Downsizing made simple with TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®

Written by Jessy Herman

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

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

For more helpful tips, watch the video below!

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

The pros and cons of living with friends

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK living with friends

Written by Katie Peterson

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

The secret to successfully purging your belongings

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK Downsizing

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

Setting up the purge

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

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

Bathroom

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

Kitchen

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

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

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

Living room

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

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

Bedroom

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

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

Closets

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

You can do it!

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

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

What to expect from professional movers

It’s no secret, moving can be a difficult task! Between packing up your belongings and preparing the kids for a new school, you may find yourself overwhelmed with the options before you when it comes to hiring professional movers to help.

At TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®, we have more than 30 years of experience in the moving industry and make it our top priority for our trained, uniformed, and caring teams to exceed your expectations. We treat your items like our own and strive to make your moving experience stress-free and enjoyable.

We asked our move heroes what customers can expect when they move with the Movers Who Care®, here’s what they had to say.

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!

Top 10 Great Cardboard Craft-Off entries

A prom dress, ukulele, a Ferrari, and robot costumes?! These were just a few of the more than 100 entries received during our Great Cardboard Craft-Off social media contest! We encouraged participants to think outside the box and challenged them to transform cardboard in a way we’d never seen before. We’ve upcycled plenty of old moving boxes throughout our 30 years in business, creating everything from Halloween costumes to Valentine’s Day and Christmas crafts, but the entries we received this summer took creativity to a whole new level.

Thanks to the help of our three contest judges and DIY gurus, Lynn at Pocketful of Paint, Chelsea at Making Home Base, and Haeley at Design Improvised, three winners were selected!

Drumroll please …

Great Cardboard Craft-Off 1st place

Great Cardboard Craft-Off 1st place

Great Cardboard Craft-Off 3rd place

Congratulations to our three grand prize winners! With so many creative entries, we wanted to showcase those whose scores were high enough to land them in the top 10. In no particular order, enjoy the remaining seven below!

578e3f079f111-imageRachel H. – A pink and mint green ice cream truck play prop and photo booth for Millie’s 3rd birthday party!
Cardboard Craft-Off entryTresha A. – A Victorian Rose Gold Lamp Shade. Made out of cardboard and draped with clear acrylic beads. Used fabric paint to create texture/swirl design and lamp kit to add light. The base is geometrically shaped.
Cardboard Craft-Off entryVictoria O. – It may be too hot in Texas for real outdoor camping, but this vintage cardboard Airstream is just the cure for the summertime blues! My 4 year old and I created this retro camper complete with a working door and a custom sunroof (“it’s too dark in here mommy!”) out of recycled moving boxes to go with his woodland themed room. We definitely earned our merit badges in the art of duct tape with this one.
Cardboard Craft-Off entryJennifer W. – An all cardboard 1:48 scale dollhouse and moving truck! As you can tell by the truck and boxes, this family is just now moving in. Some of the furniture has made it upstairs,while some is gathered in the front room as the movers from TWO MEN AND A TRUCK diligently bring everything inside. A figure that would live in this house would by 1.5 inches tall. This house, truck and all accessories are made entirely out of cardboard, craft glue and varnish. The curtains are corrugated cardboard and everything else is cardboard from the backs of recycled notebooks.
Cardboard Craft-Off entryBrendan R. – This is replica of a Ferrari 308 as seen on the greatest television show of all time, Magnum P.I. I built this for the 2016 Monument Avenue 10K in Richmond, VA. It is a multimedia piece, but the bulk of it is constructed from re-purposed cardboard. Aloha!
Cardboard Craft-Off entryLiz R. – I joined a 3D construction class when I was a new kid to a new school as a way to meet new friends. What I found instead was a love of making life size cardboard instruments and so much more. This was my first piece, a ukulele made to scale measuring 19”x6.5”x2.5”, height/width/depth. I used cardboard and glue to create the very sturdy piece, then added strings, frets, a bridge, and decoration. I still have it, and it goes with me to college as a reminder to never stop creating art that makes me happy and proud.
Cardboard Craft-Off entrySherl J. – A fun and inviting cardboard stove to bring out the skills in your little chef.

Thank you to all who shared their crafty talent and entered the Great Cardboard Craft-Off! To stay up-to-date on upcoming contests and happenings, be sure to like us on Facebook and subscribe to our blog.

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. Let us help move you forward!

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!

Ready to move? Here is how to find the best insurance rates for your new home

Finding the best insurance rates

Whether you’re buying or renting a house at your new location, insurance is one of the most expensive costs you’ll have to deal with upfront. However, if you know the “ins and outs” of shopping for coverage, you’ll be able to get a great plan at an even better price. So, don’t think you have to just settle for mediocre coverage or pay a high premium when you purchase or rent a new home. Instead, follow these simple tips to find the best insurance coverage at an affordable price.

