Giving Tuesday

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Giving Tuesday is not just a day, it’s a movement!   This global day of giving is being celebrated on November 29th, and was created to unite us in kicking off the charitable season and to get more engaged by donating time, money, a gift or just the power of your voice.  Interested but not sure where to start? You can search for ways to get involved on their main website or check out some of our favorite nonprofits that are always in need of support to keep doing the amazing work they do.
 
Serve Your City – This Capitol Hill based nonprofit creates essential learning opportunities for at-risk District of Columbia students through innovative programming such as alternative sports (swimming, rowing, tennis), art, financial literacy, after school tutoring and college preparation with the help of passionate volunteers, community organizations, and academic consultants.  There are many options to get involved or donate to this unique organization that is helping to change the outcomes of local youth who are most in need.
 

Rural Dog Rescue – This local rescue group is dedicated to saving the lives of dogs in shelters who are often overlooked and most at risk of being euthanized such as the hounds, the black dogs, the seniors and those with medical needs.  There are many donation options and RDR is always in need of volunteers who can foster and help with events. And of course if you are looking to adopt a new furry family member, this organization is a great place to start your search!

 

Capitol Hill Restoration Society – Founded 60 years ago to help preserve and protect the historic neighborhood’s architectural and residential character, it is now the largest civic association on Capitol Hill, and one of the largest in the District of Columbia. CHRS continues to play a key role in maintaining the integrity, history and appeal of the neighborhood which has been a diverse community for more than 200 years, and is always in need of volunteers to assist with their annual house tour fundraiser and other events, write for the newsletter and provide website support.

 

Small Business Saturday!

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It may be tempting to get caught up in the hoopla of Black Friday madness or want to check out shopping deals from the comfort of home on Cyber Monday.  But please don’t forget to support all the wonderful independent businesses by getting out there for Small Business Saturday on November 26th!  Many of your local shops will also be offering promotions, and it’s a chance to enjoy the fun of chatting with store owners, running into neighbors and getting some real one of a kind finds.  Here’s a few ideas if you’re feeling stuck.
 
Hello, books anyone? – Of course we highly recommend a trip to Capitol Hill Books (as in, if you haven’t been, you must go), and also suggest checking out our friends at East City Books to search for amazing gifts for all those readers in your life or just to treat yourself during this stressful season.
 
Exercise lover in your life? – Sustainable brands of clothing and gear from Summit to Soul, a class pass to Be Here Now Yoga or a giftcard for a massage from Freed Bodyworks.
 
Pets are people too? Howl to the Chief has a large selection of goodies for dogs and cats as well as giftcards that can be used in the boutique or for services such as grooming and pet sitting.
 
Kiddos? Labyrinth Games & Puzzles is newly expanded and full of exciting gift ideas for kids (and adults) of all ages.
 
Home is where the heart is?Fragers Hardware and Garden Center is a good place to scope out both practical and interesting gifts, and Hill’s Kitchen literally has something for everyone who likes to cook, eat, drink or entertain. (and who doesn’t?)
 

Thanks, You!

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It’s the perfect time of year to be thankful. Now, we here at Bookstore Movers do advocate being thankful year round, but we can’t help but get all wrapped up in the holiday season–ha. Wrap. I, for one, am a huge holiday fanatic. I’d like to present, unabashedly, an incomplete list of what we are thankful for:

-Coffee: We wouldn’t be here in the morning without it. Quick estimate in the morning? Thanks coffee.

-Delicious meals: Just in time for Turkey Day! Whether you have traditional stuffing (yum) or mofongo (yuuuum), delicious meals are a huge perk of the season

-That there’s not Christmas music playing in the office: Apparently some people just aren’t ready.

-That I’m not at the office and can play Christmas music: They can fight me.

-Holidays: I’m a sucker for them. Fall and winter are rife with holidays! Halloween? Done. Thanksgiving? On that. Christmas? Of course! Hannukah? For sure! New Years? The best! Tres Reyes? You better believe it! You just watch my holiday flow.

-Friends and Family: This answer is on every thankful list because it’s always true, and we have so many friends and family to be thankful for here. Some of us are lucky enough to be working with their family through BSM. Others are even luckier that they aren’t working with their family. In either case, we are always working with our friends, and I can’t tell you how thankful I am for that.

