11 dorm room essentials you can’t live without

Dorm Room Essentials picture

Written by Katie Peterson

As you begin packing to move into your college dorm room, it’s easy to be overwhelmed with the prospect of fitting all the stuff you’ll need for a whole semester in the back of a car. There are so many things you want to take with you; you have a pile of items already forming, and have been making Pinterest crafts for months! Although we’re sure you’ve read every dorm-packing list the Internet has to offer, there are a few essential items you may have overlooked that will help to ensure you are prepared for the semester ahead.

Ways to keep cool

As many college dorms do not have air conditioning, fans are good investments to help keep you cool and comfortable. You can place a box fan in your window or purchase an osculating fan to keep the air moving on hot days.

Power strips

With all the computer cords, phone chargers, and desk lamps you’re sure to have in your room, power strips and a couple of small extension cords are essential to staying charged up.

USB memory stick

The last thing you want to happen is for your laptop to crash on the night before a big paper is due and lose all of your work. Buying a memory stick and backing up your documents as you write is a good habit that will save your sanity.

To-go coffee mug

Coffee lover or not, you’ll definitely want to pack a travel mug for dorm-life. In college, travel mugs become essential for when morning classes start before ten and for when late night study sessions turn into really late night study sessions. They also work well if you have a meal plan, in which case most colleges will let you fill up on beverages before you leave the dining hall.

Laundry materials

A good choice while living in a dorm is laundry detergent Pods that come in individual packages. If you have stairs to climb to wash your laundry, these are more convenient to transport and they prevent the messy dripping that can happen when using bottles. Another good idea is a collapsible drying rack for the clothes you can’t dry. You can stow it away when it’s not in use and your clothes won’t be draped all over your furniture while they dry.

An umbrella

A good umbrella is a must, especially if you are going to school in an area that receives a lot of rain! Remember, unless your campus is one building, you will be walking outside for most of the day to get to your classes. Don’t get caught uncovered!

Dishes and utensils

Make sure to either purchase some cheap plastic dishes or disposable ones to use in your room. Sometimes getting out of your dorm room to go to the dining hall is just too much of an effort, (or you ran out of meals for the week). For times like these you’ll want dishes and utensils to eat your meals without ever having to leave your room.

Small tool box with the important stuff

Packing a small tool kit with a screwdriver, hammer, and tape measure will come in handy more than you would think. It also might make you popular amongst the less prepared members of your floor.

Command™ products

Command™ strips and hooks are absolutely essential for dorm life. Anything you might want to decorate; walls, ceilings, or doors can be dangerous for your wallet without the proper adhesive. Command™ products will prevent damage to your room when it’s time to remove your decorations at the end of the year. You’ll be glad you invested in the fall when you don’t have to cough up money for damages in the spring.

Shower organization

Find out what kind of bathroom you are going to have in your dorm. If you will be using a community bathroom, you will want a shower caddy to bring all of your toiletries to and from the bathroom. If you share a bathroom with a roommate or suitemates, you might want to purchase a “shower tower” to help organize everyone’s items and keep the bottles off the floor.

Your brain!

When packing to move into your college dorm the MOST essential thing to bring is your brain! Do your research beforehand and learn what you can about school rules, storage options, and what your roommate plans on bringing. This will help you become prepared and ready with everything you need for a full semester of fun.

There’s no guarantee you’ll be able to remember everything you will need while packing for college, but with this list of dorm room essentials, you’ll remember a few of the most important ones. Besides, if you do end up forgetting anything you can’t live without, you have an excuse to visit home for a weekend or get your first care package.

What advice do you have for dorm moving? We’d like to hear! 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!

Surviving your move: What to know about moving into your first apartment

Apartment moving pic

Written by Katie Peterson

At TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® we know moving can have its fair share of challenges. There’s the packing, the cleaning, and let’s not even mention move day itself. Moving into your first place is stressful, and apartment moving has its own set of headaches. Neighbors are more like roommates, there are a ton of rules and regulations while renting an apartment, and what about all those stairs? We’ve come up with some tips to help you survive your first apartment move.

Ask questions

-Ask the landlord about any concerns beforehand. Good questions to ask might include what kind of maintenance is available if something goes wrong in the apartment, how old the building is, and even questions about the previous tenants. Your landlord will love bragging about any new construction, and you will be making a more informed decision about your new place as a result.

-If you have a chance, talk to some of the current residents of the building while you are there. What do they think of the landlord? How are the other tenants in the apartment? This will help you make an informed decision about the apartment and give you a chance to introduce yourself to some of your future neighbors if you are already serious about renting.

