Downsize your home using these 5 easy tips

DSC_0274Written by Claire Schneider

Are you currently in the process of downsizing your home? Whether you’re an empty nester trading your home for a condominium or you’ve decided on a high rise in the city, what to keep is often the toughest decision in the process. We’ve compiled a few tips to help you organize and prepare for downsizing your life to make the most of the tighter space in your new place.

Assess your actual needs

In my opinion this is the hardest phase of downsizing, but it is the most crucial. It’s tough to go through every belonging and decide what needs to move with you and what needs to go. Make it easier by determining whether you would need to replace a specific item if you got rid of it prior to your move. Go through room by room starting with the kitchen, since kitchen items don’t typically hold as much sentimental value. Also, keep in mind how often you’ve actually used each item. For instance, that oversized platter you only take out for Thanksgiving. If you’re considering keeping something “just in case,” it’s a good indicator you should either donate it or place the item in storage.

Another way to decide if an item should move with you is to think about how much space you’re willing to give that item in your new home. The giant, decorated vase may be very pretty, but are you willing to give up floor space for it? Instead, think of ways you can incorporate shelving or storage into your home décor.

For those sentimental items you can get rid of or put in storage, think of different ways you can keep it. Could your kids’ or grandkids’ artwork be kept in a scrapbook rather than a box in the closet?

Go through current storage areas

Storage spaces are areas we often ignore because the idea of sorting through them seems like a daunting task. Go through your basement, attic closets, and even your junk drawer. Take everything out and sort through each item, only putting back what you have used in the past year and donating the rest. Think about the storage spaces you will have in your next home and only keep what will fit.

Create a mock layout of your new rooms

Create a mock layout of the new rooms in your home to avoid realizing your oversized sectional won’t fit in your new living room on move day. This way you’ll have a great visual of what furniture will actually fit in the space, and avoid the unnecessary move day stress. Smaller home dwellers know it’s vital to avoid cluttering spaces with things which don’t serve a specific purpose. Instead, think of items that could serve dual purposes and incorporate them into your design elements.

Organize your move

DSC_0257When beginning to pack, be sure you pack items from the same room in the same box. This will reduce many headaches during the unpacking process. Label all boxes by what room they go in. You may want to buy different colored tape and coordinate it with each room in your new home.

If you’re moving to a condo or apartment with shared parking or an elevator, check with building management to see about reserving a parking space for the moving truck and if you can reserve the elevator on move day. This will not only make the move much easier, but if you hire movers, it will also save you time and money.

Be creative with new storage spaces

As noted previously, smaller homes generally lack storage. Once you’ve moved in, identify spaces where you can add storage space. A common hidden storage treasure is under staircases. Here you can use the wasted space to create a shelving unit or cubbies to hide items you use enough to not put in a storage unit. Instead of using a typical coffee table, invest in an ottoman and a tray. This way you can still have a place for your drinks as well as extra storage inside the ottoman. In the kitchen, use bench seats at the kitchen table; these are trending hot so there are a lot of choices, and, best of all, they provide ample storage.

At TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® we realize moving needs are unique for every customer, so we’re ready to customize a move to ensure the best moving experience. Our uniformed movers and drivers undergo extensive training; they are permanent employees, undergo background checks, and are subject to random drug testing. They are committed to exceeding expectations and ensuring your move is completed efficiently to keep your moving costs affordable.

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. Let us help move you forward! For more helpful tips and information on moving services subscribe to our blog and like us on Facebook.

Moving to an Island? TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® has you covered.

Written by Dawn Kroeger

During peak season, Mackinac Island is a tourist destination for up to 15,000 visitors daily and home to nearly 500 year-round residents. Perhaps the most noticeable observation upon arrival by first-time visitors is the absence of automobiles. Visitors and residents travel by foot, bicycle, or horse drawn carriage creating a throwback tempo comparable to the 19th century. Tour carriages and horse-drawn taxis transport folks wherever they need to go. But what happens when you happen to be one of those 500 year-round residents moving to the island? You call the best mover around, of course.

