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How to Prepare Your Move – Moving Tips #1

  A successful move isn’t just a question of hiring the right moving company – it’s also about planning ahead.  Below are some tips on how to prepare your move.  Over the coming weeks we’ll add a few more posts on other moving tips, including how to prepare for moving day and how to get settled once the moving trucks pull away. For starters though, here are some moving tips on how to plan a successful move: •    Assess your budget.  Be realistic about what you can afford, but don’t try to cut too many corners. It can be better and safer to do a move yourself then to sign up for some too-good-to-be-true offer you find online and that’s likely to turn into a moving scam or to cost much more than you expected. Most importantly though, incorporate moving expenses into the estimated cost of your new house or apartment so that you’re not left with a nasty surprise on closing day when you realize your bank account is empty and so is your new house… •    Load up on boxes, tape, and moving supplies before moving day so you don’t find yourself stuck at the last minute.  You really can’t get too much, when it comes to moving supplies, and you’ll probably need twice as much as you think.  As a general (and very imprecise) guideline – for a sparsely furnished 3-bedroom house, 100 boxes ought to do it.  If you’ve got a lot of heavy items like books, think more boxes.  Better to have lots of small heavy boxes than a few enormous and immovable ones.  Craigslist can be a great source for cheap boxes and moving supplies.  Home Depot is another good bet. •    Simplify!  The less stuff you have on moving day, the easier the move, so take this as an opportunity to simplify your life. Do you need as much furniture in your new place? Would you be better off without 7,000 pairs of shoes?  If you never use that set of weights, is it worth lugging them across town?  Locate your nearest Good Will or Salvation Army and find out if they’re interested in any of the things you’re getting rid of and your moving day can even do good in the community.  (And your movers will thank you!) •    Eat eat eat! There is no need to move half-filled boxes of pasta, single-serving soy sauce packets from the Chinese takeout place, or any of the other random bits of food that might be hanging out in your kitchen.  If you start eating through your stocks before moving day, you’ll save yourself some hassle and you’ll have a cleaner kitchen when you unpack. •    Forward your mail.  Either go to the post office or just arrange with whoever will be replacing you.  Even if you think you’ve called everyone to let them know your new address, there will inevitably be someone who slips through the cracks – knowing your mail is following you is really reassuring. •    Reserve elevators and loading docks.  Take care of this as early as possible, especially if you’re moving during the summer or near the beginning or end of any month, those are peak times and service elevators can get busy. •    Start early – Even if you’re hiring movers to pack for you, it’s good to prepare things in advance.  When you wake up the day before moving day, if nothing has been packed up or even prepared, the move will be much more stressful than if you’ve at least looked through your things and figured out what needs to be sent where. Moving can be stressful, but with the right moving company and the right preparation, it can come off without a hitch.  Oh, and if you think of any other preparation tips we haven’t included, let us know and we’ll add them on.

