4 Quick Meals to Pre-Prep for Your First Days in the New House

While moving can be a major undertaking, feeding yourself and your family well in the process doesn’t have to be with a little prior planning and preparation. Quite a few good dishes can be prepared well in advance, tucked into the freezer, and then pulled out to cook when you get to your new home. Here are four recipes that freeze well for easy prep after landing at a new house.

1. Lasagna Freezer Meal

Layers of noodles, cheese, beef, and savory sauce, lasagna is oftentimes a family favorite. Best of all, this dish freezes oh-so well, and it is super simple to pull out of the freezer and bake up when you’ve had a busy day with no time for cooking. The recipe for lasagna for the freezer is pretty much the same as any other lasagna recipe, the only difference being that the dish goes into foil before freezing. To make things even simpler, grab a disposable foil pan for the lasagna so your cleanup will be a cinch.

2. Chicken Pot Pie

Need something super filling, quick, and simple after a long day of unpacking? A nice homemade chicken pot pie is no doubt going to sound good after a tiring day. Make sure you prep this dish in advance before you move, pop it in the freezer, and you will have just the meal you need ready for the oven once you make it to your new home. To make chicken pot pie for the freezer, just assemble the dish and wrap the unbaked pie in foil and a freezer bag before placing it in the freezer.

3. Homemade Frozen Burritos

Burritos are small enough to be handheld, easy to eat without a lot of dishes, and completely filling. However, you don’t have to rely on questionable frozen burritos from the grocery store to have this kind of convenience amid your move. Simply whip up a batch of your favorites before you move, stick them in the freezer, and you and your family can pull out a burrito when they get a chance to grab a bite to eat.

There are so many recipes you can use for frozen burritos, and they are easy to adjust according to the preferences of the people in the house. For example, if someone is on a vegetarian meal plan, you can skip the meat and make bean burritos.

4. Potluck Taco Casserole

Potluck meals can be a go-to when you need something filling and flavorful, and a lot of them freeze well. Case in point, is the potluck taco casserole, which is layered with everything from seasoned ground beef or chicken to refried beans and sour cream. You can assemble this yummy dish well in advance and freeze it, just be sure to save the diced tomatoes and lettuce to add to the top of the dish after reheating.

Mark Another Thing Off Your List with the Help of Pro Movers

With your family well-fed during your relocation project, you can better focus on the major aspects of moving. If you think you will still need some help with the heavy lifting, bringing in the help of professional movers may be the answer. To get started on the right foot, reach out to a local mover for a no-obligation moving quote today.

From Tipping To Lunch: How To Let Your Movers Know You Appreciate Them

Your movers are doing a great job packing up your things, and you want to let them know how grateful you are for their hard work. It can be tough to see if it’s appropriate to tip your movers. Check out these tips on letting your movers know that you’re thankful for all they do to help you get out of your old home and into your new spot.

Is Tipping Permitted?

You’ll want to check the moving company’s website or talk to your move consultant to find out their policy on tipping. Some companies have a strict no-tipping policy, while others leave tipping to the customer’s discretion. If you decide to tip, it’s a good idea to tip everyone who participated in moving you the same amount of money. Tipping in cash is fast and simple – always go this route over writing a check if you can. Let’s look at some other ways you can also show movers how much you appreciate their hard work.

Get The Day Started Right

When your movers arrive in the morning, it’s great to have breakfast available. This doesn’t need to be fancy – coffee, donuts, or fruit go a long way in helping your movers feel welcome and energized.

Ordering Lunch

As the day goes on and it’s time for lunch, feel free to ask the movers what they’d like to eat if you want to treat them to lunch. People with the best intentions often order pizza, which can result in movers eating pizza every day for a week straight. However, movers will appreciate that you want to treat them to lunch, and they’ll love getting to choose where the food is coming from.

Quench Their Thirst

Moving is hard physical work, and it’s nice to have water and soda available to movers. If it’s warm in the house and you don’t want to set bottles of water out, let your moving team know that there’s water and ice in the fridge and freezer, and that they’re free to help themselves. Since most of your cups are likely packed away, it’s smart to have disposable cups or throw-away water bottles available.

