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Affordable Ways to Increase Curb Appeal

One of the simplest and most effective ways to add value to your home is to generate curb appeal, which can usually be done in methods that are cheaper than usual ways to increase your home’s value, such as upgrading kitchens or bathrooms. Whether you’re looking to sell your current home, or move into a cute fixer-upper, adding curb appeal doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult. Making just a few simple changes can greatly increase the value of your home and help you transition from fixer-upper to dream house. Here are some affordable ways that you can increase your own curb appeal…

Play with Your Landscaping

In order to allow your home to make a great first impression, you need to spruce up the yard. Trim the lawn, cut back hedges, and re-seed where it’s needed. Simple planter boxes, gardening plots and bordered flower beds can make a big difference in your yard. These projects can be completed in a handful of afternoons, and can add great value to your home. Adding a fence, especially around the back yard, will attract buyers with pets and kids who would otherwise shy away.

On the topic of landscaping, if you want to add an aesthetic appeal to your home that gives it some pop, rather than just have it be like any other boring house on the block, then using flowers is a great option. Flowers add a natural boost of color that give your house personality, and also make it easily customizable. Add flowers by using planter boxes to attach to the side of your house, or by making traditional flower beds in your yard and around walkways. Young flowers are highly affordable when you go to a local greenhouse.

Keep Your Roof Fresh

One major maintenance concern for inspectors and buyers alike is the condition of the roof of your home. A faulty roof can let in moisture that damages the entire structure of your home, and curly, worn shingles are a red flag for buyers. On top of that, a nice and newer roof gives the impression that everything underneath it is in good condition. Obviously, a rugged looking roof makes you wonder if the components are working underneath. If you’re buying or selling a home that’s behind on maintenance, the roof is one of the most important repairs you can make.

Keep It Clean

A good dose of elbow grease can add as much a shocking amount of value of your home. Rid the exterior of dirt, mildew and other debris. Clean the windows inside and out, and clear the yard of any clutter. More so than adding value, what this is doing is preventing the negative thought patterns and attention that a big mess creates from impacting a potential buyer or renter’s opinion in your home. You’ll be surprised at what a big difference a simple cleaning can make.

Add a Fresh Coat of Paint

To take your home’s exterior facelift to a whole new level, consider adding a new coat of paint. If you’re planning on selling your home, stick with a neutral color that will appeal to a wide range of people. The least expensive way to get the job done is to re-paint in the current color. If you’re spicing up your new home, feel free to go with whatever bold color suits your fancy, but keep in mind that you may have to tone it down when it comes time to sell.

Give It a Unique Flavor

You want to keep your house appealing to a wide range of people, while still helping it to stand out in the minds of those who come to see it. Adding a splash of color or two in non-permanent details is a great way to accomplish this. A flower bed with pretty red tulips is something everyone loves. Brightly colored sail shades over the patio are beautiful and easy to change. Another big aspect of your home’s viewable exterior area is the garage door. It can be easy and affordable to make some small changes that heavily improve the aesthetic of your garage door. Here’s a helpful article with some ideas on how to accomplish that.

Underrated Benefits of Hiring a Moving Company

Men moving boxes
by Alek Sabin

Moving is pretty much always going to be a pain in the posterior, even at the best of times. Taking your entire life and packing it into a truck to put it somewhere else can be a long and arduous process, and lots of things can go wrong.

As you can imagine, there’s plenty of ways that a professional mover can help make this experience less anxiety-wracking. Who wants to fork out the money for that, though? Well, aside from the fact that most moving companies are pretty affordable, there’s actually a whole litany of reasons that you’d want to hire a moving company. Here are some of the benefits of hiring a professional mover…

Insurance on your belongings

Man moving boxesMoving involves taking lots of the items that you care most about and putting them in pretty imminent danger. Just taking your belongings and loading them into a van is liable to end with at least something that you own getting broken.

However, professional movers know the proper procedures to load a moving van or truck and secure it so that there is less of a chance of damaged belongings. In addition, most professional moving companies offer an option to insure your belongings, so that you’ll be able to get reimbursed if something valuable is broken, due to malfeasance.

