Just in time for Memorial Day, Joe tells us about his super cool grandfather.

Our Customer Service Supervisor, Joe.
Our Customer Service Supervisor, Joe.

When we have some down time in the office during our lunch hour, the office staff likes to swap stories about what they’ll be doing over the weekend, funny things that have happened to them in the past, and anecdotes about their family members.  Since Memorial Day is upon us, the conversation naturally led to the veterans we have in our lives.  While the closest veteran I have in my life is actually my fiance’s dad, who was in the Navy, our Customer Service Supervisor had so many cool stories to tell about his Army-retired grandfather.

Joe’s grandfather was in the Army during the time of WWII, but he actually wasn’t sent into Japan until just after the war concluded.  “It must have been 1945,” Joe told me, while he did the math in his head.  I asked what his grandfather did when he got there, and Joe gave me the thing that stuck out most in his mind: “I know that at some point, they were conducting a raid, and he found this giant box of Samurai swords.  He showed it to us; it’s pretty cool!”

I was super impressed hearing about his Army history, but Joe is always very humble and tried to downplay it: “He was in logistics, so he wasn’t ever in combat.”  But not being in combat definitely didn’t mean that his grandfather wasn’t tough…  Joe went on to tell us about the two times his grandfather lost fingers while doing construction work.  He lost his first finger while building his own farmhouse, and then a second one while working on Joe’s childhood home with Joe’s father.  Joe told me, “He called up to my dad saying he needed help, but then shouted back up the stairs to let him know he could just keep on working.”  Fortunately, they walked in a while later, found out what had happened, and rushed him to the hospital in time to reattach it.

What are your best memories of your veteran relatives?

Four “Evergreen” Spring Cleaning Tips

evergreen spring cleaning tips

“Spring cleaning” is something we all know we should do more often, but life always throws other priorities in the way.  Because we’re the experts in home moving, we often get questions about how to keep a home more organized or less cluttered as our customers prepare to move into their new homes.  Here are just a few creative ideas we’ve come up with that can be used to keep your house organized all year round, whether you’re moving or not!

1. Let your office organization inspire your house organization.

We’re not saying you should bring your work home with you, but sometimes you can steal the organizational techniques you’ve used in your office and let them de-clutter your house.  For example, you know those plastic filing bins you hang on your cubicle or office wall?  At work, you use the bins for inbound messages and paperwork from coworkers.  At home, you can hang some of those bins near your “mail spot” and assign each of the bins to a family member.  If it’s your turn to check the mail, you can easily sort the mail into those bins for each person who receives it.  You can also put the morning newspaper in your husband’s bin when you’re done reading it, or leave him anything else that you generally forget to show him, like the invitation to the dinner party that you guys are going to this weekend.

IMG_0782

2. Purge your closet!

Almost everyone has heard the trick about getting rid of all the clothes you haven’t worn in a year.  If you haven’t worn it in a year, you probably won’t wear it again…  You’ve outgrown that style.  But sometimes it’s hard to remember if you wore something last year, and sometimes it’s hard to fight your emotional attachments to particular clothing pieces.

Here’s a strategy for figuring out what you really wear the most often: Today, turn all of your hangers facing outward, so you have to bring the hanger below the bar to remove it from your closet.  Then, the first time you wear a pair of pants, shirt, or jacket after today, turn that hanger around.  At the beginning of next spring, you’ll be able to tell all of the clothes you haven’t worn in a year because the hangers will still be facing outward!  Those are the clothing items you have to donate.

3. Make oven-cleaning easier.

I don’t know about you, but we all dread the days that we have to scrub food stains out of the bottom of our ovens.  Then we learned this trick that will make the next time you clean the bottom of your oven the last time: After getting it squeaky clean, line the bottom of your oven with oven-safe foil or parchment paper.  Then, instead of scrubbing, you can just replace the liner each time the bottom of your oven is dirty!

4. Give your random, small objects a home.

If you can’t find your umbrella or phone at work, the first place you check is your office’s Lost and Found, right?  Why not make a Lost and Found for the random things you’re missing around the house?  Get a pretty box and designate it as the place you’ll keep extra buttons, misplaced game pieces, socks without a match, and anything else you find that you know will need to be Found later.  Then everyone in your home will have a first place to look when they’re missing something.

