5 tips for settling into a new town

New homeowners

May is National Moving Month and at mortgages.com, we talk a lot about what goes into moving including finding the right realtor, house hunting, and negotiating. But what happens when you’ve done this and you realize your new town is quite different from where you used to live? Like, really different. Don’t let homesickness set in. With a little planning you can settle in and make it feel like home in no time.

Unpack

It sounds like a no-brainer, but unpacking is a lot of work. Once you’ve already put in a days work, it’ll be tempting to leave things in boxes while you take a break. Suddenly, that break turns into years and you’re scrambling to find that piece of art your mother-in-law gave you to quickly hang up before she visits. It’s much better to bite the bullet and unpack everything within the first week. Not only will it be one less thing hanging over your head, you’ll also be surprised at how much more at home you feel once everything is put away.

Get the kids settled

Be sure to take time and communicate with your children about this big change. It’s also important to see how they’re feeling throughout the process. To help them settle in, this is the time to get them into sports teams, summer camps and clubs, or school activities. Being the new kid is rough and it’s even worse if you don’t have any way to meet people. Plus, you get the added bonus of meeting other parents when you drop your kids off. Who knows, you might just make some new friends yourself. Our friends at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® have excellent tips for moving with kids!

Find a group

Regardless of whether or not you have kids, it’s always important to take some time for yourself in a new town. Join a group, take a class, or start introducing yourself around the neighborhood. If you’re not sure where to begin, start with your city or county’s website to find classes or join a group on a site, such as Meetup.com.

Stay in touch

Keeping in touch with people from your old town will help you feel connected and supported throughout your move. If they live close enough, invite them over for a backyard BBQ once you’ve settled in. They’ll enjoy visiting your new home as much as you love being there! If you’ve moved long distance, set up a Skype date, give them a call, or go old school and write a letter.

Embrace your town

Yes, it’s important to stay in touch with your old town, but don’t get stuck in the past. Really embrace the culture and lifestyle in your new town. Find out where the favorite local hangouts are. Go to all the festivals you can. Take some time to just walk around and visit the local shops and restaurants.

Remember to think of this exciting new beginning as an adventure. So long as you make the effort, you’ll feel at home in no time at all!

 

KDV_headshot

Kylee Della Volpe writes about real estate trends, real-life home owner stories, and personal finance for mortgages.com. As an adult, she’s relocated from Maryland to Colorado to South Carolina.

The ultimate beginner’s guide to self-storage

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK storage

Finding and using self-storage can be a daunting task, and if you’re looking for storage you probably already have your hands full. Maybe you’re undergoing a life change such as a move or military relocation, or maybe you simply are trying to restore order to a home that’s overgrown with clutter. Whatever your reason for self-storage, here’s the lowdown on the self-storage basics.

Why use self-storage?

One of the most common uses for self-storage is for home use. When a homeowner or renter realizes they have accumulated more than they can comfortably keep in their home, they may turn to self-storage to help manage the chaos. Some people seasonally rotate their items between their home and storage unit, including summer and winter wardrobes, swimming pool supplies or holiday decorations.

You may also consider self-storage if:

  • You need to store personal or business documents in a safe place
  • You’re a service member or college student with frequent moves
  • You’re a car collector or boat owner

How do I choose a storage unit?

When selecting a storage unit, while location matters, it isn’t the only critical factor. Also ask yourself which amenities you may need. For example, if you have any items that are sensitive to heat, cold, dust, or moisture, you may want to ensure the storage unit is climate controlled. Items that need climate control may include:

  • Documents
  • Fur coats
  • Electronics
  • Computer equipment
  • Vehicles

Additionally, think about when you are hoping to access your belongings. Some storage units have fixed hours, while others have 24-hour access. If safety is a concern, ensure the facilities have surveillance cameras, ample lighting, security fences, or management that lives on-site.

What size storage unit do I need?