Can move in one trip

Moving is already a stressful experience, but having to take multiple trips just means that you are living the nightmare over and over again. A professional moving company is going to have access to wide variety of sizes of moving vehicles that they can use for your particular situation.

This means that, with the help of the movers, you should be able to move from your old home to your new one in one convenient trip. That sure beats taking an entire weekend driving of driving back and forth and pulling your hair out.

Less stress inducing

Moving van on highwayWhen you are moving, there are so many different things that you need to worry about. Changing over your address, getting your kids into a new school, giving the post office a forwarding address, and finding out where everything is into your new neighborhood can be quite a pain.

Hiring a moving company allows you to do is take a big part of that ball of stress and mitigate it. You already have so much going on, so it’s worth it to just hand a part of the moving process over to professionals who can take your mind off of some of it.

Protection for your property

Your belongings aren’t the only thing that you want to protect when you move. Moving heavy items and large furniture presents many opportunities to bash up and ding the home you are moving out of and the home you are moving into.

It’s not a stretch of the imagination to think you probably don’t want to beat up the new home you just but, or already take a chunk out of your deposit, if you damage the place you are renting. Professional movers will use proper moving procedures to get these heavy and lumbering items in and out of a property, safely.

Less wasteful

If you like to think of yourself as a person who is conscious of the waste that they produce, then moving is going to come with an added bit of stress for you. Between the mountains of cardboard boxes, foam peanuts, and plastic sheets, moving is a pretty wasteful procedure, even if you are taking steps to reduce that waste. However, if you are able to get a moving company involved pretty early on in the process, then you can take advantage of the plenty of reusable tools and receptacles that they have to offer, which will enable you to move more, with less.

4 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your First Home

Couple looking at finances

By Aurora McCausland

Buying your first home is such an exciting venture. It can be a stressful process, looking and searching for a home, but then once that paperwork is signed and you’re moving the first of your boxes into your new home, it’s so worth it. It’s exciting and exhilarating. Whether you’re planning to live in your first home for two years or twenty, it’s important to be smart about your home and the way that you treat it. Whether you plan to or not, chances are high that you’ll have to resell your home at some point down the road. Taking care of your home is important, in order to keep it in good shape so you’ll be able to turn a profit when it does come time to resell your home. Here are a few tips to get the most out of your first home!

Stay in your budget

It can be tempting to buy a really expensive home, right out of the gate. The danger in this is that, it may seem worth it at first, but once that first mortgage payment is due you realize that you’re in over your head. Be calculated with how you go about buying your first home, and make sure that you stay within your budget. How many rooms does your family truly need, and prioritize what qualities in your home are the most important to you and your daily functions. If you find yourself struggling to find a home to fit all of your things, then think about either downsizing how much stuff you own, or consider getting a small storage space to store the things you don’t need year round. Often, you can downsize the amount of space you need in a home, and spend considerably less by storing those seasonal items in a storage space. Search here to find a great price on a storage unit near you.

Cute comfortable houseImprove as you go

Whether you’re interested in flipping a home, or you want a home that’s already perfected to your exact specifications, you’re probably not a stranger to the idea of embarking on home improvement projects. You don’t need to completely gut and remodel your kitchen the day you get your keys, you can remodel as you go. Prioritize what is the most important to you, and start there. By continuously remodeling and improving your home, you’ll be able to increase the worth of your home and make a profit on it when it does come time to resell your home.

Best remodel projects

There are dozens to hundreds of home improvement projects that you could do for your home, and you really have to do what fits best for your home and family. When most people search for homes, the bathrooms and kitchens are some of the most important rooms to have in pristine condition to convince them that it is the house for them. So if you’re looking to remodel just one room, think about choosing the kitchen or the bathroom.

Another great home improvement project, is anything that will make your home more “smart”. Solar panels, smart systems, etc., will dramatically increase the overall value of your home.

Curb appeal is important

Overhead view of work deskMost people decide whether or not they want to buy a home before they even step inside of it. It could be absolutely beautiful and perfect inside, but if it’s grungy and old on the outside, then that will put a damper on the way that they feel about the entire home. So take the time to make sure that everyone will be impressed by your home from the first moment that they pull up to the curb. Landscaping is an important part of having a great curb appeal, and make sure that the landscaping fits the feel of the interior of your home as well. A fresh coat of exterior paint goes a long way. And if you’re looking for a quick, weekend project to boost curb appeal, adding a small window treatment will help more than you’d think! A window box with fresh and colorful flowers, or some classic shutters on all of your exterior windows, will make a world of difference to your overall curb appeal.

