7 Ways to Feel at Home in Your New Apartment

Moving into your own apartment can be very exciting … your new space is a blank canvas that you can make yours by simply adding one element:  PERSONALITY!

You want to make it yours; to add the sparkle that is a reflection of you; to transform your apartment into a home. The Danish call it HYGGE, pronounced “hue-guh,” meaning cozy, comfortable, and contented.

Here are some steps you can take to convert your generic white-walled residence into your very own personal haven.

  1. Clean it! Before you do anything else, a deep clean is in order. Give yourself a fresh start by scrubbing away the remnants of the past tenants. The bonus is that while cleaning you’ll get familiar with every nook and cranny of your new apartment and it will begin to feel familiar.
  2. Paint it! If permissible, select a wall color that is more “you.” Without spending a lot of money, you can change the look and feel of your space with just a coat or two of paint. You can simply paint an accent wall or change the entire color scheme of the apartment to suit your personality.
  3. Light it! The right lighting design can turn a drab space into a comfortable and functional one. Lighting should be planned for function so that you have the appropriate amount and type of light for the area. Where will you relax with a book? Will you have a specific area for your computer work? What color bulbs are best for the bedroom? Visit lighting stores and ask the experts or do a bit of research on the Internet.
  4. Decorate it! Bring out the knick-knacks, throw pillows, and wall art that you treasure and find the best space to display them. Sentimental items like a hand-crocheted blanket, a favorite photo or painting, or a souvenir from your travels will instantly bring your apartment to life and give it a dose of hygge.
  5. Hang it! It’s important to bring a sense of privacy to your new home. Bare widows need to be dressed to give your apartment a feeling of completeness. Whether you choose curtains, drapes, or simply valences depends on your style. The object is to create unity with your furniture and décor.
  6. Frame it! Unpack photos of friends and family. Put some on a bookshelf or use magnets to affix them to your refrigerator. Create a montage of photos on an accent wall. Nothing makes a house a home faster than some familiar faces.
  7. Throw it! Invite friends and family over for drinks and a bite to eat. Planning a party will get your kitchen in order and will get you emotionally connected to your new apartment. Your place will feel warm and cozy when filled with those you love. A party of this type, you know, is called a “house-warming” for this very reason.

Follow these guidelines and your new apartment will feel cozy and comfortable in no time!

Ayer Moving and Storage has resources to help you with your move and our Relocation Specialists can give you tips on saving money. Call us at (800) 233-6683 or visit our website for more information.

A Baker’s Dozen Tips for Saving Money on Your Move

No doubt about it.  Moving can be expensive. There are many tips for saving money when you move, but some come with a caution. You may be saving some dollars, but you could also be risking the safety of your belongings and bringing more work and stress on yourself in the bargain. Consider these money-saving tips and the adverse consequences that may occur.

Get a Moving Quote.

Call two or three movers and invite them to come to your home to prepare a moving estimate. When professional movers see your home and the items you want to take with you, your estimate will include all the necessary charges and you won’t be low-balled or be greeted with an unpleasant surprise when the move is complete. This will enable movers to see that there are narrow stairs to the third floor, or you have a piano that needs special attention. They will record each piece of furniture to be moved and its approximate weight so your estimate will be as accurate as possible. Only then will you be able to compare one mover with another.

Be Organized.

Take advantage of moving guides available from your mover so you don’t overlook crucial steps in the moving process. You’ll want to pay special attention to the timeline of what to do when, as the process can involve more time than you might think, especially if you haven’t moved before. You can request free moving and packing guides from Ayer Moving and Storage.

Inventory Prior to the Move.

Don’t wait until you are ready to pack. See if members of your family or friends want anything you really don’t need. Sell items at a yard sale. Dispose of things that are no longer useful. Donate items to charities and if you itemize on your tax return, take a deduction for their value.

Be Flexible with the Moving Date.

Movers are typically slow in the winter months or in the middle of the week or month. You may be able to save a bit by being flexible. (The months of July and August are peak times for moving companies and they are usually booked way in advance.)

Do Your Own Packing.

You can find many tips for packing your own possessions, including collectibles, antiques, electronics, and clothing online. Keep in mind that professional packers know the precise ways in which to pack and have the appropriate packing materials on hand, including bubble wrap, plain newsprint, and special sized boxes. Compare the costs and the time involved before you decide to do it yourself.

