All posts by MakeSpace

The Top 28 Apps + Services To Make Moving To NYC So Much Easier

Moving to New York requires a certain amount of grit, determination, and willingness to hustle.

It also really, really helps if you know what the heck you’re doing.

Enter these 28 apps and services. From insider recs on coziest coffeeshops, to allergy prescriptions shipped to your door, consider them your personal entourage. They’ll keep you fed, fresh, and looking fly.

Most importantly, they’ll keep the hustle going right in your back pocket.

Click any of the links below to jump to a specific section:
Eating and drinking
Saving those New York minutes
Exploring the city
Navigating like a local
Managing your money
Making your new apartment a home

Eating and drinking

1. Skip the grocery store with FoodKick

a screenshot of the food-delivery app, FoodKick

NYC winter advice: Avoid grocery stores right before a blizzard is about to hit. Instead, use a food delivery app like FoodKick.

This young, hip incarnation of FreshDirect makes a point of highlighting local and in-season fare. Their recommendations make meal planning easy — whether you’re facing a veritable Snowmageddon, or just too wiped to go anywhere but your option-less bodega.

Available for iOS and Android

2. Find your new favorite pour with Cups

two delicious looking coffee drinks next to the app, Cups

In the city that never sleeps, you’re gonna need a lot of caffeine.

Enter Cups, an app that allows you to discover and save $$$ in your local coffee shops. Users pay a small monthly fee, and get 15% off when patronizing participating spots.

Available for iOS and Android

3. Put the “feed” in Fido with Ollie

In NYC, practically everyone’s famous — including the dogs. Pamper your pooch like the prince he is with a subscription to Ollie.

You enter your dog’s details, your address, and boom: Customized, healthy Fido fare delivered straight to your door.

Post that brunch on the ‘gram, and watch the likes start pouring in.

4. Give yourself a Michelin star with Plated

a typical offering on the Plated app is a salmon-based dish

There are upwards of 24,000 restaurants in NYC. 24,001 if you include your kitchenette and customized boxes from Plated.

According to Time, Plated is the best meal kit currently available on the market. It’s the perfect recipe for a nice, home-cooked meal. Minimal schlepping, maximal results.

Available for iOS and Android

5. Enjoy world-class dining from your sofa with Seamless

you have the ability to track your order when using Seamless

Some days, you’re feeling creative enough to whip up a dinner masterpiece entirely from scratch.

Other days, you feel like watching others do that — preferably on The Cooking Channel, while you’re curled up on the couch with some piping hot paneer. For those lazy latter days, you’re gonna want Seamless on speed dial.

Available for iOS and Android

Saving those New York minutes

6. Never miss another party with Doodle:

a typical poll on the Doodle app asking participants when is the best date for a yoga retreat

One of the pitfalls of busy city life is that it’s so, well, busy. Free time is often an exhilarating cram of museum hopping, live shows, and restaurant pop-ups.

So when it comes to activities that entail group socializing, it’s often up to fate, right?


Meet Doodle, the answer to your “So… when’s a good time for everybody?” prayers. Gone are the back-and-forth days of group texts, here to stay are Doodle polls with multiple options for dates, locations, and even calendar integration. 

Available for iOS and Android

7. Embrace your home manager with Alfred

a list of chores your Alfred can complete for you

For the 1%, there’s a live-in butler. For the 99%, and Batman, there’s Alfred.

Up to twice a week, a carefully-vetted Alfred will swing by your Batcave to complete your chores and errands while you save Gotham.

Alfred will sort your mail, tidy up your apartment, do your grocery shopping, stock your fridge, and pick up and drop off your dry cleaning, laundry, and pharmacy items. Welcome to your home, but better.

Available for iOS

8. Get discounted tickets to the hottest shows with TodayTix

typical shows you can see through todaytix include Sleep no more and spongebob squarepants

New Yorkers tend to avoid Times Square like it’s a tourist-ridden plague.

Instead, they use TodayTix, which sells last-minute tickets (plus, tickets for select shows up to several months in advance) with minimal fuss.

No more waiting in line while being elbowed by cartoon characters in costumes or selfie-stick wielding tourists. Enroll in TodayTix’s daily mobile Lottery to snag reduced-priced seats, or test out their first-ever mobile Rush ticket program.

The best part? Tickets are generally cheaper than other, widely-advertised prices. So you can see amazing shows and make rent this month.

Available for iOS and Android

9. Forgo the pharmacy in favor of Capsule

a lineup of different features available from the Capsule app

No matter how busy and important you may be, it’s never cool to cut in line.

Skipping the line altogether, however, is a very different story.

That’s why Capsule — a smart and friendly pharmacy that will deliver your meds directly to you, and take care of your refills —  launched in all five boroughs.

Signing up is simple: Your doc e-prescribes to Capsule, or you transfer your refills using an online form. Then boom: Your prescription is delivered to you within a two-hour window.

Available for iOS and Android

10. Check off all the chores with TaskRabbit

the homepage for taskrabbit

With great moves come great headaches. Not least of which comes in the shape of assembling furniture.

You know, the furniture that’s still sleeping soundly in an unopened box. In the middle of your new living room. On wine-stained carpet.

A Tasker can take care of that for you. Fully vetted by TaskRabbit and reviewed by other customers, Taskers obliterate your to-do list by taking care of pretty much anything you can imagine.

Things like cleaning your carpet, helping you move into a new place, mounting floating shelves and TVs, getting groceries, cooking those groceries, delivering potted plants to liven up your abode, performing puppet shows, packing your MakeSpace bins, and organizing your closet on a Saturday morning.

So you can partake in every New Yorker’s favorite weekend activity instead: Brunch.

Available for iOS and Android

11. Lighten your laundry load with NextCleaners

a man rides a bike and hauls laundry in the streets of manhattan

They say you’ve got it made in New York when you have a washer and dryer in unit. Until then, there’s on-demand laundry.

Sure, you could spend your Saturday afternoon separating colors from white in your local laundromat.

But why waste your precious spare time when NextCleaners will pick up your dirty laundry, clean it with the gentlest solution on the market, and return it practically brand new right back to you?

Available for iOS and Android

12. Leave the leash in Swifto‘s hands

a screenshot of the information you can access via Swifto

Your pup is family. Swifto knows that, and will treat him accordingly.

The NYC-local startup puts you in direct contact with a vetted walker. You get real-time updates, can track the walk via the app, and get a post-walk pup pic every single time.

Their average ruff-view? Two paws up!

Available for iOS and Android

Exploring the city

13. Find out what’s happening now with Time Out NY

a screenshot of typical event ideas from time out, like ice skating and speed dating
Time Out New York

Whatever you’re in the mood for, TONY has an expert rec for where to do it.

Feel like catching a flick? They have all the latest releases, with reviews and nearby showtimes. Or maybe you want to get artsy with an exhibit. They have details, dates, and the down-low on which galleries are currently popping.

Or if you’re not sure what exactly you want to do, they have a whole list of suggestions under their “Things to Do” tab. Recent picks include cooking classes, speakeasy burlesque, and a thought-provoking lecture from a NYC-based family therapist.

Available for iOS and Android

14. Discover the hippest haunts via Cool Cousin

typical offerings on Cool Cousin include comedy shows and fun bars
Cool Cousin

There’s Yelp, and then there’s Cool Cousin.

Both offer honest reviews of what’s happening in your immediate surroundings. But only CC curates from a collection of in-the-know locals.

Whether you’re looking for a cute cafe to get your freelancing on or need to pick up some babka for your trip home, CC knows where it’s at.

And who knows? Maybe after you’ve officially made it as a New Yorker, you’ll be able to contribute as a Cool Cousin yourself.

Available for iOS

15. Navigate the city’s #1 destination with the Central Park App

a map of central park with tons of interactive features and landmarks
Central Park App

Central park is yuuuuge! And while there’s definitely something magical about stumbling upon the perfect picnic spot (and seemingly the only private nook in the entire city), it’s also great to know where you are at any given time.

Enter the Central Park app.

It has an audio guide, upcoming tours, and a tracking map with tidbits for each immediate landmark.

But its biggest selling point just may be the “Photo Ops” tab: A comprehensive list of all the best spots to take the perfect “I’m living in New York!” selfie.

Available for iOS  

Navigating like a local

16. Keep tabs on the train via Transit App

example of tracking the metro system via Transit app

With a new home comes a new commute. And when that new home is NYC, your daily ride is often accompanied by the frantic realization that you’ve literally just missed the train.

Transit, a sleek and functional transportation app that operates in over 135 cities worldwide, aims to eliminate those morning mishaps.

Its “Go” feature nudges you when it’s time to leave, and tracks your motions to make sure you’re literally up to speed. The app also piloted a crowdsourcing feature (currently operating in New York City’s MTA), which provides real-time information for other commuters down the line.

The best way to befriend your brand-new neighbors? Make their own commutes a lot easier.

Available for iOS and Android

17. Get subway updates in real time from Underway NYC

different metro lines on display via the underway app

Let’s face it: Google Maps can only get you so far.

For those times you’re stuck underground or want an alternative route, there’s Underway. Made specifically with busy New Yorkers in mind, it’s an all-in-one commute compendium.

When you tap the “Locate Me” button, a quick-view popover reveals the multiple stations closest to your location. There’s also real-time updates of allll the current situations affecting the NYC subway, so you can strategize accordingly.

Commuting in NYC isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be impossible.

Available for iOS  

18. Commute like a pro with the CitiBike App

the citibike app shows which docks have availability

When you’re stuck between a rock (train delays) and a hard place (price surging), it’s time to hop on the next best thing: CitiBike.

Get where you need to go, quickly, with the smart tech behind the city’s biggest two-wheeled convenience. You can purchase a day pass, find docks with availability, and even book your bike directly through the app.

Available for iOS and Android

19. Enjoy your shared chauffeur with Via

a via van arrives for its rider

Like a “luxury version of the bus,” Via is a communal commuting experience. The app connects multiple passengers who are headed the same way so they can share a ride in one of Via’s sleek vehicles.

Via’s mission is to re-engineer public transit, from a “regulated system of rigid routes and schedules to a fully dynamic, on-demand network.”  And it sure beats a packed L train during 6 o’clock rush hour.

Available for iOS and Android

Managing your money

20. Save money without even noticing via Digit

a text message exchange between a Digit user and the app

If “I have no idea where my money is going!” is practically your motto, then Digit is your wallet’s new lifesaver. The smart app connects to your account to analyze your spending habits — then moves money from your checking account to your Digit account.

The savings go into your Digit account, and you can withdraw whenever you need to. Like, y’know, to pay the broker’s fee on your dream NYC apartment.

Available for iOS and Android

21. Track your finances with Dollarbird

a summary of one user's expenses and income

Another service that’s totally revolutionizing the money-saving game?

Dollarbird, which turns the traditional finance format of spreadsheets on its head. Instead, you enter and categorize your income and purchases by date. So when rent-time rolls around, you won’t be totally in the dark about how much moolah you have left.

Available for iOS and Android

22. Escape when you need to with Hopper

NYC is amazing. It’s magical. It just might be the best city in the world.

But sometimes, all that greatness can get… overwhelming.

For those times, you have your secret out: Hopper.

The app tracks billions of flights at once to land you the best airfare for that last-minute, there’s-too-much-snow!, “emergency” trip to Miami.

Available for iOS and Android

Making your new apartment a home

23. Find your dream apartment through StreetEasy

typical apartment search via ipad

The road to leases is paved with questionable brokers and wild goose commutes. StreetEasy lives up to its name — by making moving much, well, easier.

Peruse and filter pads by desired amenities, target price range, and neighborhood. If you and your rescue pooch are looking into park-side accommodation, you can turn on alerts and get notified of relevant listing updates, in real time.

Available for iOS and Android

24. Never miss an IOU again, thanks to SplitWise

an IOU on display from Splitwise

All’s fair in love and war — but when it comes to splitting utilities, it’s safest to divide right down the middle.

Thank your lucky stars for SplitWise, which takes the awkwardness out of reminding your roommate he kindly owes you $18.73 for the wifi, please and thank you.

The app is designed to share bills and IOUs between housemates and friends. They send follow up email reminders, and also provide access to a running, visible tab.

Available for iOS and Android

25. Qualify for rentals with ease from TheGuarantors

homepage for the website TheGuarantors

After you’ve landed that dream apartment, there’s just one tiny snag: You have to make 40x the monthly rent. Plus, you need an immaculate credit score. Otherwise, you need a fairy godmother of a guarantor.

Meet TheGuarantors. If you earn 27 times the rent, they’ll insure you for your place. So whether you have savings overseas, are self-employed, or don’t quite make the credit cut, you can still qualify for the pad of your dreams.

26.  Sell or buy furniture in great shape from AptDeco

aptdeco's website on a black iphone

So you’ve decided the couch your apartment’s previous tenant left behind really doesn’t spark joy. But then again, neither would hauling it down three flights of stairs for a sketchy Craigslist buyer.

Enter AptDeco.

For a minor percentage of the final selling price (which they’ll even help calculate!), they’ll pick up that extra coffee table for you, un-assemble it if necessary, and then deliver it to the buyer. The only finger you’ll lift is when you give the movers a big thumbs up.

27. Make your room smile with plants from The Sill

six mini succulents lined up in a row
The Sill

Do you love pretty plants? Do you love convenience? And do you love being happy?

Then you’ll love The Sill, a direct-to-door plant delivery service whose motto is “plants make people happy.” The NY-founded shop specializes in plants of all shapes and sizes, with plenty of low-light, small-apartment-thriving varieties.

