Tips for an epic Memorial Day party

Written by Cait Quinn

memorial dayWhether you’re moving into a new neighborhood or are in the beginning stages of packing, Memorial Day is a great time to get together with the neighbors for a festive and fun celebration while honoring the servicemen and women who have sacrificed for this country. It’s simple to make your party a hit with a few simple steps.

Planning

If your home is literally boxed up, either from moving in recently or packing to move, save yourself some time and energy and purchase invites. DIY projects don’t tend to work when supplies are hard to locate. A variety of fresh, hip designs can be found on sites such as Pinterest or Etsy. Check the forecasted weather when choosing a date, a Memorial Day party outside in the sunshine will draw your guests over.

For those moving in, it’s an ideal time to meet the neighbors. Handing out invites in person will help to put a face to a name. Plus, you’ll really see what your new block is all about.

If you’re getting ready to move out, use this Memorial Day as an opportunity to reminisce about good times with your friends close by before you leave.

Food

Everyone expects a cookout on this particular holiday, so grilling hotdogs and hamburgers will be on the menu. If you’re in a moving limbo, consider having a neighborhood potluck to distribute the effort, leaving less for you to worry about and allows you to sample  a variety of salads, sides, desserts.

A thoughtful addition to the spread is to provide sweets and popsicles for the kids attending. Memorial Day is a perfect day to break out summertime firecracker popsicles.

Decorations

Decorations always make the mood more festive, but keep it simple. Purchase simple items such as red, white, and blue streamers, brightly colored paper napkins, and tiki torches; a few additions like these will change your backyard from drab to fab quickly and easily.

Activities

If your neighborhood is anything like mine, there are lots of kids and families of all sizes. Plan some outdoor activities both children and adults will enjoy. Stock the party with sidewalk chalk, jump ropes, and little squirt guns to occupy the kids while the adults mingle. Bring out the sparklers at dusk when the temperature drops and the hoodies come on. Needless to say, make sure there is plenty of adult supervision when sparklers are being used.

Last but not least, remember why we celebrate Memorial Day. Take a moment as the sparklers are lit to remember and honor the brave women and men who have fought for our country and our safety.

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.

5 tips for moving from home to high-rise

Written by Claire Schneider

You’ve decided to make the move from a single-family home to a high-rise building or condo. That’s exciting! There are some things to consider for moving day since transitioning into a high rise is drastically different than moving into a home. Not only is the space smaller, there are many details to take into consideration prior to and on moving day. For example, you may need to arrange moving reservations with the building manager in advance for elevator use and parking purposes, along with paring down useless items once stored in your home to make room for a smaller, new space. Below are tips to help make your moving day an easy one.

Purge

MovingIf you’re moving from a home to a condo or apartment, it’s likely not all of your belongings will fit in your new space. Before you begin packing, go through each room and see if there are items you could sell, donate, or put in storage. Have a color-coded post-it note for each category and mark all belongings. If you haven’t used something in the past year, it’s time to let go. For seasonal items, think about putting them in storage. This will not only save space, but will shorten your move, saving you money in the long run.

Storing your items

Whether you have a storage unit in your building or you need to rent one, there are precautions you should take. Water damage is the leading cause of damages to items in a storage unit. To prevent this, see if you can acquire old pallets from a local company to create a platform for your belongings to rest on. Do not use plastic covers. They encourage moisture buildup which leads to mold and mildew. Instead, use cotton covers. Another important tip is to invest in quality boxes for your belongings. Purchase professional storage boxes that are more dependable in protecting your items.

When storing your items, label all boxes for easy discoverability, and group them into functional categories. Since some storage units are dark, consider purchasing cheap, portable dome lights to place in the storage unit. This will help dramatically when searching for your crystal serving bowl for Thanksgiving.

Furniture

Get floor plans for your new apartment or condo, and plan out how your furniture will fit in the new space. Don’t wait until moving day to see if everything will fit. You’d hate to move your giant couch up to the fourteenth floor only to find out it’s too big in the room. There are great floor plan sites that will take your measurements and place items into a virtual room, allowing you to see which arrangement will work best. Knowing your desired arrangement will save you time during the move for arranging your items.

Building

Check with building management to see about reserving a parking space for the moving truck during the day of the move. The closer the truck is to the building, the less time it will take to transport items, which in the end will also save you money. See about reserving an elevator or using the maintenance elevator. This will make your move a breeze!

