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Moving Blog

My house burned down in the early 90’s. Of course, it wasn’t my house at the time. My family purchased it after it was restored in 1999. Unfortunately, the people who restored it cut some figurative and literal corners.

After demolishing the old brick walls, they got rid of the debris by burying it in the front and back yards. However, when we bought the home it was beautiful and most of the problems were small and not immediately obvious. After some time, door knobs began falling off, and towel racks would spontaneously combust (Ok, there wasn’t any “combusting”). And the main man responsible for the finishing touches went by the name of “Hound Dog”.

So, from then on, any new incidents were officially entitled, “A Hound Dog Special”.

When it comes down to selling your home and making sure it’s in perfect shape, you’ll probably want to find a handyman. But not just any handyman will do. No, no, no. Because you don’t want “A Hound Dog Special”. You want it to be special in a good way, so here are three questions to ask about any handyman you consider hiring:

  • Are they honest?

  • Are they skilled?

  • Are they reliable?

You can find the answers to all three through one or all of these resources:

The Better Business Bureau: It’s been around for 100+ years and it’s completely free. Because they give both good and bad reports of businesses you can usually check out a handyman’s reputation here.

Angie’s List: It’s a paid service (only a small monthly fee) that displays positive and negative consumer reviews. This can show you the character of a handyman from the perspective of their previous customers.

Handy American: It has one of the largest selection of handyman services all over. The only downside is that many services don’t have any reviews. But theoretically, you could find a handyman, and then check look them up on Angie’s List or the BBB website.

With the help of these resources, you are well on your way to finding the right handyman for the job, and expertly avoiding “A Hound Dog Special”.

Looking for a move that’s truly special? Move with Apex!

We follow a set of core values, have an excellent reputation with the BBB, and are a part of Stevens Van Lines. We also provide a free moving estimate.

May Is National Moving Month… And there’s already been a hostage situation.   Be careful who you move with – especially if the moving company is named “Mafia Movers”. In Denver, several individuals had their belongings held hostage by an unethical moving company going by the name of Mafia Movers (I’m not making this up), who tripled the price after loading, demanded they pay up immediately, or never see their stuff again. Here’s the full article on FOX31.   It was a painful experience for the people involved and it’s a great learning opportunity for all of us. Here are four key steps to make sure your move stays in good hands:
  • Get an in-person estimate.
  • Get a written estimate.
  • Don’t settle for an estimate over the phone.
  • Don’t hire the Mafia to move you.
Additional Resource: The BBB has a great article on how to Avoid Dishonest Carriers. If the mafia (or any other criminals) are holding your belongings hostage, don’t be afraid to call the local authorities. Trust me, the real police can handle any unethical moving company, even if they are mafia. Are you looking for an ethical moving company that is unaffiliated with drug cartels, criminal organizations or, for that matter, scary clown juggler unions?   Move with Apex! We follow a set of core values, have an excellent reputation with the BBB, and are a part of Stevens Van Lines. We also provide a free moving estimate.

Have you ever been in a messy room? You probably have. You might even be the proud owner of a messy room.

Once, while visiting extended family, I walked into a room where the entire floor was nearly a foot deep in toys. I couldn’t take a single step without maiming a stuffed teddy bear, decapitating a barbie doll, or causing an (un)natural disaster for a Lego village.

If you’re moving your stuff to a new home and you’re the unfortunate soul who has been drafted to pack up a messy room, get ready. It can be quite a nightmare. Use these 3 simple techniques to turn the nightmare into a happy dream of bunny rabbits, flowers and cotton-candy butterflies (Ok, maybe not the butterflies):   1) Organize before you pack Organize your clothes and items into three piles, “Keep”, “Throw”, and “Donate”. You can check out my previous blog post for more details on Organizing Your Space.   2) Pack a separate bag One thing many people miss, is that you will need certain essentials the first night you move in. At the end of a long day, you definitely won’t want to organize a search party to find your toothbrush, soap, and dental floss in separate, unlabeled boxes scattered across your house. You can check out another previous blog post to see more details on The Importance Of An Overnight Bag.   3) Label your boxes clearly When you’re packing the boxes, it is extremely important to mark and label them with a general category like, “Laundry Room”. However, it can also be very helpful to write a list on the box of what’s inside.   Oh look! The bunny rabbits and flowers are coming! Wait, are those cotton-candy butterflies?     Nightmare move? We can wake you up. Move with Apex! We follow a set of core values, have an excellent reputation with the BBB, and are a part of Stevens Van Lines. We also provide a free moving estimate.

