Tips for moving from an apartment to a house

Many people dream of moving out of their cramped apartments where they can hear everything their neighbors do through the paper-thin walls and into a big airy house of their own. But there are a lot of differences between living in an apartment and a house. Make sure you don’t overlook any of these differences. Here are some tips to help ensure the transition from apartment to house is fun and affordable.

Make a furniture inventory and floor plan
Take a careful inventory of all the furniture you already have and create a floor plan using it in your new house. There are many free apps and programs online which will let you do this. Houses are usually a lot bigger than apartments so chances are you will need to buy more furniture.

Don’t buy everything at once
It is tempting to go on a shopping spree to buy stuff to fill your new larger house. But, if you do this too quickly you can end up making decisions you don’t like and spending a fortune on things you will just change later. Focus on the priority rooms first. You can save the less important rooms (like guest rooms and formal dining rooms) later.

Budget for yard work
In an apartment, you didn’t have to worry about cutting the grass, pruning bushes or mulching trees. These are all things you will probably have to do after moving into a house with yard budget for lawn tools or to hire a landscaping company to do the work for you.

Familiarize yourself with neighborhood association rules
Some neighborhood associations have strange rules that you might not like. Make sure you understand these rules so you don’t get stuck paying any fines or getting on bad terms with the new neighbors.

Renovate before you move-in
It is easy to say, “I will paint when I move in,” but it is a lot harder to do any work in your new house once you’ve moved in. Get the keys early so you can paint and make any small renovations which are necessary. Otherwise you will be stuck with that ugly shag carpet and green paint.

Know where to save and where to splurge
Renovating and furnishing a house is a big expense. There are some areas where you may be able to save but other areas are worth the investment. The saying goes “I don’t have enough money to buy cheap stuff” – so don’t pay money for things you will just have to replace in a year or two.

5 reasons you should move to be closer to work

About 1.7 million Americans commute more than 90 minutes to work each way and about 2.2 million workers commute 50 miles or more to work. Rather than deal with these nightmarish commutes consider these 5 reasons to move closer to work.

It could save your marriage
A research team at Umeå University in Sweden came across some findings which will be alarming to married couples: married people in whom one partner must travel more than 45 minutes to work are more likely to get divorced! If you’ve ever come home from a long commute cranky and gotten in a fight with your spouse then you know just what a toll the commute can take on your relationship!

You will save money
On average commuters spend about $818 annually just on fuel to get to work. That doesn’t include all of the costs which go into buying a car maintaining it paying for insurance and other commuting expenses. If you move close to work you might be able to get rid of your car altogether or get rid of one of your family cars. Think of everything you could do with all that money!

You waste nearly a week in commuting each year
Have you ever dreamed about taking a full week vacation to somewhere like Hawaii or Cancun? But you say that you have no time for a vacation? Well you do have the time… you just spend on the commute. The average American spends nearly a week in commuting each year!

Commuting is bad for the environment
All those cars stuck in traffic each day during rush hour are bad for the environment. Researchers calculate that commuting to work adds an extra 56 billion pounds of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

You could get in shape
If you move really close to work, you could walk there or bike. This is a lot better for your body than sitting in traffic for hours! Even if you take public transportation to work you will still walk to the transit stop which means calories burned.

Before you purge: Tips for getting rid of items for your move

Do you feel stressed and weighted down by your belongings? The reality of how much stuff you own will especially come at you full force when you are about to move. Before you start packing, you will need to get rid of items you don’t really need. We know this is easier said than done so here are some tips to help you purge before your move.

Think about it positively
Getting rid of your belongings is a big chore (and you’ve already got enough on your plate with the move!). But, instead of looking at it negatively, think of it as a positive experience. Moving is a great excuse to finally get rid of all that clutter you’ve been accumulating and start your life fresh in the new home.

Give yourself more time than you think it will take
Sorting through all of your belongings and deciding what to keep can take a lot longer than you anticipate. Don’t try to rush the process. Otherwise you might get overwhelmed by emotions and end up making decisions you regret. Tackle it one room at a time and start the process weeks in advance.

Sort items into piles
Put all of the items you want to get rid of into piles for “Trash”, “Donate” and “Sell.” This will help you stay organized so you don’t accidentally trash something of value.