For determining your storage unit size, make a list ahead of time of the items you would like to store. Units can range in size from 5’ x 5’, which is like a standard closet, to 10’ x 30’, which can contain the contents of a 3- to 4-bedroom house. In-between, there are sizes comparable to standard and large walk-in closets, as well as those that can hold the contents of multiple rooms or a small home. When choosing a size, be sure to go for something a little bigger than the items you actually have so that you are able to walk around freely as needed. Also leave some room between the walls and stored items for better ventilation.

Do I need self-storage insurance?

Generally, self-storage units do not automatically provide self-storage insurance. We highly recommended you research insurance options before storing your items. Even if a self-storage company is highly secure, floods, fires and other natural disasters could still happen. Your first stop should be your homeowner/renter’s insurance policy, as you may already have coverage. If not, you may be able to purchase add-on coverage at a better price than if you were to purchase directly from a self-storage company.

The next step if you are unable to secure insurance through your current provider is to see what kind of insurance the self-storage facility can provide. If you have items of high value, either monetary or sentimental, it may be worth the investment to pay more to insure these items. When insuring your items in storage, be sure to always include a detailed and current list of the stored items and their values.

Self-storage packing tips

If you decide to pack and move items on your own, organization and forethought are key. Try sticking to boxes that are the same size for easy stacking and avoid plastic bags, where contamination can breed. Be sure to fill out the boxes completely to avoid caving, but not so full that your boxes are overflowing. If you have oddly-shaped items, fill in the empty spaces with newspaper or packing material. Be sure not to pack your boxes so heavy that you are unable to lift them, and be sure to choose the right type of container material. For example, you may consider more heavy duty boxes for your books.

Here are some additional packing tips to get you started:

  • Stack books rather than standing them on-end to protect the spines.
  • Plates, on the other hand, should be stacked on-end and wrapped individually.
  • Use bubble wrap for framed art and criss-cross masking tape for mirrors and other glass.
  • Don’t forget to label your items and mark boxes as fragile as needed. You may consider drilling down your contents even more with a brief list of what’s in the box.
  • Clean, polish, wipe and treat items before their relocation to preserve and keep germs away. Cover furniture with tarp or sheets.
  • Take apart bed frames and other furniture for easy transport and storage. TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® recommends taping all the pieces to the main base during the packing process to avoid misplacing them.

Self -storage alternative

Sometimes moving your home requires additional space and added flexibility. An alternative option to storage is seeking out availability from a moving company such as TWO MEN AND A TRUCK. They provide secure onsite storage facilities whether you have just a few boxes or countless crates and furniture. This option is a perfect fit during home renovations, downsizing or during transitional living between homes.

Moving your items to self-storage

When it comes to loading the moving van, place heavy boxes at the bottom and fragile items on top, with rarely used items toward the front of the van. This way, during the unloading process, the least-used items will be pushed behind more frequently used items. Keep highly valuable items out of plain view to deter theft, and place fragile items on top of heavier, less fragile boxes.

Depending on your schedule and budget, you may decide it’s worth the investment to hire professional movers to pack and move your belongings. If this is the case, be sure to thoroughly research the moving company before entrusting them with your items. TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® frequently moves items in and out of storage and arrive with fully trained, uniformed movers to ensure the process is completed with care and efficiency. If you move frequently, you may even be interested in mobile storage, where movers come to your home and pack and store your items in a cube that travels with you.

And that’s it – you are now ready to take charge of your self-storage future! Whether your life is in transition or you just need some of your space back, self-storage units help make daily living a whole lot easier.

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

7 moving hacks to simplify your move

Written by LeafFilter

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK- 7 moving hacks

Moving can be an exciting time! However, along with the excitement of getting a new place, there is the stress that comes along with packing and relocating. Whether you are moving down the street, to a new neighborhood, or across the country, it is important to get things done efficiently.

With all of the challenges that come with moving, staying organized and sticking to a budget can quickly become difficult. Fortunately, LeafFilter has come up with the top seven moving hacks to help you keep on track before, during, and after your move to make your experience more manageable.

Packing fragile items

When packing your fragile items, use anything soft around you such as blankets, stuffed animals, towels, and pillows for padding. You can even utilize socks as padding around the gaps in the boxes. Taping other breakables, like mirrors, will help absorb any shock and keep your belongings in tip-top shape. Place Styrofoam plates between your expensive, breakable plates; this is a cheap and easy way to ensure your plates don’t break while in transition!

