Thursday, December 26, 2013

Five Lansing area charities that accept un-needed household goods

Written by: Brooke Weatherford

Here at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® of Greater Lansing, one of our Core Values is to give back to our community, and we have found that our customers often seek to do the same.  Moving often provides the ideal time to de-clutter your space of old or unwanted items. Six to eight weeks before your move, go through every room of your house and decide what you'd like to keep and what you can get rid of.  While TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® cannot take these items off your hands for you, we can help you give back to the community by providing you with the right tools and information to easily give that outdated couch or old piano to someone less fortunate.  Ask any TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® Move Consultant or Mover for a list of recommended donation centers, and they will provide you with a flyer about our five favorite charity donation centers, and how you can quickly and easily donate your unwanted items and help someone else in the process.  Here are five donation centers we recommend:

Habitat for Humanity Restore:   Habitat for Humanity ReStores are nonprofit home improvement stores and donation centers that sell new and gently used furniture, home accessories, building materials, and appliances to the public at a fraction of the retail price.  Habitat for Humanity ReStores are proudly owned and operated by local Habitat for Humanity affiliates, and proceeds are used to build homes, community, and hope locally and around the world.  There are two locations in the Lansing area; one in Haslett (517-999-0488) and another in Lansing (517-374-6235). Habitat offers a direct phone number you can call to arrange for items to be picked up (517-575-8152). To see a complete list of acceptable items visit

Volunteers of America:   Volunteers of America is a national, non-profit, faith-based organization dedicated to helping those in need rebuild their lives and reach their full potential.  The local Volunteers of America accepts items such as small appliances, furniture, bikes and toys, dishes, computers, wheelchairs and much more. To arrange to have your donated items picked up, call 1-866-333-8281.   Visit to see a full list of acceptable items and to find a location close to you.

St. Vincent’s Catholic Charities:  Lansing partners with St. Vincent’s every summer for an event that collects school supplies for less fortunate.  Operation Backpack begins in late July and runs through mid-August.  Anyone interested in contributing may drop off school supplies and backpacks at our TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® location, or one of the other drop-off centers, to help these kids get the tools they need to do their best in the upcoming school year.
In addition to school supplies for Operation backpack, St. Vincent’s Catholic Charities regularly accepts items such as furniture, bikes, linens, pre-paid cell phones, car seats and booster seats, and many other items. To see a full list, visit and click on the “Ways to Give” tab, or call them at 517-323-4734, ext. 1050.

Hidden Treasures:  Lansing Christian School's Hidden Treasures Thrift Store is Lansing’s largest upscale thrift store.  Hidden Treasures accepts things like small appliances, furniture, toys, wedding and prom dresses, books CDs and movies, gently used linens and other things.  You can contact Hidden Treasures at 517-708-3300 or visit them online at to find out more information.

Lansing City Rescue Mission Thrift Store:   The City Rescue Mission provides food, shelter, and hope to women, children, and men in Michigan's capital area. When you give to or shop at the thrift store, you help the Mission provide "rescue" to the many women, children, and men who utilize their services. Funds from the store also enable them to meet operational needs and purchase specific items that are needed but not often donated. They accept small appliances, furniture, dishes, toys, rugs, curtains, and many other items.  Contact
 the City Rescue Mission at 517-203-5190 or visit
So, as you are packing up your home for your move with TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® of Greater Lansing  and decide you don’t want that old couch, or your college-age son’s childhood booster seat, remember how TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® gives back to the community and makes it easy for you to do the same. Giving away your old stuff not only helps you de-clutter, but it may provide someone less fortunate with a comfortable place to sit, a safe ride for their child, or even more important…. hope for a better future.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

10 Tips for Moving During the Winter

Relocating your belongings to a new home or office under ideal conditions is nothing short of stressful.  Add in the uncertainty of winter weather and your best-laid plans can easily be derailed.  There is no way to control what the weather will have in store on your moving day:  ice, snow, slippery roads and frigid temperatures.  All of which increase the risk for personal injury and damage during a move.

Whether you plan to hire a moving company or are handling the move yourself, the professional team at TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® of Greater Lansing offers the following tips to help you stay safe during your winter moving day.

