How to Make Moving Fun!

Make a Playlist

Music makes everything better. Even something that can be as stressful and time-consuming as moving.

Before you start packing, put together a playlist of songs that make you want to move or sing along. When I was young, we’d always pull the boom box out when it was time to clean. There’s nothing quite like vacuuming to Gloria Estefan and Shania Twain. Don’t be afraid to include your guilty pleasures.

Be sure to include everyone in the playlist making process and when you’re running low on ideas, turn to old standards like The Bealtes, Paul Simon and Stevie Wonder.

Don’t own enough music to make a playlist? If you’ve got a smart phone, you can download the Spotify app and sign up for a free account. With a free account, you can create playlists. You may not be able to listen to the songs in a particular order, and there may be advertisements every so often, but it gives you access to millions of songs.

 

Reminisce While You Pack

Packing can be a daunting, stressful experience. Start early to give yourself plenty of time to not only go through all your items and throw out the things you no longer need, but so you can also reminisce with friends and family. When you come across old photos, don’t just throw them in a box and move on, take a few minutes to flip through them.

 

Promise Yourself a Reward

We know moving is expensive, but it’s nice to have a little something extra waiting for you at the end (or your children, if you’ve got them). Promise yourself a meal at your favorite restaurant, buy a book to enjoy once you’ve settled in to your new place, or a DVD to watch while you enjoy pizza delivery on your first night.

Give yourself reward to look forward to beyond the relief of being done with the move.

 

Build a Box Fort

Done unpacking? Got kids? Then let them fulfil their dreams of a cardboard castle. Don’t have kids? Who cares! It’ll probably be years before you’ll have so many cardboard boxes at your disposal and you aren’t getting any younger. Maybe it’s a temporary fortress for your cat or dog. Either way, have fun. I know the kid in the picture below did.

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To Rent or Not to Rent

Our services fit into three categories: full service, labor only, and packing.

Of those three options our labor only services are the most versatile. Whether it’s moving items within in your home, loading a truck for a cross-country move or moving locally, our labor only services can work for you. Without the truck, the hourly rate is a bit lower and subsequently, it tends to seem like the more economical option.

That said, the cost difference between labor only and full service may not be as large as you’d expect and when you consider all of the factors associated with the two options. You may even find yourself convinced that the little bit extra in cost is well worth the peace of mind and convenience.

Cost

When comparing full service to labor only, there is the potential to save 10 – 20% in overall cost depending on the size and type of moving vehicle, length of rental, and the need for additional equipment. With our full-service option, all equipment to move your items safely and efficiently is included (dollies, basket trucks and bungee cords). With most truck rentals, no moving equipment is included free of cost.

Winner: Labor Only. Unless you’re needing to keep the truck overnight for some reason. Renting your own truck will almost always be cheaper.

Risk

With decreased cost, comes increased risk. You become responsible for the vehicle and safely driving your items from one location to another to be loaded and unloaded.

Additionally, when renting from U-Haul or Budget a reservation is only an acknowledgement of preference. If they no longer have your requested vehicle type and size when you arrive to pick up your rental, you may end up with a larger truck. This can lead to parking issues, a more stressful driving experience, and, without the proper tie-down materials, can mean a more dangerous situation for your items in transit.

Winner: Full Service. Without any real guarantee, labor only has several risks when compared to a full-service option.

Convenience

With the full-service option, there’s less to keep track of. You place a deposit, reserve time on our calendar and your time is guaranteed. Having that time set aside will give you the peace of mind needed to focus on the other aspects of moving. You no longer need to worry about driving and taking care of the vehicle or your items because our drivers have done tens of thousands of moves with our standard 26’ box trucks.

Winner: Full Service. As you might expect, the slightly more expensive option is the most convenient.

For the sake of understanding, we’ve laid out a price comparison for a move from Richfield to Eagan, based on our average service length of 3.25 hours:

fullvpartial-comparison

In the end, both options have their pros and cons. One is not necessarily better than the other. The best option will vary depending on preference and situation. Our only hope is that with this information you can better evaluate your moving needs and make the decision process as simple and stress free as possible.