Make a “decide later” pile
Not sure if you should keep an item? You don’t have to decide right away. Make a “decide later” pile for those items you aren’t sure about. Once you are done with sorting and purging, you will be in a better position to make up your mind.

List items for sale 1 month in advance
If you are going to sell items that you don’t want, you will need to do it well before moving day. Give yourself at least one month. Likewise you should hold any garage sales at least 1 month before moving.

Research charities which accept donations
Don’t just trash your items. You might not need them anymore, but your old sweaters and books could be very valuable to someone in need. Research local charities in your area. Some of these will even come pickup donations so you don’t have to haul them yourself. Ask if you can get a tax deduction for your donation too! Every little bit helps.

Getting rid of clothes
If you haven’t worn it in over 1 year, or it doesn’t fit anymore, than get rid of it! Don’t lug it around with you as a reminder that you’ve got to lose 10 pounds. When you do lose weight you can always treat yourself to a new wardrobe.

Moving truck rental problems that you didn’t foresee

Renting a moving truck and doing the move yourself can be a good way to keep moving costs low. However, it is important that you take the time to research the moving truck rental company and understand exactly what you are getting otherwise you might face these problems!

Extra fees
A rental truck seems like a good deal, until you learn that there is an extra fee for using the hand-truck, another extra fee for late return, and even more extra fees for things like fuel and “environmental” charges.

Wrong size truck
Moving trucks always look bigger than what they actually are. You might think that all of your worldly belongings will fit in the rental truck, only to find out that you need a lot more space. Tip: Choose a rental truck which has “decks” so you can utilize the room above your furniture.

Only the renter can drive
Driving a large moving truck is not an easy endeavor and accidents do occur. That is what rental insurance is for right? Well, pay attention to the fine print! Usually, the only person covered under rental insurance is the actual renter of the vehicle. If anyone else is driving, all bets are off.

Your reservation is worthless
A major rental truck company (who shall remain nameless here) settled a class action lawsuit in 2008 for failing to honor confirmed reservations. If you head over to social media and review sites, you can see that this isn’t just a problem with that company. Rental truck companies will commonly overbook. They also know that many renters don’t always return their trucks on time (moving often takes longer than you anticipate!). As a result, when you go to pick up your rental truck, it might not be there!

Rental trucks haul a huge amount of items, and they are frequently on the road. Because profit margins are so thin with rental truck companies, they often don’t put that much attention into maintaining them (and especially not into upgrading their fleet when it gets old!). Don’t be surprised if your moving rental truck breaks down on the side of the road.

Dirt and grime
Just like how not a lot of attention goes into maintaining rental trucks, not too much goes into keeping them clean. You might have to deal with all sorts of grime at the bottom of the truck (and have to pay an extra fee for furniture blankets to keep your items clean). There can also be issues like smoke smells from the full ashtray.

Tips for taking inventory before moving

Have you ever moved before? If so, then you probably remember asking yourself “where did I put that?” while unpacking, and maybe losing a lot of things somewhere along the way. To make sure you never lose anything which is important to you, it is very important to take inventory before moving. Here are some tips.

Create a moving binder
When you find out that you are moving, the first thing you will want to do is create a moving binder with all things related to the move. This is where you will keep your inventory.

Organize your home first
You will also want to start organizing your home right away after you learn that you will move. Put all items in their appropriate rooms, and start cleaning up. You will want to get rid of any items you don’t need while getting organized. The more organized you are, the easier it will be to take inventory and pack.

Create an inventory list by room
Make a separate inventory list for each room. You don’t have to write down all of the things in the room, but should make general notes about what each room contains. All inventory lists should include valuable items.

Documenting valuables
For insurance purposes, you will need to document all valuable items you have. If the item has a serial number, write this down. Also take a photograph of each valuable item. Digital photos should be stored on an external drive which you keep in your moving binder. Never keep it with your belongings on the moving truck.

Get inventory apps
There are many apps you can download for taking inventory. Not all of these are made specifically for moving, but can still be very helpful. Look for an app which allows you to print QR codes. As you pack, you use the app to assign each box a number, and will write down the contents. Then you print the QR code and put it in the box. You can just scan the QR code and will be told what is in the box.

