Monthly Archives: February 2015

Military Moving Tips for Switching Locations Quickly and Often

Frequent moving from one home to another is stressful; you have to learn new routes to work, change health-care providers, perhaps find a new job and learn new landscapes. It doesn’t have to be so stressful if your things are organized and there are systems in place to help everything run smoothly. If you’re in a military family you’ve likely developed an appreciation for efficiency and precision. Here are some tips to help you switch locations as often as you need—to without the headache.

Preparing for the Move

Preparing for the move is important, but starting too early can force you to dig through a box looking for that one item you really need right this moment long before it comes time to actually move. Preparing mentally is a great idea and can be done in advance, but it’s best to save the actual packing for the couple of weeks before the move.

It’s nicer to set up house with clean things, so washing everything before packing it is a great idea for an easy transition. Downsizing before a move is another great idea. It’s often cheaper to replace an infrequently used item than it is to move it. If something hasn’t been used in the past year, or you won’t need it where you are going, sell it online, donate it to a charity, give it to a friend or relative or simply let it go. The moving process is too stressful to bring along un-needed items. Here’s a motto to keep in mind: the families who travel best travel light.

Learning About Your New Location

It’s a good idea to research the area well. Base housing may not be what you are looking for, so start your homework early: contact real estate agents and take a look at any rental opportunities that might be available to make your decision between all options easier when you get there. If your move would allow you to commute to work, school, and any other activities your family participates in, keep in mind that traffic patterns could be drastically different in the new location and plan accordingly.

Plastic Drawers and Totes

If the moving is frequent (every few months), consider using plastic drawers and totes to make it easier to take household items from one place to another and set things up exactly the way they were in the previous house. These storage containers can be useful for anything from clothing items and toiletries to spices and cookware, and they’ll make organizing your new home a breeze.

Inventory Systems

One time-saving idea is to simply snap a picture of each drawer, cupboard, and closet before packing to have a visual inventory for easy reference in case of an insurance claim. Keeping track of what you have is very important. Some frequent movers use color coded boxes with a swatch of red tape across all the bathroom items, blue for bedroom items, green for things that belong in the main living area, and so on. Others get more detailed still, employing a coded system to number each box and keep track of what is inside—there are even apps for smartphones that will let you print out barcodes and labels.

Moving frequently can be a real hassle, even for military families who are required to move often. It’s most important to find a system of organization you can actually stick with; a system that doesn’t get used is worse than no system at all.

10 Tricks for Furnishing Your Apartment

Whether it’s your first apartment or your fifth, the thrill of filling it with furniture and all your things never gets old. If it is your first apartment, though, you might find the prospect of purchasing everything from paper towels and dish soap to a sofa, bed and chairs a bit daunting. Although deals on furnishings aren’t hard to find, you still have to make the effort to look for them, to visit the stores, to sit on all the different couches. And all of that is without taking the unique features of your apartment into account! Here are ten tricks for finding the perfect furniture to complement your personal style and make your first apartment feel like home.

Start with the Basics

When you’re buying furniture for your new pad, start with the most obvious elements, like your sofa, your bed, and your table and chairs. These items will shape the space and give each room its purpose; once you know how each room will be used, you can decorate them accordingly. Part of this stage is figuring out what you really need: with limited space, would you prefer a formal dining area for entertaining or more space around the TV for late-night Netflix binges? Do you work from home, when a desk and storage might be a priority, or does your place become the weekend hangout spot? Focus on furniture that will help your apartment become the space you need to do what you love!

Storage space is easily accomplished with floating shelves, which can be positioned somewhere reachable on your otherwise unadorned wall space without taking up any real estate on the floor. These shelves are perfect for showcasing photos, books, vases and other things—basically, anything your bookcase can hold can also be displayed on the walls.

As space starts to run out, remember to use your corners. For example, a bean bag chair in the corner of a room will be enough space to serve as a cozy nook for reading or studying. The corner of a room is also a great place to store the television, tucked out of the way and unobtrusive when not in use. You could even place a funky chandelier or a potted plant in the corner to liven up the space.

