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Robots, Jetpacks, and the Future of Moving

You’ve definitely seen them: the high-rise buildings, towering over every other concrete structure in the vicinity. They are dozens of stories, with pools on the roofs and entire walls made of glass. The buildings themselves look like the love-child of a quirky Project Runway designer and the cold, calculating hands of a Swedish architect. Dozens of apartments are packed into each floor and in spite of the number, there’s inexplicably one, maybe two elevators. And, without any surprise, there’s only one service elevator that somehow, in spite of the definitive modernity of the building, looks like it was stolen from a Saw movie set. Well, I may be projecting a bit of my own apartment experience for the last part, but you get the point. Yes, nothing is more annoying to a group of movers and the residents moving in than a slow, singular and small cargo elevator – conveniently located approximately ten miles (or seems to be while carrying a bed, cabinet, stereo system, other heavy things) from your apartment on the floor. It lends itself to cramp corridors, tight fits and most of all, tons of sweaty dudes in an elevator at one point. But, alas, what can be done? I mean, it’s not like we have giant robots that can pick up the heaviest of furniture and gently place it down through your open window or balcony. We do not have jetpacks that allow our movers to leap up boundless stories to safely deliver your pets, utensils, glassware, or whatever other valuables you hold dear directly to your doorstep.   We don’t even have a really sweet truck that can attach the side of the building and then take our mov— Oh, what’s that? People do have that? Oh, that’s pretty sweet. Well, I sit corrected. Some places do have some pretty amazing technology to bypass the horrid inconveniences of small elevators and long hauls (and halls) and there’s a whole lot else out there that is exciting for movers and those moving to see, but until we get our own sweet elevator truck we’ll have to stick to our normal trucks, stairs, elevators, and hallways. Plus, it’s not like our movers don’t enjoy the exercise, and in spite of how cool an elevator on a truck is….it’s still not a giant robot or a jetpack.

Moving Scams: From New York City to Hell

Nothing gets our blood boiling like moving scams.  Not only are they some of the nastiest bits of theft around, but they give a bad name to the whole industry so that legitimate moving companies like us have to fight for respect.  It doesn’t matter if you’ve been voted the best movers in DC 200 times, people still won’t trust you because of moving scams like these. Here’s a particularly bad story we heard recently from a friend of a friend, father of 3 little girls about his family’s horrible long distance move from New York to Seattle (or, as we call it: From New York City to Hell…):   The move was far and expensive, so they decided to use one of the cheap interstate moving companies you can find online.  The movers showed up one day, packed up the whole house into boxes, loaded them into a huge truck and set off.  The family meanwhile piled into their own car, hoping to turn the move into a family cross-country road trip, and to arrive after their stuff had already made it. The road trip went great – but when the family made it to Seattle, their house was empty, none of their boxes had been delivered.  There was no sign of their stuff.  It’s everyone’s worst moving scam nightmare.  They had voluntarily given all their possessions to a band of criminals…  The parents started making phone calls – to the company, to the police, to anyone who would listen.  They started feeling stupid and angry too, blaming themselves for having been robbed of every single furnishing, article of clothing, dish and heirloom they owned. They went out and bought some new clothes and dishes to get through the next few days – and then one day, with no warning whatsoever from the moving company, the truck showed up!  The movers ignored all their complaints about being late and proceeded to insist that unloading the truck wasn’t part of the contract, and that they would only do it if they were paid more, in cash, right now – a classic moving scam. Needless to say the parents were furious.  They got into a screaming fight with the movers in the middle of their new front lawn (a great way to meet your new neighbors, right?), and only when they threatened to call the cops that instant did the movers agree to get to work. They unloaded the truck, and a few hours later our friend signed the receipt and the movers headed out. Nightmare over, right?  Wrong.  That was when the family realized about half their stuff was missing – and that about half the moving boxes in their house weren’t their boxes at all, they were filled with the possessions, memories, and lives of some other family!   These cheap interstate moving companies just take all your possessions to one warehouse and drop it off, and then another team of movers loads up another truck with whatever boxes they can find and takes that off to the final destination.  Trucks can load and unload several times in a cross country trip, no one person follows your move. No one watches over them, there is no quality control, no guarantee of anything. So what’s the moral of the story?  If there’s a moving tip here, it’s that moving scams are everywhere.  If an estimate you get from a moving company online looks too good to be true, it probably is.  Stick with companies with positive reviews and a lot of them, and that have maybe even won awards (wink, wink).  Also, call references, ask around – don’t take chances with your stuff!

