Setting Up a Home Office That Works for You

Whether you’re paying a few bills or running a small business, a stylish, comfortable work space will help you stay focused and inspired.

In recent years, the line between working and living in our homes has become blurred. More people want a home office, whether it’s a simple space for taking care of household matters, a spot for the inevitable papers and projects that make their way home from work, or a dedicated area for a full-time business.

home office

For a few minutes a day or 40 hours a week, working at home is always more fun in an area with loads of function — and some personalization, too. Here’s how to create a snazzy home office space that will make you look forward to clocking in.

The Essentials

Some experts have said there are only two essentials for a functional home office: a comfortable chair and a door that closes. Most people, however, probably have a few more requirements.

Basic elements of designing a room include smart space planning, adequate lighting and sufficient storage. When setting up your home office, also consider functionality and comfort.

Get Horizontal

Start with your work surface. Stock desk units come in a variety of materials, but may be difficult to fit in with your room. Modular office furniture is more flexible and comes in many styles.

Or look to repurposed furniture. With some judicious changes, you can turn flea market finds and antiques into acceptable home office elements. Don’t hesitate to make a piece your own with a simple coat of paint in your favorite color.

Take a Seat

Chairs need to be functional, but an office chair isn’t your only choice.

If you’ll be spending a lot of time working in the office, consider including a lounge chair or chaise. It will make a comfortable spot for reading or coffee breaks.

For your desk, choose a chair with an adjustable seat and armrests to protect your spine and help reduce aches and injuries. To personalize it, add a throw pillow to coordinate with window coverings or other decorative elements in the room.

Essential Details

Make a list of everything you need, from pencils and paper clips to research materials and file folders. Pick a color scheme and purchase the necessities in your favorite palette.

Measure all the electronic equipment you’ll require to determine where it will fit best. And make sure you add some favorite framed photos or artwork to inspire you.

To create softness and texture underfoot, layer on an area rug to anchor your space.

Get Lit

Natural light is great, but you’ll need ambient and task lighting as well. Here is another opportunity to add a bit of personal style to your space via lamp shades, crystals and fixture finishes. Watch out for the possibility of glare, especially when finding a place for your computer screen.

If your office space doesn’t have a door, you can establish a sense of privacy by the way you orient your work surface or by using a screen or file cabinets to mark off the area.

YOUR TURN

Share your favorite ways to spruce your office space — we can’t wait to see what you come up with! Sound off on our Facebook Page or on our Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn feeds. And don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly HOME ADVICEtm eNewsletter for articles like this delivered straight to your inbox. You may unsubscribe at any time.

5 Questions to Decide Whether to Pay Down Debt or Save

It can be hard deciding whether to prioritize paying down debt or putting money into savings – especially if you have limited resources. Answering five key questions can help you allocate your funds.

1. Do you have high-interest debt?

Interest rates on credit cards are often high. That can cost you considerably over time, since credit card interest typically accumulates faster than what you can earn on savings.

RELATED: How Much Will Paying Off Credit Cards Improve My Credit Score?

Pay it down!

If you’re carrying debt with double-digit rates, it may make sense to prioritize paying it down so you can free up future funds to save or pay other debts.

2. Do you have an emergency fund?

emergency-fund

An emergency fund provides cash you can draw on in case of:

  • Unexpected car or home repairs
  • Medical emergencies
  • Essential costs like rent and groceries if you are laid off or out of work

Save it up!

If you don’t have three months’ worth of living expenses set aside for emergencies, consider that goal next, while paying at least the minimum on any loans and credit cards.

3. Are you planning for retirement?

Your retirement account earnings may produce earnings of their own, so the earlier you start to save, the more growth potential you have. Plus, some retirement contributions help you minimize taxes.

Save it up!

You can’t borrow for retirement, so consider this goal next. As you build your retirement accounts, you can continue to chip away at debt at the same time.

5. What are your other goals or needs?

If your high-rate debt is under control, you have savings in an emergency fund and are contributing to your retirement, it’s time to consider saving for other things.

Save it up!

Depending on your goals, you can save for: A new car, education or a down payment on a home. Once you have those up and running, you can look toward the fun stuff like vacation and other big purchases.

