Preparing to downsize using these helpful tips

Written by Nicole Harrison

You’ve decided to downsize. After finding the perfect place and closing on your new home, oftentimes the panic starts to set in. Thoughts start racing through your mind as you lay awake at night wondering what you’re going to do with all your stuff. You have so many treasured items you’ve been holding on to for years, now you’re asking yourself “keep it or trash it?”

As you start the downsizing process, it is recommended you make a concerted effort to work on one room at a time to avoid feeling overwhelmed. As you begin assessing and sorting through your household items, keep three categories in mind: save, donate, or throw away.

Questions to ask youOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERArself

We have created a few questions to help make your downsizing plans go as smoothly as possible. When sorting through items stored in various areas of your home, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I love it? Have I used/worn it in the last six months?
  • Does it have sentimental value?
  • Am I keeping it out of obligation or expectation?
  • Is it broken? If yes, is it fixable?
  • Do I own more than one of these?

Asking yourself these simple questions should give you some guidelines when going through your items. How you answer these questions will give you a more definite idea as to whether you want to save, donate, or throw away items. Remember, if you find yourself keeping something “just in case,” it’s a good indication you should donate it or put it in storage.

Measure your furniture

In addition to sorting through smaller items, you need to reassess the “big” stuff. Measure your furniture and large decorative pieces such as sculptures, paintings, etc. Get the measurements of your new rooms to be sure your current furniture will fit. Before moving into your new home, create a mock layout of each room. Use the furniture and room dimensions to ensure your large items will fit. Creating a mock layout is a terrific way to evaluate your furniture and to decide if you will keep it or buy new.  Two Men and a Truck

If you find yourself getting rid of numerous household items, consider hosting a yard sale! Getting extra cash from your old stuff is always nice! Yard sales are great incentives for household owners to part with more items.

Storing your items

Once you have downsized and completed your move, you may be challenged with a lack of storage space in your new home. Take advantage of the nooks and crannies your home may have. These hidden spaces, such as under a staircase or odd-sized closets, can be transformed into storage spaces. Both are great places to build shelving units. Shelves are one of the best ways to store a variety of items, and you can even add decorative bins to shelving units to group together smaller items that are hard to store — while dressing the shelf up! Another great place to utilize for extra storage is under your bed. Invest in long, skinny containers that you can slide under your bed, as this storage spot is perfect for those “someday” items. Finally, invest in an ottoman that has a removable top where you can store blankets or other household items. Ottomans are a terrific asset that have multiple uses.

Oftentimes, downsizing creates a headache and a whole lot of stress no one wants to add to their daily lives. With these pointers, we are hoping it will help make your downsizing process go as smoothly as possible.

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 participate in extensive training; they are permanent employees and undergo background checks and 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 additional tips and information on moving or packing services, subscribe to our blog and like us on Facebook.

7 winter moving tips

Written by Mariah Obiedzinski

winter movingThe ice, the snow, the cold winter. This is possibly the worst time to move, right? Wrong! Moving during the winter presents a unique set of challenges, but it’s manageable with a few extra precautions.

Use these seven winter moving tips to make sure you and your belongings arrive at your new home safely:

  1. Get help. Hiring a professional moving company is imperative this time of year. Invest in a quality move team instead of trying to do everything on your own will minimize your time in the cold, decrease your risk of frostbite or injury, and avoid the chance of a friend or family member losing their footing in rougher conditions. Deciding what moving company you want and trust to move your valuable possessions can be difficult. Make sure to do your research when selecting your movers by verifying their reputation for high customer service and a track record that supports it.
  1. Clear the path. Take time to shovel or plow the driveways and sidewalks at both your old location and your new location. It’s easy to misjudge stairs and drop-offs when they’re obscured by snow. Taking a few extra moments to clear the way will make moving easier and safer for your crew.
  1. Watch the weather. The temperature can change quickly in the winter. What starts as slush can turn to ice within a few hours. It also gets dark earlier in the winter, so plan trips to and from the new location accordingly.
  1. Carry emergency supplies. There are plenty of small unplanned challenges which are a natural part of the moving process, but don’t let snow or ice be one of them. Whether you drive your own vehicle or rent a moving truck, ice and snow on the road may get in your way. You can get yourself unstuck quickly if you carry a shovel and salt or sand. It’s also wise to keep a vehicle emergency kit, water, snacks, and blankets handy just in case.
  1. Layer up. It’s important to dress warmly, even though you will be working hard on moving day. Consider wearing layers you can peel off as necessary. It’s better to start with too many clothes on than to deal with being cold all day. Make sure your ensemble includes a hat and warm gloves.
  1. Wipe it down. Keep old rags and towels handy to wipe away the snow, salt, sand, and dirt which will likely get caked to your shoes and your moving containers. This will not only protect your belongings but will also keep the floors at your new location clean and dry.
  1. Raise a glass. Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean you won’t sweat. Stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the moving process. It’s also a nice gesture to provide warm drinks or water for your crew to enjoy during or after the move (coffee, tea, or hot chocolate are inexpensive and will be much appreciated by your friends, neighbors, or professional movers).