-Our clients: You make this all possible. This is not an exaggeration. Our clients, especially our repeat clients, not only give us work for one day, they spread the word through reviews and referrals that allow us to gain more work. Not only do they trust us with their moves, they then trust us with their friends and family by suggesting us to others, and we couldn’t be more grateful.

You give us the opportunity to deliver turkeys and Christmas trees to families, to help schools move books, and to get out in the community in general and do some good.
We appreciate everything you do. You allow this local company to exist and flourish. So, thank you. Yes, you, with the bright eyes and perfect hair or lack thereof! We’re thankful for you this year, and we hope you’re surrounded by good food and great friends, with a grateful heart and a full stomach. You deserve it.

 

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Welcome to the Hill!

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Thanksgiving is a time when many of us have a more heightened awareness of all we have to be grateful for, and prioritizing giving to others.  The Bookstore Movers family spreads generosity all year long by regularly donating time and resources to many, many great causes that benefit our local community (as I write this we have crews out delivering trucks full of turkeys that will go to deserving people and families for the upcoming holiday, and next week those same trucks will be making Christmas tree deliveries for a local school fundraiser).
So it is not surprising that November was the kick off month for our new Welcome Packet.  Thanks to the power of collaboration, all BSM clients moving onto the Hill (our original neighborhood stomping grounds, the home of Capitol Hill Books and where our roots run the deepest) will now be receiving a folder filled with materials and promotions from some of our favorite independent businesses and nonprofits here in the neighborhood.  So for customers new to the ‘hood, we’re providing a great kick off point for places to check out for local services, shops, classes and volunteer work.  As a small business, we are committed to supporting other small businesses and nonprofits, and it’s only fair that in the season of giving we share with new residents some of the many resources that make living on the Hill enjoyable and unique.  And for those of you not living on the Hill, it’s an open invitation to come visit our quirky village, and also to make similar commitments and collaboration efforts wherever you do call home.

Thanks, Hill Rag!

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Thanks to local Capitol Hill realtor Heather Schoell for entrusting Bookstore Movers to provide the type of top notch industry expertise that her monthly column in the Hill Rag “Real Estate Matters” is known for! In addition to providing a high quality service for our clients, BSM takes pride in being able serve the local community and partner with other like minded people, businesses and organizations in this mission, and are grateful that we had the opportunity to connect with Heather and offer some practical moving advice for this month’s readers.  The Hill Rag is an incredible resource for a variety of information and we congratulate them in recently celebrating their 40th anniversary. Check them out online, go directly to the rest of our blog for more moving specific tips and other relevant relocation related information, or our estimate form to schedule your next move!

 

Best Books to Hold Up Furniture With

Wobbly table? Chair too short? Buying new furniture can be expensive and stressful, and old furniture often holds sentimental value. If you insist upon keeping furniture, since you don’t yet have money to fix or replace the piece, worry not!  There are options! Do you have an excess of very bad books? (No judgement!) Let’s look at some books that can help you with a furniture emergency!

Old Textbooks–Weighty, expensive, and now obsolete. You kept this thinking you’d look at it every now and again and keep the knowledge fresh in your mind.  Now it mocks you from the shelf and you can’t even remember what class it was for. It’s way too late for buyback, so it’s essentially a $200 reminder that school…happened.  These books are great at propping up furniture to make it taller.

The Twilight Series/Fifty Shades of Grey–No explanations needed. This is a safe space. These books got big and we all let it happen.  Use these books to stabilize a wonky, wobbly table–just point the book spines towards the wall or something so no one has to know you were part of the problem.

That Best-Selling Novel You’ve Been Meaning to Finish But You Never Finished It and Now You Don’t Really Remember the Beginning and You Don’t Want to Start Over Completely– This novel is best for covering dents, holes, or scratched paint! Prominently display the book in front of whatever cosmetic issue your furniture has. Just read the summary on Wikipedia like everyone else on earth does (source: have been in a book club before).

How-To Books for Hobbies You Never Got Into– Have a hobby of collecting books for new hobbies and interests, but not interested enough to actually work hard for it? No problem!  Take those Woodworking and How To Weld books and duct-tape them directly to the furniture you meant to fix. There. Don’t you feel so much more accomplished?