Be prepared and organized

The actual move into your new apartment is all about being prepared and organized throughout the process. With these tips in mind, you’ll be ready for anything that comes your way.

Before your move:

-Make sure to bring paper documentation to your lease signing. This might include proof of employment or a copy of your lease with highlighted areas you might have questions on. Especially in competitive markets where multiple tenants are looking to rent, it pays to be prepared! This will also give your landlord a good idea of your trustworthiness and ability to bring important documents in on time (like your rent).

-Schedule a walk-through of the apartment with your landlord before you move in. This is a good opportunity to take photos of the condition of the apartment for reference when you are negotiating your security deposit. The photos can also be used to ensure you took care of the apartment when you eventually move out and want your deposit back.

-Measure the dimensions of your new apartment before you buy furniture or bring in items you already own. This will save you the headache of having to return any items that won’t fit, and the backache of your movers trying to fit the furniture through the door. Important spots to measure include the area for a washer and dryer and the nook for your refrigerator (if you have to supply them), tight doorways, and wall space for seating.

On move day:

-First things first, clean every nook and cranny of your new apartment! Scrub all those places you won’t ever be able to get to once your furniture is moved in, and even the places you will. It will save time and energy later in the day when all you have to do is a quick trip around the apartment with the vacuum.

-Schedule a timeframe to move into your new place at a reasonable and respectable time. The earlier, the better! Make sure you have enough time to finish moving in before residents in your apartment building are thinking about going to sleep. Your neighbors will appreciate meeting you during daylight hours as opposed to when they are complaining about the noise in their pajamas.

-Schedule any big items you’ve purchased to be delivered on separate days or spaced apart on the day of your move. Items such as mattresses and large furniture pieces will have their own deliveries and can create inconveniences on move-in day if arriving all at once. The day after your move, or a few hours after the movers have gone, are good times to schedule these deliveries to ensure the elevators and parking lots aren’t crowded and remain accessible to other tenants.

Be friendly and considerate

-This probably goes without saying, but be friendly! Introduce yourself to your surrounding neighbors. Even if you don’t go around knocking on your neighbors’ doors be sure to say “hi” in passing or on the elevator. You might make new friends, or at the very least, get to know their names in case their mail ends up in your box by accident.

-Make sure your landlord knows who you are and has a face to go with your name. It will be useful for him/her to know you in case you have a maintenance problem or you are a few days late on the rent. A little effort will ensure your landlord knows you as more than just a name on a check.

-Be considerate of the noise level and your activities at certain hours. Bouncing a basketball in your room on the third floor is never a good idea, especially if it’s at three o’clock in the morning.

Moving into your own apartment for the first time can be exciting, scary, and stressful all wrapped up in one. Making preparations beforehand, staying organized, and being considerate of your neighbors are great ways to help you survive your first apartment move!

What advice do you have for moving into your first apartment? We’d like to hear! 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!

Refreshing your home in preparation for spring

Written by Jessy Howe

It’s nearly time to enjoy the long-awaited spring weather once again! With the warm sunshine and flowers beginning to bud, there is nothing worse than coming back inside to space that feels like it could use freshening up! Below is a checklist of spring cleaning to-dos in each room of your home, but before we get to that, here are a few simple tips to help this process run smoothly.

  • Do a quick inventory check of your cleaning supplies before beginning your spring cleaning. If you find you’re out of paper-towels or running low on Windex, make a list and head to the store.
  • Consider investing in a cleaning caddy. These are inexpensive and can be found at most stores. They are convenient not only for carrying supplies through the house while you clean, but also to provide an organized storage place for your items.
  • I find it is easiest to work on one room at a time. Jumping around the house from room to room allows for distraction, tasks not being completed, and results in spending much more time cleaning then necessary.
  • Due to the amount of deep cleaning that is done during the “spring cleaning cleanse”, remember it is okay if not everything is completed at once. Spread your tasks out between two days to avoid feeling overwhelmed or simply take breaks between rooms.
  • During this time, I also gather unused items and put them in either a donation bin, or storage spot for garage sale items come summer. Since I am already going room to room deep cleaning, it is easy to lump this into my spring cleaning routine.

Now on to the list. As mentioned, I find it most efficient to clean one room at a time so naturally tasks are separated in this fashion. Of course depending on where you live or if you reside in a house versus an apartment, the list may vary from person to person, but hopefully it will serve as a good starting guide when you begin your spring cleaning!

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK Spring Cleaning Checklist

If you have any spring cleaning tips we’d love to hear them! For more cleaning tips and tricks, head on over to our Pinterest page or like us on Facebook. TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. Let us help move you forward!

