14 Items That Will Make Moving Day Go Smoothly

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For first-time home buyers and seasoned homeowners alike, moving day is a major drag. Sure, it’s exciting to start the next chapter of your life in a brand-new place, but the process of moving is often a grueling, exhausting ordeal. Aside from having to sort through literally everything you own, you also have to deal with the physical side of moving: packing boxes, lifting furniture, and deep-cleaning your house.

So to make moving day as pain-free as possible, you’ll want to have specific household items at the ready.

“Move-in day can be pretty nerve-wracking; there’s a lot to do,” says Paul Travaglini, a real estate agent at Century 21 Seaport in Winthrop, MA. “My advice is to try to take it slow, and to make sure you have some necessities handy.”

We spoke with experts and rounded out the ultimate checklist of things you’ll appreciate having on moving day. These items will help you get settled sooner and ultimately make a smooth transition into your new home.

1. Bottled water and food

You are likely be starving after hours of cleaning and moving, and won’t want to make a trip to the supermarket. Have some water bottles on hand, and get easy-to-make food, such as pasta and sauce, for the first couple of days, while you settle into your new home.

2. Boxcutter

3. Cleaning supplies

You’ll want to give your house a good scrubbing before you move in. “Don’t forget paper towels and other cleaning supplies in case the house is dusty,” says Travaglini. Bring your supplies from your old home, or head to the store and buy soap, floor cleaner, sponges, a mop, bucket, window cleaners, a vacuum, bathroom cleaner, and a toilet scrubber.

4. Closet hangers

You’ve made sure your new home is spotless. Now make sure your clothes aren’t wrinkled. (You’ll thank us for this one.)

5. Cooler with ice

This is a good idea if the previous owner didn’t leave a fridge, and yours hasn’t arrived yet.

6. Furniture sliders

Even if you have movers, you may want furniture sliders, the little things that go under the legs of chairs and couches and allow you to slide them easily without scratching your floor. You can pick them up at any hardware store.

7. New front-door lock

That ceremonious moment when you’re handed the keys to your new home is exciting. But you can’t be sure who else has a pair. Plan ahead and buy a new front-door lock, and set an appointment with a locksmith to change the locks or rekey the doors. You can have them come by on move-in day or shortly after.

8. Lamps

Don’t spend your first night in your new house in the dark! Pack up all the lamps and light fixtures you’re planning to keep from your previous home and have them readily available. “Some rooms don’t have overhead lighting, so lamps will be very helpful,” says Rita Patriarca, a real estate agent at Re/Max Encore in Wilmington, MA.

9. Lightbulbs and batteries

These are other items you can usually buy in bulk. Most large retail and hardware stores carry bulbs in various wattage and shapes.

10. Toiletries

Personal hygiene might be the last thing on your mind on move-in day, but make sure you have soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, and anything else you need. Moving day is a sweaty experience, and you’ll need a shower when you’re done. Plus, your new home will attract neighbors and friends. You’ll want to smell and look nice. Right?

11. Trash can and trash bags

If you plan to keep your trash barrel outside of a cabinet and you have a pet, it’s a good idea to get one with a secure top. You don’t want Fido or Tabby getting into the trash.

12. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

You never want to go a day living in a house without property smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Check the house on move-in day to make sure you have enough detectors. Test each one to make sure the batteries are working.

13. Sticky notes

Mark down where you want things. It’s a good idea to label where you want your furniture, TV, dining-room table, etc. You can do this by writing on a sticky note and leaving it where you want the items located. This will help the movers know where to put everything.

14. Your favorite beverage

Whether you prefer champagne, Dr. Pepper, or Maker’s Mark, get yourself your favorite beverage to celebrate your new home. Toast yourself, your significant other, your kids, your friends and family, and everyone else who played a part in the move. You’ve earned it.

 

Posted by Les Masterson on realtor.com

First Time Homeowner? Here’s The Move-In Checklist That Will Save You Stress

Congratulations on your new home! The process can be exciting – but also very stressful. And that’s just the process of buying a home. After the closing, you will probably find you have even more tasks to deal with.

Here’s a short homeowner move-in checklist of things you should make sure you do to smooth over the process. You’ll be surprised at how much easier this makes the moving process.

Start By Taking Time Off From Work

The first week or two in your new place will likely be a mess of repairs, phone calls, unpacking, and of course waiting. Waiting for contractors, internet and phone and cable installers, and deliveries.

