All posts by Sam Radbil

Downsizing 101: How to prep for a huge downsize and new apartment living

Moving is always a challenge—but when you’re downsizing, too? Well, that’s a whole other endeavor. You might be moving from your four-bedroom home of 30 years to a one-bedroom condo, or from your college dorm to a pricey studio in the city. Whatever the state of your downsize, the work involved can be daunting. But! There are ways to prepare for a major relocation that will make the whole process a lot easier.

The stuff.

Chances are, you have too much stuff. Whether it’s a drawer full of clothes you never wear, a bunch of cables whose functions you forgot a long time ago, or a box of scratched albums you have no intention of playing, downsizing is *the* time to finally get rid of them. Sure, some items might be harder to discard than others (like those family heirlooms, for one), but you have to remind yourself that you’re preparing for a new, smaller space.

The point is, you need to get rid of stuff—and there are lots of ways to do just that. Moving sales, garage sales, rummage sales, or even a formal estate sale are all good ways to pare down your belongings. Just make sure to do your research, especially when it comes to third-party consignment estate sale companies. You need to know exactly how they plan to sell your stuff, what percentage they’ll be taking, and how and when you’ll get your money.

The cleaning.

If you’re currently renting, you’ll need to leave your place in good enough condition to get your security deposit back. It may be worthwhile to get a professional cleaning service, as companies like this know what’s necessary for security deposit returns. By using pro cleaners, you’ll be crossing one more thing off of your to-do list, too. (While you’re at it, hire someone to handle your laundry while you’re rushing around planning out the rest of your master downsizing plan.)

The process.

When it comes time to move, make sure you’re organized. Successful packers and movers start with one room at a time, sorting, boxing, and labeling everything before moving onto the next room. The garage and basement are great places to start—and if you save the kitchen for last, you’ll avoid having to live on fast food until you get to your new place.

The movers.

Professional movers are great—and not just those big van line companies. Whether you rent a truck and drive it yourself, get a moving container, or call the local two-guys-and-a-truck company, consider hiring quality helpers to move the big stuff. It’s not fun being stuck on the basement steps with a big washing machine staring you in the face. Nothing will slow down your move like a trip to the emergency room! Do yourself a favor and hire someone else to take care of the heavy lifting for you.

Basically, plan ahead, get rid of unneeded stuff, utilize a cleaning service, and consider professional movers (at least for the heavier items you can’t comfortably carry yourself). If you follow those steps, your major downsizing or first home buying experience will be a lot less stressful.

 

AUTHOR BIO: SAM RADBIL

Sam Radbil is the lead writer for ABODO Apartments, an online real estate and apartments marketplace with available apartments from small towns like Eugene, Oregon to big cities like New York City. ABODO’s research and writing has been featured nationally in Curbed, Forbes, Realtor.com, HousingWire and more. 

5 home improvement projects you can do yourself

As the old saying goes: “an Englishman’s home is his castle.” Whether you’re in England or not, the saying applies to most people who take pride in their homes—and for those who do, the process of home upkeep is ongoing. The good new is, there are tons of updates to your abode you can DIY, so you can keep your home looking great without breaking the bank.

1. Paint almost everything.

It sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised at the number of people who pay for painters and decorators. Sure, it saves a lot of time and effort and provides a professional finish, but painting is one of the easiest, most affordable DIY tasks you can do. And it’s not just walls you can paint! You can refresh your kitchen by repainting old cabinets a bright color, along with your doors, wardrobes, and other wooden furniture. Don’t stick to one solid color either. For a more creative touch, mix it up with stripes, checks, swirls, or any other design that speaks to you.   

2. Switch your lighting.

A simple yet effective update, changing the lights in your home can create a completely different atmosphere. Adding a dimmer switch makes for a cosier environment on chilly winter evenings, while switching out a single light bulb for a small or faux chandelier can add a little elegance to your dining room. You could also change your regular halogen bulbs to colored bulbs, or opt for long-lasting LEDs to save money. Introduce a new (or vintage!) lamp to your space for a classic touch.

3. Create insulated flooring.

The prospect of insulating your home may seem daunting, but it will save you a lot of money on heating bills for years to come. Plus, there are a few easy, eco-friendly ways you can make these updates. All you need are the right tools and some simple know-how. Cork flooring is much easier to install than traditional wooden floorboards, with many panels available that snap together without glue or nails. It’s resilient, stylish, and it sits well on plywood, concrete, or existing flooring to create a comfortable mat that will keep your floor warmer.

4. Install a log store.

If your home already has a wood burner or a traditional fireplace, you’ll still need somewhere to keep your fuel. Building a log store is an incredibly convenient solution that can be done for next to nothing. Most essential is finding the right location. It should be somewhere that’s dry, easily accessible, and elevated enough that the bottom logs won’t get  damp. All you need to build the frame are a few planks of wood, a hammer, and some nails. From there you can stack the logs inside and add a tarp curtain for further protection against the elements.

5. Build some fresh furniture.

As your furniture gets older and experiences more wear and tear, it’s sometimes better to replace it than to go through the work of repairing it. If you’re a decent craftsman, then you may fancy making your own table and chairs. For novices, it’s probably best to start with something small like a stool, then build up to more adventurous items from there. Otherwise, head to your local hardware shop for some flat-pack furniture. Putting this together might prove a challenge but it’s a good place to start and will still be rewarding in the end.

Improving your home can be affordable *and* fulfilling when you do what you can yourself. Just start small and make your way to bigger projects (like building your own furniture). You’ll probably impress yourself—and have some fun along the way!

 

AUTHOR BIO: ED SMITH

Ed Smith, An economics graduate, yet has a love for home improvement. Constantly wanting to find ways to make his home better and likes sharing his tips and ideas with others.