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:
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.
Step 2: Pad the insides of the boxes with towels, sweaters, or sweatshirts.
Your glassware and dishes need a soft bed of packing material to cushion them through transit and while in storage.
Crumpled (not folded) packing paper, bath towels, sweaters, and sweatshirts are all great shock absorbers. Use them to pad the interior top, bottom, and sides of the boxes so your items are protected from all angles.
Step 3: Wrap each piece individually with packing paper first, then bubble wrap.
Fragile items need all the protection they can get. Wrapping each piece separately is your best defense against accidental damage.
Using one sheet of white packing paper (you can use newspaper, but there is potential for ink transfer), insert one corner into the open end of the glass to provide cushioning. Fold both sides of the paper up and over the edges. Tuck sides in as you roll each piece. Do this separately for each glass or dish.
If you must use bubble wrap, do not apply it right onto the glass. If the bubbles come directly in contact with the glass, they could have a sticking or suctioning effect that could break it. Wrap the glass in paper or tissue first, then follow with bubble wrap.
Step 5: Fill any empty space with rolled up packing paper, clean socks, or air-filled packing pillows.
Glasses and dishes prefer to be snug. Fill any empty space between each piece with rolled-up paper, clean socks, air pillows or partially-inflated balloons.
Pack the boxes about three inches from the top, adding a crumpled layer of packing paper or other packing material as the final layer. When closed, the top flaps of the box should be difficult to push down. That way, anything stacked on top of the boxes doesn’t break your items.
Step 6: Tape the boxes shut with packing tape, and label them as “FRAGILE.”
All packed and ready to go?
Schedule a MakeSpace pickup, and let us know you’re storing fragile items. We’ll pick up your stuff, stick a “FRAGILE” sticker on your box containing fragile items, and store everything in our secure storage facility.
The best part:
When you need something back from storage, we’ll deliver it to you.
Congratulations on your new home! Before you pop the champagne, it’s time to get down to business. Moving is no small feat – the sheer amount of planning and coordinating involved is enough to make even the most organized person feel panicked.
No need to stress. These comprehensive moving checklists tell you exactly what to do before and after you’ve settled into your new place, so you can focus on the task at hand instead of worrying you might be forgetting something important.
The list is long, but take it step by step. Soon enough, you’ll be relaxing in your new home, completed to-do list and celebratory glass of bubbly in hand.
As soon as you know you’re moving, walk around your current home and make a list of all the pieces of furniture and indoor and outdoor decor you plan to sell or donate. From there, determine which pieces you can realistically live without until you move into your new home (like the accent chairs you never sit on), and either drop them off at a nearby donation center or begin the selling process online with an app like OfferUp.
Declutter by category and start with whatever feels easiest to you, whether it’s books, clothes, or decor. As you sort through your things, try not to overthink it: If you love something and use it regularly, keep it. If not, let it go.
And remember: Every item you get rid of before your move is one less thing you have to bring with you.
After you scour online reviews and testimonials, narrow your list of moving companies to three or four, then make some calls to get direct quotes. The cost shouldn’t be your sole deciding factor, though – inquire about the company’s insurance policies, timeline, method, and liability practices, too.
4. Stock up on moving supplies.
When you finally get in the flow of packing, you don’t want to halt your progress with a trip to the store for more boxes. Save yourself the hassle and pick up everything ahead of time. Collect different-sized boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap or padded blankets, scissors, trash bags, and tools.
5. Take photos of your house before you pack.
Walk through your space and snap photos of each room from at a least a couple different angles. Include close-ups of gallery walls, styled bookcases, and tabletop surfaces.
That way, when you’re setting up your new home and can’t remember where you hung the bird painting or how you arranged your coffee table books, you’ll have a solid resource to refer to.
6. Complete a change-of-address form.
If you’re game to wait in line, you can do this at your local post office. Otherwise, the quickest and most convenient way to update your address is to visit USPS.com/move.
7. Transfer your utilities.
Gather the contact information for your various utility companies (internet, cable, gas, water electric, trash, sewage), then sit down to make some calls. Schedule the shut-off day for the day following your move, then pay off any existing fees. If you’re using the same providers, you can update your mailing address and schedule an activation day for your new home.
If you’ll have different providers, follow these two steps:
1. Call and schedule activation dates for the day before your move.
2. Give your previous providers your new address in case they have final bills or deposits to send.
8. Back up your computer.
Don’t take any risks when it comes to your computer – back it up in at least two places, like the cloud and a hard-drive backup disk. Do the same with your phone. Your digital information is just as important as your physical stuff, so make sure it’s all protected.
9. Arrange transportation for your pets.
Several weeks before your move, figure out where your pets will be during the process. Are they going to hunker down in the backseat of your car with blankets and toys? Rest in pet cargo on a plane? Stay with a friend until you’re settled in your new place?
Once you’ve taken care of logistics, pack your pet’s food, favorite toys, and medication, as well as any other essentials like pet beds, collars, and leashes.
Moving homes is the perfect excuse to assess whether or not you actually want the newspapers, magazines, and catalogs that arrive in your mail. If you don’t want them, cancel them and rejoice in the extra money you’ll save. If you do want them, call customer service and update your mailing address.
11. Double-check the dimensions of your new home.
You fell in love with a sectional and think it’ll be perfect in your new living room. There’s just one problem:
Now before you start ordering furniture for your new place, be sure you have the measurements and scale right. Note the square footage, ceiling height, and window height of each room, as well as its general configuration and any stand-out characteristics like pony walls or chair rails. Then invest in any of these stylish space-saving sofas that will actually fit in your home.
12. Make copies of important documents.
Dedicate an afternoon to sorting through your files and making copies of insurance papers, medical records, birth certificates, social security cards, and tax returns.
Better yet, scan these papers to your computer (or phone with Scanbot) in case the hard copies get damaged or lost during the move. If you’re worried about keeping private files on your computer, store them in a password-encrypted folder.
13. Pack fragile items first.
Before your energy flags and your motivation inevitably diminishes, focus on safely and efficiently packing fragile items like dishes, art, and holiday decorations. You can save the easy, no-brainer tasks, like packing clothes and linens, for last.
14. Pile heavy items inside your rolling suitcases.
Haul out your rolling luggage and fill it with all the heavy, bulky stuff you don’t want to carry. Think: books, boots, or even bottles of wine and jars of food.
15. Insure your stuff.
Everything you put on a moving truck, especially big items like pianos, chandeliers, and art, should be insured in case it gets damaged or stolen. Check with your homeowner’s insurance provider or ask your moving company if they offer insurance for an additional fee.
Afterward, take inventory of your valuable items. Record their current condition and snap photos in case there’s a dispute or mishandling.
Pack valuable items, like expensive cameras, laptops, jewelry, and passports, in a bag that you carry with you during the move.
17. Donate non-perishable foods.
Despite your best efforts to polish off everything in your pantry, you’ll probably still end up with a couple unopened boxes of pasta, cans of soup, or bottles of olive oil the night before you leave.
If you don’t want to lug these non-perishable foods with you, drop them off at the nearest shelter or church. You can also see if Move for Hunger serves your area.
18. Label your boxes like a boss.
The key to painless unpacking is to over-prepare. Search Pinterest and you’ll find countless ways to label your boxes. You can create a number key, use color-coded tape, or cover each box with detailed Sharpie notes.