They’re Not Just Packing You Up

Your movers are working twice. They’re packing your things and unpacking them at your new home. If you get the same moving team at your new home or a new group, remember to offer the amenities you offered at your old home. As people settle into their new space, they often forget that the movers are still hard at work.

Say Thank You

Movers will appreciate snacks, drinks, and tips. Giving movers a heartfelt thank you for a job well done is essential. Many moving teams aren’t given the appreciation due to the customer’s focus on other aspects of the move. A handshake and a sincere appreciation of gratitude can go a long way.

3 Things To Consider If You Plan To Downsize & Move Into A Tiny Home

Television and online media have created a dramatic lifestyle narrative about downsizing and living in a tiny home. These quaint, energy-efficient living spaces usually provide all the amenities of a larger house at a fraction of the cost. These are some of the top reasons people consider downsizing from a single-family home to a tiny one.

  • Single-family homes are increasingly challenging to maintain as they now average more than 2,260 square feet.
  • Tiny homes typically run between 100 and 400 square feet.
  • The average cost of a new construction home is estimated at $383,900.
  • The cost of a new construction tiny home averages $59,000.
  • Existing single-family homes average a listing price of $275,000.
  • A DIY tiny home can be constructed for under $23,000.

Single Americans, couples without children, and empty-nesters, among others, see tremendous value in living with less. But too many fail to consider how much “stuff” they have accumulated and how to minimize it before moving into a tiny house. These moving strategies could prove fruitful if you decide to get small.

1: Downsize Your Personal Belongings

The average residential home reportedly stores upwards of 300,000 items. If that seems difficult to believe, consider that people often exceed the space in closets, garages, attics, sheds, and rent self-storage units. Comedian George Carlin once told a skit about how we keep buying bigger and bigger houses to put all our “stuff.”

When transitioning from a single-family home or large apartment, you may need to reduce to about 1,000 belongings. Consider clearing out one room in your current living space and putting only the essentials you plan to take. It probably won’t fit in the tiny house if it doesn’t fit in one room.

2: How To Purge Excessive Possessions

One of the attractions of tiny house living is simplicity. A recent report about transitioning indicated that the average person spends 153 days each year looking for stuff in their home. The minimal square footage of a tiny house dictates that all of your belongings are a few steps away or within arm’s reach.

Consider starting early and putting valuables for sale online on platforms such as Craigslist, Etsy, and local shopping sites. After earning money, hold a tag or estate sale. These are typically good ways to sell bulky furniture. As possessions dwindle from 300,000 to a few thousand, donations to charitable organizations may offer tax-deductible benefits.

3: Moving Day Contingency Plan

Even though you streamline all that stuff, working with a professional moving company could prove invaluable. Enlist the services of packers and movers to transport your things to the tiny house. If you are physically able, have the movers place your boxed items near the front door. Then, have the pros bring in any furniture or heavy appliances.

Once that has been accomplished, bring in your personal items and put them where they belong. When people downsize to tiny houses, they typically exceed the space limits. You may be tasked with making a few tough decisions about what fits and needs to go. Contracting with your moving professionals to circle back and pick up anything that won’t make the final cut down may be worthwhile.

Tiny home living can be rewarding because of lower costs, energy efficiency, and a simpler lifestyle. However, having a plan to become the consummate minimalist can make moving a positive experience.

Local Vs. Long-Distance Move – Key Considerations 

While some aspects of moving stay the same whether you are moving a mile or a thousand miles, there are differences between local and long that you need to keep in mind. Moving long distances is more complicated than moving short distances, for example. We will cover some of the key differences below to help you make informed decisions as you move forward with your next move.

Comparing Local and Long Distance Moves

Whether moving a mile or a thousand miles, planning your move is vital to ensure you get where you are going with minimal hassle and expense. But before making any firm plans, you need to know what factors are involved. You know local and long-distance moves are different – but how different?

Local Moves

Technically, local moves do not cross state lines. That’s right. No matter how far you travel within a state, the move could technically be considered a local move if you don’t cross state lines.

Movers must have licenses based on what types of moves they are doing. For example, if they are only making local moves, they only need local licenses (and some states don’t even require licenses for local moves).

