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

Guest blog written by Marlena Stoddard

Moving with KidsMoving is a grueling process, especially when little ones are involved. Abrupt changes might 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 fun into the process. The five ideas below can rapidly streamline a family relocation.

“I Spy”

This verbal identification game is an effective method for taking stock of possessions. It is also an opportunity to hone communicative descriptions, and it allows kids to keep tabs on the evolving situation. Furthermore, it can be used to keep track of what has been packed and what hasn’t, which is particularly useful for the next activity.

Scavenger hunt

Distracted children can become diligent assistants in no time. Kids will benefit when their parents orchestrate a treasure hunt, and everything they collect strikes an item off the packing list. If played directly after I Spy, the child will have a memory of each item’s location. Just remember to hide all hazardous objects before letting them roam around.

Hide and Seek

Turn excess clutter into a game. The entertainment aspect of hide and seek can provide much-needed quiet time to assess each stage of moving. Make sure only safe compartments are accessible, and then let the kids show off their ability to remain invisible. Remember to keep the game fun and exciting by not having them hide for long periods of time.

Basketball

Non-perishable items can be quickly rounded up with a make-shift game of basketball. For example, a laundry basket can collect any clothing that might be lingering. In the same fashion, stuffed animals can also be swiftly thrown into a suitcase. This game can rapidly clear out a home, and it is a perfect way to prepare boxes to be put in an extra storage space unit.

2 minute race

Avoid a traumatic upheaval by packing a separate overnight bag with all of the kid’s sentimentally essential belongings. A child knows best what he or she needs, so devise a fast-paced game to encourage a quick collection of the child’s favorite toys. Observing the selections can provide invaluable insight into the interests of your kids, and the task can efficiently maintain basic comforts while adjusting to the new home.

With the previously mentioned games, any wise parent can reduce the struggles of moving. These five games will calm any child and impart lasting security to usher them through the busy change in location.

About the Author: Marlena Stoddard writes on organization and decor. Originally from Senoia, GA, Marlena lives in Santa Rosa, CA with her husband and 2 children. When she isn’t spending time with her family or writing, Marlena enjoys running, cooking, and reading.  For more on Marlena, you can follow her on Google+.

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.

How safe is shipping your vehicle?

Guest blog written by Jeanne Longhorne 

For many, the decision to ship one’s vehicle can be a pretty harrowing process. But what is it that turns people off of the auto transport industry? Is it the price? Not usually, seeing as car hauling rates are very reasonably priced. What about transportation time? Doubtful; pick-up and delivery dates are determined entirely by the customer. In all honesty, the biggest concern individuals have when opting to use an auto transport service is simply the idea of entrusting their vehicle with a complete stranger.

Naturally this is an understandable concern. Tons of car owners care for their vehicles as if they were their own child. Would you be comfortable with some stranger driving your child across the country? Didn’t think so. However what many people fail to realize is just how regulated the auto transport industry really is. In fact the odds of damaging your own vehicle during every day driving are far more likely than while using a car hauling service.

What makes it safe?

As I mentioned earlier, the auto transport industry is very strictly regulated to ensure the safety of the vehicle and the driver. For instance, every car transport company implements a limit on the amount of hours their drivers are allowed to travel in one day. This policy is to ensure the driver does not suffer from road fatigue while carrying precious cargo. Don’t worry about this taking too big of a hit on your delivery time, these are professional drivers we’re talking about here.

In addition to such policies as the daily hours limit, much work is done to ensure the trucks themselves are running at the highest operational standards. With regular inspections made by the U.S. Department of Transportation, every car carrier is approved to transport your vehicle safely and securely.

Am I insured if something happens?

All auto transport service providers are required by the USDOT to hold full coverage insurance on every vehicle they ship. The issue of insurance when shipping your vehicle is very similar to that of renting a car.