Free Moving Boxes.

Sturdy boxes are available free from liquor stores, university bookstores, and supermarkets (find out when they typically flatten boxes or incinerate them so you can pick them up beforehand!)  Moving companies also sell used packing boxes and specialty boxes for wall art, dishes, and wardrobes.

Go online.

Purchase plain (inkless) newsprint and bubble wrap from discount stores like Staples or Amazon. Or check out used packing materials on Facebook Marketplace or Craig’s List. (When your move is complete you can list your used packing materials for sale!)

Consider Sharing the Packing.

You may want to pack certain things yourself but leave the large furniture and special items like artwork, computers, dishes, and collectibles to the professionals.

Pack Like Russian Dolls.

Conserve space by packing small items inside larger items to save on moving boxes. Don’t overpack, though, as you run the risk of heavy boxes being dropped or bursting under the strain.

Use Linens to Pack.

Make use of towels and blankets to wrap around fragile items and to cushion items against each other.

Solicit Friends for Moving Day.

Ask friends and neighbors to help you load the moving truck and treat them to pizza and libations (after the job is done)! Be sure to plan who is to do what and how you want the loading to be accomplished. Otherwise, you risk having boxes loaded incorrectly which can result in crushing or breaking your treasures.

Rent a COW.

A Container on Wheels (COW) is a portable storage unit that can be loaded in your driveway and then hitched to your local mover’s truck to go to your new home.

Rent a truck, Load, and Drive It.

 

This can save you a bundle, but you may not be ready or able to take on this huge task. Ask your local mover if you can rent a truck from them, along with a crew to load it. Then you can drive to your new location on your own. (You’ll need to arrange for help on the other end!)

Don’t skimp on moving insurance coverage. You’ll want to talk to your mover about purchasing insurance in addition to the coverage that is included with the move, which pays on claims according to the weight of the item, not its value. It is key to have this insurance on anything that might break during the move.

Ayer Moving and Storage has resources to help you with your move and their Relocation Specialists can give you tips on saving money. Call us at (800) 233-6683 or visit our website for more information.

How to Protect your Floors and Carpets when Moving

One of the most often overlooked areas on the to-do list when preparing to move is ensuring that your floors and carpets are protected during move-out and move-in. Preventing floors and carpets from damage during the moving process can help you avoid costly repairs. Happily, there are simple ways to protect your floors during your move.

What to Do and What Not to Do

The first type of protection focuses on preventing heavy items from being dragged along the floor or being dropped on the hardwood, tiled, or carpeted floors.

No Dragging

Never drag furniture along the floor. You can easily damage flooring surfaces and create dents, scratches, or broken tiles as a result. Be sure to carry the lighter furniture pieces and use furniture sliders and rubber-wheeled dollies.

Use Furniture Blankets

Thick blankets should be used to cover the edges of furniture pieces, kitchen appliances, or any other heavy items. The extra padding will soften the impact if a heavyweight item is accidentally dropped.

Only Sturdy Boxes

Strong cardboard boxes can hold the weight of heavy items.  Be sure not to pack any box too heavy – no more than 50 pounds to ensure that the boxes will stand up to the weight. Tape securely with high-quality shipping tape to reinforce the bottoms of all cardboard cartons.

Furniture Sliders

The best furniture sliders are made of strong plastic and hard rubber. Their purpose is to minimize or eliminate the friction between the furniture and the floor. (They also are great for preventing back injuries!)

Dollies

A rubber-wheeled dolly enables you to wheel out the heavy items without any damage to the flooring.

Doormats

Placed in front of and behind the main door can prevent, as much as possible, dust, mud, water, snow, or debris to be brought into your home on the shoes of the moving crew.

Shoe Booties

Ideally, all moving crew should use shoe booties that are placed on the shoes at the moment of entering the home and taken off when exiting the house. The best way to ensure that debris is not brought into the home is to have two crews – one outside the home to unload from the moving van and another to meet the unloader at the door and carry the items into the home.

Protective Materials for Carpets and Floors

Covering your floors and carpets with some kind of protective material can be very helpful in preventing damage. Here are some options:

Old Rugs

Use old rugs or blankets for temporary floor protection on moving day. Place them along the entrance paths to keep water or dirt off the floors and to provide a cushioning barrier against dents and scratches.

