Stories from the Field – The Ambulance

Here at CMM, we move a lot. We move sofas and beds and armoiries, but we also move weaver’s looms. We move fish tanks.  We move that old wind-up clock you got from Grandpa that had the false bottom with a half-empty bottle in it. 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. It’s nice to know you’re not the only person who’s had obstacles arise while moving (misery loves company), and maybe these stories can help demonstrate why we try to ask some the questions we do when conducting an estimate! Before any move begins, a moving company gives an estimate on how long the move will take. The estimate is based entirely on information given over the phone— the inventory, the length of the carry, the distance between the origin and the destination, yadda yadda, the list goes on. But of course that doesn’t count for unusual situations. If you think your move might be unusual for any reason, be sure to tell us. Anyway, without further adieu, here’s the story of:

The Ambulance Move12StoriesfromtheField-TheAmbulance-1

 

Sometimes customers set up a move with a time limit. It could be for financial reasons, or perhaps it just wasn’t possible to take work off. In either case, it’s good for us to know about time limits ahead of time.

Last winter, we had a customer set up a move with our company. It sounded like a pretty standard job— boxes, a few chairs, a couch. Out of a two-bedroom house, the inventory amounted to a single room of furniture. The only catch was that the load needed be completed by noon. On the hour, and not a minute later.

The movers arrived promptly, and everything proceeded smoothly. The couch was wrapped, and the boxes were loaded up. Then, just as the movers were preparing to load the last pieces of furniture, a car pulled into the driveway. The customer’s husband had just come home for lunch. That was when the proverbial stuff hit the fan. It turned out that the husband and wife were right in the middle of divorce proceedings, and the husband had no idea that the wife was moving out. As you might imagine, he was shocked. So shocked, in fact, that he had a heart attack, sitting on the couch the movers had just wrapped up. 911 was called immediately, and the movers backed the truck out of the driveway so that the responders could bring the husband to the hospital. Then the customer had the movers finish up, bringing the couch and a couple leftover pieces of furniture out to the truck. They managed to finish the load before noon— the husband had just come home early.

After everything settled down, everyone ended up ok, but it was certainly a surprising situation. So if you think there might be any pertinent details we should know about your move that don’t get asked over the phone, feel free to tell us. We want to help, but we can’t unless we’re fully informed about your situation! Remember: surprises are best saved for birthday parties.

Helping Keep Items Safe In Storage

Newsflash: it’s 2014. You have a lot of stuff. I have a lot of stuff. Americans have a lot stuff. That stuff, whether it’s customized cat furniture or a collection of soon-to-be vintage compact disc, accumulates. It accumulates at a sometimes alarming rate, and sometimes after a move you find that you just don’t have enough room for it all.

That’s ok. At this point, everyone has a lot of stuff. That’s why you’ll find storage complexes peppered throughout the metro area.

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Storage units are a great way to make a little extra room for your extra stuff. Pretty simple: you rent out a space, lock it up, and voila, your spatial issue is fixed (at least temporarily.)  But is there anything special you should know before you lock up?

Yes and no. Storage units are quite safe. Storage units that can’t protect the things they’re storing don’t stick around for long. But if there is a minor issue (mold in your grandpa’s old couch,a leak in the ceiling) it’s likely that you won’t notice it until you go back to pick up your stuff, especially if you’re planning on using storage for a long time.

Here are steps you can take to help help ward off any minor inconveniences in the future.

Elevate

Minneapolis and St. Paul are not known for their gentle winters. If you’re using climate-controlled indoor storage, this won’t be a problem. If you’re outdoors, however, moisture has a way of finding it’s way through crevices until it can collect and pool under your furniture. You can help ameliorate this by keeping your belongings elevated. This doesn’t require any special equipment. Just keep any fabrics (couches, chairs, rugs) up and off the floor, so that if any moisture collects, it won’t get trapped and ruin something nice. If you’re using a moving service, make sure you request this: the risk is so minimal that most services won’t do it automatically.

Cover It Up

You’ll also want to factor in dust. This one is more to save yourself time if you’re planning on leaving your things in storage for a long time. After you’ve made sure your stuff is safely elevated off the ground, the next step is to wrap it. At College Muscle Movers, we use stretch wrap for this. Stretch wrap sticks to nothing but itself, with no adhesives or sticky residues, and no damage when removed. You can wrap pretty much anything in it. If you don’t have any wrap on hand, you can improvise with tarps, or large plastic bags. Even sheets and blankets can help provide an extra layer of protection for wood or leather. Use your imagination!

Traps

Last (and probably least): rodents. A lot of storage complexes will provide traps themselves in all the units, just to be on the safe side. It’s also fairly rare for people to store large quantities of perishable food, so it ain’t easy finding a square meal if you’re a mouse in a storage unit. However, if there aren’t any traps in your unit, it’s not a bad idea just to go out and buy one. It’s not going to hurt, and it might save that quilt your grandmother made.

So remember— even if you’re low on space at home, you can always go out and get more.
If you’re looking, here are a few possible options to get you started:
Lake Region Storage
Public Storage
U-Haul

Zooming In On CMM: Phil Anderson

Here at CMM, we want to provide the best possible service. 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 them 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 Phillip “Phil” Anderson.