Apartment movingHire movers

Hire a moving company to take off the pressure and stress of moving your belongings all by yourself.  Moving companies have the experience of moving into high rise buildings and can offer expert advice along with much-needed equipment. 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, this is not the time to be shy! Learn more tips for selecting a mover.

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.

Mother’s Day gifts from the heart

Happy Mother's DayWritten by Shelby Reno

Mother’s Day is an occasion which honors mothers and motherhood, as well as unique maternal bonds. It’s also a time to acknowledge the influence of mothers in our culture. How do we do this? With cards, flowers, gifts, and precious time. What will you do for the mother figure in your life this Mother’s Day? If you’re still searching for the perfect solution, read on.

New Moms

New moms are thrilled to begin celebrating this holiday for the first time as a parent. Consider first-time mommy gifts of the lasting kind, so they have something to cherish and wear for years to come. Sterling silver bracelets and pendants with new baby’s name or footprints will be received with joy – likely even a few happy tears. This takes additional planning, so keep in mind you’ll need a few weeks for production and possibly shipping time.

Photo collages are available for order online from a host of suppliers, are offered in a variety of sizes, and are generally inexpensive. Dads, use your smartphone and take a series of cute and funny pictures of you and your child; upload, order and watch for the mailman. Later, collages can be stored flat or be rolled up, depending on size, and stowed in your new child’s memory box if you’ve already started one (highly recommend!).

Single Moms

Whether newly single or not, all moms need to have a celebration on Mother’s Day. If you’re kids are smaller it may take some more organizing on your part, but it won’t be any less special. Take the kids shopping for gifts and make a day out of it! Visit stores both you and your kids will enjoy and let them pick out special gifts for you. Then treat your family to lunch at your favorite restaurant. This day will be special way spend time together and will be one to remember.

If shopping isn’t really your kids’ cup of tea, make it craft time. Get fun paints, glitter, and other supplies and let your kids create a present for you. Purchase a small wooden jewelry box at your local craft store and let you kids paint and decorate it. Each time you reach for a piece of jewelry you’ll remember the fun you all had decorating the keepsake.

Need some R&R after spending the day with the kids? Ask the grandparents or close friends if they wouldn’t mind watching them while you treat yourself to a special spa day.

If you have a friend who’s a single mom, think about sending her a card or little gift wishing her a happy Mother’s Day. This will be a marvelous, unexpected surprise that will surely bring a smile to her face.

Seasoned Moms

Mother's DaySentimental gifts know no age. I asked a few mothers of teens and adults, and for those who enjoy jewelry, this was the primary preference. I’m not referring to just expensive jewelry—sterling silver applies—rather pieces which remind moms of significance of the day—and even year—and the doting child(ren) who gifted it.

Can a little peace and quiet be packaged up? This was also a list-topper for moms who have a love-hate relationship with the familiar noises of a busy household what feels like 24/7. While the holiday is about celebrating motherhood and the kids are an integral part of the equation, sending mom off to meet with a gal pal for a late afternoon pedicure or Pinot Noir (or both!) is just the mini escape to brighten her day – especially if any babysitting needs are seamlessly handled. Day spas also offer a variety of packages with one or multiple services. A gift certificate can be redeemed for later use.

Grandmoms

I met a grandmother in her 70s yesterday at the park, and we watched my daughter and her grandson expend more energy than we were from the bench onto which we settled. She said something so heartfelt and humble which made me realize how special it is for young kids to live near grandparents, “I’m happy that they always welcome me in their activities. While I can’t do much physically, it feels good to be included and to watch my grandchildren have a good time.”

Knowing the gift of time is the greatest gift to most grandparents, consider encouraging your child to design or color unique “coupons” for upcoming family outings, special activities and events. It adds an element of planning ahead and puts the treasure of time together front and center, which is arguably the single most important element to a grandparent.

Desire something more tangible and immediate? Most seniors have collected over the years the essentials, so focus on small the luxuries or items too heavy to purchase and lug home on their own. Her favorite exotic flower variety is a good choice. Could the entrance or front door use a pop of color? Cute tin flowers to hang onto the door or a large potted miniature tree make for an indulgent gift they may not buy themselves—especially on a fixed income.

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.