Stories from the Field: US Bank Stadium

There’s no doubt you’ve heard about our Minnesota Vikings’ new home, US Bank Stadium.  Located in downtown Minneapolis, the stadium will not only host Super Bowl LLI, but hundreds of other events between now and then.  From spectacular concerts to large trade shows.  For anyone that’s been involved in organizing such an event, you are no stranger to the amount of set-up work that comes along with it.

Earlier this month, the stadium was host to the Minneapolis Holiday Boutique where over 60 businesses set up booths to showcase their brand and get a start on the holiday shopping season.  A lucky pair of our Muscle Movers got to help set up for the festive event.  Needless to say, our movers, Matt and Connor, were not only excited to help but also to see the new stadium for the first time.

While they were only hired to help set up one booth, it was no small task.  The booth was impressive not only in size, but in style as well.  Rustic wood panels were moved to the booth are and set up to create a barn; a unique shopping environment for customers.  Certainly something you would not expect to see within the modern stadium setting.  The best part? The booth had a clear view out onto the field.  On that beautiful moving day, the field was so amazing; our movers couldn’t help but take a photo before heading out after a job well done.

Our Muscle Movers always work hard to get the job done, but when the move brings you to such an unbelievable setting like the new US Bank, if definitely makes for a memorable experience.

Stories From The Field: When A Mover Falls In Love

With about 8 years of moving experience under our belts, we’ve moved a lot of odd stuff. We’ve also had some unique, unexpected experiences while on the job. This particular story doesn’t really fall into either of those categories. It isn’t an FBI sting operation, and it certainly isn’t about a man hacking his drywall with a machete for the sake of getting a couch into a basement. It is, however, a story that has yet to be repeated.

On a particularly busy summer day about 5 years ago, two of our Muscle Movers, Peter and Jake, were on their way to a service. As they neared the starting location, Peter gave the customer a call to let them know they would be arriving soon. After the brief phone call, Peter mentioned to Jake that their customer, Jo, sounded cute.

When they arrived, Peter and Jake parked the truck and were greeted by Jo. Peter was pleasantly surprised to realize she was even cuter than she sounded on the phone.

As Jake and Peter got to work carrying the larger items to the truck, Jo and her friends helped out with boxes and such. Throughout the move the group chatted and Peter started noticing that he and Jo shared a lot of hobbies like downhill skiing and tennis, among others. But it wasn’t just alike interests… there was definitely some chemistry, which both seem to have noticed.

Jo, having felt that spark, gave Peter a call about two hours after the service. He was happy to hear from her and even happier when she asked him if he’d like to get together and play tennis sometime. Shortly after, the two started dating.

Today, Peter and Jo are happily engaged and preparing for their wedding later this year.

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So, there you go a heart-warming and serendipitous story to share on Valentine’s Day. If you aren’t feeling lovey-dovey, you can find the stories I mentioned earlier, here and here.

Tipping Your Movers

At some point someone decided 15% of the final bill was the appropriate amount to tip a server when dining out. Seeing as we eat out quite a bit more frequently than we hire a moving service, it’s no surprise there isn’t a similar, commonly held belief like this when it comes to tipping movers.

As a rule of thumb, we suggest 5% of the total bill for movers that provide adequate service. With that as a reference point, you might tip 10-15%, if the service was exceptional, and you may decide to forego tipping, if you felt the service was subpar. It’s all pretty simple once you have 5% as a starting point.

 

TippingMovers

 

How To Tip

When you’re at a restaurant, you have the opportunity to calculate your tip on your own time. You then are able to walk away without interacting with your server again. With movers you are often times handing them cash directly, or writing in a gratuity amount while standing immediately next to them, which can make the exchange seem awkward.

While we can’t speak for all moving companies, our movers are trained to not make any assumptions when it comes to the tip. They may mention that you have the opportunity to write in a gratuity amount on the final paperwork, but you won’t see them lingering or holding a hand out after the paperwork is complete.

If you still feel uncomfortable, you can hand the movers your cash or check tip in an envelope. Our movers are able to accept monetary tips as checks, cash and via credit card.

 

Alternatives

Tipping is NOT a requirement, and money is not the only way to show your appreciation. Some of our movers favorite tips have been mid-service food, or odd, unwanted furniture pieces. Don’t be afraid to offer your movers the TV stand you no longer want.

Additionally, calling the company you booked the service with after your move and sharing positive feedback about the movers can act as a sort of tip. At College Muscle Movers, such a call can mean a Jimmy John’s gift card or similar reward for your movers.

