TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® core values and what they mean to us

Written by Claire Schneider

“We’ve learned … that the soft stuff and the hard stuff are becoming increasingly intertwined. A company’s values – what it stands for, what its people believe in – are crucial to its competitive success. Indeed, values drive the business.”   -Robert Haas, Chairman & CEO of Levi Strauss & Company

Today we’re seeing more and more companies draft their own set of core values by which they follow and run their operations. Here at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® the core values aren’t just hung on the office walls, rather they are lived by each team member day in and day out.

Below are just a few great examples of how our franchises nationwide bring these values to life.

Giving back to the community

Tornado reliefGiving back to the community is such a large part of who we are as a company, and our franchises never hesitate to lend a helping hand. We saw this especially last year when Oklahoma City was struck by a tragic tornado. Within a few hours, our TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® Oklahoma City franchise was out in their community assisting with disaster relief efforts utilizing movers and trucks to transport supplies to the devastated area.

THE GRANDMA RULE®: To treat everyone the way you would want your Grandma to be treated.

This rule was inspired by our company’s first grandma, Grandma Eb, who played an integral role in the early days of the company. There have been many remarkably heartwarming illustrations in which the GRANDMA RULE® was invoked, where TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® team members went above and beyond their duties as movers to minimize the impact the moving experience with their customers. Here’s one of our favorites:

A TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® team moved an elderly woman with cancer who had recently lost her husband. Her moving team sensed something when they observed the woman sitting among her boxes in her new home on the verge of tears as she considered the daunting prospect of unpacking. After completing the move and returning to the office, the lead mover asked permission to go back on his own time to unpack her belongings. Another mover who just returned from another job overheard the situation and immediately volunteered his time as well. After the move and unpack, the customer sent the following letter to the franchise operator:

Dear Mr. Connolly,

I am writing this letter to tell you of two of your outstanding employees, Eric S. and Chris M. I moved from Florida back to Delaware and was sitting here in the middle of boxes to be unpacked. Your employees who had moved some furniture locally for me saw my frustration about unpacking and came back after the move and helped me unpack and dispose of the empty boxes by carrying them four flights down to the dumpster. These young men were a wonderful help to me since I have a prosthesis on my left leg and do not move easily. I hope you will give them a commendation of some kind, since I feel they are very unusual, kind men who wanted nothing more than to help me.

Very truly yours,

Dolores 

Care: To have compassion for family, customers, co-workers, and community.

Care is essential to the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® system. It’s the foundation of what we do every day. It’s so important we decided to include it in our tagline, “Movers Who Care®”.

Pedro  Carl“Two Palm Beach movers, Pedro A. and Carl P., were on an overnight, long distance move to Tallahassee in Northern Florida. They were pulling off the highway for the evening during a powerful rainstorm when they noticed an SUV had gone off the road and landed in a ditch filled with water. They ran over, waded into the thigh-deep water, and pulled the family (husband, wife, and two children) from the vehicle. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries, so they waited until the authorities arrived, then continued on their way.”

Be your best and have fun: To be the best professionally and personally while enjoying life and having fun.

CadeWe couldn’t think of a better example for this core value than a boy’s first moving experience. Cade, the six-year-old boy who was the inspiration of our national commercial last year, was very nervous about moving from his life-long home in Atlanta. The movers took notice and to help ease his worries, and they named him “Boss for a Day.” As boss, Cade was able to have a role in the moving process, make a connection with the movers, and observe the movers taking care of his favorite belongings. The movers truly made Cade and his family’s moving experience stress-free and fun. Watch this video to learn more about Cade and his family’s moving experience.

Inclusion: To welcome people from all backgrounds in the workplace and the community.

Fatima Kacapor spent time at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®/INTERNATIONAL, Inc. during the summer of 2013 to shadow and observe work culture in the United Sates. Fatima is a college student from the southeastern European country, Bosnia, studying communications. She is part of the Jericho Foundation, an international non-profit organization dedicated to restoring HOPE (healthcare, opportunity, personal relations, and education) in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). Fatima wrote a blog post detailing her positive experience while shadowing at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® International, Inc. Her experienced left her feeling that TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® was indeed a company who put inclusion at the forefront of its culture.

Integrity: To always conduct oneself with honesty and fairness.

We take pride in how our company is committed to living lives full of integrity. Team members from our corporate office in Lansing to those in our nearly 300 locations throughout the U.S., Canada, Ireland and U.K., we understand what it means to be part of a company which celebrates commitment and follow-through. These are the cornerstones of integrity, and our principles are emphasized and upheld in every aspect of our business. We treat people with respect.