1. Bundle your coverage

Like any other company, insurance agencies want your business, and they are willing to give you a little incentive to get it. Most agencies do this by rewarding you with a better rate when you bundle multiple policies with them. In many cases, pairing your home or renters insurance and auto insurance with the same company can actually save you as much as 30 percent. In addition to those policies, many companies are even beginning to offer life insurance policies that can be bundled with your coverage to help you save even more. Bundling your policies isn’t only beneficial from a financial standpoint, though. Bundled policies typically simplify the claims and communication process, as it is the same for all of your policies.

2. Raise your deductible

Boosting your deductible is another way to save on your insurance premium. The deductible is the amount of the damage that you have to pay out-of-pocket before insurance kicks in in the event of a claim. Many policies with higher premiums are based on a $500 or $1,000 deductible. However, homeowners or renters who can afford to pay a little more out-of-pocket when filing a claim or who are willing to gamble that they won’t run into any issues may choose a deductible as high as $10,000 to save as much as 35 percent.

3. Update security

Most homeowners are aware that installing fire alarms and carbon monoxide sensors can lower their monthly insurance costs, but they may not realize that installing an advanced alarm system or otherwise improving the security of their home has an even bigger benefit. Alarm systems that are connected to a central monitoring system can often cut your premium by up to 10 percent, which is worth looking into as a new homeowner. And some systems may even cut your costs by as much as 20 percent, depending on what is included. While installing an alarm system may not really be an option if you are renting, you can still often get discounts on your policy for upgrading the locks on the door, improving the fire monitoring system, and taking additional measures to update the security of your rental property.

4. Shop around

Another great way to save on your new insurance premium is taking the time to shop around. Many new homeowners and renters are tempted to go with the first coverage they find in a hurry, but it really is to your advantage to get rates from at least three different companies to compare policies and rates. Make sure you’re getting a comparable quote from each company and compare the dollars and cents of each option.

5. Maintain a good credit rating

As you were looking for and finalizing your new home purchase or lease, you wanted your credit rating as high as possible. But, you might not have known that could also be beneficial for your insurance premium. Be sure to maintain good credit by paying your bills on time and avoiding a large balance on any of your credit cards to achieve a lower insurance premium.

Insurance is an important consideration when it comes to buying or renting a new home. From one location to the next, your premium could change significantly, so it’s important to take some time before you move to find the best insurance coverage and rate you can. Use these simple tips to secure the best coverage and have peace of mind as you move.

Michael Rogers, US Insurance AgentsAuthor
Michael Rogers is the Operations Director of USInsuranceAgents.com. With over 5 years of experience and knowledge in the insurance industry, Michael contributes his level of expertise as a leader and an agent to educate and secure coverage for thousands of clients.

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!

Easy ways to add green upgrades to your home

Home recycling center

You’ve just moved, so you want to start things off on a fresh slate with a brand new commitment to making your new place more environmentally-friendly. But after the torturous process of staging and selling, packing and unpacking, who wants to spend a bunch of time on complicated or pricey projects?

Luckily, many of the most beneficial home upgrades only require a few, easy-breezy changes —installing a new door or putting in a water filtration center, for instance. Let’s take a look at some of the simplest, fuss-free ways to give your home a green makeover.

Install a smart thermostat

Energy experts have long known that programmable thermostats could save homeowners beaucoup bucks — and plenty of energy to boot. The problem is they were often programmed incorrectly (or not at all!), so those energy savings wound up largely as missed opportunities. But now, many smart thermostats “learn” your behavior and tailor energy use to optimize efficiency while still keeping things comfortable, alerting you to fluctuations in temperatures in real-time that can affect energy expenses.

Why you should do it: It could save you a potential 1,785 kWh per year on your energy bills, according to initial industry estimates.

Swap out your front door

Homes lose a lot of energy to air leaks — and sometimes that energy escapes right out the front door, quite literally. Hollow metal and wooden exterior doors are far less efficient than their insulated steel or fiberglass counterparts, which have a polyurethane foam core that protects your home from the elements. That sturdy center keeps out the wind and chill, but it also moderates temperatures during the summer months as well, so you’ll save energy throughout the whole year. Plus, there’s nothing like a fresh new entryway to make a dramatic entrance into the next phase of your life.

Why you should do it: Not only do air leaks waste energy, they also allow more moisture to penetrate the frame, which could cause structural damage and even rotting!

Repaint using VOC-free products

If you’re planning on swapping out your home’s hues for a brand new shade, consider this: you may also be pouring toxic chemicals into the air you breathe every day. Many interior paints, thinners, and finishes contain what are known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which emit gasses that have been tentatively linked to a number of health problems, including asthma and even cancer, according to the EPA. Thankfully, many paint makers are now wise to this issue and offer VOC-free alternatives to their traditional offerings, so you can keep the air in your home clean and clear.

Why you should do it: Many states are already making moves to ban toxic chemicals like methylene chloride, perchloroethylene, and trichloroethylene, which may appear in paint thinners.

