knives on the screen…you get my drift…

Then, I discovered they had taken my Bernina serger out of the factory box with its heavily reinforced Styrofoam protection, wrapped the serger in brown paper and put it in a packing box with a BUNCH OF JUNK! (Of course I don’t really have any junk…but, you get my drift…)

Would you like to know how NOT to pack an award winning wall hanging or quilt? LIKE THIS!!!

Quilt in a Box – wrong way to pack a quilt…evidence of insanity or laziness! Do not let this happen to you quilts!








Do not rip the wall hanging off the wall and insert the wall hanging/quilt into a picture box with a multitude of other pictures (another subject all together).


Then there are the “landmines”. Those are the little goodies you find when you unpack. Some are emotional landmines, but others are like these…landmines complimentary of van line employees. This box was particularly bad. It was full of shrapnel. This was a large box and it contained what at first looked like quilt room items. But, upon closer inspection I discovered the horrid truth.



First, a box of silk pins had been tossed in, unsecured, not wrapped or bagged or taped or anything and as a result the box burst open spewing pins throughout the moving box. There was a heavy scotch tape dispenser, some even heavier coasters made out of metal, three shoes…each from a different pair of shoes, an expansion table for one of my Bernina sewing machines and wrapped up in brown paper under all of that weight was one of my thread racks. Of course it was shattered from the weight of everything on top of it.

Now, don’t give up there…because digging even deeper into this bottomless box was a vintage turntable. Yes, the weight of everything was sitting on top of the turntable…AND tons of silk pins had fallen into the insides of the turntable. This was past insanity…past a nightmare…this was almost psychotic.

There is more where this came from…my garage is still full of boxes…

All I can say is this folks, if our forefathers had tried to come over to the New World on the same Mayflower…well, we’d all be sitting over on the other side of the Atlantic right about now…

Heavy Duty Weight on top of the box of goodies in the cardboard cube…






© 2008 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.



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