Oh the Places You’ll Go: When New Years Resolutions and Moving Goals Collide

It’s that time of year again when the holidays are behind us, the cold is upon us and the hope of something great to come is in the future. What do new years resolutions and moving have in common? You’d be surprised that many things we often resolve to do better come January also double as helpful tips when preparing for a move. De-Clutter: Many of us long to live simpler, cleaner lives and this mission can get a jump start right in your home. Start by checking out what’s lurking in your cabinets. Why keep a waffle iron you use twice a year when you could just go out for waffles instead? Look through your stash of vitamins, make up, and bath and body products to see what is outdated, expired or in need of a major clear out. Also be honest about what clothes, shoes, coats and accessories you really wear when examining your closets. Do you have excess furniture or are you paying to keep pieces in storage you don’t really need? Most of us are guilty of having at least a few embarrassing boxes of shame that never even get unpacked in between moves with unknown contents inside. If you are not sure where to begin, do a little bit at a time, and see each mini-project you tackle all the way to fruition. And if you made the decision to part with some belongings but have no idea how to re-home your unwanted stuff, we often recommend A Wider Circle, the Habitat Restore, the Salvation Army or Freecyle as great options to explore. Many animal rescues and shelters like the Washington Humane Society will gladly accept your extra sheets and towels as donations, as well as other gently used pet items you no longer need such as outgrown crates, beds and harnesses. This is a great way to free up some space in your home and make your next move easier, while helping others at the same time.   Expand your Horizons: It’s not uncommon in the new year to resolve to volunteer with a nonprofit, learn a new skill, launch a hobby you’ve always been curious about or explore different places. And while you are tutoring kids at a local school, learning to cook Thai food, taking an art class or hiking the trails of DC, you are not only becoming a well-rounded and interesting person, you are actually setting yourself up to be more successful at moving too. We provide our customers with a lot of helpful pre-move information and tips that when read, absorbed and put into action takes a lot of the stress out of moving. The same way you conquered your fear and walked into that Soul Cycle studio for the first time, you can handle all the different challenges that come your way throughout the moving process. If you reserved a spot with Bookstore Movers, you’re already on a great track! But take it a step further by getting to know all the moving rules and regulations where you currently live and at your new residence. Reserve elevators and loading docks. Purchase street permits. Scope out important details like walking distances and narrow staircases and let us know in advance so we’re prepared. Think of us as partners in this life adventure and your move as a project to sink your teeth into. Feel inspired by the changes that are coming instead of overwhelmed. A positive attitude can go a long way to mastering new challenges successfully and makes the experience feel more enjoyable.   Manage Finances: We all know how expensive it is to live in the DC region, and it’s a constant balancing act to stick to a budget. Modest housing choices can free up cash flow for eating out, travel and the occasional shopping spree. If you are good at keeping spending splurges in check you might feel comfortable designating more money for luxuries at home. Who doesn’t want a strong financial plan in place for the new year? The key in all of this is making smart choices and recognizing the difference between what is necessary for you and what is a budget busting indulgence . When moving, a similar balance is key. Many people are tempted to go for the cheapest option out there. We may not be the most inexpensive option, but we offer a top quality service by being licensed and insured, hiring only the best movers and investing in their training, and providing an experienced support team that gives excellent customer service from start to finish. So if choosing a reputable company with a great track record seems worth the extra money but puts you at the top of your budget, where is it possible to save? See if you can find free boxes or borrow bins. Pack carefully and minimize the number of loose items which are notorious time wasters. Transport small items yourself. Be flexible with your moving date and be willing to move on a lower volume day such as in the middle of the week if it’s possible for your schedule. Avoid moves during peak summer months if possible. And for those of you that just don’t have the time, and determine it to be worth every penny to have extra help, there are also some great optional services to give you the support you need. We offer a reusable plastic bin rental program that includes delivery and pick up. You might choose to schedule one of our packing crews if you need help getting your belongings wrapped and packed into boxes before the move. This can be everything, or to keep costs down you can opt to handle some packing yourself and hire professionals to tackle just a portion that you find especially daunting such as the kitchen, your huge book collection or all the fragile items. An excellent moving experience with real professionals can be affordable if you plan. Consider the days of enlisting your friends to lug heavy furniture up the stairs with nothing but pizza to thank them officially over.   Whether you just moved, want to move, need to move or never want to move again, you can resolve to kick 2016 off in a way that will make you feel prepared for any change that might come your way!  

Moving Scams: The Bait and Switch

In honor of the holidays, we thought we’d give another tip on common moving scams.  In our last post on moving scams, we shared the story of a friend of ours and his nightmare move cross country.  One of the traps that story didn’t include though is one of the biggest moving scams: the bait and switch. You visit a website, you call up a moving company, and they talk to you about your move, and then they quote you an unbelievably low price, often flat.  You’re tempted, you’re skeptical, but then maybe you’ve stumbled on the best deal out there?  And even if it’s not the best moving company, maybe saving a couple hundred bucks is worth it? And then come moving day, you find out the truth: that estimate wasn’t based on anything. While you’re standing there with your lease about to expire and your whole lives in moving boxes, the price doubles or even triples sometimes.  Just when you can’t back out anymore, you discover that the cheapest company out there is actually the most expensive one – or even worse, that the cheapest moving company isn’t even a moving company!  That the company that took your deposit and gave you an estimate was just a middle-man pretending to be a moving company, and that now you’re going to get a new estimate and have a new price to pay. The problem is so widespread, that the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation even sent letters to major online search engines to ask them to crack down on false moving companies and moving scams. A lot of times this comes from picking a moving company in a hurry, without taking the time to really shop around.  We totally understand that people today are busy and don’t always have time to slave over their moving decisions.  But even just taking the time to visit sites like Yelp and reading customer testimonials can help you avoid this.  It can also help you to get better educated and prepared for your move. So take the time to research, it pays off in the long run! Otherwise, it’s holiday time, and we hope you’re all home safe with your families and certainly not packing up and moving just now.  Christmas is a big holiday for us movers – there’s just something about a holiday that revolves around a sleigh loaded with boxes visiting houses all over the world that appeals to anyone in our profession.  Santa is something all of us in the moving business can aspire to – he does it all for no payment more than milk and cookies, and no one has better online reviews than he does! Happy holidays, we wish you all a safe and healthy new year!