Although they ship nationwide, us New Yorkers are lucky enough to have not one but two Sill storefronts to visit. They offer a constant rotation of plant workshops, so you can get your green thumb on — and blossom in any square footage.

28. Make your life easier with MakeSpace

MakeSpace movers lifting a couch on the stairs

A little extra help for moving to New York is always welcome, and these apps and services go a long way.

Of course, MakeSpace has your back, too. Whether you want to store your bulky suitcase, summer bike, or the out-of-season clothes you don’t need right now, schedule a MakeSpace pickup (your first pickup is free!) and leave the rest to us.

We’ll grab everything from your home and transport it to our secure, temperature-controlled storage facility.

And when you take your next trip and need your suitcase or warm-weather goods, just browse your convenient online photo catalog of your stuff, click the item’s photo, and we’ll deliver it back to you.

Available for iOS

The Stress-Free Guide To Hosting Your First Dinner Party [8 Steps, With Pictures]

Your first dinner party could serve many purposes.

It might be your way to play out your fantasy of being on Chopped. Or a way to celebrate a big move to your dream city. It can be an opportunity to finally get your friends dressed up for a fancy evening in.

Or it could be a great excuse to have a party, while also seeming like an adult.

Whatever the reason, here are eight tips and tricks on how to make it happen as stress-free — or at the very least, as stress-reduced — as possible.

1. Decide who to invite and when you’re hosting

The first part of a meal is served in a casual setting
For your first dinner party, four to six guests is a good starting point. Remember, you do have to feed all of them. And since you might not be used to cooking for a large volume of people, starting small is a good idea.

(Plus, if they’re your close friends, you can probably burn the entrée and they’ll still love you.)

A dinner party is a lot more intimate than a party-party, so inviting only friends who have never could be awkward. Instead, invite people who know each other, then add one or two outsiders. Or invite a group of couples.

As for when to invite them, it’s a good idea to do it a little under a month ahead. Use a service like goHappy to figure out a date that works for everyone. Three weeks in advance is enough time for invitees to clear their schedules, but not too much time that they’ll forget about your party.  Make sure to ask for any dietary restrictions while you’re at it.

And this probably goes without saying: Fridays and Saturdays are the best nights to host. Any other night will either be close to impossible with work schedules, or a bummer because of work the next morning.

2. Get strategic with menu planning

a wooden table with provisions for preparing a meal

If the point of you hosting this shindig  is to show off your culinary skills, then the main focus should be on the, yep, food.

If it’s not? Well, you still need to serve food, but you won’t have to put as much pressure on yourself. Make some small bites, dub them tapas, and call it a day.

Cook meals you’ve tried before so you don’t have any surprises the day of. Or go for recipes that seem fancy, but are actually easy.

Get your dessert ready a couple days ahead. The Happy Foodie rounded up 18 make-ahead desserts that’ll please every level of sweet tooth.

Time the cooking of your dishes in a way that doesn’t leave you in the kitchen (and out of the fun) all night. In fact, the Barefoot Contessa advises against using any recipe that can’t be cooked ahead.

Hosting a dinner party on a budget?

The New York Times shares tips on how to throw a cheap but elegant dinner party.

3. Provide plenty of drinks

rose being poured alongside a charcuterie platter

Always wanted to learn how to pair wine with food? Now’s your chance. Check out Wine Folly’s basic wine and food pairing chart for some basic pointers.

We also recommend having beer or cider on deck, and maybe some liquor. But don’t let drinks break the bank.

Unless your liquor cabinet is already loaded with lots of options, wine is your safest bet. Liquor preferences differ, and you don’t want to get stuck buying a different kind of liquor for each attendee. That being said, you can’t go wrong with a signature cocktail.

If anyone asks what they can bring, say “alcohol.” They’ll likely pick something they like, which makes it easier for everyone.

Don’t drink and/or have friends who don’t drink?

BBC Good Food’s top 10 non-alcoholic drinks has something for everyone.

4. Prepare in advance

a cozy home that's ready for hosting
“Prep” means three things here: Food prep, apartment prep, and mental prep.

For food prep, make a list of ingredients based on your finalized menu. Give yourself enough time for two trips to the store (in case you forget something), plus one day of actual food prep.

If you’re slammed the week of, consider having groceries delivered to your house. FoodKick is a sure bet for New Yorkers.

Or ask someone to help you plan. If they go pick up supplies, you can clean the apartment, or vice versa.

Which brings us to the second part of “prep:” house prep. Take this evening as an opportunity to clean your apartment.

You don’t have to clean every room, but make sure your living space, kitchen, and bathroom are clean. Create the space you’d want to be invited to.

Last, but far from least, is mental prep. Maybe you’re stressed after a long week. Maybe you’re nervous. Or maybe you’re just plain excited. Whatever you’re feeling, take a second to become aware of it, get calm, and ground yourself.

5. Set the ambiance

a candle lit on a cozy table

A few simple spruces make all the difference. Decorate your dinner table with fresh flowers. Set a subtle mood with light-scented candles String fairy  lights across the wall or ceiling, and dim your lamps to help people relax.

And don’t forget music! Powerful small speakers are ideal, but your laptop will do in a pinch. Either way, a playlist is crucial.  Making a playlist should not be on the agenda while cooking, especially since Spotify’s Dinner Party Playlist exists. Tonight, you’re a host(ess), not a DJ.

Or invite your friend with the best music taste and give the job to them for the night.

6. Wear an apron

closeup of a woman who's wearing an apron in her kitchen
A Beautiful Mess

Because you can.

7. Be a cleaning hero

a cutting board with leftover food

Clean up right after the party. Some guests might offer help to be nice, but don’t feel like you have to accept it.

Remember: You invited them over for a dinner party, so try to take care of everything involving the food. That means prep, cooking, and clean-up.

Gather all plates, glasses, and anything else lying around and put them in the kitchen. If it’s really late, or you don’t have a dishwasher (and therefore don’t feel like staying up until 3 AM washing dishes), put everything in the sink to soak overnight.

And those candles you lit? Don’t forget to blow them out. 🙂

8. Go easy on yourself

two women enjoy a dinner party in the backyard
A Beautiful Mess

Set your own expectations low, but don’t apologize.

Yes, this could finally be your chance to assert yourself as Celebrity Chef of the Friend Group, but making yourself more nervous than necessary isn’t going to help the food come out better, or make the party go any smoother.

One last way to make things easier? Let  MakeSpace pick up and store the extra stuff that you don’t need in your home right now.

Maybe your pre-dinner party prep has reminded you of those skis you never use.  Or those blankets from your mom you forgot about, and those books you love but don’t have space for anymore.

Free Bonus: How To Store Skis — Fast (6 Simple Steps)

We’ve got you covered. We make it easy to store your stuff by supplying the storage bins, the heavy lifting, and the driving.

All you have to do is schedule a storage pickup (your first pickup is free!) pack your stuff, and leave the rest to us.

And with all the time you save from not buying boxes to pack, driving to a self-storage unit, and then heading back to it when you need something, you’ll have more time to get your dinner party Instagram-perfect.

This article was written by Hannah Van Arsdale, a freelance writer and dog person based in Portland, OR.

7 Super Convenient Services Every NYC Dog Owner Needs To Try

While some people worry New York City isn’t a good place to own a dog, that couldn’t be further from the truth. From hiking excursions to custom food delivery, NYC has every resource available to help pups and parents lead happy and healthy lives.

That being said, New Yorkers are notoriously pressed for time. So our friends at Ollie rounded up seven of the most convenient services for you and your four-legged roommate. All of them will save you plenty of New York minutes, no matter which of the five boroughs you live in.

With these seven convenient NYC dog services, you can enjoy the quality time you and your pooch have together — totally stress-free:

1. Give your pup a taste of the suite life at D Pet Hotels Chelsea

2 dogs relaxing in their posh doggy hotel room
D Pet Hotels Chelsea

Can’t relax on vacation unless you know your pup feels right at home?

We get it, and so does D Pet Hotels Chelsea.

This 10,000-square-foot luxury dog hotel boasts private chefs, door-to-door pickup, and has three dog parks designed for small, medium, and large pups.

Want to document your pooch’s designer ’do from the in-house D Boutique?

You can, with a custom-shoot from Furtograph.

After a full day of play and pampering, dogs head to their personal suites for some well-deserved rest.

Safe to say, they’ll enjoy your vacation as much as you do.

Free Bonus: How To Cat-Proof And Dog-Proof Your Home: 17 Pawesome Tips

2. Schedule a walk from wherever you are with Rover

A pet sitter kisses the dog she is walking

Whether you’re running late from a meeting, have an upcoming biz trip, or just know it’s going to be a long day at the office, Rover has you covered.

The nation’s largest network of dog people offers on-demand sitting and boarding services for all five boroughs.

Worried about leaving the leash in new hands?

Don’t be: Over 95% of Rover reviews garner a five-star rating.

You’ll be in direct contact with your walker through the app, and you’ll have access to plenty of perks. Think GPS tracking, adorable photo updates, and 24/7 support with the company.

Rover knows you’re busy. So they make it easy for you to sit, stay, and relax by offering an app that facilitates booking and payment all in one place.

3. Unleash that inner doggy diva at New York Dog Nanny

a dog gets a treatment from New York Dog Nanny
New York Dog Nanny

In New York, we all want to look our best. And with a little help from the New York Dog Nanny, your dog will glow from the inside out.

The paw parlor approaches grooming from a holistic, teeth-to-tail standpoint. They go above and beyond your typical fur-cuts (organic shampoo, naturally) and nail clipping.

They also offer many premium services — think dematting, at-home grooming, and even Reiki consultations.

The grooming pros can also create custom packages, regardless of your budget. Plus, when you bring your dog in at certain times, they offer happy hour discounts (like teeth-brushing for $10.95).

Just don’t be jealous when your pooch looks better than you do 😉

Free Bonus: How To Safely Move With Dogs And Cats: The Ultimate Guide

4. Get personalized pup meals sent straight to your door via Ollie

a dog waits for his fresh food from Ollie to be served

No time to go to the pet store, or figure out how much to feed your pup?

Ollie delivers natural human-grade food directly to your door on a regular schedule. Every meal is tailored to your dog’s age, weight, breed, activity level, and allergies.

You even get a personalized scoop to feed your pup with, so they get the right portion every time.

You knew this was coming, but we have to say it anyway: Bone appétit!

5. Get enough training to earn a dog-torate from School For The Dogs

a dog sits in a desk as though he were in school
Milla Chapell/School For The Dogs

For anyone who’s ever had to struggle with the other side of the leash when they’re walkin’ here, good news:

School For The Dogs is a training service specifically designed for New York City pups.

The East Village-based site specializes in compassionate treatment. Perfect for any furry guys suffering from fear, anxiety, reactivity, or aggression towards people or other dogs.

There’s a class waiting for you and yours, whether your canine identifies as a misfit, sidewalk psycho, or is a brand-new soul in this sprawling Gotham.

Training sessions are available individually or as a group, as well as in-home. You can also sign up for a behavior consultation as needed.

Free Bonus: 10 Pawdorable Dog Toy Storage Ideas That Will Make Your Pup Smile

6. Let MakeSpace pick up and store your bub’s seasonal goods

a dog sits on top of a MakeSpace bin

There’s no doubt your pup is the most spoiled stylish on the block. But when your studio apartment barely has room to house your own gear from season to season, chances are you don’t exactly have an entire canine-clothing closet, either.

Don’t sacrifice any furry fashion for square footage. MakeSpace instead.

Simply schedule a storage pickup (your first pickup is free), pack anything your pup doesn’t need right now (like his doggles), and leave the rest to MakeSpace.

They’ll pick up, store, and deliver your pup’s stuff back so that you have more space in your home for your favorite hobbies. Like fetch, belly rubs, and tug-o-war.

7. Allow your pooch to embark on an adventure with NYC Doggies

Heading upstate for long hikes every single weekend is definitely the dream.

But until you finally build that logwood cabin in the Hudson Valley, your pup can still get out of the concrete jungle and into the great outdoors.


With a little help from NYC Doggies.

This team of experts will get to know your dog, place her in a carefully selected group, and then whisk her off on a 5- to 7-hour hike outside of the city.

Happy pooches swap the city pavement for mountain trails. There, they spend at least three hours sniffing, splashing, and socializing, off the leash.

And because you’re waiting until you build that cabin upstate to also get your car, don’t worry about transportation. Pickup and dropoff are included.

This content is provided by Ollie, a company that delivers human-grade, tailored meals to dogs across the country. Click here to get 50% off your first box.

Building Something Bigger Than You — And Letting It Grow

When I left my first job on Wall Street to move into the startup world, I knew very little. A lot of my time was spent in conversations with others, trying to learn. I got noticed for hustle, but picked up some great advice along the way. The most prescient advice was that a good manager’s job is to bring on better people, and get out of their way. I remember reading a story about Michael Bloomberg when he spoke to managers inside his organization. He always asked, “Who is your replacement.” In the world of building something bigger than you, these types of things come up often. During a fundraise, we had to schedule flights to the west coast for MakeSpace’s leadership, and we had to put company executives on separate flights…because hey, ya never know. With that much responsibility, we had to think bigger than ourselves.

MakeSpace has grown tremendously since it was a eureka moment born of post-Sandy storage navigation. We created the category and very few people initially believed in us — somewhat ironic since so many venture dollars have now poured into the space. Mark Suster and Upfront provided a jumping off point that led to building something great. Very early in the process, I identified an amazing co-founder and my eventual replacement — Rahul Gandhi. He also became and still is one of my best friends. Rahul was the third person to hear the idea behind my then girlfriend and Mark. He left the relative comfort of his VC job to face the challenges of running a lean startup while being a father to two young children. Rahul’s kids were born extremely premature, and they got their tenacity from their dad.

