Eight tips to prepare your home for the holidays

Written by Jessy Howe

Christmas Porch

Planning the holidays can cause two emotions: absolute joy or complete stress! Whether you are hosting dinner or opening your home to out-of-town guests, don’t let this joyous season get the best of you. We’ve gathered our top eight tips on preparing your home (and saving your sanity!) for the holidays!

Get into the holiday spirit
Fill your home with a little holiday cheer by hanging a festive wreath on the door, lighting seasonal candles, and putting up the tree. Decorating doesn’t have to be an expensive task, there are plenty of quick and easy DIY projects to create one-of-a-kind décor. Take a peek on Pinterest for a little holiday inspiration!

Make your guests feel welcome
If you are hosting guests in your home this holiday season, remember to tidy the areas where they will be staying, pull out extra towels and linens, and freshen up the guest room with magazines, a plant, tissues, or even a little chocolate candy on their pillow. These simple amenities will be sure to make guests feel like they have a comfortable place to stay.

Avoid accidents
Clear all walkways and porch areas so they are free of snow and ice to ensure there are no slips. If you have exceptionally wintry weather, it’s best to have salt on hand. Be sure to also check that all outdoor lighting is functioning properly.

Stock the bathroom with essentials
Set a little basket of essentials in the bathroom with toiletries your holiday visitors may need. Include perfume, lotion, a lint roller, travel sized shampoo and conditioner… You get the idea!

Clean the house
This is usually a chore that ranks low on the list of priorities with all the other work to be done this season. Where will you find the time? Dedicate at least an hour to focus on your main cleaning duties! Vacuum, dust, clean the bathrooms, whatever you need to do —this is your hour to accomplish it. If finding an hour is hard, try setting aside 15 minutes each work day to focus on tidying just one room. This way it isn’t overwhelming but each room gets a spruce. Bonus: If you have little ones, include them by assigning simple tasks they can help with!

Keep your home safe
If you will be going out of town for the holidays, make sure your home is protected to avoid any break-ins. Set an automatic light timer in multiple rooms to make your home seem lived in, double check your entryway and window locks, and be cautious of what you post online. Try to stay away from the “I’m going on vacation” post to social media, and post your vacation pictures once you have returned home. If you have a trusted neighbor, it is a good idea to have them keep an eye on your home during your travels. Take time to deliver a homemade pie or Christmas cookies when dropping off your spare key, we guarantee they will appreciate it!

Utilize boxesIMG_9579
Whether you’re trying to organize the garage or store away those holiday decorations, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® has a variety of boxes tailored to your needs. Pick up a wardrobe box to fill with old coats and donate to your local shelter or grab a small box to easily transport the desserts you’ve baked to family Christmas. Whatever it is, we’ve got you covered!

Break out the tunes
Finally, turn on those beloved holiday songs! After all, nothing says, “it’s the most wonderful time of the year” better than the song itself!

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When planning a move over the holidays – The right approach is crucial

When planning a move over the holidays, the right approach is crucial

For all the joy the holidays bring, it can also be an increasingly hectic and stressful period for many families. This is especially true for those moving homes over the holiday season, which is hectic enough on its own without adding in tasks like shopping for gifts or preparing elaborate holiday meals.

While this may not be an ideal situation, these useful moving tips can help you deal with holiday moves to the best of your ability by establishing a workable battle plan. Planning is key in this respect, as well as being prepared for any unforeseen obstacles or hindrances that may pop up on the way to your new home.


Contact a moving company ASAP

Moving typically requires hiring a professional company to ensure your items remain intact during the trip from your old home to your new one. However, finding a reliable mover can be a bit more difficult during the holidays, as most of the staff will be unavailable at this time of year. In addition, rates may be a bit higher to accommodate moving staff, and this can be challenging for families on tighter budgets.

For these reasons, contacting a potential moving company as soon as possible is imperative to making reliable arrangements. Be sure to tell the company of your exact schedule, while also requesting an in-depth quote before coming to any agreements. This will prevent you from being surprised by any previously undisclosed or hidden fees that can factor in to projects of this nature.

Inform others about your move 

Once you have a date established, consider just how you will announce your move to friends and family. While you can use social media to keep others updated to your progress, sending out announcements is a nice touch during the holiday season. You can incorporate moving announcements into traditional Christmas cards to offer an ever-lasting keep sake of your transition.

