Stories from the Field: The Tale of the Machete Stairwell

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Here at CMM, we move a lot. We move couches and chairs and desks, but we also move original Dali paintings. We move statues of dinosaurs. We move automated salsa manufacturing machines. 

There isn’t a lot, in fact, that we don’t move. And when you move a lot, you end up with stories. Some horror, some humor. Some interesting, some just plain weird. All the names and any pertinent personal details have been changed. We thought it might be nice for those of you facing moves to get a little taste of some of the things we’ve dealt with in the past.

Trust us, we can handle your move. But maybe tell us beforehand if it involves, say, a menagerie of zoo animals.
This story starts with a truck service, in late autumn. It was a pretty standard move, a three bedroom into a four bedroom, from Woodbury to Maple Grove. The clients were a married couple, a retired football lineman and a librarian, and the family was expecting to need the extra room sometime within the next month.

With the help of CMM, they packed up their belongings in boxes and loaded up their possessions into a 26’ truck. They started with the mattresses, then moved onto desks and armoires and a single unusually large antique couch. Finally, they finished loading the truck with rugs and cushions and some left-over Tonka toys.

Everything was safe and everything fit.

The truck service was running along perfectly smoothly until the Muscle Movers arrived at the unload location in Maple Grove. The new house was larger than the old one had been, but the entrance to the basement was extremely narrow. After taking off a railing and popping a door off the hinges (temporarily, of course), the Muscle Movers managed to fit the desks and armoires and necessary furniture down into the basement.

Except the couch. The feet were taken off. It was compressed with slippery wrap. It was twisted and turned in every possible direction, but the couch just wouldn’t fit. The husband, the retired football lineman, was determined to make it work. The couch, he said, has been in his family for generations, and he couldn`t abandon it.

So, midway through the move, he took matters into his own hands. He went out to the garage and grabbed a machete and saw. The next time the movers passed by carrying a reclining chair, he was chopping and sawing at the wood and plaster in the stairwell to the basement.

Just have to avoid the studs, he said merrily. You boys interested in getting in on the action? As you might imagine, this was not a small man. This was the sort of man who could toss out 10 reps of 225 on a bench press before breakfast. His work with the machete gave the impression that had he wished, he could have made a fortune as a guide leading groups through thick Amazon forest. He made short work of the stairwell, and he swept the dust and plaster into garbage bags before having the Muscle Movers carry the couch downstairs.

This time, it fit just fine.

Zooming in On CMM: Jonathan Halquist

A number of factors separate College Muscle Movers from the rest of the herd. First and foremost is our focus on  employing highly driven and intelligent individuals. We want to make sure the people moving your stuff are strong,  smart, and dedicated. That’s why we employ college athletes and recent graduates— they know the value of hard  work.

We figured a quick interview session with some of our movers might help you get to know us a little better, so we’ll be  running a series of these interviews. This time, we tracked down Jonathan Halquist, one of our Senior Muscle  Movers.

Muscle Movers from left to right: David Hale, Jonathan Halquist, and James Welck
Muscle Movers from left to right: David Hale, Jonathan Halquist, and James Welck

 

So. Let’s start simple. Where are you from?

Duluth, Minnesota— born and raised.

How long have you been working at College Muscle Movers?

About a year now, give or take a few weeks.

And you’re in school, right?

Well, I actually graduated recently from St. Olaf college.

Where’s that?

It’s south of the Twin Cities, just down 35.

Ah! What did you study?

I completed my degree in studio art and media studies, although I guess I studied a lot of other things.

An art major! Tough field. Have you found any use for that after school?

I have! Currently I’m working with CMM to produce a variety of marketing and promotional materials, which is great. It’s really nice to be involved in fresh projects. I have also done some freelance graphic design work for a few clients, ranging from Minneapolis all the way out to New York City.

You’re a Senior Mover here. What does that mean?

I am a senior mover, which means I drive the trucks from location to location and also coordinate and lead teams of movers. Formally, I ensure that services are performed safely and efficiently to the standards of CMM. In a nutshell, that means I make sure moves are running smoothly.

Speaking of nutshells, do you have a favorite nut? Healthy proteins are important on the job!

Pistachios, probably.

What do you do with your free time?

In my free time I play violin in a swing band. That ends up taking more time than you might expect. I’m also independently studying computer science.

Whoa. Violin and computer science, eh? Those two seem pretty different.

Well, I think it’s important to have diverse interests. I’ve been playing violin since I was little, so there’s that. It’s a lot of fun to just get up on stage and express yourself through an instrument. The computer science is newer. It’s sort of an overlooked subject by a lot of people. If you think about it, computer science is the foundation for a lot of modern day life— programs and software govern everything from phones and music players to cars and ovens.

What’s the heaviest item you’ve ever moved on the job?

Probably a piano. Sometimes you end up with a heavy piano that has to go up a couple flights of winding stairs, and that’s almost always a killer.

What’s your favorite thing about working at CMM?

Well, I appreciate the flexibility. Like I said, I have a fair number of interests outside of work, and CMM is accommodating in giving me time to pursue them. The best is probably the people, though. It’s a good group of guys, and solid camaraderie can be hard to find in the workplace.

Awesome. Thanks, Jon!

No problem.

Keep On Truckin’

(A Brief Guide to Your Options Regarding Trucks)

Finally, after countless hours of careful planning, you’ve just marked it down on your calendar. The date is set. You’re moving. Congratulations! You’re about to enter an exciting new phase of your life. Chances are, you’re going to need a truck.truck-300x242
Here at College Muscle Movers, our most popular option is a Muscle + Truck service. Just tell us the date and Muscle Movers will arrive in one of our 26’ trucks, ready to help you move.