Pay it down!

If your rates and terms are reasonable, you may decide to stay the course with your monthly payments. Or you could bump up your payments to pay those debts faster – especially any with higher rates. That way you’ll save on total interest paid and have more money to allocate to your goals.

YOUR TURN

Based on your current financial goals; are you Saving Up or Paying Down? We want to hear from you! Sound off on our Facebook Page, our Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn feeds. And don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly eNewsletter. You may unsubscribe at any time.

 

The material provided on this website is for informational use only and is not intended for financial or investment advice. Patrick Parker Realty assumes no liability for any loss or damage resulting from one’s reliance on the material provided. Please also note that such material is not updated regularly and that some of the information may not therefore be current. Consult with your own financial professional when making decisions regarding your financial or investment options.

7 Handy Ways to Improve Your Home in 2018

If you let a lot of home improvement projects slip by without taking action in 2017, take heart. 2018 is here! You’ve now got an entire year to jump on those big household tasks. It’s time to seize the day, the month and the year.

Not sure what to put next on your to-do list, or do you even have a list at all? Take a look at this list for inspiration along with a selection of How To articles. Gathered here are everything from quick tweaks like setting your thermostat just right to big jobs like switching locks, doorbells and light switches.

We’ve even got downright messy but critical assignments such as cleaning dryer vents and gas cooktops. There’s bound to be a must-do task below for you, no matter how skilled or experienced you are.

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1. Set your Nest right

Dive a little deeper into your Nest thermostat settings. You’ll be able to issue it voice commands though Alexa or the Google Assistant. Other tips are how to have it control humidity, work to save you money, and make it stop acting crazy when it’s on automatic.

Read: 5 tips for your new Nest Thermostat

2. Make multimeters your friend

If you have no clue what a multimeter is or you own one that’s gathering dust, this guide is for you. We take a quick look at how multimeters are versatile, flexible home DIY tools every homeowner should have.

3. Tend to your gas cooktop

Cooktops, stoves and ranges need regular attention and TLC. If they don’t get it, they won’t serve you well. Treat them right by keeping them spic and span, with all burners ready for action. Both you and your house guests will appreciate the sparkling new look of your tidy appliance, too.

Read: How to clean your gas cooktop with just a few supplies

4. Goodbye, blah light switches

Don’t hang onto old, boring light switches just because they happen to be three-way. Use this guide to help you overcome your fear. With a little care and caution, you’ll be swapping in fancy new dimmers in no time.

5. Ditch the keys for convenience

Physical keys are so medieval. Your front door should rock a sleek, electronic lock like it’s 2018. These gadgets are flexible, motorized, and look great. Take a gander for yourself and see just what we mean.

6. See who’s there from anywhere

Know who’s at your doorstep before they press the buzzer. Find out if anyone has their paws on your packages. A sweet video doorbell can help with all those things. Read on to learn how to hook one up yourself in a flash.

7. Don’t neglect that dryer vent

As the saying goes, it’s a dirty job but someone has to do it. I’m talking about your home’s dryer vent. If you don’t take time to clear it out every year, it can quickly become a dangerous fire risk. Bite the bullet with this deep dive into dryer vent hygiene.

Read: How to deep clean your dryer duct in 5 steps

YOUR TURN

How are you making home improvement a priority in 2018? Sound off on the Patrick Parker Realty Facebook Page, on our Twitter or Instagram feeds or on LinkedIn. And don’t forget to subscribe to the monthly Patrick Parker Realty HOME ADVICEtm eNewsletter for articles, tips and guides like this delivered straight to your inbox. You may unsubscribe at any time.

5 ‘Must-Do’ Home Resolutions for January

Happy New Year! January is the month to take stock and plan ahead. That’s why these five “must-do” projects for January include everything from adopting some home-focused resolutions to storing holiday decorations and getting snow-ready.

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1. Make ‘energy savings’ a resolution to keep

This year, as you make your New Year’s resolution to spend less, go on a diet, join a gym, learn a new skill or perhaps find more time for yourself, consider adding another goal for 2013 — putting your house on an energy diet.