1)     Avoid slip hazards by shoveling driveways and walkways before your truck arrives.  Apply salt or ice-melt to the walkways between your house and the moving vehicle.
2)     Stay warm in the cold by dressing in layers; you can always remove layers if you begin to overheat.
3)      Leave the heat and electricity on in your home until you are completely moved out; consider leaving your door open during the move to balance the temperatures. Constantly walking back and forth from a warm house to a cold driveway can cause fatigue.
4)      Cover your floors with old sheets or tarps to avoid tracking mud and snow into your home.
5)      Place towels by the front door to wipe away snow from the dolly wheels as you come in and out of your home.
5)      Consider purchasing extra moving pads to protect all of your belongings from the elements
6)      Make sure your moving pads remain dry at all times.
7)      Have a shovel and salt on the truck so you can easily clear the loading area of ice and snow.
8)      Be extremely cautious when driving and watch out for black ice
9)      Keep towels in the truck so you can clean and dry the moving ramp while loading and unloading.
10)   Don't transport live plants in the cargo hold of the truck, as they could freeze.  Take them with you in your vehicle or in the cab of your rented moving truck.

 If you have winter moving tips of your own please share them in the comments!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Choosing the Right Interior Paint Finish

Even after you've chosen the perfect color for your room, you still have another important decision to make:  what is the best paint finish for the room you are about to paint?  There are five very different "finishes" to consider.  Here they are, along with the considerations that will help you make the best choice.  It basically comes down to how much shine and durability you want in that particular room.

Flat finish = Concealing
photo courtesy of
Sometimes also referred to as "matte", this latex paint is best suited for walls that won't likely require frequent washing.  It is the least shiny paint finish available.  As it doesn't clean well, it usually is not best suited for kitchens, bathrooms or children's bedrooms.  In fact, the only way to get rid of fingerprints or scribbles is to paint over them.  Because of its non-shine, is a good finish if you have to camouflage small wall bumps or cracks.  This is an ideal choice for your dining room, living room or closets. 

Eggshell finish = Easy Maintenance
Think of the very low sheen on the shell of an egg.  This will give you the indication of how an eggshell paint finish will appear.  This finish is often used for decorative finishes because it provides a low luster.  It cleans up better than a flat finish, but this is still not the ideal choice for a kitchen or bathroom.

Satin finish = Easy Maintenance & Durability
Satin paints are the preferred finish for highly-trafficked areas and are the most popular paint sheen.  With its smooth, velvety appearance it is attractive, durable and easy to maintain.  Most surface dirt can be wiped clean with a damp cloth.  This is a good paint finish for woodwork, walls, doors and hallways.

Semi-gloss finish = Durability
This paint finish is very durable and washable, and it will produce a visible shine.  Semi-gloss paint is most commonly used on doors, trim and cabinets in bathrooms and kitchens.  Because is easy to clean up, this finish is also a good choice for high-moisture areas, such as bathrooms.  Just be sure to select a mildew-resistant paint formulation.

Glossy finish = Highlight
High gloss paints deliver the highest level of shine and durability.  It is also stain resistant and very scrubbable, making it a good choice for the areas in the home that get the most wear and tear, such as kitchens and bathrooms.  Though not widely used in home interiors, it is becoming more popular for a dramatic look on cabinets, trim and furniture in very formal and very contemporary settings.  It is also an excellent choice to highlight doors, trim and other architectural elements.  At the opposite extreme from the flat finish, this finish will magnify any surface imperfections, so careful preparation and sanding is imperative before painting with high gloss paints.

When you are deciding which finish to use, remember:  the higher the shine, the darker and more intense the color will be.  And, know that high-gloss paint reflects light and makes imperfections in your walls more obvious.  So, before you apply the paint finish, be sure to properly and thoroughly prepare your surface and make them extra smooth.

Monday, October 21, 2013

"Movers for Meals" collecting food for the Greater Lansing Food Bank

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® locations across Michigan are collecting non-perishable food items to support The Food Bank Council of Michigan with their “Movers for Meals” program.  The purpose of “Movers for Meals” is to recognize and support the thousands of people across Michigan relying on The Food Bank Council of Michigan each year. 