Creating Your Step-by-Step Moving Checklist

Moving check

While moving a new place can be an exciting experience, most of that is due to the excitement of living in a new home and in a new area. Truth be told, the moving process is usually a major stress that most people can’t wait to be over. Packing up everything you own into boxes, with the understanding that you’re going to have to take it all out and put an entirely new home together, is an activity that few people enjoy. On top of that, there are a million responsibilities that need to be considered, when moving. Even if you hire a professional moving company to lighten the load, moving is still a process that comes with a dozen different headaches. However, you can mitigate much of this stress by being organized and having clear goals during the moving process. To help towards that end, here is a step-by-step moving checklist to help you during this time…

Prepare your family for the new neighborhood

Moving is a lot easier if you spread out a lot of the steps over a couple months. To start, a couple months before you actually move, you want to start setting up your family presence in the new neighborhood. This means a couple of things. First of all, you want to make sure that you and your kids are going to feel comfortable in the new area. You can do this by heading to the new neighborhood and doing some of your own exploring. If you are moving far away, and this isn’t a feasible option, then you can at least surf the web to find cool things nearby. Secondly, you should start calling schools, dentists, doctors, and other types of community businesses that you will need to get established at, so that you can start to transfer your family’s records.

Schedule with moving company

Another thing that you should do about a month or two before you move is call a professional moving company and schedule the move. If you have a family with kids, then you probably have quite a bit to move, and it is going to be invariably stressful to try to do everything on your own. You can mitigate a lot of this stress by calling the professionals and letting them help you, but you have to make sure that you schedule the move with enough notice for them to fit within your schedule.
Packing up boxes
Transfer utilities

The month before you move, one important chore that you are going to have is contacting each of your utility companies to make sure that they are aware that you are moving, and to check if they can service your new address. If their services can’t transfer to the new place, then you’ll need to cancel and find a new utility company to set up that service in your new home before you actually plan on living there.

Change your address

About two weeks before your moving day, you’ll want to alert the United States Postal Service that your address is about to change, and let them know what day you’ll be settling into your new home. There are services online that can change your address and notify all of the companies that need to know about your new address. However, you should probably still take the liberty to call your bank, credit union, insurance company, and check in with your monthly subscriptions to make sure they are aware of the address change.

Start packing several weeks before
Moving into new home
Another thing to start doing at least two weeks before you move is to start packing up your home. If you have a lot of stuff and tend to get stressed easily, then it might even be worth it to start this step even earlier (or at least get your moving supplies beforehand). The idea is to pack up your decorations and things that you don’t need, first. Then, about a week before you move, you can start to pack up dishes, appliances, and other sorts of things that you won’t need, immediately. As you get closer to moving day, you begin to pack clothes and other sorts of necessities.

Moving day

On moving day, when the movers show up, you should be able to just load up the truck and go, if you have done all of your packing beforehand. One thing to remember is that you and your family should pack a necessities bag that has a couple of days worth of clothes with toiletries and whatnot. This means that you don’t have to start unpacking right as soon as you move into the new home, and you can take a little bit of time to spread out the unpacking process, but there’s enough there for a whole different article!

How to Store Your Motorhome for the Winter

Nothing quite embodies freedom and adventure like a motorhome, and in this respect it may seem counter-intuitive to store this vehicle away from the open road.

This is a necessity during the winter, however, as the exterior can be ravaged by austere weather conditions while tyres can also bear the brunt of snow, rain and heavy winds.

In this article, we will consider the most efficient and cost-effective storage methods that will help you to keep your motorhome well protected next winter:

  1. Seek Out a Secure and Affordable Storage Space

Let’s start with the basics; as you will need to have a safe and secure place to store your motorhome. This enables you to protect it from adverse weather conditions and the risk of theft (or damage) while it is off the road, while it will also ensures that you do not have to park it on your driveway!

