Making Your Employees Happy

3 Reasons A Climate-Controlled Storage Unit Is Usually The Best Choice

Posted by on Apr 29, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Reasons A Climate-Controlled Storage Unit Is Usually The Best Choice

If you need to rent a storage unit for furniture, antiques, clothing, or other types of personal belongings, it might be worthwhile to pay a little extra each month for a climate-controlled unit. The main perk of climate-controlled units is the even temperature they offer all year round; however, there are several other perks that you should know about that may help you realize that the extra fee you will pay will be extremely beneficial. Increased Security One of the differences between regular storage units and climate-controlled units is the security they offer. A regular storage unit will typically have its door outside. This will allow you to pull your car right up to the unit if you need to drop something off or pick something up, but it may not provide a lot of extra security.   In order for facilities to offer climate-controlled units, they typically construct the buildings in a way that makes heating and cooling the units more efficient. To do this, they will place the units inside a building and the only access to the units will be indoors. Because of this, your goods will typically be more secure. It would offer an extra layer of protection against anyone that may try to break in and damage or steal your belongings. Fewer Pest Problems A second benefit you might not realize involves the pests that can enter your unit. Pests, such as bugs and rodents, will have a much easier time entering into a storage unit that has an exterior door only. Bugs and rodents can squeeze through the smallest openings you can imagine, and there is a much higher chance that you will have bugs and rodents in a regular storage unit. Because climate-controlled units only have interior doors, bugs and rodents are not as likely to find their way in. They would have to enter into the building first, and then they would have to make their way into your unit. Pests like these can cause a lot of damage to wood, cardboard, and fabric if they get inside your unit. If you want to avoid finding damage from pests, choosing a climate-controlled unit would be the better choice to make. Reduced Risk Of Water And Moisture Not only does an even temperature offer a barrier to moisture issues, but the fact that temperature-controlled units are located indoors also makes a difference. If you compare both options, you will find that a regular unit is much more susceptible to water leaking in. If there is a bad rainstorm, there is a chance that water could penetrate through the sides or bottom of the door on a traditional unit. This is not something you would have to worry about as much with an indoor temperature-controlled unit. When water or moisture gets into a unit, it will be trapped inside. This can cause warping and bowing of wooden furniture, and it can also cause mildew and mold to begin forming. If you choose a traditional type of storage unit, you will have to take a lot of extra steps to protect the things you store in it. For example, wood furniture will be better protected in an unheated storage unit if it is cleaned thoroughly with furniture oil before it is stored. You then...

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Funeral Services & Children: 5 Ways to Honor Loved Ones During Services

Posted by on Mar 7, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Funeral Services & Children: 5 Ways to Honor Loved Ones During Services

The death of a loved one can be hard for a child to handle while they’re young. Events like funerals, wakes, and memorial services can be overwhelming, confusing, and full of questions. If you are planning a funeral where a lot of kids are attending, then there are multiple ways to get them involved while honoring the loved one in your life. Whether it’s a group of grandchildren for a grandparent that has passed or a lot of young cousins and relatives mourning an uncle or aunt, you can engage the children while showcasing the importance of the loved one. Consider adding the five memorial service activities specifically aimed at children. It can help them cope with the death and understand the event that just occurred. Coloring Dedication Pages Attending memorial services can mean that a child is spending hours sitting around. No matter where a child is at, it is natural for them to get antsy and bored. Add a small coloring table to the funeral proceedings to help keep them occupied and still show respect for the loved one. Not only can children color pages, but they can color ones that are specifically catered to the loved one. For example, if the person loved superheroes, then you can print out a collection of free superhero coloring pages. By explaining the purpose of the pages and the theme, the children can have a better understanding and focus on creating a nice picture. Children’s Sing-Along As you plan a wake or memorial service, some older children may have the desire to participate. One way to directly allow this is by gathering a group of children together for a song selection. Singing a memorial song is a nice tribute that can showcase the kids’ love for the deceased person and help keep them focused on the task at hand. One of the more important parts of this process is selecting the right song. There are a number of religious songs you can choose from, or you can select a song from an artist that the person loved. There are a number of free karaoke song resources along with lyrical videos that children can read along with. If you are playing the real version of the song, you can simply print out the lyrics and hand them to each child. Flower Picking and Placement A large aspect of any funeral is choosing flower arrangements for various ceremonies and the burial. Keep a child involved by allowing them to choose a small arrangement that can be placed at the memorial service or a gravestone. You can take a child to a flower shop or garden center or even go pick wildflowers that can be potted and used. While picking flowers, this is a good time to explain the typical funeral process and answer any questions the child may have about death. Once the flowers are picked out, your child may bring them and display them during the various funeral services. Letters & Poems With so many thoughts and feelings, it may be hard for a child to express them during a funeral service. Help them get the words out by using writing instead. By purchasing special stationery, your children can express their thoughts and write messages to the loved ones that have...