Automobile Movers

I checked out a website called Kelly Blue Book that provides the “Blue Book” value of a car based on make, model, year, and mileage.

In checking, I discovered that the difference between worth less and worthless can be quite minimal. For example, my car is worth less than one-thousand dollars, according to Kelly Blue Book (Which is practically worthless). Although, with my car being 17 years old with over 250,000 miles on it, my hopes were neither high nor crushed too severely.

Whether the Blue Book value of your car is worth more or worth less than you thought, having that number can help you decide what type of moving insurance to go with, if you’re moving long distance and want your car transported.

When it comes to moving long distance, you have two options for conveying your 4-wheeled automobile to your new home:

  1. Drive it

  2. Transport it

Drive it.

When you are deciding whether or not to drive it, you will need to figure out how much it would cost to drive yourself. (Gas, Hotels, etc.) MapQuest can calculate the distance and the cost of gas for you. Most moving companies will give you the delivery schedule beforehand, so it should be quite simple to plan your hotels out.

Transport it.

Ask your moving company how much they charge for vehicle transport. What is transporting? Transporting is when a moving company loads your car into a larger car (AKA: Truck) and unloads it at your new home. While transporting is not a form of teleportation (unfortunately), it can still be quite valuable if you’re moving long distance.

If you do decide to transport your vehicle, you will generally have two choices for liability coverage. You can get Full Value Protection, which like it sounds, covers everything. Or you can get Released Value Protection, which unlike the Full Value, only covers your items on a per-pound basis. You can check out more about valuation and insurance options on ProtectYourMove.Gov.

With careful investigation you can make sure you’re getting the best “bang for your buck”, as it were. (Whether you choose to transport or not, I support your decision one-hundred percent!)

Moving long distance? Move with Apex!

We follow a set of core values, have an excellent reputation with the BBB, and are a part of Stevens Van Lines. We also provide a free moving estimate.

How To Pack A Painting

Every work of art deserves special care.

I created a painting once (emphasis on “once”). It was supposed to be a painting of a skier, skiing happily down a white mountain to the forest below with the sun setting beautifully behind. Unfortunately, I painted the reds too dark, the blacks too black, and the ski poles too short, which changed it from a happy painting, into a nightmare biathalon to hell.

The best part of the painting, the skier, was in fact the only part I didn’t paint. The painting class I participated in, had a pre-made “skier outline” which required no artistic talent and only a minimal knowledge of gravity to properly position on the two-dimensional mountain slope.

And yet I haven’t thrown the painting away. It has a certain value to me, because I painted it. Every work of art is valued by someone (even mine, if only to me), and deserves special care.

Moving your paintings to a new house? Here are a couple things you can do to make sure they get to the other side unscathed:

Oil?

There is a very multipurpose kind of paper called “glassine” that can protect oil paintings from damage. Glassine is also used in meat and bread packing, as well as fireworks and a certain kind of adhesive tape. As I said, very multipurpose.

Frame?

After you’ve protected the artwork itself, you can wrap the entire painting and frame in regular moving paper. Make sure not to use newspaper, the ink can rub off onto the frame, and while it might be entertaining to have today’s headlines permanently etched onto it, I’m pretty sure it would get a bit old after few days, both literally and metaphorically.

Box?

Put the (now fully wrapped) painting into a picture moving box and seal all the openings to prevent any dirt or grime from getting inside. With the proper wrapping and packaging your paintings should look as good as new when you reach your destination.

Done?

That’s it, then. Well done.

Moving your priceless artwork? Move with Apex!

We follow a set of core values, have an excellent reputation with the BBB, and are a part of Stevens Van Lines. We also provide a free moving estimate.

Finding a Peaceful Neighborhood: The Sound Clutter Stakeout

Your home should be a quiet place to relax and spend time with your family and friends. Unfortunately, the noise is not always up to you. Often, it’s determined by your neighbors.

Does your neighbor like to “rev” his new Harley, or obsessively mow his lawn every single day?

