With leases for many Lawrence renters expiring July 31, business couldn’t be better for many local home improvement stores and services.
As U-Haul trucks and unwanted couches line the streets, some local businesses are gearing up for their most chaotic — and profitable — season.
“Landlords and people wanting to move out hit us pretty hard this time of year,” said Leo Beier, employee at Cottin's Hardware & Rental. “People are repairing walls so they can move out or painting when they move into a new home. This is kind of our Christmas.”
Beier said sales typically skyrocket the last week of July through the third week of August as the rental property turnover begins and students move back into town.
“This is a college town and all of the leases expire at the same time,” said Jennifer Lutz, president of Buckingham Palace, Inc., a house-cleaning business. “Unless landlords change their lease requirements, we’ll always know to expect late July and early August to be busy.”
Lutz said her business sees an increase of about 50 percent in one-time customers in July and August. She hires 5 to 10 extra employees to clean the homes and apartments of residents wanting deep cleans to get their deposits back.
Lutz's business is booked solid through the next week, which can be frustrating for last-minute callers.
“Sometimes we have to be the bearer of bad news,” Lutz said.
For businesses such as Kring’s Interiors that offer services such as carpet installation along with products, the rush has already been noticeable.
“With the turnover, a lot of the rental units had repairs,” Kring’s sales and design consultant Sharon Martin said.
Martin said though the increase in sales is a definite plus, the repair and recarpeting frenzy adds pressure for employees.
“Summer’s naturally busier because the builders are out pouring foundations,” Martin said. “Then you add move-out to it and it can get pretty hectic.”
Businesses aren’t the only ones affected by moving season. The city's solid waste management department has additional work during the turnover time, with trashcans and curbsides overflowing with items that won’t make the move, solid waste manager Kathy Richardson said.
“When move-out season comes we see a lot of bags and bulky items outside of carts,” Richardson said. “We know and try to get a couple more trucks out there to help with pick-up during this time.”
Richardson said Lawrence motorists should keep in mind there may be more clustered traffic behind trash trucks in the upcoming weeks because takes longer to compact discarded items.
Richardson suggests that movers plan to reduce the amount of waste discarded.
Here are a few tips to help movers reduce their impact on the environment:
- When packing fragile belongings, wrap them in reusable or recyclable padding such as cloth, towels or newspaper rather than buying packing material such as Styrofoam peanuts or plastic wrap.
- Donate items you can’t take with you to local charities or host a moving sale. This will reduce the amount of waste that piles in your trash cans while also helping the community. Plenty of local social service agencies take unwanted quality belongings and put them to good use. Lawrence Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Penn House, Goodwill Industries, Social Service League, The Salvation Army, the Leo Center and others take donations regularly.
- Recycle things such as obsolete electronic equipment, cardboard boxes, paper, plastic and other materials to ease the load at the landfill. To find the recycling location nearest you, visit www.LawrenceRecycles.com.
- Carefully dispose of potentially hazardous chemicals such as paint, automotive products, cleaners and pesticides. The city of Lawrence/Douglas County Household Hazardous Waste Facility can take care of these items for you if you schedule a drop-off appointment by calling 832-3030.
- The city will pick up bulky items such as couches and appliances that are no longer useable. Schedule a time through the online form available at www.lawrenceks.org/swm or by calling 832-3032.
Richardson also reminds movers to leave city trash carts at the residence they’re moving from. Each trash cart belongs to the address where it was delivered.