Trying to work this in alongside your job is not a good idea. Remember, you just bought yourself a house. This is a big deal! And not something you will do often. Give yourself a break and take some personal or vacation days.

Do As Many Repairs And Improvements As Possible Prior To Moving In

It doesn’t matter whether you’re hiring a pro or doing it yourself. It’s much easier to work on a house when it’s empty. This is particularly true for projects that are best done when there’s no furniture in the way, like refinishing floors, plastering, or painting. I recommend using HomeZada to plan and manage your remodeling projects to prevent them from going over budget.

You should probably do basic tasks like using a multimeter to check the whole electrical system to find out if it needs a repair project. And we would strongly recommend removing the new paint smell before the move. In new construction, new paint can especially can be a bit much.

Set Up Utilities And Change Your Address

To begin with, let the post office know you’ve moved, so that they can start forwarding mail to your new home. Try to start updating your address on all your key bank and workplace benefits accounts, your credit cards, your health and car insurance. Next update your information on your memberships and magazine subscriptions.

At the same time, call the electric and gas companies to let them know you’ve moved. Most will just transfer over your account to the new address.  If you are moving in the same neighborhood or service area, you need to also do the same with your internet or cable provider. If you’re moving outside your region, you’ll want to investigate the local options and call them to set up service when you get settled.

Clean Up (Or Hire Someone)

Before the furniture shows up and you start unpacking, it’s time to clean like crazy. Ideally, you’d hire a house cleaner who can do a one-off deep clean of the house.

You don’t need to be obsessed about cleanliness to see how difficult it is to live in someone else’s mess. This means wash and vacuum carpets (if need be, rent a carpet cleaner or hire out), mop and sweep the floors, bleach the bathroom, clean the bathtub, clean the oven and fridge and sinks, and wipe off all the closets, shelves, drawers, and cabinets.

Have The Locks Changed

Even if you trust the last owner, it’s impossible to say how many house key copies are floating around or who might have them. A new set of door hardware will only cost around $50, and it’s worth the peace of mind. The hardware store will also be happy to make up a few extra copies of your new key for you to give to a trusted neighbor, friend, or relative.

Locate Your Shut-Off Valves

First, there are shut off valves to help deal with smaller, local problems. If the toilet starts overflowing, find the valve that comes out of the floor or sticks out of the wall just under or behind the toilet. If your sink starts leaking uncontrollably, there’s a shut-off under the sink. Similarly, there’s a gas shut off near the dryer or stove. Find all of these and get some familiarity with using them.

Then, and this is crucial, find the main shut-offs. These control the water and gas as it comes into your house from the street. You need to locate these so you don’t have to panic about a busted pipe that’s flooding your kitchen. Similarly, familiarize yourself with the circuit breakers. Different circuits control the electricity to different rooms or different appliances. Notice the main shut off switch is, which can turn off all power to your house in the event of an emergency.

Conclusion

Of course, there are plenty of other things you’ll need to take care of as part of your move — like going to a furniture store or throwing a housewarming party. However, this brief checklist is a good place to start for the most important things you definitely don’t want to forget.

Posted on HomeZada

 

Your New, Bigger Space: 5 Ways to Win at Upsizing Your Home

What to do with all that new space? Experts weigh in on filling it affordably and thoughtfully.

As a new generation graduates from renting to homeownership, they face plenty of uncertainties: How much homeowners insurance is enough? Is a home warranty necessary? How do you fill a 4-bedroom home with the stuff that used to be in a 1-bedroom apartment?

Transitioning from an apartment to a larger home is always tricky, but making that move — known as “upsizing” — is extra complicated for today’s young home buyers because they’re really going big.

“When Millennials do become homeowners, they leapfrog the traditional ‘starter home’ and jump into the higher end of the market by choosing larger properties with higher prices, similar to homes bought by older buyers,” states the Zillow Group Report on Consumer Housing Trends. “They pay a median price of $217,000 for a home—more than Baby Boomers, and just 11 percent less than Generation X. The Millennial median home size is 1,800 square feet, similar in size to what older generations buy.”

Many millennial home buyers move from small apartments into 1,800 square feet or more. Photo from Zillow listing.

When you upsize from an apartment into a spacious new home, opportunities abound — plenty of closet space, a yard for the dog, and extra rooms for that home office, spare bedroom, or home gym you’ve always dreamed of.