From N Street Village to Miriam’s House

From N Street Village to Miriam’s House By Amanda Clark Bookstore Movers recently had the privilege to help N Street Village deliver five mattresses from its central location to Miriam’s House, a residential community in northwest Washington D.C. specifically for homeless women living with HIV and AIDS. Founded in 1972 by members of Luther Place Memorial Church, N Street Village is a community-based non-profit organization in the Logan Circle neighborhood. N Street Village began as a way to provide services and advocacy to the growing female homeless population in Washington D.C. The organization now serves over 900 women per year, helping them achieve personal stability and enabling life-changing gains in their housing, income, employment, mental health, physical health, and addiction recovery. The organization has received extensive national and international recognition and given tours of its facilities to White House officials, Department of Housing and Urban Development officials, the Dalai Lama and visiting Kenyan dignitaries. N Street Village is expanding and in November 2011 Miriam’s House was incorporated into its programs and services. The incorporation of Miriam’s House allows N Street Village to provide high quality housing and support to twenty women at a time. The staff of N Street Village contacted us here at Bookstore Movers to inquire about moving five mattresses to Miriam’s House. We gladly said yes and offered our services pro bono. Successfully scheduling and planning the move, as well as accompanying our movers, John and Patrick, was one of the most exciting and satisfying projects I have accomplished in my time at Bookstore Movers. Moving the mattresses was a small but important project. It was great to hear that the women at Miriam’s House “would sleep well tonight” as a result of our efforts. In this case, it really does take a village and we are happy to contribute to N Street Village however we can. And what was John and Pat’s favorite part of the move? “The hugs!” How else can the Bookstore Movers community help? In addition to volunteering and financial support, N Street Village accepts fully functioning, gently-used and new items. Due to limited storage space, they can only accept items that are currently needed and all donations are accepted by appointment only, Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. They do accept used clothing when they have available storage space and oftentimes their greatest needs for clothing are plus sizes. They also accept smaller household items when needed, but do not accept large furniture pieces. Please check their wish list to find their most pressing needs: http://www.nstreetvillage.org/donate/in-kind/ As you are cleaning up and clearing out in preparation for a move, you can contact their In-Kind Gifts Office to schedule a drop-off time or for additional donation assistance at 202-939-2050. They are unable to pick up donations.

#Movingfail – Biggest Moving Mistakes #4

Moving Mistakes Moving Mistakes   Lots of moving mistakes come from moving trucks.  We see and hear about a lot about these moments when the cheap do-it-yourself move goes wrong.  What started off as cheap and easy can quickly become expensive and endless.  Moving yourself is taking a chance – you don’t know the equipment, you’ve maybe never even driven a truck before.  A friend of ours once drove a Uhaul onto the Brooklyn Bridge – only to be stopped by NYPD (no trucks on the Brooklyn Bridge!) and forced to back down the on-ramp.  It makes for a good story – but there’ve got to be other ways to get good stories…

#MovingFail Biggest Moving Mistakes #3

The theme for this #Movingfail Moving Mistakes post is: Keep it in the truck. We know it can be hard to pack things just right; we understand better than most people the temptation to just squeeze a little bit more in when your spouse assures you you can’t fit anything else; we also love the idea of saving a trip by taking as much as possible this time…  But your washer and dryer don’t belong balanced on the top of your trunk, you shouldn’t have a friend hiding in your trunk and holding onto your refrigerator with his hands; a couple bits of string aren’t going to keep that armoire attached to your car….  Please, these are some of the worst moving mistakes…  Just keep it in the truck!   Moving Mistakes moving mistakes   moving mistakes   moving mistakes