Business Relocation

Business relocation is a whole other world from a small home move and comes with its own challenges and concerns. A business move is a big task and takes a lot of planning – more than we can totally cover in a blog post.  For now though, here are some of our thoughts on what makes for successful business relocation.beau cropd 1. Get the word out in advance.  If you’ll be relocating, put signs up in your current location to warn your customers it’s coming.  If you have a Facebook page, share photos of the new location before moving day and even post photos as the move is going on.  Business relocation doesn’t have to cost you a penny in lost business – if your customers are aware as things are going on it can even be a source of excitement driving more visits to your new site. 2.  Have a specific contact person in charge.  Call them a Move Manager, a Relocation Coordinator, whatever works for you, but make sure that there is one point person that is responsible for organizing the move.  That way the moving company will know who to deal with, and also your employees will know who to look for with questions.  Business relocation goes much more smoothly when communication is clear and everyone knows who to talk to. 3.  Help your employees.  You might just be moving across town, or maybe you’re relocating across state lines.  No matter what your move is, it’s going to mean change for your employees.  Make it easy on them by telling them well in advance of what is coming and trying to anticipate some of the changes your business relocation is likely to bring to them – even if it just means taking a different subway when they come to work in the morning or having to find a new place to meet up for drinks at happy hour. 4.  Move on an off day.  It will mean a long week for the relocation manager, but by relocating over weekends or on a day you’re usually closed, you’ll be sure not to miss out on normal business hours.  If you’re going to need your employees to come in and help with the move though, don’t forget point number 3 above, make sure that it’s as easy on them as possible. 5.  Update everything.  Business cards, websites, social network profiles, flyers, tattoos, whatever you have that has your old business address on it needs to be updated.  Make a list in advance and update them all as soon as you’re done relocating.  By starting the list early, you can be sure that your business relocation won’t wind up in old customers standing in front of your old address wondering where you’ve gone off to. Business relocation can be a real headache, but it doesn’t have to be.  Preparing in advance and finding the best moving company around can make a big difference.  In the end, relocation is a huge opportunity, and if you handle the change well it can the beginnings of great things for your business.

#MovingFail – Biggest Moving Mistakes #5

In this installment of the biggest moving mistakes, we bring you: WATCH OUT FOR THAT HOUSE!  Not a bit of advice that we usually think we need to give, and yet people seem to have such affinity for driving moving trucks into houses.   Not mobile homes – there at least you could claim it just came out of nowhere at least – but full huge stationary family houses.  We really hope nobody was hurt in any of these photos – a moving mistake that ends up in the hospital is just awful.  If you think any of this might happen to you… please, hire a moving professional! #Movingfail - Biggest Moving Mistakes #Movingfail - Biggest Moving Mistakes

Best Moving Apps

There is no need to tackle a move single handed – your phone can be a huge help too – here are some of the best moving apps available online.

Moving List:Moving App - Moving List

This moving app is basically a collection of lists for every moving task imaginable from finding moving boxes to enlisting friends to help.  Each list includes a time range for when you should get it done too so once you set your moving date you’ll get regular reminders to keep you on schedule.

Our favorite feature though?  There’s an option to help you decide how to deal with stuff you can’t quite manage to throw out.  Shake the phone and the answer will come in true Magic 8-Ball fashion…

Moving Planner:Moving App - Moving Planner

A similar app but for Android devices: easily customizable lists for everything moving related.  With over 210 home moving related items, there really isn’t much else you’ll need to worry about.

Moving Guru:

More moving lists here, but this is a great option for anyone with a more complicated move.  The Moving Guru App lets you choose for an international move or a government move, prepare a message to let your phone contacts know you’ve moved, and even request an estimate.

Moving Van:

This moving app takes it beyond just a bunch of checklists.  As you pack, use the app to note what is in each box, take photos of what’s in there, and assign each box a unique name and number.  Then when you get to your new location and the boxes start coming off the truck, rather than having to rely on your scribbled notes or unclear lists of contents, you know just where the box needs to go and just what is inside it.  Perfect for anyone who has ever thought they were opening their box of essentials and found out they were holding a collection of old high school year books instead…

Yelp:Moving App - Yelp

The Yelp app is fantastic, not just for researching the best moving company in your area (ahem ahem) but for finding everything you need once you’re in your new house.  From the best takeout for that first night to the best place to get rid of old moving boxes, this app is a huge help for moving.   Now if there were a moving app that could haul the boxes and drive the truck, we’d be out of business!  We hope these guys can help in the mean time though making a smoother and easier time out of your move.