Any other simple Spring Cleaning tips?  Send ’em our way!

What I Learned from “Movers for Moms”

IMG_0804We just finished our Movers for Moms campaign last week, where we collected household and beauty/health Mother’s Day gift donations for the homeless moms at the Safe Haven Family Shelter.  We were able to collect about 850 items for the shelter, including hundreds of soaps, some new women’s clothing, and cozy throw blankets.  We were also able to find support with 8 other local businesses in the area who were glad to help us collect donations from the community, and who brought in their own donations as well!  This was our franchise’s first time hosting a large-scale donation, and I learned so much about donation collections, community involvement, and the Safe Haven shelter.  Here were some of my top 3 takeaways from the event:

1. Safe Haven is the coolest.

I’ve personally been involved with countless non-profit organizations that work to reduce the prevalence of homelessness, and Safe Haven is hands-down the coolest organization I’ve ever personally worked with.  I didn’t realize that they’re the only homeless shelter in Middle Tennessee that accepts whole families into their facility.  And a lot of these families haven’t been homeless forever–they just got caught in a bad family or financial situation, and need a leg up to get back to a place of stability.  Safe Haven provides financial literacy, job skills, psychological healing, and even homework help for the family members that come in, and they work to bring them into an affordable housing solution as quickly as possible.  I was super impressed by Safe Haven’s focus on self-sustainability and individual responsibility, instead of just giving a hand-out or moving the homeless to the next hoop they have to jump through to get help.

2. Everyone can help, and most want to… The question is “How?”

During March and April, I can’t even tell you how many neighborhood associations, businesses, customers, and community leaders I spoke with about our Movers for Moms event.  I don’t think I spoke with a single person who was just plain disinterested in helping homeless moms provide for their families; after all, everyone has been inspired by their (or another) mom, has known someone in extreme financial need, or has witnessed the strain of life’s problems on children and their parents.  However, a lot of people aren’t able to make a huge monetary contribution and don’t have the time to go shopping for all the household items needed by a homeless mother.  One thing I learned during Movers for Moms is that you have to be willing to work with each person and business owner you speak with to find practical ways they can help.  For example, Holiday Inn Express by the airport was able to donate a whole case of bar soaps that they already had on hand for their hotel rooms.  A realtor from the Re\Max office in East Nashville had her husband donate a bunch of Germ-X, because he works for their manufacturer.  And the Brentwood Oaks apartment manager spread the word that we can use any unused household goods or women’s clothing as gifts to the shelter.  Even the people who just went down to the local dollar store and purchased a 4-pack of toothbrushes contributed to the 850 items we were able to collect; I just had to talk with them a little further to find the best way they could contribute.

3. Word-of-mouth goes a looong way.

For the weeks leading up to Mother’s Day, I asked our Customer Service Representatives to tell their customers about the Movers for Moms campaign.  In the first week that they started talking about the event, we had two boxes full of collected household gifts from people who were moving and didn’t want to take clothing they’d never worn or furniture items they didn’t need anymore.  I also was able to get a bunch of my friends to make donations just by talking about my workday and the Mother’s Day project I was working on.  It was so easy for someone to let us know they had a bunch of extra hand soaps in their bathroom cabinet or an unopened soccer ball in their garage, and I was able to gather those donations just by telling my friends about this event that I was passionate about.

The Safe Haven staff was so excited about working with us, and we can’t wait for the next opportunity to support their families!

Meet Stephen, The Tetris King

StephenStephen is one of our Moving Supervisors, and today is his 2 year anniversary with Two Men and a Truck Nashville!  To celebrate, we’ll spend today’s whole blog post just talking about him.

Before working at Two Men Nashville, Stephen worked at a hole-in-the-wall bar and Cracker Barrel.  Looking for more steady work, Stephen came over to our team and immediately took off.  He was promoted to a Team Lead position within just four months.  When I asked him how he managed to do so well so quickly, he told me that it was his customer service experiences at the two restaurants.  He learned early how to solve difficult customer situations, and it gave him a love for problem-solving.  In fact, he’s so great at problem-solving and strategic thinking that he’s known around here as the Tetris King (a reference to his uncanny ability to maximize truck space when loading furniture into our trucks).