Bay 5Executing a smooth move is a work of both science and art. Over the past two decades many elements of the moving industry have changed, but some aspects have remained constant – movers, driver, and a truck. When the Bay City, Mich., location answered the call to move a family’s belongings to the island, they added a new element to the mix: movers, driver, and horse and buggy.

The Michigan franchise recently moved a customer to Mackinac Island, the premiere tourist spot for northern Michigan. The island, nestled within Lake Huron, is the perfect spot for hiking, biking, and indulging in infamous Mackinac Island fudge; however, it is not the easiest destination in which to complete a move. In addition to being surrounded by a body of water, the Bay City team had to undergo another obstacle since Mackinac Island outlaws motor vehicles, prohibiting a TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® truck from driving around the island.

Bay 1While every move completed is a bit different, the Mackinac Island move included a few more steps. The movers loaded the customer’s belongings onto the truck, rode a ferry over the waves of Lake Huron to the island, and then transferred the items onto a dray led by two horses. Once on the dray, the movers maneuvered the horse-drawn cart with the customer’s belongings through the bustling, winding streets of the island to the new home and unload. To minimize the length of the move, two horses and two drays each pulled 4,000 pounds at once and rotated between the dock and the customer’s home, creating a smooth move process uninterrupted by challenges.

“I was excited, nervous, and a bit shocked when we received the call to move someone to Mackinac Island,” said President of the Bay City location Jessica Pula. “We were bidding against two other major moving companies for the job.

In the end, the customer selected the locally owned TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® based on reputation and was thrilled with the outcome of the move to Michigan’s iconic Mackinac Island.

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TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. Let us help move you forward! For more helpful tips and information on moving services subscribe to our blog and like us on Facebook.

Eight interns and a truck – Part 4

Written by Cheyenne Yost

Victoria Trosko – Customer Care

Victoria TVictoria Trosko started her internship mid-May as the customer care intern here at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®/INTERNATIONAL, Inc. I met Victoria on our first day and have gotten to know her through various events such as meetings and intern lunches. She is friendly and dedicated to her job and it’s been a genuine pleasure getting to know her. Here’s what Victoria had to say about her internship so far.

Q: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your background?

Victoria: I am 20-years-old and from Haslett, Mich. I began my studies at Grand Valley State University, and I’m currently at Lansing Community College where I’ll get my degree from Ferris State University. I have two sisters, and I own a dog with whom I am obsessed!.

Q: What interested you to work at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®?

Victoria: I’ve always heard amazing things about the company, and when my friend interned here last year and loved it, I decided to seek an internship opportunity as well. The opportunity I have been given has lived up to what I had heard and I have valued the time I have been able to learn and be part of such a great organization.

Q: What are your usual day-to-day tasks here at the office?

Victoria: The first half of my day I handle incoming “How’s My Driving?” telephone calls and positive customer emails, then compile them. I compose these into emails and send them out to franchises. For the second part of the day, I work at the front desk answering calls and helping out our receptionist. TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® has been growing rapidly and it’s been fulfilling an fun to see all the growth and new people while connecting them at the front desk or interacting with them daily in the building.

Q: What is your favorite TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® Core Value and why?

Victoria: “Be your best and have fun” is my favorite Core Value. Being your best personally and professionally are two of the most important things in life – only you can control them. I also think that most businesses merely focus on employees getting their work done and forget about creating an enjoyable work environment as well. Here people work hard, have fun, and are passionate about accomplishing the goals and vision of the organization. It’s a cool place to learn and work.

Q: Who has been the best mentor or teacher for you?

Victoria: Customer Care Manager Denise Droscha has been the best mentor to me because, just observing her day-to-day tasks, it’s clear she goes above and beyond. She is a dedicated employee at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® in that she absolutely loves what she does and is phenomenal at it. I give her and her team all the credit in the world for finding solutions to the company’s toughest challenges and overcoming them with diligence, patience, and decisiveness. Denise’s positive attitude and drive is something I deem extremely admirable; I am grateful to observe and learn from someone with such strong character and integrity.