When your vehicle is initially picked up, the customer and driver conduct a detailed inspection of the vehicle while making note of any visible scratches or blemishes. The vehicle is then loaded onto the carrier, transported to its destination, and an identical inspection is made when it arrives to check for any damage that may have occurred during the drive. Of course, any incidental damage incurred is fully covered by the insurance.

More often than not, the price of insurance is covered in the price of transport. Customers should actually be very wary of providers who try to add on insurance surcharges seeing as companies are mandated by law to provide full coverage insurance.

Choosing the right service

Whereas a lot of auto transport customers believe some methods of transport protect their car more than others, the truth is all services adhere to the same safety regulations. For instance, the only real difference between open and enclosed auto transport is that when using the enclosed service, your vehicle is protected from the elements while en route to its destination.

Safety should not be a concern when deciding which service to use; the different methods primarily pertain to the size and style of the vehicle being transported.

Still not convinced your vehicle is in safe hands? Try considering your other options. You could always drive your vehicle yourself, as long as you’re not in much of a rush. Trying to drive excessively long distances in a short amount of time just opens the door for road fatigue to set in, thus increasing the chances of getting in an accident. Not to mention how expensive it is to drive cross country.

Your other option is to sell your car. But first you would have to ask yourself whether or not this is a logical option. Selling your car can be a real pain, buying a new one can be even worse!

Consider this, if auto transport really were an unsafe industry, why would more than 150,000 customers trust their vehicles with professional transporters every month? Quit pulling hairs trying to figure out how you’re going to get your car from point A to point B. Instead, go with the most reliable option and make your move worry free.

About the Author:

Based out of Scranton, Pennsylvania, Jeanne Longhorne is a freelance financial consultant working in the greater NYC and Philadelphia areas. Thanks to the long commutes and her affinity for the automobile industry, Jeanne has also taken up writing for the auto transport provider American Auto Move. In her free time, she also enjoys yoga, traveling, French cooking, and spending time with her roommate, a Pixie-Bob cat named Maurice.

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 a Hoarder: Fix It or Trash It?

Guest blog written by Liz Nelson 

I recently had the misfortune of moving my aunt out of my grandparent’s house to one of my properties 800 miles away. The misfortune was that my grandparents were hoarders to the Nth degree, especially my grandfather. My aunt was living there to provide care for him but couldn’t bring herself to confront his hoarding obsession. He recently passed away and my grandmother moved in with another family member. Oddly, it seems that hoarding is hereditary. I hope by sharing my story I can help others prepare for situations like this.

Hoarding1. The nastiness of discovery - As we began sifting through the heaps of trash within the home, we slowly came across my aunt’s furniture that was covered in some kind of thick filmy substance you’d see in a science fiction movie. The kitchen table set had what looked like newspaper glued to the chairs by some kind of brown substance, while the table resembled a pedestal of art made from animal feces. It was repulsive, to say the least.

2. Let it go - My aunt demanded we fill the moving truck with everything we could find. Some of this was spurned by her desire to not let her sister, a controlling gold-digger, have anything from the home. Even chairs with missing legs had to be packed into the truck. Fortunately, my mother put her proverbial foot down on some of the trash my aunt wanted to load. After all, we were moving my aunt into a 48-foot by 12-foot trailer as she didn’t have a lot of “personal” stuff.

3. Fixing trash - The outside furniture consisted of fabric-covered indoor furniture which had made the transition to the outdoors after losing a leg or two. These pieces had been sitting outside for several years and the wood suffered weather rot. However, my aunt argued for us to load it insisting she would “repair it.” Although she is an astute seamstress and can sew and/or knit just about anything, she’s no carpenter, and the integrity of the wood was beyond use. My argument to her was, “If you really don’t have the time or energy to fix it, there is no reason to keep it.” She is slowly coming to terms with that statement and has thrown a few of the worst items out.