Some may consider the cost of this to be prohibitive, of course, but this does not reflect the sheer range of options that are available in the modern, self-storage market.

It is now possible to hire mobile, self-storage units on a rolling basis, for example, which minimises costs and allows you to utilise space for the precise amount of time that you need.

Not only this, but self-storage units now come in variable sizes, meaning that you can easily find a space that suits your needs!

  1. Consider Both Interior and Exterior Preparation Techniques

Whether you have purchased a high-end vehicle or a competitively priced motorhome from outlets such as, it is crucial that you look to protect your investment. This starts by considering both interior and exterior preparation techniques, will help to optimise the functionality, longevity and visual aesthetics of the vehicle.

From an interior perspective, start by defrosting the freezer and cleaning the refrigerator. Baking soda can also be used to absorb stains and odours, and this is the type of small detail that goes a long way when storing your motorhome for the winter.

Storing your motorhome indoors will negate many of the risks posed to its exterior, of course, but you can still takes steps to protect your vehicle. You should certainly wash the motorhome from top to bottom, starting from the top and working your way down to effectively remove dirt, dust and debris. This ensures that the motorhome is as clean as possible when it is stored, which is important given that it will be locked away for a period of between four and six months depending on the severity of the winter.

  1. Don’t Forget About the Battery

We have already touched on the importance of considering small and easy to overlook details, as this optimises your chances of protecting your motorhome. This includes ensuring that your battery is well-maintained, as sustained periods of inactivity can damage the unit and impact negatively on the performance of the vehicle.

So while your motorhome is in storage, it is important that you visit the sites regularly and plug the battery unit into shore power. Leave it charging for approximately eight hours each time, while it is also worth periodically starting the engine to optimise functionality.

When the battery is switched off, however, it is important to ensure that its disconnect switches are inactive. This prevents parasitic loads from draining the battery, ensuring that it has as much power as possible when the summer months arrive!

Equipment that you NEED for Moving Day

So you’ve got your moving van, everything is packed up and it is time to haul everything into the moving van. You may have one major problem, most moving truck rentals do not come with all the equipment necessary to move all your items efficiently and safely. A lot of people don’t know that on top of the moving truck, they may need some extra supplies. Many of these supplies you can rent from moving truck rental companies, but if you move often you may want to consider investing in some of these supplies. Here are items that you really need to load a moving truck come moving day:

A Dolly

I cannot emphasize enough how important a dolly is to a move. Yes, we are capable of physically moving every box and heavy item, but it is really not good for your body. When we do all the work of moving just using muscle, we greatly increase the risk of injury. Also, a dolly helps you move heavy items a lot faster than you could otherwise by just picking it up and moving it. For the sake of safety and brevity, I highly recommend having at least a standard dolly for a move.  

An Appliance Dolly 

A regular dolly usually won’t be able to handle heavier appliances like refrigerators, driers, washers, etc.  These are usually the type of dollies that you’ll want to just rent from the moving truck rental company, because they actually can be quite expensive. If you are not using movers, I especially recommend renting an appliance dolly, because it is a  major risk to the people moving the appliance and the appliance itself when two individuals attempt to move these extremely heavy items.


To protect the surfaces of furniture, it is vital to have padding available. Scratches, chips and other damage can easily be done to furniture when items are shifting in the back of moving truck. Pads are not actually that expensive, so you may just want to consider buying them rather than renting them.

Plastic Wrap 

Plastic wrap can mainly be used for two things. One, you can use it to secure the padding onto the furniture. Secondly, you can use it to wrap up clothes, pillows or any other items that you don’t want to get dusty during the move.

Mattress Bag/Covers 

This is a really important one, because no one want to sleep on a bed that has dust, dirt, pests or bugs in it. Getting a mattress bag really is a vital part of the move, and you should get one for every mattress in your home.

Tools to Disassemble Furniture 

Sometimes people forget that they need to take apart furniture before they move it. Make sure that you keep the tools you need around to do this, so that you don’t end up wasting a bunch of time unpacking  a bunch of boxes or making a visit to the local hardware store in order to get the tools that you need.

Bungee Cords and/or Rope 

When we use a moving truck, rope and bungee cords are not always needed, but it can be a wise precaution to have some around. Occasionally items just do not look as secure as they should be when we place them in the back of a moving truck, so it is wise to reinforce the stability of these items by tying them down.


