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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…

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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.

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.

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”.

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.

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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!

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