Just like taxes and death, you can be sure that energy and utility costs will continue to take a bite out of your home operating budget. How big of a bite is within your control. That’s why it pays to do everything you can to keep your home as trim and fit as possible. After all, sometimes even a seemingly modest change in your home (or change in your personal habits) can make a dramatic difference over time.

For example, there’s been plenty written about energy-efficient light bulbs, but have you put that information into practice? If not, make it a goal this year. If every American home replaced just one incandescent light bulb with an Energy Star-certified variety, we would conserve enough energy to light 3 million homes for a year, save about $600 million in annual energy costs and prevent 9 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year (equivalent to the amount produced by about 800,000 cars), according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

RELATED: How To Hack Your Electric Bill

And if you’ve turned a deaf ear to that dripping faucet or runny toilet, you can be sure that your water company hasn’t. If you know that there’s a leak, fix it. It may require something as simple as tightening a valve or replacing a worn washer or ineffective flapper, all simple repairs you can take care of yourself. If the leak requires replacing the faucet or toilet altogether, call in a professional and choose a fixture bearing the WaterSense label. And the next time you flush, consider this: If everyone in the U.S. flushed the toilet just one time less per day, we could save the equivalent of a lake full of water about 1 square mile and 4 feet deep every day.

Looking for more ways to conserve and save this year? Seal those drafts, make sure your home is well-insulated, install low-flow shower heads and change furnace filters.

2. Pack up the holiday decorations

As fun as it is to unearth boxes of holiday decorations in November, there is nothing enjoyable about packing them all away again in January. Big-box stores will be happy to sell you bins and containers geared specifically toward holiday-related storage, but with a little planning and ingenuity, you can create your own DIY solutions that will work just as well. A piece of cardboard with slots at both ends is ideal for wrapping string lights, while those inexpensive, 6-ounce plastic party cups are the perfect individual holders for fragile ornaments. And if you have a real tree, consider bringing it to a treecycling location, where it will be chipped into mulch for beneficial use.

3. Get snow-ready

Take time now to make sure you are prepared for snow. Snow shovels, snow blowers, salt or sand should all be at the ready. If you haven’t fired up your snow blower since last winter, you might want to do so now.

RELATED: Tips For Showing Your Home In The Snow

Consider some routine maintenance like changing the oil; replacing frayed or cracked belts; tightening nuts, bolts, and screws; and lubricating drive and chassis. Also, watch for the formation of icicles along the eaves as snow begins to melt. They can create ice dams and serious damage to the roof if left unattended. A roof rake is a great way to pull the snow from the eaves to lessen the problem.

4. Employ some countertop TLC

Perhaps never before have there been so many enticing countertop options to fit every budget, decor and culinary need. But all countertops are not created equal. So what’s the best way to keep yours in peak condition? You can start with some pretty basic “do’s and don’ts,” such as cleaning often with a sponge or soft cloth and mild, non-abrasive detergent, or by practicing caution when using sharp knives and hot cookware. If you have granite or marble, be sure to use a good sealer, which will help prolong the life of the stone and provide a barrier of protection against staining. Wood countertops should be rubbed with tung, linseed or mineral oil anywhere from monthly to quarterly, depending on usage. The same mineral oil can be applied to soapstone to provide a protective coat and rich, dark color. For stained laminate, try a homemade paste of baking soda and water. For tips on caring for concrete, stainless steel, quartz, solid surfaces and ceramic tile, visit Countertop Care 101.

5. Make a better fire

While many of today’s homeowners opt for the convenience of a gas fireplace, the traditionalists among us may always prefer the smokey smell, crackling sound and tactile ritual of fire building. While there is an art to making a fire, it all begins with the right choice of wood. Every species has its own set of burning characteristics. Some species — oak, for example — offer a very slow burn and hot fire, while other species like fir provide medium heat with less ash. You’ll also want to make sure the wood you use is properly seasoned and stored in a well-ventilated outdoor area, protected from the elements.

YOUR TURN

What 2018 Home Resolutions have you made? We want to hear from you! Sound off on our Facebook Page or on our Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn feeds. And don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly HOME ADVICEtm eNewsletter for articles like this delivered straight to your inbox. You may unsubscribe at any time.

