Thanksgiving has come and gone. Not two seconds after midnight on Black Friday, holiday music dominated radio stations. We fell asleep stuffed full of turkey and woke up eight hours later with neighborhoods covered in lights, wreaths, and little red bows. The holiday season is finally here.
Ugly sweaters, family gatherings, giant feasts, and tree lighting ceremonies bring joy to most people. However, preparation for the holidays can be stressful.
Whether you’re hosting a family dinner or out-of-town guests – or cozying up with a mug of hot cocoa by yourself – filling your home with holiday joy will lift your spirits.
We suggest these 6 tips to help you prepare your home for the holidays.
If you’re hosting guests or simply staying home for the holidays…
Shovel Outdoor Walkways
Keep your walkways and outdoor staircases clear of ice and snow to prevent accidents. It’s best to be overcautious when it comes to safety.
Pro tip: If you expect to have extraordinary winter weather, get some rock salt to throw down to help melt snow and ice.
Prepare Fire Safety Tools
Have easy-to-use fire extinguishers handy. Having a fire extinguisher handy is step one. Knowing how to use it is step two. Hoping you never have to use it is step three.
Pro tip: Change the batteries in your smoke detectors. It’s better to be proactive than to have one chirp while you’re trying to sleep!
Clean High-Traffic Areas
Your house certainly doesn’t have to look like new for the holidays. But tidying up, sweeping, and vacuuming will keep you sane while guests are visiting. If you have limited time to clean, focus on deep-cleaning high traffic areas such as bathrooms, the kitchen, and the entryway.
Pro tip: Clear out your refrigerator. Party foods, beverages, and leftovers can take up space, so use up or toss near-empty condiments before guests arrive.
Stock Extra Toiletries
Take toilet paper, towels, and toiletries out of storage and place them on open shelves or in baskets in your guest bathroom. You’re not stocking a 4-star hotel, but having a few supplies that guests might have forgotten is a nice gesture.
Pro tip: Discreetly place plungers in guest bathrooms … just in case!
Putting up a wreath and some lights near your front door is a quick and painless way to get your family and friends into the holiday spirit.
Pro tip: Candles and holiday music will brighten up the atmosphere inside your home, as well.
If you’re going out of town for the holidays…
Keep Vacation Plans Private
Consider automatic light timers in a few different rooms. This will make it seem like people are currently living in your home.
Pro tip: Avoid posting about your vacation on social media if you go out of town as it tells the world you are not actually home.
No matter how you plan to spend your holiday season, preparation is key. Do you have additional tips for preparing your home for the holidays? Let us know in the comments below, or on Twitter or Facebook.
Knowing the difference between a moving company and a moving broker can save you a headache down the road, as the two are distinctly different.
Moving companies are the people who make the actual move happen. They are the packers, drivers, and warehouse staff who get your personal items from point A to point B. Moving companies own a fleet of trucks and physical warehouses and employ highly trained relocation professionals. They are licensed and accredited by major business and transportation organizations like the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Better Business Bureau, the American Moving & Storage Association, and the International Association of Movers.
Moving brokers are the “middlemen” between the moving customer and the moving company. Brokers give customers cost estimates, reach agreements with said customers, and then find third-party moving companies to move the goods.
While there are some reputable moving brokers, more and more unlicensed and disreputable, internet-based moving brokers pop-up regularly:
- In April 2014, a Florida judge sentenced two men to 18 months in prison for colluding in a moving brokerage scheme. First the moving broker would provide low estimates to customers. Then he would outsource those moves to the other man’s moving company. Finally, the moving company would charge a much higher price for the move than the provided estimate.
And even federally licensed moving brokers run into problems finding reliable moving companies:
- In December 2015, Rick Heitzmann used a broker to plan a move from Mississippi to Florida. The moving company the broker hired picked up Rick’s items in Mississippi, but never delivered them to Florida.
- In August 2015, Amber Carlton used a broker to plan a move from Colorado to North Dakota. The moving company picked up Amber’s goods, but has since vanished. Their office is completely abandoned.
There are certainly some issues with going through a middleman:
Brokers Provide Inaccurate Estimates
Professional moving companies send moving consultants to your home to complete visual walk-throughs. Most of these certified consultants can provide you with an accurate estimate for the cost of your move. You should have three different moving companies provide in-home estimates.
Many certified moving consultants have hours of training and expertise in the relocation industry. Moving brokers might not have any. Brokers serve as the middlemen between the customers and experts and might not be able to answer questions about your move. In-home moving consultants will have answers to your questions. They can provide you with details about your move that brokers might not be able to.
Most moving brokers will provide you with an estimate over the phone or by email only. Brokers will ask the customer to walk through their own homes and describe the items they’ll be moving. Since customers are not experts in moving, the estimates provided by moving brokers are often much lower than the cost of the actual move.
Brokers Play the Blame Game
Moving brokers don’t actually move your goods. If something goes wrong during the move, they can be known to pass the blame to the third-party moving company. If items are lost, broken, or stolen, who can you hold accountable? Going through a moving broker leads to a tangled web of responsibility where both the broker and moving company might shift the fault towards the other.