Stephen says that he’s stayed with Two Men Nashville for so long because he enjoys seeing the variety of types of homes when he works out in the field.  He likes traveling to different Nashville neighborhoods and seeing the wide array of furniture that people use to decorate their homes.

But even though he thinks the work is fun, Stephen is the first to admit how challenging it’s been for him to work as a mover.  He tells me about one job during his first six months here when he was “out until like, 3 am.  We had two crews working on this move, and we still didn’t get back to the office until 3:30.”

More recently, Stephen was assigned to a job that required him and his partner to move a family’s belongings into their new home while construction workers were still working all over the property.  “We had three crews and three packed trucks to unload, and it took us about twelve hours to finish the job.  And it took all six of us to move this grand piano from the 1800’s into the house…”  At this point, I interrupt him, confused, because we have a policy that we won’t move grand pianos.  He laughs, “That’s why!  We had to call the general manager to the unload site to help me move it into the house, and then the legs starting sinking into the hardwood floor.  So we had to turn it on its side and wait for the customers to get the materials necessary for the piano to stand on, and then we had to turn it back over and put the whole thing back together again.”

Happy 2 year anniversary, Stephen!

Two Men Mishaps

We’ve all had one of those ideas that seemed great in theory, but that didn’t work out very well in practice.  The best way to handle those moments is to turn them into funny stories, and we have plenty of those!  Here are some of the funniest fails we’ve had here at the office:

IMG_0698The Breaking Chains

For the safety of our customers’ belongings, and just for security purposes, our trucks used to have these big padlocks on the back so they couldn’t be opened by anyone but our personnel.  However, those locks didn’t attach directly to the doors of the truck, so they were easily misplaced.  To solve that problem, we decided to install new, state-of-the-art locks that would be permanently attached to the doors.  But when they were installed, the locksmith didn’t take the strength of our movers into account.  “When they reached up to pull the doors down, they accidentally grabbed the locks instead of the pull strap.  The chains just snapped apart in their hands,” Nick told me.  Now Nick keeps one of the broken lock chains under his desk as inspiration for all of his future planning initiatives.

‘Meet Your Movers’ Facebook Campaign

We thought it would be awesome to give our customers a personal bio of our movers so they could see the human side of the men who help them during their moves.  Our managers came up with a fun questionnaire to give to the movers in an effort to let our Facebook followers get to know them a little better.  I asked our General Manager, Nick, about the types of questions that were asked.  He gave an example of one, which asked the movers, “If you could be any person in the world, who would you want to be?”  I thought that was a fun question in theory, but “one guy said a tiger,” Nick told me.  Our Customer Service Manager, Donald, added that “another one said Betty White.”  Needless to say, the questionnaires didn’t end up on Facebook in the end.

The Fire-Juggling Mover

Our managers and move supervisors decide which movers to pair with each moving job based on the movers’ individual strengths and skill sets.  Eventually, the movers become known in the office for their strengths; Joe is great at working with new employees, Keith is known for his positivity, and Steve never leaves a square inch of the trucks empty.  But we have one former mover who isn’t remembered for his awesome work in the field…  We remember him because he always bragged about his side job: fire-juggling.  “He was a street performer,” Nick told me, “and he would juggle these lit torches outside of night clubs.”IMG_0697

Halloween 2014

One of Two Men’s organizational goals is to make all of its employees feel like a team of friends.  Part of the way that our managers accomplish that is by celebrating the holidays in the office.  Last year, we had a Secret Santa with each other for Christmas, and Nick even let the office staff dress up for Halloween.  But the Halloween plan kind of backfired.  “I was the only one who ended up dressing up,” Nick said.  Our CSR Supervisor, Joe, laughed when Nick told the story, and remembered, “He dressed up in a full muscle suit as Hulk Hogan.  It was awesome.”

At least we can laugh at ourselves!