I’ll never forget when we leased our first MakeSpace vehicle. We sat in the parking lot of the dealership, having just signed personal guarantees for about $40,000 in car payments. I kind of had this “Oh sh*t just got real” moment, looked at Rahul, and said “Now what do we do if this doesn’t work?” Rahul said, “We have no choice but to make this work. I won’t let this fail.” I knew he was right and we drove off the lot. For 9 months, Rahul would drive the van himself and did about 200 of the first pickups. I’ll always be grateful to him for his strength and ability to pick me up when I was down and vice versa.

Since its early days (in unbranded green Uniqlo shirts, when we took cabs to do our first pickup because we couldn’t even hail Uber at the time), MakeSpace has grown. It has many people interested in seeing it succeed: tens of thousands of customers, incredibly supportive investors, and hundreds of employees. MakeSpace is bigger than me, and it’s time for me to step aside to let it get bigger. It still has some risks to take and important chapters ahead, and Rahul is the best person to help guide those decisions. I’ve worked closely with Rahul and the board to layout my vision for the future of our product, and the MakeSpace brand is by far and away the most recognizable in our category and it will remain that way for decades to come.

I’m very proud of the past 5 years as MakeSpace’s founder and CEO. I’ve learned a ton, mostly about people. Startups are families. My proudest moments, similar to a parent, were watching our employees grow. There are many stories, but some of the highlights include: employees that met at MakeSpace and remain couples today; a team member who started in the warehouse, decided to go back to school and now is on our finance team in HQ; and one of our leaders who not only helped craft important parental leave policies that are better than every startup at our stage, but is also expecting the birth of her child any day now! There were challenges too — just like families – unexpected events can really hurt. We lost one of our colleagues and it depressed morale more than you can imagine. It’s never something you can plan for, and it takes a lot to get through. Ladidi Garba will always have a special place in my heart.

While I am no longer going to be involved with the day-to-day at MakeSpace, I remain heavily invested in seeing the company succeed. My brother remains an advisor and part-time legal counsel, and I continue to be one of the largest shareholders in MakeSpace. I’ll do whatever I can to help. For now, I’m going to take a much overdue breather. I’ll spend some time traveling, focus on more of my angel investing and scout work, and look forward to networking with people who were in the same place I was nearly a decade ago.

I’m grateful to the tens of thousands of customers, hundreds of current and past employees, and dozens of family and friends that have believed in my vision.

MakeSpace was born out of a literal (non-figurative) disaster. As life unfolds, I never really know where the twists and turns take me.

The best thing to do is wait and see.


The Boss Guide To Setting Up And Organizing Your Home Office

So you’ve decided to kiss office life goodbye and work full-time from home. Or maybe you set up a home office to pursue your new side hustle. Good for you!

Working from home gives you complete control of your schedule. And if you play your cards right, you can skip out early anytime.

But you can’t just flop onto your couch with your laptop and expect to be productive. It’s important to establish an office or workspace within your home. Without it, you’re bound to get distracted, fall behind, and pretty soon, your home won’t feel so comfortable anymore.

The good news is setting up and organizing a home office is easy. Simply follow the tips below and you’ll have an efficient, organized home office setup in no time.

Click any of the links below to jump to a specific section:
How To Find Space For A Home Office
How To Set Up A Home Office
How To Organize A Home Office

How To Find Space For A Home Office

1. Ask yourself these important questions

a woman doing work on her computer at her desk inside a home
The Merry Thought

Before you dive into any sort of redecorating, pause and consider a couple of things.

Jo Heinz, president of the Dallas design firm Staffelbach, offers a great checklist in Entrepreneur. It all boils down to asking yourself these nine questions:

  1. What will you be doing in the space?
  2. What type of work needs to be done?
  3. Will clients ever visit the space?
  4. Will colleagues visit for work?
  5. What type of materials will you store?
  6. What kind of equipment do you need?
  7. When will you be doing most of your work?
  8. Will you make conference calls?
  9. Will you ever video conference?

All of these questions will help you determine and visualize what kind of setup you require.

2. Look for windows

a macbook on a home office desk next to a window that's letting in a lot of natural light

Having a window in your home office is key for two reasons:

  1. It lets in a lot of light, which you’ll need to illuminate your files, phone, or keyboard.
  2. Natural lighting is crucial.

Think about the last time you did any work in a windowless room. It was unpleasant, right?

Having a window will keep you in a healthy, productive headspace. Just as long as you don’t spend all day staring out of it.

Free Bonus: 7 Easy Ways To Fill Your Apartment With Natural Light

3. Assess the noise level inside and outside your home

airpods are next to an iphone and a macbook air on a white home office desk

Obviously, you want to work in a relaxed environment where you can focus. So avoid the loudest part of your home.

Pick a space where your neighbors’ music, the construction down the block, or the birds chirping outside are the dullest.

And if you still need to muffle some ambient noise, take advice from Amanda Thomas, AKA the Domestic CEO, and cue up some calming background music on Spotify.

4. Carve out corners in your home

a wooden chair and small desk are a makeshift home office inside a living room

Have a spare room in your home?

Then your new office location is probably a no-brainer.

But if you have a less spacious apartment or house, you’ll need to get creative. Camp out in the corner of your living room or dining room, for example.

As home office expert Lisa Kanarek tells Mashable, rooms that you use infrequently are your best bets. Just try to make your space feel as separate and distinct as possible.

And avoid your bedroom if you can. Harvard sleep medicine experts say that working in your bedroom weakens “the mental association between your bedroom and sleep.” So unless you want mild bouts of insomnia, keep your laptop off the bed.

How To Set Up A Home Office

1. Pick a paint color that makes you feel calm and focused

2 floating shelves are storing various household items above an organized desk and office supplies
Delineate Your Dwelling

You’re about to spend a lot of time in your new home office, so it should be a place that you like walking into every day.

Pick colors that suit your taste and make you feel serene. Blue and green are naturally calming colors.

Christa O’Leary, founder of Home in Harmony Lifestyle, suggests adding an accent of red if you’re a salesperson or negotiator since that color stimulates appetite and increases heart rate. A splash of yellow amidst a sea of blue can also increase your ability to focus.

Not sure where to start?

Check out this paint 101 guide from House & Garden. Choose a scheme that works for you and then decorate the rest of the space in a matching, aesthetically pleasing way.

2. Get an ergonomic office chair

a comfy chair is pushed in underneath a wooden desk with a laptop

It’s tempting to just use your kitchen stool or couch, but we recommend investing in a dedicated ergonomic desk chair. You’re going to be sitting in it most of the day. The last thing you want is to develop back pain or poor posture from your home office.

Don’t want to spring for a brand-new chair?

Copy Amanda Thomas and upgrade a chair you already own with paint, fabric, and extra cushioning.

3. Or consider a standing desk

The health benefits of standing desks may be inconclusive, but there’s one thing science can agree on:

Sitting for too long is bad for you.

If you’re worried about chaining yourself to a desk chair all day, or if you want to save a little space, look into standing desks. Lifehacker and Wirecutter have several recommendations from Fully, UpDesk, Varidesk, and others.

4. Don’t forget an office lamp

a desk with a printer and small reading lamp

When it comes to home offices, task lighting is king.

Task lighting refers to illuminating a specific area in a way that makes it easier for you to accomplish tasks. In this case, it means lighting that best suits your workload.

Ideally, you have some natural light already streaming through your window(s). Regardless, set up additional lamps or overhead lights near your desk so you aren’t straining your eyes.

Just don’t situate the lamps too close. You don’t want a glare bouncing off your computer screen, either.

5. Position your computer properly

two computers are elevated to meet eye level

There is a right way and a wrong way to stare at your computer screen for eight hours.

As Fast Company notes, the top of your computer screen should be set at eye level or a bit below that.  That way, as you scan down text, your eyelids will naturally close a little and moisten. This prevents your eyes from tiring, which keeps you at a good work pace.

Here are a few other important tips you’ll want to follow:

Keep your feet resting on the floor, or another surface, as you work. And place your keyboard so your forearms are parallel to the floor.

6. Figure out your other hardware needs

a big open desk with shelves on each side and plenty of tools and resources

Every home office needs a computer. But depending on your line of work, you might need a lot more hardware than a simple laptop.

Sit down and take stock. Do you need a separate mouse or monitor? How about a printer? Maybe one that also scans and faxes? Or use Scanbot to scan and fax documents from your phone. Think hard about what tools you need to accomplish daily tasks.

Once you’ve narrowed it down to the essentials, go to an electronics store or shop online for your office equipment.

7. Then figure out your software needs

a closeup of a laptop with editing software

You may have found the perfect computer, printer, and keyboard, but you’re not done yet.

There are certain programs you’ll probably need to purchase and load onto your shiny new hardware.

If you do a lot of spreadsheet work and writing, you might need Microsoft Office.  Or you could opt for the cloud-based G Suite.

If you’re a graphic designer, Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator could be key. Make sure to look into any applicable discounts before you buy. Your company may even cover the cost.

8. Designate “work zones”

books are lined up in a small nook, under which is a stack of three storage boxes
The Proper Blog

To give your office an organized flow, Lifehack recommends establishing separate “work zones” depending on the type of activity.

There’s your “main hub,” AKA the desk with your computer and phone.

There should also be a “reference area,” dedicated to your filing cabinet, binders, folders, and any shelving units.

A closet or set of drawers for your Post-It notes, stamps, stapler, and other office supplies can serve as your “supply area.”

If you have a printer, designate one corner as the “copy area.”

9. Buy an office plant

the tendrils of a houseplant hanging over a clean home office desk, google home smart speaker, and laptop
Homey Oh My

Greenery can do a lot of good. Plants have a soothing effect on people, which is great for a potentially-stressful work environment.

But that’s not all. The Denver Post points out that a houseplant can decrease drowsiness, headaches, congestion, and even common cold-related illness.

Want something low-commitment?

Find a simple fern or peace lily. Neither plant requires a ton of care, and both will brighten your office.

Free Bonus: 7 Gorgeous Houseplants That Will Purify The Air And Make You Happier

10. Set some boundaries

a nearly empty room with a desk and open doorway behind it

Your home office should be a sanctuary, so it’s important to set some ground rules for the rest of the household.

If pets are going to be too much of a distraction, keep them out of the office. Spouses or roommates shouldn’t be allowed to drop in any time of day, and neither should friends who live down the block (unless it’s absolutely necessary, of course).

You may not have a boss behind you breathing down your neck, but you still have to work.

With that in mind, if you managed to block off a whole room for your office, shut the door when you leave at the end of a workday. This will further associate the space with a place you work, and it will help keep you focused while you’re in it.

How To Organize A Home Office

1. Categorize your work supplies

a table with office supplies like scissors, duct tape, and sticky notes

Clutter happens when you don’t have a clear organizational scheme. The simplest plan is to group similar items together.

HGTV lists some common categories and examples of items in each one:

  • Stickies — Post-it packs, tabs, and stickers
  • Tools — Stapler, hole puncher, and straight cutter
  • Budget — Checkbook, calculator, and billing calendar
  • Writing tools — Pens, markers, and highlighters
  • Mail — Envelopes and stamps
  • Labeling — Labeler and label tape

Bundle the groups, and store them in separate drawers or boxes so they’re easy to locate.

2. Manage your files

a pile of files are labeled and organized
Julie Blanner

There’s a good chance you don’t need a filing cabinet full of color-coded folders. Many jobs are virtually paperless at this point. But that doesn’t mean you can let your digital files get disorganized.

Create appropriate folders on your desktop. Archive old or unnecessary stuff. And be sure to back up everything regularly on a hard drive and/or in the cloud.

Still need paper files?

Check out Good Housekeeping’s guide on how to organize your paperwork.

3. Sort through piles of paper

a pile of papers and mail cluttered together in a wall mail organizer

Offices accumulate piles of memos, mail, bills, and more on a daily basis. To stop those piles from turning into mountains, make a point at the end of each week to sort through them.

Throw out or shred anything you obviously don’t need. File stuff you need to keep. If anything requires immediate, or close to immediate action, set it aside and handle the task now.

4. Declutter your desk

a clean and tidy desk sits next to a tall lamp and chair in a home

Papers probably aren’t the only thing clogging your desk. Take a glance and clear off anything that doesn’t belong: the books that go in your bedroom, the dog toy that somehow wound up next to your phone, the remnants of your lunch.

It only takes a few minutes, and it removes so many distractions.

5. Label your wires

a usb cord organized with a DIY washi tape label
A House Full of Sunshine

Even a basic workstation attracts its fair share of wires: chargers, printer cables, modems, and more.

To keep the tangled web straight, Martha Stewart recommends attaching tiny labels to the ends of each cord. It’ll save you the agony of following each wire back to its source. And, as Stewart’s example proves, it doesn’t have to look ugly.

6. Stay stocked on office supplies

pens and files packed into a briefcase

You don’t have an office manager to restock your supplies anymore. The last thing you want is to run out of paper mid print job.

Do a quick scan of your cabinets and drawers at least once a week. How are you looking on pens? What about ink cartridges? Notepads?

Once something is running low, make a note and buy replacements over the weekend.

7. Let MakeSpace pick up and store your extra stuff

Have some old files you’re hesitant to toss, or extra computer accessories that are crowding your new home office?

Let MakeSpace pick up and store everything for you.

All you need to do is schedule a pickup (your first pickup is free!), pack your stuff, and leave the rest to us.

We’ll pick up your stuff and transport it to our secure, temperature-controlled storage facility. We’ll also create an online photo catalog of your stuff (only if you want us to), so you always remember what you have in storage.