4. Digging for gold - You typically shouldn’t have to bring a shovel as part of your moving equipment. After pulling out what we could find of any importance, three of us began shoveling the remaining “stuff” out the door at which point my mother and aunt continued sifting through the refuse to make sure important paperwork didn’t get discarded. Although we did find a few items which classified as intact, such as brand new small kitchen appliances still in the box, in the living room, the majority of the mass comprised of food and feces-encrusted trash.

5. Subjected to hazards - Not many moving companies would subject themselves to such hazards. In fact, the only reason I helped was because it involved family. Otherwise, it may have been a better idea to strike a match and let it burn – not that I am condoning such behavior. It is hard to imagine any human could live in such a manner, let alone three under the same roof.

After the move, my mother put her cleaning skills to work and polished the kitchen table and chairs, removing the nastiness which consumed them. It now looks like a brand new set fresh from a furniture store. However, not everything can be cleaned in such a manner. Sometimes it’s easier to just throw an item out, especially if you don’t have the skills to repair the damage. If you have broken furniture or otherwise repairable items, ask yourself, “Will I really have time to fix this?”

About the Author: This is a guest post by Liz Nelson from WhiteFence.com. She is a freelance writer and blogger from Houston. Questions and comments can be sent to: liznelson17@gmail.com.

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 pets: Transport best practices

Guest blog written by Alana Stevenson

Long-distance, and even local, moves can mean longer car rides than usual for your pets. With a little planning, you and your pets will be road-ready, making that first introduction to their new surroundings a positive and smooth experience.

Alana• If they are not already, get your animals micro chipped, and ensure you update the chip with your new address and any changing phone numbers.

• Consider getting pet tracking collars, especially if you are taking a longer road trip which involves overnight stays. For larger pets, consider GPS collars such as The Pet Tracker, and for smaller animals, like cats or small dogs, collars such as the Cat Locator (www.TheCatLocator.com) are a good choice.

• Ensure your pets’ collars have tags and that all contact information is up-to-date.

• Examine your car space for the trip. The more room you have in the car for yourself and your animals, the less stress you will experience. The more space your animals have, the more comfortable they will generally feel. If you’re able, invest in a rooftop cargo box for your car. You can pack as much as you can in the cargo box and leave the necessary essentials inside the car, freeing up space.

• If your animals are traveling in the wagon area, the flooring is not cushioned or padded, so they will feel every bump, vibration, and pothole. Buy foam padding (often available at large craft stores) to line the surface area. You can then cover the foam padding with a large sheet or blanket, making the car ride much more comfortable.

• For cats, large, soft dog crates can be great for travel. They are also foldable. You can use smaller soft crates for transporting your pets to the hotel room and larger soft crates in the car or SUV where animals can nestle for longer trips. Many dogs and cats prefer soft crates over hard wire crates or plastic cabin crates. (Many standard cat carriers are too small for most cats).

• Afraid of pet accidents in the carrier or crate? Line the bottom of carriers and crates with unscented potty pads or urinary incontinence pads made for adults. These are large, square or rectangular in shape and include a plastic lining on one side and absorbent cotton material on the other.

• Think of potty options for your pets. Cats may need to get out of the carrier to use litter boxes, especially for longer journeys. If this is the case, keep the doors of the car closed at all times when your cats are out of the carrier. Always put your cats back into carriers before opening car doors.

• Another option for cats is to place them in large crates with a litter box on one side and cat bed or comfy dome style bed on the other. It’s not a fun way to travel, but it does give your cats an option to use the litter box.

• Keep your dog on a leash when getting out of the car. The motion of the car may cause car sickness, and animals may also have to potty more frequently.

• Keep food and perishables, including any pet medications, in the car. Have a cooler so wet and canned food or any pet medications do not overheat.

• Bring cleaning products – paper towels, enzyme cleaner, small trash bags, pet wipes or unscented baby wipes, and extra towels or baby blankets to clean up any accidents or messes during the trip.

• Driving solo and need to make a pit stop? Park directly in front of the building and turn on your hazards. Ultimately it’s best to not leave your animals alone in the car whenever possible.