Brokers Charge Large Up-Front Deposits
The cost of your estimate from a moving broker will include the cost of the moving service as well as a potentially large, up-front deposit. That deposit can also be described as a broker’s fee. Most reputable moving companies will also request a deposit, but it is often a much smaller fee to reserve your move date.
Brokers Hire Unknown Movers
The biggest concern for working with a moving broker is you might not know how or whether they vet the third-party moving company. Sometimes you won’t be able to vet the moving company yourself as you won’t know who they are until they show up at your front door. This means an unlicensed or uninsured company could be moving your goods.
JK Moving Services is the third largest independent moving company in North America. With more than 35 years of experience and hundreds of full-time, background checked, trained moving professionals. We are the mover of choice of Fortune 100 companies, several federal agencies, and families just like yours. If you need to move your residence or your office, contact us today for a free quote.
Moving can have a major effect on your environmental impact. Transporting household goods from one end of the country to the other could lead to filling up a landfill with cardboard boxes. Even moving within the same city will mean a moving truck emitting fumes into the air.
As we become more and more aware of our carbon footprint, eco-friendly practices have spread through all business industries.
For example, in commercial moving, plastic crates have become the standard. JK uses reusable plastic bins as part of its Boxless Move to relocate businesses. By using plastic containers instead of cardboard boxes, JK has saved an estimated 425,000 trees.
While the Boxless Move is the norm in JK’s commercial moves, residential moving still relies heavily on cardboard boxes.
Residential moves don’t have to have a large environmental impact. If you plan right, your next residential move can be eco-friendly.
Donate Unneeded Goods
If you have less stuff to move, you will have less packing and moving needs. Consider donating clothes to thrift stores, books to libraries, computers to schools, and even common household goods and furniture. Or host a yard sale to make a quick profit while getting rid of unnecessary clutter.
Collect Recycled Moving Boxes
The primary benefit of new moving boxes is better support due to lack of wear and tear. However, gently-used moving boxes can offer similar quality to new boxes for less money or even free. Liquor stores, fast food restaurants, and office supply stores typically receive goods in cardboard boxes. Call ahead to ask, but many of these locations will give you these boxes for free.
Or stop by JK to choose from a selection of new, corrugated cardboard boxes for a range of needs. JK also offers gently-used cardboard boxes for free to booked customers on a first-come, first-served basis.
Rent Plastic Bins
If cardboard boxes are a deal breaker for you, consider renting plastic moving crates. Companies such as Rentacrate and Lend A Box serve the northern Virginia and D.C. area. These moving crate rental companies deliver the plastic containers to you to pack. Then once your move is complete and your bins are unpacked, they pick them up from you.
Repurposed Packing Supplies
Rather than purchasing moving supplies, think about using things like clothes, towels, and sheets to protect your breakables. These items will need to be moved anyway, so by using them as padding, they will serve a dual purpose.
Reduce Vehicle Use
Vehicles, especially trucks, are major pollutants. If you have followed the steps above, you should need to make fewer vehicle trips from point A to point B. Using a truck is typically unavoidable, but reducing the usage of that truck is doable. Also, the trucks at certain moving companies are more environmentally sustainable than others. All of JK’s trucks exceed EPA emissions standards.
On top of reducing your load, using recycled cardboard boxes or plastic containers, and repurposing moving supplies, research the sustainable initiatives local moving companies practice. The team at JK Moving Services is committed to reducing its carbon footprint. You can commit to “go-green” too.
Do you have additional green moving tips? Please share your ideas in the comments below.
When you think about a moving company, you probably think about the folks who actually conduct your move, like the packers, drivers, and warehouse staff. But there are so many other employees “behind the scenes.”
I recently sat down with Amy Polen, JK Moving Services’ National Accounts Coordinator, to better get to know her and her role at JK. Here is what she shared:
To learn more about the people at JK, check out our YouTube playlist where we highlight some of our employees.
Black Friday can mean big savings. However, Black Friday sales do not always offer the best deals.
Companies have turned the week of — and week after — Thanksgiving into an advertising extravaganza. Yet, the deals they’re putting on the table might not actually save you money.
Most service industries don’t offer extraordinary discounts on Black Friday, so moving remains an expensive venture.
So how can you save a few dollars during your relocation?
While you don’t want to skimp on quality, there are a number of ways to reduce the cost of your move.
Compare Moving Companies
In the service industry, price often reflects quality, so finding a discounted moving company should not be your top priority. However, do not hesitate to shop around the market. Get three in-home estimates from qualified movers and compare them apples-to-apples. How many hours does each moving company expect to take? How many movers will they each be using? Are they certified and reputable?
Time Your Move
Moving companies are usually busier on the weekends and during the summer. If you can move during the week in the off-season, you might get a better deal.
Keep, Donate, Trash
The more stuff you have to move, the more it will cost either in weight (for long distance moves) or in time (for local moves), so why move stuff you don’t use anymore? Make piles for keep, donate, and trash: keep the stuff you use, donate the quality stuff you don’t use, and trash, well … the trash. The less stuff you move, the fewer boxes, trucks, people, and hours your moving company will need to make the move.