However you decide to do it, make sure you record the following three things
Which room the box goes in
A general description of what’s inside the box
A detailed list of the box’s contents
That way you won’t have to dig through three boxes marked “Kitchen Utensils” just to find your whisk.
19. Pack an overnight bag.
Fill a carry-on sized bag with everything you’ll need to get settled into your new home, like toiletries, medication, pajamas, shoes, and a couple days’ worth of outfits.
1. Take photos of your place and note any damages.
Before you start schlepping boxes and moving furniture inside your new place, do a quick walk-through and record any existing damages. Take photos of broken window treatments, carpet stains, chipped paint, or anything else significant.
2. Inspect your boxes.
Go through your boxes and look for tears, dents, or any kind of mishandling so you can report it to the moving company if needed.
3. Clean up.
Even if you’ve already given your place a deep cleaning, it’s still a good idea to spruce it up before you move everything in. Vacuum the carpet, wipe down countertops, and dust drawers and shelves before you put anything away.
4. Set up the bathroom.
Right away, make sure you have a functional and clutter-proof bathroom. Hang a shower curtain and stock the bathroom with plenty of toilet paper and hand soap.
Your utilities should be activated by this point, but it’s still a good idea to double-check that everything is working properly. While you’re at it, make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are on and loaded with fresh batteries.
6. Set up your technology.
Take the time to hook up your TV or plug in your desktop monitor. The unpacking process will be so much more enjoyable if you can stream your favorite Netflix show or listen to Spotify as you unload boxes.
7. Check the fridge.
Plug in your fridge and set it to 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Keep your freezer at zero.
8. Unpack the kitchen.
Unpacking the kitchen is a tedious process, so it’s smart to get started right away. Don’t worry about organizing everything in your kitchen perfectly yet. Start by putting away the basics, like pots, pans, dishes, mugs, and silverware. Go ahead and set up everyday appliances like coffee makers, toasters, and microwaves, too.
9. Make the beds.
Spend a few minutes making your bed with fresh sheets and your favorite comforter or duvet.
A cozy bed instantly makes a new space feel more familiar and lived-in, and you won’t have to stress about sleeping on a bare mattress when you hit the wall after a long day of unpacking.
10. Go shopping for essentials.
Before you’re completely zapped of energy, take a quick trip to the grocery store to load up on a few snacks and easy meal staples to hold you over as you settle in.
11. Let MakeSpace pickup and store your extra stuff
Moving: it’s exciting, exhausting, and seriously stressful. Finding and securing a new home is challenging enough, but the actual process of moving – the packing, the schlepping, the logistics – can easily send you into meltdown mode if you’re not properly prepared.
That’s why it helps to have a working knowledge of the most common moving predicaments you might find yourself in, plus how to handle them. Below, we talk to professional organizers and moving gurus for their advice about what steps to take to ensure a smooth, pain-free move.
Read on for eight expert solutions to your toughest moving problems.
The Problem: You waited too long to book a moving company.
If you wait until the last minute to reserve the help of a moving company, you may find that your top choices are already booked up. “This leads to customers having to go with moving companies with less-than-reputable reputations,” says Dan Heydebrand, Owner of Lift NYC Movers.
Heydebrand says it’s crucial to finalize your moving date as soon as possible so you can schedule a reliable moving company. “To find a good moving company, check reviews online,” says Heydebrand. “A few bad reviews is normal and OK as long as the vast majority of reviews are positive,” he explains.
Another pro tip: If your friend recommends a good moving company, ask if the company gives discounts for referrals, suggests Heydebrand. “Moving companies love repeat customers and usually have some incentive to keep them coming back year after year,” he explains.
“The most common problem I encounter with clients is that they leave the packing to the last minute,” says Professional Organizer Abbey Claire Keusch. Think: clothes still folded in the closet, art still hanging on the walls, and miscellaneous items covering every countertop.
When you’re scrambling to pack your stuff, you’re more likely to toss things in boxes without a clear organizational strategy. This can make the unpacking process much more tedious and confusing than it needs to be.
“As soon as you know you’re moving, start packing,” says Keusch. Gather packing supplies (like boxes, packing paper, bubble wrap, and tape), then start with the stuff you use less frequently or don’t need on a daily basis, Keusch says. “Pack like items together and clearly label each box. [Then] stack the boxes out of the way,” she advises.
Heydebrand also suggests reaching out to your moving company for extra assistance. “If you want help or feel overwhelmed by packing, just call the movers and let them know in advance,” he says. “They can bring extra guys or extra materials to ensure there are no last-minute surprises.”
The Problem: Your stuff requires special packaging.
“People often forget that some of their items need special care,” says Nimrod Sheinberg, Sales Manager for Oz Moving & Storage in New York City. Things like flat-screen TVs, art, mirrors, dishes, computer monitors, lamps, chandeliers, and certain pieces of furniture require extra time and attention. “Most of these items need to be disassembled prior to being moved, [while] others need specific packing instruction, like antiques that need crates and extreme care to prevent damage,” Sheinberg explains.
As early as possible, start gathering the necessary supplies for packing your fragile items. This includes the sturdy boxes your stuff was originally packaged in. As Sheinberg says, “Remember how things entered the apartment, because that’s how they will need to leave.”
A few weeks prior to your move, give your movers a detailed inventory of all your belongings that require special packaging or handling. That way, they can allot space for these items in the moving truck and schedule enough time to help you pack and transport them.
The Problem: Your new building has time restrictions on service entrance or elevator access.
Many apartment buildings, especially in big cities like New York, have limited access to service entrances or elevators. “It happens a lot where a customer will ask us to be at their pick-up building at 8 a.m. because they want to get an early start, but most elevator buildings in Manhattan will not allow movers into the building until 9 a.m.,” says Heydebrand.
He also says certain housing complexes don’t allow movers to remain in the building past a certain hour, which could mean you won’t have enough time to unload everything if you schedule an afternoon move.
The best way to avoid a time conflict, Heydebrand says, is to speak with the building’s super or management about their policies and restrictions ahead of time, then plan your moving schedule accordingly. “Give your movers some extra time, considering traffic and other things that might cause a delay in getting to the new building,” he advises.
Downsizing your stuff is a key step in the packing process. It’s also one that, if you skip, inevitably complicates your entire move. Barbara Reich, Professional Organizer and author of Secrets of an Organized Mom, says not purging before your move means you either: 1) end up spending money to move things you’ll eventually throw away in your new home or 2) waste time trying to get rid of things as the movers help you pack.
“Whether it is something that you no longer find useful, that is broken, or that you just don’t want, take time before you pack up to get rid of the stuff that you should be donating or throwing out, anyway,” says Michelle Hale, organizer and co-founder of Henry & Higby. “Plus, getting rid of those items before the move helps make the move-in process quicker because you won’t be wasting time sorting the items in your new home,” she explains.
The Problem: Your furniture won’t fit in your new home.
“If certain items do not fit in elevators or up the stairs, or even in the apartment with your other furniture, the movers will have to charge a fee to bring the items to the dump unless you can figure something else out,” explains Heydebrand. To make matters more difficult, “most buildings will not let you throw away bulky items such as furniture,” he says, “and you can get a ticket for leaving bulky items outside in the street.”