With that being said, moving companies treat local moves differently depending on the distances traveled. For example, many moving companies will charge a local move rate only for moves within a 50-mile radius. Anything beyond that is considered an intrastate move and will charge differently due to the longer distance.

Besides cost and categorization, a few other things distinguish local moves from long-distance ones. These include:

  • Can usually be completed in a day or two
  • Easier to plan due to limited time commitment
  • Can often get movers to help on relatively short notice

Long Distance Moves

Long-distance moves are technically considered any move that crosses state lines. However, due to the crossing of state lines and the potential for differing regulations, long-distance movers must obtain a license from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). As you can imagine, getting the license takes more effort on the part of the moving company than getting local permits in many states (especially if the state does not require a license to move).

Movers calculate the cost of a long-distance move based on the weight of the belongings you are transporting and the distance you are transporting them. The fact that you are charged based on weight is a solid motivator to cut down on what you are transporting if possible. Many people planning a long-distance move will try to get rid of anything they are sure they won’t need.

Long-distance moves are usually more expensive than local ones, but other things also distinguish them. These include:

  • Require extensive planning
  • Usually have to be scheduled months in advance
  • Have to plan for your and your family’s travel as well, including hotel stays and routes

Tired of Cardboard? Try These Box Alternatives for Your Move. 

When most people move, they start by asking family and friends for their spare boxes. You might also spend weeks collecting them and hunting around at the back of grocery stores for their extras.

If you ever wondered if there is a better way, you should know that you have options. For example, trying to cut down on waste is a reasonable goal during a move.

You don’t have to use boxes for everything you pack. These packing tools are easy to reuse, and you might even have a bunch of them around the house already.

Space-Savers

Remember those old infomercials where people could pack a dozen puffy coats into a single bin? Space-saving bags are the key. These bags rely on suction to remove excess air, which takes them down to a fraction of their size.

Even plastic garbage bags can become space-savers if you have a vacuum hose and you can tie it quickly enough. Just keep in mind that space-saving backpacks aren’t bulletproof. If you toss them onto something sharp, they might puncture or split.

And don’t forget that these bags cut down on volume, not mass. So loading 20 pounds into a small box will still be pretty heavy.

Bins

Plastic bins are a handy solution if you want something that acts like a box but isn’t cardboard. They come in various shapes and sizes, with colors to match your organization system.

Clear plastic bins can be an excellent alternative to boxes because they’re easy to pack and simple to see what’s inside. If you find yourself opening boxes because you can’t remember what you put there, this will save you a lot of time.

It’s tempting to find bins that will work for every item you have, but that may not be practical. Instead, try to limit it to two or three sizes. That way, they will stack securely and keep your packing more efficient.

Suitcases

Lots of people have suitcases. You may have several that you use for different types of travel. Why not fill them up with things instead of moving them empty?

Suitcases also work well instead of boxes because they have a hard shell. All that protection from the hard surfaces at the airport could provide just the right cushion for delicate items.

Unfortunately, suitcases aren’t easy to label or tape closed, although you might be able to lock them. The good news is that you probably don’t have tons of them, so it should be simple to recall what is inside.

Soft Bags

Some belongings are too big for a box, and this is the perfect time to use a soft bag. Duffel bags can provide extra protection for unwieldy items like hockey sticks.

Make sure the bag closes tightly and isn’t full of stuff likely to break. If you’re using self-storage or a moving pod to help you, you might be able to save yourself a box.

Moving without boxes doesn’t have to be intimidating. By using these alternatives, you may save money and a trip to the dump. For tips on packing for your move, learn more here. You’ll find the principles of packing that will help you decide if the alternatives to boxes is right for you.

8 inexpensive home organization tips

Many people struggle with the organization of their homes. This is usually because they are short on time or money. So today, we’ve got nine home organization tips to help tidy up that will fit any budget.

1. Toilet Paper Tubes

Instead of tossing toilet paper tubes, use them to keep cords identified and tangle-free. No more fussing through a container filled with cords – label tubes with what each cord belongs to before sticking all newly-filled tubes into an organized box.

2. Cardboard Boxes

Cardboard boxes are perhaps the ultimate item to repurpose. Here are a few ideas to use for organization.