But once the moving van’s gone and the boxes are unpacked, new homeowners often face the harsh reality of upsizing: The furniture, wall hangings, and knickknacks that fit so perfectly in your small apartment occupy only a fraction of your larger home’s space. And that spare bedroom would be perfect — if only you had a spare bed.

Many new homeowners’ first instinct is to hit the discount stores and buy affordable pieces to fill the space. While budget-friendly furniture has its place, it shouldn’t make up the bulk of your new acquisitions.

There are plenty of ways to use what you already have — and optimize your spending for the things you don’t — to make your new house a cozy home.

Don’t buy things just to fill space

It’s tempting to stockpile new furniture and decorations, but it’s an effort that can easily backfire, according to Jennifer Dwyer, professional organizer and owner of Seattle-based A Logical Mess. Inevitably, the measurements are wrong, or the piece doesn’t match your existing style or decor.

“People naturally want to fill the space, but you really have to consider how you’re going to use it,” advises Dwyer. “Wait until you move in, place the furniture you have already, and assess at that point.”

Start by placing the pieces you have, then decide what to add. Photo from Zillow listing.

It’s OK to sparsely furnish the new place while you get a feel for your new home and the style you’re after. “You can tell when people just go to, say, Pottery Barn and buy what’s on the showroom floor,” says Jason Mathews, owner of Seattle interior design and home staging firm, Jason Mathews LLC.

Prioritize with a special piece

To furnish a large living room or family room, Dwyer recommends investing in a sectional couch. Like a dining room table that expands to seat more people, a sectional sofa pulls apart and goes back together depending on design preferences. And such sofas often have expansion pieces you can buy later to further fill space, adds Dwyer.

Sectional sofa components can be separated and expanded to change the room. Photo from Zillow listing.

Mathews agrees that a sofa is a good investment piece. “It’s something you’re going to use every day,” he says. Furthermore, sectionals pull apart to create more than one focal point in a room — think an L-shaped seating area and coffee table in one part of the living room, and a smaller couch and lamp in another for a cozy reading nook.

Not everything needs to be a statement piece, both Dwyer and Mathews emphasize. Once your sofa is in place, find inexpensive side chairs or perhaps an antique table to repurpose as a coffee table.

Place furniture thoughtfully

Furniture arrangement can make a big space seem smaller. Area rugs are ideal for anchoring furniture groups and making a space feel more homey.

A patterned area rug defines a space within a larger room. Photo courtesy of S+H Construction.

“The great thing about rugs is that they don’t have to be expensive — even a large rug,” Mathews says. He advises centering the rug, then placing furniture on and around it. “Even if the rest of the room is empty, you’re starting out with a cozy spot.”

Homeowners often make the mistake of pushing furniture right up against the walls. But pulling the furniture toward the center of the wall helps minimize an expansive room.

In an expansive room, arranging furniture away from the walls creates natural living areas. Photo from Zillow listing.

“Even just six inches off the wall,” advises Mathews. “It gives the room a chance to breathe a bit.”

Decorate your space

Once you’ve furnished your new home, it’s time to decorate. Items like a standing coat rack in an entryway or decorative vases in a stairwell are classic pieces that also fill space — and they don’t have to be expensive.

“I’m a big fan of T.J. Maxx and Ross,” says Dwyer. “You can play around with ideas, and if they don’t work out, you’re not out a ton of money.”

A few well-chosen decorations give a room a personal touch. Photo from Zillow listing.

Give extra rooms purpose

Empty rooms hold such promise: Will you have a home office? An extra bedroom for visiting families? A place for a treadmill, weight set, and stationary bike?

It’s OK to take some time to think it over — just shut the door if the emptiness bothers you. But whatever you do, don’t use that extra space as a storage room, warns Dwyer, or it will never become anything else.

“Find a home for everything, and don’t leave those boxes lying around,” she says. “If you don’t know where to put it, you probably don’t need it in your new home.”

Posted by Sheila Cain on Zillow

9 Necessary Things To Do Before You Move Into Your New Home

Yes, you could paint the walls before you move in. But should you?

Plan a party right away, plus more expert tips that might surprise you.

You’ve signed and initialed on all the dotted lines. The house is yours — no more landlords or leases. Enjoy it. Revel in it. Even spend a night in your new, empty home on an air mattress with a box of pizza before things start to get real (it’s a memory you might appreciate down the road). But when the house honeymoon’s over, there’s work to be done, and certain things belong on a “the sooner the better” list. These nine expert tips offering guidance on what to do before you move into your new home just might surprise you.

