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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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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…

Continue reading “Moving Waste”

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.