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So, Phil. Where are you from?

Edina, MN

And where did you go to school?

University of Wisconsin Stout

What did you study over there?

Business and Property Management.

When did you first start working at College Muscle Movers?

December of 2012, I think, although I haven’t worked here the whole time. I took time off to take some home inspection classes. After that, I worked on a ranch in Colorado for 6 months. That was an experience.

Wow. That sounds awesome. What sort of stuff did you do out there?

Oh, you know— cowboy stuff. Just took care of hundreds of horses. Riding, roping, hiking. Putting up fences. All that kind of stuff.  Most of the people working were around my age. A lot of adventurous types. It was a really great group, and I met a lot of interesting co-workers and guests.

Guests?

Yeah, we helped with guests at the ranch, too. No celebrities, but there were a lot of very wealthy people. Again, interesting experience. A number of times I picked up guests from the private airport near us.

Well, it sounds like quite an adventure. It’s good to have you back here at CMM. Which brings up an interesting question— have you noticed any changes in the company since coming back?

There are a fair number of new faces, but also some familiar ones, which is nice. People still help each other out, and that helps foster a great environment. There’s a little something that’s different, too, but it’s hard to pin down. It feels a little more structured? Organized?

I’d actually agree with that. I think it makes sense for a young company. Things just keep getting tweaked, evolving one step at a time. Which brings us to our next question: you’ve seen some changes in the company, and done your fair share of moves. What do you think is the most interesting move you’ve ever done?

There was a move in St. Paul where we moved these massive LiteBrite boards, do you know what those are?

Uhhh. I don’t. (Didn’t, anyway. Check out Lite-Brites).

Basically we moved these giant glowing boards that were planted with colored pegs. It was for a giant mural in St. Paul, down at Union Depot. I think it’s in Guiness as the largest Lite-Brite display in the world. Anyway, the pieces of it were huge, almost too big to get in the truck, but we managed to figure it out. (Interviewer’s note: You can see the story on CBS.)

So what do you do when you’re not lifting couches or oversized art mural pieces?

Oh, you know, fishing, splitting wood. Wrestling bears. Taming wolves. That sort of thing.

Ok. Let’s finish off the interview with some word association. I’ll say a word, and you tell me the first thing that pops into your mind.

Gatorade

Drink

Ping-pong

Domination

Blanket

Cuddle

Hamburger

Delicious

Bacon

Delicious

Military

Hero

Jim Carrey

Lloyd Christmas

Mop

Nope

Thanks, Phil.

No problem.

Cleaning Up And Clearing Out

There are always a couple loose ends to take care of after you think you’ve finished up your move. If you’re in a rush, here are some commonly missed parts of the moving process that could cost you part of your deposit or hold up the sale of your home.

Clean Up

Piles of empty boxes, bags of packing peanuts, balled up newspaper, those old clothes that probably ought to go to Goodwill, now that you think about it: all of these are your enemies. You’re going to need to clean up, especially if you’re renting. When you’re moving out, the first step is to make sure you get rid of anything you don’t want. There’s no better time. Once you’ve gotten rid of all that stuff, there might still be a few things that slip your mind.

Holes in the Wall

If you have art hanging on your walls, there’s a good chance you have holes in your walls. Most landlords or apartment managers won’t make a fuss about this, but it’s likely you’ll run into the sort that do. If you’ve taken down a lot of pictures and it looks like your home was the backdrop for an old western firefight, don’t fret. It’s not hard to fill holes.

Run to your local hardware store and pick up a small tube of spackling, a putty knife, and some sandpaper. Now the easy part: squirt the spackling into the hole, use your knife to scrape away the excess, allow the compound to dry

Alternatively, if you’re in a hurry, you can use any old plain white toothpaste to fill the hole. Squeeze it into the whole and scrape away the excess with a card or driver’s license. Easy.

 

stove-300x225Leftover Gunk on The Stove

This is a pretty common one. You’ve been cleaning and cleaning, but there’s still a ring of mysterious goo around your gas range. In fact, it might have been there when you moved in. For all you know, it’s been there forever. But you can get rid of it easily with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. It’s like magic. Pour the baking soda into a bowl and add just enough peroxide to make a thick paste. Then slather it on and scrub it with a scouring pad. It’ll vanish.

 

Take Pictures

After you’ve finished the cleaning process, go around your house or apartment and take pictures. Document all those bare rooms. This is a good habit to do anytime you move in or out of a residence. That way if residents after you do a lot of damage to walls or floors, you have solid evidence of exactly how you left it.

Change Your Address

This one’s self-explanatory. You’re moving, or you’ve already moved. Go to the USPS website to change your address. You can also take care of it at the post office in person, if that’s what you’re into. After you hit USPS, you’ll want to update your address with the DMV. Here’s the link for the Minnesota DMV Change Of Address.

Relax!

Everyone always forgets this. It’s not always easy, but give it a try. Even if it’s just for a couple minutes, sit down and take a deep breath. Not to get metaphysical, but you’re about to start in a fresh place— let yourself enjoy the moment.