Need something back for your client meeting?

No problem.

Simply log into your MakeSpace account, select the item’s photo, and we’ll deliver it to you. That’s one less reason for you to leave home. And one less headache to handle in the middle of your busy work week.

Introducing The New MakeSpace iOS App: Measure Your Stuff And Get A Storage Estimate In Seconds

We always want you to have the best storage experience possible. Starting today, that includes you being able to quickly measure your stuff and get a storage plan estimate — in only a few seconds, and from the comfort of your iPhone. All thanks to the new MakeSpace iOS app.

Effortlessly measure your stuff in 3D

MakeSpace ARKit app measuring tool
Download the MakeSpace app
  1. Update your iPhone to iOS 11.
  2. Download the new MakeSpace app, built with Apple’s new augmented reality toolkit in iOS 11, ARKit.
  3. Point your camera at the item you want to measure.
  4. Trace the item with your finger.
  5. Drag the faces of the box to adjust as necessary.

Want to measure more items before we pick up everything and store it in our secure storage facility?

Tap the “+” in the top left, and repeat steps 3 through 5.

Get a storage estimate in seconds

MakeSpace ARKit app storage plan estimate screen
Download the MakeSpace app

When you’re done measuring  everything you want us to store, the MakeSpace iOS app will show you your stuff’s total volume and the storage plan size you’ll need to fit everything.

Watch the MakeSpace app’s new augmented reality feature in action

No more measuring tape. No more guestimating. Simply point your camera, trace the item, and smile. The MakeSpace app does the rest.

Download The MakeSpace App

Choose your city to learn more about MakeSpace in your area

Storage in NYC
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Storage in Los Angeles

25 Brilliant Organization Tips To Get You Pumped For Back To School

Whether you’re rejoicing as a parent with some extra “Me Time” during the day, or a student mourning summer’s end, back-to-school season can drum up an abundance of emotions.


Here’s one way to make it easier on everyone involved:

Prepare for everything the new school year throws your way.

Below are 25 brilliant back-to-school organization tips and ideas to make swapping beach days for book reports easy, efficient, and — dare we say it — downright enjoyable.

An organized workspace, functional command center, and a helpful app or two will help bring order to homework time and sanity back to your home.

Or, at the very least, you’ll always know where to find a sharpened pencil.

1. Pop homework down with a DIY folding desk

a diy folding desk in a kids bedroom
Organized Mom

Make homework feel like less of a chore with this personal workspace for your kiddos. This DIY hideaway desk, from Amy at Organized Mom, combines the concept of a drop-down desk with a chalkboard, putting a fun twist on two classroom classics.

The best part:

Come cleanup time, your kids won’t be able to simply tuck away their clutter — since the desk won’t close if there are items on its surface.

a folding desk is mounted against the wall
Organized Mom

2. Build a behind-the-door bookshelf

three behind-the-door bookshelves holding children's books
The Painted Hive

A new school year means new books, and new books mean new clutter. But you can easily contain any novel overflow with this thrifty hack from Kristine of The Painted Hive.

She mounted four floating shelves to the wall directly behind her daughter’s bedroom door, taking care to position the ledges away from the door’s protrusion.

The result is a sweet little nook that manages to feel like both a library and hiding place at once.

3. Improve morning takeoffs with a launching pad

a collection of children's things gathered for the schoolday
From Overwhelmed To Organized

Between showers, last-minute signatures, and (oops!) burnt breakfasts, to call your mornings hectic would be something of an understatement. According to professional organizer Nathalie Ricaud of Get Organised and Beyond, one way to minimize the waking chaos is by crafting something of a “launching pad.”

In one dedicated nook, keep everything that your child needs for school accessible. It might help to keep a checklist of all the items — Ricaud recommends using images instead of words if your child is too young to read.

She also suggests making it your child’s responsibility to gather his or her things. Even if the bags aren’t ready yet each night, packing them just may be the easiest part of your morning.

4. Create a command center…

a highly organized back to school command center for a family
Forever Always No Matter What

Committing one schedule strictly to memory is already a true feat. Committing six? That would require a brain of superhero proportions.

Jen of Forever For Always No Matter What has a handle on her six kids’ homeschooling curricula, activities, chores, and more, thanks to a top-notch command center (and probably some secret superpowers, let’s be honest).

To establish this center of communication while keeping it clear and functional, Jen carved out a space in her home to hang a large wall calendar, chore chart, visual schedule for the younger ones, and a meal planner to eliminate any “But what’s for dinner!” distractions.

Keeping it simple and straightforward makes it easy for both Jen and her kids to maintain so they can all be superstars.

5. …And adjust it as needed

an organized command center in a family kitchen
At Charlotte’s House

Here’s a slightly different take on command centers, courtesy of Charlotte from At Charlotte’s House.

She fashioned hers together based on her own and her family’s needs:

A place to corral paper, a small bowl for rogue paper clips, a cork board for notes, and other school-related miscellanea.

By keeping it in the kitchen, she also prevents any paper clutter that typically piles up in the area.

6. Easily construct a DIY homework station

a child studies at her DIY homework station

Keeping distractions at bay at homework time can be a harder task to tackle than helping your fourth grader with their geometry homework. Amy of MomAdvice found the answer (to the distraction problem, not to, “Which of these figures is a quadrilateral?”).

With a tri-fold foam display board, razor blade, spray adhesive, and a bevy of creative organization solutions, she created two homework study stations that are perfect for keeping kids focused.

Plus, each study station folds totally flat for easy storage come play time!

7. Take your homework for a spin

a collection of school supplies made accessible with a lazy susan organizer
Home Stories A to Z

If you give a kid a math problem, they’re probably going to ask for a pencil. No, not that pencil. But he’s got a new pencil. Mom, where are all of the new pencils?

Sound familiar?

Beth from Home Stories A to Z was tired of losing school supplies to the “black hole of the cabinet.” She constructed this simple Lazy Susan organizer out of a wood round and some empty paint cans to collect pencils, markers, highlighters, scissors, and glue sticks.

Abandon the messy supply cabinet forever, and let your kids give this piece of organizational genius a spin.

8. Turn your entryway into a clutter buster

Once you’ve gotten the before-school routine down to a T, it’s time to contend with the chaos that ensues in the post-school afternoons. Vineta from The Handyman’s Daughter recommends stopping any mess in its track with an entryway storage setup.

Whether you’re DIY-ing one or not, Jackson recommends these three criteria:

  1. Backpack hooks
  2. Shoe storage
  3. Ample seating

9. Pop up some backpack hooks

backpacks and other bags are hung on the wall with small hooks
Ask Anna Moseley

Or you could go for a simpler solution to nip after-school clutter in the bud:

Set up a backpack organizing station, à la this easy tweak from Ask Anna Moseley.

Anna found that by designating a hook for each child’s backpack, she was able to change her kids’ habits of leaving their backpacks scattered around the house. This also left them in charge of putting away their lunchbox, water bottle, and homework.

10. Guarantee library books get returned on time

library books are collected in a wire basket
Blue i Style

Libraries are fun. Not so fun? Keeping tabs on due dates for your little bookworm’s overflowing, rotating literary collection.

Designing a designated basket is a simple solution to this classic clutter conundrum. Angela at Blue i Style has a simple DIY that takes the idea a step further, adorning hers with a leather label from an old, upcycled belt.

It may not return books on time for you, but at least you’ll know where that hungry caterpillar is hiding out.

11. Fashion a kid’s reading nook

Reading Nook
Clean & Scentsible

We all know education goes beyond the classroom. Nailing the first component of the three Rs is critical for school success.

The best way to effortlessly instill a love of the written word? Setting up a cozy space for your munchkins to read that’s all their own.

Jenn from Clean and Scentsible fills her son’s corner with comfy pillows, an assortment of favorite titles, and plenty of storage containers. Sounds like the perfect spot for your own new library book basket.

12. Incorporate an item box into your child’s routine

item box organizer
A House Full of Sunshine 

Inboxes: They’re not just for email anymore.

Professional organizer Nancy Haworth of On Task Organizing recommends placing a small tray or bin to serve as your child’s “inbox.”

Use it for small, everyday items, like lunch money, spinners, or electronics. You could even place it near an outlet for a makeshift charging station.

13. DIY a double-sided Do Not Disturb sign

do not disturb sign
Piccadilly Peddler

Your phone is on silent and screen-side down on the desk. Your playlist of instrumental jams is ready to help you concentrate without the threat of distracting solo karaoke sessions.

The brain-boosting snacks are lined up next to the grande latte. It’s study time, and you. are. ready.

That is, until someone stops by to see if you want to go see a movie. Or knocks to see if you’ve eaten dinner yet. Or pops in simply to see what you’re up to.

You’re never as popular as you are when you’ve sat down to get some solid studying in, but good grades don’t come by way of interruptions. Create this double-sided Do Not Disturb sign to let people know when you’re in the zone, and when you’re ready to come up for air (and pizza).

14. Rainbow your way to organization

Color-coded reading groups makes me so happy! ❤️💜💛💚💙 #thelittlethings

A post shared by Rebecca Cowan (@thecleverteacher) on

 via The Clever Teacher

The only thing worse than getting to work and realizing you brought the wrong paperwork?

Getting to school and realizing you brought the wrong paperwork.

Kids are powerless to present their history report if they accidentally grabbed trig notes instead.

For any forgetful kiddos (and, let’s face it, us young at heart), Sara from Time To Organize recommends color-coding.

Colors are a simple, yet effective, memory prompt. So when you let your kids apply colors according to the subjects they remind them of (e.g., purple for literature and green for science), they’re likelier to remember to bring the right notebook for the right classes.

15. Download these free back-to-school apps

back to school apps
The Ugly Duckling House

Somewhere between confirming carpool rides, tossing flashcards into baggies, and repairing a trampled diorama, you hear the cry: “PB&J again?”

Becca from Cul de Sac Cool understands the school-prep hustle. Which is why she rounded up the best free back-to-school apps that help her stay sane, come fall:

  1. Here Comes the Bus for estimating arrival times
  2. myHomework for keeping tabs on tests and assignments
  3. for quick vocab reference
  4. Brainscape for flashcards that won’t cause clutter
  5. Overdrive for virtual access to your local library
  6. MyScript for magically converting scribbles into calculations

The six apps won’t whip up gourmet meals for your mini master chefs, but they will do things like keep you posted on when the bus is coming.

Peace of mind: There’s an app for that.

16. Add a splash of color with a DIY pencil holder

DIY terrazzo pencil holder
Enthralling Gumption

There’s nothing quite like the smell of freshly sharpened pencils — and it’s somehow even better when those carved quills are craftily contained.

Enter this bright, cheery project from Marwa at Enthralling Gumption. An old jar and some terrazzo-inspired paint is all it takes to whip up the friendliest pencil holder that your kids will actually want to use.

17. Create learning environments around the home

exercise with kids

Lessons aren’t found solely in textbooks. There are several important teaching moments that take place at home and have nothing to do with solving for X.

Susan Miller, Ed.D. of Earlychildhood NEWS recommends using your own everyday tasks to serve as mini educational moments throughout the day.

For example, demonstrate the importance of being physically active by inviting the kids to join in your daily workout: they can lift soup can weights while you lift the real deal.

From the kitchen to the home office, there are plenty of ways to tackle your to-do list while inviting your kids to “help” and learn.

18. Contain your cords with a five-minute washi tape hack

cord labels
Crazy Organized

Drowning in a mountain of school-related cables?

Here’s a five-minute solution to the everyday hassle of figuring out which cord is which:

Lindsay from Crazy Organized wrapped, adhered, and trimmed a piece of washi tape for each of her most-used cords. Voilà, no more mistaken plugging necessary.

If you’re lucky enough to own a label maker, you can type out the corresponding device for each tag. Otherwise, some simple Sharpie penmanship should do the trick.

19. Assemble a make-your-own-lunch station

Pantry basket organizers
Organizing Made Fun

School-aged children are more than capable of making their own lunches. Sometimes it just takes a little organizational push to get them taking care of themselves (don’t worry, parents, they still need you!).

Simplify morning mayhem with well-labeled areas in your pantry and fridge that help kids easily grab the makings of a nutritious lunch.

Becky at Organizing Made Fun has baskets in her pantry for lunch bags, snacks, plastic spoons, and the rest of the lunchtime necessities. Her kids choose everything they need and are quickly out the door.

Sia from Thrifty Northwest Mom has a similar setup. She recommends taking one day a week to fill three separate bins with:

  • Snack items
  • Fruits and veggies
  • Protein options

Your kids can select two from the protein bin, two from fruits and veggies, and one snack.

Bonus: When your kids choose what they get to eat, they’re way more excited about their lunch.

20. Levitate a school paper organizer

a family binder is rearranged as a wall-mounted school paper organizer
Simple Stylings

“Back to school” is often synonymous with “back to permission slips, take-home assignments, and fingerprint masterpieces.” While all of them are important, where can you store them for easy access without surrendering your kitchen counter?

Summer from Simple Stylings loved the idea of a family binder for containing bills, menus, and any school-related mayhem, but lacked the horizontal space that it required.

So she transferred the same idea — filing by categories — to a more convenient spot:

Her wall.

She transitioned her system to a wall-mounted magazine rack, spruced up a stool so her young son could reach, and added a hook for his backpack.

21. Replicate this wonderful wall storage idea

two wall-mounted baskets are used for wall storage
This Is Happiness

Pop quiz:

If your two kids bring 20 pages home every day for one year, how long will it take until your kitchen counter totally disappears?

The answer:

It won’t, thanks to these clever wall-mounted baskets built by Becky from This Is Happiness.