Prepping and packing your bathroom

Written by Nicole Harrison

If you are feeling ambitious and decide to pack your home on your own, there are a few tips and tricks to pack your bathroom as efficiently as possible.

Bathrooms are tedious. Chances are, you don’t know where to start. You probably have quite the collection of lotions, hair products, cotton swabs, toilet paper, make-up, cleaning products, soaps, towels, and more. Who are we kidding, of course the bathroom is one of the hardest rooms to pack!

Lucky for you, we are a professional moving company with many years of packing experience and have put together a detailed guide on how to pack up your bathroom.

Sorting through the “junk”

Before you start throwing items in boxes, you need to sort through everything. Lotion and body wash have become the “go-to” present for any occasion. Personally, I have a stash of lotions that could last me a lifetime. More times than not, a bathroom is filled with handfuls of unused and unopened products.

Go through your cabinets and shelves and pitch all empty and half-empty bottles. As hard as it may be, it’s important to only keep the items you love and use regularly. All of your full, un-used products and travel size items can be donated to local homeless shelters.

Packing upTMAAT054-1499048749-O

Once you have sorted through your bathroom, you can start packing. Hopefully you have less to pack up after sorting and throwing old and unused toiletries. Don’t forget to keep your daily essential items and medications separate so you can easily access them until after you unpack all of your belongings. Always label all of your boxes. That way, you will know what’s inside the box before you actually open it!

Take note of the following tips to make packing your bathroom much easier than you could have imagined.

Toiletries– Pack all of your toiletries together. If you have items that could spill or break, we recommend placing them in plastic bags. Categorize your toiletries and keep each category together when packing i.e. hair products, make up, lotions, etc. Packing toiletries by their groups make finding each item and organizing your new bathroom much easier.

Towels– We encourage you to pack the top of your toiletry and miscellaneous boxes with small towels. Hand towels and washcloths can be used as cushions to keep your items from banging around and possibly breaking. The remainder of your towels can be packed in large boxes.

Linens– Pack all of your linens in large boxes. Linens are very light and will be easy to transport in a large box. Remember this moving tip: pack heavy items in small boxes, and light items in large boxes — you don’t want to create more work for yourself than you need to.

Cleaning supplies– Keep your bathroom cleaning supplies separate in their own box. You want to be able to access your cleaning supplies the day of your move so you aren’t leaving your home a mess for the new owners. Secondly, be cautious when packing cleaning supplies, you don’t want to over pack the boxes. Pressure from a closed box or too many products in one box may cause cleaning solvents to spray or spill in the box. Finally, do not worry about packing inexpensive items that can easily be replaced such as a plunger or toilet bowl brush. You can purchase these items when you get to your new home.

As you can see, packing your bathroom can be a tedious task. There is a lot more to think about than just throwing items in moving boxes. If you get one take-away from this blog let it be this: sort through your items before you begin packing your bathroom. Pitching the half-empty bottles hiding in the back of your drawers will make a huge difference. If you need reliable and durable boxes to pack your belongings in, we have you covered! TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® sells a variety of packing supplies for your convenience.

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest 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.

Organizing your not-so organized closet

Written by Nicole Harrison

Closet organization is not many people’s strong suit. Closets are the one place in a home where things get shoved when guests come over, and it’s safe to say items accumulate easily in these hidden corners of the home. If you’re anything like me, you rarely spend time cleaning and organizing your closet because let’s face it, who has time for that? Having a clean closet is beneficial for so many reasons – the number one being our sanity. A well-organized closet helps you come up with the perfect outfit especially on those mornings you’re running short on time.

Here are five foolproof tips to give yourself a clean, stress-free closet.

Color code your clothing. This one is self-explanatory. When you are looking for that one grey shirt you got from your aunt Betty for Christmas and can’t seem to find it anywhere, a color-coded closet is the perfect solution. Not only does color coding make finding clothes easier, but it looks refreshing and put together.

Categorize your clothes. Sort your clothes in different categories. Put blouses, sweaters, cardigans, t-shirts, dress pants, dresses, skirts, button downs and whatever else you have hanging in your closet in their own sections. You will find it extremely helpful to keep your dress and casual clothes in separate locations. Categorizing clothes makeTMATSPRING2013140-2627556146-Os putting outfits together a breeze.

