Deployed? 5 Essential Moving Tips to Know For a Military Move

With Veterans Day recently behind us, it’s important to consider the men and women of the military who sacrifice significant parts of their lives for our great nation. If you happen to be a new member of the U.S. military and recently received notice of an upcoming move, you may be feeling overwhelmed and at a loss on how to approach this unique task.

We spoke to a seasoned veteran of the U.S. Navy to learn about the tried and true tips he utilized when moving his family across the country for military purposes. Check out what Petty Officer First Class, Louie A. of the United States Navy had to say about how he approached packing and moving in the military.

1. Military Moving Expenses

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If you’re wondering how to figure out which of your military moving expenses are covered, breathe easy. When the military requests that you and your family move, they will cover 100% of your moving expenses. This includes moving supplies, movers, flights, housing, etc. While your moving expenses should be reflective of the number of members in your household, there is no specific ceiling to adhere to when it comes to how much the military will cover. As long as it makes sense for the size of your family and moving distance, it is 100% covered by the government.

Also, don’t stress yourself over finding your own moving company. The military utilizes their own contracted moving services who will be at your service on moving day!

2. Packing for a Military Move

How to pack for a military move

While the military’s own moving company will handle all the loading, transport and unloading for you, you will need to pack your own belongings before the big day. Packing for a military move does not deviate much from a standard move, though there are certain action items to highlight.

Labeling all your boxes is vital when packing for a military move. Labeling is essential for moving in general, and since movers hired by the military are contracted for a specific period of time, it’s extremely important that you know where each box should go in your new space. Make sure to know which boxes contain your must-have items, such as your child’s favorite blanket, or basic toiletries. Additionally, most branches of the military do not allow the move of contraband, alcohol, or weapons. If you have pets or vehicles, make sure to inform and make the necessary arrangements with your commanding officers. Typically, the military will cover moving up to two vehicles, and pay for the transport of your pet(s) as well.

3. Military housing

What you should know about military housing

While the military provides and pays for all the housing needs in your new city or country such as furniture and appliances, they do allow the option of purchasing or renting your own home. This is not covered under military housing, but you are eligible to receive special benefits and discounts as a member of the U.S. military – the amount varies according to rank and seniority.

Many military families opt to purchase their own home if they’re stationed in a city for a significant period of time. Most banks and mortgage companies offer low-interest loans for members of the military, especially for those members in active duty. If you go with this option, rest assure that you will receive much financial assistance from all fronts.

4. Discussing a Military Move with Your Family

Discussing a military move with your little ones

Unless your branch is under extenuating circumstances, most military moves come with sufficient notice so you and your family have adequate time to prepare. The most important thing that Officer Louie mentioned is to be extra communicative about the upcoming move with all members of your family. Understand that even though moving for the military may not be unexpected for you, your family may be dealing with feelings of anxiety, confusion, and sadness regarding leaving their hometown. Make sure to take great care when explaining and answering all your family’s questions and concerns.

As you will be provided several months to prepare for a military move, include your family in all the moving related discussions and decisions, and ensure that they know they are considered and encouraged to take an active role in what’s happening. Including your family in researching new schools, learning about your new neighborhood or even picking out home decor can help ease the anxiety related to moving.

5. Local vs. International Military Move

International vs. national military moving tips

Although moving internationally or within the United States doesn’t deviate from each other all that much, there are a few key differences to keep in mind. Prepare for longer time-frames when it comes to receiving your things, and make sure to take your essentials with you on the flight.

Also, keep in mind that moving internationally may come with a significant culture or language barrier, so allow more time to research your new surroundings, local language, and culture. This can be instrumental in helping your family properly adjust to their international home. It is important to prepare for challenges like having to pick up your vehicle from a remote location or having to secure a rental or home purchase (if you decide to go that route) well before moving day. Officer Louie recommends living in military provided housing for at least a year before purchasing your own home during an international move.

Serving in the military is a highly respectable and selfless commitment that comes with its own share of challenges. That’s why it’s important to take care of yourself and your family while navigating a military lifestyle. Whether you’re completing a solo move or moving with your family, these tried and true tips can make all the difference in your own military moving experience.

Whether you’re moving for the military or moving in general, preparing a moving timeline is key! Check out CableMover’s customizable moving guide that you can

How Much of My Family’s Budget Will Go to Utilities?

How much are you paying for utilities?

Depending on where the moving adventure takes you, the cost of utilities can play a significant role in your overall home costs, and most importantly affect your family’s budgeting. This can be particularly true in less expensive areas; in fact, a family can spend just as much on utilities as they do on their mortgage payments!