Does your neighbor run a machine shop out of her garage, or do her children have screaming tantrums until 4am?

If you answered “Yes” to any of the above, you suffer from Sound Clutter Syndrome (SCS).

When you are looking for a new home, you should make it a point to discover sound clutter before you buy. This can be done through the 7 steps of the Sound Clutter Stakeout™.

Here they are:

  1. Write out a list of the noises that irritate you the most (Shrieking eels, etc.)

  2. Schedule a time when the sounds will be obvious (After work, school, etc.)

  3. Take an hour (or a day)

  4. Get a good book and a snack

  5. Park your car out in front of the prospective house

  6. Roll down the windows (Hopefully it’s not raining)

  7. And listen…

Now you might be thinking that setting up a sound stakeout seems a bit unusual. But some things you need to experience for yourself. However, to increase your sound clutter knowledge, you can also meet some neighbors and ask them about the other neighbors. Just hope you’re not talking to the one who trims his shrubs with a chainsaw.

In your search for a peaceful area, be sure to remember that there are no perfect neighborhoods. However, if you perform the 7 steps of the Sound Clutter Stakeout™, you’ll be well aware of any sound clutter before you move into your new home.

Moving away from a sound cluttered neighborhood? Move with Apex!

We follow a set of core values, have an excellent reputation with the BBB, and are a part of Stevens Van Lines. We also provide a free moving estimate.

How to Make Your Small Kitchen “Feel” Bigger

When you can’t physically expand your kitchen, there are ways to make it appear larger. And as we all know, it’s really the thought that counts.

So read along with these three terrific steps to make your kitchen feel spacious:

  • Let the light in

  • Add some mirrors

  • Get furniture that fits

Let the light in. Natural lighting is always more inviting, and can make your kitchen feel more open. However, if you aren’t in the mood to punch holes in your ceiling, you should take a look at your window dressings. Are they light weight, sheer? Or are they made out of sheet metal?

If you answered “yes” to the second, it might be a good idea to buy some new curtains (Or move out of your military bunker).

Add some mirrors. Mirrors can make a small space seem like a spacious hall. If you have extra wall space, adding mirrors to your kitchen will reflect light, and generally brighten it up.

Get furniture that fits. If you don’t have any children, you can probably throw out that wall-to-wall monstrosity that seats twenty, and get a smaller and more appropriate kitchen table for two. Smaller furniture equals larger space.

When you follow these steps, cooking in your (now spacious) kitchen becomes a lot less work and a lot more fun.

Moving out of your military bunker, or into a new house with a bigger kitchen?

Move with Apex! We follow a set of core values, have an excellent reputation with the BBB, and are a part of Stevens Van Lines. We also provide a free moving estimate.

How to Answer Simple Interview Questions

In a job interview, the most generic, standard, and simple questions can be the ones that leave you wide-eyed and slack-jawed. But they don’t have to be. If you check out these tips and practice your answers it can become a breeze. Here are three of the most common(-ly difficult) interview questions and how to answer them:   “Tell me a little about yourself?” When the interviewer asks this question, they don’t really want to hear your whole life story. All they want is a brief summary of your work history, specifically, how each of your previous positions make you more qualified for this one.   “What is your biggest weakness?” This one can be a bit scary. Remember that, first, they are only asking in a work-related sense. So, telling them you eat lots of donuts, or on the contrary you are an exercise-aholic is probably more information than they are looking for. Secondly, the interviewer is wanting to make sure you are a normal, grounded person who will be able to relate to your co-workers. That’s why it can be a good idea to talk about a weakness that you have in common with a lot of people. You might even be able to turn a strength into a weakness, just don’t be too obvious. (My biggest weakness is that I can be too humble, in fact, I am probably the very most humblest person alive, by far.)   “What experience do you have in…?” Most of your time talking (specifically about yourself) should happen while you are answering this question. If the rest of the interview questions were equated to milk and cookies, your answer to this question is the meat and salad of the interview. This is where you should talk about any and all experience you have that relates to the prospective position.   Before the interview, it can be helpful to write out your answers to these questions and practice in front of a mirror. If you read out loud, you will be able to tell whether it sounds natural or unnatural. You also get face-to-face practice this way (How great is that?). Remember that talking about yourself is important, but relating your skills and experience with the position is even more important. However, please do talk about yourself as well, and don’t give them a speech about how great their company is. It’s OK, they already know how great they are.   Got a new job that requires you to move to a new location? Move with Apex! We follow a set of core values, have an excellent reputation with the BBB, and are a part of Stevens Van Lines. We also provide a free moving estimate.