Again this fall, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® of Greater Lansing is partnering with the following schools, day care centers and businesses to collect food specifically for the Greater Lansing Food Bank:
  • ·         People’s Church Pre-school 
  •        Tutor Time, Okemos 
  •              Rainbow Child Care Centers, Lansing & Okemos 
  •        Emanuel Lutheran School
  •        Glenn Buege Buick GMC 
  •             Nexus Academy of Lansing 
  • ·         Mall Drive Kindercare
Starting in mid-September and ending on November 15, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® of Greater Lansing is taking donations of canned goods, such as vegetables and soups, and non-perishable items, including peanut butter and jelly, macaroni and cheese for donation to the Greater Lansing Food Bank. 

There is an obvious need in our mid-Michigan communities for support, and TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® has always been the “Movers who Care®”.  It’s part of our core values, instilled from the very beginning when Mary Ellen Sheets founded the company.  Her focus has always been about giving back, and we embrace this aspect of our business with “Movers for Meals”.

Anyone interested in donating food items may drop off donations at the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® of Greater Lansing store located at 1200 Keystone Avenue, in south Lansing.  Our office is open to receive donations Monday through Saturday, 8am to 5pm.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Guest Blog: Which is smarter: renting or buying a house?

After watching what their parents experienced during the economic crisis of the last 5 years in terms of job loss, foreclosures, and/or a short sale (owing more on their home than what it is worth) many Millennials or Generation Y’s might think it makes more sense to rent rather than buy a home. 

Over the years I’ve often thought it was better to buy a house than to rent one
in most cases, but not in every case. Comparing buying to renting is actually a fairly complicated endeavor. However, there are a few easy guidelines you can use to aid you in your decision. 

Buying a house is usually more beneficial than renting except when:

  • ·         You intend to move within a few years

  • ·         Your rent is very low

  • ·         Job stability is questionable

Building equity vs. “throwing your money away”
Certain expenses that accompany buying a house do not build equity and may actually contribute to the argument for renting instead of buying. These expenses  would include:

  • ·         Property Insurance
  • ·         Private Mortgage Insurance (if your down payment is less than 20%)
  • ·         Maintenance
  • ·         Closing costs
  • ·         Interest on your mortgage
  • ·         Property taxes

Advantages to buying vs. renting can outweigh the expense

  • ·         You lock in your monthly payment for 15 or 30 years. (If you kept renting you’d pay more each year.)
  • ·         Normally your house gets more valuable over time, however that is no longer a guarantee. 
  • Tax Advantage - Your real estate taxes and the interest on your mortgage are deductible from your income tax. 
  • Security - A feeling of security that comes from owning a home and the knowledge that your home is a safeguard against inflation. 
  • Environment - Your children grow up in the neighborhood of your choice 
  • Satisfaction - Home ownership offers special advantages that make life more enjoyable - backyard barbecues, large family gatherings during holidays, a home workshop, a chance to enjoy your family's companionship in the privacy of your own home. 
  •  Investment - Payments on your mortgage loan mean you are acquiring a major possession; instead of rent, you own more and more. The garden you plant, the permanent improvements you make - all enhance your way of living as well as the value of your home.

Tax advantages could change soon with the legislation being introduced in Washington D.C.  Home Buyers today need to look at owning a home as a lifestyle decision that requires a large commitment - and investment - on your part. 

With interest rates at historical lows, and home prices at reasonable levels, this could be an opportune time to buy a home provided you have job stability, a reasonable down payment and qualify for the monthly principle, interest, taxes and insurance. Talk to a REALTOR to determine which route is best for you.

Mike Bowler is an Associate Broker for Coldwell Banker Hubbell BriarWood Real Estate Company and has serviced the Greater Lansing Area for over 30 years. He can be reached at 517-492-3400 or

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Five Pinterest Boards for Home Decorating Inspiration

Maybe it's the onset of shorter days and cooler temperatures, but I'm suddenly obsessed with sprucing up my nest.  I look around my home and I'm tired of the 10-year old color palette and bored with the matchy-matchy furnishings.  Don't even get me started on the state of most, alright all, of our closets, cabinets and drawers!  And, as usual, I'm big on enthusiasm but short on dollars.  So, I've been spending lots of time with my favorite inspiration muse -- Pinterest.  I'd like to share with you five of my favorite boards.