She chose two woven baskets roomy enough to store her children’s binders, and installed them onto the wall. The wall baskets also work as places in which Becky can temporarily tuck away any important files until she’s had the chance to leaf through them.

22. Take a load off the morning juggle

Transitioning from carefree summer AMs to those hectic, pre-carpool scrambles is never easy. But a touch of personalized prep can go a long way in making everything easier.

Amy from Delineate Your Dwelling figured out a way to get her two young children organized and on-board for a headache-free start to the day.

She customized a colorful, kid-friendly school evening routine chart, to be completed each school night. Before going to bed, her kiddos know to check off their assigned tasks, such as homework completed and backpack packed.

Come morning, the only scramble they’re facing is served with OJ and toast.

23. Conduct a wardrobe review

the inside of a closet that has children's clothing hanging down
Refined Rooms, LLC

Kids grow quickly. Those “have-to-have” hoodies and sneakers go from on-trend to outgrown seemingly overnight.

That’s why Natalie of Refined Rooms, LLC schedules a review of her children’s wardrobes every year. She sorts the items in their closets, and the kids put on a “fashion show” to determine which pieces to keep or toss. Decluttering has never been so fashionable.

24. Start a capsule wardrobe

a capsule wardrobe for girls clothing
A Beautiful Mess

Capsule wardrobes have been a cultural phenomenon since British shopkeeper Susie Faux coined the term in the 1970s. Think Mark Zuckerberg’s gray tee, or Steve Jobs’ iconic turtleneck and jeans.

Unlike its most famous proponents’ fortes, though, it’s not rocket science:

Having a more limited selection of clothing you actually wear eases decision fatigue. Which makes mornings way less stressful.

Angela from Setting My Intention found that same concept applied to her kids. The less overwhelm her three sons faced before school, the better. Instead of building piles of once-worn clothing, the mini-geniuses in her life are able to focus on what really matters, like getting out the door on time.

25. MakeSpace

The start of a new school year is always an exciting time. Less exciting is figuring out exactly how your snazzy new school gadgets will fit into a supply closet that’s already brimming with goods.

You don’t have to sacrifice your dream collection of personalized stationery. You just need to MakeSpace.

We’ll pick up any items you don’t need right now, like your beach reads and boogie board.

Then, we’ll transport your things to our secure temperature-controlled storage facility and create an online photo catalog of your stuff, so you always remember what you have in storage.

Need something back?

Simply log into your MakeSpace account, select the item’s photo, and we’ll deliver it to you.


Now that’s what we call an A+.

Schedule a MakeSpace Pickup

Click a city to learn more about MakeSpace storage in your area:

Washington, DC
Los Angeles

How To Pack Picture Frames For Moving And Storage: 8 Easy Steps [Instructographic]

Whether you’re preparing for a move or putting items into storage, picture frames need extra care when being packed. Here’s how to pack picture frames for moving and storage:


  • Thick blanket
  • Mirror box
  • Packing tape
  • Packing paper
  • Bubble wrap

how to pack picture frames for moving and storage instructographic by makespace

Step 1: Lay down a thick blanket on a flat surface.

Pick a flat surface that’s big enough to fit your picture frame and packing materials. Throw down a thick, cushiony blanket for added protection during the wrapping process.

Step 2: Get a mirror box, and tape one end closed.

The safest vessel for a picture frame is a specially-designed mirror box, which is flatter and longer than regular moving boxes. Moving and office supply stores sell them, and Home Depot makes an especially heavy-duty line.

Each box should be slightly bigger — approximately 30% — than its designated frame(s).

For smaller picture frames, you can put more than one into each box. Just make sure to wrap each frame individually.

While the box is still folded, tape one end closed with packing tape. This will create a CD-case shape.

Step 3: Wrap the picture frame with packing paper.

Lay the frame, glass-side down, against the packing paper. Stretch one layer of packing paper around to the back of the frame, just like you would if you were wrapping a present.

Step 4: Secure with packing tape.

Tape around all the edges of the wrapped frame with packing tape. Use enough to tightly secure the packing paper.

Step 5: Repeat with bubble wrap.

Using bubble wrap over the packing paper, repeat steps 3 and 4.

Step 6: Stuff the bottom of the box with wadded-up packing paper.

This will protect the frame’s bottom.

Step 7: Insert the frame into the box.

Push the sides of the box together firmly. Fill any excess space with wadded packing paper. (This is the only time you’ll ever hear us say more space isn’t a good thing.)

Step 8: Tape the box shut with packing tape, and label it as “FRAGILE.”


You could follow all these steps to make sure your picture frames are safe and secure. Or you could simply schedule a MakeSpace pickup, tell us you’re storing fragile items, and let us do everything for you.

We’ll come to you and carefully wrap your frame with protective wrapping, a moving blanket, and packing tape. We’ll then transport it to our secure temperature-controlled storage facility and create an online photo catalog of it so you always remember what you have in storage.

The best part:

When you want your picture frame back, simply log into your MakeSpace account, select the item’s photo, and we’ll deliver it to you.

Schedule a MakeSpace Pickup

Click a city to learn more about MakeSpace in your area:


10 Brilliant Organizing Tips From Ellen Degeneres, Mindy Kaling, Amy Poehler, And More Of Your Favorite Comedians

We all want to get organized. But sometimes, reading advice from a stuffy expert can get awfully boring.

But you know who’s never boring?


Because professional funny people have a knack for making anything amusing — and typically have to keep themselves organized, thanks to their crazy schedules — we pulled nuggets of wisdom from nine comics on the best ways to declutter, organize, and decorate your home.

Granted, some of it is a little facetious. But there’s also real, applicable advice embedded in these zingers.

Get ready to laugh and learn from these accomplished writers and performers:

Make organizing a relaxing weekend ritual

Amy Poehler tells us how she organizes her home
David Shankbone via Flickr

Most people let their apartments descend into chaos because they see cleaning and organizing as chores. And they are! But you can trick yourself into thinking they’re not by taking a cue from accomplished comedian and person Amy Poehler, who makes organizing a peaceful Sunday routine. As she told Parade:

“On a really awesome day, I’ll spend the afternoon cleaning out my closets. I love to organize. To me, there’s no greater grown-up pleasure than cleaning your drawers while listening to This American Life or Fresh Air on public radio. Your brain gets organized, and so does your underwear.”

Or turn organization into a party


Poehler isn’t the only famous Amy with ideas on organization. While promoting her book on entertaining, I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence, Amy Sedaris offered this relevant anecdote about a clean-up that she transformed into a social event:

“When I finished the book, my apartment was a mess. … So I took everything off the walls, repainted and then had people come over and help me rearrange the artwork, decide what was going to go up and what I was going to put in storage.”

Be sure to provide food, drinks, and music to make all that rearranging and reorganization a true party.

Motivate yourself with money

Whitney Cummings fielded readers’ questions for Esquire ahead of her HBO comedy special I’m Your Girlfriend. When one reader wrote in asking how to rectify his messy habits, Cummings delivered this half-sarcastic, half-useful advice:

“Grow up? And have a yard sale. Put your stuff on eBay. As soon as you can get money for your c**p all of a sudden getting organized seems way more appealing.”

You should also consider selling stuff you don’t need, such as your old CDs and DVDs, on Craigslist, Offer Up, and Facebook. You might not want that old coffee table anymore, but your friend who just moved might.

Don’t get hung up on stuff

In some ways, George Carlin was the original Marie Kondo. Sure, he cursed a lot more, but he shared her views on clutter. As his famous bit goes:

I don’t know how you are, but I need a place to put my stuff. You know how important that is. That’s the whole meaning of life, isn’t it? Trying to find a place for your stuff. That’s all your house is, your house is just a place for your stuff. If you didn’t have so much g*****n stuff, you wouldn’t need a house… When you take off in an airplane and you look down, you see that everyone has got a little pile of stuff. And when you leave your stuff, you gotta lock it up. Wouldn’t want somebody to come by and take some of your stuff. They always take the good stuff. They don’t bother with that c**p you’re saving. Ain’t nobody interested in your fourth grade arithmetic papers. They’re looking for the good stuff! That’s all your house is, it’s a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff.

In order to avoid a stuff-induced crisis, try to pare down to things you truly need and/or love. And please, throw out those fourth-grade papers.

Have a purgatory bag

A photo of Sara Benincasa at a microphone
© Luigi Novi / Wikimedia Commons

In comedian/writer Sara Benincasa’s advice book Real Artists Have Day Jobs, she tackles all sorts of topics ranging from flossing to fan letters. But she also imparts a useful organizing tip she’s used to keep her home tidy. It involves designating a so-called Purgatory Bag.

“The concept of the Purgatory Bag is quite simple. Once a month, or whenever you feel like it, you go around your house and throw a bunch of clutter in a bag. Not trash, mind you — you throw the trash out. I’m talking about clutter… Then, on a designated day, you have a Purgatory Bag session. You go through your most recent Purgatory Bag and decide what goes to Heaven (its proper place in your home or someone else’s home) and what goes to Hell (the garbage can).”

Benincasa insists the bag can be large or small, so long as you empty it completely on the appointed day. Also, she reminds you to remember that “Heaven” is a big place — if you don’t want to send something in your bag to “Hell,” there’s also charities to consider.

Clean before things snowball

A headshot of Nora Ephron
Prachatai via Flickr

It wouldn’t be fair to cite the late, great Nora Ephron as an organizational muse. She was very open about her messiness, as illustrated in her essay, “I Hate My Purse”:

“Here’s what happens with a purse. You start small. You start pledging yourself to neatness. You start vowing that This Time It Will Be Different, you start with the things you absolutely need – your wallet and a few cosmetics that you have actually put into a brand-new shiny cosmetics bag, the kind used by your friends who are competent enough to manage more than one purse at a time. But within seconds, your purse has accumulated the debris of a lifetime. The cosmetics have somehow fallen out of the shiny cosmetics bag (OK, you forgot to zip it up), the coins have fallen from the wallet (OK, you forgot to fasten the coin compartment), the credit cards are somewhere in the abyss (OK, you forgot to put your Visa card back into your wallet after you bought the sunblock that is now oozing into the lining because you forgot to put the top back onto it after you applied it to your hands while driving 70 miles an hour down the highway).”

Obviously, this is not how you want to handle clutter in your home. But you can glean advice from Ephron’s struggles with her purse. Namely, take care of messes while they’re still manageable. Sort through the stack of papers on your counter before they morph into a mountain, and break up the pile of scarves sitting on the floor of your closet before they blanket the whole thing.

See the space

When it comes to reorganizing rooms, you can trust Ellen DeGeneres. The talk show host revealed herself to be a secret home decorating fiend last year with her book Home. It includes lessons she’s learned from her house-flipping ventures. Here’s one she shared with The Los Angeles Times on pseudo feng shui:

“Envision where, say, your sofa is going to go, where certain pieces will go. And not that I believe in feng shui completely, but I do think there are certain aspects of it that make sense. Like, you want to have a clear path, you don’t want a lot of things in your way as you walk through a room. And you don’t want to see the backs of things when you enter – if you have to position the sofa that way, put a console behind it. And always remember: paint makes all the difference in the world.”

Decorate like an adult

Chelsea peretti does standup
Miss Wright via Flickr

Like Cummings, Chelsea Peretti took over the Esquire “Ask a Comedian” column ahead of her Netflix comedy special One of the Greats back in 2014. Here’s the sage wisdom she imparted onto a reader seeking to set up her first “adult” apartment:

Is an “adult” apartment covered in d****s? Does it read The New York Times? Does it take yoga? Does it drive a minivan and drop its little-kid apartments off at school in the morning? I’m very interested in this unorthodox structure you describe. There are a lot of different kinds of adults, but when in doubt get a gold log end table (Google ‘gold log end table’ to see what I mean) or DIY paint something gold for a warm yet sophisticated color pop. You can find more examples of fancy decor on Pinterest or interior-design magazines.

Think of the future

But in the end, the best advice on keeping up your home might come from Mindy Kaling. She wrote on her blog, “I figure, it’s best to live your life and decorate your house such as if you ever become mega famous and died, people would have a lot of fun touring your crazy house.”

If you’re looking for decorating ideas, check out Kaling’s Instagram for occasional glimpses of her L.A. home.

Invest in MakeSpace

What if we told you that you could be sitting in a blissfully clean apartment right now without getting rid of a single thing? You’d probably laugh and tell us to leave the comedy to Carlin. But this isn’t a joke. It’s the power of MakeSpace.

To get started, simply schedule a pickup. We’ll come get your things – whether it’s an old coffee table, extra kitchen appliances, window air conditioner, or surfboard – and transport it to our secure, temperature-controlled storage facility. We’ll even create an online photo catalog of your stuff, so you never forget what you have in storage.

That’s not all.

When you want something back from storage, simply log into your MakeSpace account, select the item’s photo, and we’ll deliver it to you.

It’s not a gag. It’s storage made simple.

Top image via Flickr/celebrityabc

58 Best Organizing Tips And Ideas From 24 Top Professional Organizers

The benefits of getting organized are endless: There’s less housework. Goals become clearer. There’s more space for things you love. You may even sleep better.

There’s just one hurdle: The journey from Clutterville to Tidy Town can be bumpy.

To make your ride as smooth as possible, we asked 24 top professional organizers to share their best organizing tips and ideas.

All aboard!

Beth Penn, BNeato Bar

beth penn, a professional organizer in los angeles, california

1. How to determine if your clutter is, well, clutter

Clutter is sometimes hard to recognize. We live in our houses day-in and day-out, where clutter becomes part of the landscape. We don’t recognize piles and groupings of stuff because it’s become the norm. We have gotten pretty good at ignoring clutter, or just plain not realizing it’s moved in.