10 spring cleaning tips using basic household products

Written by Claire Schneider

Throw the curtains open and put out a cheerful welcome mat because it’s finally starting to feel like spring. We all know what that means … spring cleaning time! It’s the season to toss or stow seasonal items, tidy corners, and tame cluttered spaces.

This may sound strange, but I’ve been waiting for spring cleaning since last spring. My husband and I bought our first house last year, which was a foreclosure, so it needed a lot of work. I’ve tested many different cleaning products ranging from eco-friendly to the toxic, burn–the-lungs, cleaners. Still there are just some items in our house which will not clean well.

I’ve enlisted the help of my awesome co-workers for their go-to, natural/organic spring cleaning tips. I put some of them to the test on our home; others I’ve heard have worked for several people, such as the oft-prescribed club soda trick.

Vinegar

• Windows and glass: Mix together a 50/50 blend of vinegar and distilled water into a spray bottle and grab a few sheets of recycled newspaper. Use a diluted 25/75 for hardwood floors and silk plant leaves. It will make them shine!

• Rust: Soak rusty items in vinegar to eat off rust. Since our house was vacant for at least six months, our sinks and showers had stubborn rust rings around the drains.

I tested out this cleaning tip on our bathroom sink. It was hard to really get the area to soak for a long period of time (our drain apparently doesn’t close water tight), but after only soaking for 30 minutes and scrubbing with a toothbrush for about 10, there already is a dramatic difference in the amount of rust that even the well-known rust cleaners couldn’t accomplish.

Rust 1

Rust 2

•  General cleaning: Vinegar is good for general cleaning of bathrooms and clearing clogged drains. When left in a bowl it also can deodorize a room.

I left a bowl in one of our linen drawers that has always had a musty smell no matter how long I let it air out. From what I can tell, it worked very well.

Club Soda

• Stains: Club soda is perfect for getting rid of red wine and other pesky stains.

Dryer Sheets

• Dust and hair: Rub a used dryer sheet over freshly dusted furniture and it will repeal dust and hair.

This one I had to try. We have two dogs and I currently have to dust at least twice a week. Here’s a photo of what our table looks like after not dusting for a week without using the dryer sheet and in the right is one week after testing it out. It’s still dustier than I hoped, but it’s an arguable improvement.

Dusty Table 1

Dusty table 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Odor: Dryer sheets are very handy and inexpensive air fresheners for closest, drawers, under sinks, and pet areas.

Lemon

• Water marks: Cut a lemon in half and rub the lemon on the metal fixture and rinse.

Not only did this work but it left my bathroom smelling lovely!

• Garbage disposal: Mix ½ cup of lemon juice and ½ cup of baking soda. Heat lemon juice in microwave for 30 seconds. Add baking soda slowly (it will bubble) and mix well. Turn on the disposal and pour down the drain. Turn on hot water for a few seconds to rinse away any mix remaining in the sink or the bowl. Use weekly. If disposal still has a bad odor, repeat.

Cotton

• Ceiling fans: Slip a pillow case over ceiling fan blades, one at a time, and wipe. Dust falls into the pillow case, not on you, your furniture, or your floors.

This may be one of my favorite tips! I have really bad dust allergies so being able to dust and tap it will really help ensure I don’t get one of those amazingly fun sneezing attacks this year.

• Blinds: Put an old sock on one hand and spritz it with water. Grip each panel of the blind and pull one end to the other, removing dust from both sides at once.

I hope you find these natural and powerful cleaning tips as helpful as I did. Check out our spring cleaning infographic for additional tips!

Boston Marathon and the Lone Duck

Written by Claire Schneider

As many of you may know, the Boston Marathon is Monday, April 21. We’re excited to announce Brig Sorber, our CEO and one of the original Stickmen, will be running the marathon for the first time. We are so proud Brig will be taking part in such a momentous event, especially after the devastating events of last year. Brig is very proud to have the opportunity to be a part of such an amazing event and be surrounded by such a remarkable community that is Boston Strong.

BrigSorberSo how does one end up running in such a prestigious race? This may be the first time Brig will be partaking in the Boston Marathon, however it’s his third marathon overall. Brig’s running career launched when he started to run 20-30 minutes, three times a week to stay in shape until his watchful doctor told him to pick it up a notch and gave him the book called “Younger at 50”. He was 46 at the time. After reading the book Brig agreed and started to push his body on the runs and realized it didn’t take much more to run farther.