• If you are driving with a partner, take fuel, restroom and meal breaks in tandem so one person is always assigned to remain with the animals. If you must leave the animals, park the car so you are able to keep it in view at all times. When I travel with animals, I simply eat in the car.

• Get AAA. AAA has an online map that designates locations of hotels, as well as hotels and lodging that are pet-friendly. Call ahead to reserve hotel rooms and check on pet policies. LaQuinta Inns are all pet friendly.

• For cats, you might want to spray Feliway in the car before travel. Feliway is a synthetic pheromone that may have a slight calming effect for some cats.

• For dogs, have good bones, clean chewies or snacks so they can stay busy for parts of the car ride. Cats and other animals can also be given their favorite snacks and treats to make their car ride more pleasurable.

Copyright © Alana Stevenson 2013

Alana Stevenson is an Animal Behavior Specialist, Trainer and Animal Massage Therapist. She is the author of The Right Way the First Time and Training Your Dog the Humane Way, and the Feline Behaviorist for Life with Cats. She has been professionally resolving dog and cat behavioral problems for over ten years. She can be contacted through her website AlanaStevenson.com.

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.

Tips for Moving with Pets

Written by Claire Schneider

Moving with petsMoving is a big life event for the whole family, even for our beloved four-legged friends. When changes are made to their living environment, pets can become uncomfortable and stressed. They may seem anxious and nervous during the packing stages of moving because they don’t know what is happening. They likely have developed separation anxiety from past vacations and other stays away from their owners. Many animals, especially dogs, are known to be emotional and to have a natural fear of abandonment.

Premove prep

Because of the attachment to their owners, it is always prudent to pay special attention to pets early in the process. If possible, give them comfort by taking them to visit the new home before the actual move to familiarize them with their new surroundings.

Prior to moving day, pet owners who make a little extra effort on their furry friend’s behalf will be rewarded with a less anxious animal. Just being aware of your pet’s feelings, just as you would your child’s, will give him a sense of peace amid the managed chaos the day is sure to present. Giving pets as much affection as possible will also reassure them they are still being cared for.

“Moving is very stressful for a family,” said ASPCA President Larry Hawk, D.V.M. “That stress is also experienced by the pets. They want to know that they’re part of the family and that they’ll be going, too.”

Moving can be especially stressful for cats since they are more focused on their surroundings and don’t adapt easily to change. Disruption to their environment can cause them anxiety which may lead to behavior changes. The best thing you can do is to plan a moving strategy which creates the least amount of noticeable change.

If your animals are anything like mine, they tend to get nervous at the first sign of packing, even if it is just an overnight bag for a quick trip away. To reduce their stress, spread out your packing over several weeks and start packing rooms pets usually stay out of to keep packed boxes and belongings out of sight.

A few weeks before moving day, plan a visit to the vet. This is an ideal opportunity for a quick check-up and to ensure records are up-to-date; I recommend asking for a copy of their veterinary records. If necessary, you may also ask if they have any recommendations for veterinary clinics in your new town; you can research online reviews to select your new provider.

Moving day

Moving with petsIf you hired movers, let your pet get to know them before they start moving your items. Animals are very territorial and may be hesitant to welcome strangers into their home. Give the movers some time to introduce themselves to your pet by slowly petting them. Having treats handy for the movers to dole out is a surefire way to get fast acquainted with any cat or dog.

Has a family member been assigned to caring for the family pet on moving day? This could be one of your children, a friend, or family member. To ensure their safety, put animals in a blocked off area (using a baby gate or boxes) so they become a spectator of the action yet safely out of the fray. Putting them in an isolated room could cause them further stress since they know something is happening yet can’t see it. Make sure they have food, water and, of course, their favorite toys to keep them occupied.

When packing up the car, leave plenty of room for your animals. By giving them ample space, they will be more comfortable and relaxed during the drive to their new home.