How is this even possible? Utilities are a hidden cost of housing that a family should realize before moving, and evaluating utility costs in different areas can help a family better understand their future budget.

Utility Spending Breakdown

Nationally, UtilityScore found that people in single family homes spend roughly $2,715 annually on utilities, which equates to $226 per month. With that, some metros have a surprisingly low utility spending that may surprise families who are moving. With Miami’s heat, most assume utility costs would be high, however the metro averages only $157.17 a month. In fact, it was found that climate isn’t the only factor of a steep utility bill. Other metros with utility costs that fall below the national average include Dayton, Denver, and Anaheim.

Metros with Higher Utility Budgets

Some metros may also fall close to the national utility spending average, yet their estimated monthly mortgage payments are uncomfortably comparable. For example, families living in Detroit are in for a rude awakening when they learn comparison of utility spending to mortgage spending. A single family will spend $227.29 on their monthly utility payment, which meets the national average, but let’s not rejoice so fast. An average single-family home in Detroit is $53,930, which equates to an average mortgage spending of $277.99 per month. Because utilities and mortgage payments are practically the same in Detroit, utility spending becomes a much bigger portion of the household budget for families. Therefore, families have to budget more for utilities than anywhere else.

The Atlanta metro is another area that may have residents on tighter household budgets. Of the 100 largest metro areas in the country, Atlanta has the most expensive median annual utilities by dollar amount. Families average $4,353 per year on utilities, or $362.75 per month. The metro also ranks in the cities where utilities play a bigger part in a family’s monthly budget. An Atlanta homeowner spends $169,516 on a home, which creates a monthly mortgage payment of $873.46 for families. In total, 29.3 percent of monthly payments (mortgage plus utilities) are credited to utilities, which is the third highest metro.

Where Do Utilities Become Less of a Budget Priority?

Not to fear, there are metros where utilities are a smaller part of a family’s monthly budget. Major cities in California are included in this list, some being: San Francisco, San Diego, San Jose, Los Angeles, and Oakland. Let’s look at those living in San Diego, for example. Monthly utility bills project $288.00 and estimated monthly mortgage payments are roughly $2,769.26. The combined monthly spending for a family living in America’s Finest City equate to $3,057.26, which puts utility spending at only 9.4% of the monthly budget.

While a family’s household budget isn’t overtaken by utilities for those living in California, families have to spend more time worrying about mortgage payments. After all, an average home price in San Diego is $537,444, and that is nothing compared to San Francisco. Don’t underestimate the power of hidden costs like utilities when it comes to your overall home costs. While you might be spending less overall, it’s important to ask how much are you spending on each costing factor.

 

Katie BassettKatie is a freelance blogger based in San Diego who is inspired by all things around her. Using this, along with a passion for writing, she covers a wide array of topics within the real estate industry as well as the overall lifestyle for millennials. Katie’s work is published on Inman, Trulia and other real estate sites. You can follow her on Twitter @bassett_katie.

Helping The Cause, Gaining A Friend

-Written by Erik Sargent

A life without pets is a life many people could not imagine, as animals have become integral members of families all around the globe.

The joy a dog or cat can bring to every member in a household can’t be measured, and the love people have for their animals has no limits. Unfortunately, many of these animals are reliant on living in animal shelters to stay alive, and they miss out on the style of life that is fit for them.

That’s why the people here at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® have taken the initiative to help these animals in need, and how the Movers for Mutts program began. Each fall, the program partners with local businesses, schools, and organizations across the country to collect food, toys, and other items pets may need.

The program – like all TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® community service programs – has been a great success, and has brought joy to both the animals and the people involved. With these events, new relationships have developed, and many employees from TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® that went in to help walked away with a new friend.

Here are a few of those great stories of TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® employees walking away with a new pet after participating in Movers for Mutts.

Jessica Chapman – Marketing Specialist – Akron, Ohio

Working out of the Akron franchise, Jessica was on her way to a local animal shelter to drop of flyers for the upcoming Movers for Mutts event. What started as a work-related trip ended with a new member at her home.first-sight

“I had no clue I would be getting a fluffy puppy this year. I went to the shelter to drop off some flyers for our event, and I walked out with a fur baby,” Chapman said. “After the first time I held him, I knew I couldn’t put him down. We’ve had Bentley for three weeks and he’s been on three trips, so it’s a good thing he likes to travel.”

Bentley was an unexpected surprise for Jessica, but he’s a good example of how TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® community service events like Movers for Mutts can make a major impact.

