I had no idea how precisely choreographed the changeover at the White House has to be.
The president elect can't move in a minute before Inauguration Day, which is January 20. "We have to operate virtually from an off-site location and organise all the logistics there," said Bradley Blakeman in a recent interview with Elle Decor. Blakeman was former President George W. Bush's deputy assistant, and helped organise his move into the White House. "It's organised and they've got it done to a science. It's like a military manoeuver."
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The Inauguration Day move-in starts when the sitting President and the First Lady have a traditional morning tea with the President-elect and his wife before heading over to Capitol Hill for the swearing-in.
Once they leave, the 93-person staff shifts into high gear. For security and privacy purposes, no outside help is hired, so the White House operations personnel and housekeeping department handles the move.
A chief usher coordinates the process, giving the White House staff floor plans and photos that show where each items goes (these are logistical issues the president-elect discusses with the chief usher beforehand), according to Slate.com.
The operations personnel does the heavy lifting while a housekeeping detail helps prepare the bedrooms, curators make sure the furnishings and décor are just so, florists worry about bouquet arrangements, and the chefs prepare the post-Inauguration dinner.
At the same time, the staff is also moving the ex-president out. Items get loaded into boxes, which get loaded into vans and then military cargo planes that carry everything to the former president's new residence.
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Bradley Blakeman says that in the span of about six hours, the private residence rooms on the second level of the White House will be stripped of whatever belonged to the Obama family. Where necessary, they will be repainted, and the Trumps' belongings and furniture will be installed.
The plan involves an organisation of labour so precise that no job overlaps and no time is wasted. Staff is divided into who is carrying furniture in, who is carrying it out, who unpacks the incoming boxes and puts things away, and who takes the already-packed boxes out. Gary Walters said there are specific teams assigned to each of two elevators because otherwise things could get backed up.
There's much more at the link, including many photographs of White House decor past and present. It makes interesting reading.
I wonder if I could borrow that changeover team to help with our next move? (At taxpayer expense, of course!) Just six hours to empty a room, repaint it and bring in all-new furniture and belongings? That'd take me more like six days!