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A Timeline of Things You Need to Do Before You Move

When you’re about to move out of your house, there are many things to think about and take care of, and on a deadline.

Two Months Before

  • Create a folder or binder for your move: This will house your receipts, estimates, checklists, and your moving inventory.
  • Sort your belongings: Go through every room of your house and figure out what should come with you, and what needs to stay or get donated. Figure out if any items will need special packing or care whilst moving them.
  • Figure out the moving situation: Research moving companies, or ask your Realtor if they have a trusted mover as one of their vendors. Get an estimate, and set up an appointment once you’ve found a mover that fits the bill. Then, make the moving appointment.
  • Organize your kids’ school records: Have them sent over to their future school.

Six Weeks to A Month Before

  • Cancel recurring charges and shipment: Check out our list here of Who to Notify When You’re Moving
  • Start acquire packing materials: You won’t have to scramble to buy and pop open all those boxes super close to time. Don’t forget tape, bubble-wrap and/or packing peanuts, permanent markers, wardrobe boxes, scissors, etc.
  • Take measurements at your new home: Especially so you’ll know if your furniture can make it through the door, and to know where you can put it.
  • Defrost the freezer: If it’s coming with you, be sure to defrost and empty it out about a day ahead of time.
  • Start eating: All of your perishable food needs to get eaten up before you move (especially if you’re moving far away.) So plan your meals around this, and even have some friends and family over for a going-away dinner.
  • Start packing: Those things that you sporadically use can be boxed up first. Think seasonal decorations, niche appliances you rarely use, off-season clothing, and more. Be sure to label what’s in each box, and which room it needs to be placed in. Next, separate valuables from the rest of the things, and take these with you on moving day.
  • Change your address: Do this about a couple weeks before your moving date so it will have a chance to go into effect.
  • If you’ll move on a workday, notify your job ahead of time.

A Few Days Before

  • Withdraw any cash you’ll need for moving day: To tip movers, order food, etc.
  • Verify the moving company is still coming at the scheduled date and time.
  • Take pictures of your electronics: It will be much easier to remember where all those cords go later on.
  • Fill a cleaning box: Once you move everything out, you’ll likely have to clean before you vacate.
  • Get utilities switched over: Confirm the day they’ll be changed over to your new house.
  • Pack a suitcase the day before: Once you move, you won’t want to dig through boxes to find your toothbrush the first night there. Pack some essential things you use daily.
  • Pack everything else up, and take inventory as you go.
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Who to Notify When You’re Moving

It may seem like a nuisance or tedious, but it is very important to notify certain people and institutions when you’re moving to a new place.

  • Family and friends: I’m sure they would love to keep in touch with you.
  • Current employer
  • Pension Plan/401K
  • Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid
  • Postal Services: You can do this online or in person.
  • Utilities: Electricity, Gas, Water, Cable/Satellite, Phone, Trash, and Internet Providers
  • Cell Phone Provider
  • Insurance Companies
  • DMV and Voter Registration (if moving to a new state)
  • Financial Institutions
  • Credit Card Companies: Including store credit card accounts
  • Government Agencies
  • The IRS: You can print out and mail in the required form.
  • Doctors, Dentist, Orthodontist, Eye Doctor, Etc.
  • Subscription Services and Clubs
  • Newspaper and Magazine Subscriptions
  • Cleaners, Maid, Lawn Care
  • Accountant, Financial Advisor
  • Lawyer
  • Your Child’s School, Doctor, Tutors, Sports Coaches, Etc.
  • Your Pet’s Veterinarian and Kennel
  • Your Alma Mater
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Signs You’re Ready to Move

There’s a lot to factor into the decision of whether you’re ready to move into a new house: expenses, needs of you and your family, and more. Here’s how to know when you are actually ready to move.

