Monday, January 8, 2018

10 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE MOVING TO LOS ANGELES:

So you want to move to LA? Congrats! Most of us natives are very welcoming to new transplants and love the diversity of this city. Now on to the details, what do you need to know and what do you need to do to make that happen? Here’s a handy list of 10 things you should know before moving to Los Angeles.
1. It’s really tough to get a job here unless you’re here
I know you’re worried about your livelihood. There are some industries that are willing to do phone interviews and video interviews until you make arrangements to fly out, but that is very rare. It’s very competitive here in LA, especially in entertainment, so it’s best that you make plans to move here before you start job hunting. The process can take a few months or more, so make sure you have enough savings to afford your living expenses or try to stay with family or friends if you can.
A good way to get around this before moving to Los Angeles is to apply for an internship in LA while you’re enrolled in college. If you know that you want to move here for sure, getting an internship here gets you ahead of the competition if you make a good impression. This will give you a great opportunity to learn the culture, explore the city and possibly get hired by the company that you work for.
2. Finding an apartment can be just as challenging
I’m not trying to discourage you! But apartments here go very fast and can be rented within the day. Make sure you know which general area you want to live and you may even want to wait until you get a job to avoid a long daily commute. The amount of driving that you’ll be doing every day will affect your happiness and stress levels a lot more than you think, so make sure you don’t commit to a lease until you’re sure you can handle the every day drive.
Moving to LA: Traffic
3. The struggle of traffic is real
With almost 4 million people living in the city of LA (that’s just the city, not including other surrounding counties who come in and out of LA on a daily basis), you bet there’s always cars on the roads. Now imagine all the 9-5ers going to work in the morning and home afterwards, that doesn’t even account for all the people who work irregular hours and there’s a lot of those in LA. That’s why I highly suggest living somewhere close to work if you can, imagine walking 10-15 minutes to work and avoiding it all.
It’s not like LA residents of LA haven’t learned to live with it. I know of people who have a 2-hour commute one way because they bought a house in the suburbs. They use that time to listen to (a lot) of podcasts. Some people go to the gym really early before work or immediately after work to wait for the traffic to die down. Drivers rely on apps like Waze that updates with real-time traffic information to avoid accidents, traffic jams, and often times takes you on surface streets through neighborhoods.
4. The city is really big
LA is not like any of the other big cities. It’s very spread out and the public transportation system is not a very good one.  It’s not impossible to get around by using it, but you’ll soon realize that driving is a must here – even if it means driving to the train station. Getting from Downtown LA to Santa Monica beach can take 20 minutes on a good day and up to an hour and a half another time. Some people who live in the Silverlake area never date people or see their friends on the Westside or Southbay and consider that long-distance, because though it’s not far away, it sure feels like it.
On the flip side, that means there’s so much more for you to explore! Some cities I’ve visited only takes a few hours to get to know. There are some people in LA that have been here for 7 years and haven’t been to the Getty. It will take several years to get to know the city and that’s a good thing! There will be a lot to do for many years to come.
Moving to LA: Cross Walk
5. Use the cross walk or else
You can’t just walk around wherever and whenever you want here. You’re going to have to use the cross walk and wait until you see the green sign. If you see the red hand, don’t even think about it. Jaywalking tickets are common and given freely here in LA, and it will cost you (anywhere up to $200). So before you want to zigzag your way across Sunset Blvd., you might want to think of all the other things you can buy with that $200.
6. You can be outdoorsy here
LA is surrounded by mountain ranges so don’t let your LA friends fool you into thinking Runyon Canyon is the only place to go for a hike. If you’re into nature and the outdoors, there are thousands of hiking trails in the Angeles National Forest, San Gabriel Mountains and San Bernardino Mountains. There are high elevation peaks within an hour or two drive to the city if you’re looking for more challenging hikes. There’s a lot of outdoor adventurers here so if you’re into rock climbing, cycling, camping, and backpacking – there’s a lot for you to do and people to do it with!
In addition to the outdoors scene in the LA area, you’ll have a huge list for weekend getaways within a 4-6 hours drive. Whether you want to head to Joshua Tree, Yosemite, Sequoia, Big Sur, the Sierras, or even the Grand Canyon, there’s a plethora of adventures waiting for you here.
7. Dogs are welcome 
If you’re moving here with your dog, you’re both in for a treat! LA is a very dog-friendly city with lots of welcoming restaurants with outdoor patios, shopping centers (The Grove and Third Street Promenade), daycare and boarding facilities, dog parks, and even hotels. Dogs are not allowed on the beach unless it’s a designated dog beach (Rosie’s Dog BeachHuntington Beach, or Leo Carrillo State Beach) but they’re allowed on the beach boardwalks and on Santa Monica Pier.
If you are looking for a furry friend when you move, there’s a lot of rescues to adopt from. Check out Wags and Walks, where I adopted my Pomeranian, Pucci, from. It’s also where Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen adopted their last puppy from, just saying.
8. Parking is a science 
With the freeways congested, what did you expect with the parking meters and lots? Make sure you read the signs, don’t just skim through and don’t just pay attention to the bottom or the top. Street cleaning is a real thing and you will get a ticket if you park your car during the designated times. Permit parking is real and if you don’t have the right permit, get out of there! Some permit parking streets allow you to park for a certain number or hours or only during certain hours a day, so make sure you are paying attention.
If you’re looking for the good news on parking, there is one trick I’ll share with you. You are allowed to park on the yellow loading zone after 6pm until 6am -not the white or the green zone, just the yellow. This is only valid in the city of LA so make sure you’re not doing this in the wrong place or you will get ticketed.
9. There’s more to LA than the entertainment industry
Though a lot of us work in “the” industry, there are a lot of people who don’t. There’s a big tech startup community in Los Angeles as well as a lot of opportunities in other industries. A lot of people here don’t just have their day job, but run creative businesses on the side. I know lots of people who moved here for a job and are now doing their own thing. Basically LA is a place full of creative energy and anything can happen.
10. Amazing people live here
Don’t let people discourage you when they say people in LA are obnoxious and crazy. This is true some of the time, but there are also nice, amazing people here. I’ve made some great friendships here and also met my fiance in LA (even though he’s a transplant), so there is hope! If you move here and don’t know a single soul, don’t worry! A lot of people go to events through Meetup or Facebook events. There are so many events going on all the time, don’t be afraid to venture out alone and meet new people.
So hopefully the good things I’ve written about outweigh the challenges and you’re still moving to LA. It’s a great place to be and like every city has its ups and downs. I’m a big believer in “you are where you’re supposed to be,” so if you find yourself wanting to move here, then I wish you luck and hope to see you around!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

