Moving Across The Country

Moving somewhere new is exciting. That’s especially true when you’re moving long-distance. Starting fresh can sometimes be a little daunting, a little scary, but it’s practically guaranteed to be exciting. Below we’ll offer some tips if you’ve been considering a cross country move.

 

Decide What To Move

Sometimes on a long-distance move, the first step is deciding you don’t need quite so much stuff. You can save yourself a lot of time if you don’t take every single possession you own across the country. Scaling back can also help ensure you don’t overcrowd your new home with boxes and extra furniture before you’ve even had a chance to live there!

 

Start Early

When it comes to moving across the country, start planning early. Try to contact moving companies at least a month in advance, if possible.  It will help ensure you get exactly the timeframe you want for your move, as well as giving you more time if something comes up. Regardless of how much you decide to take with you, you’ll have plenty to occupy your mind. Where to live? Where to work? Where to bring the kids to school? Where to find the nearest micro-brewery?

seriously there are so many breweries
We’re looking at you, Minneapolis.

Truck, Trailer, POD, or Many Trips?

Renting a truck is the most common choice for people moving across the country, either Penske or U-haul. And even if you’re not using a truck, don’t forget that you can still hire a moving service to do all the heavy lifting. Driving yourself always helps to ensure that you know where your stuff is at all times. CMM’s labor-only service specializes in heavy lifting.

You can also rent out space aboard a freight line like ABF U-Pack. Semi-trucks like this carry large cargo containers all across the country. The cost of the space is usually determined by square footage or weight. PODS and small cargo containers can also be rented out, another common choice for long moves. There’s usually a higher chance your belongings will get jarred around in containers, so make sure it’s especially well packed. A packing service is always a good way to make sure. There’s no substitute for experience.

 

Essentials

Don’t pack up everything! There are some things you’re probably going to need sooner rather than later. Chargers for electronic devices, computers, hygiene products. You use these things everyday. Keep them handy.

You’ll also want to hold on to leases, debit cards, new driver’s licenses; anything that you’re likely to need right away when you move. Finding yourself suddenly without funds when you need to pay your first month’s rent or mortgage installment isn’t terribly fun, especially when you’ve just moved across the country.

Keep Track

Labelling the boxes and bins of stuff you’re moving will save you a lot of time in the long run. Additionally, it will help offer you peace of mind. If you really feel like a cake is the first thing you need on your first night in a new place, just check your list and you’ll know just where to find the pan.

 

Hopefully some of these tips come in handy. If you have any questions about an upcoming move, though, feel free to contact College Muscle Movers. If you’re moving, we’re here to help!

Moving Vinyl

To be human is to love music. Great minds have waxed eloquent about the beauty of music for millennia, from Shakespeare and Plato to Jack Kerouac and Langston Hughes. What nobody talks about, though, is how heavy music can be. If you’re a music lover with a collection of vinyl, you might be familiar with this. Vinyl is heavy. Like, really heavy. And delicate. That means it can be difficult to move safely. On the other hand, a well-curated vinyl collection is literally irreplaceable, and you don’t want to risk damage to your priceless records. Below we’ll list some tips for how you can safely pack up and move all your music.

Pictured: backbreaking amounts of vinyl.
Pictured: backbreaking amounts of vinyl.

Proper Storage

To maximize the safety of your vinyl, the first step is protection. Regardless of whether you’re moving, you always need to protect your records from the constants that are humidity, heat, and debris. You want to make sure you have a paper liner on the record itself, a jacket/album sleeve, and a plastic sleeve on the outside. The plastic sleeve is your outermost layer of protection, so it’s especially important to the longevity of your records.

 

Take Off The Jackets

That’s right, take the records out of the jackets when you’re storing them. Especially when your records are stacked together, pressure can cause the album jackets to become distorted and damaged along the edges, and imprint the shape of the vinyl itself onto the cardboard.

Ideally, you want to store your records vertically alongside their album jackets, so there’s no risk of that damage occurring. Of course, you’ll likely want to keep the record protected by a jacket during transit, but remember that over the long-term, all it takes is pressure to damage an album jacket.