“Bentley is a perfect example of how Movers for Mutts can change an animal’s life,” Chapman said. “I wasn’t planning on getting a dog, but I was at the rescue for Movers for Mutts, and now Bentley has a home he can feel safe to be a puppy in.”

Jenni Hargrove – Marketing Director – Nashville, Tenn.

Jenni was a part of the Movers for Mutts at the Nashville franchise, and going in, had absolutely no intention of adopting a pet, she already had a dog of her own.movers-for-muttes-leela

“I definitely did not want to adopt a pet before the event. We had a dog already and lived in an apartment, so I didn’t want to adopt another dog until we moved into a house,” Hargove said.

Despite her intentions not to adopt, a certain puppy – Leela – was determined to get her attention, and it paid off for both.

“We met Leela at the event and she actually wouldn’t stop jumping into my lap every time I had to sit down to do something,” Hargrove said. “She was really energetic and sociable, just like our other dog, so I asked my husband to drive home and get our 3-year-old dog so they could meet.”

The meet and greet with their other dog went well, and Leela was on her way to her new home.

Anissa Manuel – Sales and Marketing Coordinator – Virginia Beach, Va.

Anissa works for the Virginia Beach franchise, and this year decided to make some donations to a local animal shelter to help support the Movers for Mutts campaign. She didn’t have any plans of adopting a dog, but a text message from a friend changed her mind.babzoe

“I was talking to my friend who volunteers at the shelter, I was telling her about Movers for Mutts, and that I was going to donate our items to that shelter in particular,” Manuel said. “She texted me about puppies, and I ran right there after work.”

Anissa was helping donate to the Movers for Mutts cause, and soon after, ended up meeting her new friend, Zoe.

“I adopted a sweet little puppy named Zoe. She’s about two months old,” Manuel said. “I love my Zoe, she’s a handful – which is to be expected – but she’s sure the cutest and happiest dog I’ve ever met.”

Kristin Touart – Marketing Manager – Alpharetta, Ga.

Kristin works out of the Alpharetta franchise in Georgia, and unlike the three others in this story, walked away with a new pet that wasn’t a dog.jax

“I had no idea or plans at all, it was random and spontaneous,” Touart said. “I was at a vet partner location to drop off boxes and flyers and one thing lead to another, and I ended up with a kitten.”

The kitten was a welcomed addition to Kristin’s family, as her daughter has taken kindly to the new furry friend in the house. Kristin is big on animal rights and has a soft spot for animals, and she was glad to make a difference in the kitten’s life.

“I’m happy I was able to give one kitten a home and make room for another homeless animal to take his place,” Touart said. “Serving our community is a way for us to share our success and resources with others. It’s a fun way to live out our core values and that shows the public what TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is all about!”

 

To learn more about the Movers for Mutts program and how you can get involved, visit our community service page. TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is committed to supporting the communities we proudly serve. TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the U

Tis’ the Season: How to Complete a Hassle-Free Holiday Move

The holidays are a time of gifts, giving thanks and more white elephant invitations than you know what to do with. But what if you also have a big move scheduled during the joyful chaos of the holiday season? You may be worried sick about how to fit packing, recitals, decorating and hiring movers all into a span of a couple of months – we hear you.

While moving during the holidays can present an additional layer of challenges, there are ways to make it easier than you’d expect. Learn what to do and more importantly, what not to do when preparing for a big move during the holiday season.

1. Get in Touch with Your Inner Giver

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When it comes to preparing to pack for a move during the holidays, less is more. This means that it’s best to eliminate as much unnecessary clutter and extra baggage before you start. There are several ways to purge your home of items in order to shave significant time off packing, ultimately saving yourself money with a shorter move.

Option #1: Host a Garage Sale

A garage sale is one of the most efficient ways to get rid of old items. It’s also a way to earn some additional cash to help with your holiday moving budget! Crank up the music and set out some snacks, your garage sale will be buzzing with eager customers looking for budget-friendly holiday gifts in no time.

Option #2: Donate to Charity

The holidays are the perfect time to donate lightly used toys, clothing and shoes to charitable organizations such as the Salvation Army, Toys for Tots, churches and homeless shelters. You can also donate your unused food to organizations where non-perishable food items donated by those in the process of moving are used to fight hunger. TWO MEN AND A TRUCK has a program called Movers for Meals Think of it as a win-win, you’ll be able to save precious cargo space on your moving truck while giving back to the community.

