Trimming tips for trees in Florida

All plants require some special knowledge – how much water and sunlight they like, what fertilizers are best for them, and when to prune them. Knowing how to take care of trees, shrubs and plants can keep them healthy and beautiful for many years.

Raising healthy trees and other plants in Florida’s warm, humid climate presents some specific issues that need to be addressed by would-be landscapers, but it can be a year-round hobby as well.

Most regions of the United States have specific periods of the year that are better for pruning and trimming trees. For the majority of Florida, however, the weather is warm enough that trimming can be done at any time of the year.

Remember that trimming only means mild shaping and small limb removal. Pruning is much more invasive and should only be done in the warmest summer months, from late March to early October. Even though Florida temperatures don’t get frigid, cooler weather can still damage a freshly pruned tree. Read More

Benefits of hiring a moving company

Pickups, SUVs and station wagons are nice – nothing like a little more space for additional cargo during those Kodak-worthy family trips or ’round-town errands. Issues arise when owners of these vehicles try to use them for a cross-city moving effort that requires them to pack up most of their belongings, usually including furniture as well.

As great as owning a vehicle with extra space out back is – and as confident as you may be in your driving skills – you’ll need the help of a professional moving company with spacious and state-of-the-art vans, deep knowledge of interstate routes and a knack for putting items on top of one another without fear of collapse. Here’s why you’ll want to pay a little extra to have your stuff transported safely no matter the distance.

 DIY yourself moving vs. hiring a moving company

  • Your insurance probably doesn’t cover “my couch fell out of my pickup’s trailer”. The moving company you’re doing business with will almost certainly have full insurance that will see you compensated should any of your precious belongings get damaged during transportation. Most often, there’s no need to fear such a scenario, as every responsible mover will go the extra mile knowing that you placed your faith in them.
  • The ability to rest during the trip. Movers aren’t superhuman, but they know how to work around their sleep patterns to stay awake and alert for trips that could exceed 10 or even 20 hours (in the latter case, two or more drivers might need to be present). As a result, you can rest whenever you feel it necessary during the journey, be it in a roadside B&B or in the moving company’s vehicle itself. Let’s face it – you probably don’t have experience handling fatigue on 10-hour-long trips and could easily be putting others on the road in danger as a result.
  • Help with loading and unloading. This is often tough, especially by smaller households without a lot of able hands on deck. Most moving companies will offer a full service, meaning they’ll pack your things up (if need be), load them into the truck safely, unload them and place them wherever you fancy. This will save you a lot of time both before and after the moving procedure – time that can be spent on aspects of moving that are more deserving of your attention.
  • More control over how you travel to the destination. As mentioned, you can hitch a ride in the moving company’s trucks or, alternatively, drive alongside or separate from the movers with your family while taking all the necessary stops without halting the moving procedure. You can also take a plane or a similar method of transit in order to manage your time more effectively and reach your new place of residence on your own terms.
  • Less stress overall. They say stress is a killer, and they’re right – all of the points we listed will ultimately greatly reduce the amount of stress you come under. With the right moving company, your journey across a potentially great distance will feel like a breeze and you’ll be able to be focus on the exciting road ahead (ha-ha) without having to worry about the logistics of the whole thing.

How to pack and store an Oriental rug

An Oriental rug might not seem like the most delicate object one can move at first glance – after all, fabric breaks a lot harder than glass or plastic, right? In truth, moving an Oriental rug and storing it safely can be just as difficult as safely transporting that precious vase you own. Here’s an overview of the steps to take.

Before the moving and/or storage

The first thing you should do if you’re looking for maximum insurance and safety is to have your rug valued by a professional (referred to as an ‘appraisal’). This will cement the exact state of the rug before it goes anywhere and will eliminate any disputes along the lines of “I’m sure I didn’t cause this hole…”

It will cost you a bit extra but also protect you from unpleasant situations that could end up as a greater financial burden, especially if you let the movers/storage facility know that the carpet has been appraised.

When preparing it for transportation, make sure that it’s gently rolled rather than folded – not too tight, but also not loose enough to unhinge mid-transport. Likewise, be sure to have your rug cleaned by a pro before moving.

Don’t wrap the rug with a rough material that could damage or discolor the fabrics – plastic wrap with no holes or seams is an example of effective protection. For best results, place the plastic-wrapped rug inside a hard-shell casing of similar size that will protect it from any accidents on the road.

The actual moving and storing

If you’re moving the rug inside a truck, van or similar vehicle, make sure to eliminate the chance of hard objects falling on it, as this could easily damage the fabric and even tear a hole in the rug. Obviously, you’ll want to avoid placing anything on the rug as well – ideally, it should have its own place away from potential falling objects but not high enough to become bent or fall down and suffer damage.

Keep an eye out for the surrounding conditions, too – humidity should be kept in check, as Oriental rugs frequently have delicate colors that can fade or even wash away when subjected to certain kinds of moisture. Standard room temperature is preferred around the rug – slight deviations are acceptable as long as there aren’t any extremes (no freezers!).

Make sure that there are no pests of any kind around the rug when it’s being moved, nor in the place of storage. Sometimes, old vans or trucks can be home to pests and even mold (depending on what they were transporting in the past) unbeknownst to the driver – this can result in the rug getting eaten away at, infested or simply contracting a foul smell.