 

Use Appropriately Sized Boxes

When it comes time to move, you’re definitely going to need boxes. You might need a lot, depending on the size of your record collection. You’ll quickly find that there are a lot of differently sized boxes available: what you want is a box that is just a little bit bigger than 12X12X12 to account for the size of your records (12 inches for LPS). You’ll want a little bit of extra space available for padding.

Make sure you are using strong, structurally sound boxes. If those boxes sitting around in your basement are moldy or wet or ragged, forget about them. You can pick up new boxes at a home improvement or truck rental store (such as Lowe’s or U-Haul), or you can conveniently pick them up from us here at College Muscle Movers. In addition to traditional cardboard, we offer eco-friendly reusable Muscle Boxes. In case you’re looking to really scrimp, you might find that a local liquor store is willing to part with their wine boxes, which fit records nicely.

 

Give Your Records Proper Protection

After you’ve packed your boxes full of records, fill up any of the remaining space with bubble wrap, pillows, packing peanuts, etc. Something to help protect against the bumps they might receive on a long road. A professional moving company will take good care of your possessions, but they still have to drive on the same roads you do. In Minnesota, that’s likely to mean potholes, especially in the early spring when the snow melts.

Electronics Galore

When people think of moving, they think of some big burly guys manhandling couches and dressers, hauling a bunch of big furniture from point A to point B. And that’s not far off the mark. There’s a lot of heavy stuff that gets moved, and a lot of accompanying huffing and puffing. However, it’s 2015. There are a lot of other things that need to get moved. Computers, monitors, televisions, speaker systems— electronics. Electronics vary drastically in size, but they get used a lot, and they’re relatively delicate when compared to a lot of other items. You don’t want missing pixels in your TV, or missing files on your computer. What’s the best way to keep everything safe?

Files

Before you start packing everything up, you’ll want to make sure your files are backed up. Thankfully, along with the glut of hardware, 2015 brings accompanying software to the table. Even if you don’t have an external hard drive to use, you can use Google Drive or another form of cloud storage to back up your valuable data. Backing up your data before you unplug and pack up your computer is always a good decision— for most people, the main value of a computer is the information you put into it.

 

Imagine boxing this baby.

Tower

This is the big, computery part of the computer. The tall plastic case that holds all the important working bits, from the RAM to the power supply. Most of the components within are quite fragile, and you’ll want to be very careful when moving the tower. Ideally, you still have the box it came in. Most people don’t, though, so here’s what you’ll need.
Use a box that’s a bit larger than your computer tower, whether it’s a plastic tote-bin or cardboard. Then you’ll want to pack it in that box using some sort of padding. Bubble wrap, peanuts, old clothes— the most important thing is that you want everything to be snug. You don’t want your computer to be subjected to the evil powers of inertia and get plunked around in transit.

 

The Monitor (or TV)

Monitors and televisions are very similar, and you can pack the two identically. Again, ideally, you have the box that your screen came in, along with the formed styrofoam. If so, pack it back the way it was when you first got it, and breathe easy.

If not, don’t worry. The easiest option is to wrap your monitor or TV in a smooth blanket. Be careful of quilts or blankets with buttons or zippers— you don’t want to scratch anything. After you’ve wrapped it all up, you can consider some extra protection: extra blankets, or bubble wrap, if you have it.

 

Most of all, be careful with where it ends up while it’s in transit. You want to make sure nothing can fall on your fragile electronics, or jab them with anything pointy. Even if you’ve hired a moving company, you might prefer to move your fragile electronics yourself. Not that they won’t be safe, but sometimes it’s more efficient and less stressful to pack your valuable electronics yourself.

 

Busy, Tired, Sick, or Just Plain Don’t Want To Pack?

It happens. Packing is often the most draining part of a move, especially if you have a large house or you’ve been settled in one location for a long time. It’s often very time-consuming, and has the potential to be extremely tedious. Stack that on top of family obligations and a full-time job, and you might feel a sort of creeping resignation about your upcoming change in location.

A mountain of creeping resignation.
A mountain of creeping resignation.

But don’t worry! If you’re feel stressed, you can always hire a packing service. Let a professional carefully wrap up and box your fragile glassware. Save your back and have someone else come and box your twelve years of National Geographic issues. Or your expansive vinyl collection. Or your entire room of Russian nesting dolls.

