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!

Moving with kids: avoid the moving day blues


Written by Katie Peterson

In movies, it always seems like moving is just about the worst news a kid can hear. Boxes are packed, the sad music plays, and it starts raining just as the car pulls out of the driveway, right past the “sold” sign in the front yard. But moving with kids does not have to be a dramatic movie plot-twist. Here’s how to help your kids avoid the moving blues and maybe even have a little fun along the way!

Before the move

Move meeting

Conduct a family “move meeting” to talk about the process and ease their nerves about the move. The more your children feel involved in the decision making, the less they will feel like they are being forced to do something they don’t want to do. Create a moving day plan so they may check off the events as they happen. For example, 1. Movers arrive, 2. Truck is all loaded up, 3. Drive to new house … and so on.

Start planning their new room

Help your child plan their new room setup and design. Take your child to the new place and have them talk about where they want to put their furniture or what color they want to paint their walls. This will help build up their excitement and give them fun decisions to make.

New owner letter

Sit down with the whole family and write a letter to the new owners of your home. This can be a fun and memorable experience for everyone. Tell the family moving in why the house is special and what they need to know going in, such as the first bedroom being the best room for making forts or the neighbor’s cat Frisky often wanders toward the apple blossom tree in the back yard. The family will have fun remembering stories while you write and the new owners will love the personal instruction guide.

During the move

Put them to work!

Assign age-appropriate tasks for the kids. Utilize those extra helping hands! Older kids might be able to help label or tape boxes while younger kids help wipe down tables or clean windows. Make a game out of these mini tasks by awarding winners for the fastest packer or the most rooms vacuumed.

“Day of move” box

Pack a “Day of Move” box for each child to keep their favorite small items with them. Packing all of your belongings into boxes and putting them in the back of a moving truck can feel overwhelming, especially when you don’t quite understand where your stuff will end up. Your child might even like Truckie’s moving journal to write down some of their thoughts about the move to keep with them. If your kids have some of their favorite things, they will feel more comfortable with the rest of their belongings being packed .

After the move

Go exploring

Explore your new neighborhood! Once your tennis shoes are finally unpacked, take a stroll around the neighborhood with the kids. This will be a great opportunity to get familiar with the area and maybe meet some of your neighbors.

It’s all about attitude

Stay positive and keep your excitement up. Make sure your kids know how happy you are to be in the new house. Your kids will feed off of your energy and how you are reacting to the move, so if you are positive and excited about it, chances are they will be, too!

Moving with kids can be tough, but with the right preparation and a positive mindset, you can make moving with your kids a memorable adventure.

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.

I’m too busy! I don’t have time to pack and move!

Written by Arika Ford

I’m in a rush most of the time. Three kids with various activities on our schedule every day of the week, a full-time job, a house to clean, husband, dog, cat, and hamster. Hurry, hurry, hurry is my life these days.

In addition to the chaos, I am moving in June. It may seem far away, but when you’re as busy as I am, it’s hard to find time to get everything together. After careful consideration and planning, I put together a timeline to prepare for my move. For the other busy moms and dads out there, hopefully this will help you stay on track for a smooth move.

Before you start packing, you will need to buy all necessary packing boxes and supplies. Fortunately, your local TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® sells a variety of moving and packing supplies so you can purchase a wide variety of boxes to hold different household items like we did!

My timeline is as follows:

One month before the move. Set up a handful of big boxes, not only as a reminder and a motivator, but to pack items you won’t use until after the move (special baking dishes, extra serving dishes, silverware, holiday items, etc.).dishpack kit

3 weeks before the move. Box up out of season items – for me this is winter items – in each kids’ room (snow boots, extra coats, gloves, heavy sweaters, snow pants). If you have young kids, you can turn this into a game — anything to get them to help. I am going to set up boxes in the living room and have my kids run as fast as they can to their rooms, gather their winter gear, and box those items up. I have designated an area for each of them in the living room to see who can get all of their winter items to me the fastest. Two of my kids play fall sports, I can easily pack up those items and label them. This is also a good time to start working on hallways closets and rid any bulky winter or vacation items.

At this point, hopefully you will have a healthy stack of labelled boxes. Keep your packed boxes out of the way so they don’t get damaged or tipped over. The display of boxes will begin to get my kiddos talking about moving and they will likely adjust to the move a little quicker if it is a part of their life for a few weeks before the move.

2 weeks before the move. Use this time to put small boxes in the kids’ rooms and have them begin to sort and pack small areas such as junk drawers, toys, and closets. This helps them to have ownership and a sense of control over something. Take this time to pack up miscellaneous or other household items that will not be used until after the move.