Time, Money, Books

Two Saturdays ago I stopped by Capitol Hill Books for a beer tasting and general camaraderie with the Bookstore Movers staff and the public. It’s often good for a man of my, well, “headiness”, to get out of the house every once in a while, and there’s only so much writing and music-making a man can do before he slips into the abyss of his soul. A little company, a little literature, and most importantly, a little libation can do the writer’s soul well. So, I decided to join the literati of the city at the premier beer-tasting event of that particular Saturday. While I was there, sipping on a deliciously potent brew – an eerie chocolaty and hoppy concoction – and perusing the local book selection, I overheard a few different conversations about the same thing: bookstores. Most people were talking about how unique Capitol Hill was. Referencing its selection, the sort of no-nonsense but extremely playful attitude of the staff, the seemingly endless supply of books on the second floor, and the laid-back atmosphere of the store itself. All of these things were said with a smile, and by regulars who threw around the names of people I have yet to meet. These conversations were airy and light, but they always led to a particular point; the difference between independent bookstores and big chain ones. Most of the time it starts when they see the bottle of tequila in an unused sink in the poetry room. “You won’t see that at a Barnes and Nobles!” someone will say with mock seriousness, then immediately laugh afterwards, thanking the gods of writing that places like Capitol Hill still exist. But, what they often don’t say is that one won’t find many Barnes and Nobles anymore. Indeed, one will mostly find giant empty warehouses with large B&N logos on the windows in lieu of customers, books, and culture. The bookstore culture is dying, has been dying, and will continue to die if the trends don’t change. Most people do not lament the loss of giant corporate bookstores, but in a way, they should – especially if they are the same people who continually buy books off Amazon and merely window shop at their local stores while saying how cute it is. It certainly takes a bit of convincing to get people to pay eight dollars for a book when they can get it for ninety-nine cents on Amazon – but in lieu of a long tirade for the literacy of America, I would like to put forward a couple of quiet arguments Remember, when we buy books, we pay for the ideas of other human beings. Even a horrible, dramatic, ridiculous novel that has laughable writing still took a person years or months of labor – charging five bucks for a year’s worth of labor is not a far-fetched idea when you think about it – no matter how cheesy the dialogue may be. We pay for the ability to discuss books with other book lovers, face to face, and the “extra” money you are spending is going to keep a roof over our heads while we do so.  Supporting a local bookstore instead of Amazon and spending the extra little cash goes to keep establishments around, and establishments are far more than stores – they are part of our neighborhoods, part of our lives, and give us places to be ourselves around other like-minded people. We are also paying for the ideals of bookstores as well. We are paying to value literature, to value reading and individual thought, personal relationships and the ability to be honest. We do not just support businesses by purchasing books from establishments rather than places. We support the arts, and in a way, our souls, by surrounding ourselves with the culture of the good and the noble. We help bolster our communities and thus, ourselves. So, next time, when you’re wavering on buying a novel from a tiny little bookstore because it’s three dollars cheaper on Amazon – think of where your money is going, who it’s going to, and what it will create. Something tells me you’ll be willing to spend a little extra.

Craftsmanship

As most of you may have noticed, I am incredibly new to the Bookstore Movers universe. As far as I know, most of my co-workers are collections of ideas and atoms that exist in some sort of state far away from my tiny little home office. I hope to change that soon, and the company itself has been nothing short of accommodating, open, and just all around friendly to a new, nerdy writer like me. So, even without faces to the names, or deeds to the ideals, I still feel quite comfortable around the movers, the administration, and the people with whom I work. And I realized after going on Yelp after I was hired that I wasn’t alone. I would like to invite those of you who have the chance to read the blog to also read the first page on Yelp about us. A quick glance will tell you that Bookstore Movers has an impeccable record, and an overwhelming amount of positive reviews. Sure, this sounds like bragging, or the world’s least subtle advertisement, but I wanted to bring it up because I think there’s an incredibly important detail in the majority of the reviews; the fact that the reviewer mentioned the names of the movers. There is something incredibly intimate about knowing the names of those who are working for you – it strips away the barrier of worker/master mentality and creates a space that, when done honestly, allows both parties to function as one harmonious and symbiotic unit. This was largely evident in the reviews I came across, as each one contained a “Chris”, “Pete”, “Craig”, “Benny” or “Rashim” – filled to the brim with proper nouns! What an incredibly interesting feat – even for a local company, and rarer for a company where most encounters are only for a short time and one-time. I didn’t write this post to brag about the company or to pull a certain sense of empathy and understanding from my readers – rather, I wrote it to show that there really is heart in what Bookstore Movers does. Whether it’s volunteering, throwing social events, or most importantly, moving someone, Bookstore Movers has an incredible sense of duty and pride. I say this as a relatively new employee, and more importantly, as someone who has yet to belong to the BSM family. In a way, I suppose this little blurb ceases to be about Bookstore Movers’ ratings, or even moving – it’s about the value of working hard and letting your work define you. No matter what the service is; from moving, to serving you coffee or food, to creating murals or constructing buildings – the true value is not in the speed, the price, or the method. The true value is how seriously those who work take their work, how much pride they have in it, and how much they truly love their work. If they take their work seriously, they take themselves seriously, and their work will reflect that. The artistry, mastery, and efficiency that makes one perform excellently will come naturally. So, when you are looking for a craftsman, a service, or a company, find out how many people remember the names, the faces, and the attitudes that accompanied the work – if they do so in a positive light – then you have found those who wear their heart on their sleeve; and it’s these types of people that we should be happy to support.