A professional packing service like ours can help you make sure your stuff gets wrapped up safely. No one likes boxes of broken glass.

But how is it that a professional service can make a difference?

Safety

First, proper protection. Ceramic, glass, delicate woods: all of these can be easily damaged if they’re allowed to rub against each other in transit. On the job, a packing service will make sure that your belongings are wrapped in packing paper and bubble wrap, and packed snugly so that there won’t be any heavy forces to bend narrow tines or break thin sheets of glass.You’ll want the options of bubble wrap, foam, shrink wrap, and lots of paper. In addition to paper, a good packing service will have a wide variety of boxes available to accommodate possible needs— small boxes for books, large boxes for bedding, dish packs for fragile glass. At College Muscle Movers, we offer personalized services: from à la carte to all-inclusive packages depending on what customers need. The à la carte service means you just order the supplies you think you’ll need ahead of time, whereas the all-inclusive service is a flat rate to access any supplies which might be needed for your move.

The main advantage of an all-inclusive pack is that it simplifies the process for the customer by offering a flat rate for whatever moving supplies are needed. After an estimator comes to get a rough idea of what supplies can be used for your move (boxes, wrap, dish packs, etc), you can relax and let us do the work, right up until we come pick up the supplies left over at the end of the move.

Experience

A professional service also offers experience. Usually there are a lot of different items that need to be packed up over the course of a move. From ceramic urns to matchstick dollhouses, we’ve got the tricks up our sleeves to handle your unique pieces.  We’ll make sure everything goes into an appropriately sized box, and that each box is sealed properly. At CMM, we even offer labels, to help speed up the unpacking that naturally follows packing. Experience means that you don’t need to worry about your stuff. Experience also means efficiency. It’s very likely that in addition to safety, a packing service will be able to expedite the process of getting everything safely packed up. Speeding up the tedium and stressful nature of the task is an important part of what  a professional packing service offers.

Time

A packing service can save you the mind-numbing fatigue you might experience after spending nine hours straight putting away dishes and books and clothes and all the other little things that get stuffed into attics and closets. It can also save you time. Schedules can already be strained by the obligations that arise during moving. Using a professional service will help you keep your time managed and under control.

And don’t forget, College Muscle Movers also offers equipment tailor-made for moving. Even if you want to do the packing yourself, we can help keep your items safe for the upcoming move. Our Muscle Boxes are made out of a dense and durable plastic, and they stack very neatly. 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.

So if you happen to be busy, tired, or sick (or you just don’t want to deal with it)— think about a packing service.

Moving Framed Paintings or Photographs? Here’s How To Pack Safely

When one of our College Muscle Movers has to move their own artwork, it’s easy: They just roll up the posters they bought for $5 each at the campus store and put a rubber band around the tube and they’re ready to go.

If you’re at the stage of your life where you’ve invested a little more in your décor, you’re going to want to take the process more seriously. No problem, our movers know how to treat precious art with the care and respect it deserves. But if you’re planning to take care of the packing on your own, you’ve got a few challenges to consider.

Every part of a painting or photograph is a potential packing disaster: fragile glass that can shatter, ornate frames that can flake and crack, and delicate paper or canvas that can rip and tear.

Here’s how to make sure your art makes it to your new location looking picture-perfect.

What’s It Worth?

First, if you’re using any kind of moving or shipping service, you should consider whether your art warrants additional insurance. By default, most services provide a basic level of insurance per pound. That might be okay for furniture, but a valuable painting doesn’t weigh much.

If your art is likely to have a high value, consider having an appraiser  review their value and provide you with an estimate, and take pictures of all the pieces before insuring them separately from your other possessions and packing them up. The American Society of Appraisers can help you find a qualified professional.

Self-Moving

Do whatever it takes to keep this priceless treasure safe. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Do whatever it takes to keep this priceless treasure safe.
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Because artwork tends to be more valuable and delicate while taking up less space than most items, consider transporting it in your car instead of the moving truck. This will require less careful packing and will reduce the risk of damage caused by shifting truck contents.

Packing Your Framed Artwork

Here are some simple steps that will help you keep your art safe if it’s in a frame and under glass.