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Five Steps To Reduce The Threats Of Vandalism And Theft To Your Business Sign

Posted by on Feb 1, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Five Steps To Reduce The Threats Of Vandalism And Theft To Your Business Sign

The sign in front of your business promotes your brand and helps customers find you, but sadly, it can also look inviting to vandals or thieves. If you want to deter vandals and thieves from your business sign, there are few things you can do. Take a look at these tips and ideas: 1. Avoid using valuable metals in your sign. If your sign is made of metal, it is worth money to anyone who steals it and sells it to a scrap yard. As a result, owning a metal sign can be slightly risky. To make your business sign relatively unappealing to thieves, use a ferrous metal such as iron or steel. Both of these metals are much less valuable than their non-ferrous counterparts such as copper, aluminum and brass. If you have a sign with letters that can be moved around to create different messages, keep in mind that vandals may try to steal the letters. Also, make these less appealing by choosing the least valuable metal possible, or opt for vinyl letters with a metallic finish. 2. Choose shatter resistant glass. Even if vandals don’t steal your letters, they may reword the message on your sign into something rude or crass. That is not the image you want your business to promote, and ideally, you want to make vandalizing your letters impossible. Keep vandals away from your letters by having a sign that locks, and make sure that your sign has smash-resistant glass so that vandals cannot break into it. 3. Light your sign. Regardless of the type of sign you have, shedding a bit of light on it can help to keep thieves and vandals away. In order to avoid detection, most thieves and vandals prefer to work under the cloak of darkness and shadows. If your sign is in a dark spot, a vandal may feel as if they can attack it without getting caught. To disrupt that confidence, you should light your sign. You can invest in landscaping spotlights and train them on your sign, or you can buy lights that you attach to the side of your business’s wall and shine down on your sign. If you like, you can also bolster this effect with a security camera pointed at your sign. 4. Spray your sign with an anti-graffiti coating. When you order your sign, talk with the sign salesperson about adding an anti-graffiti coating. Anti-graffiti coatings are not completely foolproof yet, but they are improving every day. Currently, these products create an invisible barrier over surfaces that repels water, oil and most other liquids. As a result, if a vandal spray paints your sign, the paint beads up on the coating and refuses to adhere to the sign. 5. Schedule regular repairs to your sign. If your sign is in a state of disrepair, it can be easier to vandalize. For example, imagine you have a sign with changeable letters that has a glass front. If the glass breaks, it makes it easier for vandals to move the letters or steal them. However, if you replace the broken glass quickly, vandalism isn’t as likely or as possible. Similarly, imagine your sign is loose on one side. That instantly makes it easier to rip free and steal, but if you schedule a...

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Owner-Operator Truck Driver? Avoid Causing Accidents By Staying Hydrated!

Posted by on Jan 4, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Owner-Operator Truck Driver? Avoid Causing Accidents By Staying Hydrated!