If your new home is located far from Minnesota, you might be planning on renting a truck from a large national rental company. If this is the case, consider hiring our labor only service to help pack up your items.

In any case, you’ll definitely want to familiarize yourself with the various options offered by companies that offer long-distance moving. The most common choices are either renting a truck to drive yourself, or renting space on a freight truck and retrieving the items at their eventual destination.

 

1. Drive Yourself

Penske and U-haul both offer trucks ranging in size from 12 ft. to 26 ft., depending on how plentiful your worldly belongings are. The differences between the two companies are minimal, but there are a couple.

U-haul advertises a truck that is “50% easier to load”, but the lower bed means you’re more likely to bottom out when you are driving over steep inclines, which isn’t too fun if you aren’t using to driving a large truck.

Another difference between U-haul and Penske trucks is caused by the lowering of the bed in U-haul design. The lower bed causes a protrusion in the back of the truck, over the wheels, which can make it more difficult to pack large items into your truck, especially if you have quite a few of them (couches, overstuffed chairs, armoires, etc.)

Additionally, U-haul trucks don’t come equipped with liftgates, which means you will be forced to use the narrow walking ramp. If you have any specialty items (unusually large armoires, sculptures, etc.) you may find that a liftgate is necessary to safely get the item into the back of the truck.

 

2. Let Someone Else Drive

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Beyond the smaller trucks, you can pay for space aboard a freight line, such as ABF U-Pack.

These are the semi-trucks you see driving around on the highway, carrying large trailers and cargo crates. For these services, you will rent out a set amount of space, the cost being determined either by weight or square footage used. Using a freight line will maximize the potential space you have available to pack belongings, but this is balanced by one major disadvantage.

The people driving your freight truck might not be aware of the exact items that they are transporting. Usually the area you have rented will be closed off after you are finished packing, and more freight will be added on at further destinations. This means that you don’t have control over the other items being loaded with your personal belongings. It’s highly unlikely to happen, but if the additional loads include lice or fleas, you’re out of luck. For better or worse, there is simply less control when choosing freight.

Another related option is a container packing service, such as PODS or United Mayflower. These will drop off a container for you to fill, and then take it away. Containers come in a variety of sizes ranging from 7 to 16 feet.

Anyway, we hope this might help shed some light on the plethora of available options when you choose to move. And remember, if you have any questions, feel free to contact us!

Tools Of The Moving Trade

Moving is a big step for anyone, whether it’s your first time or your fortieth (hopefully it’s closer to your first.) Packing up all your stuff has the potential to be stressful, and that’s before you reach the point of stacking it all in a truck and sending it away. But there’s no need to lose sleep about moving! If you’ve ever used a moving company before, you’ve (hopefully) seen your movers wrapping furniture in various fabrics and plastics. What are they using? How do these tools function to keep your personal items safe? Today we’ll address some of the techniques College Muscle Movers utilizes to implement safety while moving.

 

1. Stretch Wrap

Stretch wrap is used to bind, bundle, and fasten large objects when moving or storing, as well as securing items on pallets. Sticks to nothing but itself, with no adhesives or sticky residues, and no damage when removed. This is usually the first layer of protection on items.

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2. Blankets

Our double quilted furniture pad is ideal for preventing nicks and scratches while moving or storing valuables. These also serve to help fill in spaces between your possessions, ensuring that nothing will shift around during transit. Our trucks come stocked with 12 dozen blankets that our Muscle Movers will use to protect your belongings during the move. If you’re using our labor only services, we offer blankets for sale at $10 per blanket and will refund $5 for each blanket returned to us in good condition— essentially a $5 rental.

3. Toolsets

Already packed up your drills and screwdrivers? Don’t sweat it— College Muscle Movers come equipped with a full set of tools: wrenches, hammers, bits, you name it. We’ve got your back. Literally.

4. Bungee Cords

These help movers keep your stuff in one place while it’s in transit. The elasticity of Bungee cords helps it absorb shock, and allows us to secure valuable items during the move without tying countless knots, saving you time and money.

5. Ratchet Straps

This durable strapping is extremely strong, with very little stretch, to keep loads secure. When you’re moving something heavy, this is what you want holding it down. The strength of the ratchet straps will make it impossible for big items to move and gain momentum in the back of the truck.

6. Basket Trucks

Our vinyl basket trucks are big and durable. We use them for those extra long carries, when you have extra stuff that just won’t quite fit in a box. They’ll save you time and money.

7. Hand Trucks & Dollies

These are the bread and butter of the moving business. From boxes to beanbag chairs, we’ll use hand trucks and four-wheel dollies to help smoothly move your items out to the truck after they’ve been safely packed up.

8. The Muscle

The most important part! Strong, experienced movers are the cornerstone of a smooth and successful move. Here at College Muscle Movers, we know moving can be stressful, and we hire only the best— driven college athletes who want to make your move as enjoyable as possible. Our movers undergo arduous training before we send them out into the field, and the learning process doesn’t stop there.

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A fresh-faced Muscle Mover.

 

 

Hopefully a little insight into the tools used by movers will help put you at ease! Just remember, experienced movers have a lot of different options to aid in the safety and convenience of your transition to a new home. When you rent a truck with College Muscle Movers, all of these options are complimentary with your purchase, and rest assured, we’ll make sure your new home arrives safely.