Gather items you no longer want and plan to donate. Now is a perfect time to get rid of items you have not used in the last 12-14 months. Research local shelters and donation sites in your city.

Week of the move. Use this time to finish packing up clothing, go throughMoving Checklist your bathrooms, and pack the remainder of your items. Start cleaning forgotten areas of your home and put last minute things together. Checklists are wonderful. Think about writing a checklist for the final packing and cleaning steps.

Packing up small areas at a time eliminates the feeling of becoming overwhelmed and allows you to be more prepared as moving day quickly approaches. If you stay on top of packing and prep as much as you can, when you can, your busy family will be packed up, moved out, and settled into the new place with what felt like much less effort. We’re hoping this checklist gives you busy parents a starting point to begin packing and organizing for your family’s big move.

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. We are packing and moving experts and like to share our expertise with you. For more helpful tips and information on moving services subscribe to our blog and like us on Facebook. 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.

Reduce Moving Stress with a Moving Checklist

Written by Claire Schneider

Moving ChecklistStudy after study indicates moving is a stressful time indeed; however, with a little preparation and organization, moving day can be more enjoyable for the entire family.

To get you started on the right foot, we put together a checklist leading up to the day of your move. Follow these tips to ensure your day is predictably pleasant—right down to the final detail.

Two months prior

• Photos. Before you do anything, take photos of your home. My husband and I do this every time we move, and I am so grateful. I know some day when we expand our family, I will enjoy showing them pictures of where we lived.

• Minimize what move with you. Go through every room of your house and decide what stays and what goes. Don’t forget the basement, attic and garage. This may seem like a lot of work but, trust me, come moving day, you’ll be glad you did.

• Take inventory. Take stock of every valuable item you plan to move. Include photos, along with written descriptions.

• Organize records. If you have kids, make arrangements with their current schools to have their records transferred. Secure copies of everyone’s medical records, as well as recommendations of doctors in your new community.

• Talk to your kids. Moving can be an uncertain time for children, especially if they are leaving the only home they know. Early on, begin including your kids in moving discussions, and give them an idea of what will happen on moving day. Be certain they know they can talk to you about any fears they might have.

Five to six weeks prior

• Research. It’s time to decide if you are going to move yourself or hire a moving company. You don’t need to book anything yet, but it’s good to plan accordingly. When interviewing moving companies, make sure to ask if they are insured and bonded, if they hire full and part-time movers rather than temporary movers, and how they charge. Click here to get your free moving quote.

• Finalize real estate or rental needs.  Renters, communicate with your landlord about the upcoming move. See if they have any moving-out guidelines or polices you’ll need to follow.

• Prepare to pack. Order boxes and other packing supplies. Don’t forget to buy plenty of bubble wrap and tape! Look into wardrobe and other specialty boxes as they make packing much easier. Whatever you do, don’t use food or supermarket boxes.  You never know what little critter is hiding inside or if the box will be strong enough to support your possessions.

One month prior

• Begin packing. Pack up items you don’t frequently use, and clearly label each box with the name of the room for which it is assigned.

• Pick you moving partner. Now that you’ve done your research and thought it over, decide how you want to move. If you decide to use a moving company, make your reservations plenty of time in advance to secure your ideal day and time. Many moving companies are filling up reservations faster than ever!

• Notify utility companies. No one wants to pay for utilities they’re not using. Notify each company of the day you are moving, and arrange for your new accounts to be started when you arrive at your new house.

• Change your address. To change your address, either go to your local post office or visit usps.com and fill out a change of address form.

• Notify important parties. Contact your bank, insurance provider employer, and magazines or newspapers you subscribe to.  Celebrate your milestone with creative moving announcements featuring your new address, and mail them to all of your friends and family.

One week prior

• Finish packing. Remember to pack important and sentimental items separately so they are easily accessible. Plan on keeping this box with you personally when you move.

• Confirm move. Confirm the time the movers will arrive as well as other specifics and make sure you have prepared exact, written directions to your new home for the movers. Also include contact information, such as your cell phone number.

• Clean. The last thing you want to do before you move is clean everything in your house. In order to save you time, begin cleaning rooms you don’t use as often. It’s also a good idea to make a “survival closet” containing things for the last cleanup before you move out. For example a broom, dust cloth, dust pan, mop, etc.

Day of the move

Day of the Move Box• Pack your suitcase. I highly recommend packing a suitcase or use our “Day of the Move” box with essential items and clothes for the day/night. You will be exhausted after the move, and when it’s time to get ready for bed, you don’t want to have to dig through multiple boxes.