 

If you’re curious how other’s handle tipping their moversApartment Guide conducted a survey among 1,000 adults in the U.S. in 2013 on this topic. Check out the infographic they made with the results below.

 

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Moving Day Survival Kit

There are many things to consider when you’re moving. It’s never as simple as getting your items from one location to another. And, whether you hire professional movers or plan to enlist the help of your friends and family, there’s always the chance that something doesn’t go according to plan.

On top of that, the process can be extremely tiring. You might not want to take the time to dig out your toiletries, you might find yourself easily frustrated when trying to locate your tools to reassemble your bed, and you will almost definitely find that you don’t want to sleep in the clothes you moved in.

To avoid all these troubles, we offer the sage advice of compiling a “Moving Survival Kit’ before your move.

 

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What exactly is a Moving Survival Kit?

It’s all the essential items you might need during or immediately after your move, packed into one box. In most cases, you’ll want to transport it yourself between your old and your new location.

 

What all should I include in my Moving Survival Kit?

 

First Aid

Whenever there are people moving heavy items it’s a good idea to have some first aid readily available. Don’t let an injury turn into a mad dash to find the box with the bandages.

 

Nourishment

During the move, you’re probably going to need a little pick me up. Make some homemade trail mix in some tupperware. We suggest a simple mixture of M&M’s, peanuts and raisins. If you have time, you could also make up some PB&J sandwiches for a mid-move meal.

For your most cost effective beverage option, we suggest packing water bottles. There’s a good chance your new residence has running water. So, why not save the planet from extra plastic in a landfill and save your self a few bucks.

 

Paper Towels

Let’s be honest, no one wants to cook after a long day of moving. You also probably don’t want to go out to eat, which leaves two options: running out to grab fast food or delivery. In the case that you opt for delivery, you’re going to want at least some paper towels.

 

Toilet Paper

You don’t want to be digging through boxes when nature calls, make sure you include a few rolls of toilet paper in your kit.

 

Tools

It can be as simple as a multi-tool or as comprehensive as a portable tool kit. Either way, you’re going to need to get through the packing tape you used on your boxes and you’re going to need someway to reassemble your furniture.

If you don’t want to deal with any disassembly or reassembly, keep College Muscle Movers in mind. We’re willing to help with disassembly and reassembly at no extra cost.

 

Pillows, Blankets & Clothing

At the very least, pack a blanket and pillow for each family member and some comfortable sleeping clothes. The last thing you want to deal with is sleeping in uncomfortable, potentially sweaty clothes with no blanket or pillow. Getting some good rest will make all the difference after a long day.

 

Important Documents

You may not need immediate access to things like your birth certificates or social security cards, but you also probably don’t want to have to go through the process of replacing them. Knowing exactly where they are during the entirety of your move will save you from any potential stress.

Ask The Experts: Buying and Selling a Home

It’s no secret that moving can be stressful. Between completing transactions for your new place, updating addresses with your bank and the post office, and getting your belongings to your new home, it is easy to overlook a detail or two.

At College Muscle Movers, we aim to make planning, preparing for, and completing your moving service is as stress-free possible. By understanding that each move is unique, we’re able to tailor our services to each customer’s needs. However, we understand the moving process starts well before arranging movers, especially when you are buying and/or selling a home.

In order to shed a little light on the home buying and selling process, we spoke with our friends Sean and Jennifer Dunn of Integrity Realty.

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FINDING A REALTOR

First, get started by connecting yourself with the right people.

As Jennifer says, moving “is fun, exciting, and quite honestly stressful, but having professionals help you will make it so much more enjoyable. This is what movers, realtors, and loan officers do every day, and we can guide you through the process, and help to minimize the surprises.”

When looking for a realtor, ask a lot of questions. Get an idea of how they work before committing. Communication and trust are key.

Almost a third of all buyers in 2015 were purchasing a home for the first time, and with all the moving pieces involved in a home purchase, learning on the fly could set you up for a delay in closing or even the transaction falling through. By working with a realtor you can trust, you can better ensure your needs and timeline are met.

Jennifer continues, “Don’t expect the experience to be like what you’ve seen on HGTV.”

“We spend a lot of time talking about what to expect from the process, the inspection, and how to get through it all with a minimal amount of stress. Folks often don't know where to start, so we connect them with high quality lenders who have the same level of commitment to their clients as we do,” Sean adds.