How much does it cost to rent a storage unit?

Whether you’re a Harry Potter fan or not, you may be quite envious of the Room of Requirement in the Hogwarts castle – “a room that a person can only enter when they have real need of it; sometimes it is there, and sometimes it is not, but when it appears, it is always equipped for the seeker’s needs”. If only you had access to such an adaptable extra room when downsizing, moving into temporary housing, renovating your home, or on any other occasion when you need to get some of your possessions out of the way but want to keep them for later use!

Since there is no chance of having such a magic room in your home though, you need to find another solution for storing away your excess items. A self-storage unit may be your best bet – you get a safe and easily accessible storage space where to keep your stuff until you can take it back.

This seemingly perfect solution, however, comes at a cost – you need to pay a monthly fee for your storage unit and the prices can add up to thousands of dollars a year. So, when looking to expand your storage space, you need to consider the storage unit cost first.

How much does a storage unit cost, indeed? The prices vary according to size and location, but you can get an idea of how much you’re going to pay for storage when you know exactly what type of storage unit you need and what factors determine the cost of a storage unit.

Factors that influence storage unit costs
Storage rental costs depend on a variety of factors, including the location of the storage facility, the available extra features, the size of the unit, and the length of the rental period:

Size of the storage unit
Size is the main determinant of storage unit rental costs – naturally, the larger the unit, the higher the monthly cost will be.