1. “Borrow” your real estate agent’s contacts

Who needs friend recommendations when you can use your trusted real estate agent’s list? Most agents have plumbers, electricians, and more that they recommend regularly. “Ask your Realtor for a list of preferred providers so you have it handy in the future when you need something,” suggests Megan Shook, a real estate agent with Mosaic Community Lifestyle Realty in Asheville, NC. “It’s comforting to know you have those contacts if you need them in a hurry.”

2. Wait to paint the walls

Living in your home unpacked for a little while lets you see where the light hits every room at all times of the day. So don’t rush to paint the walls before your things are in place, even if that seems easiest. You may end up choosing colors you don’t love — and then you’ll have to paint again.

The type of light bulbs you use also impacts the paint color, says interior designer Barbara Anderson of Preferred Designs in Rehoboth Beach, DE. “The popular Edison bulbs will change the color hue,” she says. When Anderson meets with a client, she places the paint sample in all four corners of the room. She looks at it in natural light, then blocks the light. But while the walls can wait, your ceilings are another, messier matter. Anderson suggests painting the ceilings before bringing in the boxes and furniture.

3. Add a UV film on your windows

Before you drill any holes or plan where you’ll hang your art, find out where the sun is strongest in your new home. “Sunlight can damage works on canvas and paper over time and fade colors,” advises artist Steven Seinberg. He recommends adding a UV film on your windows. You won’t notice it’s there, but it will offer some protection for your precious artwork and furniture.

4. Plan a party

Scheduling a housewarming party two to four weeks after you move in gives you an incentive — and a deadline — to get all those boxes unpacked. Once the invites are out there, you’re committed. It’s the homeowner’s equivalent of telling a friend you’ll meet her for a Pilates class. In many aspects of life, accountability is key. And if the result is a party in your newly organized house? All the better.

5. Do a doggie meet-and-greet

Before you move in, walk Fido around the neighborhood. It’s a good chance to meet your new neighbors and introduce Fido to his new surroundings. Since your neighbors will then know your doggie by name — and where he lives — they’ll know whom to call if he ever gets out of your yard. (Moving-day pet escapes are all too common!) Consider also handing them a business card with your contact info on one side and your pet’s name on the back. They also might be more forgiving of any early morning yapping if they’ve seen how sweet he is up close.

6. Keep every receipt

Make a folder, get a notebook, and keep receipts for everything. You might be surprised at what’s tax-deductible. Claiming the space for your home office isn’t big news, but don’t forget all the pieces that go with the home office. “Whether that’s an alarm, maid service, cost of electricity … all of those things can be prorated to account for the home-office deduction,” says Kelly Phillips Erb, founder of Taxgirl.com. Erb also suggests looking into deductible home mortgage interest as well as the property taxes paid at closing. “I think that gets missed a lot,” she says. And definitely keep track of all those home improvements. You could get tax breaks for these down the road.

7. Get an energy audit

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save up to 30% on your energy bill by making upgrades identified in an energy audit. “Energy-efficient homes are a win-win for the owner and the environment,” says Shook. During a professional energy assessment, an auditor will identify shortcomings in your home that can be fixed to save energy and lower your bills. To find an auditor near you, ask your local electric or gas companies or search the Residential Energy Services Network directory.

8. Vet the vents

If your home is new construction, be sure to vacuum out the vents (with a hose attachment) before turning on the HVAC. Otherwise, the dust that settled in the vents could be blown out — and into your home. Owners of new-construction homes often report needing to change their air filters more frequently, and this is why. Your builder should have done this too, but it can’t hurt to make sure.

9. Start fresh in the safety department

Replace the batteries in the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors immediately. Shook suggests buying a new fire extinguisher as well. At the very least, you’re postponing the inevitable annoyance of dying batteries chirping all at once all over the house. At best, you’re saving lives. “One colleague just had a fish tank pump catch on fire last week at 5:45 a.m.,” Shook says. “Their home had minimal damage due to the detector and the extinguisher!”

 

Posted by Lindsey Grossman on Trulia

 

8 Ways To Find Healthy Neighborhoods In Your City

Neighborhoods that make it easy to go for a run or kick around a soccer ball could give your lifestyle a health boost.

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Your neighborhood could play a factor in your overall health. Here are some considerations to make during your house hunt.