Hopefully, this will help with any issues you have. For any other major issue, the solution is simple: grab a book, whether it’s good or bad, open it, and place it directly in front of your face so that the issues are obscured! Problem solved.

Children’s Books About Moving (Starring Characters You May Recognize)

If you have small children, you likely spend a good deal of time every night reading to them. If you do already, great! That’s additional time spent together, both opening your kids mind up to new information and fostering a love of reading.  If you don’t, you may want to start, since reading is a good way for both you and your child to wind down and relax at the end of the night.

Here at Bookstore Movers, we do encourage reading of every kind (Hi, welcome to this blog!).  If you are moving, you may looking to find books to read to your child to get them accustomed to the idea of moving. I’ve gone ahead and found a couple books about moving with characters you may recognize.  Hopefully, if these are icons you grew up with and loved, it’s just another memory you can share with your child.

While researching children’s books about moving, I found a plethora of books that teach children either about the physical process of moving or discussed the feelings surrounding moving.  There are a ton of resources for a parent, so don’t hesitate to visit your local library or bookstore to look for yourself.  I narrowed it down to three books that I would have loved as a child. Two of which, it turns out, were favorites of my older sisters’ when they made the move from Puerto Rico to the United states–which means these books are available in multiple languages as well.

The first book on the list is a character much, much beloved by older generations. If your children aren’t familiar with him, I 100% endorse finding every episode and bringing back the pinnacle of children’s television.  Fred Roger’s book series are like his show–educational, encouraging, and captivating.  Moving, from his First Experiences Book Series, is a great book. The book is going for a hefty price online, so you’ll want to hop to used bookstores and libraries for this one (and hey, while you’re at it, why not for all of them?).  This book chronicles the entire journey, from the child first learning about the move to the end of the move.  It answers questions you may not even realize that your child is thinking of.

Whether or not you think you stemmed from an alternate universe, you’ve likely heard of the Berenstain Bears. Their book on moving, The Berenstain Bears’ Moving Day, is about Brother Bear and his parents as they move into their well-known tree house.  This book focusses on his worries about his move and making new friends. It’s less explanatory than Mr. Roger’s book, but clearly more cartoony and bright.  Children will relate to Brother Bear and his fears, and you can go to sleep wondering if it was Berenstain or Berenstein.

Our final book is a classic that you may not have specifically read, but would definitely recognize the style of.  A House for Hermit is a picture book by the iconic Eric Carle.  The story focuses on a hermit crab who outgrows his shell and finds a new one.  He decorates his new home and makes friends, but eventually needs to move once more.  Not only will this book show children how to deal with things like moving and growing up, it will also teach them a bit about marine life as well. The artwork, as always, is abstract and beautiful and will keep your kids captivated.

In the end, there are countless children’s’ books about moving, and a great deal of them star characters you know and love.  From Sesame Street to Clifford, Alexander to Little Critter, you’ll find a ton of familiar faces on the pages. So get comfortable, grab that last glass of water, and settle in with your loved ones to teach a little about moving and learn a lot about your family.

And for the record, it’s Berenstain.

How to Tell if You’re Moving into a Haunted House

If you’ve ever been house hunting, you know just what a difficult, stressful time it could be.  There’s so much you have to pay attention to: is this house in a good school zone? How is the water pressure in the shower? Which directions are the windows facing; is there enough light for your plants, and will the sun shine in your eyes in the morning?  The list is endless!  One of the most important questions on said list, of course, is whether or not your new house may be haunted by the restless spirits of the dead.

While it is best to ask beforehand, sometimes it may take a little bit of time for hauntings to become clear.  Here are some simple ways to diagnose a spirit infestation, with effective ways to clear up your problem for good!

Have you placed something down and then immediately lost it?  Some people will chalk this up to moving stress, but that’s just the stress talking. Clearly this is the work of otherworldly forces. This is one of the first major signs of hauntings. If you want to test if a residence comes pre-haunted by the post-deceased, the best way would be to put something really, really cool on the ground, turn around, and shout “I sure hope no one takes my cool stuff!” The best solution to this problem would be to break out the Ouija board, say hello, and spell out “Don’t touch my things, ghost jerk!”  Usually, writing your name with a permanent marker on all your belongings helps too.