If you are an owner operator of a trucking business, there’s no doubt that you have insurance to cover damages and injuries from accidents. Not only is it mandated by law, but it can save your business if you cause an accident in your semi. But the best coverage of all is to do as much as possible to prevent accidents from happening in the first place. One thing that is crucial to accident prevention is to stay hydrated while on the road. According to research, dehydration has the same effects as drunk driving. Here’s what you need to know.  What Dehydration Does to Your Body  You wouldn’t drive your semi without all the fluids it needs because that would just be asking to break down. You also need fluids. Dehydration causes a reduction in your cognitive performance, which slows your reaction time and causes you to be unable to think clearly and process thoughts quickly. On the roadway, this can lead to things like failure to apply your brakes fast enough and being unable to recognize when traffic is moving slow in front of you.  Dehydration can also cause vision problems, such as dry eye and eye strain, which can result in blurred and/or double vision, and headaches. You may find yourself uncontrollably blinking your eyes repeatedly if you are dehydrated, especially in bright sunlight or when oncoming traffic has glaring headlights that shine directly into your eyes. Not being able to see properly while driving a semi is obviously detrimental to yourself and to others on the road.  When your body is dehydrated it causes the sodium level in your body to be higher than it normally should be. This is a medical condition that is called hypernatremia. When the body is high in sodium, the person is at risk of going into a seizure and/or becoming lethargic. There is also a risk of coma. Any of these symptoms of hypernatremia can, no doubt, cause an accident if they occur while you are driving.  Thirst Is A Warning Sign that You Need Water  Now that you understand why it is crucial to stay hydrated, especially while operating a semi that is difficult to bring to a stop and keep under control, it’s important to know how to determine when you are dehydrated. Feeling thirsty is one of the signs that you need to drink more water; however, your body is already dehydrated when you feel thirsty.  Instead of drinking water only when you feel thirsty, make a point to drink water throughout the day, especially when you are not thirsty. Figure out how much water you need to be hydrated or ask your physician for his or her recommendation. Keep track of how much water you drink by keeping a journal and making notes each time you finish a bottle of water. This journal can be helpful in case you ever do get into an accident and the insurance company asks if you were dehydrated.  One thing about being an owner-operator is that you get to set your own schedule, based on your clients’ needs, of course. Given that you need to stay hydrated, you’ll need to schedule in appropriate rest stops for breaks so you can use the facilities. Avoidance of drinking water and other beverages...

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Reasons To Stop Using Paper Time Cards And Spreadsheets For Tracking Employee Hours

Posted by on Dec 11, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Reasons To Stop Using Paper Time Cards And Spreadsheets For Tracking Employee Hours

When you run a small business with even just a few employees, accurately measuring total worker hours, especially time spent on billable work, is crucial to your financial success. While it may be easy to track time with paper forms or a generic spreadsheet when you have just one or two employees, as you grow you should invest in timesheet software. If you have reservations about spending funds on a time reporting program, consider more info and the following reasons why you should not hesitate in making the purchase. No More Paper and Unwieldy Spreadsheets If you require employees to fill out time cards with details about their hours worked, you have to contend with archiving paperwork or secure disposal of documents that contain sensitive employee data. Plus, the cost of paper for timesheets adds to your operating costs. In addition, if you use a generic spreadsheet program to compile work hours, you may have to find creative ways to make the spreadsheet fit your exact timekeeping needs such a creating custom macros for tracking certain types of billable tasks. If you purchase timesheet software, you can have a paperless system that will enable you to provide each employee with an account to log in and enter their overall hours as well as time spent on specific tasks. Increased Productivity Obtaining a bird’s eye view of how your employee’s spend their time and seeing what activities generate the most to your bottom line can be a tedious chore if you rely on paper timesheets or a simply formatted spreadsheet for compiling data. However, you can choose from multi-platform software programs that provide instant reports that can tell you how much each employee spends on certain tasks, how many times someone has been late in a month and who generates the most billable work. When you can generate reports tailored to your needs, you can use the easy-to-read data to help increase your productivity. You can reassign workers to more productive tasks and keep track of how much of your payroll budget goes to overtime within a set time frame. The data you glean from reports can also help you schedule flex time and shifts. Less Hassle for Payroll If you dread gathering data from timesheets for hourly workers or reminding employees to get their timesheets turned in on time, you can rid yourself of these annoyances once you install a timesheet program on your office computer. Some software programs that are specifically designed for time reporting can provide you with automatic calculations of employee time that you can seamlessly export to submit to your payroll processing company or use for preparing payroll checks in-house. Features of some timesheet programs also include tools that enable you to send alerts to employees to remind them to fill out their computerized timesheets on time. This can save you time as you will not have to go around the office reminding people to submit their hours. Your workers will get paid on time and you will not have to deal with discrepancies in your weekly or bi-weekly payroll due to missing data. No Monthly Payments or Service Fee Increases for Software If you already use a time tracking tool such as a web-based program offered by a third-party, you probably have to pay...

