popular | news

11 Facts You Didn't Know About Moving Into The White House

Last Friday, America welcomed President Donald Trump and his family at his inauguration, but while crowds were gathering to celebrate the new president a team of butlers and movers were working hard back at the White House.

Over the course of about five hours - from the time former President Obama left to go to the inauguration to the time Trump got home from the inaugural parade - movers swapped all of the president's belongings.

It's a hectic rush that a White House staffer calls "organized chaos", but they pulled it off again this year without a hitch. Here are some facts you may not have known about the world's most stressful moving day.

1. Seriously, everything happens in just five hours


Really think about that. How long did it take the last time you moved into a regular sized house? Probably the same amount of time at least, and there were still boxes sitting around for months (let's be honest).

But things really do go that quickly at the White House. By the time Trump got home his kitchen was full of his favorite food, his clothes were in his closet, and every room had fresh linen and towels. Plus, all of the furniture had been moved in. And this all happens in a building with just two elevators!

2. So how do they pull it off?

A few weeks before Trump and his family moved in, the White House's chief usher sent them a 10-15 page pamphlet with questions about what they want and copies of the White House floor plans so they could decide where their furniture went. The first starts making moving arrangements early too, which is important because....

3. Everyone hires their own movers


Both Trump and Obama pick their own movers, who are responsible for getting everything to and from the White House. They're not allowed inside the building though, so only official White House movers actually arrange the furniture inside.

4. They even do their own packing


Sort of. It's the president and the former president's job to oversee the packing, so if you were hoping to see pictures of Obama putting his DVDs into a box you're out of luck. He says he did "lots of pointing," showing his staff what to pack up, but not a lot of actual packing.

5. The staff already has a pretty good idea what the president likes

Starting during the presidential election, the White House staff makes detailed notes about the potential first families. By the time they move in, they have a good idea what the president likes to eat, do for fun, and what products they enjoy. They don't always get it right though, they famously bought Hillary Clinton the wrong kind of shampoo.

6. The president can't change everything

As much as he might like to, the White House really belongs to the people, so landmark rooms like the Lincoln bedroom won't change much. Instead, small details and furniture pieces are up to the president. As you'll see, Trump has already made some pretty important changes.

7. The president picks a new chef

Or at least, they can if they want to. First lady Laura Bush hired Cristeta Comerford, a Filipino-American chef, back in 2005. The Obamas were so impressed with her cooking they asked her to stay on, and Trump hasn't announced a replacement yet, so as far as we know she's been top chef for three president's so far.

8. So who pays for everything?

The American people do, mainly. Like we said, it's not unusual for presidents to cover their own moving costs (which can be as much as $100,000) but Congress also decides a yearly budget for the white house. Every four years they make it a little bigger to cover moving costs, and Trump will also get a redecoration fund to snazz things up a bit.

9. A little decorating goes a long way

Presidents also get to choose which pieces of art go up around the White House. The staff fills the walls with photographs of the first family, but there's a catalog of over 500 paintings and sculptures each president can pick from. Mainly, they pick out a few portraits of past presidents that they admire, but there are lots of masterpieces in the collection.

10. There have been some big changes over the years

President Kennedy had the White House's swimming pool built, Nixon introduced the bowling alley, Obama had the tennis court changed into a basketball court, and Jimmy Carter added solar panels to the roof. Trump had suggested adding a 100 million dollar ballroom to the White House, but he seems to have chosen some smaller changes instead.

11. Do you like the new curtains?

Yes, Trump has already begun making a few changes to the Oval Office. This is the one room in the White House the president has the most decorating input on, so it's not surprising that the new drapes are 100% Trump. For comparison, here's what the room liked like on Obama's last day:

Share this list if you learned something new!

Popular Videos

Related Articles