Q: Has the internship taught you anything about your field of study?

Victoria: Yes, in my major of business and administration, I can only learn so much in a classroom. This internship is a hands-on approach to learning, observing, and understanding all aspects of a well-run business. The company has doubled in size this last four years and is proactively investing in new projects to continue its success and seeing first-hand how people collaborate and execute daily projects and tasks is very enlightening.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

Victoria: I would like to find a position in my field of study, one which I truly enjoy and one on which I can build a solid career. I want to add my contribution and make a difference.

Q: What is one goal you hope to accomplish while working here and what do you hope to take away from this internship experience?

Victoria: One goal I hope to accomplish is to become familiar with each department and gain a deeper understanding of what each area does for the brand. I hope to gain knowledge and experience from this internship I will be able to use throughout my career and in personal life. We have been fortunate to have lunch learns that teach us about all aspects of the business but also help us to grow as individuals.

Q: Okay, final question. If you were stranded on an island and could only bring 3 items, what would you choose and why?

Victoria: (1) My dog; (2) my best friend, Hayley; and (3) an endless supply of pasta! I chose my dog because I wouldn’t be able to go far away from her for that long. I chose Hayley because she is my best friend, and we basically do everything else together, so I might as well bring her. And finally I chose pasta because it is my favorite food, and I wouldn’t mind eating it every day.

If you are interested in working at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® visit our careers website.

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. Let us help move you forward! For more helpful tips and information on moving services subscribe to our blog and like us on Facebook.

Your moving (and sanity) guide for making the college transition

Written by Claire Schneider

With stores setting up their back-to-school displays, many 18-year-olds are getting ready to embark on the thrilling adventure of going off to college. While preparing a move to college might seem fun and exciting at the time, it also has its challenges. As a parent you want to be there help them in the moving process while making sure to not overstep. With these helpful tips, moving to college might be the easiest thing your college student does all year.

First, check the paperwork. By this time you’ve received numerous pamphlets and emails from the college containing information about the upcoming year. Remember to re-read everything the residence life dean sent, paying particular attention to check-in times, locations, and procedures for dorm move-in day. Some schools let arriving students and their families pull cars right up to the dorm door, while for others it’s first come, first served. See that you have all the necessary paperwork easily accessible.

College roommates Get to know the roommate. It’s important for roommates to meet before move-in day, so they don’t feel like they’re moving in with a stranger. This is a busy time of year, so if you can’t find a time that works to meet-up, connect with them on social media to learn their interests, hobbies, and interior decorating ideas. They should also take this time to decide what large items they can share and who will be responsible for bringing them.

Create a checklist. Together with your college student, make a list of the necessary items and stick to it. Make sure to include photos of friends and family and other sentimental items which will help make the dorm feel like an extension of home. Keep in mind everything will have to fit in your vehicle; otherwise, there might be too much stuff. This is the perfect time to go through the overstuffed closets and drawers to identify those favorite clothes and shoes which will make the journey to college.

Assemble a “living” kit. A “living” kit contains little items, which are not liquid or bulky, a teen may not think of as necessary but will need at some point. Items include:

• First aid: Bandages of assorted sizes, antibiotic and hydrocortisone ointments, pain killer, digital thermometer, contact solution, decongestant, and antacids
• Laundry: Detergent pods (they’re small, easy to store and easy to use), a stain remover stick, and fabric softener sheets
• Cleaning: Antibacterial wipes, glass cleaning wipes, microfiber dust cloth, roll of paper towels, broom, and dustpan.

Remember, storage space is minimal so anything in a convenient, flat-shaped packaging is ideal.

Locate the store oasis. No matter how prepared you may think you are, there will always be those items you’ll need to make a trip to the store for. Before moving day, find out where the nearest Target, Staples, and Lowes (or similar stores) are.