“Like a rocket that takes 90% of its fuel to lift off and get to space, it only uses 10% of fuel to stay out in space. Running long distance is the same thing. Try a little harder and go to the next level.” – Brig Sorber

Brig’s good friend introduced him to New Form running. It’s a running technique where you take smaller steps and lean forward instead of back while running. He’s now run more than 1,200 miles with this new form of running and is injury free!

Brig’s love for running also turned into a stress reliever. As other CEOs will know, there’s a lot of stress that comes with running a business, especially with the pressures of managing employees and keeping a company profitable. Keeping off weight, burning stress, providing place and time to work through the challenges in his life, and meeting cool people were all good reasons for Brig to continue running.

To run in the Boston Marathon you have to qualify in another race. Qualifying for Boston is a daunting task to do and was always a stretch goal that Brig didn’t talk about for fear of failure. When Brig ran a race in Charlevoix, Mich., to qualify for Boston, he ran a 3:21:41. He needed a 3:30:00 to qualify.

“I mostly run by myself. When I do run with someone at all, it is with Jamie Adams, a co-worker. It’s wild to go from running mostly by yourself (I call myself lone duck!) to running with thousands of people. I’m really looking forward to running Boston and supporting the race after the tragedy of last year’s bombings.” – Brig Sorber

You can follow Brig during the Boston Marathon by going here and following bib number 12269.

National Movers for Moms® campaign recognizes moms on Mother’s Day

Written by Lindsay Dow

Pasco County, Flordia

Pasco County, Florida

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is excited to begin collecting items for its seventh annual Movers for Moms® program aimed at collecting and donating items for mothers living in domestic abuse or homeless shelters across the country.

Locations across the country and internationally collect donations locally each year starting mid-March and running until Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 11. The purpose of the program is to recognize those moms living in shelters this Mother’s Day by arranging delivery of small gifts for women who are victims of domestic abuse or homelessness. Every mother deserves to be recognized on their special day!

How can you help?

It’s simple! All you have to do is bring your donated items to a TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® location near you.

Omaha, Nebraska

Omaha, Nebraska

Encouraged donations include any/all personal items including:

• nice soaps
• hair styling products
• shampoos and conditioners
• pillows
• blankets
• slippers
• robes

No gift is too small!

To sign up to become a Movers for Moms® recipient or collections partner, please visit twomenandatruck.com/moversformoms. There you’ll find a partnership sign up form where you’ll input all of your contact information. From there your form will be forwarded to the closest franchise to you.

Be sure and check us out on Facebook www.facebook.com/moversformoms and follow us on Twitter @MoversForMoms to keep up with the latest program information!

 

Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham, Alabama

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®: Not just a job, a career

Written by Claire Schneider

To end our second annual Career Move Month, we will share Nick Popoff’s story of how he made a TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® career move. Nick was a driver/trainer at our Lansing, Mich., franchise and recently joined the Home Office team as a field training and development specialist.

When Nick started as a mover at the Lansing franchise he thought it would be a “get by” job. He soon realized it was the start of a major career move. And he was right! In his new role, Nick now visits our more than 240 TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® locations across the U.S. to help train staff and ensure our teams are safe while exceeding our customers’ expectations with every move.

Nick isn’t alone in discovering the opportunities TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® has to offer. In fact, 75% of our management started elsewhere in the company.

The video below was taken a few months prior to Nick’s promotion. Watch this video and see what Nick has learned about the career opportunities and recognition at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®.

Has Nick’s story inspired you? We still have many positions open across the country including movers/drivers, customer service representatives, managers, and much more. Apply today!

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®: Hiring quality employees

Written by Claire Schneider

the_shunks_-_fd_site_imageFinding top people with the right attitude is a daily battle for any business owner. Our Career Move Month helps to alleviate this stress and by recruiting talented folks who embody the caring and can-do attitude required to be a part of a big business. Dan and Rene Shunk, franchisees of TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® Bloomington and Central Ill., know the struggles of finding quality employees. They strive to help their employees not only succeed in their roles but also to grow with the business. See how they move people forward in the following interview:

Q: What are your and Dan’s business backgrounds?