Option #3: Give it Away

This third item may seem overly simplistic but it still works. If you have tons of stuff that isn’t worth the cost of transporting to your new home, give it away! Your friends, neighbors and relatives will love you, as will your moving company.

2. Do Minimal Decorations and Pre-Scheduled Events

Garage sale for moving season

 

The biggest concern when moving during the holidays is having to juggle the holiday traditions with moving must-do’s. The holidays are filled with decorating sessions, recitals, Christmas parties and lots of shopping. While you will need to sacrifice some holiday festivities, there’s no need to completely give up on your favorite holiday traditions. Instead of going all out, settle for a smaller, plastic Christmas tree with minimal decorations so you can easily transfer it to your next home. While decking out the entire yard with Christmas lights isn’t the best use of your time, you can still achieve the same feel by decorating just the front porch or balcony.

When attending holiday events, compromise on which ones are essential to attend such as Christmas mass or your child’s recital and skip the holiday happy hours with co-workers. You’ll save money and have more time to focus on the task of moving.

For more information on how to expertly weave in family-friendly holiday fun during a move, check out design expert, Libby Langdon’s holiday moving tips on cablemover.com.

3. Get Going on Hiring Movers Early

Moving during the holidays

Hiring a moving company should be approached with lots of research, competitive analysis and communication with the company. Given most moving companies may have limited hours during the holiday season, it’s best to book your company at least a month in advance. Once you’ve determined which moving company is flexible and willing to adhere to your moving timeline, check out the four factors below to consider when hiring the right moving company by Cablemover.

Tip #1: Research the Reviews

Tip #2: Don’t Skimp on Moving Insurance

Tip #3: Negotiate with Multiple Moving Companies

Tip #4: Licensing: Check the Credentials

Many people hiring movers have lost thousands of dollars by placing their trust in unprofessional and scammy moving companies. Since moving during the holidays is hectic enough, make sure to do your due diligence when completing this important task.

4. Don’t Rush into Unpacking

Quality time with family after a holiday move

Congratulations, you made it! Feel free to bask in the glow of your own accomplishment because you successfully completed a holiday move. Once moving day is behind you, it’s normal to want to dive right into unpacking and setting into your home. However, we recommend an alternative. If possible, hold off on unpacking the entire house until after the holidays. After the busy and action-packed season of moving during the holidays, allow yourself to relax and unwind.

As you can see, moving during the holidays doesn’t have to be an arduous endeavor. From when to start the process to balancing holiday fun with moving tasks, a hassle-free holiday move is all about your approach. The best part is, you’ll be all moved in and ready to start the new year in your new home!

If you’re ready to start the holiday moving process, make sure it’s seamless by checking out Cablemover’s customizable moving guide – from movers to timelines, our guide allows you to customize your move exactly how you want it.

This article was contributed by our friends at Cablemover.

 

Candy, costumes, and creative decorations … oh my!

Trick or treat walk with my dog

Written by Katie Peterson

It’s that time of year again! Fall is upon us, and the kids are already on premature sugar rushes; it’s time for Halloween! Your kids are mentally prepared, but are you? We’ve compiled the most useful and creative things to know so you’re ready for anything this Halloween season.

Candy

Candy always seems to be a stressor on Halloween. What if you leave a bowl out and the neighborhood kids take too much? What if you run out? What if your kids eat way too much while they’re out trick-or-treating? A really great way to save yourself from worrying about candy on Halloween is to be as prepared as you can.

Buy more candy than you think you’ll need and keep the receipts! You can return whatever you don’t end up using later.

If you can’t be home to pass out candy, placing a bowl out with one of these cute reminders should help encourage the trick-or-treaters to help you ration your candy for a while:

  • Roses are red. Violets are blue. We’re out trick-or-treating just like you! Please take one treat!
  • Take a treat! But leave the rest for other boys and ghouls!
  • Trick-or-treat, smell my feet, please take just one sweet to eat!
  • Although we’re not home to give you a scare, here’s a bowl of tricks and treats, take one … if you dare!

After Halloween is over, take full advantage of the candy on sale at the stores and begin stocking up for next year (assuming the candy isn’t the type to go stale). You’ll thank yourself when the prices rise again right before the holiday.

Costumes

Costumes can cause unwanted stress without the proper preparation. With these tips in mind, your kids will be safe, and you will be stress-free.

Depending on where you live, encourage costumes for your kids that will look good while still keeping warm. For instance, a genie outfit with high heels might not work out so well on a cold night of walking. And if you can help it, you don’t want your cute costumes (and the kids inside them) to be covered up with big coats while out for the night. A good solution for making your costume warmer is to layer turtle necks and leggings of the same color underneath.