From green space to traffic volume, the neighborhood in which you live could contribute to your health. Think about it: If your neighborhood lacks easily accessible areas for you to exercise, you’ll probably exercise less, at least outdoors. Just as the addition of playgrounds gives children a place to play, sidewalks, for example, can encourage you to get out and walk. And when you do spend time outside in your neighborhood, you’re more likely to get to know your neighbors, which adds to a feeling of community. So whether you’re shopping for a home for sale in Denver, CO, or Columbia, SC, here are some factors to weigh if a healthy neighborhood tops your list of must-haves.

1. Look for sidewalks and bike lanes

Being able to walk or bike for exercise or to conduct daily errands is good for you — plus, less traffic and air pollution means a healthier planet too. Even having access to public transportation can contribute to a healthy lifestyle, since there’s usually some walking to get to your bus stop or train station. “Safety and walkability to a vibrant mix of services, schools, and various modes of travel are keys,” says John Zinner, a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Fellow with the U.S. Green Building Council.

2. Don’t underestimate a lush tree canopy

New developments often produce houses that dot every “i” and cross every “t” on most people’s home wish lists. But some new neighborhoods and developments end up with a sparse tree canopy. That’s too bad, because not only do trees often enhance property values, but they can also contribute to a healthy neighborhood. “Tree canopies cool spaces,” says Cassy Aoyagi, president of FormLA Landscaping, a California sustainable-landscaping firm. A cooler lot means your HVAC system doesn’t have to work as hard in the heat of summer. Those trees can also provide shade for your outdoor pursuits. But the best part just might be that greenery in general is good for you. “Lush, green spaces have been shown to decrease stress, even mitigating symptoms of PTSD and ADHD,” Aoyagi says.

3. Look for neighborhoods with greenways, community gardens, and trails

The more access you have to nature — and nature’s bounty — the healthier you’ll probably be. “Locating a healthy neighborhood has increasingly become a must-have for many buyers,” says Danielle Schlesier, a Boston, MA, agent. “I point [buyers] toward the community parks-and-recreation website. There, they can see if there are local farmers markets, community fitness programs, greenway trail maps, and dog parks available.” Another great tool to locate your favorite healthy amenities is the Live Well layer in Trulia Maps.

4. Observe neighborhood social connections and activity level

Having a sense of security and even happiness comes with being able to socialize with your neighbors. Visit the neighborhood you’re considering at various times of day to see if people are out and about. Are neighbors chatting out front? Jogging on neighborhood streets? Out walking their dogs or playing with the kids? All of these are positive signs that a neighborhood has a thriving, active, and close-knit community.

5. Scout out parks, sports courts, and places to play

The healthiest neighborhoods offer variety and versatility when it comes to recreation and active living. In addition to nature exploration resources like trails and greenways, look for neighborhoods that offer tennis or basketball courts, playgrounds, parks, fitness centers, and pools. You may have to pay for these extra amenities through homeowners’ association (HOA) fees, membership requirements, or simply higher home prices, but the ability to easily diversify your workouts can lead to greater health and fitness.

6. Go to a neighborhood association meeting

Mark your calendar for the next meeting of the neighborhood association or HOA in the areas you’re considering. In addition to meeting your potential neighbors, you could get an inside look at neighborhood concerns (such as safety issues or traffic congestion) and find out about future construction or plans for enhancements. You’ll also get a sense of how close-knit the community is. An active, positive group of neighbors working to continually improve their neighborhood can clue you in on future healthy upgrades coming to a neighborhood. Plus, if you’re trying to narrow down your options, going to a few of these meetings could help you decide where you’ll really feel at home.

7. Consider traffic volume

Limited traffic, both in volume and speed, can contribute to a healthy neighborhood. But what makes high traffic unhealthy, exactly? Noise, for one. The more traffic there is and the faster cars travel, the noisier the environment, which can affect your sleep and stress levels. There’s that pesky little pollution issue, for another. Plus, longer commutes due to higher traffic volumes can decrease your overall quality of life. Check what your possible commute could look like using the Commute layer in Trulia Maps.

8. Check to see if healthy essentials are within walking distance

Healthy neighborhoods incorporate plenty of ways to be active, but they also have essential services nearby, such as day care centers, pharmacies, doctors’ offices, a hospital, and urgent care. Easy access to affordable, nutritious food from supermarkets or farmers markets is important too — it’s even been associated with less obesity. And give your future new neighborhood bonus points if any of these essentials are within walking distance!