It usually doesn’t show itself until you can’t find what you’re looking for, or realize you have bought something you already had – costing time and money.

My recommendation for individuals wondering if they have clutter is this: Take a photo of the space. Start small with a drawer, a closet shelf, or a bookcase. Zoom in on the photo. How does the stuff make you feel? Do you use it all? How often? How would your life feel if the space was tidy, leaving room to grow?

The answers to these questions will be great indicators to the work that needs to be done.

2. Keep these three things in your bag to stay organized on-the-go

  • Cord Tacos for wrangling cords and earbuds (lifesavers, since wires can become a tangled mess).
  • Scannable app for taking photos of receipts and recycling paper.
  • A portable iPhone charger.

3. Use these four apps to digitally organize and save time

Snooze: Allows the user to snooze an email until they are ready to deal with it.

Snippets: We often type the same text over and over; emails, phrases, introductions – the list goes on and on. Snippets saves time by allowing you to create templates of saved text that you can insert within any email just by typing a short command.

Todoist: A task management app that coordinates effortlessly with Gmail. There are so many great features but my favorite is the ability to create to-dos from actual emails, therefore getting rid of the email. Emails can’t be prioritized, but in Todoist, they are.

FileThis : An online tool that helps me stay paperless. FileThis logs into each of my accounts and files my statements in Dropbox. It also alerts me when things are coming due so that nothing falls through the cracks.

Seana Turner, The Seana Method

seana turner, a professional organizer in connecticut

4. Accept that you probably do need to declutter

You may think you don’t have anything you want to get rid of, but believe me, you probably do. Even if you’ve carefully pruned before a move, you will likely still pull items out of a box and think, “Why did I bring this?”

Life tends to bring new items into our space each day, and we frequently fail to recognize the pace at which we are accumulating things.

5. Let yourself let go

Ownership is overrated. Often we feel that we need to own something to enjoy it. In reality, we may get more pleasure out of borrowing or renting something. Anything we own requires that we clean it, move it, store it, maintain it, and maybe insure it. This all takes energy. Be open to alternative ways to access and enjoy physical objects.

6. Get your kids on board

Set times each day for restoring order. Avoid using the words “clean up,” which children interpret as “make look pretty.” This leads to items being tossed into the nearest container.

Teach children that a space needs to be reset, with items going back into their homes. Do this at least once a day, and maybe more if children are in the space all day. For example, consider a cleanup before lunch and before dinner.

7. File, don’t pile

Paperwork is always better stored vertically than horizontally. Piles are difficult to sort through, and typically only provide a reminder of the page that is on the top. Even in a mostly paperless environment, there will still be some paper, so have either a file drawer or box where this paper belongs.

Separate the action space from the storeroom. Often we buy office products in bulk (e.g., a box of pens and a 20-pack of sticky notes). Don’t keep all of them in your desk. Keep one or two of each supply at your desk, but set up a separate supply space for the bulk packages. When a pen runs dry, throw it away and go get another from your storage area.

8. Put items away now, rather than later

It is very tempting to put something down rather than away. We tell ourselves we will put it away later, but then life gets in the way and it never happens. If you can, push yourself to get the item to its final destination in the moment.

Pooja Naik, Organizing With You

pooja naik, a professional organizer in chicago, illinois

9. Seek functionality over visual appeal

This is the best way to ensure you can stay organized. Organizing is about creating systems that cater to your needs, not just tidying up or putting things in piles. If you’re a visual person, label everything!

10. Take baby steps for your organizing goals

If it gets overwhelming, you will lose interest and momentum. A little bit every day, but continuity is key.

Organizing is not an end destination, it’s a process of acquiring skills, applying them, and being committed to being organized every day.

Linda Samuels, Oh, So Organized!

linda samuels, a professional organizer in croton-on-hudson, ny

11. Use an event to motivate your decluttering efforts

Entertain: Throwing a party, from an intimate dinner to a large BBQ, can motivate us to declutter as we prepare for company. Use social, happiness-producing events for clutter maintenance.

Move: Moving motivates us to evaluate our stuff and release the extraneous. The more you edit and declutter before a move, the faster your home will sell, and the easier it’ll be to organize your new space.

Sell: Having a yard sale gives you a specific deadline to work towards, increases your letting-go motivation, is an enjoyable social activity, and lets you make a few bucks in the process. It’s also fun to meet the buyers of your stuff.

Free Bonus: Move-Out And Move-In Cleaning Checklists You Can Actually Use

12. Prevent future clutter by developing a steady awareness of what you are doing

If you have just entered the house with groceries or purchases in hand, take time to put them away. The few minutes spent doing this minimizes clutter that might otherwise collect in hallways, corners, and on floors.

13. Tackle any closet build-up with these basic starts

Remove all extra hangers. Recycle, give away, or reroute hangers that don’t belong.

Pick up your clothes from the closet floor. Hang them up or reroute to laundry, dry cleaners, or giveaway.

Set the timer for 10 minutes, and quickly remove clothes that you absolutely no longer want. Reroute them to give away.

Voilà! This is a great beginning. Your closet feels more spacious and is on its way to being clutter-free.

Regina Lark, A Clear Path

regina lark, a professional organizer in los angeles, california

14. Set aside time and energy

Before one can start a decluttering strategy, one needs to make sure to:

  • Schedule blocks of time for every single project.
  • Plan in advance by putting every single project on a calendar.
  • Have someone to help on the projects that are too heavy, too emotional, too time-consuming.

15. A place for everything, and everything in its place

To stay organized anywhere, be mindful of everything you bring in through your front door. Everything needs its own home – don’t bring it in unless you know exactly where it’s going to live.

Rachel Rosenthal, Rachel & Company

rachel rosenthal, a professional organizer in washington, dc

16. How to begin decluttering if you’re overwhelmed by all your stuff

Once you start purging items (donate, trash, or consign) you’ll likely feel relieved, and even motivated to move on to another area.

Enlisting the help of a friend or family member to help you get through the task will give you the support needed to finish the (sometimes daunting) task at hand.

Tip: Start in the kitchen and pantry to weed out any expired food. I’m sure you’ll be surprised at what you’ve been holding onto, and will be inspired to tackle the next spot!

17. Limit your nightstand contents to vital objects

Items like eyeglasses, hand cream, ChapStick, a phone charger, and a nightly read (e.g., book, magazine, or e-reader) are the standard for this storage spot. If your necessities list is longer, by all means don’t stop yourself from having the items within arms’ reach.

If you depend on your nightstand for extra storage, just make sure you are strategic about what goes inside. It’s easy for an empty drawer to turn into a junk catch-all, so in order to prevent that from happening, give it a purpose before you start storing. Stick with one or two categories (e.g., sunglasses and jewelry) so that you know exactly what’s stored inside when you need it.

18. Restrict items in your office space to what you really need

A pad of paper and pen are always helpful for jotting down the thoughts and reminders filling your head. Headphones or noise-cancelling earbuds are great for blocking out noise and helping you focus. And a calendar nearby (digital or hard-copy) is a necessity to keep your schedule in check.

If you have the available space, add a personal touch with framed art or a plant.

Use structure in drawers. There is no way to keep small supplies from sloshing together if you don’t have a drawer organizer. Measure and get inserts to keep like items together.

19. Be strategic when packing for a trip

Create a list of items that you need to bring to ensure that you never leave without the essentials. Tip: Make a digital version on your computer so you can reference it for each trip.

Plan full outfits in advance (rather than bringing seven tops and four bottoms for a weekend trip), so that you know exactly what pieces work together and what you are comfortable wearing. That’s preferable to lugging around extras, “just in case” the outfit didn’t work out like you envisioned in your head. Similarly, ignore the “what if” scenarios!

Be realistic with the amount of options that you bring and stick with that number when choosing your clothing.

Tip: Stick with a color scheme and choose options based off of the scheme to ensure that all clothing, shoes, and jewelry can be mixed and matched!

Andrea Hancock, Dexterous Organizing

andrea hancock, a professional organizer in alexandria, va

20. Recommended organizing and decluttering books

Peter Walsh’s It’s All Too Much gives a rip-the-Band-Aid-off approach to decluttering, and most importantly, on making space for the things that are important to your life.

Julie Morgenstern’s Organizing From the Inside Out helps people figure out what some of their blocks are to organizing. She also provides a reusable formula for tackling any organizing project, whether it’s a wallet or your garage. I use that formula when working with my clients, and in my own life.

Getting Things Done by David Allen is great for productivity and time management. Even if you use just his core methodology, you’ll live a much more peaceful and productive life, with fewer things slipping through the cracks.

Once I get my client’s space organized, it’s up to them to maintain the systems we put in place. I love the book The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. It teaches us that if we don’t put habits in place, we get frustrated when getting and staying organized. It’s full of anecdotes and science, but presented in an interesting and intriguing read.

Tova Weinstock, Tidy Tova

tova weinstock, a professional organizer in nyc

21. Go paperless when you can

Set up automatic payments for monthly bills and make sure companies don’t send paper mail – all the information you need will be available online.

Send junk mail straight to the recycling. Don’t even let garbage mail hit your counter or tabletop –  pull it out of the pile as soon as you can and send it to the trash. Only keep important mail that involves items you have to address.

File important papers in an accordion folder. Its size will keep your papers down to a minimum. And remember: There are very few that you actually need to hold on to.

22. Keep sentimental papers in check

Don’t hold onto every card just because it was once special. I advise having one plastic container for sentimental items, and don’t let it overflow – if something new comes in, reconsider what you’re holding onto.

23. Keep your suitcase organized when traveling

Store smaller items and accessories in mesh bags. Keep your undergarments in a bag, and wires and electronics in a bag. This will keep things in your suitcase tidy.

Refrain from leaving trash in your bag. It’s a suitcase, not a trashcan!

Store toiletries in a clear plastic bag. This will keep them safe from spills and easy to see.

Free Bonus: 7 Super Creative And Cheap Ways To Store Your Luggage

Jean Marie Herron, POSSE Partners, LLC

jean marie herron, a professional organizer in new jersey

24. Treat your surfaces wisely

The more surface space you have in your house, the more opportunity for clutter, because people feel entitled to put things down on it – even if that’s not where the item belongs. So take away extra furniture surface space if you can.

But most importantly, either give everything you own a “home,” or get rid of it.

Julie Naylon, No Wire Hangers

julie naylon, a professional organizer in los angeles, california

25. Maximize what’s available in your closet

If you can see the back wall of your closet, you are not utilizing all its space.

Instead of piling hats on a shelf, install some hooks and hang your hats on the walls inside your closet. Hang clothes on the same type of hanger by style, and then by color. Make sure they are all facing the same direction.

Lisa Zaslow, Gotham Organizers

lisa zaslow, a manhattan professional organizer

26. Respect, don’t neglect, your bedroom

It’s tempting to store suitcases in a corner “just for now,” to pile up clothes that need to go to the cleaner or tailor, or to leave unfinished projects and papers strewn all over the dresser.

Banish anything that isn’t related to dressing, sleeping, relaxation, or romance. Relocate items to other rooms or closets – or let them go. Add fresh flowers or a candle.

27. Label, label, label any at-home storage

I.D. the contents of containers so you know what’s inside.

Clearly label file folders by topic.

Note what’s in a box before you stow it in a closet or in the garage.

Label the inside edge of a drawer or the inside of a cabinet door so it’s obvious what’s stored where.

Go pro with a label maker (I love the Brother P-Touch), or simply use a Sharpie marker.

Jodie Watson, Supreme Organization

jodie watson, a los angeles professional organizer

28. Practice the art of purging

We all have too much stuff (yes, even organizers have more than they need). If we don’t regularly and open-heartedly let go of things, the abundance of stuff starts to slowly overcome us and we find ourselves getting overwhelmed and squeezed out by our possessions.

Once we start to practice the art of purging, we are continually looking for what can be let go of.

This piece of advice actually benefits us in two ways because we also start to think more carefully before bringing more stuff into our lives.

29. Don’t be too hard on yourself when decluttering

Oftentimes, I hear my clients criticize, judge, and condemn themselves for the way they have let things become.

Decluttering and organizing takes time and can be hard work. So definitely don’t beat yourself up and tear yourself apart as you go. Keep your focus on where you are headed, not on where you have been.

Jeni Aron, Clutter Cowgirl

jeni aron, a professional organizer in nyc

30. Make your wardrobe space-efficient

Keep only current season clothing in your bedroom. Have the right amount of drawer and hanging space. If you create a routine of hanging up your daily clothes when you come home, this habit will keep clutter at bay.

31. Prime your bedroom for relaxation

Many people decide to eliminate TVs and other electronic equipment from the bedroom. Placing a desk somewhere other than the bedroom might be a good idea. Work, bills, paperwork, and other clutter leads to poor sleep and an unsexy environment.

Make your bed every day to ward off the piling of books, magazines, and other stuff.

Check in with yourself and your partner about how you feel in your space frequently.

Free Bonus: 9 Creative Book Storage Hacks For Small Apartments

Ann Sullivan, Ann Sullivan Inc.

ann sullivan, an nyc professional organizer

32. Be closet conscientious

The average person wears 20% of their clothes 80% of the time, so edit your closet twice a year and donate unwanted items.

To keep the closet organized, color code from light to dark. Invest in slim hangers to maximize space, and use shelf dividers to keep sweaters from tumbling.

Stephanie Shalofsky, The Organizing Zone

stephanie shalofsky, an nyc professional office organizer

33. Think of your desk as a command center

All of the items that you need to do your job must be in arm’s reach when you are sitting at your desk. The tools that you keep in this space should be customized so that they support your daily activities and tasks.