40 Easy Moving And Packing Tips That Will Make Your Move Super Smooth

Congrats on your new home! Now you just have to figure out how you’re going to pack and move everything without breaking the bank, your fragile lamp, or your back. Good thing we put together this list of 40 easy moving and packing tips that will make your move dead simple.

How do we know these tips will make your move super smooth?

We asked expert movers, packers, and professional organizers to share their best tips.

40 Easy Moving And Packing Tips That Will Make Your Move Super Smooth

So sit back, grab a snack, and dive in!

1. Get rid of everything

Okay, maybe not everything, but the more unused and unnecessary items you eliminate from your home, the less stuff you’ll have to pack up, haul across town, unload, and organize.

Clear any clutter from your home as soon as you know you’ll be moving.

Be ruthless with your stuff. That coat you think is cute but haven’t worn in four months? Donate it.

The very first coffee maker you ever bought that flavors your morning brew with little pieces of rust? Trash it.

Doing a massive preliminary purge will have the single biggest impact on the efficiency and ease of your entire packing process.

2. Sort things by category

Organize your belongings by category, not by room (note that the category part only applies to the organization process, not the unpacking — that’s a whole separate ordeal).

Instead of spending a day cleaning out your entire bedroom, spend an afternoon sorting through every article of clothing you own.

Scour every coat closet, dirty clothes hamper, and laundry room until you’ve got all your clothes in one place. Then sort.

Do the same thing for books, shoes, important papers, and the like.

3. Schedule a free donation pickup

In most markets and in most cases, you can schedule a donation pick-up online with the Salvation Army. The good news is, you don’t even have to be home so long as you properly label all bags/boxes that are being donated.

4. Set aside stuff to sell

You probably have a few items you no longer want, but would love to get a little money for. If that’s the case, set these items aside and determine where you can sell them.

If it’s furniture, Craigslist or Facebook Marketplaces are best bets. If it’s brand name clothing, you could try Poshmark or a local consignment store.

For specialty items like a gently used Coach purse or your collection of 90’s Beanie Babies, get on eBay.

5. Research professional moving companies

Research is never fun. Yelp and Google will overwhelm you with the sheer volume of choices for household moving companies to hire, but don’t give in to the pressure and pick the first four-star rating you see.

A moving company can often make or break your entire moving experience, so it’s important to get it right. The more effort you put into finding a reputable company with excellent customer service ahead of time, the less hassle you’ll have on moving day.

There are tens of thousands of people claiming to be a ‘moving company’ when in actuality it’s just some guy with a van trying to make some extra money. So it is important to make sure to do your due diligence.

RELATED: How To Not Get Scammed By A Moving Company

Make sure to read the company’s list of services, fine print, and refund or damage policies, too. For example, some companies don’t lift items that aren’t in boxes (so your stuffed-to-the-brim duffel bags won’t make the cut), while others ask for full payment several weeks early.

Find out the specifics so there are no unwelcome surprises come moving day.

6. Pick the right moving day

Hire your movers at least a month out so you can plan accordingly. If you have a flexible schedule, play around with potential moving dates and try to find the cheapest time of month to make an appointment.

Moving companies are busiest on weekends, so if you can skip the Saturday chaos and schedule your move for a Tuesday, you might get a significant discount.

7. Map out the best way to get to your new home

Whether you’re moving to the Jersey Shore, across the country, across state lines, or just to a neighboring town, you’re going to need an efficient travel route so you don’t waste your move-in day sitting in traffic or pulling over three different times to type an address into your GPS.

Figure out the easiest, most efficient way to get where you’re going. Look up potential highway construction schedules ahead of time. And take traffic, detours, and necessary stops into account when you’re making your plan.

8. Create a master moving to-do list

When you move homes, you inevitably end up having 600 different things to do and remember. Don’t let all these tasks and important reminders, no matter how seemingly obvious, slip your mind.

Write them down somewhere. Put them in the Notes app on your phone, in a to-do list app such as Wunderlist, or go old-school with a giant yellow legal pad.

No detail is too insignificant. You just remembered the name of the little bookstore in town that will accept your used novels? Write it down.