1. Secure the glass with painter’s tape. Damage to glass is the most likely mishap that could happen to your art, but it’s also the easiest to repair—as long as it doesn’t damage the canvas. To ensure this, use painter’s tape (because it will be easy to remove later) to create a loose square grid pattern with additional diagonal strips on the glass. This way, even if the glass cracks, it will be held in place instead of scraping against the art.

2. Cover the frame in a layer of bubble wrap. You may wish to place a sheet of cardboard or a layer of acid-free paper on the glass front of the painting first to provide stability and reduce static cling. Then, wrap the entire piece in a thick layer of bubble wrap, securing it with tape at the back—not at the sides.

3. Slide the painting into a box only slightly larger than the frame. You may have a hard time finding a box with the perfect fit, but College Muscle Movers has a good selection of specialty sizes and you can find suppliers with a full range. If your painting is valuable, financially or sentimentally, it’s worth tracking down a box that will offer a snug fit to your wrapped painting. You can even buy special Styrofoam wedges designed to fit over the corners of your frame to provide additional padding and stability. Seal it up tightly and you’re all set. If you’re loading the box into a moving truck, carefully select a stable area at an edge of the truck or between two large objects unlikely to crash into it, like upright mattresses.

 

That’s it! Of course, if you’re talking about exceptionally valuable paintings, you’ll want to look into having the pieces professionally crated and shipped by specialists. For almost anything else, these steps will offer the best protection with the least expense.

Any questions? We’re always happy to help. Give the College Muscle Movers a call at 1-800-818-8449 and we’ll get you the answers you need.

Which Boxes are Best for Moving: Cardboard or Plastic?

Three things are certain in life: death, taxes, and moving boxes.

It happens every time you have to move, whether it’s as simple as shifting your textbooks from one dorm to another or going cross-country in a rented truck: you’ve got to scramble to find, assemble and fill as many cardboard boxes as you can get your hands on, and then you’ve got to figure out what to do with the pile of mangled cardboard you’re left with when you’re finished unpacking.

But in the past decade or so, a new option has become increasingly available and popular: reusable plastic moving containers. Here at College Muscle Movers, we offer both traditional cardboard boxes for sale as well as plastic containers for rent, and you’ll find many of our competitors both here in Minneapolis and across the country are doing the same.

Why? The answer is pretty simple: Plastic is a better choice for many reasons. We’ll tell you five reasons why, and we’ll also suggest a few occasions where good old cardboard is still a smart choice.

 

Five Reasons Why Plastic Boxes Beat Cardboard

MuscleBox

1. Simple

No need to assemble these babies: plastic boxes come pre-constructed, ready for you to fill. No tape or folding required. This can save you hours of work for a large move.

2. Stackable

Reusable plastic boxes are designed to fit snugly together, making it easier to move large numbers of them and save space in your moving vehicles. This also aids in their structural integrity when stacked, which brings us to reason three…

3. Durable

Plastic moving boxes are much tougher than cardboard. That means they’ll have a safer trip through the streets to your new home or office, and even better, they won’t collapse while you carry them by hand.

This feature is especially important for large moves, especially of offices and businesses.

4. Rentable & Returnable

College Muscle Movers (and most other movers who offer plastic boxes) can deliver your order straight to your door and pick up the empty boxes afterwards. So there’s no need to hunt around town for somebody throwing old boxes away, and no need to flatten and store the cardboard after you use it. No need to fill your new home with old boxes.

5. Reusable

It may not mean much to your move, but the planet appreciates that these boxes can be used over and over again without being thrown away. That’s why they’re often called ‘eco-boxes.’

When to Use Cardboard Anyway

Now, if you’re skeptical, we’ll be honest, there are a couple of situations where cardboard might be the better solution:

1. Small Moves

If you’re just moving a bedroom or a few shelves from your dorm, then hunting down and assembling cardboard boxes will be a much smaller problem. Go ahead, Mother Earth can handle it if you end up recycling just a couple of boxes when you’re done.

2. No Budget

You might be surprised to find that renting plastic boxes is very similar in price to buying cardboard boxes—go ahead, do the math yourself! But it is true that you can scrounge up free cardboard boxes if you’re patient and if you ask nicely in the right stores. Just keep in mind that time is money, so don’t waste too much of it if you can afford a stronger and simpler solution.

