Are You Ready for Holiday Guests?

It’s that time of year! 2014 is flying by, and once again the holiday season has arrived in full force. With the holiday shopping, meal planning and home decorating, preparing your home for holiday guests can easily fall to the bottom of a very long, holiday to-do list. The holiday season can become stressful when we start running out of time to get everything ready, but with the right planning, your holidays can be full of fun, family, food and Holiday decorationsfellowship. Take a look at a few of our tips to get ready for holiday guests.

  1. Store it: If you have guests staying for an extended period of time, you may need to clear out some of your things to create more room. Consider a portable storage unit to safely store your belongings during the holiday season.
  2. Rearrange your living space: If you have a large group visiting your home, some rearranging might be necessary. If your floor plan allows, and it is needed, add more chairs and seating for your guests. Don’t forget to leave enough space for your guests to comfortably walk through, especially if they will be carrying plates of food.
  3. Decorate: We love fall and holiday decorations because they can create a warm and inviting atmosphere for gatherings at the home. Just be sure not to over-do it and leave little room for your guests to maneuver through the home or set their drinks down. Stop by our Pinterest page for inspiration.
  4. Prepare guest rooms: As your overnight guests are arriving is a terrible time to remember you forgot to wash the extra linens. Make a checklist ahead of time of everything you need to do for your guests so nothing is forgotten. Martha Stewart offers some wonderful tips on the subject that you can find here.

In the Community: Spirit of Children

Most kids look forward to Halloween for months. It’s the one time each year that kids can become whoever or whatever they want to be for a night of fun and free candy.  But for kids spending Halloween in the hospital, the holiday can be a reminder that they are missing out on the fun.Spirit of Children collage

Spirit Halloween’s Spirit of Children program works with more than 130 children’s hospitals across the country to bring all the fun of Halloween right to them. Kids can dress up in costumes, participate in Halloween games, decorate pumpkins and – of course – trick or treat.

1-800-PACK-RAT is proud to be a platinum sponsor of the Spirit of Children program, which has been making hospitals less scary for kids and their families since 2007. Last year, Spirit of Children raised $4.9 million through partnerships and at Spirit Halloween stores that went directly to Child Life departments at hospitals across the country.  These departments provide developmental, educational and therapeutic support to children all year long.

Watch these recent news clips of kids enjoying Spirit of Children events, and find out more about how you can help.

Five Fun Things to Do in San Diego

Moving to San Diego or planning a visit? There are lots of cool things to do in San Diego, California, which is the eighth largest city in the United States. Known as “America’s Finest City,” San Diego is a favorite travel destination for visitors around the world and a great place to call “home” for the local residents.things to do in san diego

San Diego is known around the country beautiful weather, pristine beaches and friendly people. Here are five top choices for kid-friendly things to do in San Diego:

  1. San Diego Zoo and Safari Park – Adults and children of all ages will enjoy visiting this world-famous zoo and enormous wildlife preserve safari.
  2. Belmont Park– This beachfront amusement park features roller coasters, family-friendly rides, arcade games and shopping.
  3. Legoland California – One of San Diego’s most beloved attractions, this unique theme park has 50+ LEGO-themed rides designed for the whole family.
  4. Whale Watching – This is a “must do” activity if you are visiting during the months of December through April. Each year approximately 20,000 gray whales migrate from the Bering Sea to the lagoons of Baja California and back again. Witness this amazing journey and prepare to be blown away!
  5. Coronado Island – Escape to this quaint little beach town just a quick ferry ride from downtown San Diego. Home of the world famous Hotel Del Coronado, this seaside retreat is also ranked as one of the top beaches in the United State for families.

One of the beauties of San Diego is the plethora of activities and attractions to explore. To check out more of what San Diego has to offer, visit: Do you have a favorite spot to visit in San Diego? Stop by our Facebook page and share with us and our online community. You just might see your comment featured in our next e-newsletter.

And if you are looking for movers in San Diego, California, don’t forget that 1-800-PACK-RAT offers local and long-distance moving to and from San Diego.


Decorate Your Doorstep for Fall

Autumn is a wonderful time of year–leaves are changing color, the summer heat is slowly leaving us, and holiday décor is all around. And let’s not forget how everything from lattes to candles are “pumpkin-spiced” for the next few months!