 

Posted by Laura Agadoni on Trulia

 

 

Moving 101 — Be Ready For Your Big Move

Moving can be tricky, so make sure you’re well-prepared before packing up your things.

Recently found a new home? Check out moving tips & tricks offered by professionals.

Whether you recently purchased a home or signed a lease, you’ve already made it past the hard part — finding a new home. But packing up and settling into your new place isn’t going to be a walk in the park if you’re unprepared.

While moving into a new home is exciting, it’s important to be ready for what can be a perfect storm of last-minute packing, your buddy’s truck breaking down, or hidden costs from a shady moving company.

It’s easy to put off planning your big move, so to help you make this process simple and stress-free, we reached out to the professionals for the best moving tips.

Why is hiring a moving company so important?

“People move an average of once every seven years, whereas a moving company does it every day. Hiring a professional moving company means giving the physical and mental heavy lifting to practiced hands. Professional moving companies know how to properly wrap furniture, how to handle tight stairwells and door frames, and how to properly pack a truck to save the most space and keep the furniture safe during transportation.

“Moving is one of the most stressful things we go through, and hiring a moving company will help ease that stress and it will also save you time, and time is money. Hiring a moving company is also important if you want to minimize effort, maximize efficiency, and move to a new home as seamlessly as possible.

“Renting a truck and recruiting friends is an option for small, local moves but certainly not ideal for long-distance moves, large moves, or family moves. If someone doesn’t have a lot of free time and is unable to move by themselves or with the help of some friends, hiring a moving company is an absolute must.” — Angela Gonzales of Unpakt

What advice do you always give to those starting a move?

“1. Do your research. Take time to do your homework before hiring movers, and don’t be afraid to ask the questions you find most important. What does insurance coverage on your items look like? Are the movers background-checked and drug-tested? Come moving day, you’ll want to ensure you’re protected, and having the right movers can make all the difference.

“2. Book early! To guarantee you have professional movers on the day most convenient to you, we recommend booking two to four weeks in advance.

“3. Find out what your movers cannot move ahead of time. Federal laws ban moving companies from transporting any hazardous materials, including paint, ammunition, and propane, to name a few. This means items that contain gas, such as grills and lawn mowers, are also prohibited and must be moved by the customer. Other items may include food or living things such as plants. By asking ahead of time, you won’t be surprised come moving day.” — Jessy Herman of Two Men and a Truck

What are common mistakes you see people make while moving?

“The number one mistake is not being picky with your mover. That’s right. You have to research the company you are entrusting your belongings to. Check [their] license with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and reputation online as well. Do not sign incomplete paperwork and acquaint yourself with all accessorial charges [you] may incur upon delivery. For example, if movers cannot park near the entrance of your residence and have to carry belongings more than 75 feet, they will charge for that additionally.” — Manuela Irwin of The Moving Blog

What are the major differences between moving families and individuals?

“Moving families and individuals certainly changes the volume of belongings, so it’s even more important to work with a reputable mover that can ensure the safety of all items. Plus, adding children and pets into the mix means parents have even greater responsibility throughout the moving process. The last thing they’ll want to worry about is protecting their fragile belongings or treasured antiques.” — Jack Griffin, CEO and Vice Chairman of the Board at Atlas World Group Inc.

What are some stress-free ways to unpack and settle into a new home?

“1. Start packing as soon as you have your moving date to avoid the mad rush of last-minute packing. This will mitigate the risk of items being damaged or improperly sorted and labeled.

“2. Be prepared with an assortment of boxes, packing supplies, and packing tools. This will ensure everything has a proper place, and you won’t have to waste time and energy thinking about where it will go and how it will be moved.

“3. Make sure you’ve got some old boxes and bags to pack up those items you are purging so they can be swiftly lifted out and off to the secondhand store or recycling depot, or collected by a junk disposal service.

“4. Begin with your storage areas. Anything you haven’t used for a year and cannot guarantee you will need again, and items that have no sentimental value, should be the first to go.

“5. Move on to the rooms you will use infrequently prior to moving day. Box up the items to be transported to your new home, while focusing on “less is more” by setting aside those things you won’t need again.