Use DIY Packing Supplies
Instead of purchasing bubble wrap, consider wrapping your breakables in clothing or blankets. You have to pack and move your t-shirts anyway, so why not re-purpose them as padding and protection?
Tidy Up for Your Deposit
If you’re renting, take the time to clean your residence or apartment to ensure you get your full deposit back. Instead of throwing the deposit away, spend a few bucks on cleaning supplies and scrub away. It will cost you a lot less to clean on your own than to have your landlord hire a professional.
Reuse Cardboard Boxes
The price of cardboard boxes can add up. Rather than buying all new boxes, see if local stores will let you pick up some of their old boxes. Most businesses plan to recycle those boxes anyway, so if you call ahead they might just give them to you. JK Moving offers free, gently-used boxes on a first-come, first-served basis for its booked customers.
Of course, recycled cardboard boxes might lack the durability of new boxes. For fragile items, buying new boxes might better suit your needs.
Do you have other ideas on how to save money during your move? Drop us a comment below.
Some cities, some towns – and even some suburban residential areas – require parking permits or signage for moving trucks. Local governments will not issue permits directly to a business. Therefore, the responsibility of applying for the permit falls on the resident.
These permits let moving companies legally park their truck in front of your new home while they load or deliver your goods.
However, permits are not only for professional moving companies. If you decide to move your own belongings, some areas still require you to display a permit indicating your purpose.
While some cities allow you to walk in to pick up “no parking” signs, some require applications ahead of time. That is where we are here to help.
Below is a list of cities and towns in the Washington, D.C. area where moving truck parking rules apply.
Alexandria, VA: Permit Required
To apply for a permit in Alexandria, Virginia, visit https://www.alexandriava.gov/.
Residents need to apply for reserved parking signs no later than 12 p.m. three full business days prior to when they need the parking spaces.
Annapolis, MD: Permit Required
To obtain “no parking” signs in Annapolis, Maryland, visit the Hillman Garage at 150 Gorman Street.
Arlington, VA: Permit Required
To apply for a permit in Arlington, Virginia, visit: https://topics.arlingtonva.us/permits-licenses/.
Residents need to apply for reserved parking signs, in person, three full business days prior to when they need the parking spaces.
Baltimore, MD: Permit Required
To apply for a curb lane closure or meter bagging in Baltimore, Maryland, please call the Office of Minor Privileges, Department of Transportation at 410-396-4508.
Bethesda, MD: Depends on Area
If it’s a residential parking only area, moving trucks need a permit. If it’s metered parking, residents need to feed the meter for the moving truck. If there’s no signage posted, then moving trucks are free to park. To request meter bagging in Bethesda, Maryland, call the Montgomery County DOT at 240-777-8740. Meter bagging requests are due one week in advance.
Columbia, MD: No Permit Required
While moving trucks do not need parking permits in Columbia, Maryland, it is important to make sure vehicles are not impeding traffic.
Easton, MD: No Permit Required
While moving trucks do not need parking permits in Easton, Maryland, it is important to make sure vehicles are not impeding traffic.
Falls Church, VA: No Permit Required
Service or delivery vehicles are allowed to park in a residential area in Falls Church, Virginia for up to 8 hours within a 24-hour period without the use of a permit. If you need vehicle parking for more than 8 hours in a 24-hour period, call the Falls Church police department at 703-241-5053.
Frederick, MD: Permit Required
To obtain “no parking” signs in Frederick, Maryland, visit the Parking Department at 2 South Court Street or call 301-600-1429.
Gaithersburg, MD: Permit Required
To obtain “no parking” signs in Gaithersburg, Maryland, email the City of Gaithersburg Department of Public Works at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 301-258-6370.
Leesburg, VA: Depends on Area
For downtown Leesburg parking, residents can purchase meter bags for $10 per day per space to reserve on-street parking for loading and unloading when movers need more than two hours. To purchase meter bags in Leesburg, Virginia, visit the Finance Counter on the first floor of Town Hall at 25 West Market Street.
Reston, VA: No Permit Required
Moving trucks are allowed to park in residential areas in Reston, Virginia for up to 48 hours. Vehicles cannot impede traffic.
Rockville, MD: No Permit Required
Marked service vehicles, which are engaged in business to a household, are exempt from needing a parking permit in Rockville, Maryland.
Silver Spring, MD: Depends on Area
If it’s a residential parking only area, moving trucks need a permit. If it’s metered parking, residents need to feed the meter for the moving truck. If there’s no signage posted, then moving trucks are free to park. To request meter bagging Silver Spring, Maryland, call the Montgomery County DOT at 240-777-8740. Meter bagging requests are due one week in advance.
Washington, DC: Permit Required
To apply for reserved parking permits in Washington, D.C., visit https://tops.ddot.dc.gov/.
The DOT may issue reserved parking permits for residential moving trucks for up to two days. District law requires that residents post signs 24 hours in advance at metered spaces and 72 hours in advance at non-metered spaces.