How to pack your clothing

Don’t waste time taking clothes off their hangers and putting them into boxes. Instead, simply take a trash bag and wrap your clothes around the hanger. This is an easier, and cheaper way, of investing in garment bags. Then, simply pile all of your bags in your car and rehang the clothes in your new home! TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® also offers wardrobe boxes which hold up to three feet of closet space for even more protection and ease!

Labeling boxes

More than likely, your moving boxes are going to be placed one on top of another. Instead of labelling what’s inside on top of the boxes, label your boxes on the side, so you and your movers can easily see where they should go! Another great moving hack is to color code the boxes. For example, everything that goes in the kitchen will be in red, while the living room is labelled blue. Organization is key to any successful and stress-free move!

Make money

Make money during my move? How is that even possible? Well, as you are going through all of your belongings, you may find things you never use or wear any more. In order to make a little extra cash, you can post these items on the latest apps that allow you to sell your clothes. Poshmark, Vinted, Tradesy, and Threadflip are just some of the sites that you can utilize to sell your clothes to people across the nation. Use the money you make to assist with moving costs for a win-win situation.

Avoid slips

Tracking in snow, sleet, dirt, and ice while you are moving into your new home can be dangerous! Avoid slips and keep your crew safe by keeping old rags and towels handy to wipe away the snow, dirt, and mud that gets tracked in. This can come in handy regardless of what season it is, but will be especially important if you are moving during the winter.

Keep the essentials on hand

You’ll want to make sure you keep any tools and essentials you deem necessary for the move within reaching distance. This can include a box cutter, paper towels, power strips, tool kit, eating utensils, toilet paper, and cookware. You’ll also want to make sure toiletries such as toothpaste, a toothbrush, and shampoo are nearby for the night. Using clear bins can help keep you organized and will allow you to see everything that is in the boxes for easy access! TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® offers a Day of Move box for those last essentials that you may need on the day of your move.

Enlist help!

Hiring a moving company, like TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®, can take the pressure off of you. When you choose to hire TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®, you are sure to be in good hands. Their professional team takes the stress of moving off you and your family, making the entire process more enjoyable and worry-free! Contact them today to begin planning your move.

We think moving should be exciting and fun! Not overwhelming. These moving hacks are sure to eliminate stress, allowing you to stay organized and under budget during your next move!

 

LeafFilter is the first micro mesh gutter guard and has been named as the “#1 professionally installed gutter protection system”. Having installed more than 20 million feet of gutter protection on homes across the United States, LeafFilter is sure to protect your gutters and downspouts from clogs.

How to choose the best Internet provider in a new city

Written by Alice Williams

Beautiful young woman working with laptop in her office.

You’ve packed every box, organized the movers, and finally arrived in your new city. The process of getting out of your old place is complete; now it’s time to start making your new place a home. One of the most crucial steps is getting your Internet up and running. But how do you know where you’ll get the best service for the best price?

If you find yourself overwhelmed with all the information and promotions thrown your way when it comes to Internet Service Providers (ISP), we’re here to help. The perfect way to start off the new year in your new city is with a bunch of savings. Here’s what to look for and some of the best deals offered by popular providers.

What to look for in an ISP

Between download speeds and delivery methods, it’s easy to get confused when shopping for an Internet provider. Make sure you get exactly what you need by following these tried-and-true tips.