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4 Ways To Prepare Your Plumbing For Winter

Posted by on Nov 3, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 4 Ways To Prepare Your Plumbing For Winter

With winter on its way, it’s important to make sure that you are adequately prepared for all that it brings. Namely, inclement weather, such as snow, ice, and hail. One of the biggest problems that homeowners and renters have regarding their house or apartment is how to make sure your plumbing will be protected during these cold, occasionally freezing, months. There is a list of awful things that can happen to your plumbing during this time, including everything from frozen pipes to unusable water. Luckily, this guide will help you through these problems. Included are 4 ways to prepare your plumbing for winter. Have Your Plumbing Inspected For Leaks This is perhaps the first thing you should do when it comes to preparing your plumbing for winter. Call on the services of a plumber to have your plumbing system inspected for leaks. Although leaks sound like a relatively harmless issue, if you leave this problem unchecked, you will wind up with a massive problem on your hands come winter time. Leaks can lead to frozen pipes and the eventual busting of pipes and also swelling in the joints of your drains. Pipe Insulation Pipe insulation, along with other benefits, will ensure that your pipes do not freeze during these incredibly cold months. You can pick up pipe insulation at virtually any local hardware store in your area; just make sure to call in advance if you waited until the last minute with winter rolling around the corner, as these items are quite popular. Pipes that are present in basements, attics, and garages are particularly susceptible to freezing and eventually busting as they are subject to constant cold air and, generally speaking, moisture. Pipes in all of the aforementioned areas should definitely be covered. However, pipes in other areas of your home should be covered as well, for safety’s sake. Turn Off Outdoor Appliances and Faucets Make sure that you turn off all outdoor faucets and appliances that generally use water or have water coursing throughout their innards. It may even help and be more convenient if you simply turn off the water supply to these objects throughout the entirety of winter. There are several things that you should specifically check in order to make sure that they are properly turned off, including garden hoses, cooling units, outdoor taps, sprinkler systems, and swimming pools (among other items that this list may not include). These objects should also be properly drained. Check manuals for instructions on how to properly drain each specific item. Close Garage Doors This is a simple tip that is often not mentioned when it comes to hints about how to properly prepare for winter plumbing issues. Making sure that your garage doors are closed throughout the entirety of winter can pay off in the long run and might ensure that you don’t receive any problems with your plumbing or, at the very least, contribute to you not having a problem with your plumbing. By keeping your garage doors closed during these months, you will make sure that no cold air, or at least, very little cold air, will hit the pipes that line the course of your garage. This can help to prevent your pipes from freezing and eventually busting. Your plumbing system is a fickle beast....

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Shopping For Office Furniture? 2 Desk Features You Shouldn’t Ignore

Posted by on Sep 25, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Shopping For Office Furniture? 2 Desk Features You Shouldn’t Ignore

Are you in the middle of sprucing up your office? Before you head to the furniture store to look for a desk that will blend in with your existing décor, you should consider the fact that your workstation could offer more than you might think. Here are two desk features you shouldn’t ignore, and why splurging on something a little different might be a good idea: 1: Versatility Why invest in a desk that is just a desk? These days, functionality takes precedence over looks, which is why versatile workspaces are all the rage. Instead of simply acting as a desk, look for a table that transforms into one of these furniture pieces: A Comfy Bed: Don’t let those late nights at the office dig into your sleep schedule. Some desks fold out into a stable, flat platform that you can use as a cot. By adding a few flat cushions, you can create an easy-to-use, comfortable bed anytime you need to—giving you a great place to catch a nap in the middle of your workday. Floating Shelves: If you prefer a more minimalist approach to your office décor, look for a desk that transforms into a floating shelf. These desks, which are mounted directly to the wall, are designed to look like a block of wood when they aren’t in use. However, when you need to use your laptop or pen a letter, you can easily fold up the top to expose your work area. Don’t settle for ordinary. Before you shop for a new desk for your office, take a few minutes to ponder your personal sense of style. By making your office your own, you might be able to introduce visitors to a slice of your personality, while making your space comfortable and functional. 2: Personality Believe it or not, that desk might be able to do more than transform into a sleeping surface in the middle of your workweek. Because people spend so much time sitting in their office, innovative manufacturers have developed a few incredible add-ons that you might adore. Here are a few products that might make your office the talk of the town: An Incredible Showpiece: On the other hand, you can make your desk the star of your office by shopping around for an incredible showpiece. By working with a professional woodworker, you can have a desk designed to suit your hobbies or preferences. For example, if you adore steam punk style, you might enjoy a desk made from an old pipe organ, adorned with old-world lighting and horn speakers from the turn of the century. Desk Sandboxes: Don’t settle for that tropical paradise screensaver. If you like to feel the sand between your toes, consider investing in a desk sand box. These sandboxes are essentially a shallow enclosure that your desk sits inside, which you can fill with beach sand, pebbles, or whatever you prefer. In addition to bringing a little nature into your office, your enclosure might put a little space between you and unwanted visitors. Foot Hammocks: Wouldn’t it be nice of you could throw your feet into a cuddly hammock whenever you wanted? Well, now you can. Foot hammocks can be mounted underneath your desk with industrial adhesive, giving you the option of kicking your feet up anytime....