Floor Runners

Made of neoprene with an anti-slip surface, floor runners, although costly, are an excellent protective material for floors and stairs.

Plastic Film

Self-adhesive carpet films serve as good insulation from dirty shoes and the weather. Some carpet films also have an anti-slip property to prevent slips and falls. These too add an expense to your budget, so cardboard and plywood may be a more affordable option.

Cardboard

Flatten extra cardboard boxes and arrange the sheets directly on the floors as added protection. Cardboard will not scratch hardwood floors but be sure to remove any carton staples before using.

Plywood

If you have heavy furniture to move, such as appliances or a piano, you can create a temporary floor over the existing one using plywood sheets.

Area Rug Removal

If you have expensive area rugs, roll them up and remove them before the movers arrive. Then you can select one of the options above to protect the floor under the area rugs.

A professional moving company will take care to protect your carpets and floors during the move. Usually the task of protecting floors in preparation for moving is up to the homeowner, However, when you call a mover for an estimate, be sure to discuss what the company does to ensure that your carpets and floors are protected and what suggestions they may have for what you can do on your end.

These tips will help to ensure that your floors and carpets are safe and during your move-out and move-in. If you have questions about an upcoming move, call Ayer Moving and Storage at 800-233-6683 or 978-772-2558 and be sure to download our Ayer Moving and Storage Moving Checklist.

Packing Heavy Items for Moving – A Helpful Guide

Heavy household items are difficult to handle when moving and they can present some significant risks to those who are packing and carrying them. You will want to consider these helpful guidelines to help prevent injury and to ensure the good condition of the goods themselves.

The Right Packing Materials

It is important to use the appropriate packing materials – strong boxes of the proper size — and thicker, heavier wrapping material – bubble wrap, foam padding or moving blankets.

Your Boxes

You’ll need to use durable cardboard or double-walled moving boxes that can withstand heavier weight. If you are packing heavy fragile items, consider using plastic or wood crates. Place sheets of crumpled paper or pieces of bubble wrap on the inside bottom of each box for added security.

When packing heavy items, small boxes (1.5 cubic feet) are better than large ones. (Large boxes are better for holding lighter items.) The rule of thumb is that each box should not weigh more than 50 pounds. Some boxes, such as a wardrobe box or those holding electronics, may be heavier.

Thick Wrapping Materials

Crunched up paper isn’t enough when cushioning heavy items in a box. It will compress flat under their weight and won’t provide the proper protection. However, unprinted newsprint can be helpful when packing small parts of heavy household items. Use it as a first layer before using heavier wrap. Large size bubble wrap, corrugated cardboard, packing peanuts or foam padding should be used to protect heavy household items.

Packing Tape

Use high quality, heavy-duty packing tape, which is thicker, can hold greater weight and will reinforce the boxes and keep wrappings in place.

Packing Books

Books are heavy! You can fit about 24 average size hardcover books into a small box and it will weigh about 38 pounds. Tape the bottoms of your book boxes. Put your largest, heaviest books in first, packing the books FLAT, or with their spines DOWN. Never pack books with their spines facing you as that can damage the bindings seriously. Don’t overfill the box. Fill the gaps with crushed unprinted newsprint and tape the box closed securely. Don’t be stingy with the tape!

Packing Heavy Kitchen Items

Tape the bottoms of your boxes with strong packing tape. Arrange canned goods and glass jars on the bottom. Wrap each glass kitchen item in packing paper to avoid possible breakage. Cans should be unwrapped and neatly arranged with minimal space between them. Fill the gaps with crumpled paper. Place a few sheets of packing paper on top of the first row and pack the second row with lighter kitchen items. You can pack silverware pieces as the second row after rolling a handful of utensils into several pieces of packing paper. Lastly, pack light items such as spice jars and hand towels as the top layer with several sheets of packing paper overall.

Packing Heavy Clothing

Winter clothes, especially outerwear, can be very heavy and can fill a box quickly. Special wardrobe moving boxes are best. You can hang heavy winter clothes keeping them dust- and wrinkle-free during the move. You can also use the bottom of a wardrobe moving box to pack boots and winter shoes.