For Halloween safety, fasten reflective tape to candy bags and add it as an accent to your child’s costume. No need to go overboard with this one, but as long as your child can be seen by cars in the dark, the tape will be worth it. Another good thing to keep in mind, utilize all sidewalks or walkways to avoid walking close to traffic. Be sure to keep an eye on your little ones and have them by your side to avoid any accidents.

To avoid last-minute stress before going out, be sure your kids try on their costumes a few weeks before Halloween to double check there aren’t any last minute adjustments or accessories needed. Make sure everything fits and isn’t broken beforehand so you have extra time to rebound if you find a problem.

 

Creative decorations

One of the best parts of Halloween is the decorating, but it can also be one of the most stressful and expensive. You’ve got to round up all the boxes from the attic, untangle the lights (and end up buying more when you find all the bulbs broken), and there never seems to be enough money in the budget for all the ready-made decorations at the store. Whether you are the house on your block to “Deck the Halloween Halls” or not, we’ve gathered some of our favorite DIY decorations that might scare the kids, but certainly not your wallet or gumption to decorate.

window decorations
Photo courtesy of http://www.woohome.com

Use the light from inside your house to create window decorations:

Grab big pieces of black construction paper, colored crepe paper, and scissors, and you’ve got all you need for this creative and easy decoration hack. The light from the room behind the paper is all the illumination you need to make a big statement on your street.

Reuse milk cartons to make a lit pathway for trick-or-treaters:

milk cartons
Photo courtesy of http://www.eighteen25.com

All you’ll need for this one are milk cartons, a craft knife, sharpie marker, and lights. Draw the ghost eyes and mouth on the empty milk carton, and cut a small round hole in the back for the lights to go in. After that, you’re all set to line them up and plug the lights in! (Just make sure the plug side ends up somewhere near an outlet or extension cord).

monster door
Photo courtesy of http://www.coolmompicks.com

Make your door a monster with whatever crafts you have lying around:

The best part about this DIY is, whether you have time to go all out with spider webs and sparkles or you just slap on streamers and eyeballs, the door monster will still come to life!

Create hanging ghosts:

ghost hanging
Photo courtesy of http://www.simplydesigning.porch.com

All you need for this project are a few Styrofoam  orbs from the craft store, cheese cloth, eye-hooks, string for hanging, and black craft paint for the ghost’s eyes. Just drape the cheesecloth over the orbs after you’ve painted on the eyes and start shredding the ends. A few of the ghosts grouped and hanging on your porch or from trees makes for some cute (and cheap) Halloween decorations.

Utilizing these creative DIY’s and tips this Halloween will save you money and stress so you can focus on what really matters… enjoying the holiday, however you’ll be celebrating! Have fun this year, and remember, this is a day when too much candy is the goal, as long as the majority is saved and shared rather than eaten!

What are your favorite Halloween tips and DIY’s? We’d like to hear them! Like us on Facebook for more helpful tips and updates. TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. Let us help move you forward!

3 DIY Halloween costumes in 30 minutes or less

Written by Jessy Howe

If you’ve been following Movers Who Blog for a while now, you know what October means … it’s boxtume season! If you’re new here, “boxtumes” are Halloween costumes we like to upcycle from cardboard moving boxes. Not only do you end up with a completely unique costume, it’s also fun for the family and extremely affordable.

We’ve come up with three brand new costumes to make this Halloween season in 30 minutes or less right in the comfort of your living room. Similar to our DIY Disney Pixar “UP” house or Barbie box costume, these can be done in 5 steps or less. Halloween costumes don’t get much easier than this!

Motts Juice Box

DIY Juice Box Halloween costume by TWO MEN AND A TRUCK

We guarantee this will be the cutest juice box costume on the block!

Supplies:

1 medium box
Yellow wrapping paper
Colored construction paper
Large white pipe cleaner
Elastic or ribbon
Scissors
Tape
Stapler

Step 1: Use scissors or a box cutter to remove the top and bottom flaps of the box.

Step 2: Cover the box in yellow wrapping paper securing it down with tape.

Step 3: Use colored construction paper to create the front design of the juice box. Tip! Print the Mott’s logo for quick application.

Step 4: Shape your large white pipe cleaner into a bendy straw and secure to the inside of the box using tape.

Step 5: Staple elastic or ribbon to the front and back of the box so it rests comfortably on your shoulders for a night of trick-or-treating!