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What To Do When A Freelance Client Owes You Money

Posted by on Sep 3, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What To Do When A Freelance Client Owes You Money

Working for yourself as a freelancer has a ton of perks: you get to set your own hours, be your own boss, and get paid for what you love. Unfortunately, freelancing also has a few downsides. One of these is that from time to time a client might pay their invoice late, or not pay it at all. Luckily, there are steps you can take to help ensure you get paid. Here are five things to do when a freelance client owes you money: Start with a Pleasant Phone Call or Email It’s natural to panic when an invoice is overdue. After all, you’re counting on that money. But overreacting to what may be an innocent oversight is not in your best interest, especially if you would like to continue working with your client in the future. Start off with a simple phone call or email. Instead of being accusatory, try saying something like “Hi, I was wondering if you received the invoice I sent over on [fill in the date]. It’s a bit overdue so I think maybe it got lost in the shuffle. Would you like me to send it again?” In most cases, this little nudge is all it will take to get your client to pay their bill. Stop the Project If this doesn’t work, it’s time to halt your project. Even if you’ve already completed it, it’s always best to wait on delivering the last bit of the final project until your client is current on their payments. Send a polite but firm email letting them know you will deliver the final project once you receive their payment. This provides you with leverage, since your client most likely needs the work they hired you to complete. Stopping work has the added benefit of preventing further financial loss, since you have no way of knowing if your client will pay you for additional work. Hire a Collections Services Company If neither of these tactics works, and it’s been more than a month or so since the invoice was due, you should consider hiring a collections services company. Professional collection agents have very effective tactics for collecting your money, and know how to do so in a way that follows all applicable laws. They will charge a fee or keep a small percentage of the money collected, but it’s better than not receiving any of your money. Take it to Small Claims Court If the amount of money owed is significant enough to be worth spending money on court costs, you might want to consider filing a lawsuit in small claims court. It’s sometimes best to hire a collections agency or attorney to do this for you, since errors on the filing paperwork can result in the case being thrown out,  causing you to lose even more money since you will then be out filing costs as well as the money your client owes you. Start Billing Up-front In order to prevent similar headaches in the future, it’s important to begin billing up-front if you don’t already do so. If a new client balks at the idea of paying for work before getting to know you, you can provide samples, or charge a 50% deposit to begin work with the remainder due when the project is...

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Pet Memorialization: What To Do With The Ashes Of A Beloved Family Dog

Posted by on Aug 6, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Pet Memorialization: What To Do With The Ashes Of A Beloved Family Dog