“6. The last items you pack up prior to your move will be your everyday kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom belongings. Try to consider what may not suit your new home, or furnishings and household things you won’t have room for. These can be part of your purge.” — Anjee Gill of You Move Me

 

Posted by Sam Brannan on Trulia

Toss Or Keep? How To Downsize Efficiently

Whether you’re moving into a smaller space or just want to reclaim your space, decluttering your home is a great way to find your Zen. But it isn’t always easy.

Downsizing the detritus of life is not an overnight event, so give yourself plenty of time.

Whether you’re moving into a smaller space, moving in with a significant other, or simply want to pare down as you look for a new place, downsizing your home is not always an easy proposition. Rather than tackling the task blindly, it’s important to make a plan and execute it with intention. Use the following expert tips to learn how to downsize your belongings and declutter your home this summer.

1. Start early

Downsizing is not an overnight event. Getting rid of “stuff” is often an emotionally charged process and, if rushed, stress levels can rise like the mercury in July. Instead of trying to attack all your clutter in one weekend, plan your stuff-shedding process over the course of a few weeks. Tackle big projects room by room. As you get closer to your moving date, treat yourself to a tasty dinner out or listen to an entertaining podcast while you’re decluttering to keep up momentum. Factor in time to list and sell items of value that need a new home. But remember: Moving unwanted items to your new home is a no-no. Even if those items were expensive to acquire, holding on to them will cost you more in the long run.

2. Organize the chaos

It can be easy to drift from room to room aimlessly working on an area and flitting to the next when you hit a stumbling block. Should I keep these cake pans? I don’t bake, but they were Grandma’s. I’ll work on the hall closet instead.

Rather than creating several small messes, set goals and tackle your clutter room by room. Josh Becker, author of the New York Times best-seller The More of Less, suggests using the four-box method: trash, give away, keep, or relocate. Each item in your home needs to classified in one of the four categories and be dealt with. Set ground rules upfront to keep yourself on task — once you touch an item, you must decide its fate. If you’re unsure, place it in the give-away pile for 24 hours. If the day passes and you haven’t thought about it, then toss it.

3. Let go of guilt

If you’ve inherited items you’re keeping out of guilt, now is the time to divest yourself of the burden. “Make a list of the things you’ve inherited. Consider each one and ask if you’re enjoying this thing in your life, or if it is best to let it go,” says Brooks Palmer, a decluttering expert and author of Clutter Busting: Letting Go of What’s Holding You Back. “For most people, if they knew that you don’t care for the inherited item, they would want you to let it go.” Define clear priorities for your new space and sell or donate items that no longer fit your narrative. You will have more breathing room, and hopefully make some decent cash to offset your moving costs.

4. Eliminate multiples

Storing four huge soup pots in your 3,500-square-foot home wasn’t a big deal, but wedging just one into the kitchen of your new one-bedroom apartment is going to be a challenge. When it’s time to downsize, discarding multiples is a no-brainer. Turn a critical eye to your “keep” pile and question the necessity of each addition. Just because you’ve always had an overflowing linen closet doesn’t mean you need five sets of sheets at your new place. (Let’s be real: You probably wash and use the same set week after week anyway.) Clear out the clutter and create some space.

5. Fall in love

Invest in quality, not quantity. When you’re in downsizing mode, begin to think of your things in terms of love. Not the romantic kind, but the “if you don’t love it, then get rid of it” kind. Sell or donate those five black winter coats you bought on sale and invest in your dream coat. Not only will your closet feel roomier, but you’ll also have a smile on your face when you put on that new coat that you love.

6. Get help

When your car is sick, you take it to the mechanic; if your leg is broken, you see a doctor. If your home is overflowing with items and you’re apprehensively staring at a move-day calendar, it might be time to call in the professionals. The National Organization of Professional Organizers (NAPO) offers a set of questions to ask potential organizers. NAPO also suggests choosing a professional organizer based on personality and skill set rather than price. An organizer with a skill set that best matches your needs is most likely to deliver the greatest value by helping you achieve the results you desire in the shortest amount of time.

If you’re short on cash, consider asking a trusted, well-organized friend to help you with the process. When Shirley and Dick Wilson downsized from their three-bedroom Pleasant Hill, CA, rambler to a one-bedroom condo in San Francisco, CA, they asked their longtime friend and neighbor to help them with the process. To avoid conflict, they set some ground rules upfront. The Wilsons’ friend had absolute power to make decisions, except for three vetoes each from the Wilsons. The arrangement worked wonderfully. The couple learned how to downsize quickly — and they’re all still friends!

Posted by Robyn Woodman on Trulia