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.

Bay 4

Bay 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

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.