Board #1:  Home Paint Ideas by All Things Pinteresting!  A long time ago, a very good friend shared this wonderful truth with me, "Paint hides a multitude of sins".   This has become my home improvement mantra.  It's a quick and relatively inexpensive way to add an immediate punch to your decor. This board is loaded with great how-to tips such as how to get rid of ugly textured walls and using plastic wrap instead of taping during preparation.  There are tools to help you choose a color palette.  Be sure to check out the pin titled "How to paint wooden trim and transform your home".  Seriously, you'll fall in love with your home all over again.

Board #2:  Decorating on A Budget by Tracy Angerstein   Don't have the budget to transform your rooms into something you'd find in the pages of Better Homes and Gardens?  The pins you'll find here will show you how to get the look without the sticker shock.  There are more how-to's on faux paint finishes, stenciling, distressing and getting the now-hip chevron designs on to your walls, pillows and artwork.  You'll find tutorials on making your own beautiful pillows and how to choose the best drapery length for your windows.  Look for the "38 Anthropologie Hacks" pin.

Board #3:  Lawn & Garden by Barbara Marlow:  This is not your typical gardening site.  While there are some great pins on growing herbs, strawberries and some flowers, the emphasis is on creating beautiful outdoor projects that will bring color, wildlife and personality to your lawn and garden.  You'll find beautifully illustrated guides to creating bird feeders, wind chimes, light features and fountains.  If you're looking for a more substantial addition to your outdoor living space, you'll find directions to build your own planting shed, fire pit, arbors and more.  I especially love the pins of trash-to-treasure container planters.

Board #4:  Organized Home by Tay En:  Who knew organization could be so fun or interesting?  As you'd expect, you'll find lots of great tips to tame every closet, cupboard and drawer in your home.  But there is so much more on this board.  You'll discover solutions for those tough cleaning issues and home made stain removers and laundry detergent recipes.  Hate the way your linen closet looks because you don't know how to fold a fitted bed sheet?  There is a pin that shows an easy, step-by-step method that even a teenager or husband can follow.  There is a weekly cleaning checklist and a 40 Days of Organization pin that will help you get your house deep cleaned and organized without feeling overwhelmed.

Board #5:  Seasonal & Themed Decorating by Brenda Kula:  Wow!  This is a board you'll just have to visit to truly appreciate.  Brenda is an avid pinner and her boards are neatly organized by theme.  Need ideas for unique autumn or Christmas decorating?  It's there.  How about ideas for a bedroom or living room?  It's there.  Want to set a stunning table for a dinner party?  Yep, it's there, too. 

Obviously, this is just the very tippy-tip of the Pinterest iceberg.  Until a few months ago, I thought "This Pinterest-thing, too, shall pass".  Fortunately, I was wrong and I've never been so happy to admit it. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

How Many Boxes Will You Need for Your Upcoming Move?

There is so much to think about and plan when you're getting ready to move from one house to another.

Use this handy Box Calculator to get an idea of how many and what kind of boxes you'll need to pack up your belongings before your move.  

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® of Greater Lansing offers a full line of competitively priced packing supplies and offers a full refund on any boxes you don't need.  We also offer great tips on how to pack fragile items.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Explore Four Greater Lansing Communities