“Create a floor plan for the new space and map out where each piece will go,” Keusch advises. Measure your furniture, and be sure to take into account your new home’s square footage, ceiling height, and window height, as well as the specific layout of each room. “Leave yourself enough time to either sell or donate anything that won’t fit, or is no longer needed,” Keusch says.
The Problem: You don’t know where things are going in your new place.
“Don’t let your movers (and their muscles) go to waste during the move-in process by having them put boxes and furniture just anywhere in the house,” says Hale.
If you don’t have a system in place for directing your movers and determining where your various boxes and pieces of furniture should end up, your stuff will be scattered everywhere.
“Take time before the move to plot out where all of your furniture and stuff should go, and then start packing accordingly,” advises Hale. She recommends labeling your boxes with their contents, then color-coding them by room so you know exactly where each one is headed.
“Then make sure you have at least one person directing the movers so boxes end up in their final destination and furniture is placed right the first time,” Hale says. “This will help minimize the amount of heavy moving you need to do on your own so that you save your back and can focus on unpacking and getting organized in your new space,” she explains.
The Problem: You didn’t pack your essentials separately.
After a long day of moving, the last thing you want to do is rummage through five boxes marked “bathroom” just to find the toilet paper. Or spend 40 minutes ransacking every bag searching for your iPhone charger. Or wear the same clothes for two days because your extra T-shirts are piled beneath bags of shoes and winter coats.
You get the idea: Packing a separate bag with your MEIs (Most Essential Items) is imperative.
“Pack an overnight bag with jewelry, valuables, important documents, clothing for the next day, and toiletries,” advises Reich. Don’t forget other necessities like chargers, laptops, reading glasses, earplugs, eye masks, medication, and food for your pets (check out our ultimate guide to moving safely with your beloved cats and dogs).
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? Comedians.
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
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.”
“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.
A post shared by Whitney Cummings (@whitneycummings) on
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 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
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.
“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
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.
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.
Without a solid organization system, storage closets often end up serving as the drop point for all the stuff you can’t fit anywhere else in your home.
Before you know it, that heap of cleaning rags and kitchen appliances has become so massive you can barely shut the closet door.
If the chaos in your storage closet has rendered it either nonfunctional or very distressing to use (see above scenario), don’t despair. You can turn it around with some thoughtful planning – plus a couple strategic wall hooks.
Read on for 13 tips about how to organize a smart storage closet that actually makes your life easier.
1. Figure out what you need to store in your storage closet
To prevent things from getting out of hand, make a list of items you absolutely need to store that don’t already have a designated space in your home. Maybe it’s your vacuum and extra linens, or your snow gear (like skis and snowboards) and sports equipment.
2. Use shelves and built-in rods to create different sections
Take advantage of existing storage systems in your closet to serve as obvious dividers between your stuff. Then organize things by category or likeness. If your closet is empty, install a coat rack, tension rod, or pair of shelves to double your available space — we promise those two hours of DIY work will be so worth it.
Corralling your cleaning products into a single bin with a handle accomplishes two things: 1) It keeps all your sprays and disinfectants in one place, and 2) it makes household cleaning easier because you can grab the bin and carry it anywhere.
Take advantage of vertical wall space — no matter how narrow — to hang brooms, dustpans, and mops from sturdy hooks. This method keeps your cleaning tools neat and organized while also opening up your floor space.
5. Utilize vertical space on the back of the door
You can use the back of a door to hang just about anything. Take a cue from Organizing Made Fun and install wire baskets to hold cleaning products, extra cloths, and paper bags.
Or hang wall hooks to store purses, bags, or backpacks, like in the picture below.
6. Limit hanging clothes to seasonal outerwear only
Don’t bring your entire wardrobe into your storage closet. If you plan on hanging clothes, limit your choices to items you reach for on your way out the door. Think seasonal necessities like coats, jackets, and scarves.
To keep your floor space clear and uncluttered, store suitcases horizontally on your highest shelves. Just make sure the suitcases are empty and your shelves are sturdy — you don’t want to get knocked in the head when you’re reaching for the vacuum.
8. Use boxes with labels
You can store everything from DVDs and paper files to table linens and extra Kleenex in matching boxes. Label each box with a detailed description of its contents so you never have to rummage through your stuff to find what you’re looking for.
9. Store blankets in a stylish basket
Tuck extra throw blankets into a chic basket you can transport to the living room when the weather starts to get chilly.
10. Use wall hooks to hang backpacks and bags
The genius of a wall hook lies in its simultaneous simplicity and versatility. Mount it wherever there’s an extra foot of space in your closet, and suddenly you have a spot to hang your favorite purse, reusable grocery bag, briefcase, or umbrella.
11. Use plastic drawers for smaller items
Plastic drawers are perfect for storing smaller items like cleaning rags, medicine, first aid kit supplies, tools, craft materials, or extra toiletries.
12. Use a utility cart
A utility cart is a smart way to store the stuff you need to access easily. Bonus points if it rolls. You can organize it according to a theme — cleaning materials, household tools, office supplies — or just fill each shelf with whatever fits neatly.
13. Store your stuff with MakeSpace
For everything you can’t fit in your storage closet, use MakeSpace.
Simply schedule a pickup and pack your stuff. We’ll grab everything from your home and transport it to our secure, temperature-controlled storage facility.
And when you need your surfboard or set of golf clubs back, just browse the convenient online photo catalog of your stuff, click the item’s photo, and we’ll deliver it straight to you.
But really, don’t hold back. If you come across things you haven’t used in over a year, it’s time to let it go. And with the cash you’ll make from the yard sale, you’ll be able to buy things that you *will* want to use.
When to host a yard sale
Give yourself ample time to plan and prepare for the yard sale. If you’re hosting one with multiple people, it might take longer to get everyone on the same page.
Check the weather. Then check it again. Plan for a day that won’t rain, and make sure it’s not going to be too hot.
Also, don’t plan a yard sale on a major holiday as people will probably be out of town. Or they’ll have plans instead of just wandering around town for a yard sale. Not that there’s anything wrong with wandering around town, looking for a yard sale.
Definitely host your yard sale on a weekend since that’s when most people aren’t working. Ideally, host it on Saturday and Sunday to get the most traffic. More traffic = more sales.
Start early. Like 7 AM early. Early birds walking around their neighborhood love to poke around yard sales. Ideally you’ll be open all day. Even more ideally, you’ll have friends that can join you so you can work in shifts. Basically you’ll want to camp out on your lawn all day to be available to the most amount of people.
Pro Tip: Know when people get paid, and plan accordingly. If most of the people in your neighborhood work for companies that pay them every other Friday, host your yard sale the following weekend.
What to do a week before
Do loads of prep work. Grab tables. Find cardboard for signs, and put the signs up a few days ahead of time. Make sure your signs have all the basics:
The words “yard sale”
An arrow pointing to your place
Feel free to also get crafty and employ your design skills.
In addition to physical signs, post on Craigslist, tell all your friends, and write something about it on Facebook. Spreading the word is essential to having a big turnout.
Get pricing stickers from a dollar store when you’re grabbing sign supplies, too. If you’re having a sale with a few friends or families, assign each group a different color sticker. That way you’re not wondering whose grandmother’s vase that is when a customer tries to buy it.
Plus, having more families means you can advertise that on your signs, which is an instant crowd winner. You can also choose the person’s yard with the best location. Choose an active residential neighborhood with a mix of ages.