Rene: I have a B. S. in Engineering from the University of Illinois. I worked for over 10 years in research and business development within the agriculture industry. My specialty was research project management and development focused on multi-partner, multi-year research programs with an emphasis on commercialization of new technology.

Dan has a B.S. degree in Engineering from the University of Illinois and a MBA from Washington University. He worked for over 10 years in the heavy equipment industry in sales and branch management. His focus was on selling a high quality product and then servicing that product with excellent customer service.

Q: How long have the two of you been with TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®?

Rene: We both started with TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® in 2008 and haven’t looked back.

Q: What has been your experience with hiring quality employees?

Rene: Hiring quality employees is the biggest challenge in a small business. Anyone first starting out is an unknown in terms of what type of employer they will be. Add to that the inherent difficulty of finding qualified applicants for each open position.

Q: In your eyes, what makes a good team member?

Rene: People usually answer this question with “attitude” and that is the simplest and most honest answer. Work ethic is really significant along with a willingness to work closely with others to see the company succeed. People must be motivated by helping our customers to really enjoy this type of work.

Q: Have you recently promoted someone from within the system? If so, why?

Rene: Yes, we have recently promoted several drivers into both team leader roles and assistant manager positions. They are learning new skills, are helping the business expand, and are providing leadership to new hires. We’re really excited to be able to offer more opportunities for these loyal employees to grow in their careers.

Q: How do you feel TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® allows you to promote from within?

Rene: In the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® culture there is no downside to having customer-facing experience. Each of these team members are viewed as a valuable part of the system, and cultivating a happy team is vital to our success. There are many resources available to encourage promotion including training programs and mentors who have taken those same paths from their start on the front line.

Why do you feel Career Move Month is so important to your business?

Rene: Career Move Month allows us to spotlight the many ways a person could have a terrific career with us, and the initiative allows our potential employees to see the full spectrum of opportunities beyond just viewing us as a small company at the local level. It has enhanced our recruiting efforts, generating more attention to positions which are available at our franchise.

Q: How would you describe the culture at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®?

Rene: Our personal mission has always been to provide not only a great service to our customers but to provide a great place for our employees to work. We chose to join the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® system because of a culture which values our customers, employees, and community.

 Apply now  to be a part of TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® and begin your career!

Endless career opportunities present. Apply now!

Written by Lindsay Dow

Brian Stern is the general manager of six Chicago locations and has held almost every franchise position imaginable during his eight years with the company. The proof is there; opportunities are endless at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®. Brian strives to become a franchisee one day, and it all stemmed from his job as a mover eight years ago. See what else he has to say about his time with TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®!

Q: When were you hired at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®?

Brian: I’ve been with TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® since January 2006.

Q: What’s your current position and job responsibilities?

Brian: Currently I’m the General Manager. I manage day-to-day operations and sales, manage and maintain our safety program, ensuring compliance with Home Office, DOT, state, and FMCSA rules and regulations, and fleet management.

Q: What positions have you held in the company?

Brian: I started out as a driver but I’ve had many jobs during my years at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®.  I then worked my way up and became a driver, trainer, customer service representative, in-home consultant, operations manager, and general manager.

Q: What interested you about working at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®?

Brian: The atmosphere and people I work with daily.

Q: How do you see yourself progressing at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®?

Brian: I’d love to one day open my own franchise and continue to be a leader in our franchise system.

Q: So far, what’s your favorite memory of working in the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® system?

Brian: When I was given the opportunity to open our Chicago locations as general manager. I was able to see a startup location grow from two trucks to over 40 in four to five years. It has been the most gratifying accomplishment thus far in my career. Not so much due to the number of trucks we put on the road every day, but more so the amount of peoples’ lives we provide our great service to daily.

Apply now to be a part of TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® and begin your career!

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Frontline MVP award winner Trista Roland

CMM2014_FBCoverDuring Career Move Month we’re sharing stories about our incredible team members across the nation. Today we feature Trista Roland’s story!

Trista is a customer service representative at our TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® Flint location and has shown tremendous drive and passion, which hasn’t gone unnoticed. She recently won the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®’s Frontline MVP Award and was recognized at the company’s Annual Meeting in Las Vegas this week. Unlike traditional MVP awards, the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® MVP award represents Mission, Values, and Purpose, and seeks to recognize those who are committed to the foundation of TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®.

Watch this video to see Trista’s story!

Check out how you can become part of the team on our careers website!