This brings us to the choice of vehicle for the moving procedure. You’ve no doubt seen rugs being ferried in the back of a station wagon with nearly half sticking out, or – just as bad – being tied to the vehicle roof in the rug owners’ attempts to save some money and effort. This is a bad idea overall – from exposure to elements (sudden rain, anyone?) to the ever-present possibility of the carpet falling out or off the car, hitting the road at high speeds and getting run over by the angry Buick behind you whose view you were blocking (and the dozen vehicles behind it), there’s no shortage of reasons to forgo this method of rug transporation.

Instead, transport and store your Oriental rugs with a dedicated company that knows how to handle expensive and fragile items – your rug will thank you later.

Things to do before you move into a home or apartment

Moving into a new home or apartment is an exciting venture, no doubt. Hopefully, you’re moving up instead of down and will enjoy nicer living conditions and a more positive surrounding that helps you lead the life you want.

With that said, there are things to do before you move into any new home or apartment that are sure to make your stay more enjoyable. Each of these is equally as important, and you’d do well to cross everything off the list in order to maximize your quality of life.

 Before you move in…

  • Get a feel of who your future neighbors are and what they’re like. Yes, it’s hard to know this before you get settled in, which is why you should try and befriend someone in the area to get a rundown of who’s who. Any next-door-quirks or loud fraternity-esque parties going on? You’ll want to be prepared for any not-so-pleasant aspects of sharing a living space in the broader sense.
  • Inform yourself regarding crime in the area. Even if you just moved into a neighborhood that’s best described as ‘nice’, it could still be dealing with a series of recent break-ins – in fact, nice neighborhoods are sometimes the ones that are targeted the most because the would-be thieves perceive them as having the best loot (and oftentimes they do). If you suspect you might end up as the victim of a burglary in the future, outfit your new loft with a security system and anti-theft locks that will let you relax in your home.
  • Clean before moving the furniture in. Too often, home owners are overzealous when moving in and decide to add the furniture before making sure everything’s squeaky clean – this will make your job of cleaning a lot more difficult later on, so exercise some forethought. Clean the carpets in the home well and proper (and make sure any you’re bringing in are spotless as well), scrub those tiles, polish those hardwood floors and don’t skip any surface, even ones that seem perfectly clean – you’ll feel healthier and more comfortable in your new place as a result.

  • Make sure to notify everyone worth notifying that you moved residences. This includes various offices of Uncle Sam as well as everyone who might be sending you mail or notifications on a semi-regular basis, from friends and family to newspaper subscriptions (the former is especially important, as you don’t want your loved ones making a surprise trip to the wrong destination). This will save a lot of hassle for the new owners of your old home who would otherwise have to send you the misplaced mail (if they’re, y’know, nice enough not to throw it away).
  • Get familiarized with neighborhood rules and ordinances. It’s similar to the first point on the list – get to know what works and what doesn’t in your neighborhood. For example, you don’t want to be the only home owner with a loud-barking dog disturbing the whole ‘hood, nor do you want to keep the yard and garage lights up past the neighborhood ‘curfew’ – keeping an eye on these things will ensure you get accepted quickly instead of being seen as an unwelcome addition.

How to choose a moving company

Running a moving company can seem like a lucrative business, and one that’s easy enough. A van or a truck and you’re all set to go, huh? Unfortunately, this line of thinking has given room to some less-than-exemplary business practices, so you’ll need to know what to look for in a moving company before… moving. Here’s how to choose the right guys to bring your stuff from one place to another and avoid a moving company scam.

  • Ask whether they have ever traversed the exact route you’ll have them undertake. A moving company that’s already done transportation between the same A to B you’re hiring them for will have the luxury of experience – safer roads and those with less traffic, shortcuts, realistic estimates and so on. Good drivers can always handle a new road well, but a company with a history of doing exactly what you’d have them do is definitely one to look out for.
  • Make sure that the company is fully insured as well as licensed. You’re right in wanting the peace of mind that comes from knowing that, should something go awry during the trip, you’ll be compensated in full. Likewise, a working license will show you that you’re working with true professionals as opposed to ‘a guy with a truck’.

How to avoid a moving company scam

  • Consider the company’s moving approach – is it hands-off or do they provide all the assistance you could need? Needless to say, the latter option is definitely preferrable – never underestimate the difficulty of moving that is greatly amplified if you’re handling the effort on your own. A lot of moving companies will offer to help you with every part of the moving, from packing to moving furniture to unloading to setting up your new home – while these services will cost extra, the money is well worth it as you could end up breaking or damaging your precious belongings while trying to get them move-ready by your lonesome. Always look for a company with as feature-rich of a service as possible in order to have everything going smoothly.
  • Ask to examine the condition of the moving vehicle beforehand. Looks can deceive, and a modest van might be able to store everything you own with plenty of space left and transport it without an issue in mind. That being said, old vehicles or those that aren’t frequently maintained are rarely well-equipped for transportation – not to mention, movers using such a vehicle probably don’t take their job as seriously as you’d like.
  • Finally, the pay. Everyone wants to get paid for a job well-done, and movers are no different. Nothing wrong with that, but you’ll want to work with a company that can tell you the exact fee after making an initial assessment of the effort (taking into account the distance, the amount of belongings being moved, additional services and so forth). The fee should be agreed upon before the first item is loaded into the truck or van – no additional charges for “traffic hassle”, “closed roads” or any other way through which less-than-honest movers earn an extra buck. A true professional moving company will have no trouble being open and upfront about your projected expenses – if they tell you they can’t know before reaching the destination, it’s best to keep on looking.