 

Pretty simple, right? If you’re moving enough stuff, plastic is the way to go every time for security, convenience, and price.

Moving to Minneapolis – Part 4 : Unloading and Unpacking Boxes

Okay, you’re in the home stretch! You’ve successfully packed all your stuff, you’ve managed to get all those boxes and furniture out the door, and you’ve loaded up a rental truck and hauled your life to a new home.

But the last step can actually take the most time and cause the most frustration. Unloading shouldn’t take too long—it’s just loading in reverse, so check out our post on proper box handling and lifting techniques.

The real challenge is unpacking. Even if you’ve properly labeled all your boxes so you know which goes with which room (we sure hope you did!), you’re going to be a little exhausted and you’ve still got plenty of other new-home chores to take care of. For many people, the unpacking process can stretch into days or weeks.

That’s okay, you earned a break. Take your time. And when you’re ready, take a look at these unpacking tips that will help the process go faster and smoother whenever you decide to tackle it.

The horror... the horror! Image Credit: Flickr
The horror… the horror! Image Credit: Flickr

Plan Ahead

Hopefully you’re reading this before you’ve arrived at your new home, because there’s a lot you can do ahead of time to make unpacking easier.

First, you’ll want to make sure that the last box you load into your truck—and the first box you unload—is your ‘essentials’ box, full of everything you’ll need for the first few nights. That means toiletries, food and dishes for a few simple meals, garbage bags, any documents you’ll need, and some common tools you’ll use to assemble your other items.

If you’re able to scout out your new place ahead of time or even get a floor plan, you’ll also be able to plan what furniture will go where, and you can move it straight to the proper room instead of letting it clump up in the living room.

Details First

It may seem counterintuitive, but there are a number of chores that seem like low priorities that you should really take care of right away. It’s going to be easier to line your cupboards before you load them with pots and pans, and it’s a good idea to start bedroom unpacking by organizing your closet—you’ll have the space to lay out everything and put it where it needs to be so that everything is easy to access in the following days and weeks.

The First Room, the Last Room, and In Between

It’s best to get all those boxes marked ‘kitchen’ unpacked first, unless you plan to spend extra on eating out for every meal.

As you proceed from room to room, always move in the furniture first so that you can plan around it. You don’t need to reassemble everything right away, but it’s best to get these bulky items out of the way first and have them in place so you can estimate how much space they’ll eventually take up.

You can leave any garage and patio items for last. There shouldn’t be anything in there that can’t wait, and you’ll be much happier and more comfortable getting your interior in shape before worrying about these extras—plus you’ll have a better idea of what items should end up in the garage if you can’t find a suitable place for them indoors.

Take it Easy

There’s really nothing wrong with putting off all the little unpacking chores that come after you’ve got the essentials in your kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom sorted out. Doing everything at once is stressful, and you and your family will have a much better time if you reward yourself by taking breaks to explore your new neighborhood.

Go ahead, relax. If you've unpacked your clean underwear and your coffee machine, what else do you need? Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Go ahead, relax. If you’ve unpacked your clean underwear and your coffee machine, what else do you need?
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

People like to joke about how long it takes them to unpack after a move, but they still do it anyway. The result will be a less stressful and exhausting experience and a final layout that reflects your real preferences instead of simply the first place you could think of to stick your stuff.

And we’ve said it once, but we’ll say it again: Make sure to follow the best practices for safely lifting and moving heavy and awkwardly shaped objects. Or better yet, let College Muscle Movers do it for you! Good luck!

Moving to Minneapolis – Part 1: How to Pack

Welcome to Minneapolis.

If you’re considering using College Muscle Movers, you probably didn’t come from too far away—all of our movers are Minneapolis locals looking to learn how to be part of a successful small business as they prepare for their future careers.

Whether you’re coming from Edina, Minnetonka, Eagan, or anywhere else in Minnesota and the greater Minneapolis area, you’re going to be facing similar challenges as you prepare to move. Even if you don’t rely on College Muscle Movers or another local option, the process will be the same: Packing, Handling, Transportation, and Unloading.

You can rely on College Muscle Movers for all these steps—or you can take care of some yourself and call us for any details you’d rather not deal with.