Anyone who has owned a dog understands what an impact the death of the pet has on the household. After years of being there to greet everyone when they come home, the wagging tail, soulful eyes, and excited bark are no more. Even so, there is a way to memorialize the four-legged family member and honor the pet’s memory.  Here are some suggestions for what to do after the cremation takes place and the ashes are delivered to the family. Holding a Memorial Service If you consider your pet to be a member of the family, don’t feel alone.  According to data found in the 2012 edition of the U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook, 63.2% of owners considered their pets to be family members.  What do you do when a family member passes away?  You hold a memorial service. Before any final decision is made about the ashes, hold a service honoring the life of the family dog.  The service can be as simple as family members sitting in a circle and sharing favorite memories.  If you would like something more formal, remember that clergy in many faiths are willing to officiate at services for animals. Ask the clergy of your local house of worship if this is a possibility.  You may be surprised to learn there is actually a rite within that faith tradition that relates directly to the memorialization of family pets. An Urn for the Ashes Just as human ashes can be placed in urns, it is possible to do the same with the ashes of your beloved pet.  This approach makes it possible to keep the ashes in a place of honor in the home.  Consider an urn design that allows for an image of the pet to be sealed on the body of this final resting place. You can also opt for the addition of a plaque inscribed with the name, birth, and death dates of the animal. Remember that the urn can be passed from one generation to another, allowing the memory of the pet to remain part of the family history.  You may also consider the idea of having the urn buried with you when your time comes.  Pet lovers have been known to stipulate in their advance funeral arrangements that they wish to be cremated and have the ashes of their deceased pets mixed with their own in a common urn.  Discuss these wishes with the family in advance, so there is no confusion about what you want to happen when the time comes. If you prefer a traditional burial for yourself, find out if the cemetery where you wish to be buried allows urns containing the ashes of pets to be placed in the coffins.  With this approach, the urn of your pet can be tucked in the crook of your arm and stand as a testament to the strong bond that existed between you and your dog when both of you were alive. Spreading the Ashes in a Favorite Location Did your dog love to take a nap under the oak tree in the back yard?  Perhaps the animal would stand watch by the front gate waiting for the kids to come home from school.  Choosing to scatter the ashes in a place that was significant to the...

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3 Green Tips To Make An Upcoming Move Eco-Friendly

Posted by on Jun 12, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Green Tips To Make An Upcoming Move Eco-Friendly

If you take the time and effort to live sustainably and reduce your carbon footprint on a regular basis, you don’t want to end up throwing it all away when it’s time to move from your old home to a new home. Moving can be a pretty environmentally unfriendly activity, but you can take steps to make sure that your move is as green as possible. The trick is in finding the right boxes, making smart decisions about the things you pack, and making the most out of your moving truck. Check out a few green tips that will make your move more sustainable. Rent Your Moving Boxes Finding moving boxes is a pain. You can make it easier on yourself and on the environment by using a moving box rental service. This saves you from having to go searching for enough used boxes to facilitate your move or buying a bunch of cardboard boxes that you’ll only use once. With a box rental service, you’ll pick out what you need from a variety of sturdy, reusable plastic boxes. They’ll be delivered to your door when you need them, and you can arrange to have them picked up from your new home when you’re done – no need to throw them out or recycle them. It’s easy, it saves trees, and it will even make your move easier. Sturdy, reusable plastic boxes are easier to stack than cardboard, and they’ll protect your possessions more effectively than cardboard will. They’re also weather-proof, so your items won’t be damaged if it happens to rain on moving day. Lighten Your Load The more that you can reduce the weight of the materials you’re moving, the more fuel you’ll save when you’re driving to your new home in your moving truck. The more weight that you have in your vehicle, the more fuel you use – every extra 100 pounds in your vehicle increases your fuel costs by seven cents per gallon. Keep that number in mind when you’re deciding what to keep and what to get rid of – if you’re driving a long distance, getting rid of a few hundred pounds of unwanted items can add up to a lot of saved fuel. You can reduce weight in your moving truck by taking the opportunity to downsize while you’re packing. Get rid of old electronics, clothes that you’ve grown out of, and items that you just don’t use anymore. Instead of throwing these items away, though, help the environment and your community by donating or recycling them. Give unwanted books and magazines to your local library. See if a women’s shelter or nursing home can use your unwanted clothes or furniture. Metal and electronic devices can actually be recycled for cash, so you can earn a little money to put toward your moving expenses while doing something for the environment. Choose and Use Your Moving Truck Wisely The more fuel efficient your moving truck rental is, the less fuel you’ll use during the move and the more energy efficient your move will be. Look for a truck that has features that are designed to reduce fuel consumption, like an aerodynamic design and a fuel economy gauge. You may even be able to find a moving truck that runs on biodiesel fuel....

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