Coordinate how you’ll set things up, who will run and get lunch, and what everyone’s roles are the day before. Price all your items the day before (more on that in section #5). And set the items aside so that when you’re ready to haul them to the sale or to your front yard, you’re not struggling to find anything.
It’s also a good idea to get your cash and cash drawer squared away before the day of the yard sale. Always over-estimate the amount of change you’ll need, especially if you plan on selling a range of higher and lower priced items.
It’s always better to have more change than not enough. The last thing you want to do is risk turning someone away because you don’t have the right change to give him/her.
What to do on the day of your yard sale
We said it once before, and we’ll say it again: Get up early, even if you’ve done your prep work the night before.
Ready your team. Go over the game plan once more if you’re working in shifts.
Set up your tables and other displays in a way that’s easy to navigate and visually appealing. Your curbside appeal is a major ticket into getting traffic to your sale.
Keep an eye on your merchandise. If you have valuables out, make sure someone is watching them at all times. Also, make sure your items are displayed safely. There’s nothing worse than propping a vintage mirror up against a wobbly table and having to clean up shards of broken glass if a gust of wind knocks it down.
Have some bags on hand. This step is easy to forget, but your shoppers will appreciate it. It’s also an awesome way to get rid of those plastic bags you have in your kitchen cabinets.
Another good idea is to keep some newspaper around if you’re selling breakable stuff. Keep some under a rock near your bags and cash so that you can quickly wrap items after a purchase.
Don’t get overzealous and put out *too* much stuff. It can overwhelm guests if they see rows and rows of clothes to look through. Be discerning: Put out the things you’re more confident will sell. Donate the rest.
Check through everything once more beforehand. Make sure there aren’t any old family photos used as bookmarks in books, or wads of cash stuffed in old jacket pockets.
Last but not least: Maintain your cool. While it can be stressful dealing with strangers all day haggling over prices, niceness will ensure you can have many more yard sales in the future.
How to price yard sale items
When pricing an item, consider what you spent, how long you’ve had it, and most importantly, how much you’d actually pay for it if you came across it for the first time. People are coming to your yard sale for a deal.
For your more valuable items, you may want to sell them on Craigslist, Ebay, OfferUp, or Facebook Marketplace to get the best offer.
Either put price stickers on your items (as mentioned before), write down the price on a card stationed nearby if it’s a larger item, or get ready to have people asking you what the prices of things are. Avoid winging it. Think of the prices ahead of time. You don’t want to be caught off guard and accidentally give something away for much less than it’s worth.
Pro Tip: Price things in 25 cent increments, so you’ll only need quarters.
Price most things to move. Get in the mindset to get rid of the stuff you no longer need. Some things, like more expensive items or ones that you’re really trying to make money off of, can be priced accordingly.
If you have a bunch of one item, like DVDs, price them all the same and put them in a box. Offer bundle deals too, like 1 for $2 or 5 for $8, and be open to offers on multiple items for a lower price.
You’ll be interacting with strangers, so get ready. Introverts be warned: This yard sale may drain you. The day will be long. Bring a book for downtimes. And make sure you’ve got a chair to sit on.
If it’s sunny that day, give yourself, and if possible everyone else, some shade. Your customers will appreciate it.
Have food handy, or have a friend watch your stuff while you go grab food. This will give you a much needed break in the middle of the day.
Finally, expect to fill spots once things start to sell. You want to always be curating the space and making sure there aren’t holes in your display.
Extra points for creativity
This is where the fun comes in. If you’re design-savvy, show off your skills by making your displays beautifully cohesive. Organize by color, add decorations, or pretend like this is a vintage store you own.
Offer drinks. You don’t have to go too crazy. Some iced-down soda from Costco will be a godsend at a yard sale on a hot day.
If you have kids and aren’t able to get a sitter, give them the task of running a lemonade stand. Who knows, you might make some extra cash there, too.
Set out some mystery grab bags. Organize things by category, like children’s toys, rom-com DVDs, paints, and silverware. Then put them all in their own brown paper bags, staple them shut, label them, and sell them for a flat $5 or $10.
If you’ve got Square, use it. Although Square takes a percentage of every transaction, you’ll sell more items than if you’re only accepting cash. You can even advertise “credit and debit cards accepted” on your signs.
Put on music. Make it a party. You’ll want the music to be inoffensive and easy for people of all ages to listen to. (That means no heavy metal or dubstep.)
Although it might be tempting to leave your signs and tables up until the next day, don’t do it. It’s best to get it out of the way that evening so you don’t need to think about it later. And because you’ll be doing this during summer, you’ll have plenty of time after you’ve closed up shop to pick up those signs while there’s still light left.
Remember, you can always donate things you don’t sell, or do a swap meet party with friends after.
And keep this rule: Don’t let an unsold item come back into your home. You’ve already mentally prepared to let it go. If an item doesn’t sell, then donate, gift, recycle, or toss it.
Finally, treat yourself to a nice dinner with the cash you made! Order in through DoorDash so that you don’t have to talk to any more strangers.
This article was written by Hannah Van Arsdale, a freelance writer and dog person based in Portland, OR.
The Office is one of those shows that will stand the test of time. It’s hilarious, hardly (if at all) problematic, and great for binge watching. It’s what we all wish our work environment could be like… minus the dysfunction, lack of professionalism, and the fact that Creed works there, of course.
The Office can also teach us valuable life lessons, like the following:
Don’t dress up as a cheerleader on Diwali.
Party planning committee disputes can get pretty heated.
Dating your coworker will always be a bad idea (unless you’re Jim and Pam).
Some other things it can teach us? Mostly what not to do when it comes to design and storage. (Plus, a few things we totally wish we could.)
In no particular order, here are 13 design and storage lessons we can all learn from The Office:
Imagine your office has a gym. Not just any gym, but the perfect gym. A gym with a full spectrum of weights, machines, cardio options, and places to stretch out. Now throw out all those ideas and replace them with random farm equipment. That’s the kind of gym Dwight made for Darryl on The Office.
This makeshift gym includes:
A huge tire hanging from the ceiling that you can hit with a sledgehammer
A yoke made from buckets filled with gravel
Sheets of tin to cut
Phone books to rip with your bare hands
Whether you want to switch the elliptical for a tractor is up to you. We’ll stick with our Y membership for now.
You’ll triple your work space and annoy your coworkers at the same time.
But beware: This might prod your coworker into creating a quad desk to spite you.
5. And Jim’s Quad Desk
Yep, that brings us to Jim’s quad desk. In an act of retaliation against Dwight’s mega-desk, Jim created the quad desk by stacking his on top of Dwight’s and Pam’s.
Standing desks are old news. Quad desks are where it’s at. No, you don’t get any of the benefits of standing at your desk. Yes, you do get to survey all your coworkers from a higher perch. And they won’t be able to get any work done because you’ll be taking up all their desk space.
6. And that time Jim made Dwight’s desk out of wrapping paper
Want to annoy your coworkers and give your office a festive feeling?
Swap out their desk for one made of wrapping paper.
Sure, it’s really not functional – at all. You might get written up by HR, but boy will you be able to feel the holiday spirit. And expect to find a lump of coal in your stocking.
7. …And toy bricks
Okay, there’s no excuse for this one other than Jim wanted to piss Dwight off. Did he succeed? Of course he did. Which is probably why he keeps coming up with elaborate ways to mess with Dwight’s desk.