With a few extra precautions, moving during the winter can be easy and safe. If you feel overwhelmed, remember this: At least it isn’t hot!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mariah Obiedzinski  is a freelance blogger for USCargoControl.com, an e-commerce company specializing in moving supplies for both professional and DIY movers.

Store holiday decorations with ease

Written by Claire Schneider and Nicole Harrison

Does the thought of tearing down your holiday decorations stress you out? Consider this a pay-it-forward pursuit, and set yourself up for success for next year’s decorating efforts by packing up properly now. This goal alone will keep you motivated and prevent you from hastily and randomly stowing your things in bins and boxes. TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® has some helpful tips and tricks to make storing your holiday decorations easier.

IMG_9579Get organized – Before commencing the pack-up process, take some extra time to sort your items. Once your holiday décor and related materials are sorted, boxing them up will go much more quickly. TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® has a variety of boxes tailored to your packing needs. Some unique boxes include a dish pack box with inserts for your Christmas tree ornaments. You can adjust the inserts to the desired size making it perfect for the large and small ornaments. We also recommend using the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® dish pack box to store gift-wrapping supplies. The full instructions to utilize the box are here.

Manage lights and garlands — As you coil delicate lights and garlands, take extra care since they tend to tangle easily. Repurpose an old paper towel roll or a piece of cardboard and wrap the lights around it.

Protect the bows – Christmas ribbons and bows are commonly the items which get damaged the most in storage. To prevent them from warping and wrinkling, cut cardboard tubes and wrap them with paper towels so they fit snugly inside. Then place all the bows flat in a box together to ensure they lay flat and smooth amongst heavier items.

Label everything – Nothing is more frustrating than searching through box after box looking for one specific item. Make this process less frustrating and time-consuming by labeling items found in each box. To make the unpacking effort a breeze the following year, consider labeling the boxes in the order they should be opened. Choose the order that makes the most sense for your natural holiday set-up plan (e.g., room by room).

Protect Christmas linens – Christmas linens are commonly forgotten items when considering your Christmas storage plan, but if you take a little extra time to store them, it will prevent nasty surprises next year. First it’s important to pack them in a proper storage container like a suitcase or a waterproofed box to protect them from moisture. Then, place your favorite scented dryer sheet in-between the linens. This will repel moths while keeping them fresh and smelling wonderful for next year. This process only takes a couple minutes, and your guests will love the extra care.

Breakable Items — Christmas plates, platters, ornaments, and other breakables need to be handled with care. No one wants to open their Christmas decorations next year and find half of their ornaments broken, so it’s imperative you pack them well. The most important tip to remember is to wrap the breakables with a few layers of newspaper, paper towel or whatever padding in which you choose to wrap your items. It’s never a bad idea to put layers of extra cushion between your items to ensure more padding.

Hire moving muscle – Are you not looking forward to moving the heavier items back to their spots? Give us a call to schedule your internal move. We are happy to rearrange any heavy furniture as our movers are professionally trained and will move the same piece until you are happy with its final resting place.

Do you have any packing tips which have saved you from the hassle and time-consuming storing process? If so, please comment below to share your ideas with us; we’ll incorporate your best practices into future blogs. TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is here to move you forward with any packing tips and challenges you may have.

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.

A day in the life of a TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® mover

Melvin Ross 03 (2)

Written by Dawn Kroeger

For people seeking work where two days are never the same with a mobile office that displays ever-changing views, they need to look no further than TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®.

Frontline roles, such as mover and driver positions, feature a fair amount of diversity and autonomy. Do you believe being a mover is “just moving furniture” and anyone could do it? Think again. Since no day is “typical”, check out a common day in the life of a TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® mover.

We promote and encourage the development of professional and career skills for all team members from moving, customer service, business knowledge, and practical business skills and training. Our goal is to develop leaders. We are Movers Who Care and throughout team members’ time in our system, we want each of them to learn and develop the skills that can impact them throughout their life. So each day like the below, we are moving people forward.

6:30 a.m.

Wake up ready to take on the world with the discipline to make the most of each day. No need to get up early for a workout; your job is working out! Proudly put on your uniform, eat a quick breakfast, grab an energy drink and a gallon of water, and you’re out the door.

7:15 a.m.

Arrive at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® and take part in a quick team huddle where you are reminded of safe lifting practices and the importance of exceptional customer service.

7:30 a.m. 

Receive your assignments for the day. Check out your truck, ensuring everything is working properly, do a full truck inspection, check all customer-requested boxes are inventoried and loaded, and each piece of equipment is accounted for and in working order.

7:45 a.m.

Begin any necessary customer paperwork, take care of any loose ends before departure, then hit the road.

8:15 a.m.

TMAAT358-2258095496-OArrive at your first customer’s home, and introduce yourself while showing your charisma and competence in order to put your customer at ease. You are moving their memories after all. Complete a walkthrough, ensuring the customer you fully understand expectations and illustrating your communication skills and diligence to get the details right.

8:30 a.m.  

Begin the move by loading the truck, paying special attention to an antique table the customer’s grandmother brought over from Ireland when she moved to the states as a young woman. Continue loading items.

