Meals On Wheels!

The Kogi Korean BBQ food truck is just one of many to be featured in Long Beach's "Lunch Truck It" program!

In case you haven’t noticed, lunch trucks have become the new craze. Nowadays, they go beyond the typical taco-influenced menu and venture into the likes of grilled cheese sandwiches, Korean barbecue, and even chocolate chip cookies! And unlike before, it doesn’t have to be 2 a.m. for one to enjoy a food truck delicatessen – most of these trucks are out and about Southern California throughout the day, seven days a week. And if you’re lucky, you’ll attend a company event – or even a wedding – where these trucks are the featured caterers!

Fortunately for Long Beach, some of the most popular food trucks will make their way into the city the first Wednesday of every month. According to www.lunchtruckit.com, food trucks such as Kogi Korean BBQ, Grilled Cheese Truck, The Greasy Wiener, Lobsta Truck, Chunk ‘N’ Chip, and many mor,e will make their way into the ZaSo Design District (off of Colorado Ave. and Anaheim St.) the first Wednesday of every month from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. A full schedule of which trucks will be featured each month can be viewed here.

So on April 4, when you and your co-workers are scrambling to decide on a lunch location, just remember the corner of Colorado and Anaheim – you’ll have truckloads of food to choose from!

8 Things You Should Never Buy Used

Mattresses are one of many items that should NEVER be purchased used!

In many cases, buying an item used is comparable to buying it new. Textbooks and video games are great examples of this as they tend to be a lot more affordable when already used, and yet remain in decent condition. But not every product is a good deal when purchased used. Some secondhand goods carry significant safety hazards, some wear down in quality after repeated use, and some are just plain gross. Here are a few to avoid, courtesy Matt Brownell of Yahoo! Finance:

• Mattresses: In New York City, a used mattress might as well be a smallpox blanket. Fear of bedbugs means that there’s virtually no secondhand mattress market to speak of, and you’re a lot more likely to see an old mattress in the back of a garbage truck than on Craigslist. While that means you can get one for super cheap, we still say it’s not worth the risk in urban areas where bedbugs are a concern. But even in the absence of the little critters, buying a used mattress is still a bad proposition.

• Couches and Upholstered Furniture: Of course, bedbugs can be found in all sorts of upholstered furniture, not just beds. That’s why we recommend buying only non-upholstered furniture because while you can wipe down a bookshelf or coffee table, cleaning an upholstered couch is a lot trickier. If there are bedbugs, dust or pet smells lurking within, you’re going to have a tough time removing them through conventional methods.

• Drop-Side Cribs: We previously recommended getting cribs and other baby furniture used for the simple reason that people will use it for just a couple  of years before putting it in their attic to gather dust. That abundance of supply means that there are a lot of people looking to sell old furniture on the cheap. But there’s one very big exception to this rule: drop-side cribs, a special kind of crib that allows you to lower the side for easy access to your child. The cribs were linked to a number of infant deaths after babies became caught between the mattress and side, and in 2010, the government formally banned their manufacture and sale in the U.S. That means you won’t find them in stores, but there’s always a chance that someone will try to sell you one of the cribs without realizing they’ve been banned. Before you buy any used items, inspect them thoroughly and confirm that they’re not a model that has been recalled.

• Bike Helmets: Bicycle helmets, in some sense, are designed to break: They absorb the impact of a hard blow to the head, and in the process they’ll usually crack but leave the cranium intact. That’s why experts say you should always throw out your bike helmet after a crash. As such, you should play it safe by never buying a used bike helmet, because even if you don’t see any cracks, there could be unseen damage from an accident you don’t know about. The good news is that they’re cheap to buy new!

• Bathing Suits: The fact that bathing suits are worn without underwear should be enough to dissuade you from buying a used one. Even if you run it through the washing machine with hot water and germicidal detergent, there’s no washing away that “ick” factor.

• Tires: In the past we’ve recommended buying a used car, but tires are another matter. Consumer Reports notes that worn-down tires are a lot less safe in wet conditions, and unless you have enough car expertise to assess the wear and tear on a set of tires, it’s best just to buy them new. And if you’re buying a used car, make sure that the mechanic you bring in to inspect it also takes a hard look at the condition of the tires.