If you sincerely like the toy block aesthetic, you can make this DIY Lego table or use EverBlocks instead. And spare your coworkers the pain of realizing you’ve replaced their desk with Legos.
8. …And put it in the bathroom
You don’t need to be a feng shui expert to understand that putting your desk in the bathroom can’t be good for your work flow. But that’s what Jim did to Dwight’s desk in yet another one of his pranks.
Look, you may be tempted to move your own desk into the bathroom just for the ease of not having to walk back and forth from your desk to the bathroom, but take our word for it – don’t do that.
9. Storing your George Foreman grill next to your bed
Not storing a hot grill near your bed is common knowledge. Michael Scott doesn’t have a lot of that.
Learn from his mistakes. Don’t put your grill near your bed, or even in your bedroom for that matter. Store it out of reach, and don’t keep it running while you’re sleeping. (These tips are mainly for Michael Scott.)
10. Throwing a garden party
Ever wanted to throw a garden party?
You might not want to read anything written by a James Trickington on the subject, because that’s actually Jim.
In this episode, Jim writes a wacko how-to manual on garden parties. Dwight, being Dwight, goes along with the entire thing. This include screaming the names of the guests as they approach. And stopping all festivities in the middle of the party to do an elaborate dance.
Curious about how to actually throw a garden party?
We’re all guilty of doing it: When there’s something we need to hang onto, but don’t want to think about, we store it out of sight. No wonder Michael, who hates Toby’s guts, placed his desk in the annex next to lovebirds Kelly and Ryan.
Instead of doing this in your home with an item you want to keep but temporarily forget about, follow the KonMari method. Let go of the item for good. And by “item” we mean “stuff.” Not an actual HR employee.
12. Storing golden tickets
Strategic planning is key when it comes to storing your stuff.
It’s also key when it comes to doling out golden tickets that give your paper clients 10% off for a year. Unfortunately, Michael Scott didn’t plan strategically, and ended up placing all of the golden tickets into one shipment for the same client.
From this, we can learn about the precious tool of strategy.
13. Designing Cafe Disco
Now this is something you might actually want to create for yourself. In one episode, Michael opens up an espresso bar and dance zone in his failed “Michael Scott Paper Company” space within Dunder Mifflin’s office. He entices fellow employees with all-you-can-drink espresso and blaring music. Although it takes a while for folks to join in, they eventually do, and even Jim and Pam in wedding clothes stop in after eloping.
This might inspire you to make your own “Cafe Disco” at your own office, but this might be easier to do if you work from home. If you work in an office, just check with HR first (and make sure your HR representative isn’t Toby).
This article was written by Hannah Van Arsdale, a freelance writer and dog person based in Portland, OR.
Maybe your wallet is overflowing with receipts. Maybe your desk drawers are crammed with wedding invitations and old Christmas cards. Or maybe you have piles of bank statements and bills shoved in the far corner of your kitchen counter.
Let’s face it: Paper clutter is one of the worst offenders. It accumulates quickly and can be totally overwhelming if you don’t deal with it on a daily basis.
But, thankfully, all it takes to banish paper clutter from your home are a few clever tricks and well-implemented organization systems.
Follow these 13 incredibly effective steps to organize, store, and get rid of your paper clutter for good.
1. Go paperless with bank statements and bills
The first step to decluttering your paper is to stop all future paper items from entering your home.
How, you ask?
Transfer everything online. Most banks and major utility companies offer the choice to stop receiving statements and notifications in the mail — all you have to do is ask.
First, gather every bit of paper in your house. Don’t forget to check the junk drawers for crumpled take-out menus, instruction manuals, and neighborhood flyers.
Then, sort everything into three piles: Recycle, Scan, or Save.
Put important documents like tax returns, medical files, insurance papers, and leases into a pile to be scanned onto your computer for safekeeping. Save any special photos or sentimental cards you absolutely can’t bear to part with, then recycle everything else.
There are so many different types of filing systems, but the best ones all have a few things in common: They’re logically organized, easy to access, and spacious enough to store new documents over time.
Consider your available space before you buy new filing equipment. If you have open desk drawers, metal file rails work great. If you have tons of closet space, go for portable file bins.
Next, stock up on file folders and separate everything into categories. Make sure you cover all the bases (Pet, Home, Medical, Creative, Work, Kids, etc.) and be as specific as possible with your labels.
Give big categories like “Finances” their own folders with additional files for specific types of documents like “Tax Returns” or “Bills.”
6. Put a recycling bag or bin near your front door
Before you even bring mail into the house, pause by your front door to toss everything you know you don’t need — like flyers, advertisements, coupons, and junk mail.
Then whenever you’re on the way out the door, grab the bag and dump your paper in the recycling bin.
7. Create a “Take Action” station for papers that need to be dealt with
Put all papers that require action on your part — RSVP cards to mail, forms to sign, letters to send — in one designated spot. You could hang papers on a giant kitchen message board, stack them in a mail organizer on your entryway table, or place them in a shallow tray on your desk. Whatever works best for you.
To prevent your station from turning into a dumping zone, make a daily or bi-weekly appointment with yourself to take care of the papers and clear the space.
8. Store coupons in a binder
Coupons can be a major culprit of paper clutter. You find them, clip them with enthusiasm, then stash them in your junk drawer to expire and collect dust.
If your urge to be thrifty is interfering with your space and sanity, you need a better solution.
Binders. Or index card cases. Or any other middle school necessity. Just be sure to store the binder in your car or purse so you’ll actually use it when you go shopping.
9. Store important receipts in a binder, too
Like coupons, receipts can be organized in a small binder.
Make sure you store the binder in a convenient place so you have no excuse not to add new receipts to it at the end of every week.
10. Use a calendar
You don’t need to save event flyers or invitations if you have a calendar where you can record all your upcoming activities.
A digital calendar is ideal, but if you want to see your weekly schedule without having to unlock your phone, buy a desk or wall calendar.
Every time you get a new piece of paper that details an upcoming event, just transfer the information to your calendar and recycle the paper.
11. Hang photos, or put them in an album
Don’t let your precious memories sit in a box under the bed. If you have a bunch of printed photos hidden away, give them new life: Put them in an album, frame them, or hang them on a cork board so you can enjoy them every day.
The key to using and enjoying your stuff on a regular basis is to store it in a place that makes sense. Here are three simple and highly-effective ideas:
Keep the paper items you use every day in plain sight. Put new magazines on your coffee table, stationery on your desk, and so on.
Store sentimental items like cards, school papers, and souvenirs in pretty boxes or baskets to display on bookcases and shelves. You’re more likely to look through your mementos every now and then if they’re not tucked away in a closet.
Keep all your craft and office-related paper goods (like extra printer paper, notebooks, and sticky notes) in the same area.
Simply schedule a pickup and pack your stuff. We’ll pick up everything from your home, transport it to our secure, temperature-controlled storage facility, and create a convenient online photo catalog of your stuff.
Then when you want something back from storage, just log into your MakeSpace account, click the item’s photo, and we’ll deliver it straight to you.
Home, sweet home! It’s where you recharge, reboot, and rejuvenate for the outside world. Isn’t it about time you return the favor?
Not convinced? Consider this: the average home is host to almost 600 chemicals. That’s right, even the tidiest home may accidentally be inviting unwelcome toxins in seemingly innocuous forms.