You can also pack heavy clothes in wheeled suitcases. Use vacuum bags to save packing space.  Remember, no more than 50 lbs in each wardrobe moving box or suitcase!

Packing Heavy Furniture

Disassemble furniture as appropriate so they can be transported more easily. Take apart beds, cabinets, bookshelves, and tables to their main components and pack or wrap the components together. Protect fragile parts or sections with soft packing paper (unprinted newsprint) and then with bubble wrap to create protective layers. Do not place bubble wrap directly onto furniture to prevent possible damage to delicate surfaces. Consider using thick cardboard pieces over delicate elements for added protection. Wrap all disassembled pieces with thick furniture blankets and cover all remaining furniture pieces with protective blankets as well.  Tape the blankets to keep them from unwrapping. Do not allow packing tape to stick to the surface of your furniture to avoid stains.

Packing Heavy Appliances

You may decide to move large appliances, such as washing machines, dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers, or stoves. These heavy appliances need special attention.

Be sure electric appliances are unplugged from power outlets before protecting them for the move. Defrost the refrigerator or freezer at least 48 hours before moving day. Remove all elements that can be removed safely – shelves, drawers, or racks – and pack the detached parts separately in packing paper, bubble wrap, and moving blankets.

Use shrink wrap or twine to secure the doors of your heavy appliances to keep them from opening during the move. Wrap heavy appliances completely in thick furniture blankets to prevent damage. Tape the covers to secure them.

More Tips

If you have more space left at the top of a box when you have reached your weight limit, cut the box down to size to create a better fit. Slice the vertical edges of the box, fold down the sides, overlap them, and seal tightly to create a smaller container. Before filling, flip the box upside down to create a multi-layered bottom that can withstand more weight.

If you have a fragile item that needs more protection, pack it properly, seal the box, and place it in another larger box. Put some cardboard or other padding material between the two boxes or wrap the smaller box in bubble wrap first. Then seal the larger box with packing tape.

Label all your heavy boxes with their contents and in large letters: HANDLE WITH CARE – HEAVY! This alerts the movers to be careful when carrying, loading and unloading these cartons. Don’t forget to mark all boxes containing fragile items: FRAGILE and THIS SIDE UP!

Following these guidelines will help to ensure a safe and secure move for all your household items. If you have questions about packing for a move, call Ayer Moving and Storage at 800-233-6683 or 978-772-2558 and be sure to download our Ayer Moving and Storage packing guide.

Moving to a New City

If you are thinking about making a move to a new city, it is important to do a bit of research before finalizing your destination. Whether your proposed move is across the country or on the other side of the state, you’ll want to have this information in-hand so you know your decision will be an informed one.

What are your goals?

Why are you moving and what are you hoping to achieve? Make a list of your professional and personal goals before you start packing.

What is the cost of living?

How far will your dollar stretch in your new city? Check out the cost of housing, transportation, healthcare, and food so you can create a budget. You can use the Bankrate Calculator, an online resource and check online homes for sale listings, gas prices, and restaurant menus.

Looking for a job?

The time to begin applying for jobs is now … before you move. Make a job hunting plan that includes targeted industries and companies, desired geographic areas, and opportunities listed on company websites. Research whether the company offers relocation benefits and learn about the corporate culture.

Make Connections.

Do you have friends, acquaintances, or family in your new city? Use your alumni network and business, professional, and personal connections here to form new connections. Use LinkedIn and Facebook to discover connections or request introductions.

Explore in Person or Online.

Visit your new city, if possible, before you move to learn about its neighborhoods. Check out both residential and commercial areas. Learn which may be unsavory and which have the features that interest you. Where are the parks, nightlife, restaurants? What types of transportation and parking are available? Online resources are invaluable. For instance, Googling “parks near (name of city)” will yield lots of information. Try City Data and Crime Reports to learn more.

When you have done your “homework” and have made your decision, you’ll want to make your move as smooth and stress-free as possible.

You Can’t Take It with You.

Dispose of unnecessary possessions. You don’t need to move items that no longer serve your purposes. Sort your household items into those you absolutely need, those you can part with – to be sold, given away to friends or relatives, items to donate to charitable organizations — and those that can be disposed of. Consider having a yard sale and plan to donate whatever doesn’t sell to charity.