 

Popcorn

DIY Halloween Popcorn costume by TWO MEN AND A TRUCK
Nothing goes better with popcorn than the loot of candy you receive on Halloween night! This fun Popcorn costume can be dressed up with red Converse or a DIY popcorn headband for extra flare.

Supplies:

1 large box
Red wrapping paper
White duct tape
Yellow tissue paper
Elastic
Scissors
Stapler

Step 1: Use scissors or a box cutter to remove the top and bottom flaps of the box.

Step 2: Cover the box in red wrapping or craft paper and secure it down with tape.

Step 3: Create popcorn box stripes using white duct tape. When you’ve covered the box, place the words “Popcorn” on the front of your box, or search for a brand logo online if you have a favorite!

Step 4: Staple elastic or ribbon to the front and back of your box to act as straps for your costume.

Step 5: Have fun by completing your costume with tissue paper popcorn. Crumple one piece at a time to create textured popcorn. Shape it until you are happy and secure it using tape or a stapler.

 

Voting Ballot Box

DIY Halloween voting costume by TWO MEN AND A TRUCK

If you’re following this year’s election, consider going with a creative voting ballot box. You’ll be a topic of conversation, that’s for sure!

Supplies:

1 large box
Red wrapping paper
White duct tape
Blue and silver construction paper
Letter and star stickers
Elastic
Tape
Scissors
Stapler

Step 1: Use scissors or a box cutter to remove the top and bottom flaps of the box.

Step 2: Cover the box in red wrapping or craft paper and secure it down with tape.

Step 3: Create four vertical stripes using your white duct tape.

Step 4: On your blue construction paper, spell out VOTE using your stickers. Secure this banner down to cover the white stripe ends. Top it off with star stickers.

Step 5: Staple elastic to the front and back of the box. We decided to top off this costume with a tiny sparkly hat found at Party City. Use your imagination to represent the Red, White, and Blue on Halloween night!

 

We hope this sparks costume inspiration! If you decide to create any of these boxtumes, we’d love to see them! Tag us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using #TMTHalloween.

For more box inspiration, visit us on Pinterest!

Creating your dream office space on a shoestring budget

Written by Charles Staky

 

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK first office
TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®’s first “real office” at Mary Ellen’s mothers home.

As a small start-up, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®’s first “real” office was in a barn, which sat in the backyard of Founder Mary Ellen Sheets’ mother’s home. After moving to a new space, which we quickly outgrew, Melanie Bergeron, our President at the time, sat at the copy machine. We’ve lived in all sorts of offices, each unique and special, and sometimes challenging in their own way.

Moving into a new office space is often an exciting time for a company; however, it can be an expensive investment, leaving your interior design budget in a sad state. No one wants to spend eight hours a day working in a boring space they don’t enjoy. Here are a few things you can do to spruce up your business new home while saving some of your hard-earned money. And, believe us when we say, we speak from experience!

Find the right space

First and foremost when looking for an office space make sure it’s right for your setup, and that it comes at the right price. You want a space to fit your operation with room to grow. However, to avoid being buried under rent payments, be sure the space isn’t too expensive to handle.

If you go with a less expensive office you’ll find the savings can be put to use in other ways to make the space more livable. Shop around in different neighborhoods when searching for office space. If you’re an operation like TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®, which has unique needs such as space to park trucks, be sure the space you are looking at can accommodate.

Modern office space

Clean it up

You can decorate your office space in hundreds of different ways, and the same can be said for the layout you choose. One thing is for sure though, no matter the size or any other factor, your office space will feel larger and nicer if everything is organized. Not only will an organized office provide you with more workspace, it can also relieve added stress and save valuable work time for those in it. Prvacysense.net says the average employee spends about two and a half hours a day searching for information. But, if you run a neat and organized office that time could be easily shortened. Cleaning up your office costs you nothing, but adds value to how your space looks and how productive it is.

Be careful where you buy supplies

When stocking your new office, remember the supplies you buy don’t have to be top-of-the-line. According to the Office Depot website, ball point pens can cost you anywhere from $2 to $33 for a box of 12 pens. This can mean savings of more than $2 per pen. Paper can also vary more than $20 per case, while the cost of colored ink cartridges can vary by up to $25, depending on the cartridge. Be mindful of the supplies you buy, small cost differences in areas such as these can add up quickly.

Do you need a reception space?

If your business has a large volume of customers coming in and out, a reception area can be extremely beneficial. A simple coffee table paired with nice chairs at your entrance will do the trick. When customers make their way into your office, you have a welcoming space to accommodate them without breaking the bank.