Know your time and arrive early! Colleges take a lot of time planning out all the inner workings of moving day to ensure things run smoothly. For a lot of colleges there will be limited parking space, so the earlier you arrive the better. Just remember there are so many others moving in that day as well and are just as stressed as you are. Be sure to stick to your designated time of arrival. If you come before your time, it could throw the housing staff completely off.

Only bring one or two suitcases. Even though they make it easy to move, especially if they are on wheels, you won’t need many while you’re away to college. Instead pack your belongings in large storage bags; these can easily be stored until you move out.

Moving tip: Keep clothing on hangers, place a trash bag over them, and tie the bottom. Then secure the hangers together so they don’t fall back into the bag. This will keep all of your clothes together and protected during the move. Then all you have to do is hang them up in the closet, rip the bags off, and you’re ready to go!

Bring tools. A tool kit with a basic hammer, screwdrivers, and pliers can be a handy thing on move-in day. You may need to bunk the beds, raise or lower mattresses, or deal with minor repairs.

Relax. Going to college is a fun and exciting time. Don’t get stressed with the move. Instead have fun and take this time to bond as a family. Make a fun and upbeat moving playlist prior to keep everyone in good spirits. Maybe include a few songs which have special memories for your family.

Of course you could always avoid the college moving day drama and hire a moving company. Here’s a fun video showing just how relaxing moving day could be for you.

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. Let us help move you forward! For more helpful tips and information on moving services subscribe to our blog and like us on Facebook.

5 staging tips to sell your home faster

Written by Claire Schneider

Looking to sell your home quickly and for top dollar? Staging your home is the best way to meet these objectives. If you think the cost of staging your home outweigh the benefits, think again. In fact, 95% of staged homes  take an average of 11 days or less to sell and are sold for 17% more than non-staged homes. So what are the key tried-and-true home staging tips?

We found a staging expert and Tomie Raines Inc., real estate agent, Katie Spyke, to share five simple yet effective home staging tips to get your house sold quickly and at the best price possible. Check out this video to learn how painless home staging can be!

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. Let us help move you forward! For more helpful tips and information on moving services subscribe to our blog and like us on Facebook.

Moving with kids: tips from the mini movers

Written by Claire Schneider

Moving with kids can be a demanding and taxing effort, but with a little preparation and guidance on what moving day will be all about, the experience can prove to be just the opposite.

What are the most effective ways to create a fun, exciting moving experience the whole family will enjoy? We turned to the experts for their advice. See what these mini movers have to say about moving.

Be sure and check out these additional resources all about creating memorable moving experiences for each family member.

Planning on moving with kids? 5 ideas to turn packing into a game

Moving is a grueling process, especially when little ones are involved. Abrupt changes have the potential to make them feel unsettled, so it’s important to create a seamless transition. To accomplish a smooth shift, simply transform packing into a series of engaging games. You and your kids will remember moving as a fun and special time spent together by infusing creativity and engaging the senses into the process. Click here to read more.

How to move with kids and make lasting memories

Sure, we all know moving is no cakewalk, but for kids, the emotional toll could potentially run deeper. For most children, moving means leaving perhaps the only home they’ve ever known. Whether moving out of state or just around the block, children and adolescents typically exhibit signs of resistance or anxiety at the prospect of starting a new chapter. By making a few adjustments in your approach, a life-changing move can be more cakewalk than obstacle course. Continue reading here.

Tips for starting a new school

The first day of school can be nerve-wracking, especially if you’re the new kid in school. Here are some simple tips to help your kids prepare for their first day.

Boss for a day

Make it easier and more fun by assigning age-appropriate tasks. For younger kids, make them responsible for bringing the movers water and snacks during breaks. Allow older kids to monitor when belongings are ready to be moved, and charge them with handling last-minute cleaning duties. A special job for younger children is to give them the role of honorary mover or “boss for a day.” Check out the video below showing how young Cade’s anxiety was reduced when the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® movers let him help lead the move project.