  • Know how much speed you need
    Internet providers offer anything from less than 1 Mbps (megabits per second) to 100 Mbps. With higher speeds come higher price tags. Make sure you don’t pay for more than you need. Look at the number of devices used in your household and the activities performed, then get a plan that gives you just what you need.
  • Consider bundles
    If you plan to get cable or satellite TV and a phone in addition to Internet, you might want to check into deals offered for multiple services. Bundling phone and Internet can help you save on both.
  • Pick the right type of service
    There are many ways that Internet can be delivered to your home — DSL, fiber-optic, cable, satellite, and even dial-up. The pros and cons of each come down to the speeds they offer and whether or not your connection is shared with other customers or dedicated to you alone. Whether you live in the city or a more rural area can also limit the types of Internet available.
  • Sign a contract — or don’t
    Many ISPs offer special deals to customers who sign a 12- or 24-month contract. The contract lets you lock in your price, protecting you from price increases for the duration of the contract. If you plan to move or expect changing Internet needs, you might want to find a provider that offers more flexibility than a contract offers.
  • Check out reputations
    It pays to do a little research. Read customer reviews and find out what other customers have to say about each provider’s reliability and customer service. You want a provider that has a strong reputation for uninterrupted service and fast, friendly help when you need it.

Providers with great deals

We all want to get the best deal available, but not everyone has time to research and find every offer out there. To make things easier for you, we’ve done the hard work for you. Here are some of the best Internet deals out there.

  • XFINITY®: Internet plus home automation
    If you’re shopping for home automation and security options in addition to Internet, XFINITY has a great deal for customers who bundle services. XFINITY Home can help you turn your house into a smart home and get you online. If home automation is part of your moving plan, find out what they have available in your area.
  • Verizon: Super-fast speeds
    For those with a need for speed, Verizon is offering Internet speeds up to 500 Mbps. Plans start between $45 and $265, depending on what speeds you want and whether or not you bundle other services like HDTV and a home phone. Most of their plans do require a contract, so make sure you’re ready to make a commitment.
  • AT&T: Best for bargain hunters
    Reliable Internet at a reasonable price can be yours with a deal from AT&T. They offer plans starting as low as $15 per month. If you’re watching the bottom line, it’s worth keeping an eye on the latest AT&T deals. Some packages may require a contract and additional services, but if you hate sticker shock, they have some of the most affordable bundles out there.
  • Frontier: Customizable connections
    Thanks to the large number of options offered by Frontier, you can get hooked up with everything from Internet to digital TV — all for prices starting as low as $19.99 per month. Frontier is currently offering their ‘Price for Life’ plan which locks in your monthly package price. They offer speeds up to 6 Mbps and are easy to work with if you don’t want to sign a contract. If you like the freedom of a monthly service you’re not tied to, Frontier might be the perfect fit.

Moving comes with enough things to sort out. You shouldn’t be stumped when it comes to finding a reliable ISP you can afford. Use these tips so you know what to look for and, since offers change from time to time and vary by location, remember to check out different providers for the latest deals in your area.

Alice Williams- AT&T

Alice Williams is a digital communications expert for AT&T with an MA in Communication Studies. She writes extensively on communication, business and tech and is currently based in Salt Lake City.

10 tips to survive your winter move

Written by Jessy Howe

iStock_House in the winter

Moving can be hard, but moving during the winter season can make the process that much more difficult. To help ease your winter move stress, we’re sharing our top 10 winter moving tips. When using a moving company, many concerns below will not be a worry. However, for those do-it-yourselfers, with a few extra precautions, you can master the art of moving during snowy, winter weather.

1. Clear the path

Shovel or plow the driveways and sidewalks at both your old location and your new location. It’s easy to misjudge stairs and drop-offs when they’re hidden by snow. Taking a few extra moments to clear the way will make moving easier and safer for everyone.

2. Watch the weather

Temperatures can change quickly during the winter, with slush turning to ice within a few hours. It also gets dark earlier in the winter and with this in mind, plan trips between the old and new location accordingly. To find out more about the moving protocol during blizzard-like conditions, we’ve answered all of your questions, here.

3. Carry emergency supplies

Whether you drive your own vehicle or rent a moving truck, ice and snow on the road may get in your way. If you do get stuck, you can get yourself out quickly if you carry a shovel, salt and/or sand. It’s also wise to keep a vehicle emergency kit, water, snacks, and blankets handy just in case.

4. Layer up

Although you will be working hard on moving day, it is a good idea to dress in layers. If you begin to overheat you can always remove layers. Don’t forget your hat and warm gloves!

5. Avoid slips

Keep old rags and towels handy to wipe away the snow, salt, sand, and dirt which will likely get caked to your shoes and your moving containers causing slippery surfaces.