11:15 a.m.

Stop to answer a few questions your customer’s uneasy eight-year-old daughter has about how you are handling her American Doll and Barbie collections. Assure her they will be safely packed at the back of the truck so they will be the first thing off it at her new home.

11:45 a.m.  

Ensure everything is packed to customer’s expectations, then head to the new home.

12:00 noon  

Arrive at the customer’s new home and take a few minutes to enjoy a customer-provided lunch of sub sandwiches. These folks love to show their appreciation by feeding you! This is also an opportunity to learn more about customers, hearing feedback about the move and validating how your role is so critical to their new direction.

12:15 p.m.

Begin unloading the customer’s belongings into their new home, being sure to honor your promise about the American Girl dolls and Barbies! Smile when you give a very relieved eight-year-old her most prized possessions.

3:00 p.m.

You are nearing completion of your first move and feeling good. Everything is safely placed in its proper place to the elation of the customer. The customer cannot believe how you and your team member hustled to accomplish this move. Your customer is thrilled, pays for the move, and adds a nice tip for you and your partner!

3:30 p.m.  

You clean up your truck, put equipment back in place, and head to your second and final move of the day – a retirement-age couple downsizing into a senior community.

3:45 p.m.  

You arrive at the customer’s home, introduce yourself with a smile and eye contact, explain how the move will go, and answer any questions the customers have. These customers seem a little melancholy. You learn they are leaving the house in which they raised their children, so it’s understandable.

4:00 p.m.

You begin the move and realize your customers have purged many of their belongings and are moving minimal pieces into their new, one-bedroom apartment at the senior community.

5:30 p.m.  

The truck is loaded, and you are ready to support your customers in beginning this new chapter in their lives. While loading you find a bracelet in the couch. You give it back to Mrs. Customer and she begins to cry. The bracelet had been a 25th wedding anniversary gift, and she had lost it last year.

5:45 p.m.

You arrive at the senior community and begin to unload. The unload goes smoothly, and you chat with your customers about new traditions they will begin now that they have moved. You share a story about your grandmother’s positive experience in a similar community, and they begin to feel at ease.

7:00 p.m.

Customer’s belongings are unloaded and Mr. and Mrs. Customer are finally relaxing; in fact, they seem genuinely relieved and maybe even a little excited. Mrs. Customer tips you with a jar of home-made strawberry jam. You leave feeling proud of your ability to put people at ease while executing a safe and damage-free move. And you remember you really need to call your grandma tonight.

7:30 p.m.

You arrive back at the office, complete paperwork, clean up your truck, and prepare for tomorrow’s customers.

On the drive home you reflect on this job. It is a hard job. You have to be strong, a problem solver, a communicator, and, sometimes, a friend. It is physically and mentally tough – but so rewarding. You really feel like you are making a difference in one of the most stressful life events in which people undergo. You know if you keep up your hard work and positive attitude, you will work your way into a leadership position at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®. Until that day you will continue to give your best to the people who depend on you each day. Moving is much more than just moving stuff. It’s moving people forward, including yourself!

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.

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.

Back-to-school shopping: Getting ready to bite the apple and not your wallet

back-to-school1“But EVERYONE has them!” If you have a child in school you’ve most likely heard these words uttered multiple times during the traditional back-to-school shopping season. The desire to fit in can cause tremendous stress on children which in turn creates an unhappy fall shopping experience. It doesn’t necessarily mean this needs to be a time of friction. We’ve compiled a few simple tips to make back-to-school shopping a fun way to end your summer while not breaking the bank.

Before setting out on the shopping excursion, set a budget for each kid, and have them list their top 10 items. This will help them to stay focused on the items they truly want instead of buying things at random. Start with the essentials, such as a backpack and school supplies, and then focus on the desired items. Recommend they buy a few items now then some a few weeks after school starts to cover everything on their list. This way you have a chance to break up the high costs and increase the chances of snagging some items on sale or clearance.

The big key to back-to-school shopping success is to stay disciplined. Stick to the budgets you agreed upon without wavering, especially if you have more than one child; otherwise, this has the potential to back fire. Also, only use cash and leave the credit cards and check books at home. This eliminates the chance of spending more money than allocated.

With juggling the costs of sporting goods, clothing, shoes, school supplies, field trips, and much more, finding those fall sales are crucial. Keep an eye on the deals at your child’s favorite stores. Some items could be 50 percent off! There are also a lot of great coupon apps out there which allow you to select your favorite stores to receive coupons and discounts on a regular basis. You can also enter which shopping center you are in to get a list of all the discounts near you.

For an opportunity to prepare an apprehensive child, get them involved in a great opportunity to give back to their community. Each year TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® Lansing participates in a program called Operation Backpack with additional area businesses and organizations. This program donates school items to local children in need. This year they are aiming to pass out 1,000 back packs stuffed with school supplies.

Motivate your kids and get them excited to start their new school year by letting them shop for children whose families cannot buy them school supplies. This makes it easier for a child to understand how fortunate they are before shopping, plus the virtue of helping others.

Are your kids starting a new school? Check out our blog for tips to help with the transition!