Don’t worry – we’re not going to recommend a juice cleanse for your abode. Just follow these six simple steps to make sure your home is as healthy as it is happy.
1. Consider a no-shoes policy
The first step is the most literal: your shoes. In addition to the obvious dirt and mud, footwear can track significant unseen grime into your home.
Just think about all the places you’ve visited while out and about: gas stations, public restrooms, city streets, and so on. One study found there’s a 26.4% chance your kicks picked up a nasty, quick-spreading bacteria known as C. diff, while another study detected traces of E. coli in the soles of city slickers.
The best and easiest way to prevent toxins from coming inside is to leave your pumps at the doorstep. (Unfortunately, merely wiping at the doormat doesn’t effectively clean your shoe bottom, but rather increases exposure to pre-existing dirt.)
As an indoor alternative, you could go barefoot, or rock designated inside slippers. Here’s how to politely enforce a shoe-free rule in your home.
2. Get squeaky clean while going green
The key component of any detox is a thorough cleanse. But before you reach for the bleach, consider the potential impact of steady exposure to such ingredients. According to the Environmental Working Group, a number of conventional cleaning products pose health risks, ranging from triggering asthma to developing cancer and reproductive issues. Lingering fumes can enter the lungs and cause additional health issues.
Since cleaning companies aren’t legally required to include a list of ingredients in their products, your best bet is to stick with certified Green Seal or ECOLOGO varieties. Steer clear of products containing ammonia and chlorine, which may cause respiratory issues and skin irritation. (You can make your own cleaning staples with a few simple, natural ingredients.)
While cleaning, the EWG recommends leaving windows open to reduce air pollution – this should speed up the detoxing process as well.
When shopping for skin care – essentially items ranging from soaps and shampoos to shaving creams, deodorant, lotions, and even baby powder – it’s helpful to be aware of any red-flag ingredients. The EWG has an ongoing database that ranks the hazard level of more than 60,000 products, in an effort to overcome what it dubs “deficiencies in cosmetics regulations.”
To stay on the safe side, in general the EWG recommends avoiding products that contain parabens, phthalates, fragrance mixtures, and various preservatives. As an alternative, consider opting for organic companies or making your own products. Here are DIY recipes for toothpaste, deodorant, and sunscreen.
Despite all your clean-kitchen practices, your home’s hearth could be loaded with toxins you’re not even aware of.
Plastic, for example, contains bisphenol-A (commonly referred to as “BPA”). It’s been linked to a slew of issues, ranging from early-onset puberty in females to breast cancer and infertility. BPA is found in many plastic vessels, such as water bottles and food storage, as well as most canned goods.
To rid your kitchen of this near-ubiquitous chemical, consider making a couple switches. Glass containers are generally considered safer for food storage, and cling wrap can be swapped for reusable beeswax ones. And though about 90% of us have BPA in our system, it’s got a short lifespan and will exit shortly if eliminated.
Another potential source of chemicals?
Your eggs’ beloved non-stick pan.
Teflon contains perfluorinated chemicals, which have been suggested to be linked to cancer, thyroid diseases, and weakened immune systems. (When placed over high heat, the emitted chemicals also kills birds.) The safest high-heat alternatives are cast iron, ceramic, and glassware.
5. Quench your thirst with cleaner water
Don’t freak out: Tap water in the U.S. is still among the safest in the world. But relatively lax regulations allow for things like herbicides to seep into pipes and taint the quality of our most vital liquid. There have even been reports that the same chemicals found in Teflon recently contaminated the water in 27 states.
And bottled water threatens more than just BPA. One study found that 22% of tested brands contained chemicals that exceeded state health limits.
So what’s your best bet for keeping your kitchen pure, while also getting hydrated?
One option is to rely on a UV home water treatment. These install directly to the sink and ensure the water is safe for drinking. You could also use it in your pool for additional toxic prevention.
But when it’s wintertime (or summer, and the A/C is cranking!), did you know you can also enlist the help of your beloved fern to eliminate indoor pollutants? The Boston Fern removes more formaldehyde than any other plant. Other go-green greens include peace lilies and the near-indestructible Golden Pothos.
Take it a step further and clean out your vents and air ducts (here’s how). Particularly sensitive types may want to invest in an air purifier, too. Even carpets may trap particles and create additional discomfort.
Going forward, remember to ventilate while cooking, eliminate odors with baking soda rather than processed air fresheners, and pay special attention to the air during cleaning, when dust is more likely to rise.
These six simple steps will restore your home to the haven it is, and likely reduce health risks to boot.
This article was written by Marie Nieves, a student and a blogger who loves unusual trips, gadgets, and creative ideas. For her articles, she often consults decor specialists, home organization experts, and other blogger experts.
Nobody enjoys moving – As far as we know, the song “I like to move it move it” isn’t exactly referring to a home relocation.
But lug it or loathe it, moving season is currently in full swing. These 20 apps and services make the act of schlepping all your stuff from point A to point B miraculously less of a headache. Now if you could only get “I like to move it move it” out of your head.
Searching for an apartment can feel like a marathon and a sprint at the same time, especially in a big city. If you take too much time to gather paperwork or weigh your options, you could lose out on the apartment of your dreams. Pace yourself with Zumper.
With over a million listings, you can get real-time alerts about new apartments before they hit other popular rental sites. Plus, they provide landlords with digital credit reports and instant rental applications so that you’re closer to the finish line without the extra stress or effort.
Hit your stride with Zumper, and find a place that’s your new personal best.
2. Take the “ugh” out of apartment hunting with PadMapper
You think finding a new place to live should be a safe, easy, and straightforward process? It’s not crazy talk, after all! Padmapper plots all available apartments on a map, then lets you filter out the $5,000-a-month rentals (yeah, right), the long-term leases (just in case), the 2 bedrooms (no roommates, please), and the places that don’t take dogs (Mr. Bojangles is practically your child).
Apartment hunting doesn’t have to be a series of unanswered emails and landlords that give off a creepy vibe. PadMapper makes sure of it.
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.
What do you do when your brand-new housemate steals all your belongings, then flees? If you’re Ajay Yadav, you invent an entire app designed to ease the plight of finding urban housing.
Unlike traditional niche outlets (Craigslist fails to identify more than half of scam rental listings on its sites), Roomi is refreshingly transparent. You sign up with your Facebook or email account, pen your bio, and answer five simple-yet-potential-deal-breaker Qs (smoker? morning bird? cat fanatic?). Then you’re free to swipe through potential homes and homies, and coordinate viewings using the built-in chat feature.
5. Take stock of your home-buying needs with TripleMint
It’s interesting that traditional real estate brokerages focus on the agent before the customer, because last time we checked, the agent wasn’t the one shelling out big bucks to find a place to call “home.” Likewise, sellers weren’t paying their agent top dollar not to receive the same in return for their home.
TripleMint’s software-powered approach remedies these situations and more. Using predictive analytics, they can anticipate the future of the market. You receive data on when sellers are most likely to transact and which buyers are most likely to buy, giving you more choices and a better way to decide between them.
A process that makes every transaction faster, smarter, and more successful? Triple check.
6. Label and locate every box with Sortly
When popping open a bottle of red to celebrate the first leg of your big move, which of the following best describes your hunt for the bottle opener?
Option A: Somewhere underneath a mountain of half-sorted, scattered cardboard boxes.
Option B: Not sure. Let’s just push the cork in.