How to choose temporary housing when moving?

You have already sold your home and need to move out, but you won’t be able to move into your new home yet. The solution is temporary housing for the transition period. There are many options for temporary housing. Here we will go over them and the factors which might make one a better choice for your situation.

Hotels and Motels
If you only need a place to stay for a few days during the moving transition, then hotels and motels are a good choice. There are no contracts to sign, no deposits, you will have room service and cleaning taken care of, and might even have a pool or gym for keeping you busy. The downside is that hotels can be pricey. Since you won’t have a kitchen, then you will have to rely on restaurants and fast food for meals.

Vacation homes
Vacation homes offer the convenience of a hotel or motel, but usually will have more space and amenities like a kitchen so you can do your own cooking. This is a better choice when you need temporary housing for a bit longer, such as a week or two. However, you may not have many options near you, especially if you aren’t moving to a touristy area.

Extended stay hotels
When you need permanent housing for about a month, then an extended stay hotel might be a good option. You have cleaning and room service, so you don’t have to worry about buying an arsenal of cleaning products and supplies with you. The downside is that extended stay hotels can be costly.

Furnished apartments and rentals
For families, this is often the best solution for temporary housing. You will have more choices closer to schools and work, and the rental will come with (almost) everything you need, so you don’t have to worry about furniture. Furnished apartments are pricier than unfurnished rentals, but they are still much more affordable than hotels.

How to pack wine glasses for a move?

Wine glasses are notoriously one of the hardest items to pack for a move. Here are some ways to pack your stemware so it will stay safe during your move.

1. Use cell boxes
This is the best way to pack wine glasses for moving. You can purchase cell boxes at packing supply stores, or you can have your moving company deliver them if you are ordering boxes. It is also possible to purchase cell dividers separately. You might even be able to get free cell boxes at wine stores.

Start by putting a bit of crumbled newspaper or packing peanuts at the bottom of each cell for extra cushioning, using tissue paper, bubble wrap, or newspaper, wrap each wine glass individually. Always start by stuffing the paper into the bowl of the wine glass. Then make sure you have carefully wrapped around the stem as this is the most fragile part. Use crumbled newspaper to fill in any gaps and close the box. Be sure to write FRAGILE on it!

Wine glasses should always be packed STEM DOWN in the moving box.

2. Make your own cell boxes
If you don’t have any cell boxes to use for your wine glasses, you can use a regular moving box and create your own “cells” out of pieces of cut cardboard.

Use a box cutter to cut strips of cardboard the same length as the box where you will put the wine glasses.

Line the bottom of the box with ample wadded-up newspaper. You will need this extra cushioning! Wrap each wine glass individually. Then place them into the box in rows. Better each row, put a piece of the cardboard you cut. The idea is to stop the wine glasses from wiggling around and bumping into each other. Fill any empty spaces with newspaper.

Always pack wine glasses separately
Never pack your wine glasses with any other items, such as mugs or vases. The fact that the wine glasses are all the same size will make it easier to fill in gaps in the box so no wiggling occurs, reducing the chances of something breaking.

Moving furniture made from particle board

We love particle board furniture because it is cheap. When you put a veneer of real wood on it, the particle board looks just like real wood, so you can get a very attractive piece of furniture for a fraction of the cost of real wood. But this cheapness comes at a price. If you move frequently, then you might want to rethink your decision to buy particle board furniture.

What is particle board?
Particle board is a type of manufactured “wood” which is made from taking wood wastes, such as sawdust and adhesive it together with glues and resins. Just because particle board is made from wood, it doesn’t mean it will have the same qualities at wood. Real wood has long, dense grains with which form strong bonds together. The saw dust and shavings which make up particle board are not dense. Because the particles are so short, they can’t even form a strong bond with each other. As a result, particle board furniture is not sturdy at all.

Should you disassemble the particle board furniture?
It is usually a good idea to disassemble furniture before moving. It saves room in the moving truck and also reduce the likelihood of doorways getting nicked when moving the furniture out or in. With particle board furniture though, you’ve got to carefully consider whether to dismantle the furniture.

There is a good reason that manufacturers always send particle board furniture in pieces. They know that the joints of the furniture are very weak. A small bang could result in the furniture joints breaking apart.