This core value is demonstrated daily throughout our company and we strive to exceed our customers’ expectations each and every time we perform a move. Many of our mover dispatch areas feature a poster which declares, “Prove it every move.” And we do! That’s why we’re very proud of our 96 percent customer referral rate.

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.

Planned packing makes transition to college more organized

Between tuition costs, everyday school stresses, and decreasing job opportunities for graduates, college-bound students have enough to focus on without having to stress about moving their belongings from home to college.

According to Childstats.gov, in 2011, nearly 68 percent of high school graduates enrolled immediately in a two-year or four-year college. It is safe to say a good amount of those students traveled away to college and needed the support of family or friends to help them move.

Luckily, we know a thing or two about moving and have provided easy-to-follow tips to simplify the move to college:

College moving• Use the right supplies – It’s worth the small investment. Don’t make the mistake of using grocery store boxes, garbage bags, or laundry baskets. Boxes that once stored food items often carry bugs, and garbage bags and laundry baskets are not dependable. Instead, buy moving boxes and use packing tape. Sturdy boxes can easily fold up, be stored for the entire school year, and are ready to use again for summer break.

• Pack like items together – Moving back to school can be a little overwhelming so the more organized the better. Label boxes clearly – there’s not a lot of room in campus housing, so organizing boxes can prioritize unpacking without the huge mess.

• Pack smart – Don’t make the mistake of overstuffing boxes. Too many items can cause the box to collapse and it may be impossible to lift. Just remember: the heavier the object, the smaller the box.

• Try to use original packaging for large electronics – A new computer, TV, mini-fridge, and microwave all come with packaging to keep them secure and protected. It’s much more likely that these items will arrive unharmed if they remain in manufacturers’ packaging.

College move“Transitioning to college should be an exciting time in a student’s life, but it can be overwhelming,” said Randy Shacka, president of TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®. “A successful and stress-free move starts with proper planning. Through simple preparation, students can make life easier as they head to school.”

 

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® can help with your college move or packing needs. Start college off right and have TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® to do the heavy lifting for you!

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

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.

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.

Landscaping 101

Written by Claire Schneider

Does your yard scare the neighborhood children? Does it need some TLC, but you don’t know where to start? Don’t worry because we have simple tips to turn your yard into a landscaping wonder!

Quick stat: According to Bob Villa, the first impression, aka the yard, can add 20% to your home’s value, a figure that rivals the return on a new kitchen or bath.

Before you begin

landscapingBefore starting any projects, make a wish list. What would your ideal yard look like? How do you plan to use it? Do your kids or pets need a nice grassy area? Do you want a formal look or a natural one? These are just some of the questions to consider when landscaping. Once you have your vision, draw a sketch of your dream yard and include designated locations. For example, a dining space with a grill, a lounge area accompanied with a hammock, and general open areas. The sketch doesn’t have to be fancy; just some circles and squares with labels will do.

Better Homes and Gardens also recommends studying the sun and wind patterns. If you’re building a patio, you might want to place it on the west side of the house. Just remember, it will get a lot of afternoon sun. This means dinnertime in August will be served up with a side of sweltering heat. Wind whistling around a corner will quickly extinguish a fire pit. These are common design mistakes novice landscapers make.

Remember, landscaping projects don’t need to be completed all at once. You can continually add to it over time. Not everyone is Ahmed Hassan from Yard Crashers, who enlists a team of 20 people to make over a yard in just a few days. So start small by adding focal points, such as a flower bed or a modest rock garden, and live with those for a while. Once you’re comfortable carrying your plan forward, the final draft of your sketches will become an eye-pleasing reality. Add family and friends and you’ve got yourself the best outdoor entertainment space on the block!

Simple landscaping tips

1.  Keep it green and clean. It’s important to protect your landscaping investment and keep your property looking its very best. According to WikiHow, taller grass is healthier grass. It shades out weed seeds, preventing them from sprouting. It keeps the soil cooler, moist longer and encourages the proliferation of soil microbes. This doesn’t mean let the lawn go wild but instead when mowing your lawn, have the blades set at the highest setting (3 1/2 to 4 inches).  Also keep the lawn raked and free from pine needles and leaves for a nice clean look.

2.  Trim plants. Shaping plants not only enhances their beauty and gives a manicured look, it also allows sun to reach their center. This is essential to plant health. The best time to trim plants is early spring or late fall.

3.  Add colors and textures. When selecting plants, make sure they have variations in color and textures throughout the year. This will ensure your yard will always have visual interest. Choose flowering plants for warm weather, bushes with leaves that change color seasonally, or have colored berries during the winter.

4.  Mulch: Your new best friend. Adding mulch to flower beds is a simple and inexpensive way to add curb appeal. Mulch makes it look like you spent hours gardening, when actually it only took a few minutes to add it to flower beds.

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