Throw a Party.

Have a get together and make sure you say farewell to the important people in your life. You’ll leave your old home on good terms with an enthusiastic attitude about the adventure you are about to take.

Be Open to New Experiences.

Seek out opportunities to meet new people. Say “yes” to after-work social gatherings. Join business or civic organizations that will extend your networking contacts in your new city. Eat alone in a local café or coffee house. Read a book in the park. Talk to people.

Get Familiar.

Explore your neighborhood to discover local stores. Where is the nearest pharmacy, grocery, post office, or coffee shop? When is the library open? Where can you walk or ride your bike? Ask co-workers or people you meet for recommendations and directions. Remember, it’s OK to get lost; that’s when you may experience the best adventures.  Today, GPS and cell phones prevent us from actually being “lost.” We just get waylaid or take the scenic route. When you become more familiar with your neighborhood, your new community will begin to feel like home.

Join nextdoor.com, an online neighborhood app. This website, as well as your community’s Facebook page have a wealth of information.  You can check out Meet Up for information on local group meetings that you can attend.

Focus on the positive.

Things won’t always go as you planned them, but whatever happens, think about what you like and value about your new home. Remember your reasons for relocating and remain positive about your decision.

You may become acclimated with a few months or it may take longer to adjust to your new area. Take the time to learn about your new community and put yourself out there. Soon you’ll begin to feel like you are a “native.” You will have made some casual friends and hopefully, some close ones.

If you have questions about moving across town or across the country, call the Relocation Specialists at Ayer Moving and Storage.

The Key to a Successful Move: Organization

Tips for making your move smooth and stress-free!

If you’ve moved before, you know there are a thousand details to keep track of and it pays to be organized from the start. If you haven’t experienced a move to a new home, these tips will be especially helpful in keeping you sane and your move on track.

Keep a Binder

Two or three months before your move create a binder specifically for your move and organize it into the following categories:

Checklists. Download our Ayer Moving Timeline for a Successful Move so you know what needs to be done before, during, and after your move.

Utilities. Keep track of utility contact information, appointments, utility contracts and pricing for the utilities in your new location. Also, collect and store info on your current utility companies so you will have information at hand when setting up utilities for your new home.

Moving Companies. Keep estimates from potential moving companies here and when you’ve signed a contract, keep it in this section.

Household Inventory. Available online or from your mover, fill out an inventory sheet so you know exactly what you own and what you will be taking with you.

Schedules. Print blank monthly calendar sheets from WORD and fill in information such as your home inspection date, final home walk-through, real estate closing, moving day and time, utility hook-up times, and more.

Loan Documents. Keep your loan documents here for easy reference until after the move; you can then file them in your home office.

Receipts. Use this section for all purchase receipts that pertain to your move or house. Receipts such as for the purchase of a ceiling fan, faucet, or door lock. If you need to return or exchange anything, the receipt will be easy to locate.

Builder. Place builder contracts, warranties, and other important paperwork here relative to building a home, renovations, or maintenance.

Donations. In preparation for your move, chances are you will donate furnishings and household goods to charitable organizations. Keep a list of all donations and donation receipts in this section.

Important Documents. Place copies of important medical records, school records, and financial documents that you may need to put your hands on in a hurry during the move.

Add some blank notepaper and a few pens so you can jot down important information on the fly.

Use a Color-coded System

Round sticker labels in different colors can be used on boxes and furniture to indicate in which room it is to be placed by the movers. A matching colored paper hung on each room’s door will direct movers to the correct location.

You can write the details of the contents of each box and place the colored sticker on the label, so you will tell at a glance what is in each box and where it is to go.

Create a Packing Strategy

Plan your packing room-by-room. Prioritize the rooms, beginning with the rooms containing non-essentials. This might be a spare bedroom/bathroom, playroom, or the basement or attic. The kitchen and bedrooms should be packed last. Download the guide Tips from the Professional Packers at Ayer Moving.

Use Zip-Top Bags for Toys

Use freezer zip-top bags to keep small toys and their parts together. The bags can then be placed into a box labeled with its contents and destination. This works for toiletries, office supplies, and kitchen utensils. To estimate the number of boxes and supplies you’ll need, use a packing calculator from realtor.com.