With the vast number of resources available online, it’s important turn to a realtor you can trust for advice. After all, it’s their job to stay in the know, and maintain relationships with trustworthy lenders and other professionals that can assist with the home buying process. You have enough to worry about, let the professionals do the legwork.

 

PREPARING YOUR HOME

Once you’ve found the realtor for you, it’s time to list your home for sale!

But wait- how to make your home appear most appealing to potential buyers?

Sean and Jennifer agree that staging is one of the most important steps in preparing your home for sale. “Staging is key to selling a home quickly and for the best price,” says Jennifer. “It's about minimizing "stuff" and maximizing the space.”

Sometimes homeowners react negatively to the idea of staging, but Sean is quick to emphasize that “Staging is NOT interior decorating, and it’s certainly not a judgment of taste. Rather, it’s about making the property appealing to the broadest range of tastes.”

“Sellers sometimes think a buyer can look past the wallpaper from 1976, but unfortunately the thing the buyer will remember about the house IS the wallpaper from 1976, not how great the layout is, or how simple it would be to get rid of the wallpaper.”

Staging can also offer an excellent opportunity to try out a moving company without committing too much money up front. And, if there isn’t a place to store your items within your home or elsewhere, keep College Muscle Movers in mind for affordable, flexible storage options.

 

FINANCING YOUR MOVE

Once you have a buyer for your home (or are ready to buy yourself), it’s time to get final details of financing in place. If you’re taking out a loan (you worked with a lender to get pre-qualified, right?!) Jennifer notes “there are new laws in place now that make the process longer. If you are taking out a loan, plan on about at least 6 weeks to get to closing.”

This is the point in the process where it makes sense to start contacting moving companies. At College Muscle Movers, many of our services are scheduled about a month in advance, and we are more than happy to provide quotes over the phone. Sometimes for larger projects it’s best to get an on-site assessment, which we can also provide!

Of course, every homebuyer’s worst nightmare is closings getting delayed or falling through at the last minute. Jennifer says the key to avoiding delays is to work with a good lender: “someone who has a reputation for delivering on time, or ahead of time!”

“Buyers also have to understand that there's a lot that goes into securing a loan. When loan officers ask for information, get it to them quickly. Get your inspection done quickly and work with your realtor to get through the inspection contingency period efficiently.”

As with the rest of the process, she says, “communication is key to making sure things go smoothly, and finding out ahead of time if changes might need to be made to closing dates. Make sure your loan officer is keeping you and your realtor up to date on the status of your loan, or if delays are anticipated so you can all plan in advance.”

 

MANAGING CLOSING TIMES

The final hurdle is signing the paperwork, and actually getting your belongings over to your new place.

Depending on how your purchase is structured, the timing of your closings is something to consider when planning for your move.

“Back to back closings are scheduled when someone has to sell their home in order to have the money to buy another home. A seller has to be out before closing so the buyer can do a proper walk through of the property, and then closing might be a few hours later on the new home” says Jennifer. This is a scenario College Muscle Movers deals with often, and we have the ability to work with you to create the best logistical plan for your move, or to temporarily store items if needed.

Lastly, we asked Jennifer if she had any other advice for people preparing to move to a new home. She said: “Labeling boxes, and put the things you need right away in your car. Things like a change of clothes, toilet paper, paper towels, those sorts of everyday items. Think about your day and what you use most often, and just set aside a couple of boxes for those items.”

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To sum it all up, the best way to avoid unnecessary stress from the very beginning is to connect with professionals who have the know-how and experience to navigate the process. Make sure to work with someone you communicate well with, and whom you feel makes a genuine effort to listen to your needs and goals. By doing so, you’ll ensure the move goes as smoothly as possible from start to finish!

Our Experts

Dunn and Brennan Realty

 

Sean got started in the realty business in 2007, and Jennifer in 2008. Though both started out on different career paths, they have found that helping people buy and sell their homes has been a perfect fit for them. On getting started in realty, Jennifer said “it was a natural for us as we love to look at houses and dream of ways to fix them up. We both love working with people so it gives us an opportunity to use our expertise to help others.”