You stuck that extra screw from the broken drawer next to the sink? Take note.

You have to return your cable box to your provider at least one day before you leave? Jot it down.

9. Put moving tasks on your calendar

Take your organization a step further and spend an evening mapping out everything you have to do. Get an oversized calendar and mark the empty white boxes with important daily tasks to prepare for your move.

Tuesday: Call moving company.

Wednesday: Sort through toiletries.

Thursday: Buy new sheets.

An added bonus to using the calendar method is that breaking up your tasks by day makes them seem more manageable.

10. Get moving boxes from your local liquor store

Pay a visit to your local liquor store to see if they recycle their used boxes. If so, ask if you can grab a handful so you’re saving a little paper in your moving journey.

Just make sure the boxes are very gently worn and that you only use them to hold lightweight items like linens and towels. You don’t want to deal with ripped boxes and broken valuables on the big day.

11. Check to see if you have original boxes for your electronics

You might think your flat screen TV could withstand a 30-minute drive across town in a cardboard box, but alas, it’s a fragile piece of technology. The best way to transport your electronics is in the original boxes they arrived in when you purchased them.

Check to see if you stashed these boxes somewhere — attic? Garage? If you don’t have them, make a list of what you’ll need to buy or borrow to properly cushion your stuff.

Quilted blankets, bubble wrap, and sturdy tape all work well to protect TVs and similarly delicate items.

12. Go to the hardware store

How, you might ask, is one trip to the hardware store even possible?

Here’s how: lists.

Make one and make it really thorough and detailed. Sit down with your family, partner, or roommates and brainstorm every possible item you will need to help you get through the moving process.

Again, nothing is too insignificant. Packing tape, cardboard boxes, packing paper, extra screws, putty, a measuring tape, a new industrial-size broom, you name it. Buy it all in one big haul.

13. Grab extra packing and moving supplies

Don’t forget the “just in case” items when you’re making your master hardware store list. Stock up now on extra supplies like light bulbs (check your lamps to verify the type you need), extension cords, and power strips so you’ll be set to go when you start moving things in.

14. Schedule disconnect times

Call your cable, internet, electricity, and gas providers at least a week ahead of your move to figure out when you need to shut everything off. Make sure you leave enough time in your schedule to gather any necessary items — like cords, remotes, or cable boxes — you may need to return.

15. Call in favors early

If you’re relying on friends and family to help with your move, be courteous and give them a month’s notice. Do the same with babysitters for your children.

Send out an email with the details of where to meet, what time, what to bring, and what to wear (read: no sundresses or uncomfortable shoes) so everyone is on the same page.

16. Pack ahead

Packing little by little is far less stressful than trying to tackle it all in one day. As early as a couple months out, start packing the stuff you know you won’t be using.

This can be anything from off-season clothing to books you’ve already read to mementos, pictures, and keepsakes.

17. Pack decorative items a few weeks out

Pack up all your art and decorative items several weeks before you move. These pieces can be some of the trickiest to store because they’re fragile and often oddly shaped, so having a bit of extra time to figure out how to properly cushion them is crucial.

Sure, your walls and mantels will look a bit stark, but when you’re running around the house a week before the move feeling like you’re about to lose your mind, you’ll be so glad your grandma’s landscape painting is already nestled in its precious bubble wrap.

18. Change your address a week before you move

This is one of those things everyone forgets to do until they’re two weeks into life in a new home and they realize their Amazon Prime shipment still hasn’t arrived. Change your address ahead of time so your bills, credit card statements, and packages can arrive on time and without hassle.

19. Label moving boxes like a boss

The key to finding your stuff easily is labeling all your packed boxes accurately and clearly. When you’re stacking boxes in a van or car you won’t be able to see their tops, so make sure you label the sides as well. But don’t stop there.

Label the boxes by category and by room (for example, Books, Library and Books, Bedroom) to speed up the unloading process.

If you’re more of a visual learner, use color-coded electrical tape to label your boxes.

20. Create a number system

If you want to take your box labeling a step further, create a number system.

As you pack up a box, take note of every single item inside of it. Write the list in a Google doc, or use a handy organizing app like Sortly, and then give the box a number.