Whether you have a long walkway to your front door or a small stoop, outdoor fall decorations are an easy way to celebrpumpkins decorating a porch for fallate the season. After checking out magazines and Pinterest for autumn decorations, we have found 4 of our favorite fall porch decorating ideas.

  1. Pumpkins: For a simple seasonal look, display pumpkins of varying sizes and shapes around your door and stairs. Don’t forget to add some odd-shaped gourds for more character. Paint on messages or initials for a personalized twist of decorating with pumpkins.
  2. Flowers: Seasonal flowers are always a great way to decorate your entryway. One fun idea is to cover plastic pumpkin containers with chalkboard paint so you can add whatever welcome message you’d like to display and then fill the containers with your favorite flowers.
  3. Wreaths: Seasonal and year-round wreaths are one of the biggest trends this year and one of the easier fall door decorations. You can create a wreath with practically anything–leaves, gourds, burlap, wheatgrass, nuts, berries and more. If stored properly, you can use your new wreath for years to come.
  4. Nature: Cornstalks in planters, garlands of dried corn, painted pine cones and acorns–these are just a few ways you can use natural elements in your entryway display. We bet if you look in your backyard, you may just find everything you need to create a unique, fall look.

Why Use a Portable Storage Unit for Your Move?

1-800-PACK-RAT‘s portable storage units are the perfect way to complete a DIY move on a budget. Using our secure storage containers will help you save money during your move while freeing yourself from the stress and responsibility that comes along with renting a moving truck.PACK-RAT container

Check out our top four reasons why you should use 1-800-PACK-RAT’s portable storage unit for your next move:

  1. Security: Any time you use self-storage, security should be a top priority. Our moving containers’ steel construction and lockable doors deter thieves and vandals. Our storage buildings have 24/7 video surveillance and secure warehouse doors.
  2. Easy: Our storage units are low to the ground to make the moving and storage process as easy as possible. You will also find corrugated cut-outs specifically designed to secure straps, bungees and netted strapping to help you keep your belongings secure during transport and storage.
  3. Time: The rental time for our portable storage unit is much longer than the typical moving truck rental. This means you can move on your time and not on a truck rental company’s time.
  4. Stress-free: When you use a 1-800-PACK-RAT portable storage unit, we take on the responsibility of transporting your belongings where they need to go – giving you the time to take care of other important things during your move.

If you have any questions about our portable storage units and how the process works—give us a call at 1-800-PACK-RAT to speak with one of our moving experts.

Five Fun Things to Do In Atlanta

Moving to Atlanta or planning to visit soon? There are tons of cool things to do in Atlanta, Georgia,  for people of all ages. Whether you are a lifelong resident, are just now moving to Atlanta or you are planning a trip—if you haven’t explored what this city has to offer, you’re missing out!  Take a look at our five favorite things to see in Atlanta:Panda at the Atlanta Zoo

  1. Zoo Atlanta: One of only four zoos in America to house giant pandas, Zoo Atlanta is a must-see spot! With seasonal events like Boo at the Zoo, your kids can have a blast meeting animals from all over the world while dressed up in their favorite costumes.
  2. Georgia Aquarium: Located in the heart of Atlanta, the Georgia Aquarium features more animals than any other aquarium in the country. Their facilities are available for birthday parties, business meetings, and even weddings.
  3. Atlanta Botanical Garden: If you love flowers and plants, Atlanta Botanical Garden is sure to please! The garden boasts over 30 acres of botanical displays, including themed gardens and canopy walks. They host several fun and unique events throughout the year, so be sure to check out their website when you are ready to plan a visit.
  4. High Museum of Art: Located on Peachtree Street in Midtown, the High Museum of Art is the leading art museum in the Southeastern United States. With over 14,000 pieces of exquisite art, the art-lovers in your family will fall in love with the permanent collections and displays.
  5. World of Coca-Cola: If you love Coke, you don’t want to skip this favorite Atlanta spot! Learn all about the long history of Coca-Cola and its advertising, and taste 64 samples of Coca-Cola from around the world.

Do you have a favorite spot to visit in Atlanta? Stop by our Facebook page and share with us and our online community. You just might see your comment featured in our next e-newsletter.