  • Financially: Of course you need to make sure you have the funds, and will in the future, to pay your desired mortgage rate, to keep up with any needed home improvements, to pay taxes, and more. If you are in fact able to afford a new houses and all these expenses that come with it, then you need to decide what size down payment you want to start out with.
  • Space-wise: Are you at your wits’ end about finding enough room for storage in your house? Have you even implemented all of the best organizational storage tricks you can find, only to remain out of room for all of your belongings? It may be time to upgrade.
  • Repairs and Upgrades: If you find yourself having to continually sink money into fixing necessary things in your house, it may be worth it more in the long run to buy another home.
  • Family Size: If you are adding to your family, or certain family members are moving out, then you may need to change the size of your abode accordingly. Also, if your kids are school-age, you might desire to move to another (better) school district, which would also add value to that house when you sell it later on.
  • Worsening area: If your current city and/or neighborhood is getting worse, like has an increasing crime rate, more foreclosures, etc., then it may be worth it in the long run to relocate now. Also, if your area has seen a steady decline in growth and popularity, you may get more money for your house if you move now as opposed to when your home will be worth less later.
  • Your vision for your current house isn’t possible: If there’s something you really, really want to add to, upgrade, or change about your house but is impossible to do, then you may be ready to move.
  • If you’ve changed how often you cook: If you started cooking less, and will continue to do so in the long run, then it may be better for you to have a smaller kitchen so that you can have more space you can use for other things. However, if you’ve started cooking more, then you may want a bigger kitchen.
  • Terrible commute: If you absolutely dread your commute to or from work every day, you may need to move so that you can be more satisfied and less stressed every day.
  • If you’ve been putting it off: Are you procrastinating moving, for whatever reason? Stop. Interest rates aren’t going to be low forever! Talk yourself out of any kind of unreasonable doubts or delays; you’re more ready to move than you think you are.
  • If your neighborhood/town doesn’t suit your needs anymore: Is your lifestyle different than the resources provided to you? You may be happier and more fulfilled elsewhere.

 

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How to Grow Succulents

There’s a reason these cool little hardy plants are having their moment. Succulents are great plants for both indoors and outdoors, and can withstand most weather conditions. They generally can live through harsh weather conditions such as droughts. However, there is a way to grow them that’s more optimal than others.

  • Be mindful when it’s too cold for them: Just because they can usually withstand freezing temperatures doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily the best thing for them. Most types of succulents do better when they are sheltered from frost. Some types can do okay in the cold when they are kept dry; too much rain can make them more susceptible to frost damage, while some types can even rot. If you can, make a temporary cover for them during harsh winter months, initially plant your succulents in planters so that you can bring them inside.
  • Think about soil type: the best kind of soil to plant succulents in is very porous soil. If you have clay as the main type of soil in your yard, then you might be better off with keeping succulents in planters. These plants also like layered soils, like potting mixes with sand or gravel underneath.
  • Watering: Since they obviously store water in their leaves, you don’t have to water succulents as often as other kinds of plants. However, if you see wrinkly leaves, then they are too dry. Before you ever water, make sure the soil is dry, as getting too much water can make succulents die.
  • Feeding: It’s not always necessary to feed succulents that are planted in a garden; however, potted plants will run out of nutrients over time, so you might want to for these.
  • Lighting: The best lighting amounts are mainly specific to each type of succulent. What can be generally said is that you don’t want too much shade or too much sun for any type of them.
  • Pests: If you have healthy succulents, pests shouldn’t be too much of a problem. There may be a few seasonal exceptions, such as mildew, but they most likely won’t be detrimental to your plants.
  • Location: Succulents usually do best when they are grouped together; even regarding varying types. You can also plant them around other breeds of plants completely, as long as they are similar in their needed conditions. However, many of these will do the best living in planters or pots.
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Why and How You Should Save Rainwater

Saving rainwater can save you money, and is a great pro-environmental choice. Here’s why:

  • Easy to store: A rain barrel easily stores fallen rainwater from your roof; connecting a downspout or rainchain to the barrel will allow water to be collected. Make sure your rain barrel is opaque so that mold can’t grow, has a screen to filter things out, and has a spigot.
  • Water, whenever: If your city has watering restrictions for certain times or days, then rejoice- now you can give your plants much-needed hydration whenever you want. Keeping a rain barrel is especially great in drought-prone areas because of this. 
  • An investment: “harvesting” rainwater saves you money over time- rain barrels and rainchains are relatively inexpensive, and you would spend more money paying for water from the tap in the long run. 
  • Better for plants & the environment: of course rainwater is better for your plants and grass- it’s all natural! It’s cleaner, and contains less minerals and salts that could potentially build up in the soil. When the water percolates through the soil it’s naturally cleaned, as compared to being dirty water that ends up running back into water systems. If more people did this, there would be less erosion, flooding, and pollutants ending up in water.
  • Decoration: not to mention rain barrels can make a cool decoration, or you can hide them if you don’t like their aesthetic.
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Where to Watch Out for Mold Growth in Your Home

Mold can be a dangerous thing- for the health of your home, but more importantly, for your family. It’s discrete, and lurks in some unsuspected places.