By doing this, you will be much more effective and more productive.

Barbara Reich, Resourceful Consultants

barbara reich, an nyc professional organizer

34. Dispose and reassess toiletries

Purge any expired products. Both over-the-counter medications and prescriptions have expiration dates. And makeup, once the package is open, is a breeding ground for bacteria.  Check dates and dispose of old products every six months.

Use acrylic makeup organizers that will hold your toiletries upright in your vanity.

Use drawer organizers inside shallow bathroom drawers to separate cosmetics.

Use apothecary jars to store small items like hair elastics, chapstick, q-tips, and makeup applicators.

Use vanity accessories like a soap dispenser, soap dish, and tissue box holder for a polished look in your bathroom.

Free Bonus: 11 Beautifully Easy Makeup Storage And Organizing Ideas

35. Find your packing harmony

Strike a balance between packing too far in advance and not waiting until the night before the trip. I always recommend that the packing take place the weekend before the trip. Generally, you’re calmer then, and if there are things you need, you’ll have time to purchase them.

Pack small items in individual Ziploc bags. For example, children’s underpants and socks can be stored in a Ziploc bag, and then placed in a suitcase.

Pack the suitcase in layers, and place heavier items on the bottom. For example, shoes go on the bottom of the suitcase along with jeans and sweatshirts, which are heavier than a silk blouse you may want to lay on the very top.

Put layers of tissue paper between items of clothing to prevent wrinkling.

Carry prescription medicines, cameras, laptops, and any expensive jewelry onboard with you.

For airline travel, employ “the rule of fractions.” If there are four people in your family, pack a fourth of each person’s clothing in each piece of luggage. If luggage is lost or stolen, everyone will have enough to wear until it’s found.

36. Tidy up while cooking

Wash or put items in the dishwasher as you go.

Put things away as you go. For example, if you’re done with the flour, put it away. If you’re done with a condiment, put it away.

When possible, prep food items ahead of time.

Determine when you need dishes to be ready and work backwards, time-wise.

Nonnahs Driskill, Get Organized Already

nonnahs driskill, a professional organizer in pasadena, california

37. Use produce drawers as time capsules in your fridge

Most refrigerators have two produce drawers. Instead of dividing produce by category into the drawers, try this trick:

When you are checking the fridge before you shop, toss out the unusable things in the drawers. Move everything to the right drawer which you have labeled with a sticky note. Eat these produce items first. Once you have new produce, put it all into the left drawer.

38. Use clear (preferably glass) storage containers for food

Regular plastic storage containers are cloudy and hard to see into. Take-out containers are even worse!

Put your leftover food and ingredients into sturdy containers with safe-sealing tops (I love the Pyrex ones) to clearly see what there is to eat in the fridge and freezer. I often store these containers full of food upside down for even greater visibility. Crazy!

39. Use a Lazy Susan for overlooked olives

Who can remember what condiments are hiding in the back of the refrigerator? Not me! I gotta see it to believe it. So, I use two Lazy Susans in the fridge. One is for pickles and olives. The other is for rarely used condiments. No more buying what you already have.

40. Tackle the black hole in your freezer

Most freezers are extremely hard to keep organized. The main problem is the things we store in there are all weird shapes and sizes. Hello turkey carcass for making soup!

Use a small cookie sheet to freeze your liquids into nice flat solids right in Ziploc bags. Then you can stack the solid bags. (Write the contents on the bag before filling it.)

Stack clear, glass storage containers for non-liquids in the freezer. Label them with a little piece of paper that sticks out of the lid.

Sarah Giller Nelson, Less Is More Organizers

sarah giller nelson, a professional organizer that serves miami and chicago

An organized home doesn’t just happen – it is the result of specific habits and routines that help one maintain a clutter-free environment long-term. Here are some habits that professional organizers, and organized people in general, use every day that help keep their homes neat and organized:

41. Make your bed every morning

Since your bed is the dominant feature in your bedroom, a made bed will make your whole room feel orderly. Bonus: This task takes less than two minutes.

42. Keep a donation bag in each of your clothes closets

You now have a place to keep clothes you no longer like or that no longer fit until you have the time to take them to a resale shop.

Pro Tip: MakeSpace offers free Goodwill pickups in NYC, Chicago, and Washington, DC.

43. Keep a trash bin as close to the mailbox as possible

The vast majority of the mail you receive will be junk. Throw it away [or recycle!] before it clutters your main living space.

44. Use more hooks

Hooks involve much less work than hangers. Place them low enough so your children can easily hang up their own coats, backpacks, and gear.

Jeffrey Phillip, Jeffrey Phillip

jeffrey phillip, an nyc professional organizer

45. Be constantly aware of your limits

When it comes to organizing and living with less clutter, something that we can all do very easily is to be more conscientious consumers and live within our spatial means.

By asking ourselves a few questions before we bring something home, we can easily help stop the clutter before it enters our house. A few example questions are, “Do I have space for this item?” “Do I need this item?” and “What am I willing to donate so that I do have room for this new item?”

Andrew Mellen, Andrew Mellen, Inc.

andrew mellen, an nyc professional organizer

46. Declutter your kitchen cabinets

Start by emptying out everything on your counters or table. Sort like with like. Get rid of everything you will not use or eat: donate still-good food to a local food bank, and discard anything that’s no longer consumable.

Zone the cabinets before you put things back: baking, cooking, storage, utensils, sharp items, dish towels, dishes, serving pieces, canned goods, spices, and sauces. Wipe and clean the cabinets thoroughly. Use Lazy Susans, bamboo drawer dividers, or wire shelves to corral smaller items such as spices, herbs, utensils, and hand tools.

Load everything back in, according to the zones you’ve created. Label the drawers/doors if needed for the first week or so, until you remember where things live now.

47. Attain inbox zero

Sign up for to get rid of all unwanted subscriptions. Create a separate email address just for subscriptions and online shopping, and migrate everything to that address so your personal one is reserved exclusively for actual correspondence.

Use your app’s rules or filters to pre-sort emails into clearly labeled subfolders.

Schedule appointments with yourself for any action items, and delete emails instead of allowing them to stack up in your inbox as a “tickler” or reminder.

48. Develop time-management skills

Always live in the math: 24 hours in a day, 168 hours in a week. If you aren’t in the math, you’re in the story, and the story seldom has a happy ending.

If you want a simple life, make simple choices. Think each choice through to its natural conclusion. Don’t stop examining the choice without carefully considering all the costs – both immediate and in the future.

Every person should do a set of core value exercises to gain complete clarity on what is important to them. If you live or work with anyone, you should do them as a family, team, or roommates.

Someday doesn’t exist.

There is no such thing as multitasking. You can’t bake a cake and do open heart surgery at the exact same time.

Sharon Lowenheim, Organizing Goddess, Inc.

A headshot of Sharon Lowenheim of Organizing Goddess

49. Embrace the power of uni-tasking 

We’ve gotten used to things happening quickly on the computer. If something takes more than 10 seconds to open, it feels like forever.

Maybe we’ll start looking for something to do while waiting. For example, I may go back to my e-mail program to see if I can read and eliminate another e-mail. By the time I am done, I may have forgotten about the other task I had started to do.

Or I’ll get back to the program I was opening — my browser, or one of my desktop apps — and I can’t remember why I opened it!

Make the commitment to do one thing at a time. If you’re opening a program and it takes a little while, stay with it. Take deep breaths until it’s ready to do what you opened it to do.

Focusing on one thing at a time allows us to use our time more effectively. And deep breathing is good for you!

What one small change can you make to be more effective?

50. Let your space define how much you can own

To prevent your stuff from taking over your home, decide how much space you want to allocate to a particular item, and then stick with that.

Here’s an example: I have one drawer in my dresser that I’ve allocated to sweaters. I don’t allow myself to own any more sweaters than can fit in that drawer. If I buy a new sweater but the drawer is full, I have to get rid of a sweater. I can’t put it in another drawer or on a shelf in the closet.

It’s the same with my shoes. If my shoe bag is full, I can’t buy a new pair of shoes unless I give one away. By creating limits for myself, I ensure that I continue to live comfortably in a small space.

Rashelle Isip, The Order Expert

51. Create an itinerary to organize your travels

An itinerary is a useful reference when it comes to your personal or professional travels. What’s more, the physical act of preparing your itinerary helps you to organize, process, and digest information related to your trip.

To create your own itinerary, gather necessary travel documents and related information. Then, open a word processor or text editor, and create sections for general information, dates/times, and notes.

Next, write down all the dates of your trip. Using your travel documents and related info, fill in the details for each day, working your way from morning until night.

Lastly, don’t forget to proofread and double-check your work.

52. Customize your journals and notebooks to your needs 

The beauty of a blank journal and notebook is that you can create and organize information however you like.

First, think about how you’d like to use your notebook, be it for personal use, work, or school. What information are you going to store/organize/retrieve in your journal?

The next step is to sketch out the journal/notebook contents. Some ideas include dating pages and entries, and creating sections for a table of contents, index, and charts.

Once you’ve finalized your plans, you can start customizing your notebook according to your plans.

Jessica Decker, Become Organized

a headshot of professional organizer Jessica Decker

53. Maximize vertical space

Maximize your vertical space at home to capture every useable inch.

Install shelves to hold books and decor, and add baskets to store miscellaneous items. Double hang your clothes in your closet to double your hanging space. Hang kitchen cabinets all the way to the ceiling to maximize vertical space, and put a shelf below to easily access frequently used dishes.

The large area on the back of a door is almost always overlooked as a way to claim vertical space. Use an over-the-door shoe hanger to store much more than just shoes. Try one out with toys in a child’s room, or hats, gloves, and scarves in a hall closet. You could even use it to store cleaning supplies in a laundry room.

54. Do a purse purge 

Never again be the person in line fumbling through your bag looking for your wallet, or standing in the rain searching for car keys.

Organize your purse contents using small mesh pouches with zip closures. Have one for your toiletries (lipstick, hand sanitizer, tissues, gum), one for electronics (headphones, phone charger), and one for other items (pen, small paper pad, etc.).

When items are no longer running free range along the bottom of your purse or hidden in pockets, you’re able to easily pull out and access the pouch you need. Remove any accumulated trash at the end of the day to give your purse a reset.

55. Locate any paper – in under one minute 

There are only three decisions when it comes to paperwork: Act on it, trash it, or file it.

File your paperwork weekly so it doesn’t accumulate into a mountain of filing that you dread addressing and ultimately ignore. Before you start filing, separate the pile into categories to easily view and assess each category as a whole.

A good filing system has a category and subcategory for every paper you need to store, keeps necessary papers easily retrievable, and keeps you on top of bills and other important documents.

56. Make sure the kids are organized, too

Kids are constantly growing, and their rooms need an occasional review to ensure that their bedroom keeps pace.

Organize age-appropriate books on a bookshelf in themes: fiction, non-fiction, history, or poetry. Create a cozy corner for reading. Clear off a desk for studying and provide good lighting and a comfortable, sturdy chair.

In the closet and dressers, donate outgrown clothes. If you can, remove most of the toys and place them in the playroom to make the bedroom a haven of quiet reading, studying, and sleeping.

Juli Oliver, OrganizeNY

a headshot of professional orgnanizer Juli Oliver

57. Tips for staying on top of a move 

Make a “moving” notebook, and make sure it never leaves your side. Keep track of everything related to moving: Pre/post move information, schedules, master list of all your boxes, checklists, tasks, contacts, and resources. With everything accessible in one place, unpacking in your new space will be a much smoother process. 

Prepare an “Open me first” box ahead of time. This is the box (or suitcase) containing immediate essentials: toiletries, food/snacks, medicines, pet supplies, a couple days’ worth of clothing for all family members, important documents, entertainment for the kids, electronics, bedding, towels, scissors/tape, paper/pen, knife/cork screw, and cleaning supplies. 

Once you’ve arrived, unpack the rooms you need to use the most first: Kitchen, bathroom, bedroom. Stay focused and complete each one before moving onto the next.

58. Use decor make your home organized and happy 

Surround yourself with things you love. This could be a color scheme, a certain style of art on the walls, furniture from a special era, a particular brand of cookware/dishes/glasses, or photographs of your loved ones.

Incorporate nature, as plants bring the outside in and infuse life into your space.  The same goes for natural light, which can improve your mood.

Lastly, label as much as you can. With items continuously going back into the same place, you’ll create a sense of order that will keep household members on-board as well.

It’s no secret that getting organized is hard work. But sometime between restructuring your fridge and taming that paper dragon, take a step back. Breathe. Appreciate the extra space you’ve created.

And when you’re ready to make even more space?

Schedule a MakeSpace Pickup

We’ll pick up any bulky winter coats standing between you and your soon-to-be she-shed. Then, we’ll transport your items to our secure temperature-controlled storage facility. We’ll even create an online photo catalog of your stuff so you always remember what you have in storage.

And when you want something back, simply log into your MakeSpace account, select the item’s photo, and we’ll deliver it to you.

Now that’s an organizing hack.

Click a city to learn more about MakeSpace in your area:

Chicago, IL
Los Angeles, CA
New York City
Washington, DC

7 Reversible Apartment Upgrades That Won’t Break The Bank, Or Your Lease

Apartment living, whether by necessity or as a chosen lifestyle, often lacks a desirable factor: The freedom to do whatever you please with your space. For tenants, the lease may be as limiting as it is binding.

The good news? Your home needn’t be any less cozy just because it’s temporary. While knocking down walls – or in some cases, even a simple paint job – is probably out of the question, there’s a lot you can do without declaring war on your landlord.

