To complete the transition between Presidents, the White House hires almost a staff of 100 people. The workers only have the few hours between swearing-in and the inauguration parade to complete the entire move. Former White House chief usher, Gary Walters, oversaw a total of four White House moves and said, “I’ve called it, for years, organized chaos.”
Even with a team overseeing the move, both outgoing and incoming families are required to do their own packing.
The incoming President is also responsible for the transportation costs of the move. This is usually paid for with money raised during their campaign or out of pocket.
The moving trucks of the incoming President are escorted by Secret Service to the White House. Commercial movers can be hired but can only unload the trucks due to security. Only the White House staff can move the items into the White House.
The incoming President, family, and staff are not allowed to enter the White House until noon on Inauguration Day.
Congress appropriates funds to keep the White House looking good,. George W. Bush received $100,000 during his second term for maintenance. These funds can be used on things likes paintings, new carpets, and drapes.
The White House has a storage facility containing furniture and art from past Presidents. The art collection has a total of about 500 paintings and sculptures from artists like Norman Rockwell and Georgia O’Keeffe.
The President does not have complete control over redecorating. Rooms like the Lincoln Bedroom are considered “historic rooms” and require approval from the Committee for the Preservation of the White House.
Major alterations to the White House can be made. In the past, John F. Kennedy installed a pool and Richard Nixon added a bowling alley.
On Inauguration day, it’s become a tradition for the outgoing President to leave behind a letter to their successor. The letters are handwritten and on the White House stationary. Here are the letters from a few of the past Presidents.
The President can even redecorate the Oval Office. They can change things like curtains or picking a new desk. The one thing in the Oval Office that can not be changed is the rug with the Presidential seal.