• Eat a healthy breakfast. It’s going to be a long day so make sure you eat a nutrient-rich breakfast to help you stay energized during a rigorous day.

• Initial walk-through. Take the time for an initial walk-through with the movers. Did they do a thorough inventory of your items and know what will be moved?

• Lock up. Walk through the entire house and make sure everything is out. Also check to make sure the windows are locked, the lights are off, and the doors are closed and locked.

 Click here to download your free moving checklist!

 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.

Creative Tips for Storing Holiday Decorations

Written by Nick Howison and Brad Hillard

The holidays are in full swing, but they end as quickly as they come. The bittersweet combination of decorating, time with in-laws and shopping is an emotional roller coaster; especially when the season comes to a halt. If it seems like a good idea to simply throw all of your holiday decorations in a box in the attic, this post is for you.  The results of a hasty holiday tear-down can be disastrous and make decorating for the next year even more complicated. Take the edge off by using the following tips to efficiently pack and store your holiday decorations:

  1. Rally the Troops: In my house, everyone is determined to “deck the halls”, but when it comes to taking it down, nobody wants to help. Every year I earn their help by taking them out to a dinner and a movie-of-choice after the decorations are down.
  2. Label your Boxes: Writing “fragile ornaments” and “singing-Santa clause”  on their respective boxes helps organize the entire decorating process from start to finish. It’s helpful when assigning tasks to family members. It allows me to ask, “Can you bring down the hand-carved reindeer set from the attic? It’s in box labeled ‘Xmas Living Room’.”
  3. Choose Wisely: TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® has a variety of boxes tailored to your packing needs.  Some unique ones include a dish pack box with an insert for your Christmas tree ornaments. These boxes are big and hold a variety of items so you can use them year-round. Click here to see a few options available to you.
  4. Recycle: Did your gift come with bubble wrap or protective foam? Reuse these perfectly good packing materials in the place of the old, mostly-popped, bubble wrap in your decoration boxes.
  5. Christmas Creativity: Pack smaller ornaments and decorations into an empty egg carton (leftover from the plethora of consumed eggnog). This provides a protective shell for the ornaments and the cartons can be stacked inside a larger box.
  6. Light bulb!: Wrap your lights around pieces of cardboard.  This is a great way to keep the lights from tangling which in turn  protects them from annual damage. Once they are wrapped, place the cardboard pieces in a labeled box for next year.

No matter which method you choose to pack up your holiday decorations, the blog team at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® strives to move you forward no matter the task and we are always available to help with any packing challenge. Share your holiday packing tips with us in the comments!

We hope you enjoy the time spent with your families and wish you a happy holiday season!

Storage Tips 101: Choosing a Storage Facility and Safeguarding Your Valuables

Written by Lisa Kirchhoff

For many, a household move often means placing some items in storage. Whether it’s long-term or short-term, nearby or far away, there are some tips to keep in mind if storing items is in your future:

Choosing a storage facility

Choosing a facility should be based on how long you anticipate your items will remain there, as well as the season and climate.

For longer-term storage of more than three months, or if you must store items over the course of changing seasons, a climate-controlled storage facility is best. Although they do cost more than non-climate-controlled centers, your valuables will stay cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, which is ideal for everything from large appliances to small keepsakes.

For short-term storage up to three months, a non-climate-controlled unit will suffice, but be sure to take extra precautions to prevent mold and mildew from forming.  If your short-term storage takes place during the winter in a northern climate, do not store computer monitors or televisions, as extremely cold temperatures can cause screens to freeze and break.

Check into insurance

As with any valuables, insurance is important with stored items. Even if the facility you choose appears to have a great security system against theft, don’t forget the possibilities of fire, flood, explosion, storms and natural disasters.

Check with the storage facility manager about their insurance coverage. Few facilities provide full insurance coverage for stored items. Some may provide basic insurance, but it will more than likely not be sufficient to cover replacement costs.

It’s also a good idea to check your homeowners or renters policy you have with your own insurance company. It may provide full coverage for your items even when they are stored away from your residence.

You may want to consider purchasing extra insurance coverage if:

  • Items will be stored long-term in a non-climate controlled unit
  • The storage unit is in a flood plain
  • You intend to store extremely valuable items

Watch for our next installment on using a storage facility: Storage Tips 102: packing, preparing and unloading.

Lisa is a guest writer for Movers who Blog and has 19 moves under her belt. She works for US Cargo Control where she blogs about moving supplies