Hitting a high note in the new home

Immediately introduce your pet to the new surroundings, allowing them to explore each room.  Don’t rush them. Bring in their food and water dishes, along with their toys, to make them more contented. To help with the adjustment, place familiar items in locations similar to the old house—at least for a period of time. Also, follow their current routines; they have had enough changes already.

Invest a little time in planning ahead for your furry and four-legged friends, and the move will be less stressful for your whole family.

Here are some helpful tips for moving with specific animals:

Cats:

• Before and after the move, surround your cat with familiar objects ― feeding and water bowls, toys, blanket, or bed. If you are using a crate, leave it in a place with which they can become familiar.

• Since cats are very sensitive to their environment, gradually introduce them to their surroundings by restricting them to one or two rooms at the onset.

Dogs:

• Like cats, dogs should be slowly introduced to their surroundings, then leashed outside until comfortable with the area.

• If you are unable to stay home the first few days following a move, consider arranging a friend or pet sitter to visit a couple of hours a day to ease your dog’s anxiety and to burn some healthy energy.

Fish:

• Traveling is the most difficult part of the moving process for fish. Place fish in bags with a mix of new water and clean water directly from their aquarium. The less the fish are crowded the better. Put rubber bands around the tops of bags and place the bags inside a dark, insulated cooler.

• Let the filter run for a few hours before returning your fish to their tank, and try to limit their time away from their normal habitat to less than 48 hours.

Birds:

• Use appropriate-sized carriers for birds and cover the bottom with litter. Remember to secure carrier doors with a clip from the outside. Keep the birds cool and protected from the sun at all times.

• Transport a supply of food and water from the previous house, then gradually switch from old to new supplies.

Small pets:

• Small pets such as gerbils, guinea pigs, and hamsters are more sensitive to drastic temperature changes. Take care to protect them from cold drafts or direct sunlight.

• These animals can travel in the cage they normally live in, but make sure it is well sealed so they cannot escape.

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: From a teen’s perspective

Written by Claire Schneider

Moving with kidsWe continue our moving with kids theme by sharing what moving is like from their vantage point. I sat down with Megan, 16, and Grace, 13, and listened as they recounted their experience of their family’s recent move.

Q: How did your parents tell you about the move?

A: About two months before we moved, our parents explained they had been looking at houses and had found one they really liked. We then embarked on the rest of the process as a whole family. Visiting the house for the first time was exciting – but also a little scary! It was really cool to see what might be our new bedrooms.

Q: How involved were you two in the moving process?

A: We helped our parents get ready for the move. We coordinated portions of our garage sale held before the move. It was kind of fun having the garage sale because we were able to use the money we made for cool, new  clothes and getting our hair done. We also packed up our rooms and some areas of the house.

Q: Were you excited about moving? Why?

A: Honestly, we weren’t really enthusiastic to move at first. We were more surprised since we’ve grown up in our old house. But once we saw the new house and our new rooms, we became more excited.

Q: Can you share your thoughts about changing neighborhoods?

A: I think we were both pretty excited from the get-go, but we do really miss our old neighbors. Our new house is in a cul-de-sac, and our new neighbors are always outside in their yards; so far it’s been easy to get to know them. And everyone seems to have a dog. We are also going to have a housewarming party once we get settled which will help with meeting the neighbors, too.

Q: Tell me about your new house. What do you like most about it?

A: Our new house is much bigger and has an sweet basement where we can hang out with our friends. Our bedroom closets are also bigger which means we can shop and buy more clothes. Plus, our bathroom has two sinks, so now we don’t have to fight over the one. The backyard is awesome and has a mini zip line.

Q: Overall, how has the moving experience been for you?

A: It’s been pretty good but, yeah, a little stressful. We’ve made many trips back and forth from the old house to the new house to move things. It’s good we’re moving during the summer so we have more time to get moved in.

Q: Are there any tips or advice you have for other kids preparing to move?