  • Refrigerator Drip Pans: Spills, leaks, & moisture create the perfect environment for mold to grow in
  • Under carpet & on carpet pad: Especially if those may have become wet at any time, or have had pet waste or dirt on them.
  • Wallpaper: You might not know if there’s mold behind it until after you start to remove it. If it’s older and/or peeling, the chances are even higher.
  • Dishes: Even if dishes are still a bit moist when you put them away, they have the opportunity to grow mold on them; especially if you don’t use them often.
  • Around windows that leak (sills, seals, & sashes) or wallboard: Condensation from rain is prevalent right around windows.
  • Air conditioners & units: These trap spores, dust, pollen, and dirt, and when combined with moisture, it’s simply a recipe for mold.
  • Basements that have been flooded: Basements have a way of being the perfect place to grow mold: they’re dark, damp, and usually a cooler temperature. They trap in moisture as well.
  • Chimneys: Especially if the chimney hasn’t been cleaned recently or shut fully
  • Behind walls that contain plumbing
  • Front-loading washing machines: The gasket in the door stays wet because the door is typically shut when it’s not in use.
  • Underneath sinks: Especially if there is any possibility of moisture from leaks.
  • Stacks of newspapers or boxes
  • Attic: If you see any leaks in your ceiling below the attic, the leak is most likely coming from the attic.
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Household Cleaning Tips

Regardless of your planned New Year’s resolutions, we can all agree that household cleaning is something we can all put on our to-do lists.

  • Laundry dryer sheets: wipe your baseboards with them to get rid of dust and also leave a fresh scent around your home. Soak a sheet in water overnight and use it to get stubborn food residue of dishes and pots. Clean off your soap residue with them as well.
  • Removing smells: Having a bowl full of vinegar-soaked cotton balls laying around gets rid of cooking smells. Baking soda gets rid of odors in your fridge. Open containers of coffee grounds and/or bay leaves will freshen up your shelves.  Ice cubes made of vinegar and/or lemons will revive your garbage disposal and sharpen the blades too. Closets can be freshened by having either a piece of charcoal or green tea wrapped in gauze in them.
  • Use white vinegar: to clean off hard water buildup, faucets, and inside the refrigerator. Also use in an empty dishwasher cycle to clean all the leftover residue out of it. You can sanitize your toothbrushes by soaking them in it too. Clean blinds by mixing an equal part with water, and rub the blinds with a sock soaked in this mixture.
  • Hose off your air conditioning unit. This will allow it to work better inside your house.
  • Line the bottom of your trashcans with newspaper to absorb smells and residues.
  • Aluminum foil: get stubborn food residue off of dishes with a ball of foil and some dishwashing detergent. Also, put some down on your counters before you peel produce, fish, etc. 
  • Baking soda: clean your silver with it, and also unclog drains with a mixture of it with vinegar. Also, use with a sponge to gets scuffs out of vinyl flooring. 
  • Rubber: pick up pet hair from furniture with damp rubber gloves, or with a squeegee from your carpet
  • Sliced lemons: rub on your cutting boards to remove stains. Also, microwave squeezed-out lemon juice and water in a bowl, which will loosen hardened food so that you can wipe it right off. Use a mixture of baking powder and lemon juice to get off mold and mildew. You can get rust off your silverware by soaking it in lemon juice as well. Last, use it to clean off hard water buildup.
  • Microwave damp sponges for 2-3 minutes to sanitize them.  household cleaning household cleaning household cleaning
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Check For These Potentially Needed Home Repairs

It may be easy to become overwhelmed by all of the things that could go wrong around your house. However, if you tactfully and systematically check for necessary home repairs from time to time, and stay aware of them, then your home should be in tip-top shape.