Prevent Cord and Cable Tangles

Tie up electric cords and cables and place them inside baggies. Each bag can be taped to its device, or as an option, fold the cord and slip it inside an empty toilet paper roll. Write the name of the device to which the cord belongs on the roll.

Moving Day Essentials Bag

Make a list of what you will need on moving day. This may include medications, basic toiletries, baby necessities, paper towels, toilet paper, trash bags, pet essentials, snacks, and bottled water.  You might also include your wallet, extra car keys, and credit cards, as well as any important documents you may need.

Also include any electronics you use on a regular basis – your phone and tablet, for example, along with their chargers. Pack a change of clothes, pajamas, socks and underwear.

If you are moving with children, you can pack an essentials bag for each of them with a change of clothes, favorite snacks and drinks, basic toiletries, and games, a tablet, coloring book, reading materials and special blankets or stuffed animals.

Create a Tool Basket

Put basic tools in a carryall, like a basket, that you may need during your move-out and move-in. You can simply grab the basket and move it from room to room where it is needed to complete a quick fix-it.

Helpful Moving Apps

Use the power of technology to help you organize your move. Here are some you can check out:

Sortly– Described as “the ultimate organizer app,” Sortly helps users create a visual inventory of their belongings with photos, tags, notes, and more.

Nextdoor– Connect with neighbors, sell household belongings and find local home improvement professionals with the Nextdoor mobile app.

LetGo – Need to purge your stuff before a move? This mobile app makes it easy to sell your belongings at the touch of a button.

Houzz – The mobile app helps users find home remodeling professionals, as well as inspiration for home design and decor.

 

Planning ahead is the sure way to stay organized. These tips can help you stay calm, cool, and collected during your move and ensure that move-out and move-in are successful in every way.

 

If you have questions about getting organized for a pending move, call a professional moving consultant at Ayer Moving & Storage at 1-800-233-MOVE. We will be happy to discuss how they can help organize your move to be stress-free.

Tips for an Eco-Friendly Move

The average American moves 11.4 times in his or her lifetime, making a substantial environmental impact. If you want your next move to be environmentally-friendly, you can reduce your carbon footprint by planning for a “green” transition to your new residence.

Here are some tips for an environmentally-responsible move:

Purge

Don’t move what you don’t need. Sort your items into piles of what to donate, what to recycle, and what to toss. Your “toss pile” should only include items that you can’t use, donate, or recycle.

Use online resources to help you find charitable organizations, like Goodwill, Veterans for America, Habitat for Humanity ReStore, and local schools, libraries, thrift shops, and animal shelters. You can also find electronic recycling centers at E-cycling Central and TerraCycle for guidance on recycling everything else.

Hazardous Materials Are a No-No

Some of the items you will be moving may be harmful to the environment. These materials are prohibited by Federal law to be moved by professional moving companies because of the high-risk of fire, corrosion, explosion, or serious damage during transport. Hazardous items include:

  • Gasoline, Kerosene
  • Motor oil
  • Antifreeze
  • Dyes
  • Pesticides, Fertilizers
  • Paint, paint thinners
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Aerosol cans

Give these supplies to neighbors or friends, if usable, and follow the instructions on the rest of the items to dispose of them without harming the environment.

Packing Materials

You are likely to need specialized moving boxes for wall art, computers, TVs, and fragile dishes, but for everything else, you can reduce the number you’ll need by using containers you have, including:

  • Plastic bins
  • Suitcases
  • Dresser drawers
  • Gym bags and duffel bags
  • Reusable grocery totes
  • Buckets, baskets
  • Laundry hampers

Save shipping boxes you receive during the year to reuse. Purchase used moving boxes from your moving company.

Don’t pack empty containers — for example, pack small bathroom items in a clean trash bin with a fresh garbage bag liner. Fill a laundry hamper with items.

White, unprinted newsprint paper is best for wrapping items when packing, but you can also use towels, linens, even clothes to safely wrap up items for packing. Socks are great for padding glassware.

Green bubble wrap (with up to 40% recycled content) and green packing peanuts (made from vegetable oils and cornstarch) are available as alternatives. You can also purchase boxes made from recycled cardboard.

Leave the Kitchen for Last

Once all your dishes and flatware are stored away, you will be forced to use plastic or paper plates, cups, and utensils. A better option is to leave out just enough kitchen items to get you through moving day. Then you can pack them and mark them “Open First” so you have them available to use when you arrive at your new home.