Set up a recycling center

An overstuffed bin waiting to be carried out to the curb definitely takes the thrill out of recycling, and it can be a real eyesore, too. Not exactly what you want your neighbors to see when you give them the tour! I love the idea of creating your own mini-recycling center in a drawer pullout below the counter — it will also save you some space if your kitchen is less than roomy, as well. No matter how you choose to do it, gussying up your recycling area with separate bins for sorting different materials will definitely help drum up the motivation to properly pitch your waste.

Why you should do it: According to Columbia University’s Earth Institute, only about 6.5 percent of the 33.6 million tons of plastic used annually by Americans is recycled.

Purchase a water filtration system

Americans are addicted to their water bottles. We each use an average 167 recyclable plastic bottles a year, and about 80 percent of those go into landfills, rather than recycling centers. But tap water doesn’t exactly have the best rep, either. Although the vast majority of tap water is considered safe, in small areas where public utilities are cash-strapped, water quality may not even meet the EPA’s federal requirements. If you have questions about your new water, you should always check with your public water system, but in most cases, our squeamishness over drinking from the tap is just a matter perception. Instead of opting for wasteful (and expensive!) water bottles, try installing a water filtration system on your sink so you can kick the plastic bottle habit for good.

Why you should do it: Not only are all those bottles piling up in our landfills, some of them are skipping the waste processing all together and ending up in our oceans — 10 metric tons of plastic are dragged into the Pacific each day, according to some estimates. That’s a lot of trash, but just by implementing a very small change, you can make sure at least some of that waste is diverted.

 

Erin Vaughan, ModernizeErin Vaughan is a blogger, gardener and aspiring homeowner. She currently resides in Austin, TX where she writes full time for Modernize.com, with the goal of empowering homeowners with the expert guidance and educational tools they need to take on big home projects with confidence.

Making moves in the COPA América Centenario

Written by Mark List

I’ve worked for TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® the last three years, the first two as an intern,

Mark List, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK International
Mark List, DOT and Fleet Safety Specialist

and this past year full-time after graduating from Grand Valley State University where I was collegiate runner in cross country and track. Sports had always been a staple in my life, and for many years I had participated in soccer. So when I was approached about helping coordinate efforts for COPA America Centenario, as TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® was contracted to provide trucks to transport the competing teams’ equipment to and from the airport during their stay throughout 10 different cities across the U.S., I jumped at the opportunity!

For the first time in its 100 year history, the COPA America Centenario was hosted in the U.S. Throughout the 10 cities, 16 men’s soccer teams played 32 matches during the month of June. Nearly 1.5 million fans came together over the duration of the tournament, averaging more than 46,000 in attendance at each game.

Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL
TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® pictured at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, FL during the COPA America Centenario!

As part of my TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® coordination duties for the tournament, I “lived” in a hotel and worked in Chicago at the COPA America Centenario headquarters on Michigan Avenue for two weeks. With my “day job” as a DOT and Fleet Safety Specialist at the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® corporate office, I had gotten used to traveling and life in hotels, but being 15 stories up on the north side of Chicago overlooking Lake Michigan was a pretty great start to this experience.

One of the first things I had to do upon my arrival in Chicago was meet with Delta Airline’s corporate team, and the head of security for both of Chicago’s airports, Midway International and O’Hare International. This meeting was to discuss standard safety procedures for entering and exiting the tarmacs, not only in Chicago, but across the country. This meeting was the first time I really saw the enormous effort it would take from our teams in each city. The expectations were already high, but at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® our mission statement holds us to a higher standard!

It was at this point I actually stepped foot on the tarmac with Lauren Munson, marketing coordinator for our Chicago franchises. We were walked through how to get onto the tarmac, expectations of our drivers, and exiting the tarmac. Little did I know, in a few days I would be out greeting Team USA and assisting our move team onto the tarmac to load all of their equipment!

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK Chicago moving for COPA América Centenario
TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® Chicago crew members Jeff and Ethan working to move team equipment during the COPA América Centenario soccer tournament!

Overall, COPA went very smoothly for TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® due to the hard work of our franchisees, managers, movers, and drivers. Without their dedication and positive attitudes, this event wouldn’t have been as successful as it was.

I’m very thankful I had the opportunity to work with these franchises and develop several friendships within our system, as well as outside. It was an amazing experience on all fronts, and let’s be honest, how many jobs allow you to watch elite level soccer matches as a true facet of your position? I want to say thank you again to all the franchises for supporting me and making it an easy few weeks of coordination with TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® and the COPA tournament, the Transportation Team including Rich, Lisa, Gina, Mark, Jen, Maria, and Lou for a memorable experience in Chicago, and lastly, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®/International, Inc., for setting me up for success and putting me in a position to learn and grow from various experiences I’ve had during my time with the company!

Mark List - COPA Transportation Team
Mark List with the Transportation Team in Chicago!

For more photos during our time moving teams throughout the tournament, view our Facebook album!

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. For more information or to learn about opportunities in becoming a franchisee at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® visit franchise.twomenandatruck.com to begin moving your career forward!