• Shoes: Much like bathing suits, shoes fall into both the “wear and tear” and “gross” categories. Indeed, multiple readers identified shoes as one of the things they would never buy used. Even if they don’t stink, you also have to deal with the fact that the soles are likely worn, they may be coming apart at the seams in ways you can’t see, and they have been “broken in” to adapt to someone else’s unique foot shape. Shoes aren’t cheap, but there’s no sense in paying for a pair of stinky shoes that are going to need to be repaired soon anyway.

• Laptops: First of all, they have moving parts: Laptops are opened and closed hundreds of times, and that constant use means a lot of unseen wear and tear over the years. Secondly, there’s a lot going on inside that can go wrong. And we’re not talking about viruses, which won’t be a concern after you wipe the hard drive and start fresh. Rather, we’re referring to the various electronic components that may be on the verge of failure. While you can open the hood to inspect a used car’s engine, it’s generally not advisable to open up a laptop (and you probably won’t know what you’re looking for anyway). Finally, consider the fact that people tend to tote their laptops everywhere they go, and that means they get jostled, bumped, spilled on, and dropped. Even if the laptop boots up when you test it out, it’s difficult to gauge what sort of abuse a computer has sustained in its travels.

We’re all looking to save a quick buck, but just make sure that you’re being smart in every purchase you make – used or not!

An Environmentally Responsible Move-Out List

Moving? Make sure you dispose of unwanted items in a matter that is environmentally friendly.

There’s no if’s, and’s or but’s about it – moving is a daunting task. Beyond finding a place to move to – and recruiting people to help you do so – is the never-ending task of having to sort through all of your belongings and pack. Although time consuming, this step in the moving process can actually be pretty beneficial: 1. You get to clean out your things and decide what it is you really use and need, versus what’s just collecting dust, and 2. The more you sort, the less you have to actually pack. But what happens to the pile of items that you no longer need or use? Donate them? Trash them? Burn them? (Just kidding, that’s not safe!). Here’s a list of how to properly dispose certain items – of course, in an environmentally responsible way:

1. Televisions – Months ago, Best Buy announced that it’s dropping the $10 fee for recycling old TVs. Televisions and other electronic waste can’t be tossed in landfills, but not all e-waste recycling is actually environmentally safe. Some e-waste is shipped to developing countries where impoverished people break down and sort it without any environmental or personal safeguards, so it’s relieving to know that companies such as Best Buy make sure to recycle it properly.

2. Tires – Televisions, tires, and mattresses all seem to be commonly dumped items in parks, alleys and on curbs. It’s no wonder: No matter where you live, these items usually cost a few bucks to properly dispose of them. The upside is that used tires can still be very useful. They may lose their treads, but they are nothing if not endurable, which makes them excellent candidates for reuse in basketball courts, shoes and even as new tires.

3. Toxic Household Chemicals – Most homes contain something that the state or federal government considers toxic. These items – for obvious reasons – can’t be thrown away in the normal trash or flushed down the drain. Check local regulations to see which items are considered toxic in your area. Your state or local municipality website can direct you to recycling locations.

4. Mattresses – Despite the fact that thousands of old mattresses get dumped in landfills every year, there are still very few recycling facilities available for this ubiquitous behemoth. If you have an unwanted mattress, first research local regulations about donations or disposal. Research 1800RECYCLING or EARTH911 to find out if you are lucky enough to have a recycling option near you.

5. Household Goods – From silverware and bedding, to books and clothing, used household goods that are still in good working condition can go on to live another lifetime with someone else. Box us reusable items and deliver to a local charity. Or, if you have larger items like a dresser, table or sofa, request a pickup. These types of donations are often tax deductible, so be sure to ask for a receipt.

Finally, Once you’ve moved into a new place, break down your boxes and put them out for the next recycling pickup. Or, of the boxes are still in good shape, they can be offered on Craigslist to save a stranger the trouble of collecting their own.

If you or anyone you know are looking to move, be sure to visit our website – www.MyRentalList.com – for a FREE vacancy list!