6. Light your area

Be sure all outdoor lighting is functioning properly at your new and old location prior to your move. With the sun setting early throughout winter months, it is important your visibility isn’t compromised should your move go late into the day.

7. Protect your floors

Cover your floors with old sheets or tarps to avoid tracking mud and snow into your home. Not only will this protect your belongings but will also keep the floors at your new location clean and dry.

8. Turn on utilities

Plan ahead and ensure utilities will be turned on upon your arrival. In harsh winter months, you will not want to be without these! Additionally, leave heat and electricity on in your old home until you are completely moved out.

9. Keep your plants safe

Don’t transport live plants in the cargo hold of the truck, as they can easily freeze. To keep plants safe and secure during a move, pack them in your personal vehicle and drive safely to your destination.

10. Hire help!

Hiring a moving company can take much of the pressure off of you and allow you to enjoy your new home even sooner! Many of the precautions above will be worries that disappear when hiring movers. Our uniformed movers and drivers are committed to exceeding expectations and ensuring your move is completed with care and efficiency. We realize moving needs are unique for every customer, so we’re ready to customize a plan to provide the best moving experience. Contact TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® today to begin planning your move.

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 avoid leaving a huge mess when you move out

Don't forget to clean the stove before moving!

Moving is a huge time-consuming and stress-inducing chore, but there’s no other way about it. You have to spend weeks sorting and packing stuff you’ve accumulated over the past few years, talk to the movers, arrange for utilities to be transferred, unpack and put things away in your new home…the list just goes on.

With all this occupying your mind day and night, it’s only natural that you’ve forgotten one essential part of moving – that’s right, move-out cleaning! This house has been your home for the past many years; don’t you owe it a good cleanup before you leave? Okay, you are not that sentimental about the house, but do you think you have a good chance of getting the deposit back intact if you leave the house in the condition it is in right now?

To make things easier on you and help you avoid leaving a huge mess behind when you move, we have put together a handy list of things that you need to do before closing the door of your old home one last time. Happy moving!

What you will need:

  • A pair of rubber gloves
  • A vacuum cleaner
  • A mop
  • A broom and a dustpan
  • A squeegee
  • A spray bottle
  • Scrubbing sponges
  • Dish detergent
  • Baking soda
  • Magic erasers
  • Vinegar
  • Toilet cleaner and brush
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • An old toothbrush for tough-to-clean stains
  • Old newspapers
  • Cleaning rags
  • Trash bags

Tip: Remember to keep the above items separate from your packing boxes so that they don’t get shipped out to your new home before you are done cleaning!

In all the rooms:

Spray all windows with a mix of 50% distilled water and 50% tap water and wipe clean with a squeegee or a scrunched-up newspaper. If you had not washed your windows for a long time and they are particularly dirty, you may want to wash them with soapy water first. Clean the ledges.

Dirty window blinds? Simply put on an old cotton sock, dip your hand in the vinegar mix, and run your hands over each of the blinds. And there you go, good as new!

Take out all nails and hooks you have put into the walls and doors and fill them with putty. Use a magic eraser to remove scuffmarks, but take care to first test the eraser on a small surface. Harsh erasers can take the paint right off the walls and make your job twice as hard!

Bright lights are magnets for insects. Make sure to check for dead insects when you dust and clean the lighting fixtures and fans.

Wipe the closet shelves and check if the walls are clean. Remove cobwebs from the ceiling, vacuum the floor, and mop the hardwood and tile surfaces.

Tip: Always clean from top to bottom to avoid having to clean the same spot twice!

In the kitchen:

Empty cabinets and remove liners. Wipe the insides and the front surfaces clean with a damp cloth.

Remove refrigerator shelves and soak them in the sink while you scrub the inside clean with a scrubbing sponge and dish wash soap. Wipe the inside dry with a cleaning rag, wash the shelves, dry them, and put them back in. While you are at it, clean the sides, back and top of the refrigerator and also sweep below the refrigerator. If you have a dishwasher, clean it thoroughly.