Here’s how you can quickly and efficiently pack your house or apartment for your Minneapolis move.

moving-box-300x3001. Bubbles and Boxes

Boxes, boxes, boxes. You’re going to need a lot of them—along with bubble wrap for more delicate items (although you could also wrap them up in towels!).

You can buy them in many places: U-Haul, Staples, Lowe’s… for a major move, you are going to have to buy some boxes. We offer a lot of inexpensive and durable solutions ourselves, but here’s a trick you can use to get a head start at no cost: local businesses that deal in bulk goods may have cardboard boxes they’ll give you for free. Grocery stores are just one example. Ask politely and you may be able to pick up a pile of boxes that would otherwise be shipped off for recycling.

2. Packing Labels and Packing Spmarked-boxesace

Now that you have the boxes, you need to fill them. Clear out a space in your house or apartment and start filling up boxes one at a time, labelling them with the category of items inside. You know the obvious ones: “Kitchen,” “Bathroom,” “Electronics.” But make sure you have a couple of boxes labelled “OPEN FIRST,” too! You’ll want that coffee maker right away. It’s a good place to put important documents related to your move as well.

3. Check, Check, Check

check-remember-ponder-300x225If you have your boxes and a packing process, you’re almost done. But almost isn’t good enough!

Check, check, check again after you think you’re done packing. Is everything packed? Do you have everything you’ll need before you Unpack?

Good job. Now, after the College Muscle Movers have filled up the truck with all your boxes… check AGAIN. With all that extra space, you might find a few items you missed before.

4. Read On

Got it? Then check out our blog next week for our post on handling boxes and furniture as you move them from your old home or apartment to your moving vehicle. We’ll try to help you keep you back straight and your stuff in one piece as you move down the stairs and out the door.

Make Your Twin Cities Move Easier with Muscle Boxes!

One of the main reasons people hire a moving company is to ease that inevitable stress which comes from relocating. There are things that the moving company just can’t help with, though. Obtaining and discarding boxes is one of those annoying chores that just always seems to hang around – until now…

Meet the Muscle Box: a strong, reusable, heavy-duty plastic tote that we deliver and pick up – all for the same or LESS cost as traditional cardboard!

individual-muscle-box3

Benefits:
• Time/Money Saver

  • Remember the old saying ‘Time is Money’? Instead of taking the time to drive all around the Twin Cities looking for enough old boxes for your belongings, let CMM deliver and enough Muscle Boxes for your move. The transportation cost is built in to the rental price, all for the same or less price as medium cardboard boxes (hint: more quantity = less $/box). Bundles including delivery within 15 miles start at 25 Muscle Boxes.
  • Muscle Boxes also save you time while you are packing your belongings. Rather than assembling and taping each box individually (only to be cut apart later), Muscle Boxes stack inside of each other so they do not take up a large area in your house and you can just pull a box off the top of the stack, fill it with your items, close the lid and stack it neatly until the Muscle Movers arrive.
  • Because Muscle Boxes are designed to stack and nest uniformly, we can fit more on each dolly load and can pack the truck much easier which ultimately saves time on the hourly rate charged for local moves.

Muscle-Box-Stacked-in-Truck1

  • Rather than spending time breaking boxes down and disposing of them, just call CMM to schedule a time to pick them up – we can usually accommodate short notice pick-ups so we can get them out of your way to enjoy your new place!

• Strength and Durability

  • Because the Muscle Boxes are constructed from heavy-duty plastic, they can stand up to the elements of snow or rain without falling apart and ruining the contents inside. They are very rigid and that hard shell adds additional protection to your items inside. They also have strong handles, making them easier to pick up than a standard box without handles.

Rental Details:

  • All rental packages include 1 month of rental time in the pricing and that can be arranged however you like. Most of our customers like a week or two to pack and another week or two to unpack but it is up to each individual and their needs.
  • We can pick the Muscle Boxes up early if you want your space back sooner. We can also extend rentals by the week after the one-month rental has finished. Many of our customer’s enjoy the time limit of a month as it helps them pack and unpack at a pace that is convenient for them

We truly believe that our Muscle Boxes will make for a smooth and efficient moving experience for you. Call today for more details!