Are your books and/or furniture constantly floating with an ominous hum? There are many playful spirits who enjoy making things hover, and significantly more malicious spirits! This is most likely to happen in haunted libraries and living rooms, and the plus side is it looks totally awesome! At this point, you don’t even have to think of a solution because you basically have the coolest floating library ever. If you insist upon having a stationary, less-cool library, if the spirit is repeatedly throwing copies of embarrassing books you tried to hide on the lower shelves of your collections, or if there’s a creepy clown doll anywhere in your house ever, you could try moving to a house not built on a cemetery.*

If you hear the horrible beating of a tell-tale heart, you probably should not have killed a man. This one is on you.  For shame.

Have you been haunted in multiple locations? Oftentimes, this will start as a benign childhood haunting–odd drawings, whispers at night, and blaming your all-too-real imaginary friend for horrible deeds are common symptoms. This could move on to more violent incidents as a teen, including hovering or thrown objects (see above), paranoia, and sweaty palms. As an adult, you may move into a new home to find pictures of yourself as a child with your name on the back in some unknown handwriting, or your long-lost childhood doll, still wearing it’s ratty Victorian dress but now missing both its eyes. If this is the case, the spirit is likely haunting you instead of any specific location. The good new is the house you’ve bought is not haunted at all!  The bad news is you are condemned to live with what is possibly a demon, and they never do dishes or pay rent. Bummer.

Hopefully, your new home is phantom-free! Just be sure to steer clear of hitchhiking ghosts and spirit boards in order to keep your home in pristine condition. If at any point you become aware of any new presence, go through whatever items may have recently been brought in the home.  Are they ancient, and pulsing with power you cannot comprehend or explain? Were they owned by someone who met a terrible, violent end? Are they literally human remains?  All items in these categories should be sent to Goodwill or to lesser-liked relatives. Just play it safe and your home will be happy and haunt free!

*Full disclosure, there are dead people everywhere.  There are dead bodies, decomposing, deep under your feet right now.  There is literally no escaping it.  Sleep well.

Getting (And Getting Rid Of) Boxes

Prior to your move, getting cardboard boxes can be a hassle. They’re cumbersome, surprisingly expensive, and can leave cuts more obnoxious than paper cuts if you’re clumsy. (Full disclosure: I am clumsy.) After your move, you’ve got roughly a billion boxes and it’s just, if not more, as annoying because suddenly you have to get rid of them. Sure you could toss them in the trash, but then you have to live with the fact that you single handedly are probably causing global warming–you shouldn’t have taken that 20 minute shower. It felt so good, but at what cost?

This is a handy guide to getting and getting rid of boxes. Hopefully after going through some options, you can see which is the best for you and your move.

Getting Boxes

Buy Boxes

The first and probably most common step is just to straight up buy some boxes. You can get boxes from a ton of retailers, and even online at specially sites or plain old Amazon. Life Pro Tip: if you book us for packing services, you can buy boxes directly from us. We got you covered.

Rent Reusable Boxes

If you’re more earth conscious, you may want to rent reusable bins instead of using cardboard boxes. This is a quick and easy process– schedule deliver and pickup, pack bins, unpack bins, and you’re all set. You don’t have to worry about tape or cardboard everywhere, and you already know what to do when you’re done with them. Occasionally we have our own reusable bins for rent, but when we’re out we also recommend lendabox.com

Ask for Boxes

This is what I lived with as a kid! Any time it was time to move, my mom would be at grocery stores asking if they have any boxes. There’s no shame in trying! This strategy pretty much always landed us with loads of boxes for free. You could also check websites like Craigslist or ask apartment offices. When it comes to used boxes, though, you always need to test durability. You don’t want them falling about on you.

Getting Rid of Boxes

Return Boxes

This is the easiest option! If you rented your boxes, bam, return them and you’re all done.

Toss Boxes

You could throw boxes out, but every time you do a rare type of animal goes extinct.