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Common New Home Repairs

 

Here at College Muscle Movers, we’ve helped a lot of new home-owners move in. We have a fair amount of experience with new homes. It’s not unusual to find a whole plethora of things that need to be tweaked and fixed, and we’ve gathered up some of the more common issues you’ll find when moving into a new home. Below you’ll find 5 tips to help you learn what to expect.

or someone you hire.
This could be you.

Dripping Faucets and Toilet Fill Valves

After a long day of moving, you’ll be thrilled to crawl into bed and fall asleep. That might be when you first notice the incessant sound of water running from somewhere in the house, usually the kitchen or bathroom. Dripping faucets sometimes require a plumber to fix properly, as you might end up making it worse if you don’t know what you’re doing. On the other hands, if water is running in the toilet, you likely have a leaking fill valve.

A leaky fill valve is quite easy to fix on your own. You just have to take the top off of the reservoir and find out what kind of rubber cap you have. Then run down to the nearest hardware store and pick one up. Installation is easy, too. If this doesn’t solve the problem, you’ll likely want to call a plumber.

Patching and Painting Drywall

Damaged drywall is one of the most common new home repairs. Especially around stairs and corners, you’ll find spots that have been scratched or dented by people moving furniture in or out, or kids, or people just going about their life. In fact, you’re likely to cause some damage yourself while moving. Don’t worry!

Hiring a painter to come and fix the drywall and paint it is pretty affordable. Some offer labor by the hour, or by square foot. It takes some time to complete (paint has to dry, after all), but drywall is easy to patch, sand, and paint over.

Again, you can do it yourself by simply picking up paint (bring a paint chip along for reference), drywall patching compound, roller brushes, and medium-grit sandpaper. Don’t forget to lay down cloth or newspaper to prevent getting paint on your floors!

Re-caulking Tubs, Sinks, and Showers

Caulk is vital for preventing rot and mold from creeping into the structure of your house. All sinks, tubs and showers should be caulked around the edges so that moisture can’t seep in. Check the caulk in your new home right away and replace any that is peeling or damaged. All you need is to dig out the old stuff, and use a caulk gun to shoot in more. If you aren’t comfortable doing this on your own, find a friend or a handyman to help you.

Cleaning and Replacing Gutters

Gutters are key in protecting your house from rain and snow. In Minnesota, that’s pretty important. Snow and leaf accumulation can cause them to pull free from the house or get twisted.

Sometimes you can just bend gutters back into the proper position. If not, you’ll need to replace the gutters, or install some metal support structures underneath. Once you have all the gutters on your new home in working order, do your best to keep them clean! Make sure to get leaves out every fall, and try not to let too much snow collect in them.

Preventing Ice Damming

This one is especially relevant in Minnesota. Ice build-up on the roof occurs frequently during our winters, especially around the edges of the roof. Melting water can get trapped and accumulate, creating a heavy ice dam that can damage shingles, roofing, and eventually force water into your house from above.

A good long-term solution is to have thermal cable along the edges of the roof. This can be warmed up during the winter to prevent freezing at the source. It’s a complex job, however, and you’ll want an experienced contractor to take care of it (assuming you’re not a master electrician)

A cheap and easy fix is just to make sure that you have channels running through the ice dams. You can do this by filling old knee-high socks or pantyhose with calcium chloride (snow melter). Lay the socks or hose along the roof so that they run down and drape just over the edge. This means that even if ice accumulates, melting water will have a path to escape.

Hopefully some of our tips will help you work through your new home repairs, or least shed some light on what to expect. Remember, if you have any questions about moving to a new home, contact us!

Getting Your Security Deposit Back!

Here at College Muscle Movers, we’ve helped folks through a lot of different moving situations. One of the biggest opportunities for a scare comes when you’re trying to get your security deposit back. Anxiety about security deposits can loom large for many renters, and we’ve gathered some tips to help ensure that you get yours back.

 

Read Your Lease!

The first thing you should do is familiarize yourself with your lease. This is a given, even though lots of people don’t know the details. Do yourself a favor and read through it. Your lease will give you all of the information you need to keep your security deposit. It will explain your responsibilities in clear, legally binding language. Most of the time, the renter isn’t responsible for everyday wear and tear on a property. Outside of that, however, you’re expected to leave the apartment the way it was when you moved in.

 

Clean Up Properly

It probably won't be this fun.
It probably won’t be this fun.