You might think “redecorating” necessitates a grand-scale, permanent renovation. However, swapping some smaller, everyday things can also greatly influence the way you feel about your surroundings.

Ready for some subtle-yet-effective embellishment? Our friends at RENTCafé have seven tricks up their sleeves to make you feel instantly more at home in your flat.

And when your lease is up? Simply revert these swaps, sweat-free.  

1. Let there be light fixtures

kitchen light fixtures
RENTCafé Charlotte NC apartments

So you want to put your apartment in good light and are wondering where to start … With the lights, obviously! Since they’re such integral parts of any room, changing the light fixtures will affect the space’s entire atmosphere.

Whether you prefer tungsten, fluorescent, halogen, or LED light bulbs, pendant fixtures work with all of them. They also come in all shapes and sizes to make bold statements.

The same goes for surface-mounted units. They’re a more subdued choice and guarantee an easy, reversible installation.

Change the switch covers, too, while you’re at it. In a small space especially, this tiny swap can make a big difference. Funky picks add whimsy, while clean ones make for a streamlined effect.

2. Add a breezy frame with curtains

bedroom window curtain
RENTCafé Cincinnati, OH apartments

Natural light is also something you can play with. Blinds rarely offer much flexibility, if any. But if your windows happen to be set up for textile curtains, you’re in business, since the good old curtain rod works with any fabric you fancy.

It’s been said that curtains make a room, so the fabric you choose should reflect that room’s purpose. Setting a formal tone? Opt for silk. Prefer a more casual look?  Go with linen or crinkly velvet. Balance patterned furniture with a solid-colored curtain, or vice-versa.

3. Get a handle on your cabinet’s appearance

upgrade kitchen cabinet handles
Gusto & Grace

Handles: You wouldn’t believe how much of an impact these little guys have on the way your cabinets look. Until you change them, that is.

It’s a cheap swap, and the only tool you need is a screwdriver. Keep the original ones stashed away, though, to stay on the safe side with your landlord.

4. Get a better faucet and go with the flow

upgrade kitchen faucet
RENTCafé Fullerton CA apartments

Whether style or functionality is what you’re after, you’ll almost certainly find something at your local supplier that can do better than the cookie-cutter faucets that come standard in most apartment kitchens.

If you’re not comfortable with wrenches and o-rings, a professional will be happy to install it for you.

5. Make the bathroom sparkle in more ways than one

upgrade shower head
RENTCafé Austin TX apartments

All those tiles and porcelain may lead you to think that bathrooms are pretty much set in stone. But there’s plenty of stuff you can personalize. Add a unique toilet seat cover, or switch your mirror out for a newer one.

Even a good shower head has the power to radically change the way you think of your time in the tub. Don’t worry, replacing them is a breeze most of the time.

6. Treat your toes to a clean, dry floor

upgrade bathroom rug

You already know that stepping on cold tiles after a nice hot shower feels uncomfortable, to say the least. So if you’ve been enduring it until now, it’s time to invest in a nice rug.

Pro Tip: Buy several, smaller rugs. They fit in any bathroom and you’ll always have a crisp, dry one at hand.

7. Take control of your personal climate with a thermostat

man changing thermostat

Speaking of temperature, it goes without saying that optimal temperature is crucial if you want to feel at home in your apartment. Invest in a high-quality thermostat. It will take care of your thermal comfort and save you money in the long run.

A good thermostat can control all kinds of heating and cooling systems. It should also last a lifetime so you can bring it with you when you move.

We hope our tips and tricks will serve you well. If you are after more artsy ways to personalize your home sweet home, don’t worry: our friends at RENTCafé have more ideas to jumpstart your imagination.

Top image via RENTCafé Evanston IL apartments

This article was written by Balazs Szekely from apartment search website RENTCafé.

Moving In Together? Don’t Make These 11 Common Mistakes

You’ve taken trips together, you’ve survived your first fight, and you’ve celebrated anniversaries. Now, you and your significant other are about to hit another milestone: moving in together.

Living together comes with all kinds of perks, like less rent and more quality time. But it’s a big transition, and lots of couples struggle with cohabitation.

You don’t have to be one of them.

Simply study up on these common mistakes couples make when moving in together. Once you know how to avoid them, you’ll be well on your way to domestic bliss.

Here are 10 missteps to avoid:

Mistake 1: Not talking about why you’re moving in

Moving in together is a huge step, so consider it carefully before you sign on the dotted (lease) line. You and your partner should have several conversations about this, but the first one should be about why you’re doing it.

Be honest: Why are you moving in together?

Is it because you’re sick of the subway commute to your partner’s place? Are you looking to save money on rent?

It’s totally fine if money and convenience are motivations for you — everyone likes having extra cash in the bank — but those shouldn’t be your only reasons.

So with that said, do you see this as a step towards marriage? What are your long-term goals and plans with this person?

It’s important to be transparent with each other in case you aren’t quite on the same page. Some people assume moving in together is an unspoken promise of engagement, only to discover their significant other doesn’t believe in marriage at all.

Whatever you do, don’t move in together because you think it’ll “save” your relationship. It definitely won’t, but it will place you in a legally binding living situation with your soon-to-be ex.

Mistake 2: Ignoring the signs that you aren’t ready

It’s natural to be nervous about living with your boyfriend or girlfriend. But there’s a difference between some harmless moving-in jitters and well-founded fears that this is a horrible idea.

Do you and your partner know how to compromise? More importantly, do you know how to move past fights?

These aren’t sexy skills, but they are essential for cohabitation. If you two have never settled a big argument — or have ongoing ones all the time — that’s a bad sign.

Here are four other red flags:

  1. You’ve never spent more than a few consecutive days together.
  2. You can’t comfortably talk about money, health, or other weighty issues.
  3. You’ve always been long distance.
  4. You’re rushing into this because of an expiring lease — or you’re rushing things because someone (family, friends, or your partner) is pressuring you.

If the negative signs are there, take a step back and rethink moving in together. Maybe you need to hit pause on the plan for a few months while you work out some issues, which is totally okay.

It doesn’t mean your relationship is doomed, or that you’re immature. It’s just smart planning.

Mistake 3: Avoiding the conversation about money

You and your significant other are about to share the costs on a lot of bills — electric, cable, groceries, and rent, to name just a few. That means you have to get frank about your finances.

Figure out how you want to divide up your expenses first. How much will each of you owe per month? And how are you going to pay it?

Will it be an even 50-50 split? Or will you work out percentages based on income?

Make sure the division is fair, and that both of you feel comfortable with the final numbers.

The two of you may want to devise a budget while you’re at it. That way, you’ll stay on track with all your boring bills and your planned vacation to Thailand.

Another important question to ask:

Do you want to open a joint bank account?

It’s not for everyone, but it can come in handy when managing shared expenses. One BuzzFeed tipster recommends putting the same chunk of your paychecks into a joint account each month for bills, food, and cleaning supplies.

That way, “you’ll never have that awkward ‘I spent $35 on groceries yesterday, so it’s your turn to order food tonight’ conversation — you both can happily stuff your faces with Chinese food knowing everything is even.”

But no matter what system you land on, always make sure to keep the lines of communication open. If one of you is stressed about money or has an issue with the new budget, say so.

It might be awkward at first, but it’ll help you avoid fights in the future.

Mistake 4: Searching for an apartment without a gameplan

Since you’re already getting real about how you want to spend money and where you see yourselves in five years, it’s also important to get real about where you want to live. Sit down together and figure out your ideal neighborhoods and an ideal budget.

Then, come up with your list of must-haves. You can’t go into this expecting your significant other to read your mind. Unless he/she is a Legilimens or Professor X, in which case, run.

Be sure to also check in with each other frequently throughout the process. What does your boyfriend or girlfriend think of your broker? What about the pet clause in the lease?

Finding a new place is exhausting, and the only way you’ll survive is by keeping a united front. Well, that and following all these crucial apartment hunting tips.

Mistake 5: Procrastinating on the required renter documents

The bad news: There’s a mountain of paperwork in your future.

The good news: You can knock some of it out early. And you should, if you want to land a place in time and on budget.

Before you head out to the 15 apartment tours on a Saturday, you and your partner should each collect some key documents. Scan color copies of your IDs. Get and print letters of employment and/or pay stubs. Request a free credit report.

Next, bring all of these papers with you when you meet with your broker or prospective landlord so you can get an application ready immediately if the opportunity arises.

This boosts your chances of snagging a great apartment and preserves your relationship. Because if one of you stalls on printing a pay stub and it costs you that dream one bedroom, there’s bound to be resentment.

Mistake 6: Only putting one person’s name on the lease

We’re not trying to jinx things for you, but there is a chance you and your partner could break up. And although you can’t protect yourself from the heartache following a potential split, you can protect yourself from a potential financial strain.


By making sure both your names appear on the apartment lease.

As Kiplinger’s explains, this move holds both parties accountable for the rent should things turn sour.

If you end up taking your ex to court for skipping out on payments, your case will be much stronger with two names — not just your own — on the lease. It’s a situation you don’t want to imagine, obviously, but it’s happened before.

Mistake 7: Failing to consolidate your stuff

You’ve each spent years building up separate stashes of furniture, appliances, dishes, bedding, and towels. Now you’re about to combine all that stuff into one living space. So unless you’re going to rent a multi-million dollar penthouse with a basement storage unit, there are going to be some cuts.

You need to decide what to keep, store, sell, donate, and ditch together (our decluttering flowchart will make it easier). Start with the furniture, because that’s the trickiest. Whose bed makes the move? What about the couch? Coffee table? Bookcases?

Come into this discussion willing to compromise, and be realistic. You may cherish the chairs you scored for $15 at a yard sale in college, but they’ve probably seen better days.

Next, move on to duplicate appliances, like TVs, microwaves, coffee makers, and blenders. Who knows, you may even decide to shrink 11 big kitchen appliances into one small Lakeland Multichef. And don’t forget about your duplicate drinking glasses, eating utensils, and cooking tools. Those items need to be considered, too.

Also keep an eye on little things like books (here’s how to decide what books to keep or get rid of) and DVDs (here’s how to store and sell DVDs for cash). There’s a good chance the both of you own copies of Almost Famous (or Bad Boys), but you only need one in your new place.

Once you’ve sorted everything to satisfaction, plan out any necessary trips to the storage unit, Goodwill, and/or dumpster. Actually, skip the first two trips we just mentioned because MakeSpace will not only pick up, store, and deliver your stuff back, but we’ll also take your donations to Goodwill (if you live in NYC, Chicago, or Washington, DC).

Then, just to put a bow on everything, pick out one new item for the apartment together. It can be a lamp, a dresser, or just a set of coasters for now.  It’ll help the place feel like a shared space — and give you both an early lesson on making household decisions.

Mistake 8: Not dividing up chores

Who wants to spend all their spare time fighting about dishes? Having a conversation about cleaning responsibilities early can help you avoid a ton of silly arguments about whose turn it is to vacuum.

You don’t need to map out a strict chore schedule, but do talk about expectations and the chores each of you hate doing the most. Maybe you loathe laundry, but your partner doesn’t mind it. Which means your partner can grab that task, while you take care of the porcelain throne scrubbing he/she can’t stand.

If there’s a massive gap between the two of you in terms of tidiness, you might want to hire a cleaning service. That way, the “neat freak” isn’t constantly losing it over the “slob’s” trail of dirty socks.

Mistake 9: Spending all your time together

Just because you live together now doesn’t mean you should be shut-ins. You’re bound to drive each other insane if you spend every spare minute in the apartment, just the two of you. So get outside and spend some time apart.

Go out for drinks with your college friends. Post up in your favorite coffee shop with a new book. Keep up with any hobbies or interests your significant other doesn’t share.

Is there an art exhibit you’re dying to see, that you know isn’t his/her scene?

Go to it by yourself.

Obviously, this doesn’t mean you should ditch date nights, or refuse to hang out with your partner’s friends in favor of your own. It just means you should have an active social life that’s yours.

Giving each other space is key to preserving the peace, especially if you live in a tiny apartment with your significant other. Talk to each other about alone time, because it applies to more than just that standing Margarita Mondays appointment you have with your coworkers.

Sometimes you’re going to be upset or overwhelmed, and you’ll need some space (or perhaps an Ecocapsule) to sort out your feelings before you talk to your partner about it. Make sure your partner knows that it doesn’t mean you’re mad at him/her, or don’t trust him/her.

Maybe you just need to sit alone on the couch for a minute, preferably with a sleeve of Oreos. Your partner can join in later.

Mistake 10: Hiring a shady moving company

It’s tempting to speed through this step. You’ve just spent weeks sorting through your stuff, assigning chores, and having many long, serious talks. Can’t you just pick a mover and be done with it?


If you need to hire movers, don’t solely rely on the first company that appears in Google after you search “cheap movers near me.” Do your research, ask your friends, and compare prices. Sites like imove and Unpakt will help you sift through your best options.

11. Not calling MakeSpace for storage

When it comes to finding storage for the extra Crock-Pot, coat rack, comforter, and mattress in your inventory, don’t go with a random self-storage facility way across town where insane things happen. Go with MakeSpace.

Simply schedule a storage pickup and we’ll pick up all your duplicate stuff — plus that Pasta Boat your partner vetoed.

Next, we’ll transport everything to our secure temperature-controlled storage facility. We’ll even create an online photo catalog of your stuff so you never forget what you have in storage.

But that’s not all. Here’s something you and your new roommate will absolutely love:

When you want something back from storage, simply log into your MakeSpace account, select the item’s photo, and we’ll deliver it to you.

You and your significant other might disagree on how to cook spaghetti, but thanks to MakeSpace, you’ll never disagree on how to store your stuff.