Recycle Boxes

There are multiple ways to recycle your boxes. Literally putting them in a recycling bin is one. You could also use them to compost, or to line garden beds. You could also list your boxes on Craigslist for free, and they’ll be gone in no time.

Sell Boxes

If you’re looking to sell boxes, you could use Craigslist as well. Some places will buy back boxes that they’ve sold you (someone should really just telling them about renting boxes). Check out things like BoxCycle.com to buy and sell boxes.

Donate Boxes

While it may not be the first thing you think to donate, a lot of charities really appreciate donations of cardboard boxes. Check out some charities in your area to see if homeless shelters or food banks may be in need.

Make Something New

I could have lumped this in with recycling, sure, but I was much too excited to. When I was little, my mom would let us make play houses out of boxes. We went wild with leftover boxes–we even got in trouble for covering the basement stairs in boxes to make them a slide. At one point we covered a hill in disassembled boxes and slid down it on other boxes. When you’re a kid in a new place with no friends and a ton of boxes, you make your own fun. Nowadays the trend is to make furniture out of boxes (we’ve blogged about this before!), which I think is just about the most genius thing ever. Why’d I even move all this furniture then–I got boxes galore! Check out pinterest, youtube, and instructables for loads of tutorials, and be on the lookout for when we can do one of our own! I’m itching to get back to my cardboard crafting roots.

There you have it! There’s a multitude of ways to acquire and dispose of boxes, so don’t let it become one of your moving stressors! Don’t let old ideas about moving box you in–moving can be painless. Do the world some good and rent, recycle, donate, or up-cycle some boxes. Have fun with it! You’ll be glad you tried.

How to Get Settled in After Moving – Moving Tips #3

Sometimes the last step of a move is the most forgotten one: How to get settled in after moving?

The Bookstore Movers van pulls away, and you turn around to a house full of boxes and furniture, you’re tired, you’re probably a bit hungry, and you’re generally overwhelmed.  Your new life in your new house has just begun, the culmination of what can be years of searching in some cases.  So, what do you do next?

Here are our latest moving tips, designed to help guide you through this last step of the moving process.

Unpacking:
•    Unpack the music first – an ipod with speakers, a laptop, a massive stereo, whatever your fancy, a little music makes whole process easier and makes an otherwise empty house feel like home…
•    Clean – We know, we know, it’s the last thing you want to do, and hopefully your house was cleaned before you moved in, but still just passing through a room with a broom or a vacuum before you start opening moving boxes might be a good idea. It will prolong the time before you next have to clean, and will give the whole place an even fresher feeling when it’s all set up.
•    Start with the … – The bedroom?  The kitchen?  The kids’ rooms?  This is all a personal preference, what really matters though is to start with unpacking a whole room and work from there rather than just opening moving boxes hither and thither.  Starting with one whole room will give you a beach head on the whole process, a place you can retreat to to relax when you need a break.  If it’s late when you start, the bedroom might be the best bet; if you’re hungry, maybe the kitchen or dining room; if you have kids or pets, getting them set up first might save you some stress later.  Whatever the solution that works for you is, just keep it organized.
•    Organize your trash – depending on where you live, a lot of moving supplies can be recycled. No matter where you live, lots of moving supplies are re-usable.  Come up with a plan before you start unpacking so you know what you’ll be doing with the moving boxes and bubble wrap that are about to start piling up.

Settling In:
•    Introduce yourselves to your neighbors – Knowing your neighbors can really change your impression of an area and your experience living there.  When you’ve just moved in is the best time to swing by and say hello, you can ask them little questions about things like trash pickup and already feel settled in you new community.
•    Check out a local newspaper – or website or coffee shop bulletin board, whatever there is local to your town or neighborhood that will give you a sense of what is going on there and what you can get involved in.
•    Go for a walk – This can even be a great way to take a break from packing, just go outside to get some fresh air. Walking around your new neighborhood now that you live there will give you a different perspective on the place, you’ll see your new home in a new light and you’re bound to notice things you hadn’t seen before.

Getting settled in after moving takes time. Over the coming weeks and months you’ll learn more about your surroundings and meet more of your neighbors.  Hopefully it will all work out and you’ll never have to move again – but please do remember if you wind up changing houses, you know where the find the best movers in DC!