This genius strategy has two major benefits:

1. You can go straight to box #16 with the plunger instead of digging through every “Bathroom” box just to find it.
2. You’ll know the total number of boxes you’re transporting so you can check to see if one goes missing or is stolen.

21. Use small boxes for heavy items

It sounds obvious, but if you’ve ever known the struggle that is carrying a large cardboard box stuffed full of college textbooks across a parking lot, then you also know this advice cannot be overstated.

Fill your small boxes with heavier items and use large boxes for light things like decorative pillows, towels, and linens.

22. Use packing tape

Not to be confused with duct tape, packing tape is the heavy-duty, insanely sticky clear tape you see at the post office.

Always make sure your boxes have tops, but don’t do the interlocking fold method with the flaps of your box tops — just tape them closed. It’s much more secure this way.

23. Protect fragile items with packing paper, bubble wrap, or blankets

Remember that packing paper you put on your master list when you stocked up on supplies at the hardware store?

Use it to pad all your fragile dishware and decorative items. Stuff it inside glasses, wrap it around vases and bowls, and shove it between your dishes and the side of your boxes.

Make sure you wrap each of your fragile items separately, so they’re fully cushioned. If you don’t have packing paper, opt for bubble wrap or a quilted blanket.

24. Pack dishes vertically

Don’t stack your dishes horizontally inside a box. Instead, wrap your plates and bowls in packing paper, gently place them into a box on their sides like records, and then fill the empty spaces with bubble wrap to prevent cracking and breaking.

25. Cover the tops of toiletry bottles with Saran Wrap

To prevent potential leaking and spilling (and crying), take an extra two minutes as you pack to secure your toiletry bottles.

Unscrew the cap of your shampoo bottle, wrap a piece of Saran Wrap (or a Ziploc bag) over the top, and screw the cap back on. Simple and surprisingly effective.

26. Pack a clear plastic box with things you’ll need right away

This can include toilet paper, a shower curtain, hand soap, towels, sheets, snacks, or whatever else you think you’ll need for the first day or night in your new home.

Having a few essential items on hand will make you feel more comfortable and prepared to tackle unpacking everything else.

27. Pack a personal overnight bag

Chances are you won’t get everything unpacked in the first day, so bring whatever you need to feel relaxed and settled on your first night.

A change of clothes, your toiletries, a water bottle, and your laptop can go a long way in making your new place feel more like home.

28. Stop buying groceries a week before you leave

To save you the guilt of throwing away perfectly decent food, stop buying groceries a week or two before you’re scheduled to move. Try to make meals at home to use all the food you have left.

If you don’t finish everything, invite a friend or two over to see if they need some half-finished spices or boxes of pasta.

For anything you can’t get rid of, toss it and don’t look back.

29. Take pictures of your electronics

Before you take them apart and pack them up, take a few pictures of the back of your electronic devices — the cord situations, if you will.

Having these pictures will make it that much easier to set up your TV or monitor as soon as you move in — no fretting necessary.

30. Put your storage bins and luggage to use

Instead of trying to figure out how to pack up all your woven seagrass baskets, linen bins, and carry-on suitcases, store stuff inside them.

Think clothes and shoes for sturdy suitcases, and hand towels and pillowcases for lightweight, open-top bins and baskets.

31. Make copies of important papers

Pack a separate box or briefcase with copies of all your important documents in case of an emergency.

Though it might be a tedious project to scan or copy every birth certificate, passport, social security card, proof of insurance paper, and tax claim, you don’t want to risk damaging the only version of your papers in transit. They’re too precious.

32. Set aside cleaning supplies for moving day

Build a mini cleanup kit so you can do one final sweep through your home on moving day.

Set aside a broom, mop, dustpan, duster, sponge, cleaning products, paper towels, and old rags for wiping the grimy, hidden surfaces you could never get to when all your stuff was in the way.

33. Defrost your fridge at least one day before you move

Who wants to wake up to a grungy, mildewy fridge in their new home?

No one. No one at all.

Take time to thoroughly clean your fridge and wipe away all the liquid before you haul it to your new home.

