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Thanks, You!

turkey 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!

Lookin' Jolly 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 judgment!) 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

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!

Making Moving with Teens More Tolerable

Like lawyers or opossums, teens aren’t known for being easy to handle. If you’ve got one, chances are you’ve already resigned yourself to this. In fact, you’re probably holding up pretty well after years of rising back-sass levels. But if you’ve ever wondered how you can make a move easier for your teen (and thus ultimately, yourself), than this post if for you. There’s a ton of reasons you may need a move during your child’s teen years, and, despite their insistence, none of them are just to ruin your kid’s life. Full disclosure: I moved a ton as a kid. I’m a military brat, and the youngest of four. Moving was just a part of life for us, so I was never terribly upset when it was time to pack up. But not everyone grew up crossing cities off a map. This is a huge step for you, and it’s a huge step for them. Slack is needed in both direction. Whether they like it or not, you’ve got to move and they’re coming with you. Disclaimer: Since we do local moves, this list really pertains to moves like that–only an hour or less away. If you’re moving farther, you can still use this list as inspiration but may not be able to try everything. Probably the number one reason why a teen won’t want to move is because of their connection with their friends. That is a real statistic that I just made up right now, but it’s at least 80% probably true. Don’t scoff at teen friendship–the temptation to act like friendship is nothing is certainly there but remember that your teen’s life is mostly school at this point. Friends are all they have. You were at that point at their age–close friends you thought you’d never leave or forget. Remember them? Good. Now remember: that’s how your teen will think of their friends from high school down the line. You may be physically moving, but you don’t want to completely sever that tie. Here are some good options for keeping friendships alive. While you’re getting everything set to move, it’s in your best interest to let your teen hang out when their friends whenever possible. This gets your teen out of your hair and makes them so much happier. Just drop them off at the mall, see if they can have more sleepovers, treat them to the movies. Let their friends’ parents know what’s up and hopefully they’ll be willing to help you out. As for funding this excursions, you can find as many cheap or free options as you can–just hanging out playing games or watching netflix is awesome with friends–but hey, moving never was all that cheap. Budget movie trips and popcorn in with your moving costs. Let’s face it: goodbye parties, while sweet, are also super,super sad. I may be biased because I once threw myself a goodbye party and only 2 people came. Not even my roommates came. They were home; they just stayed in their rooms. Regardless, it’s a somber occasion and it kind of makes you miss people more. I still think you should allow your teen to have a goodbye party to say goodbye to the old place and their old memories. But I propose you don’t stop there. Invite your kid’s old friends to come to the new place once you’re all situated so they can have a move in party as well. It’ll remind them that they didn’t lose everything when they moved homes. Take a ton of photos. Not just digital–print some out. Frame them. Decorate the frames. Give some to your teen and one of their best friends. It’s a physical memento and it can mean the world to your kid and their friends. See if they can visit for some school events! This can really help a teen feel a strong connection to their old school and their old friends. If possible, and if your teen is into this kind of thing, try to go back to a couple of events at the old school. Sports games are an obvious one for this, but sometimes there are really school specific events like Battle of the Bands or spirit week type events that you may want to look into. I know one of the high schools I went to had a strange legacy of air band events, and another had a Mr. and Miss High School, which was an odd sort of humorous pageant event. A big one to look out for: ask the school if your teen can still attend dance events like homecoming or prom. Maybe a friend can bring them as a plus one. In any case, it can make a move a lot less scary knowing that you can still go back on occasion. Chances are your teen isn’t so excited to help move. I usually was, but I was a weird kid. I loved helping pack, and talking to the movers. I especially loved unpacking–I called it a Christmas for things you already owned. Look, I didn’t have a lot of friends. Keeping your teen a little in the process can help them feel like they have a little more control in their lives. Here are some ways you can get your teen involved without it feeling like a punishment for them. Give your kid a say in the discard process. Let them cull their closet and toss whatever doesn’t fit or suit them anymore. It can be harder for parents to let go than it can be for teens, but you can’t expect them to keep the same things forever no matter how cost-effective that would be. Set up a yard sale for the items you no longer need. If they go through their things and find items worth trying to sell, let them run a section in order to earn some more pocket cash. If you’re feeling particularly generous, you might you give them the whole pot–or just toss it in the movie and popcorn fund! When it comes to your teen’s new room, let your teen be the boss. It’s hard to give up control when you’re trying to organize and design everything, but having your teen personalize their space by painting or arranging furniture and picture frames will help them feel more at home. This can mean extra work for you (unless you want to invite your teen’s friends over again–I bet they take pizza as payment!) but in the long run it’ll be worth it. Keeping a teen happy isn’t the easiest job in the world–sometimes it’s pretty much impossible. But believe it or not, you were a teen once too. Your kid is not some other species, they’re pretty much half you. Don’t forget that as hard as balancing work, life, and moving is, it’s important to remember how it’s affecting people around you too. Maybe when you make it easier for your kids, they can start cutting you slack as well. And remember, you’re still young at heart too, so don’t forget to take yourself out to the movies or the mall with your kid once in awhile too!

How to Prepare for Moving Day- Moving Tips #2

Moving day is pure excitement, but it can also be pure stress.  It’s the culmination of so many events – an apartment or house search, negotiations over a lease and contract; it may even coincide with a  marriage or a growing family; it may mark the biggest single purchase you’ll make in your whole life (a new home!).  The day itself can feel like it’s bringing all these things together, but if you follow our moving tips, moving day can be stress-free. Here are our moving day tips: •    Charge your cell phone.  Everything will be more stressful if you’re running around looking for plugs and counting the bars your battery has left. •    Be there when we are.  We take arrival times seriously, so when we tell you what time we’ll show up at your place, we mean it. If you’re not there though, and we wind up sitting on the sidewalk waiting for you to come back from somewhere, it doesn’t suit anybody’s schedule.  Beginning the day right means everything will go well. •    Don’t be afraid to let the movers do the work.  When we leave, we go home and get to rest, and that’s when your work begins. Unpacking, obsessing over whether the carpet ties the room together or not, it’s tiring stuff, so save your energy.  Let us move the boxes and set things up for you. •    Pack a moving day box.  Keep your essentials handy in a separate moving box, including ID, your new lease, keys, medications, toiletries, extra eyeglasses, your cell phone charger, and a sandwich or two for snacks during the day and at night.  There is nothing worse than rummaging through moving boxes looking for your keys when you arrive at your new place.  Trust us! •    Give the old place a final walk through.  It can seem hectic when it’s moving day and we’re there packing things up and you’re wondering how we’re going to get to your new place, but it is worth it to walk through your old place one last time before you leave. You’ll often find you’ve forgotten something, and if you’re attached to your old home it can even be a nice way to say goodbye. •    Food!  Everything is more stressful when you’re hungry, so either make sure that moving day box has some snacks in it, or pick out a place near your new apartment where you’ll be able to get a quick bite if you’re feeling low on energy. •    Hire a babysitter.  The same might do for pets. If you have small kids, this is a great day to find someone else to take care of them. Don’t get us wrong – we love kids, but moving is stressful for them too.  Knowing that they’re being taken care of will let you focus more on the move, and it can help keep things simple and complication-free.  And hey, won’t it be cool when your kids come to the new house and find take-out pizza in the kitchen and all their stuff waiting for them in their new room? We live for moving day – it’s our job.  We promise that we’ll be there and we’ll do our best work for you.  If you are prepared and ready, then it’s all going to go perfectly, we’re sure of it. These are our ideas – let us know if you have your own thoughts on what makes for a successful move.