Leave it to the Movers

So, you’ve decided on a new place, the wonders and excitement of the world are placed at your feet and you couldn’t be more excited at the prospects ahead of you. Yes, indeed, you have found more than a new house, you’ve found a new home and new opportunities. Alas, thinking of your future and the brave new world you will dive into has prevented a crucial part of your move: packing. Oh, heavy is the head that wears this crown, but have no fear of being thought of as rude, inconsiderate or thoughtless. Instead, calmly organize what you have, and think of one simple mantra: Leave it all to the Movers While the luxuries of the Eastern movers don’t entirely translate over here (we are severely lacking in elevator trucks and mobile platforms) – there is nevertheless something special to take away from watching this video – trust and confidence in your movers and their abilities to work effectively and  with a sense of purpose. When purchasing something, you as the customer should always be assured of the quality of the product and have no doubts to its effectiveness. Choosing a moving company should be no different, you, after all, trust your life to the men and women who will be completing your move. Sure, it’s not surgery and you’re not under fire, but the movers still hold your life in their hands; in the forms of furniture, electronics, precious items, memories and everyday objects that make you who you are. When you think about it that way, you can never really be too choosy when choosing people to handle them. Our movers are carefully trained and expected to perform in a professional, open, honest and dedicated manner, and they take pride in being known for doing so. While we may not be able to offer padding for all of your walls, specialty trucks and lifts, and a sock change upon arrival to your new home, we can guarantee that our movers can be trusted to treat your items and the life they represent with all the reverence they would treat their own possessions. So, if you find yourself swept up in the romanticism of finding a new life somewhere, or you aren’t sure of how to deal with certain items, or if you just doubt your own abilities to effectively pack, structure and organize, remember who to trust. Remember simply to “Leave it all to the Movers”.

#Movingfail – Biggest Moving Mistakes #2

2   Continuing with our series on the biggest moving mistakes, we bring you…  Actually, we’re not sure what to call this one…. “Just Plain Crazy,” maybe? We get requests every so often from people who need to move really large objects that will need to go in through a window.  Pianos, gigantic TV’s, things like that.  Sadly, we have to decline, as we aren’t yet equipped to perform a maneuver such as that safely, and we also don’t particularly want to take on the extra liability that comes with hanging a man-crushingly huge object outside a window.   However, if this is something you need to do on your move, if you email us, we can recommend some other excellent companies with this capacity.  Please just don’t try to do it yourself like in this photo!

#Movingfail – Biggest Moving Mistakes #1

Some of the biggest moving mistakes just shouldn’t happen… We once knew a guy who was a doctor in an emergency room, and he told us that in 90% of the cases that showed up in the ER, the last sentence spoken before they got hurt was: “Here, hold my beer a sec’…”   Biggest Moving Mistakes In our business, the sentence is probably something more like, “That will totally fit, trust me!” – usually spoken by a friend you’ve asked to help out for the day and who will conveniently get a phone call and have to duck out just when the couch (or piano or priceless mahogany dresser that’s an heirloom from your great aunt Gladis…) gets truly and impossibly stuck. Major moving mistake. Moving isn’t rocket science, but experience counts for a lot.  There’s no need for #movingfail!  If you like your stuff, call a professional moving company – check out reviews online, take your choice seriously – or why not just save yourself the time and call the best movers in DC??? And remember, if your friend says, “That will totally fit…” avoid the biggest moving mistakes, do yourself a favor and don’t believe him!