Good culture = A happy office

It has been said time and time again that a positive culture is a staple of any successful business. But, here is a new way to spin it. If the office culture is enjoyable and your team is genuinely happy being around each other, your office space doesn’t need all the bells and whistles to keep everyone satisfied and working hard. So, before you stress about the newest office chairs or a food and beverage cart, be sure the people you employ have good attitudes and a passion for the company. In the end this trumps any amenity you could provide.

In addition to these ideas to keep cost down for your new business, browse resources such as Pinterest for endless inspiration on a budget. We’ve gathered our personal favorites here.

It’s important to remember most businesses start out small with limited money to spare on items such as professional designers and interior decorators for their office space. But, if you take pride in your business and work every day to exceed your customers’ expectations, soon your business will grow and your shoestring decorating budget will grow with it.

Downsizing made simple with TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®

Written by Jessy Herman

Whether you are simplifying your living arrangements or moving to a condo, downsizing is never easy. The thought of going through your many belongings can be overwhelming, but there are things you can do to simplify your move to a smaller home.

As soon as you know you’re moving, begin cleaning out areas of your home which tend to have the most clutter. This includes the attic, basement, and garage. And while the thought of throwing items away can be hard to cope with, there are alternatives. For high-end possessions you won’t be taking with you, pass them down to a family member or try selling them at an antique shop or auction. This will help ensure they go to a good home and will remain well cared for. For all other items, have a garage sale, donate what you can, or simply put them in storage.

For more helpful tips, watch the video below!

Like us on Facebook for more helpful tips and updates. TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. Let us help move you forward!

The pros and cons of living with friends

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK living with friends

Written by Katie Peterson

Living with friends is common among college students because of the convenience and fun factor of being around people you know you like. While there are many perks to living with friends this experience may cause more obstacles while living together than with a roommate you might not know as well. We’ve put together a list of the pros and cons of living with friends, as well as possible solutions to the obstacles that may come your way.

Pro: There is no need to “make plans” with the people you love to hang out with, they are already with you! It is much easier to coordinate plans, and you will always have someone right there to go on adventures with. Boring things you would normally do by yourself will become a fun and entertaining outing. Need to go grocery shopping? You’ve got a shopping companion! This is one of the most fun aspects of living with friends and you will make so many memories doing all the mundane things with your roomie.

Con: As much as you love your friends, living with them will uncover things you didn’t know before. No matter how well you think you know someone beforehand, living together will unearth habits, routines, and pet peeves you didn’t know before, which can lead to potential conflicts.

Solution: Be intentional about spending time with the friends you don’t live with and see every day. Taking time away from your living situation is important because it creates space in the roommate relationship, which is something even best friends need.

 

Pro: Close proximity will help strengthen your friendship. Seeing your friends every day means they know all about you and the happenings of your daily life. They become your family.

Con: If a problem occurs, you don’t have separate places to go in order to get space. Inevitably, fights can and will happen.

Solution: Be open and honest about your feelings and emotions. If you need some breathing room, speak up! Communication is the key to any successful relationship, and if yours is a friend/roomie relationship, it is even more important.

 

Pro:  You have already established a relationship before moving in. Obviously you like the person and enjoy hanging around them, so you can avoid the first awkward encounters you would normally have when moving in with a stranger. When you come out of your room in pajamas and crazy hair, there will be almost no judgement (almost).

Con: Because you are living with your friends and you have pre-established relationships, difficult and necessary conversations about rent, money, and rules may be hard to address. In worst-case scenarios, a friend might take advantage of the relationship in a tough situation because of your background (late on rent, leaves the place messy all the time).

Solution: It is important not to be too relaxed with responsibilities because of the personal relationship. Be assertive and honest with one another just like you would if you were living with a stranger. Even though you are friends, keeping the house clean and getting the rent in is important and should be treated professionally, not personally.

 

Pro: You have another person to share clothes, furniture, and chores with making life a little less expensive and a lot more enjoyable.

Con: Sharing is not something that should be assumed because of your relationship as friends, and not communicating your preferences can lead to tension.

Solution: It may seem like overkill, but creating a roommate agreement might be a good idea before moving in. This agreement could include which items are shared, a cleaning schedule, and which day of the month rent is due. The expectations are clearly laid out so no one is in the dark and you and your friends can be held accountable to what has been agreed upon.

 

The most important thing to remember when deciding if living with friends is something you want to tackle is that although you will have plenty of fun, you must be professional and responsible. Communicate and lay out the expectations early in order to prevent conflict, and spend some time away from your roommate if you need space. In the end, the hope is that living with your friends will be an experience leading to a stronger friendship and a fun living situation. Good luck!