Clean the oven, microwave and stove next and make sure that you remove all traces of grease and burnt food. While cleaning the stove, make sure you clean below the drip pans too. Scrub the kitchen counter top, sink and plumbing fixtures and you are good to go!

Tip: For the oven, use a paste made of baking soda and water to remove stubborn grease and grime without the harsh odors associated with heavy-duty oven cleaners.

In the bathrooms:

Empty the bathroom cupboards and take out the liners. Scrub clean the shower walls, tub, sink and counter with an all-purpose cleaning agent. Use the toothbrush for attacking the grout. Clean the toilet thoroughly from top to bottom. Spray the mirror with the vinegar solution you used on the windows and wipe clean. Dust the exhaust fan. Mop the floor.

Tip: Remember to keep at least one bathroom for the last or you may have to clean it again before you leave!

Don’t forget the outside areas

If you were using any outside storage facilities in the building, such as garage lockers, clean out those spaces. Dust and clean the outside lighting fixtures. Check your mailbox. Sweep the porch and patio.

One last time

Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you say goodbye to your old home for the last time.

  • Are all the closets and cabinets empty?
  • Are all the electrical appliances/lights/fans in working condition?
  • Have you taken the trash out?
  • Do you have time-stamped photographs to document the condition of the house at the time of your move-out? These may be necessary if the landlord comes up with false damage charges later.
  • Do you have all the keys to return to the landlord?
  • Have you informed your neighbors you are moving?

A thorough move-out cleaning, especially if you have not been very particular about keeping the house in great shape all these days, can take a lot of time. If you have friends who are willing to pitch in, don’t hesitate to ask for their help. You should ideally start a few days in advance so that you are not left elbow deep in soapsuds and detergents even on the last day.

If you hate getting your hands dirty and don’t mind spending the extra dollars, you can always consider hiring a professional cleaning service to spruce up the home before you leave. But whatever you decide, don’t forget that move-out cleaning is essential to ensuring that you get your security deposit back from your landlord without a major deduction. In most cases, a happy landlord means a full refund. Here’s hoping that your moving happens as smoothly and easily as possible. All the best!

 

photoKurt Jacobson is a writer and vacation rental manager. Knowing what it takes to maintain pristine appearances for customers, he thrives on sharing what he’s learned from his experience. When he’s not managing a property, he writes about home cleaning for the Professional Home Cleaning Inc website.

It’s time to meet the new “kids” on the block!

Some of us are not chatty, outgoing people. Walking across your yard, which may feel like a mile in the heat of the moment, to meet new people can seem overwhelming, especially with the added stress of moving and being in an unfamiliar place. Let’s be honest, even super outgoing individuals might get a little nervous to venture next door or across the street to meet their neighbors. Most likely, you’re worn out from the move and the last thing you feel like doing is putting on your best and meeting your neighbors.

Here are a few simple ways to meet your neighbors without forcing it or making things awkward.

Spend time outside. You heard it. Simply spend time. If you have kids, they could make a lemonade stand. Many people can’t resist a lemonade stand, support the children’s dreams! In most cases your fellow neighbors are curious about you and will be eager to meet you, chances are, they are nervous to meet you, too. Being outside is an easy way to run into each other, introduce yourselves, and strike up conversation.

We know you love yard work! Probably not. But hey, it’s is a great way to get settled, fix up the yard, and meet neighbors. It’s more than likely that your neighbors know there’s a new family on the block. Being outside makes it easy for them to come over and introduce themselves.

dog2Go for a walk. If it’s a nice day out, there are probably a few people outside and it would be easy to introduce yourself. Maybe while you’re out, you could invite a few neighbors over for a small get together.

Host a cook out or a cocktail party. Invite your neighbors over for food or drinks as a fun and easy way to become acquainted. Having a laid back, social setting is an easy way to mix and mingle. Plus, who is going to turn down free food and drinks?!

These tips work well if you are the new comer in a neighborhood, or if you are trying to meet your new neighbors. We hope you take advantage of these fun ideas and make the new comer on the block feel welcome. If you’re feeling ambitious, take them a meal or a dessert such as lasagna, brownies, cookies, etc. They probably haven’t unpacked from the move and may not be able to cook.

At TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® we are moving and packing experts. To stay connected and to learn additional moving and packing tips, subscribe to our blog and like us on Facebook. If you’re interested in hiring a professional moving company for your next move, check us out!

Entertain your kids by repurposing moving boxes

Do you have a clutter of boxes lying around? Are you looking for activities for the days of summer to entertain your kids? TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® has a few fun and creative solutions for you to enjoy with your kiddos!

pic 1Fort. Building a fort is probably the most popular project for kids of all ages. Constructing and designing a fort takes up time and can be really fun! Even after the fort is built, your little ones can have fun playing games inside. If you really want to keep the kids busy, get a little more creative by building a pirate ship or a castle.

Doll house. Help your kids make a special house for their dolls. Have fun cutting out windows and doors, and decorating the inside and outside of the doll house.

pic 2Puppet theatre. You can also create a puppet theater out of boxes. You children and their friends can have fun cutting out puppets from card board, decorating them, and gluing them to popsicles sticks.

Sensory box. Another fun, simple idea would be to make a sensory box. Cut a hole in the top of a box and place objects in the box for the kids to feel or smell. This is a fun hands-on activity for your kids to enjoy.

Lemonade stand. As the last days of summer fly by, take advantage of the heat and build and decorate a lemonade stand. Even after it’s built, the kids can make and sell lemonade and make an entire day out of this project.

Maze. If you have a surplus of boxes, you can cut out holes or sides of boxes and secure them together to create a maze for your kids to enjoy. I promise you, they will have a blast crawling through it and trying to find their way out.

The opportunities are endless. If you’re looking for additional ideas to keep the kiddos happy and entertained during their last part of summer break, be sure to check out the many ideas on Pinterest! Keep an eye out for our popular blog post on this year’s best Halloween box costume ideas, to keep costumes cost effective and creative this year. Happy crafting!

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. We are leaders in the moving and packing industry. Let us help move your forward! For more moving, packing, or relocation tips, subscribe to our blog or like us on Facebook.

Transitioning your little ones: new school, home, and friends

Written by Nicole Harrison

The beginning of a new school year is usually filled with excitement. However, the first day at a new school is a different story, and in some cases, the anticipation and excitement is outweighed by anxiety and nerves. Your child’s feelings on attending a new school may vary based on his or her age – they may feel anger, resentment, excitement, or nervousness. Regardless of how old your kids are, there are a handful of tactics to help them adjust to this change.

Orientation/school tour. This is easily one of the most important steps to do with your kids. Make time to attend new student orientation, or if there isn’t one, schedule a school tour together. Both of you will have the opportunity to learn more about the school, class structure, curriculum, and get any questions answered. Whether going to an orientation or scheduling a tour, you and your kids will become familiar with the new school before their first day. This is also a perfect time to meet the teacher. A few familiar faces and knowing where to go will make the first days much easier for your child. It may seem silly, but we promise, it will make a huge difference and will immediately make them more comfortable during the transition if they can navigate through the hallways, and find their way around with ease. Spend time learning about the new school. Are there any fun facts about the new school? When was it built? How many students go there? What type of electives do they offer? Spend time learning as much as you can about the new school. The more you learn before the first day, the more prepared your kids will be.

TMAT322Stock up on school supplies. To ease your child’s nerves, take them back-to-school shopping to stock up on school supplies they need. Most schools have a list of supplies their students will need for each grade. If the school hasn’t provided a list, contact them and ask for a list of supplies your child will need most.

Explore the playground. Before your kids’ first day, take them up to the playground, spend time playing and making them comfortable with the new set up. Find activities they like such as the swings or monkey bars and spend time playing with them. That way, when they go off to recess they will be familiar with the new playground and will most likely branch out and join other students participating in activities they love!

Prepare for the first day. 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. The evening before the first day of school, run through last minute items. Where is the bus stop? What time does the bus come? What is the bus number? Pack a special lunch for the first day. Spend this time sifting through the remaining items that haven’t been addressed. If your little one seems particularly nervous for his or her first day, consider taking them to school versus riding the bus.