How to Move with Kids

Moving is a tough experience for everyone in the family, but it can especially be rough on kids. Psychology Today even featured an article about the psychological impact that moves can have on children that is worth a read  if you want to know a little more about how a move effects children.

While we probably cannot avoid all of the mental anguish both adults and kids experience during a move, we an make it easier for everyone involved by trying to make the move as harmonious as possible. Here is a brief guide to how parents can help make moving with kids just a tad bit easier for all parties involved.


Taking the time to discuss all the important aspects of the move with your child can really make a huge difference  in how the child perceives the move.  As miniature members of the family, the want to know what is going on too! Discuss the move early and often with your little ones to help them fully understand the move. Also, make sure to address any concerns or questions they may have even if the concerns seem a tad bit on the silly side. A lot of fears of children about moving can be dispelled as long as those fears are actually talked about out in the open!


Working together makes a little less work for everyone, but it also makes little ones feel like they are involved in the moving process. Take the time to consider what sort of tasks would be appropriate for your child to help with making a list as you go. As a little extra bonus, giving them tasks will also keep them busy while you are busily working on the move. If you want to get creative with this part, even try to make a game out of the work that needs to be done.

Give Them a Break 

Everyone has their bad days even us adults. It is important to remember that moving is a really big deal for kids who are sensitive to big changes. Occasionally your child may have a bad day where they are whining and crying excessively. We all have days where we feel a little on the cranky side, so try not to be too hard on them when they are getting a bit cranky about the big changes coming their way. We shouldn’t hold our children to higher standards than we would hold other adults!


Try to make moving to a new place a big adventure to kids so they feel like it is something to look forward to rather than dread. Don’t forget to talk about how fun it will be in the new place you are going to live. Also, it wouldn’t hurt about how awesome moving boxes are to play in once you guys finishing unpacking everything. Just remember, whenever possible try to talk about the move in a positive light around the kids, because a negative attitude can drag their moods down too.


Plan a rewards for you and your family once the move is finally finished it up. It could be something as elaborate as a vacation or simple as a sleep over. After all that hard work everyone deserves a little something special to help them recover from the difficulties of moving. Also, there is nothing wrong with having small rewards planned like candy, movies, game night and other entertainment to help kids keep motivated throughout the move.

5 Must-Know Moving Tips on Packing

Moving is a difficult process that requires a lot of time, money and energy, so saving any of three whenever you can is a wise choice. There are some very basic moving tips we can follow to make packing, moving and unpacking infinitely easier, so be sure to use our blog as a resource to help make your move run smoothly. For those of you who only want a small amount of information with the best return in time and energy saved for a move, we created the top 5 must-know moving tips.  Here are five of the most basic packing tips that will make all of the difference in your move. 

1. Start with Storage Areas ASAP 

Closets, the attic, basements and any areas that basically serve as storage should be packed as soon as you know the moving date or sooner. Any items that you know that you don’t use on any regular basis should be boxed and ready to go come moving day, so that you can worry about more important things as moving day approaches. Trust me, you’ll be so glad when you look at these space later and realize that you’ve already dealt with them!

2. Don’t Make Boxes Too Heavy 

When we are packing so many boxes it can easy to stop paying attention to what you are exactly doing, so the law of physics may escape you as you cram each box to maximum capacity. If you fill a huge box with books, you simply are not going to be able to easily lift that box or you’ll throw out your back trying to do so. Save the smaller boxes to pack heavy items to make life a whole lot easier. If you are worried about the weight of the box, lift it up to test if it is too heavy or not. If there seems to be too much stuff in the box, transfer some of the heavier items to a different box.

3. Organize Boxes 

Do not mix different items from different rooms in the same box, because you’ll be making a lot of extra work for yourself later down the road. Also, make sure to label every box with what room and type of items the boxes hold. You’ll thank yourself for taking these simple organizational steps when it comes time to unload and unpack everything into your new home.

4. Make Priority Boxes

There are three main categories of items that you should keep separated from everything else: important paperwork, sentimental items and first to open boxes. Make sure that all of these items do not get mixed in with everything else, because once they are lost in the brambles of moving it can be hard to find them again until everything is all unpacked.