Option C: Found it! I simply typed “bottle opener” into my Sortly app, and located the tagged, QR-labeled box in seconds.
Yeah, we’d opt for C, too.
Using customizable tags, off-the-shelf QR tags, and searchable labels, the Sortly app takes the guesswork out of unpacking. Cheers to that!
There’s nothing quite like moving to make you reevaluate an item’s presence in your life. Like the food processor you used for one epic pesto night – and then totally forgot about. Or the bulky speakers you stopped using when Alexa entered your life.
Enter OfferUp: Like a garage sale, it’s a quick and efficient way to make moolah off your gently used goods. Unlike a garage sale, you don’t have to sit around haggling with neighbors in the heat.
8. Chipolo. Because remembering where you left your keys is hard.
If losing your phone in a couch cushion incites a similar panic to when it’s really, actually, not-in-your-house lost, you need Chipolo.
Attach Chipolo to your keys, wallet, phone, bag, or anything else that would put a damper on your day if it went missing. If you’re having trouble finding an item, you can ring it via the app, and the melody will play at an impossible-to-ignore 100 decibels until it’s been located.
You can even seek the help of other Chipolo users if your item is on the loose. Simply tap the “Notify When Found” button in the Chipolo app, and the whole community anonymously joins in on the search. Convenience and camaraderie in the palm of your hand.
Even in the most organized move, tiny details have a tendency to fly under the radar. Did you remember to send your new address to your alumni newsletter?
Then there’s all the DMV paperwork. And are you switching cable companies or what?
If you find yourself repeatedly on hold while transferring services, hang up. Get an invite (here’s how) from Updater. Then let them do the rest.
Like your personal “dashboard for moving,” the site handles everything from mail forwarding to digital moving announcements. You can also compare and book one of their pre-screened, pre-vetted moving companies (known as “Updater Verified Movers”), directly via the app.
You’re now free to carpe your moving diem: Updater estimates they’ve saved their users over 4.7 million hours.
10. Actually look forward to moving day with Unpakt
We’re not going to sugarcoat it: Moving Day and a vacation have zero in common. However, the way you book your movers will have it feeling close.
Just as you would compare flight and hotel prices before booking, Unpakt helps you determine the best moving company for your needs. Simply enter your starting and final destination addresses, create an inventory list of what’s being moved, then view instant prices from pre-screened, full-service, licensed, and insured moving companies.
Prices can be viewed per item and are guaranteed not to change. On average, customers save 45% on moving costs, plus seven hours of time that can be dedicated to re-hanging the gallery wall their girlfriend would actually like shifted ¾ of an inch to the left.
Paying your friends in pizza and beer to help you move was no problem in college, but you’ve upgraded from worn-out futon to a beautiful suede couch. Your moving labor should get an upgrade, too.
HireAHelper lets you search through straightforward hourly rates, equipment lists, business credentials, and unfiltered customer reviews to find the best local help for the job. You won’t have to worry about scams or price gouging, and booking through HireAHelper gets you complimentary insurance on every helper’s service, covering $.60/lb up to $10k in the event of accidental damages.
You’ll get peace of mind and a few extra pieces of pizza all to yourself. Now that’s an upgrade.
12. Get truck and muscle, anytime you need it with Dolly
So you finally snagged the perfect bed for your new digs. The only hitch? Between picking up apartment keys, installing floating shelves, and unpacking your wardrobe, you’re short on the time and muscle to move it.
With a couple clicks, you can simply outsource both. Pick a time and place, and Dolly will match you with a truck-driving, item-wrangling Helper. Want to say “Hello, Dolly?” You can also chat about your upcoming appointment directly via the app. Get a quote upfront – no surprises!
GoShare is the Mr. Rogers of local services sharing: Their drivers want to help their communities by collaborating on pickup and delivery tasks. They’re happy to lend a hand when you need to get a huge dresser from one place to another, so won’t you be their neighbor?
You can select 1-2 delivery professionals, choose the vehicle that’s right for the job (small pickup truck, large pickup truck, or cargo van), and request items such as a furniture dolly or trailer. All scheduling can be done on demand or in advance, and can cover quick delivery from a retail store to your home to a long-distance move, up to 250 miles.
You’ve always wanted to have a neighbor just like these drivers, and with GoShare, you finally do.
14. Bellhops provides moving services minus the stress
If you yelled out, “Trust fall!” who is the first person you imagine catching you before you fall to the ground? Is it your movers? No? Let’s change that.
Bellhops are more than just guys who can lift a couch. Their commitment to professionalism, friendliness, and above-and-beyond service is a welcome change from the stressful big-box moving experience.
You can schedule a full-service local move that includes the truck, dolly, and moving blankets, or a labor-only move with just a few easygoing Bellhops. You can also schedule an in-home move for when you need help reconfiguring your living room furniture or moving things around after a remodel.
Your Bellhops come prepared and dedicated to providing the best service imaginable. You’ll probably fall for their expertise, but don’t worry, they’ve got you.
Maybe you need a personal Hercules to unload all your patio furniture. Or someone to install your flat-screen TV, surround-sound speakers, and set up your cable. Hey, maybe things got a bit rowdy during your housewarming, and the last thing you want to do is mop.
Help can be on the way in about an hour, thanks to Takl. Enter the chore you’d like completed – or create your own “odd-job” – and choose from six or so independent, background-checked providers. Each task is priced upfront, so there’s no guesswork (though there is an option to tip). Just don’t blame us when your kids start outsourcing their chores on the reg.
Spending the day at the laundromat is the exact opposite of what you want to do after you’re done moving. Free up your afternoon with Rinse’s easy laundry pickup and delivery. Their reliable schedule (7 days a week between 8pm and 10pm) paired with high quality dry cleaning, wash and fold, hang dry, repair, and leather cleaning services make laundry day something you might even look forward to.
A little anxious about someone else handling your clothes? Totally understandable. Rinse works with only the best cleaners and has built in multiple layers of inspection to ensure highest-quality care. Should you have any questions, you can communicate with their customer service team via text message and a real person will respond.
If you’re ready to declutter your closet, Rinse will pick up clothes and donate them to a local charity on your behalf. So fresh, so clean, so compassionate.
It’s usually around the second column of the “Things to Take Care Of Around the House” list that people realize they might need some help. Luckily, TaskRabbit is more than prepared for that column and beyond. Search through their wide variety of home services to find your project, then choose the qualified Tasker you’d like to get the job done.
The Tasker shows up on the selected date and mounts your TV, repairs your broken chair leg, builds a bookshelf, and will even move your things from one apartment to another. Secure payment goes through the app, so all you’re left to do is cross it all off of your list and get on with your day.
With a new home comes a new commute. And if you’re living in an urban area, that daily ride is often accompanied by the frantic realization that you’ve literally just missed the bus.
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.
19. Get dinner (and dessert) delivered with DoorDash
One of the greatest parts of relocating is discovering all the eateries in your new hood. During the actual move, though, sweatpants and chill usually trump the urge for fancy rezzies.
During that interim period when you’re unpacking quite an appetite but have no idea where your cutlery is, DoorDash just may become your culinary BFF. Each of its service areas features an appetizing roster of local hotspots and national restaurants including places like Taco Bell, The Cheesecake Factory, and P.F. Chang’s.
A little extra help in the moving process is always welcome, and these apps and services make it go as smoothly as possible.