Invest in organizers. Trust me on this one. If you don’t have built-in shelves in your closet, we recommend you invest in some kind of organizer. These are perfect for your shoes, sweaters, pants, and other items you don’t have places for. One of our favorite and most handy organization tips is to take your old moving boxes and cover them with scrapbook paper or fabric and use them as bins for small, miscellaneous items. If space is an issue consider investing in a wardrobe box where you can fit three feet of hanger clothes from your closet in addition to out of season shoes and store in a basement or utility room until the seasons change.

Flip your hangers. Do you have too many clothes? Is it hard for you to get rid of the clothes you don’t wear? After you have organized, color coded, or categorized your closet, you can start the downsizing process. This trick will help solve your crowded closet problems. Flip all of your hangers backwards for a certain time period (usually three or four months does the trick). After you wear something hang it back up facing the normal direction. At the end of the three or four months, get rid of the clothes whose hangers are still backwards. If you’re still unsure about tossing certain clothes, ask yourself if you would buy it again today.

Clean your closet. Once your closet is sorted and organized, take time to deep clean it. Just because it looks nice doesn’t mean it’s clean. Vacuum or mop the bottom of your closet and take a rag and wipe down the walls. Most likely you will find dust bunnies on the bottom of your closet. Spending time deep cleaning your closet will add that extra sparkle as a finishing touch.

These simple steps should be a helpful guide to get your closet in tip-top shape in no time. If anything, hopefully this post inspired and motivated you to go through your closets and get organized. This winter has consisted of brutal temperatures and icy roads, organizing your closets could be the perfect cure to your cabin fever!

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest 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.

Store holiday decorations with ease

Written by Claire Schneider and Nicole Harrison

Does the thought of tearing down your holiday decorations stress you out? Consider this a pay-it-forward pursuit, and set yourself up for success for next year’s decorating efforts by packing up properly now. This goal alone will keep you motivated and prevent you from hastily and randomly stowing your things in bins and boxes. TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® has some helpful tips and tricks to make storing your holiday decorations easier.

IMG_9579Get organized – Before commencing the pack-up process, take some extra time to sort your items. Once your holiday décor and related materials are sorted, boxing them up will go much more quickly. TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® has a variety of boxes tailored to your packing needs. Some unique boxes include a dish pack box with inserts for your Christmas tree ornaments. You can adjust the inserts to the desired size making it perfect for the large and small ornaments. We also recommend using the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® dish pack box to store gift-wrapping supplies. The full instructions to utilize the box are here.

Manage lights and garlands — As you coil delicate lights and garlands, take extra care since they tend to tangle easily. Repurpose an old paper towel roll or a piece of cardboard and wrap the lights around it.

Protect the bows – Christmas ribbons and bows are commonly the items which get damaged the most in storage. To prevent them from warping and wrinkling, cut cardboard tubes and wrap them with paper towels so they fit snugly inside. Then place all the bows flat in a box together to ensure they lay flat and smooth amongst heavier items.

Label everything – Nothing is more frustrating than searching through box after box looking for one specific item. Make this process less frustrating and time-consuming by labeling items found in each box. To make the unpacking effort a breeze the following year, consider labeling the boxes in the order they should be opened. Choose the order that makes the most sense for your natural holiday set-up plan (e.g., room by room).

Protect Christmas linens – Christmas linens are commonly forgotten items when considering your Christmas storage plan, but if you take a little extra time to store them, it will prevent nasty surprises next year. First it’s important to pack them in a proper storage container like a suitcase or a waterproofed box to protect them from moisture. Then, place your favorite scented dryer sheet in-between the linens. This will repel moths while keeping them fresh and smelling wonderful for next year. This process only takes a couple minutes, and your guests will love the extra care.

Breakable Items — Christmas plates, platters, ornaments, and other breakables need to be handled with care. No one wants to open their Christmas decorations next year and find half of their ornaments broken, so it’s imperative you pack them well. The most important tip to remember is to wrap the breakables with a few layers of newspaper, paper towel or whatever padding in which you choose to wrap your items. It’s never a bad idea to put layers of extra cushion between your items to ensure more padding.

Hire moving muscle – Are you not looking forward to moving the heavier items back to their spots? Give us a call to schedule your internal move. We are happy to rearrange any heavy furniture as our movers are professionally trained and will move the same piece until you are happy with its final resting place.

Do you have any packing tips which have saved you from the hassle and time-consuming storing process? If so, please comment below to share your ideas with us; we’ll incorporate your best practices into future blogs. TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is here to move you forward with any packing tips and challenges you may have.

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.

Pack and Protect Christmas Decorations

Written by Cait Quinn

The holidays are over just as fast as they arrive, and we can all agree cleaning up and tearing down after the festivities, food, and family gatherings is one of the last things you want to tackle. Make the packing process a breeze this year with these decoration packing and organizing tips. You can return to relaxing in no time.