Problem:

  • Loose/Wobbly Handles or Hinges on Doors, Furniture, & Cabinets: Usually the screw just needs tightening.
  • Loose/Wobbly Toilet Paper Holder or Towel Rack
  • Squeaky Door Hinges: Squirt W-D 40 in them
  • Squeaky Floor Boards
  • Rusty Valves: Wipe them down with W-D 40
  • Blistered/Peeling Paint on Ceilings Above Showers: Start using the bathroom vents if you don’t already. Scrape off the paint and re-paint with an exterior paint

Pay Attention To:

  • Clothes Dryer Vent: Disconnect your dryer’s lint pipe from the wall and vacuum lint out of it every now and then.
  • Hoses: Check out your dishwasher, ice maker, and washer for any leaks or cracks.
  • Carbon Monoxide & Smoke Detectors: Replace the batteries in all of them at the same time of year so it’s easier to keep up with.
  • Kitchen Stove Exhaust Filter: Wash it ans get rid of the grease every so often
  • Electrical Cords: Check them out for damaged plugs or any brittleness.
  • Outlets: You’re supposed to test them fairly often, but let’s be honest, who does? Well, you can at least test them sometimes!
  • When It Rains: Look at your gutters to make sure they’re not overflowing. Check the direction of where the water is going outside (or if it’s coming inside). Check all around your house for leaks, including your basement, attic, foundation, windows, and doors.  home repairs home repairs home repairs 
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Home Maintenance Tasks to Prepare for Winter

Cold weather brings some unique problems and needs for your home. It’s important to have a checklist of at least the basic things needed to be done to your house every winter.

  • Prevent pipes from freezing: one of the biggest concerns associated with cold temperatures and winter. Click here to learn how.
  • Replace furnace filters: dirty filters hinder airflow, trap nasty bacteria and particles, and increase energy expenditure. Be sure to change them out every few months, depending on what kind you have.
  • Insulate your water heater: Most water heaters are in unheated parts of homes. So to save money and energy, wrap your water heater with an insulation blanket.
  • Find and repair drafty windows: check for this by holding a candle in front of the potential gap. If the flame flickers while the candle is held still, then it’s probably affected by a draft coming from outside. there are various ways to go about fixing gaps- insulation film, draft snakes, weatherstripping, caulking, or replacement windows.
  • Seal foundation cracks: to prevent your house from leaking heat. You can use expandable foam for those strangely-shaped crevices.
  • Inspect your chimney: especially if you plan to use your fireplace, call a professional chimney sweep. There’s a high chance for buildup in the fireplace if it’s been used at all in the past.
  • Reverse your ceiling fans: a clockwise direction pushes warm air back downward. 
  • Protect plants: if there’s a threat of snow, then protect your shrubs and plants with either burlap, or a wooden A-frame structure.
  • Trim your trees: if there’s snow or ice afoot, then branches hanging over power lines or your roof can be dangerous. Trim these to be safe rather than sorry.
  • Prevent ice dams: installing ice shields can stop these from occurring.
  • Take advantage of new thermostat technology: smart thermostats can minimize your energy bill by knowing when someone arrives home, and then setting the right temperature. 
  • Get an energy audit: to be informed of energy-saving techniques, and sneaky energy-wasters you could have missed in your home, schedule and energy audit.
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Things You Should Do When Moving Into a New House

Upon moving into a new house, you’re probably feeling excited, but you might also feel a bit nervous of things that could go wrong. You might be nervous because of the fact that you know there are things you should do, but don’t know exactly what they are for sure. Here are some of those things you might not have thought about yet:

  • Change out the locks: There may be some keys floating around out there that you don’t know about, or have forgotten. Hire a locksmith, or change them out yourself. Then you’ll know exactly who can enter your home.
  • Kick creatures out: If you have critters in your home for certain, then you can try using your own solutions to rid them. If the problem is on a larger or worse scale than what you can handle, then don’t think twice about calling in an exterminator or pest removal service.
  • Get familiar with the main water valve, HVAC and circuit breaker: These things are nice to know in case of an emergency or power outage. Check to ensure switches’ labelings are correct by tripping them, and having another person check if each light comes on. Also, test the main knob out on the water valve, and see if any water is coming out of faucets in the house. Be sure to check the cleanliness of the HVAC filter as well.
  • Look for plumbing leaks: Check the kitchen sink, your water heater, faucets for drips, and toilets to see if they’re running.
  • Steam clean your carpets: you can do this yourself by renting a steam cleaner, or by hiring a professional carpet cleaner. Do this before you move your furniture in.
  • Wipe down and sanitize surfaces, and inside drawers and cabinets: Using a non-toxic cleaner if you can, cover any and every area that can have the cleaner on it, including baseboards, windows and windowsills.
  • Child-proof and pet-proof if necessary.
  • Unpack the essentials after moving: Think through your daily routine, and the objects you use. Unpack those things first; don’t forget bedding, curtains or blinds, toiletries, the coffee-maker, etc.