Avoid moving scams in 3 easy steps

It’s easy to avoid moving scams, and we’ll show you how to do it in just 3 steps that will take less than 5 minutes to do.  The key is knowing that the internet is both your worst enemy and your best friend.  Many moving scams rely on the internet to contact their victims.  In today’s world, anyone can set up a cheap website and have it look good, and then with a couple well-placed search engine ads, customers come to them – the internet here is your worst enemy. But it’s also your best friend.  You can find reputable moving companies by searching Google just like you can find disreputable moving companies.  There are also loads of websites that share customer experiences and even list moving companies to avoid.  We wanted to share 3 websites that we admire and that you can check in under 5 minutes to find out if your moving company is legit and to make sure you avoid moving scams.  Just 5 minutes to be sure you have the best moving company for your needs and price range. 1. Moving Scams.com Blacklist – If you have the name of a company that interests you, take a minute to run it by the list on this site.  Moving Scams was started by Tim Walker when he got scammed by a company known as “America’s Best Movers.”  He tells the full story here.  He turned that awful experience into a positive one for the rest of us, compiling a blacklist of disreputable moving companies based on his readers’ reviews so that others can avoid moving scams too.  It takes a minute to make sure your moving company isn’t on that list – why not do it? 2.  Department of Transportation – Walker’s site can’t include everything, so the next step should be to confirm that your company is licensed.  Any reputable moving company is licensed by the US Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.  Many states have additional certification requirements as well.  Ask the company what their license number is, and then you can use the USDoT website search to easily verify their license number and record – again, it just takes a minute, why not do it?  (If you’re curious, our license numbers are: DOT# 2005212 and MC# 707471).  If they’re not licensed, BEWARE, of moving scams. 3.  Yelp – If they’re not on the blacklist and they have a valid license, then it’s time to check out Yelp.  We mention Yelp a lot because we think it’s great. Many moving companies are on there and people don’t pull any punches in the reviews.  A company can easily be licensed and reputable and still not be very good at what they do, so read the reviews carefully – and before contacting a company, at least check if it’s listed – if it’s not on there, think twice! Our hearts go out to victims of moving scams.  Worse than realizing that you have lost your belongings or your hard earned cash though would be realizing that it’s easy to avoid moving scams.  Just remember those sites above, and take 5 minutes to make sure that your move is in good hands.

Best of 2012

In our humble opinion, the best thing about the new year are the endless “Best of” lists that start popping up in mid-December.  Best movies! Best photos! Best sports moments! How about Best Moments in Moving?  2012 was a great year for us, we were busier than ever and met a ton of interesting and wonderful people through our work.  Here is our own little highlight reel of quotes from our favorite reviews of 2012. If you want to see more, go and check out our page on Yelp!   “These guys arrived early and finished just in time!  They have all the tools necessary to move you.  Anything fragile they’ll wrap up and strap down.  Also,  they are very knowledgeable about spacing issues.  […]  I would definitely recommend this service and shall be using them in the future!” – Jack T.   “I’m glad that my desired move-in date didn’t fit the schedule of another top-rated moving company on Yelp, because I can’t imagine how they could’ve surpassed the service that Chris and Rashim provided. […]   I’m writing this review after having had a chance to unpack everything – not a scratch or ding to be found anywhere. I will recommend Bookstore Movers to anyone who asks for my recommendation.” -Jonny V. “In the words of the immortal Jeff Spicoli: “Awesome! Totally AWESOME!” […]  Normally moving into a place is an exhausting and frustrating process, but these guys actually made it fun! If you need moving help of any kind, don’t go with anyone but Bookstore Movers!!!!!!” -Stephanie K.   “The price they quoted me was way less than any other place I contacted. The guys were quick, careful, and were awesome people in general. […]  I’m moving again, and I’m hoping they’ll be available! From start to finish, they provided the most stress-free moving experience I’ve ever had.” -Abbey B.   “I cannot say enough good things about Benny and the team that moved me into my new condo today! Despite some challenges with the staff at my old building, they were totally cool about everything and made my move quick and painless. “ -K. M.   “Absolutely five star. Matt, Craig, and Aaron turned a day I was dreading into a stress-free experience.  […] Craig and Aaron arrived at my apartment at 7:51am for an 8am move. […] The guys worked hard and fast – they broke down beds and one piece of weird furniture, moved a mountain of boxes, and wrapped dressers and other pieces for transport in just over an hour. They were creative at my new apartment when the alley wasn’t conducive to an efficient move. They set up our beds and arranged the boxes neatly. I’m extremely satisfied with my moving experience. Hopefully, I’m going to stay in my new apartment for a while, but if my friends move, I’ll know who to refer!” – Lexie D.   —   Thanks to everyone who took the time to leave a review or let us know what you think – it means a lot to us to get feedback like this, it’s nice to feel like we’re doing a good job. Thank you all, and happy new year!