  • Drawer dividers. Use boxes in kitchens and bathroom drawers. Cut them according to size and then decorate them with self-adhesive shelf liner.
  • Decorative storage containers. Cover boxes with pretty fabric and place them in the corner of any room—a great way to be stylish on the cheap while simultaneously serving an organizational purpose.
  • Filing system. Use cereal boxes to organize and store important papers. Cover with paper and label each box. Easy peasy stackable storage.
  • Magazine organizers. Cut a diagonal opening on one side of a cereal box, cover the box with paper, and then label what magazines are in each box.

Boxes made of cardboard are so versatile—just use your imagination.

3. Baby food jars

Old baby food jars can look stylish while helping organize the smaller and easy to lose items. Use them for:

  • Hair ties and small clips
  • Buttons
  • Spices (especially great if homegrown and dried!)
  • Cotton balls
  • Screws, nails, nuts, and bolts
  • Any small item

Baby food (or small jam) jars are also great for under-shelf storage. Nice and compact, they can also be decorated to match any room’s décor.

4. Trays, Bowls, and Baskets

Having trouble with paper, mail, and other clutter piling up? Strategically place pretty trays, bowls, and baskets throughout the home to serve as a “catch-all” for miscellaneous items that otherwise clutter counters, tables, and other areas. Designate one to be “priority” items only so they don’t get lost in the shuffle and can be looked through daily.

Pro Tip: To avoid overflow, set a goal to clean these out at least once a month.

5. Ice Cube Trays

Another handy and versatile item, ice cube trays can be used to sort jewelry or office supplies. Even better is they can even be stashed out of sight in a drawer.

6. Belts and Shower Hooks

Shower hooks are an inexpensive way to store belts, lightweight purses, and other miscellaneous items that tend to get lost in the closet. Just place the hook on the closet’s bar and each item has its own place to be hung.

7. Storage Ottoman

This costs a bit more than recycled items or those bought at the dollar store but is worth the investment. Add stylish components to any room with a small ottoman or stool with storage underneath. If ambitious, this is a great DIY project.

8. Install Built-In Shelves

Small spaces are often difficult to utilize to their fullest. Built-in shelves can completely transform a room’s aesthetic, making it look larger while serving a practical purpose. If built-in shelves aren’t an option, try perimeter shelving instead.

As professional movers, our success depends upon the organization. Looking for help with an upcoming move? Contact us today for a free estimate.

The RIGHT Order When Packing Boxes

We’ve all been there.

You pull up to your new house and open the truck hoping to pull out just what you need for a hot shower and an easy supper —only to find that all the things you don’t need are in the way of the things you desperately need to rest after your move.

So, what is the right order to pack your things into the truck?

First, be thoughtful about what you need.

Before packing the truck, ask yourself these two questions: What items will we need until we pull out of the driveway? What items will we need as soon as we arrive?

To help as you consider, here are the most common responses to those questions:

  • a couple of comfortable outfits and a couple of work or school-appropriate outfits
  • prescription and over-the-counter medications
  • medical devices like a CPAP, nebulizer, or wheelchair if applicable
  • some fundamental cooking and eating utensils (silverware, plates, bowls, cups, microwave-safe dishes, serving spoon, coffee maker)
  • pillows and blankets
  • toiletries – towels, washcloths, shower items, toothbrushes, toothpaste, etc.

Now, be thoughtful about weight.

After you’ve pulled out the things, you’ll need right up until you move, and first, when you arrive, you can begin packing the moving truck.

You’ll want to pack the heaviest and largest items first, which include tables, chairs, big appliances, couches, sectionals, mattresses, bed frames, entertainment centers, and other large furniture. It’s helpful to disassemble furniture first as it allows you to utilize the space in the moving truck best. Take legs off of furniture, remove headboards from bed frames, and remove all drawers from dressers and side tables to prevent damage and make for easier stacking and packing.

Stand large furniture upright whenever possible to take advantage of the space up high and use the least amount of space on the truck’s floor.

Keep the heaviest items near the truck’s cab, and along the side, walls to help distribute weight evenly, and then strap them down once loaded to prevent them from shifting, tipping, or damaging other items in the truck.