Like us on Facebook for more helpful tips and updates. TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. Let us help move you forward!

The secret to successfully purging your belongings

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK Downsizing

You never notice how much stuff you have until it’s time to move it. One of the best times to purge is when preparing for a move. Save yourself the trouble of packing and unpacking more than you need to and get rid of unnecessary items before you pack. Follow these guidelines for an easier move and purge of your home.

Setting up the purge

As you go to pack up each room, give yourself four piles: keep, donate, sell, and trash. Notice there is no “maybe” pile. The maybe pile tends to be clothes you can’t fit in, things you won’t fix, and stuff you won’t use or need to have. “Maybes” belong in the donate, sell, or trash pile.

Before you put anything into a box ask yourself, “When was the last time I used this?” If you haven’t used it in the last three months, ask yourself, “Is this a seasonal item?” If it’s not a seasonal item – think your favorite sweater you haven’t worn in three months because it’s 90 degrees outside or your artificial Christmas tree -then you probably don’t need it.

Bathroom

The bathroom is one room of the house where it is easy to build clutter without recognizing it. Those mini bottles of hotel shampoo, bottles of aspirin with one pill left, and nail polish that has hardened in the bottle can add up to a lot of clutter.
Most of the items in your medicine cabinet will belong in the keep or trash pile. First, throw out anything expired. Next, look at things that are nearly empty and merge them into one bottle to save space -think putting two bottles of lotion together or putting all those loose bobby pins into one bag.
As far as towels go, your need will depend on the amount of people in your home. Unclutterer.com recommends this formula for deciding how many towels to keep: (House residents + guest bedrooms) x 2 = Sets of bath towels and washcloths.

Kitchen

Tupperware containers you never returned to their owner, a drawer full of pens that don’t write, or the pile full of your kids’ old school papers … no matter which category you fall under, the kitchen is also a big junk magnet. The real problem with kitchen junk is a majority of the clutter tend to be items you need and use, but you just have too many!

While the standard kitchen items such as cutting boards, oven mitts, or plates do seem necessary, multiples of them probably aren’t. This includes crockpots, vegetable peelers, corkscrews, can openers, coffee makers, cast iron skillets, and cheese graters.

Meanwhile, a majority of junk-drawer trash is in the form of takeout menus and condiment packages. Most restaurants have their menus available online, so go ahead and put all those takeout menus in the recycling, throw away those packages of red peppers from your favorite pizza place, and the pens that don’t work – pitch them. Remember, you don’t want to move junk – if you refer to it as the “junk drawer” it’s probably best to put its contents in the trash.

Living room

Packing up areas like the living room or dining room tend to be easier because they normally have less storage space than other rooms. When packing up your living room most of the choices you’ll have to make will be based on entertainment items like books, magazines, DVDs, and CDs.

Put any magazines into recycling (you will get more). Look over your collection of movies, CDs, and books for things you can do without. You can decide which you might be able to sell and which of these you can donate. If it’s not entertaining you anymore, get rid of it and let it entertain someone else. Also look for any knick-knacks or decorations you don’t really love anymore. Let your new place have a fresh start.

Bedroom

Your bedroom is where you go to unwind and to find sanctuary. Nothing can ruin your relaxation time like a cluttered bedroom. When it comes to bedding you shouldn’t need more than two sets of bedding per bed. Apartment Therapy points out that you may need more than this if you have young children.

Many people find they like to read a good book to unwind from the day, but those books tend to pile up. When packing up your bedroom consider donating books you don’t intend on reading again. Be aware of the hidden things you should purge. A lot of the things stored under your bed are there because you’ve convinced yourself you need to have it, but it’s not something you actually use. If there are things you haven’t used or don’t need, save yourself the box space and donate, sell, or trash!

Closets

This space is the hardest to purge for many people and is the only room you are allowed to make a “maybe” pile in order to avoid putting things you should get rid of directly into the “keep” pile. For non-seasonal items ask yourself, “When was the last time I wore this?” “Does it still fit?” “When will I wear this again?” Don’t ask yourself, “Will I wear it again,” because it’s easy to tell yourself you will and then keep it, only to have it stay on the hanger and never see the light of day again.

You can do it!

While purging your belongings can be scary, it will make you feel better afterward and make your move a little lighter. Remember, for seasonal or larger items, storage is always an option. Don’t feel obligated to purge everything but use discretion.

Content developed in association with The Parham Group and Noah’s Ark Self Storage.