Get involved in your kids’ school. If your children are young, it helps to get involved. Network with other parents, get to know their teacher and classmates on a personal level. If you’re able to, volunteering your time is a great way to make your son or daughter feel more comfortable in a new environment, and they will be able to see a familiar face in class.

Set up play dates. Shortly after your kids start at their new school, set up some play dates with their classmates. This is a great way for them to build relationships with their classmates and to help them make friends at school. There is a fine line between supporting them and putting too much pressure on them, make sure your kids feel supported at all times.

Participate in extracurricular activities. Are there activities in your new community that your child has an interest in? If your son enjoys martial arts, try to find a program he can participate in. If your daughter enjoys swimming, try to find a swim team she can join. Extracurricular activities are an added bonus for you and your kids to become acquainted with the community.

Attending a new school can be stressful for children and parents, hopefully these pointers will aid the transition. We encourage parents to keep their children involved throughout the process, without being too pushy or making them step too far outside their comfort zones.

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. We are leaders in the moving and packing industry. Let us help move your forward! For more moving, packing, or relocation tips, subscribe to our blog or like us on Facebook.

Pre-pack your items for a smooth transition

As if packing to move wasn’t already enough, it’s also wise to consider pre-packing! Yes, you heard us right. There are many things you can do to make the packing process easier, more organized, and even cleaner along the way. From decluttering to cleaning as you go, below is a list of things you should do before packing or hiring a moving team to pack your items, which in the end, will create an easier packing process.

Start with a 10-minute tidy up. Spend 10 minutes in each room of your home to quickly tidy everything up. Pay close attention to where you put items and where they belong. Do this so when it is time to pack, nothing gets left behind or thrown into the “straggler” box that never gets unpacked at your new home. Don’t spend too much time wiping walls, save the deep cleaning for an empty room.

Narrow it down. Don’t pack your entire house in one day, this will just leave you feeling rushed and overwhelmed. You may find yourself throwing things in boxes just to hurry. We promise you will regret this when you are unpacking at your new home. Begin packing a few weeks in advance and do one room at a time. This will allow the movers to pack the truck in a more organized manner and will save you time and money. Move the packed boxes to the middle of each room so you can access a box if you need to. Clearly label each box and ensure the bottom of the boxes are taped shut to keep your belongings from falling through the bottom.

Label, label, LABEL! Label all of your boxes and be descriptive, you won’t regret it! What room is the box going to? What is in the box? Are the box contents delicate or fragile? All of these questions will be very important to you and the movers during the truck loading and unloading process. You could even use colored labels and assign the task of labeling to your kids. Label the boxes and write important details on them — for example, it would be helpful at quick glance if all living rooms boxes had pink labels, bathroom boxes had blue labels, and so on. You could even color-code the boxes of items that will be thrown out or donated. Just ensure the boxes are labeled on the sides, not the tops.

Donate or de-clutter! Whichever you prefer, just do it. Whether you would like to donate, sell, or just throw out items that you have collected over the years, now is the time to do it. Don’t spend time and money moving things you haven’t used in over a year. Set up a spot in the garage or basement to begin collecting items you prefer to get rid of. Typically, you can call a donation center and schedule a time for them to come and pick up gently used furniture or boxes of donations. You can also schedule a time for a curb side pick up to collect any old furniture pieces you do not wish to take with you.

Where is my phone charger? Have a plan for the last day you spend in your home. Have a designated box in each room for items you can’t go long without. Things such as make-up, tooth brushes, phone chargers, and a change of clothes are typically items to go in these boxes. This will ensure you have what you need up to the last minute. Don’t forget to label it your “last-day” items so they don’t get lost in the shuffle.

Blog photo of packed box

Regardless of how you pack and move your home, it won’t hurt to purchase packing supplies. TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® locations offer a large assortment of packing supplies to meet our customers’ needs.

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is a professional moving company with 30 years of moving and packing experience and is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. Let us help move you forward during this stressful life event. For more moving and packing information, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our blog.