34. Load boxes from the same rooms together

Stack and load boxes in groups according to the rooms indicated on the labels. Put all the kitchen stuff together, all the bedroom stuff together, and all the living room stuff together.

That way, you can unload all the boxes from the same rooms at the same time, which makes unpacking everything a cinch.

35. Load heavy furniture into the moving truck first

Have the person with the highest Tetris score be in charge of figuring out how to fit everything in the back of the moving truck is the most efficient way possible.

Load your heavy furniture first, like sofas and sectionals. Then finish with lighter items, like your nightstand and side tables.

Be gentle with everything, as most seemingly wooden items are not actually made from wood, but particle board.

Don’t be afraid to flip things over, either — couches actually transport well on their sides and save a ton of space in the process.

36. Take pictures of your new home before you move anything in

This moving tip really only applies if you’re renting your new home:

Before your friends and family start stacking boxes in the entryway, or scuffing the doorway trying to shove your couch through, snap a few shots of your space so you can note any existing damage.

It’ll be more difficult to prove you didn’t cause that damage after you’ve moved in all your furniture.

37. Delegate tasks when you’re unloading the moving truck

Figure out ahead of time who will be the chief of moving day. Whoever feels comfortable taking charge of the unloading and organization process (and inevitably answering 400 different questions) should assume this position.

Delegate every little task so no one is wasting time or sitting around with nothing to do. With all hands on deck, your unpacking process will fly by.

38. Keep Ziploc bags handy

Keep a stash of Ziploc bags in your purse or backpack for the big moving day. You can use the bags to store doorknobs, tiny screws and brackets, luggage keys, or other small, easily forgettable items.

39. Make the beds first

Make your beds as soon as you move in. That way, instead of worrying about tucking in your dust ruffle, or finding the right set of sheets at the end of a long night, you can just crash right away.

40. Be a good host

Make sure you take care of the people who help you move, regardless of whether or not they’re being paid to do it.

Provide beverages and snacks for everyone, break for pizza, or pay for everyone’s dinner and get it delivered using a food ordering app errand-outsourcing service.

YOUR TURN

Did you recently orchestrate a smooth move? What tips to you have to add to our list? Sound of on our Facebook Page, Twitter or Instagram feeds or connect with us on LinkedIn. And don’t forget to subscribe to our monthly HOME ADVICEtm email newsletter for great tips for homeowners and sellers delivered straight to your inbox. You may unsubscribe at any time.

7 Ways To Prepare For Your Go-To-Market Photo Shoot

With the majority of buyers shopping for homes online – and of those buyers, the majority skipping over Listings that do not have accompanying photos – high-resolution photos, slide shows and tours are a must.

FREE DOWNLOAD: Home Selling Essentials eBook

online-property-listings-monmouth-countyYour Listing Agent will take care of the actual photo shoot, but there are seven key things you can do to make your home shine on camera:

1. Understand the camera’s perspective

The camera’s eye is different from the human eye. It magnifies clutter and poor furniture arrangement so that even a home that feels comfortable in person can look jumbled online.

2. Make it spotless

Cameras also tend to magnify grime. Don’t forget floor coverings and walls; a spot on a rug might be overlooked during a regular home showing, but it could become a focal point online.

3. Know what to leave

You want to avoid clutter, but try to have three items of varying heights on each surface. On an end table you can place a tall lamp (high), a small plant (medium), and a book (low).

4. Snap practice pictures with your own camera

This will give you an idea of what the home will look like on camera before the photographer shows up. Examine the photos and make changes to improve each room’s appearance, such as opening blinds to let in natural light, removing magnets from the refrigerator, or taking down distracting art.

5. Pare down

Removing one or two pieces of furniture from each room, even if just for the shoot, can make your space appear larger on screen.

6. Rearrange

Spotlight the flow of your space by creating a focal point on the furthest wall from the doorway and arranging the other pieces of furniture to make a triangle shape. The focal point may be a bed in a bedroom or a china cabinet in a dining room.

7. Accessorize

Include a healthy plant in every room; the camera loves greenery. Energize bland decor by placing a bright vase on a mantle or draping an afghan over a couch.

YOUR TURN

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