A: Be open to moving and making new friends. Get organized well in advance and don’t put it off; it will help make moving day smoother. And make sure to get plenty of sleep!

For more tips on moving with kids check out our blog.

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.

Tips for starting a new school

Guest blog written by Lindsey Schaibly

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.

Meet the Teachers

Meet The Teacher NightCheck if the new school offers an open house or a “Meet the Teacher” night to allow your child time to tour the building, meet his or her new teachers, and become acquainted with future classmates.  If not, schedule a time with the teacher(s) to introduce your child and to tour the building.  A few familiar faces and knowing where to go will make the first days much easier for your child.

Discuss Curriculum

If you are able to meet with the teachers, get an idea of the upcoming year’s curriculum and how it aligns with your child’s previous education.  Being aware of any educational gaps can assist you with helping your child, if necessary, with upcoming schoolwork. You could even ask for an overview of your child’s current curriculum to have a better idea of where s/he places in terms of classes or levels.  If your child has special needs, find out what services are available and hold those discussions prior to the new school year.

Confirm Registration

Be sure to check with the main office that you have competed all of the required paperwork and have all necessary medical forms, immunization records, etc.  Ensuring your child’s first day will be free of trips to the office and confusing questions will make the first day much less stressful.

Do a Practice Run

There is nothing worse than feeling lost in a new place.  Before school starts, allow your child a trial run of a school day. Practice walking to the bus stop, walking the route, or driving to school. Then rehearse navigating the building while stopping to find important places, such as the main office and restrooms. Visit every classroom your child will be moving to throughout the school day: library, music room, gymnasium, etc. Covering all of the bases will make both your child and you feel more at ease on the first day.

Meet New Friends

Future friends can be found in the neighborhood, summer camps, playgrounds, and even the local library.  See if it’s possible for a teacher to recommend a student to be your child’s buddy for the day and to show him/her around the new school. Your child could even shadow another child to get a better feeling for the school day. Having at least one friend right away will prevent your child from feeling alone in the new environment.

Arrange Play Dates

Another idea is to arrange play dates for your child with nearby families or children from school. Your child may feel more comfortable hosting the first play date and inviting a small group of friends to the new home. When visiting other homes, be sure to accompany your child to the first play date and be clear with any questions or expectations you have for the parent(s) who may be supervising your child. If play dates continue, research additional ideas for successful play dates and how to approach difficult situations if they arise. The most important rule to remember is your child’s comfort with the arrangements.

Offer New School Supplies

Another way to make starting a new school more exciting is allowing your child to select new school supplies. Contact the teacher(s) for a supplies list, and ask your child to decide what types of supplies, what color backpack, and the type of lunch sack s/he would like to take to school. If your child is more comfortable with the backpack from last year, allow that since it may provide a sense of comfort in the new place.

Remain Patient

Moving brings significant adjustments for every member of the family, but having to simultaneously change schools and grades is a lot for children to endure. Remember to remain patient if your child struggles with the transitions and be supportive of any hesitant feelings.  Your child may surprise you and easily adjust to the new environment. However, if necessary, seek help from a professional if you feel the struggles are too difficult for you to handle on your own.

family3ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lindsey Schaibly is the training and development specialist at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®/INTERNATIONAL, Inc. Even though she now works with adults, she is a pro when it comes to working with kids. Prior to working at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® / INTERNATIONAL, Inc. she received her Bachelor’s degree in Education and her Master’s degree in Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, K-12. She then went on to be a middle and high school English teacher for six years. She is also a loving wife to her husband, Nick, and caring mother to their one-year-old daughter, Ryan. It’s an exciting time in the Schaibly household as they wait to welcome a little boy to their family in October!

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.

How to move with kids and make lasting memories

Written by Claire Schneider

Moving with KidsSure, 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 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.

Before the move

Conduct a family meeting

Once the decision to move is finalized, call a family meeting. It’s important to keep kids involved in the moving process early in order for them to have adequate time to mentally adjust. Give them a role in selecting the new home and be sure to make it a positive and joyful experience, allowing them to voice any concerns they have.