In addition to informing loved ones of your new address, don’t forget to notify any companies you receive correspondence from via the mail. This can be accomplished by filling out a change of address form at your local post office, in addition to informing companies directly. This is essential over the Christmas season to ensure all mail is received in a timely manner, whether that entails important bills or gifts from out-of-town relatives.

Begin packing and organizing early

No matter the time of year, waiting until the last minute to begin packing for a move can often have disastrous results. It’s best to begin the process at least a few weeks prior to your moving date to ensure all items are packed successfully. Start by organizing your belongings in a common area to determine which items can be discarded. In many cases you can donate gently used unwanted items, which is particularly relevant during the holiday season.

You can also put some of your belongings into storage until after the holidays have passed. This will allow you to partake in holiday festivities without worrying about unpacking right away, while also making certain that your items remain safe and secure. This option can also be useful if you don’t have the ample time required to extensively organize your items before a move.

Consider scaling back celebrations/decorations

Decorating your home is a fine holiday tradition, but this can require much time and energy that may simply not be available when arranging a move. In this case, you may want to consider scaling back decorating until you reach your new abode. This doesn’t mean you should neglect putting up any decorations at all, just that you can save more substantial items (i.e. the tree) until you are settled into your new home.

The same can be said for holiday celebrations. Consider postponing grand holiday dinners until after your move to decrease some of the pressure you are facing. You can also seek alternate plans, like having dinner at a loved one’s home or dining out, to help create a more convenient celebratory situation.

Don’t forget to keep the holiday spirit alive 

The holidays should be a time for remembering what matters most in life, from being grateful for all that you have to cherishing time spent with your loved ones. When faced with the seemingly endless responsibilities related to moving, in addition to the many common tasks associated with Christmas, it can be easy to forget about the most important part of the season.

To this end, one should be mindful of creating new holiday memories even during this stressful period. Enlist your family to take numerous pictures of both your old home as well as new in order to preserve the spirit of the season. Also, take time for each other when you can, whether that entails cooking up a batch of cookies with the kids or taking in a Christmas-themed movie with your significant other. No matter what, try to keep in mind what the season really means, which can be beneficial for keeping your wits about you during times of increased stress.

Bryan Passanisi is an online marketer living in the Redwood City, California area. He graduated from The University of San Francisco with his Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing. He is a Simpsons and Family Guy trivia geek and loves corgi puppies. Bryan Passanisi is a contributor to various websites and blogs including Shutterfly.

Creative Tips for Storing Holiday Decorations

Written by Nick Howison and Brad Hillard

The holidays are in full swing, but they end as quickly as they come. The bittersweet combination of decorating, time with in-laws and shopping is an emotional roller coaster; especially when the season comes to a halt. If it seems like a good idea to simply throw all of your holiday decorations in a box in the attic, this post is for you.  The results of a hasty holiday tear-down can be disastrous and make decorating for the next year even more complicated. Take the edge off by using the following tips to efficiently pack and store your holiday decorations:

  1. Rally the Troops: In my house, everyone is determined to “deck the halls”, but when it comes to taking it down, nobody wants to help. Every year I earn their help by taking them out to a dinner and a movie-of-choice after the decorations are down.
  2. Label your Boxes: Writing “fragile ornaments” and “singing-Santa clause”  on their respective boxes helps organize the entire decorating process from start to finish. It’s helpful when assigning tasks to family members. It allows me to ask, “Can you bring down the hand-carved reindeer set from the attic? It’s in box labeled ‘Xmas Living Room’.”
  3. Choose Wisely: TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® has a variety of boxes tailored to your packing needs.  Some unique ones include a dish pack box with an insert for your Christmas tree ornaments. These boxes are big and hold a variety of items so you can use them year-round. Click here to see a few options available to you.
  4. Recycle: Did your gift come with bubble wrap or protective foam? Reuse these perfectly good packing materials in the place of the old, mostly-popped, bubble wrap in your decoration boxes.
  5. Christmas Creativity: Pack smaller ornaments and decorations into an empty egg carton (leftover from the plethora of consumed eggnog). This provides a protective shell for the ornaments and the cartons can be stacked inside a larger box.
  6. Light bulb!: Wrap your lights around pieces of cardboard.  This is a great way to keep the lights from tangling which in turn  protects them from annual damage. Once they are wrapped, place the cardboard pieces in a labeled box for next year.

No matter which method you choose to pack up your holiday decorations, the blog team at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® strives to move you forward no matter the task and we are always available to help with any packing challenge. Share your holiday packing tips with us in the comments!

We hope you enjoy the time spent with your families and wish you a happy holiday season!