Stay Frosty, Ice-Cream Cone

Spring is here and, even in Western Washington, we’ll have warm days and sun again (I have to believe the sun is up there somewhere). As the weather warms up, outdoor recreation and yard work are calling for attention and it’s important to stay cool (both for your image and your health). Of course, if you have air conditioning, the easiest way to stay cool is to crank it up and do nothing. But let’s assume it’s sunny and warm and you will be outside, here are two very important keys to keeping cool and staying healthy:   Drink lots of water, before you get thirsty. Did you know that in a normal day, the average human body loses a gallon of water due to breathing, restroom-use, and sweating. And that’s without factoring in physical activity. While it is very important to drink lots of water, it’s better to drink it consistently over time rather than rapidly and all at once. A number of years ago, in a moment of brilliance, my cousin and I decided to have a water drinking contest. Bad choice. We drank water until it hurt. Luckily we were only nine or ten years old so we didn’t have the pain tolerance to continue. When we told our parents (somewhat triumphantly), they informed us that drinking too much water could cause much worse things, like death. Well, at least now we know better.   Wear sunscreen – a lot if you have fair skin. Did you know that as little as 20 minutes of sun can burn your skin? If you are going to be outside in the sun for an extended period, be sure to apply adequate sunscreen. One of the worst experiences (and one of the best) I’ve ever had was when I went to Florida and Disney World during the heat of summer. Being accustomed to cloudy weather, I was not diligent about sunscreen. When my family and I went to the beach with some friends, we went in the water, which was quite warm by the way, and didn’t reapply sun screen. After throwing a Frisbee and baking in the sun for an hour, I found that I was totally and unequivocally, fried. With second-degree burns on my ears, and a brilliantly bright red back, I felt like I had small needles jabbed into my skin for the rest of the vacation. Aloe Vera became my best friend. So, if you want to avoid pain, and maybe even death, remember, when it does finally get sunny, slam back that water, and slather up that sunscreen.   Interested in moving with Apex? We follow a set of core values, have an excellent reputation with the BBB, and are a part of Stevens Van Lines. We also provide a free moving estimate.

Who Put the “Pain” in Painting?

While a lot of things are painful, painting is half “pain” and half “ting” (whatever that means) and whether you are painting a newly purchased home, or one you are planning to sell, it feels more like all pain, with no other half. I have personally experienced this pain. My family and I decided not to hire professionals to paint our new movie room and paint it ourselves. After countless hours of painting and nearly four full coats of paint, we were finally done.

While it now looks beautiful and all purple-y, we probably could have saved both time and money if we had followed these five steps:

Pick a complimentary shade. There are several considerations when picking your paint color. If you recently bought your home, it may help to match the color with the furniture. If you are selling your home, neutral colors are generally a better choice so that the prospective buyer can visualize whatever they want.

Get the right tools. Make sure to get all the tools you’ll need the first time. Home Depot, Lowe’s, and similar hardware stores will generally have everything you need, and an employee will usually be happy to point it out to you.

Before you get in your car to get your tools, it can help to make a list. You can use this list to supplement your own:

  • Paint rollers/brushes
  • Painter’s tape
  • Roller pans
  • Drop cloths
  • Gloves
  • Paint (The rest are rather pointless without paint)

Cover up the furniture. Before you even open a paint can, you should cover up any and all furniture that might be in danger of becoming a different color. You can use a drop cloth, and other plastic coverings as well.

Tape off everything. Make sure that everything on your walls and ceilings (moldings, window frames, doorways, etc.) that should remain unpainted is taped off, to avoid any mishaps.

Make it fun. The most important part of any painting project? Fun. Feeling bored, sad, or otherwise wistful? Turn up the painting music! Trust me, it’ll make the difference.

 

Interested in moving with Apex?

We follow a set of core values, have an excellent reputation with the BBB, and are a part of Stevens Van Lines. We also provide a free moving estimate.