And if you are looking for movers in Atlanta Ga., don’t forget that 1-800-PACK-RAT offers local and long-distance moving to and from Atlanta.

1-800-PACK-RAT in the Community: Scarlet and Gold Invitational

1-800-PACK-RAT was proud to be a Presenting Sponsor of the 2014 Scarlet and Gold Invitational supporting Hope for the Warriors, a nonprofit whose mission is to enhance the quality of life for post-9/11 service members, their families, and families of the fallen who have sustained physical and psychological wounds in the line of duty.Scarlet and Gold golf invitational collage

The four-day event took place last week at River Landing Country Club in Wallace, N.C., and featured golf events, dinners and a visit to nearby Camp Lejeune. Participants were given a tour of the Warrior Hope and Care Center and the Wounded Warrior Barracks.

Celebrities attending the event included former Major League Baseball players Johnny Bench and Doug Flynn.  Thanks to River Landing and Hope for the Warriors for including 1-800-PACK-RAT in this extremely worthy cause and fun week.


Severe Weather Preparation Tips

Are you prepared for severe weather?  When we move to a new home, severe weather or other disasters are not usually top of mind. But it’s also important to have a plan to ensure your family stays safe. Severe Weather

Be sure you to add severe weather preparation to your to-do list while you are getting settled into your new home. Here are a few tips on how to be prepared when severe weather comes your way:

1. Build a kit: Flashlights, batteries, a weather radio, first-aid supplies, water and non-perishable food are just a few of the important items you should have ready to go. Be sure to put the kit somewhere easily accessible and everyone knows where it is.

2. Have a family plan: Your family may not be together when severe weather strikes. Have a plan in place so everyone knows where to meet or how to communicate in advance.

3. Designate a shelter: Sometimes severe weather escalates into something more dangerous like tornadoes or flash flooding. Identify the safest spot in your house during these types of weather events – usually a first-floor interior closet or bathroom away from windows.

Do you have any severe weather tips? We want to hear from you! Stop by our Facebook page and share with us and our online community.

How to Estimate Utility Costs for Your New Home

If you are like most, you probably keep your finances in order by staying on a budget. But if you are moving to a new home, it can be hard to set up your budget if you don’t know how much the utilities will cost each month. So how do you estimate utility costs for your new home?  Here are a few ways you can get estimated utility costs to work with before you move. Power meter and calculator

  1. Look at your current bills: Take note of your current usages. If you can see how much energy, gas or water you are using now, this can be a good indicator of how much you will use in your new home if it is similar in size or as a baseline if you are moving into a larger or smaller home.
  2. Ask about previous bills:  Call your new power, gas and water providers to find out what the previous owner’s average and low/high bills looked like. At the very least, you should be able to get average utility costs for the neighborhood.
  3. Use online estimators: Getting an online estimate will not be exact, but it can give you a good idea of how much you may end up paying for your utilities. Home Energy Saver offers a free online tool to help you do just that.
  4. Get a home audit:   If you are really concerned about the utilities in your new home, consider having someone come out and do a home audit. This will not only help you determine what your energy costs will look like, but you will also learn new tips for decreasing your usage and how to improve your home’s energy efficiency.

Five Tips for Moving to a New School District

Moving to a new home can be especially challenging for a child transitioning into a new school district. When your child starts at a new school it is important to tackle problems early. Here are some tips to best prepare your student for starting at a new school.Kids in a moving box

  1. Create a schedule: Get your child into a set schedule early. During the end of the summer, promote a regular sleep schedule and start turning off the TV. Encourage reading, puzzles and looking at flash cards to get your child into the routine of learning.
  2. Include your child in the process:  Make your child feel included throughout the entire process. Visit their new school before the first day and bring them along to orientation. Allowing them to see and tour classrooms in advance can put some of their fears to ease.
  3. Look for opportunities to get involved: Network with other parents in the area and volunteer in the classroom or at the school during the first year. Knowing that you’re close can help your child to relax and get more out of learning.
  4. Encourage after-school activities: Encourage your child to participate in at least one or two extracurricular activities. This will help them meet new friends and stay busy. Research possible opportunities and discuss with your child what best fits their interests before the school year begins.
  5. Prepare for emergencies: Make sure to have an emergency contact in your new location, and make sure the school has copies of all important documents such as health and allergy information.