Don’t forget to download your free moving with kids’ checklist!

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. Let us help move you forward! For more helpful tips and information on moving services subscribe to our blog and like us on Facebook.

Take the ‘ruff’ out of moving: Tips for transitioning your pets

Guest blog by Amy Burkert

Moving with petsPacking up your whole life and relocating to a new city – or even a new country – is exciting and stressful. There are myriad unknowns, and when your family includes pets, you’re likely to experience additional challenges and questions. To alleviate some of the stress, begin preparing well in advance of your move. These tips will help you and your pets on the big day:

Secure your pet. If you are able, give one person in your family responsibility for your pet. Leading up to the move, this person should try to spend extra time with your pet to help them feel more secure as you’re packing and preparing to leave.

Update identification tags. Update your pet’s identification tags before your move. Include your mobile phone number so you can be contacted while you’re traveling. Also consider having a microchip implanted in your pet to assist them in getting back to you if they become lost either during the move or while they’re becoming acclimated to your new home.

Research laws. Do some research on the local laws where you’ll be living, especially if you have a dog classified as a restricted breed. Communities across the country have instituted laws banning or restricting more than 100 different breeds of dogs. It’s important to contact the local government offices where you’re moving to ensure compliance with their laws and for information on securing licenses for your pets.

Plan your trip. Driving is the least expensive way of moving your pet. And it can be the most fun! What’s better than a road trip, after all? Using a pet-friendly road trip planner will allow you to map your route and find restaurants, dog parks, and hotels along the way. If you need to make hotel reservations, confirm the location’s pet policy which will accommodate your entire family.

Stay on schedule. Maintain your pet’s feeding and exercise schedule as much as possible to help reduce any anxiety they may feel about moving. Set up a reminder in your phone to help you track feedings and exercise.

Pack a go-bag. Include all your pets’ most important items in one bag so they are easily accessible while on the road. Here is a list to get you started:

1. Food and treats; for canned food don’t forget the can opener!
2. Drinking water: If your pet’s stomach is easily upset, it pays to take some drinking water to give your pet time to adjust.
3. Food and water bowls: Portable bowls pack easily.
4. Your vet’s telephone number and the telephone number for the National Animal Poison Control Center: (888) 426-4435
5. Photos of your pet: In case your pet gets separated from you, having a current photo allows you to create posters quickly and can be used to prove the pet belongs to you.
6. A roll of paper towels for muddy paws and other messes.
7. An old towel in the event inclement weather becomes a factor.
8. Your pet’s bed and a few toys: To make them more comfortable if you spend the night in unfamiliar locations, these items will provide some comfort.
9. All of their medications, vitamins, supplements, etc.
10. Plastic bags to pick up after them along the way.
11. First aid kit.

Getting Settled In

When you arrive in your new home, place your pet’s bed or crate and a few of their favorite toys in a quiet spot away from the unpacking activities. This gives them a refuge in which they can relax and settle. Once you’ve caught your breath, ask local friends to recommend a veterinarian, then set up an appointment to introduce yourself and your pet. Providing them with a copy of your pet’s medical records will save time in case your pet should require emergency treatment.

Dogs and cats go through a similar adjustment period as people do when moving to a new home. Until they become familiar with their new house and neighborhood, take care that they don’t get startled and try to escape. Help them understand this is “home” by spending extra time with them, encourage them to explore new rooms by placing toys and treats inside, and use blankets, beds, and toys with their scent on them for the first few weeks. Develop a new routine by feeding them at the same time and in the same place each day. Within a few weeks they should have made the adjustment and be content in their new environment.

About the Author: A true pet travel expert, Amy Burkert, runs the award-winning pet travel website, GoPetFriendly.com, which makes it easy to plan a trip with your entire family. Her blog, Take Paws, is an encyclopedia of pet travel tips, pet friendly destination guides, and stories of the adventures she and her husband share as they travel full-time in their Winnebago with their dogs, Ty and Buster.