Storage facilities usually offer storage units in various sizes to accommodate different storage needs. The smallest ones cost about $30 – $50 per month, while larger units can be $300 a month.

So, when looking for a self-storage unit, you have to know how much space you need first. Sort through your excess household items, asses their value, and decide which of them are really worth keeping (the more stuff you decide to put into storage, the more space you’re going to need and the more you’re going to pay). Sell, donate or give away everything you won’t be able to use in the foreseeable future (the value of any items placed in storage depreciates with time) and keep only items of great sentimental value you don’t want to part with and items of great practical value you’re going to use sometime soon. Measure and weigh the items you intend to put into storage to find out how much storage space you need. Look for a storage unit slightly larger than what you believe is necessary (you may not be able to optimize the storage space well enough or you may need to add some more items in the near future).

Location of the storage facility
Just as real estate costs, storage units’ costs vary from place to place. Self-storage in large metropolitan areas is much more expensive than in small towns due to the higher demand. Cheaper cities offer cheaper storage options because of the lower costs of living in the region. Downtown storage facilities tend to have higher rates than similar facilities located in the suburbs or outside the city because of the higher desirability of the area.

A small storage unit in Portland, OR, for example, costs about $110 per month, while a unit of the same size in Memphis, TN, is about $50 a month.

You will most certainly want your self-storage unit to be in the city where you live in, but you can save some money by choosing a facility located in the suburbs (unless you need frequent access to it).

Climate control
Climate control is an extra feature that has a tremendous impact on the storage rental cost. A climate-controlled storage unit is likely to cost about 15%-25% more than a non-climate-controlled unit.

So, when choosing a storage unit, do not opt for one with climate control unless you really need it – otherwise, you will be paying for storage amenities you don’t actually use.

Whether you need climate control or not will depend on the type of items you intend to put into storage and the climate in your area. If you live in a place with extreme weather conditions or if you intend to store expensive electronic equipment, artwork, musical instruments, delicate items with high sentimental value, antique or leather furniture, or any other items that are sensitive to temperature fluctuations, you definitely need a climate-controlled unit.

Security
High-end security features – video cameras and surveillance systems, strong fences and guarded gates, secure locks, fire alarms, etc. – will ensure the safety of your items while they’re in storage. The more secure the facility, however, the more you will pay.

The type of storage facility (outdoor or indoor), its age and overall condition, the level of customer service, the type of self-storage access, and the available extra amenities (loading docks, wheeled moving equipment, illumination, etc.) also affect the storage unit prices, so you need to know exactly what you need when looking for storage options in your area.

Storage period
Last but not least, the cost of a storage unit depends on the length of time you rent it for.

Most self-storage facilities offer month-to-month services which allow customers to store their items temporarily without making a long term commitment. While this is the most convenient option possible, it is also the most expensive one. Smaller rental time results in a higher monthly storage unit cost – renting a storage cell for three months, for example, is going to cost much more per month than it would cost when renting the same unit for an year.

To save on storage costs, you’re advised to rent a unit for at least six months at a time (or for as long as you’re sure you’ll need it). Going for a long-term rental is a shrewd financial decision as you’ll not only pay lower monthly fees, but may even get the first month for free.

What’s more, paying up front will most probably earn you an ample discount as well. So, consider paying in six month increments, if applicable in your case.

You need to take into account all of the above to get an accurate idea of your self-storage costs. Then, you can look for different ways to get good deals on storage units.