Add the smaller, lighter items.

Smaller, lighter items are much easier to fit into smaller nooks and crannies on the truck so they can be last loaded. Label each box clearly to allow for easy unpacking and finding what you need in your new home, and be careful about placing fragile items.

Once you’re done loading the lightweight items, strap them down, too.

Finally, pack the things you need soonest.

Finally, pack the items you’ll need as soon as you get to your new home as near the door as possible and clearly mark the box, “First to unpack,” or something similar. It’s a good idea to keep medications in your purse or vehicle just in case a box gets lost in the move, or you’re separated from the moving truck at any time.

Making a Summer Move: Tips for Peak Moving Season 

Are you planning a move this summer? The hottest season is also the most popular time to move: The spring housing market tends to be the busiest, so more people are packing up for a move. School’s not in session, the weather is warm, and the sun is shining —  what’s not to love?

But moving in the summer also brings a few other considerations. So before you finalize your moving plans, keep these summer move tips in mind.

Start Planning Your Move Now

While it’s always a good idea to give yourself as much time before a move as possible, planning a summer move requires even more lead time.

Why? Because summer is peak moving season, and if you wait too long, you could have a hard time finding an affordably priced, reputable moving service or moving truck rental. The best movers fill their schedules well in advance, so give yourself plenty of time to plan and make reservations.

You’ll also need time to research moving companies. It’s always a good idea to get several quotes from several licensed movers.

Read the fine print to avoid any unpleasant surprises on moving day.

Time Your Move

Planning can help you beat the heat. If possible, schedule your movers to arrive early in the day to avoid the day’s highest temperatures and increased humidity.

If early morning isn’t possible, aim for a move later in the afternoon when the sun isn’t at its peak. Working in these “off hours” may also help you avoid traffic and rush hour.

As a general rule, try to avoid moving between 11 am and 3 pm. This is when the sun is generally the strongest and the temperatures highest.

Beat the Heat

Speaking of high temperatures, take precautions when moving in hot weather. First, stay hydrated; while the classic recommendation to drink eight glasses of water each day still holds, you’ll need more water if you’re lifting heavy objects, going up and down stairs, and carrying boxes into a moving truck.

Your moving team will appreciate having cold water available during the move, too. So consider keeping a cooler of ice and water available.

Other ways to keep cool include:

  • Leaving your home’s A/C running; even though the doors may be open, keeping the A/C on offers some relief
  • Wearing light clothing in a breathable fabric, such as cotton
  • Applying sunscreen throughout the day
  • Taking frequent breaks, especially if you start to feel overheated or dehydrated

Avoid Peak Moving Season Prices

There’s no easy way to avoid paying premium prices during summer. After all, it’s peak moving season, and movers are in high demand.

But certain days of the week are less popular, so you may be able to negotiate a better price. Weekends and the beginning and end of the months are in high demand and tend to fill up quickly. Moving on a weekday in the middle of the month may cost less.

Take care to avoid scheduling a move on the summer holidays, as well. Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day will bring not only busy moving company schedules but increased traffic on the roads that can slow your move (think parade routes, detours and holiday traffic jams).

It’s easy to see why summer is the most popular time to move. Follow these tips to avoid paying a premium during peak moving season.

Moving Tomorrow? 5 Activities to Help You Relax Tonight

Moving can be stressful. If you’re moving tomorrow, take some time tonight to relax. Remember that your moving day will be time-consuming, and may be physically demanding if you’re moving the boxes on your own. Relaxing tonight can help you be prepared for what will come tomorrow.

1. Enjoy Some Lemonade With Your Loved One

Once you’ve packed the last box, get out some lemonade and sit down with your loved one or all the members of your household and enjoy the fruits of your labor. You’re packed and ready to go. You deserve a break!

2. Meditate

If you’re feeling a little out of sorts (and it’s completely understandable if you are), then meditating can help you feel more settled and calm. Tomorrow will be a big day, and a big change that will affect you for years to come. Take some time to meditate because it feels good, it’s healthy, and you’ll feel less stress once you’ve done it. If you’ve never meditated before, consider listening to a guided meditation recording online. There are many free guided meditation programs on youtube.