Plan a new room

Kids’ rooms should be zones where they feel safest. It can conceivably be a scary endeavor for a child to leave it behind. Turn their frown upside down by letting them choose a design or two for their new bedroom. Bring them along shopping and listen to their ideas for paint colors and design elements. For older children, set a budget and allow them to pick out a piece of new furniture or curtains and decorative pillows. For younger children, do the same but guide them more closely as they realize their vision.

Donate old toys to a good cause

Moving is an ideal time to purge items you‘re no longer using, but some kids might stonewall the exercise out of fear of change. Instead of selling their old toys, donate them to children in need. Let your child know their toys are transferring to kids who truly need them. Your child might be comforted knowing some of their former favorites will bring joy to others.

Create a moving day plan

Kids tend to be anxious about moving primarily because the waters are uncharted. One way to help alleviate their fears is to plan out the moving day. Discuss each step in detail to eliminate surprises. If you are hiring movers, inform the kids about the movers’ purpose.

During the move

Assign Tasks

Moving day is naturally chaotic which might be overwhelming for all involved.  Make it easier and more fun for by assigning age-appropriate tasks. For younger kids, give them the duty of bringing the movers water and snacks. 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 “Boss for a Day”.

Keep prized items organized

Truckie’s Treasure ChestKids may feel more comfortable while moving if they know their favorite toys or items are safe. TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® wants to make this process memorable. Truckie’s Treasure Chest is a unique box designed for kids to pack their own items and keep them close by during the move. Children can color the box, making it personalized and unique to them.

Keep it interesting

Moving doesn’t have to be unpleasant, so why not make it fun? Play energetic music and mix in your kids’ favorites to keep everyone excited and upbeat. Make a game out of moving and see who can pack up an area the fastest or best.

After the Move

Explore the neighborhood

It’s important for children to become acquainted with their new neighborhood so they feel safe and can begin to love it as much as their old one. Give older children the responsibility to find three local fun spots the family can enjoy. This could be nearby hiking trails, a pizza parlor or an indoor adventure arena.

Join extracurricular groups

Have each child pick a group to join. It’s vital they choose something so they become more personally willing to take part in the activity. Groups could revolve around sports, drama club, or a class at the YMCA. This will allow them to meet peers and will help them adjust to the new area.

Meet your neighbors

Besides introducing yourself, think about other fun and creative ideas to meet your neighbors. For example, encourage the kids to make a lemonade stand or have a chalk drawing party. Host a cookout, or even better, involve all the neighbors and throw a block party. By working together, you could gather items such as inflatables for the kids to play in; it’s also a great way to break the ice.

Get to know the new school

The first day in a new school can be scary indeed. Talk to your tots about any fears they may have, then work to set their expectations. Most schools provide new student orientation to assist them in navigating the hallways, lockers and classrooms prior to the first day.

Look for our next blog, “Tips for Starting a New School” containing these and other excellent tips.

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.

7 Establishments You Need to Locate Before Moving

Guest blog by Madoline Hatter

locatorMoving to a new area can be exciting to say the least. It’s your opportunity to begin a new life with new surroundings and develop new relationships. Knowing where to find some of the important establishments in your area could prevent you from getting frustrated or lost when trying to quell some of the most trivial of needs. Thanks to the power of the Internet, you can do a bit of background research on an area before you arrive.

1. Medical Facilities - While you can rely on 911 services to find their way to a hospital in the event you suffer a major injury, knowing where your medical facilities are located can help you in a variety of ways. Maintaining your health is an important aspect of life and you should know where all of them are located such as hospitals, chiropractors, and dentists.

2. Nearest Gas Station - Until everyone can drive electric vehicles that can operate forever, you still need to know where the gas stations are in your area. As this is such a common need, you can almost find one on every corner of a major street in some areas. However, is it worth the extra drive to save a few cents per gallon if there is a slightly more expensive station nearby?