Average storage unit cost
So, all things considered, what does a storage unit cost? How much is a storage unit per month? It depends on your particular needs (size of storage unit, additional amenities, rental time) and the area you live in, but storage unit prices per month run like these:

5’X5’ (25 square feet) storage cells typically cost between $35 and $85 per month. They are about as big as a large closet;
5’X10’ (50 square feet) cells tend to cost about $55-$125 per month. They can fit the contents of a small room;
10’X10’ (100 square feet) units cost about $100-$180 per month. They are about half the size of a standard garage;
10’X15’ (150 square feet) storage units usually cost between $120 and $200 per month. They can accommodate the contents of two full rooms;
10’X20’ (200 square feet), units can cost anywhere between $150 and $300 per month. They can fit the furnishings of a 2-or 3-bedroom home.
To find out what size storage unit will best suit your needs, you’re advised to make a complete inventory of the items you intend to place in storage. The inventory sheet will come very handy when purchasing insurance for your stored items as well.

Whether you need to put your belongings into short-term or long-term storage, whether you need storage-in-transit while moving house or a safe place where to keep your belongings during a renovation project or a temporary relocation, make sure you explore all the storage options in your area and choose a safe, convenient, and affordable storage unit for your excess household items. It will be just like having the Room of Requirement at your disposal.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® moving tips for military members:

At TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®, we are all about giving back to our community and helping to move people forward in life. This is especially true with our veterans, and we make sure to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for this county and allow us to do we what we do each day.
This is especially true when it comes to providing moving services for active military members, and we try to deliver the absolute best moving services possible for those about to serve, currently serving, or those who may be finishing up their time in the military. While many of the basic aspects of the moving process translate to a military move, there are some minor details that must be taken into consideration to ensure the move goes smoothly.
Thankfully, the “Movers Who Care®” at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK have put together some important moving tips for military members so when it comes time to make your next step, you have all the resources and planning taken care of.
Pack with efficiency
Packing can sometimes be the difference between a successful move and a disaster, and taking the time to pack properly will take a ton of stress off your shoulders and keep the entire process moving along as you relocate to your new home.
Start by labeling all of your boxes so there is no confusion as to where any of your belongings are. Try to organize boxes by keeping items of the highest importance together so that when you get to your new spot, you are able to access them quickly. Be sure to check with the military base you are moving to on their restrictions or guidelines of what is and isn’t allowed on the premises so you aren’t forced to part with something unexpectedly.
Stay organized
For many active military members, moving can become an all too frequent process, and you can find yourself jumping from city to city based on your assignments.
This creates an even greater significance on staying organized with your belongings, as you’ll want to keep yourself on track and not get lost in clutter from place to place. Determine what items are useful at your next place and what items are no longer needed, and toss the unwanted stuff.
Pay attention to pricing options
When it comes to moving as a member of the military, you are given the option of buying or renting your own place, but the pricing options can vary.
Your housing is paid for to an extent, but what allowance you receive depends if you live on or off the base. If you decide to live on the base, they will usually take your entire allowance and allow you to live there without requiring payment for rent or bills If you choose to live off-base, anything you pay for that goes over your allowance comes out of pocket.
Find out what type of housing option works best for you financially, and make the necessary arrangements.
Give yourself extra time
In order for movers to get on a military base, their moving trucks are going to be thoroughly examined by security, and this will often add in extra time. It’s important to plan with this in mind, especially when being charge by the hour for your moving services.
Talk with your moving company and find out what their rates are to ensure there are no surprises come moving time.
Be prepared if you’re going international
This goes without saying, but if your military move involves relocating to a new country, there’s quite a bit of extra planning that wouldn’t normally come with a local home move.
Some things to keep in mind as you relocate to a new country:
-Longer time frames for delivering and receiving your items
-Language barriers
-Relocating your vehicle
Along with this, there are plenty of other factors that come into play, so it’s important to be up-to-date with the regulations of your new country, and with your new military base.
At TWO MEN AND A TRUCK, we put a heavy emphasis on helping and giving back to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to this country. From our Movers for Military campaign in the fall to employing numerous veterans, we feel it’s our duty to make sure these brave men and women are taken care of.
If you’re looking to complete an upcoming military move, give us a call! We’d love to help get you on your way and show you why we are known as the “Movers Who Care®”.
TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. Let us help move you forward! For more helpful tips and information on moving services subscribe to our blog and like us on Facebook.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Moving Day Tips: How to Pack for a Move:

Clear things out. If you haven't used it, get rid of it by creating a "charity" and a "recycle" box to help in sorting.
Always prepare a "load-last" carton that contains items you want access to right away, like a coffeepot, filter and coffee grounds; paper plates, cups, and napkins; paper towels, telephone, flashlight, basic tools and anything else you may not want to hunt for on moving day. Place difficult-to-locate items such as hardware and the remote control in a plastic sandwich bag. Add a label and put it in your "load-last" carton.
Get the children involved. Have them decorate signs with their names on them to hang outside their bedrooms at the new house. Not only does it help get them involved in the moving process, it will also help movers identify where the boxes should be placed.
Be sure to clearly label each box on both the top and sides, clearly indicating the contents and the room in which it belongs. Use a dark-colored marking pen that is easy to read.
Protect your mattresses and furniture by covering them with old sheets. Fitted sheets work especially well.
Place a clean set of sheets and bedding in a dresser drawer in each bedroom. That way, when your furniture arrives at your new home, you can get fresh bedding without having to find the carton in which it was packed.
Wrap breakables in colored wrapping paper or tissue paper before you place them in the moving box. The brightly colored paper will draw attention to the item and prevent them from being accidentally thrown out with the packing paper.
Use blankets, pillows, towels and other linens to fill empty space in boxes when packing fragile items.
Prune houseplants about two weeks before the move. You may want to consult a florist or plant book for instructions. One week before the move, place them in a black plastic bag along with bug/pest strips, conventional flea collars or bug powder. Close the bag and place in cool area overnight to kill any pests on the plant or in soil. The day before the move, place plants in cardboard containers. Hold them in place with dampened newspaper or packing paper. Use paper to cushion leaves, and place a final layer of wet paper on top to keep them moist. Punch air holes in the top before loading into your car or moving truck.
If you are moving out of state you'll want to check with the local U.S. Department of Agriculture for regulations regarding moving plants from one state to another.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

5 HOME STORAGE FEATURES ON EVERY HOMEBUYER'S WISH LIST:

Millennials and Gen Xers, currently the two largest generations of homebuyers, are less interested in accumulating stuff – and storing it “just in case”— than their Baby Boomer counterparts. Today’s homebuyers hate clutter. They want their things accessible but out of sight in efficient storage spaces – not six boxes deep and difficult to find in a dark attic.
survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders found that storage space was one of the top two main themes on new homebuyers’ wish lists – but they aren’t asking for more sheds and larger attics. When it comes to keeping clutter at bay, homebuyers want storage spaces that provide an organized, accessible place for everything.
Here are some of the top storage features that today’s buyers are looking for in a home.
  1. Mudroom -For families with children and pets, one of the biggest collections of clutter and disorganization tends to begin right at the front door. This is where backpacks, shoes, coats, sports equipment, and muddy boots accumulate. A mudroom is a preemptive solution to all of that clutter – it provides transitional space between the outdoors and the inside of a home, as well as a place to store these items out of sight.
  2. Walk-in pantry-Home cooking is increasingly popular among the largest generations of homebuyers. A survey conducted by Peapod and ORC International found that 72 percent cooked at home at least four nights a week last year, and over 1/3 plan to cook more often this year. It makes sense that homebuyers are concerned with having a place to store their supplies. A walk-in pantry is a convenient way to stash everything from small appliances to staple ingredients, cleaning supplies, and recycling bins.
  3. Closet space-The difference between a cluttered home and a tidy home often comes down to the closets. When houses lack closet space, guest rooms can quickly become dumping grounds for items that have no designated place but don’t belong behind the holiday decorations in a shed or the deepest recesses of the attic. Homebuyers want closet space – especially closets that are located in places that make sense, such as linen closets in bathrooms, walk-in closets in the master bedroom, and a hallway closet near the front door.
  4. Garage storage-The NAHB survey found that garage storage was among homebuyers’ most desired features. Eighty-six percent of homebuyers listed it as highly desirable, while nearly a third considered it a must-have item. Some homebuyers are even looking for three-car garages – not to store a third vehicle, but for additional storage space. The appeal of garage space over outdoor storage, such as sheds and outbuildings, is that garages are easier to access. Garage storage that is accessible and organized is most useful; shelving, cabinets, and closets make storing and finding things simple.
  5. Laundry room-An overwhelming majority (92 percent) of surveyed homebuyers across all age groups said that a laundry room was a high-priority home feature. A laundry room is the most efficient place to store clean and dirty laundry, an ironing station, and items that need to be line-dried or dry-cleaned. A separate space for laundry – and all things related – keeps it out of peoples’ living spaces.
Phil Karp is a 25-year real estate industry veteran and head of Brokerage Services at Owners.com, where you can buy or sell a home while saving money in the process. Phil loves offering homeowners advice to showcase the best features in their home, including storage. He lives in the Greater Atlanta area where he chases his passion for auto racing.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Gentle Giant to Host “Green Moving Month” in November:

This November, Gentle Giant will be hosting a Green Moving Month to reduce environmental impact and save our customers money. Throughout the month, we will only be using and selling used moving boxes. Customers who would like to opt out may let their move consultant know, and new boxes will be provided instead.
Since our moving boxes are “built tough” and designed to withstand impact, our used boxes are of superb quality; we would not want to offer our customers anything less! Additionally, used boxes costs between 45 and 65 percent less than new boxes, which means the planet and your wallet will benefit from Green Moving Month.
Green Moving Month
Used Moving Boxes Help the Environment
If every customer were to participate in this program, we have the potential to reuse over 12,000 pounds of cardboard. This would save over 43,000 gallons of water, 20.5 cubic yards or landfill space, 6.2 tons of carbon from entering the atmosphere and 105 mature trees.
When provided with used boxes, customers may notice writing or tape marks from a previous use. To prevent any confusion, we recommend crossing out any old labels and using a new color of marker to write new labels. Gentle Giant offers room label packs, which are $5 for a full house packet and $3 for a half packet.
For any questions about our Green Moving Month, please call us at 800-442-6863 and ask to speak with the Top Box department. We look forward to saving our customers money and doing good for the planet!

Monday, November 20, 2017

7 TOP TIPS FOR PACKING WHEN MOVING HOME:

Packing up all your possessions prior to a home move is often a lengthy process and a logistical nightmare (especially if you have young children!). But do not fear, if you have allowed plenty of time to pack, it doesn’t have to be such a tedious job. Here are some of our best tips for packing that’ll help you get through it:

1. ASK FRIENDS TO HELP

If they’ve been through a move before, they’ll know how stressful it can be so should be willing to help you pack, even if it is just menial tasks like sorting through your clothes. Warning: silly friends and bubble wrap may not be the best idea!

2. HAVE AN ESSENTIALS BOX

You may take a few days to properly unpack, so in the meantime you’re going to need essentials like mugs, plates, snacks and loo roll. Put all of these into one box and label it so you’ve got it at hand for when you move in.

3. DON’T OVERPACK BOXES

It’s easy to overpack boxes – trying to stuff as much as possible into one box as you can. This not only makes it difficult for you/movers to pick up and move the boxes, but smaller, less stuffed ones can become crushed in the process.
4. COLOUR CODINGSimply coding different boxes corresponding to their individual rooms using coloured pens/tabs is simple but very effective when you are loading boxes onto vans and also for movers when they’re unpacking.

5. LABEL BOXES

It’s useful to label the top, but also all sides of boxes too with short abbreviations, as you don’t know how the boxes will be stacked in the van and when they’re unloaded so this will save time and confusion.

6. BLACK BAGS = RUBBISH

Black bin liners might be good for dumping clothes in too, but make sure that your bags for rubbish aren’t the same as bags you’re using for things to keep. You don’t want to accidentally dump all your best coats into landfill!

7. TAKE BREAKS!

If you leave plenty of time to pack, you’ll be able to take regular breaks which can be essential to keep your sanity!
boxes1