3. Eat an Easy Dinner

Don’t stress yourself out by forcing yourself to cook. Get take out from one of the restaurants in your area, or buy a meal from your local grocery store deli. Use disposable kitchenware to make clean up easy and fast.

4. Play a Game

After dinner’s over, play a game with your family. You may have already packed your games, but some games require no materials. There are many games online that you can play without any board, dice or cards. You can also play a simple game of I Spy, Charades, or Simon Says. Playing games with your family makes the time go fast, even if the cable television has already been shut off and the entertainment you normally keep lying around has been packed away.

5. Get to Bed Early

One more way that you can relax on the day before a big move is to get to bed early. You’ll need a good night’s sleep to manage the activity of tomorrow, so turn in early. If you find yourself laying awake worrying about what’s happening tomorrow, try counting sheep or thinking about your breathing. Going to bed early can help you feel rested and prepared for the next day. Make this one a priority!

Want to Take the Stress Out of Moving? Hire a Moving Company

Moving is a lot of work. The more work it is, the more stressful it might feel! You can take the stress out of moving by hiring a moving company to do the hard lifting for you. If you’re planning an upcoming relocation, contact a moving company that can help you with the packing, loading, and unloading in your new home. Working with a reputable moving company will give you the time to manage stress and focus on self-care during your upcoming relocation. You’ll feel better the night before you move, knowing that your relocation is being handled by someone who knows what to do.

How to Eliminate Stress Associated With Unpacking After a Move

Moving into a new space is exciting. It offers a chance to start over with the design and the placement of your possessions. However, seeing all those boxes on the floor of your living room and countertops of your kitchen can be overwhelming.

Unpacking is one of the more tedious parts of moving, but it doesn’t have to be dreaded. These tips for eliminating the stress associated with unpacking will allow you to focus on all the more exciting steps ahead.

Eliminating the Stress of Unpacking

Unpacking tends to quell much of the excitement of stepping foot in your new home for the first time. There are several steps you can take to simplify the task of unpacking, making it less stressful for yourself and your entire family.

Declutter Before you pack

The first step to minimizing the stress of unpacking is to reduce the amount of unpacking you have to do. One of the common steps of the moving process is to donate or give away items you do not think you will use in the new home. Take a bit of time before the move will make unpacking after the move easier.

Unpack What You Need

Of course, you’ve packed your essentials box… the stuff you know you’ll need in the first day or so. But, you’ll quickly realize there are other items you don’t want to live without. These may be certain clothing items, or cooking supplies, or other things. Tackling these first and living without the other items that are not immediately essential may provide another layer of decluttering. Also, by getting those most important items out first, you can give yourself permission to slow down on the rest.

Organize Your Boxes

You’re probably tired of constantly organizing by this point in your move. However, placing your boxes in the rooms in which they’re going to belong can eliminate a lot of stress.

Keeping all of your boxes in one room can create an overwhelming stack of your possessions. Spreading them throughout the house in an organized manner allows you to tackle one room at a time without constantly being reminded of the other work you have to do. Don’t open any boxes until they’ve been put in the right place.

Set Your Furniture First

Moving involves transferring items large and small. Set all the large items, like furniture and major appliances, in place first. This helps reduce clutter during the unpacking process.

Setting your furniture in place first is another way to see which items are essential. You may realize that you like your coffee table even more without all the knick-knacks you previously had on it. Now is the time to donate, sell, or store items that made your old residence feel cluttered.

Take Your Time

You may feel like you’ll finally be able to relax when the entire house is unpacked. Trying to unpack everything in a day or two will only add more stress.

Allow yourself time for the unpacking process. Spend one day setting up the kitchen, another day in the kids’ room, and so on. It’s likely you have a long time to live in your new home, so it doesn’t need to feel complete immediately.

Ask the Experts

Hiring a professional moving company is one of the best ways to relieve the stress associated with moving. Moving professionals can help in far more ways than simply lifting heavy items.

Movers are experts at safely packing your possessions and unpacking them at your destination. You can expect them to completely unpack your items much faster than you could on your own. Then, you can step in and organize them the way you prefer.