It always helps maximize space when your furniture has multiple uses. A day bed that turns into a sofa, or an end table with a perch underneath for book storage, is a great way to make the most out of your space, for example. Together, these things provide for a more open, airy space.

It’s alright to spend a bit of extra money on the larger items, with an eye toward both function and form to help beautify your apartment, but know where to cut back. Things such as shelves can be found cheaply and without sacrificing functionality, and the arrangement you ultimately settle on goes a long way toward determining the roominess of your place.

Make the Space Your Own

Bookcases can be quite inexpensive, yet add loads of flair to your apartment. Use them to display your eclectic tastes by placing artsy objects, decorative accents and pottery on the shelves.

Mirrors, mirrors, mirrors! Not only do these make the available space appear larger, they’re also great for that last glance before dashing out the door to work in the morning. Mirrors also come in a variety of sizes and shapes and with a wide range of border decorations to fit the general theme of the room.

Add Some Color

Runners, mats and rugs are excellent ways to personalize your apartment. They also minimize the amount of dirt that tracks into the inner spaces. If you’ve got nooks and crannies in a wooden floor, cold tile or just want to give the room a pop of color, stylish rugs solve these issues completely.

In general, lighter colors tend to expand a room. Whether your walls be white, beige or eggshell, high-gloss or matte finish, opt for a lighter shade to brighten your home and take advantage of natural light. Even if you’re not allowed to paint, you can use wallpaper to add a splash of a bold color to the backs of your bookshelves, or just to one accent wall. Make sure your window curtains are the same color as the wallpaper or walls for a more coordinated, spacious feel.

Creative Ways to Bring Your Old Home with You When You Move

If you’re facing a move to a new home, you may be feeling a little—or perhaps a lot—nostalgic, particularly if you don’t want to move but have to for work or are moving with small children. It can be emotionally taxing to pick up and move, but there are ways you can bring a little piece of your old home with you. Here are some suggestions on creative ways to bring your old abode with you come moving day to make the new place feel like home.

Recreate Cherished Memories

It’s hard to leave behind the familiar sights, sounds and memories of one place and start brand new ones in another. But it’s possible to recreate some of those old memories in your new house to make you feel stable and comfortable. When there are kids involved, this becomes even more important, as they likely miss their old friends, neighborhood, school and daily routine—possibly more than you do. Let the kids pick out their own rooms if possible, giving them creative control as to what goes into decorating them. Perhaps they would like their room painted in the same colors or designs as their old one. Encourage a collection of special items to take center stage in a child’s room, such as a stamp or stuffed animal collection, favorite books or toys, or even special art. Good Housekeeping says this is an important step in helping your children feel secure in a world of chaos, as they mark their place in their new room. Hang a special photo in the room of your child and his or her friends, but don’t go overboard on the nostalgia. While it’s good to remember where you came from, kids can actually be held back from making new friends and memories when they’re confronted with images all over the house of their old lives.

Take a Beloved Item Along

Perhaps there was a gorgeous rosebush in your old yard that you just couldn’t part with. Take it with you! Replant it in a special place in your yard to begin a new life right alongside you. Did you tend a garden at your old home? Make a new one and encourage the kids to help you cultivate and harvest it. Hang artwork around the house of the places you’ve been to. If you’ve traveled a lot, you’ll have a virtual museum of artwork representing the stops you’ve made along the way in life. Simply not replacing some items of furniture, like mom and dad’s bed or an old and comfortingly familiar rocking chair, is another great way to incorporate the spirit of the old home into the new house.

Maintain a Familiar Schedule

A move can be traumatic and stressful on a family. Kids and teens won’t necessarily understand why they have to move and may feel resentful. To alleviate the stress of a new home and neighborhood, keep up the same schedule you used to have as much as possible. This includes everything from meal times and after school pickups to bedtime and wake time, but it can also mean lighting the same scented candles, placing the same small bins at the door for wallets and keys, and sitting at the same spots at the dinner table. KidsHealth says maintaining a regular schedule gives kids a sense of familiarity.

That same familiarity that is comforting to kids will also be stabilizing for you. Before you know it, your new house will stop feeling strange and new and you’ll soon be calling this new place home.