Of course, MakeSpace has your back, too. Whether you want to store your old sofa or the out-of-season clothes you don’t need in your new home right now, schedule a MakeSpace pickup and leave the rest to us.
We’ll transport the bike you no longer need and the pans you’ve put on hold 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.
Ready to start cooking again? You’ve already gotten used to the simple life – don’t waste the day sifting through a self-storage unit for pots and lids. Simply log into your MakeSpace account, select the items’ photos, and we’ll deliver them to you.
You expect your moving day to be a breeze. Why should storage be any different? Go easy on yourself:
You found the perfect home in the perfect neighborhood in the perfect city.
You jumped the other hurdles, too: negotiating with the buyers or landlords, settling closing costs, and determining a monthly mortgage payment or rental agreement. Congratulations!
But you’re not done yet. Now you have to address the utilities and services you’ll need to transfer before the big move-in day. Switching utilities and services takes time and, in some cases, may have unexpected fees.
To help you switch utilities and services when moving, use the below checklist. These 13 items will ensure you stay on top of your move — and your budget.
Without utilities like water, gas, and electricity, you might as well be moving into a well-furnished cave. To guarantee you receive the needed utilities on the appropriate date, check off the four areas below.
Some electricity providers offer a grace period during which they keep the power running in between the previous homeowners’ cancellation and your renewal. Don’t rely on that period, though. Not all utility providers offer them, and the home seller could have called in a while ago to cancel the service.
To stay on the safe side, investigate electricity providers, and set up an account during the closing period.
Remember, too, that electricity providers rarely initiate services the same day and instead institute service on a date one to two weeks in the future. Keep that timeframe in mind as it could affect other plans, such as cleaning, painting, organizing, or remodeling.
2. Water and Sewage
Water and sewage services are generally run and maintained by your municipality. To figure out which specific division you need to call to set up billing and ensure service, visit your city’s official website. Most have an entire page devoted to utilities and related services.
As with the electricity, set a future date for when the water will be turned on and ready for use. Just don’t forget to cancel the billing at your old residence. You don’t want to be stuck paying two water bills.
3. Natural Gas
Some houses use gas for heating or cooking. If your new home is one of those houses, review your gas provider options by checking your new city’s website.
Some areas may be more limited than others because of energy regulations, but it’s always good to conduct a bit of research on what’s available near you. It could save you money in the long run.
Like the other utilities, set a future date for gas service. If the date doesn’t match up with the other utilities, don’t worry about it too much unless you’re moving in the dead of winter or absolutely hate cold showers.
4. Trash Collection
Many times, trash collection comes as part of your water and sewage utility. If trash isn’t part of the water service, find out who gathers the garbage in your neighborhood and sign a service agreement. It’ll keep you and your new neighbors happy.
While you’re setting up trash services, ask about recycling services. Some municipalities have city recycling programs. Even those that don’t may still refer you to a third-party recycling company to sign up with.
Communication and Entertainment Services
After you’ve taken care of the basic necessities, tackle communication and telecommunications services. This may require a bit more work, as not all city pages offer direction. With a little research, though, you should have no problem getting them set up at your new place.
A landline telephone will typically require a call to transfer your service over to your new residence. Talk to your current telephone provider to learn about options and costs.
In the event that the provider doesn’t offer service in your new area — a common issue for interstate moves — start asking your new neighbors about what service they use and whether they’d recommend it.
If you decide to go mobile only, you should only need to update your account information to ensure any bills come to your new address.
However, if you experience a lot of dropped calls, you may wish to pick a new carrier that provides better service in your area. Sites like WhistleOut can give you a bit more insight regarding coverage reliability by provider.
Like mobile phone service, you should be able to transfer the internet to your new home simply by updating your contact and billing information.
Double check with the Internet Service Provider (ISP), though. As with phone services, you could be moving to an area where the ISP doesn’t provide service, or where it provides different offerings at a different price.
If you find yourself in the latter situation, make sure the new connection speed provides the connectivity needed at a price that’s in your budget. If it doesn’t, consider contracting with a new ISP. Some ISPs offer same-day connectivity, but most involve a short delay between the time of purchase and service start date.
7. Cable Television
A cable television subscription may be able to move with you, but it depends on provider availability in your new location. The provider might not offer service in the area, or it may offer it at a price point outside your budget. If that proves to be the case, move on.
When possible, find a provider that delivers internet, telephone, and TV plans. Bundling the services together could save you a ton of money on monthly bills.
Home Automation and Security Services
Home security is important for any home, as is home automation for many homeowners. Don’t delay moving your security and automation services to your new location.
8. Home Security
If you have monitored home security, you’ll need to transfer the services over, just like you would for cable or internet. Call up the provider to let them know where you’re moving, and a representative should walk you through the transfer process.
In the event that your current security provider doesn’t service the area where your new home is located, you may need to switch over to a new provider. Sites like PCMag can help you pick a new provider in that case.
If your security system is more DIY, you’ll have to move it yourself. Keep in mind, though, that your new home’s setup won’t be the same as your old one. Which means you may need to invest in new components or rearrange the system to ensure all entrances are covered.
9. Home Automation
Plenty of people opt to go the DIY route for home automation. However, using a DIY system means you’ll have to handle all the moving and reinstallation of various components.
And whatever you do, don’t leave any devices behind. At least not without adequately resetting them to remove any stored personal data.
If you worked with a home security provider like Vivint to integrate your smart home tech with your existing security devices, the provider should be able to help you relocate the components. Some even offer easy moving kits.
These aren’t all technically services, but they’re things you’ll want to check on when you’re moving to a new home.
If you have school-age kids, get their information into the local school district as soon as possible. Providing the data ensures your kids get access to meals, supplies, summer programs, tutors, and other needed academic services.
It also doesn’t hurt to ask other area parents about teachers and extracurricular activities. Hearing first-hand experiences could help you decide what groups or classes will work best for your child’s learning style and personality.
Unfortunately, your favorite primary care physician won’t move out of state for you, so you will need to find a new doctor. Start with your health insurance provider first. It may or may not provide the services you need in your new location.
If you relocated for work, see if your new employer offers any insurance benefits and get switched over as soon as possible.
Once you settle the insurance question, look for a quality medical professional, both for you and your children. Checking out reviews online on Zocdoc is a good place to start, but remember that you aren’t stuck with one provider.
If you have a poor experience — even with a highly-rated doctor — you have every right to look for care elsewhere.
12. Pet Care
You will love your new home, but you’ll still take vacations, which means finding a pet boarding service or kennel for the dog or cat.
Nextdoor could help you find a good vendor or sitter, but ask your current service provider, too. You never know who might know whom.
Additionally, if you typically use a grooming service, you’ll need to seek a replacement for that as well.
13. Subscription Services
Other services you might not think about when moving include subscriptions, deliveries, and lawn care.
For example, if you regularly use Instacart to get groceries or rely on Blue Apron for healthy meals throughout the week, you’ll want to update your contact and shipping information to continue receiving the services.
For lawn care, ask your neighbors for recommendations, or check out offerings on Thumbtack.
The 13 utilities and services listed above should more than cover your needs, whether you’re moving across town or out of state. By using this checklist, you’ll be able to better manage your expenses and time, freeing you to explore the area and make it your own.
This article was written by Jonathan Deesing, a home services specialist and freelance writer who spends most of his free time trying to wear out his husky puppy, London.