Written by Brooke Weatherford
         Holt, also known as Delhi township, is located south-east of Lansing.  Holt is a unique community because it effortlessly joins the warm, small town feel of a rural area, with the comfortability of a suburban community, while still maintaining the benefits of being located near the larger cities of Lansing and East Lansing.  Holt recently received a Gold status for the Michigan Green Community Challenge, recognizing the outstanding efforts to be an environmentally sustainable community.  Holt hosts a number of events, including the Farmers Market , and Music in the Garden, which is a free event occurring Thursdays in July at the Veterans Memorial Park.  Speaking of parks, Holt is home to 100 acres of parks, creating a beautiful scene for outdoor recreation.  The Holt Public Schools are among the best in Mid-Michigan, with the spotlight on the beautifully renovated Holt Senior High, which offer a wide array of sports, extracurricular activities and a top notch teaching staff.  Overall, Holt is a wonderful, balanced community.
 St. Johns
           Twenty minutes north of Lansing is St. Johns, also known as the Mint Festival City. St. Johns is, for the most part, a rural community; however, it is home to a few big attractions that bring in people from all over the state.  The first of these is the annual Mint Festival, which celebrates the town’s 100+ years of mint farming, held in early August. The Mint Festival brings together a variety of events, family activities, and vendors of food, crafts, and flea market items. The Mint Festival is a source of pride for the town as it is an exciting event for people from all over the area.  Another St. Johns attraction is Uncle John’s Cider Mill and Fruithouse Winery  Located on the primary artery to northern Michigan, Uncle John’s is an autumn destination for picking pumpkins, eating homemade doughnuts, drinking fresh-pressed apple cider and wagon ride orchard tours.  Visitors can actually watch the entire process of making  that delicious cider.  Family-oriented fun abounds with tons of fall and Halloween themed activities such as a haunted house, hayride through the pumpkin patch, playground and train rides. It provides fun for the whole family and brings great tourism to St. Johns.  Lastly, St. Johns is home to Sleepy Hollow State Park which provides a host of recreational activities such as camping, fishing, canoing and kayaking.  The park also features miles of marked trails for hiking, cross-country skiing and horseback riding.  So, although St. Johns is a small town, there are some big benefits to calling it home, or even just stopping by for some cider or mint!
              Charlotte is located 25 minutes south of Lansing and is the seat of Eaton County.  The town has easy access to interstates 69, 96 and 94, making for a comfortable commute to and from Lansing.  The “Frontier Days Festival” city has much to offer, including a healthy array of downtown shops, restaurants and businesses.  With both big chains, and small, family-owned businesses, the business district can cater to your needs. Charlotte has an abundance of high quality, yet affordable, houses as well as charming historic homes. The townspeople value their town’s heritage and preserving historic sites like the beautiful Courthouse Square Museum.  Charlotte is home to multiple parks; Bennett Park, Lincoln Park and Veterans Memorial Park are the largest. During the summer, free concerts are held at Veterans Memorial Park for all to enjoy.  The Eaton Country Fairgrounds are located here, the site for the annual 4-H fair. As for educational opportunities, Charlotte has an award winning public school system and state of the art facilities to make sure the kids get a successful education. The Charlotte Performing Arts Center is the crown jewel of the high school and regularly hosts regionally acclaimed artists.  Charlotte is only 15 minutes away from Olivet College.  Charlotte brings the community together for a number of festivals each year, including the Celebrate Charlotte! Festival held on Father’s Day weekend each year, the Wilder Bluegrass Festival, Frontier Days, and a few holiday events such as a Halloween costume parade, and holiday light parade.  So, if you’re looking for a small town with some big character, stop off the highway and visit Charlotte.
 Grand Ledge
                 Grand Ledge is located 13 miles west of Lansing, and is most commonly known for its 300-million year old sandstone quartz rock ledges that extend up the banks of the Grand River.  Grand Ledge is a great location for outdoor enthusiasts who still enjoy close proximity to city life.  The abundant parks and nature trails system, in addition with its residence along the Grand River, provide a multitude of outdoor activities. Oak Park is the gateway to “The Ledges” of the town, which provides some of the only natural rock climbing in Michigan. The most intense ledges run along the North side of the river, with more family friendly, scenic trails on the south side. Climbers come from all over the state to experience this landmark. Other parks in town include Fitzgerald Park, Island Park, and Lincoln Brick Park. At these parks you can find up to 3 miles of nature trails, baseball diamonds, basketball courts, volleyball courts, disk golf courses, playgrounds, canoe launches, picnic pavilions, swimming beaches, and cross country skiing trails. There is no shortage of recreational activity venues in this town.  Grand Ledge hosts a number of other attractions, including horseback riding at Sundance Stables, Ledge Meadows Golf Course, and the Michigan Princess Riverboat . Grand Ledge boasts a great public school system that provides students access to new computers, wireless classrooms, and advanced technology, along with award-winning performing arts and athletic programs.  The town’s close proximity to Lansing, East Lansing, and Michigan State University provides a number of cultural, social and entertainment opportunities just a short drive away.   Grand Ledge is a town that provides many ways for you to enjoy nature’s gifts, while staying close to the benefits of city life.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Win $300 in the "My New Place" Instagram Photo Contest

 TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® of Greater Lansing, is kicking off our first ever Instagram Photo Contest, MY NEW PLACE!   So, we wanted this week’s blog to highlight specifications on how to enter, provide some creative ideas on how to showcase YOUR NEW PLACE, and what you could win if you rack up enough likes!
Instagram is a fairly new tool and is growing by the masses. Why? Because it allows an average Joe to become a photographer with just the push of a few buttons, so it’s easy for you to show your friends the awesome new place you just moved into, and make it look like you brought in the art director from Better Homes and Gardens to snap your pic.
How to Enter:
Getting an account 

First, you have to have an Instagram account. If you don’t have one, registering is easy.
Download the Instagram App on your mobile phone.   Register. Enter your information or simply link to your Facebook profile to make registering and promoting your photo’s even easier. Click Register.
Once registered it is easy to link your page to be able to post your Instagram photo’s to Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Foursquare or Flickr should you choose to show your friends your photo through other social media outlets.
Entering the contest 
Follow our Instagram page @TMTLansing
Take a photo of your new place (for creative ideas on what you could post, keep reading!)
Post the photo with the Hashtag #TMTMYNEWPLACE in the description
Share the photo of your new place on your other social media sites, asking your friends and fellow instagramers to like your photo, or tell them to simply just double click the photo to like it.
1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winner will receive a VISA giftcard of $300 $150 or $50! Check your photo for a comment from @TMTLansing saying you’ve won, and with further instruction on how to claim your prize.

On to some photo ideas
So maybe you’re not the creative type, but want your photo to be so spectacular all your friends want to like it and help you win that gift card. We have a few suggestions
-          Make a Collage. You can download apps like Photo Grid (for Android) or Pic Stitch (for Iphone) to neatly put together a few different photos into an exciting collage. Get photos of the front back and inside of your new house to stitch together, or maybe different rooms of your apartment, or different angles of your dorm. You could also try creating a collage of different photos of your house each with your kids, dog, friends or hubby in front of it!
-          The photo contest is not limited to photos of a new house. Moving into an MSU dorm soon? Snap a photo of your freshly decorated desk, bunk, and futon combo to show off to your friends, and try a filter like “1977” to give it the flower child boarding school feel, or “Lo-Fi” to accentuate all your exciting bright colors.
-          Have a housewarming party with all your friends and neighbors, and while everyone is there, tell them about the contest, get a photo of everyone, tag them in the photo and ask them to like and share with friends. This is a sure-fire way to get some likes right away!
-          Are you a teacher? Professor? Or moving into a new office? That works too! Take a photo of your new classroom full of kids or shiny new desk with all your favorite pictures. Try tagging coworkers, friends, and other people who might be interested in seeing your new workplace.
-          Utilize the description! If you really want to collect those likes, try telling friends about something funny that happened when you moved in, or how your kids reacted to their new rooms. Your friends will be interested to read your story and see the picture to go with it!
-          Meeting the new neighbors? Tell them about the contest and ask if they would like to be in the picture with you!  Then tell your friends about the experience meeting the neighbors. You could even tag your neighbors in the photo and ask them to share with their friends too.
-          Proud of your new yard or Landscaping? That could work too! Show off that beautiful new tree you planted or the deck you just finished and show your friends your hard work.
-          Don’t be afraid of filters! Filters can take your photo to the next level, and make it look like you are that Better Homes and Gardens photographer!
Don’t forget to follow @TMTLansing and include the hashtag #TMTMYNEWPLACE!!
 Contest details:
You don’t have to be a TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® Lansing customer to win.
Contest Valid in Lansing Franchise Region only. (Must be able to come to the Lansing store to retrieve your prize)
Must be 18 years or older and US Citizen to win.
Contest runs 8/8/2013- 9/27/2013