However, when you take apart particle board furniture, the screws can easily strip the holes. This means you won’t ever be able to put the furniture back together so it is completely stable.

So, what should you do? Go by these guidelines:

• If the screws have been glued in place, move the particle board furniture without taking it apart.
• If the furniture is large or not very well balanced (such as a particle board dresser), then take it apart. The joints will weaken in the moving truck.
• If the furniture is small, don’t take it apart. Move it as is.

Ways to furnish your new home for cheap

So, you’ve just moved into your first home or into a bigger home? Now you will need to furnish it! Here are some ways that you can get your new home furnished without having to spend a fortune.

Don’t furnish everything all at once
We know that you are excited about moving into your new home and want to start furnishing and decorating it right away. But don’t go overboard and start buying everything just to fill up that empty space. It is okay to have empty rooms for a while after moving it. You want to give yourself time to settle into your new home so you can figure out what furniture you really need. Focus on furnishing the key items first, like beds, a sofa, and a kitchen table with chairs.

Find a friend with a truck
Before you begin looking for free or cheap furniture, you will need to figure out a way to bring it home. Otherwise you can end up spending a lot of money on moving services to bring over the free sofa you found. Start sucking up to your friends and neighbors with trucks.

Scour freebie websites
Before buying anything, look online to see what freebies you can find. Some good starting places to look for free or dirt cheap furniture is Craigslist and Free cycle.

Don’t be shy about dumpster diving
Okay, you probably don’t want to dive right into the dumpsters, but you can find great free furniture in the trash. This is especially true if you live near a college campus. On move-out day, the students will throw away a lot of perfectly good furniture. You can also find out what day your neighborhood has curbside pickup for large items. Then take a drive and grab all the great furniture being tossed.

Visit the salvation army
The Salvation Army and other charity stores are great places to find used furniture. For upholstered furniture, you might want to rent a steam cleaning machine to make sure there aren’t any nastiest left in the furniture!

Look for Garage Sales
In the local newspaper and online, you can find ads for garage sales. Just be careful about buying a lot of junk you don’t really need. Make a wish list before hitting up the garage sales so you can focus on spending money on the things you really do need.

Think twice about particle board furniture
Particle board furniture can be very attractive and it is definitely cheaper than real wood, but you will want to think twice before you buy it. Particle board is not very sturdy. If you move frequently, the particle board furniture can easily get ruined in the move (once you take particle board furniture apart, it is hard to get it back together again). It is better to pay more now for real wood furniture but have it last a lifetime.

Insurance requirements for moving companies

Before you hire a moving company, you should make sure you clearly understand the insurance which the moving company offers. Don’t ever hire a moving company which is uninsured! Moving companies offer many different types of coverage but these are the minimum insurance requirements set by law.

Insurance requirements for local moves
Not all states require local movers to have insurance. So, you might find a small moving company who does weekend jobs without being licensed or insured (all licensed moving companies will have insurance).

It might seem alright to use a cheap, uninsured moving company for a small move. However, this can really backfire on you. Let’s say that the moving truck is in a serious accident with another vehicle. You not only won’t receive any compensation for your damaged belongings, but you could be held responsible for any damage to the other vehicle.

With uninsured moving companies, you might also be held responsible for any personal injuries which occur during the move, such as if one of the movers is injured. These costs can be huge. Don’t use an uninsured moving company just so you can save a few bucks on the move. It isn’t worth the risk. Check your state’s licensing requirements for moving companies and check to see if the movers are licensed in accordance with the law.

Insurance requirements for out of state moves
With local movers, insurance might not be required. However, all out-of-state moves are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). All moving companies licensed by FMCSA are required to have two types of basic insurance coverage for customers on out-of-state moves:

1. Released value protection: This moving insurance covers your belongings for a minimum of 60 cents per pound. The insurance will be included in the moving estimate given by the movers and should not be added onto the costs later.

2. Full value protection: This moving insurance will cover the full cost of any damages to items damaged or lost by the movers. Customers will have to pay extra for this moving insurance and it will not be included in the standard moving estimate. There are many items which may not be covered by full value protection and moving companies often will only offer this coverage when you have used their packing services, as they cannot cover anything they did not pack themselves.