5. Secure Boxes Thoroughly 

Folding the flaps over to close a box is simply not enough to secure a box. Add packing tape over the folds on the top and the bottom to ensure that the box is thoroughly secured.


How to Prepare for a Move Months Ahead of Time

When we have the luxury of knowing well in advanced when we are going to move, it is a good idea to get started on getting ready to move as soon as possible. This way we don’t end up doing all of the work last minute which can be overwhelming to say the least.

Find a Mover 

If you are considering get a moving company to help you handle the move, now is a good time to start researching different moving companies. You’ll need to check out reviews, billing methods, insurance, etc of at least four different moving companies to help narrow down the search. Next you should get a bid and interview each moving company to make a final decision.

Consider Self Storage 

Are you going to need a self storage unit? It can be a good idea, especially if you are moving to a smaller place, to put some unused items into self storage unit you get settled in. This way you can move just the necessities then when you are ready gradually filter in extra items if there is space.

Get Rid of Any Excess Items 

Sell, donate or throw away any junk that you  no longer want or need. What would be the point to pack, move, unpack then organize items that you no longer have a purpose for? Save yourself the trouble by getting rid of this stuff before you move rather than after.

Pack Anything You Don’t Use 

Decorations, books, seasonal items and other stuff can all be packed away for the move. Packing everything at the last minute adds a lot of extra stress for no particular reason, so really pack as many things as possible long before moving day even comes.

Give Out To-Do Lists 

If you have a family or a partner who seem to have a problem self-motivating, make lists of tasks that they need to get done before the move. Moving is a lot easier when everyone throws in a helping hand to get things done.

Plan the Logistics of the Move 

There are lots of details that go into making a move run smoothly. Take the time to plan out all the small elements of the move from a first to open box to switching utilities to how you want to organize items in your new house. When we take the time to plan and organize everything beforehand things tend to go a lot smoother than when we just try to improvise as we go along.

How to Plan Which Items you Want to Put into a Self Storage Unit

Choosing exactly what you want to put into a self storage can be a difficult task. Parting with our valued items can be painful and annoying, but hundreds of thousands of people manage to do it every year. We think you’ll be able to manage it too, but it may take just a little bit of extra work and planning to help you decide. Here are some guidelines that’ll help you decide what goes into self storage.

Do not Procrastinate 

When us humans don’t want to do something, we have this lovely habit of putting it off to the last minute. This is not such a great tendency when tackling the huge task of putting away items in self storage- especially if you have some hang-ups about putting items in self storage at all. When you are selecting items to put into self storage, it is a good idea to start choosing as soon as you know you’ll need to put some items in storage. When you start early you have plenty of time to sort through everything to pick out the items that you wouldn’t mind going into self storage.

How Much Stuff NEEDS to Go Into Self Storage 

This is an especially important consideration to make when you are moving into a more restricted space. Take the time to measure the new and old space then calculate what items will fit into the new space. Based on this measurement you can start choosing items that probably need to go into self storage.

What Can You Live Without 

Take the time to inventory items that you absolutely want to have versus items that you can live without. Once you start making the list you may be surprised exactly how many items that you think you can live without, so the whole process of putting items in self storage becomes a lot easier.

Post-It Note Method

Go through every room in your house and attach post-it notes to items you want to go into self storage. This will give you a clear visual as to how much stuff you plan on putting into self storage, so from there you can decide if you need to start choosing additional items to go into self storage too.

Box and/or Bag Method 

It can be helpful to go through each room with a bag or box to start removing and packing items that will go into self storage. If you are having a particularly difficult time choosing items set a goal of filling of half-filling a box or bag each day and/or choosing a larger item that will go into self storage. As a bonus, this gets you started packing if you are moving!

Seasonal Items

A lot of people choose to always have seasonal items in self storage, but if this whole new self storage thing is new to you the idea of putting Christmas lights, Halloween decoration, etc. may be painful due to the sentimental value. Just because you are putting away seasonal items until it is appropriate to take them out doesn’t mean you are never going to see them again. Just keep seasonal items towards the front of the self storage unit, so when the time comes it is easy to go grab these items out of self storage.