1.    Get everyone involved – Packing up Christmas goes by much quicker with some helping hands! Choose a time when your family can get involved, and incentivize the crew with dinner or a movie afterwards. Post-packing plans will also give everyone something fun to look forward to!

2.    Organize – Start by separating your decorations. This can be by category, such as outside and inside decorations, by room (living room, kitchen, and childrens’ rooms), or by the order in which you bring out the decorations. For instance, if your family usually strings lights right after Thanksgiving with the tree the following week, you can sort the decorations in that order and number each box for maximum time-saving. Choose the order that makes the most sense for your holiday habits.

Christmas lights organization3.    Storage – Once your holiday décor and related materials are sorted, boxing them up should be quick. We recommend using the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® dishpack box to store gift-wrapping supplies. The full instructions to utilize the box are here.

When packing lights and garlands, take extra care since they tend to tangle easily. Try using an old paper towel roll or a piece of cardboard and wrap the lights around it, then label the shelf where the lights are placed. And speaking of reusing wrapping scraps …

Christmas ornment organization4.    Recycle! – There are many ways to use all the leftover wrapping paper and boxes from the year. One simple way to pack Christmas tree ornaments is to wrap them in used wrapping paper or bubble wrap and nestle them in the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® dishpack box. The paper will protect ornaments and the special dividers keep them separated. Did anyone in your household get new shoes for Christmas? Use the silica gel packets that come inside shoe boxes to place inside your Christmas decoration boxes. They keep the humidity out and allow your decorations to last even longer.

5.    Label, label, label – Nothing is more frustrating than searching through box after box looking for one specific item. Make this process less stressful and save yourself some time next holiday season labeling items found in each box!

Do you have any great decoration packing tips to share? Leave a comment below and let us know. Have more to pack? TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is here to move you forward with tips and answers to your packing challenges.

We hope you enjoyed this holiday season with your family. Blessings to you in the New Year!

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.

Reject These Common Reasons for Keeping Clutter

Janine Adams
Janine Adams is the founder of Peace of Mind Organizing®

Written by guest blogger Janine Adams

As a professional organizer, I often help guide clients’ decisions about whether or not to keep or part with items. For some people, letting go is really tough. When they have more stuff than they can store, it can lead to some interesting conversations about why they want to hang on to things.

There are three common reasons I hear for wanting to keep items that are no longer used or loved. these reasons don’t hold water with me. If you hear yourself saying any of these things about items you don’t use or love, I encourage you to think twice about keeping them.

 1. I paid a lot for that! You know what? You may have paid a lot, but the money’s gone. And the only way you might get any of it back is to sell the item or donate it and take a tax deduction. What’s more, there are hidden costs to keeping it: you probably beat yourself up when you see it, so there’s an emotional cost. If you trip over it, you could hurt yourself and pay a physical and monetary price. And if you pay to store it just because you paid a lot for it, things are starting to get ridiculous.

2.  I might need it some day. You’re right, you might. But then again you might not. And if you can’t find it when you need it, then keeping it doesn’t do you much good. I think we all live in fear of discarding something and then discovering that we need it. It makes us feel stupid. But realistically, what’s the worse-case scenario? You get another one. In my opinion, if you have more stuff than you can store, the actual benefit of parting with an item you don’t need now (i.e. creating space) outweighs the potential benefit of having it on hand should you ever need it.

3. It was a gift. Gifts are tough. You hate to disappoint the gift giver by getting rid of something given in love. But, again, if you have more stuff than you can store, wouldn’t the gift giver prefer that you let it go? Regift it. Donate it. Just get it into the hands of someone who will actually use or love it. It gets even more tricky when the gift giver has passed away. But that unloved and unused gift won’t bring them back. Perhaps you have a mutual friend or family member who would treasure that item. If so, pass it along. It boils down to this: Just because someone gave you something doesn’t mean you have to hold on to it forever.

When you’re trying to conquer clutter, try not to fall into the trap of these excuses for keeping stuff you really don’t need. Once you let the excess go, I bet you’ll feel liberated.

Janine Adams is a certified professional organizer based in St. Louis, Missouri, and the founder of Peace of Mind Organizing®. She helps clients create order, harmony and, yes, peace of mind, by helping them declutter and create new systems and routines. The co-creator of Declutter Happy Hour, she is a blogger for Rubbermaid and has appeared on both A&E’s Hoarders and TLC’s Hoarding: Buried Alive documentary TV series.