Moving Waste

What can you do with moving waste after your move?

We hate waste!  It’s something that we think makes us a better moving company.  We don’t waste your time, we don’t waste your money, we don’t waste your moving supplies. But inevitably, moving creates trash.  If you move a 4-bedroom house once every ten years, you’re going to have a lot of moving boxes and moving supplies left over afterwards that are just not very useful.  So, what can you do with them?  Here are some more moving tips – we’ve seen some pretty great ideas over the years, these are some of our favorites… Cardboard furniture: Wondering what to do with your moving boxes?  If you have the double-layer corrugated boxes that are stronger and that you may have used for moving heavier items, and you have a flair for design (and a whole lot of creativity), one of the best ways to get rid of moving waste is turning moving boxes into cardboard furniture.  Here are some of our favorites:

turn moving waste into cardboard furniture

turn moving waste into cardboard furniture

Cardboard Gardens: If your new house includes a garden, you can use moving boxes as mulch for your plants.  The boxes make a barrier against new weeds coming up, and with enough water and soil they decompose over time and add fertility to your garden.  Just be sure to take off any tape and glue before you plant them, you don’t want that stuff in your soil:

turn moving waste into cardboard mulch Bubble Wrap Painting:

Moving waste can be more than just moving boxes – there is always the beloved bubble wrap.  We confess, when we have a pile of bubble wrap lying around, we’re more likely to spend hours popping it than to turn it into bubble wrap art.  But that’s a shame really, because there are some amazing works of moving waste art out there made with bubble wrap. Bubble Wrap Dishes: We’d give it about five minutes into the meal before our wine is dripping all over the table because we couldn’t stop popping our glass…

turn moving waste into Bubble wrap dishes Recycling and selling old moving supplies:

And if you don’t have a garden and you don’t have tons of time on your hands, and you’re not a creative type, you can always just recycle or re-sell your old moving supplies.  Boxcycle is a company that connects people selling boxes to people buying boxes.  And with a quick Google search with the name of your new county and the words “recycle cardboard” you’ll come up with the local recycling guidelines and regulations. Having the right moving supplies is what makes for a safe, successful move.  Disposing of them the right way afterwards is the best way to keep your home orderly, to take care of the planet, and sometimes even to create something beautiful!

Book Drive to Help the Victims of Hurricane Sandy!

When disaster strikes, be it tsunami, earthquake, or hurricane, we all have the desire to help. However, I think that for most of us that desire remains an inchoate and inactive thing. We sigh and are thankful we avoided such catastrophe and we wish the victims well, but not too many of us actually do something. Antonio Vasquez is one of those exceptional few that sees the suffering of our fellow citizens, decides to do something about it and then puts a plan into action. He called me up not long after Superstorm Sandy with a tremendous and ambitious idea: An Eagle Scout Project to collect books in the DC region to benefit libraries in New Jersey that had been devastated by the storm. We immediately agreed to help. Not only would be be able to be of service to those in need, but we would be able to provide succor in the form of books! Books are the reason this humble company got going in the first place. We revere books and the chance to deliver some to beleaguered libraries seemed almost like a sacred mission. Far more important than my musings are the locations where you can drop off books: -Colvin Run Elementary (Vienna) -Longfellow Middle School (McLean) -McLean High School (McLean) -St. Mark Catholic Church (Vienna) -8401/8405 Greensboro Drive (McLean) -Victoria Station Salon (Vienna) We’ll be taking the books up to New Jersey on February 15th and would deeply appreciate any support you can give to Antonio in his efforts to help our neighbors up north.