3. Grocery Stores - One of the first things you’ll need to do after the move is buy the necessities for urban survival. Knowing where grocery stores are located could help you save money on buy-one-get-one free specials, or provide you with an outlet to purchase everything you’ll possibly need.

4. Emergency Services - Some emergencies and instances are beneath those of 911. You may have to call the local dispatch officer in certain events. Knowing where your emergency services are located as well as the phone numbers for such can help you greatly in the event of emergencies. This includes local law enforcement, county sheriff departments, and fire houses.

5. Phone Carrier Office - Does your phone service carrier have an office in the new town? Some people neglect to realize that not all services are provided in all areas. You could be experiencing roaming charges without realizing. Knowing where the office is could help you in the event of changes, repairs, or other account related issues.

6. The DMV - While you may not spend a great deal of time at the DMV, knowing where it is could greatly help you in the future. In the event that you are moving from a different state, you’ll need to replace your driver’s licenses and plates for the automobile. As each area is different pertaining to driving laws, you should also find out what the requirements are for changing plates and licenses before moving to another state.

7. Local Utilities - Paying your bills is an unfortunate fact of life. Knowing where these businesses are can help you keep your utilities from being turned off. Not every location has access to online payments and the human element may still be mandatory in order to pay your bill.

Although an area could provide a great deal of other establishments that could be useful, you should concentrate on your necessities first. While you may like to know where the local bars are, it’s an extravagance that doesn’t qualify as a necessity. Meet your needs first and then look for the fun areas within the area you now call home.

This article is contributed by Madoline Hatter. Madoline is a freelance writer and blog junkie from ChangeOfAddressForm.com. You can reach her at: m.hatter12@gmail.com.

Staging your home like a pro

Written by Claire Schneider

Home staging started in 1972 as a concept of making a home appealing to the highest number of potential buyers. Staging a home makes a huge difference when putting it up for sale, especially in today’s competitive market. In fact 95% of staged homes only take an average of 11 days or less to sell and are sold for 17% more than non-staged homes. This shows how first impressions are not just important in real estate – they are critical. Buying a home is a big deal and buyers need to know they are making the right decision. Staging helps potential buyers realize the full potential of a home.

Staging your home doesn’t have to take long or cost a lot of money. Here are a few simple tips to help sell a home.

Declutter. When staging your home, make sure to take out unnecessary items. This includes decoration items and furniture. By taking out these items, it will maximize the size of the room.

Depersonalize. When potential buyers are looking at your home, they want to envision themselves living there. One of the best ways to help them accomplish this is by removing any family photos. They don’t want to be reminded of the family that lived there before but rather the memories they can create when they move in.

Increase lighting. Adding more light to a space can make it feel warm and inviting. This may mean bringing in more lamps but it could also be as simple as increasing the wattage of the exiting lamps. Make sure you have three types of lighting: ambient (general or overhead), task (pendant, under-cabinet or reading) and accent (table and wall).

Paint. You can easily transform any room by changing up the color. For a room to appear larger, paint it the same color as the adjacent room. This will create a seamless look and make them feel like one big room.

Vary wall hangings. Many people make mistakes when it comes to hanging wall art and hanging it in a high line encircling each room.  Art displayed creatively makes it stand out and shows off a space. Break up that line and vary the patterning and grouping.

Add flowers. Flowers are a great design element for staged homes. They show the home is well cared for and adds a fresh, soft touch. To save money, find a flower that blooms and stays nice for nearly a week. Don’t use fake flowers, especially in more expensive homes.

Have three. According to HGTV, when it comes to eye-pleasing accessorizing, odd numbers are preferred, especially three. Think about the different ways to arrange items. For example, instead of having them all in a row, why not try a triangle. Also make sure the items vary in size.

By following these seven simple tips your house will be that much closer to having buyers feel at home.

staging_B&A

 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.