January 20th

Photo courtesy Don Shin, Unsplash!

— Facts culled online from The New York Times,
The Wall Street Journal and NPR

When the movers organize your socks drawer or —


4 am

√  Whitehouse residence staffers get up after spending the night on cots in the stairwells
     of the Whitehouse.  Contractors arrive.  Initial moving preparations begin.

8:30 am

√  Staffers gather in State Dining Room, say goodbye to former First Family and
     give them a staff gift

10:30 am

√  Boxes, furniture loaded on trucks 

√  Leaving trucks (with former First Family’s things) use west entrance

√  President’s room-size golf simulator in its own truck

√  Check rooms for unpacked items

√  Arriving trucks (with new First Family’s things) use east entrance

√  Cannot begin unpacking until 12:01 pm

12:01 pm

√  Whitehouse completely cleared

√  Rug clean 132 rooms, wax floors, wash walls

√  Clean 35 bathrooms

√  Personal affects placed in 6 residential bathrooms

√  Reset all thermostats to preferences of new First Family

√  Wash door knobs of 412 doors

√  Wash 147 windows, hang new curtains

√  Clean and check 28 fireplaces

√  Remove staff workers’ overnight cots from 8 staircases

√  Electricians check 3 elevators

√  Install new internet cables, phone lines

2:00 pm

√  Begin unpacking new First Family’s boxes

√  Arrange furniture according to layout provided ahead by the new First Lady

√  All fridges fully stocked; check with chef

√  Confirm any sitting rooms needing to be converted into bedrooms or vice versa

√  Arrange furniture from permanent Whitehouse collection to be used by
     new First Family

√  Flower arrangements in all rooms in place

√  Review questionnaire returned by new First Lady: 

         preferred shampoos  

         preferred dental floss

         shoe sizes [for White House bowling alley]

         preferred movies for in-house theatre

         preferred midnight snacks

         preferred family newspapers, magazines 

√  All empty boxes, tools, cots, equipment removed

3:30 pm

√  All 90 residence staffers at their stations to welcome new President and
    First Lady


1.  The move in and out of the Whitehouse has been variously described as the
     “Whitehouse tsunami” and “the most organized chaotic American ritual”. 

2.  Presidents pay their family’s own grocery bills.

3.  The schedule on the to-do list is itemized every 5 minutes from 10:30 am to
      3:30 pm.

4.  The actual move can’t start until the former First Family has left the
      Whitehouse so they don’t feel like they’re being pushed out. 

5.   The staff does everything from organizing the President’s sock drawer to
       hanging his shirts and organizing his shoes so he is free to fully start work
       on day one.

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