The most important thing you can do is clean everything. If you’ve been taking reasonable care of your apartment, leaving it clean should be the only step you need to take to get your security deposit back. Get behind the refrigerator, and dig deep into the cabinets. Grind down through the layers of gunk on the stovetop. If you’re having trouble getting rid of all this stuff, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide will help. There are lots of hard to reach places that have probably escaped your cleaning while you lived in your apartment. If you get them only once, make sure that it’s right before you move out. Don’t leave behind any boxes, or papers, or bags of old clothes. Make sure everything goes! Don’t give your landlord a reason to hold part of your security deposit.

 

Make Repairs

If you’ve hung any paintings or posters in your apartment, chances are pretty good that you’ve put some little holes in the wall. Most places are used to this, and they won’t give you any grief about it. On the other hand, if you patch them up yourself, you negate any chance for landlords or property managers to trouble you.

You can pick up a small tube of spackle, some small-grit sandpaper and a putty knife at any hardware store or large department store. Just fill up the hole with goop, scrape away any extra, and then sand the top to even it out with the wall. In a pinch, you can do the same thing with toothpaste.

Document!

Your final step after making sure everything is cleaned and repaired is to take pictures. Document the state of the apartment so that if something happens (i.e., the new residents trash the place and blame it on you), you have evidence to show the condition that you left in the apartment.

Remember, unless you’ve really done something egregious, you should be getting at least part of your security deposit back. If your landlord or property manager says they’re keeping it, make sure that they provide you with an itemized list of all the costs they’re incurring. As a last resort, you can always take it to small-claims court. Judges usually rule quickly, and the costs of small claims are quite low.

If you have any other questions about moving, or security deposits, feel free to get in touch with College Muscle Movers!

Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling Moving Boxes

Here at College Muscle Movers, we know a thing or two about boxes. We work with boxes of all shapes and sizes, and we’re familiar with the huge mountain of cardboard lots of people discover in their new homes after they’ve finished moving. Below we’ll list some tips to help you manage the waste from all the cardboard you end using over the course of your move.

 

Save Your Boxes For The Next Move

First of all, consider using durable reusable plastic tote boxes. College Muscle Movers offers great deals on our Muscle Boxes. They are specifically designed with moving in mind. Even if you want to do the packing yourself, we can help keep your items safe for the upcoming move.  Our Muscle Boxes stack neatly, and offer high durability. Plus, they can be reused, offering the benefit of a low carbon footprint. Additionally, you can avoid the mountain range of cardboard that also seems to rise up in the living room at the tail end of the move.

If you’ve already got boxes piling up, read on.

 

Recycle ‘Em

You can always recycle clean corrugated cardboard. Once it’s all been processed, it can be reused as paper bags, paperboard, and much more. To process the materials, recycling centers first saturate the cardboard with water and break it up to create a pulp. Then the pulp is filtered and screened to get rid of any undesirable materials (staples, glue, nails, paperclips, etc.) During this process, the pulp is also washed to clean out any ink or staining. After the cardboard has been pulped and cleaned, it’s ready to be turned into something new!

If you’re in St. Paul or Minneapolis, consider using the services of a business like Eureka or Rethink. A quick Google search should help you find other local recycling centers in your area. Just remember that there’s a difference between waxed and unwaxed cardboard!

 

Turn It Into Mulch

If you’re the gardening or landscaping type, one of the best uses for old cardboard is to convert it into mulch. This will help you keep down weeds, moderate soil temperature, and generally improve the quality of your soil.As with recycling, there’s a difference between waxed and unwaxed cardboard— don’t use waxed cardboard for mulch!

If you think that cardboard mulch looks tacky, you can always cover it in a thin layer of more expensive conventional mulch. You can also use bark or wood chips to cover your cardboard mulch. These are more traditional, especially if you live in a suburb with neighborhood requirements for lawns.

Relive Your Childhood With A Rad Box Fort

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This one’s pretty self explanatory. Have some fun with your boxes. Maybe you want to to dress up as a robot? Get some tape and scissors and go to town! If you’re making box forts with children, make sure to keep an eye on them, and make sure there isn’t anything dangerous left in the boxes.

 

Hopefully some of these tips have been helpful! Remember, if you have any questions about an upcoming move, feel free to contact College Muscle Movers at 1(800) 818-8449