After the Move

When your move is complete, packing paper and boxes can be recycled. You can offer free packing materials on Facebook Marketplace or Internet yard sale groups. If you do use plastic packing materials, use a site like Recycle Finder to dispose of them at a recycling drop-off location.

Ask your movers if they will pick up your used cardboard boxes for recycling. You may want to keep some of the strongest cardboard boxes to repurpose for storage in your new home.

There are many ways to impact the environment in a small way. Following these guidelines will make a significant positive influence and can be the start of an on-going environmentally-responsible lifestyle in the years to come.

If you have concerns about eco-friendly moving, call a professional moving consultant at Ayer Moving & Storage at 1-800-233-MOVE. They will be happy to discuss how they can help make your move “green.”

Going Off to College? Student Moving Tips to Ease the Stress

Two things to remember about moving to college. One: It is a temporary move and Two: You will be limited in personal space. Here are some tips to help make the move smooth and enjoyable!

The most important student moving tip is to formulate a PLAN and stick to it! You will not only save costs on moving and storage, but you will also save yourself and your family stress and strain (physical and mental).

Plan your Move

If you can visit your future dorm room or apartment prior to moving in, make a scaled floor plan so you will know at the outset how much actual space you have. If there is a communal kitchen and sitting area, find out what appliances and furniture are provided. No need to bring things that are already in place for you.

If you know who your roommates will be, contact them and compare notes so you can avoid duplication and agree on arrangements for sharing the room equitably.

Learn if the school provides moving dollies or rolling laundry bins to assist with the move. If not, consider renting any special equipment you may need. Ask if students are available (football players, perhaps) to help with the move-in.

What is Essential

Most dorms are small and don’t offer any more space than necessary. Be sure what you plan to take with you is essential. Is the dorm air-conditioned? Will you need a small fan? Are there enough electrical outlets or will an extension cord or surge protector be needed?

Resist the temptation to bring more clothes than necessary. You may have to share a dresser or wardrobe with your roommates.

It’s a good idea to pack a basic toolkit and first aid kit. A hammer, screwdrivers, and pliers can be lifesavers on move-in day and after. Duct tape and zip ties come in handy as well.  The first aid kit should contain at a minimum, disinfectant wipes or spray, bandages, sports tape, and an over-the-counter painkiller, such as ibuprofen. Don’t forget tweezers and a small pair of scissors.

Pack Efficiently

You may need to climb stairs or use an elevator to get to your dorm room, so pack efficiently to limit the number of trips. Pack little things into large ones. Use a sports duffel bag, backpack, or cloth shopping bags to carry small items and make them easier to carry. Don’t pack boxes too heavy. Your back will thank you.

Roll your clothing, rather than simply folding it. You’ll be surprised at how much more you can fit into a suitcase or box and you’ll avoid wrinkling. Remember that students only need casual, comfortable clothing, workout clothes, and a nice outfit or two.

Pack spare towels and bed linens in plastic under-bed storage bins, rather than in cardboard boxes, so you can just place them under the bed.

Pack like items together and label your boxes so you can unpack in an organized and speedy fashion.

Use old eyeglass cases to hold a cord or cable.

Use a plastic bag or shower cap over your shoes before packing them.

Pack Safely

If you are bringing any fragile items, like a framed photo, electronics, or glass, carefully wrap it separately in newsprint, plastic bags, a towel or shirt.

Ladies: place a cotton ball or pad in your cosmetic compacts to prevent them from cracking. Wrap your liquid cosmetics in plastic wrap before placing them in a zip bag for extra protection against breakage.

Wait to Buy

Hold off until after the move to buy new things you think you will need. You might be able to share costs with roommates or you may find you don’t need that special something anyway.

The Actual Move

When moving in, begin with the larger items and set them in place. You can remove the bulky packing materials right away to give you room to position your décor and pictures when you are ready.

If on the day of your move, the temperature is hot, be sure to pack any perishable items last and unload them first. Leave behind any aerosol products that can explode under heat. Pack electronic devices that may be affected by high temperatures in insulated coolers.

Relax and Enjoy the Experience

Try not to stress out by making the experience fun with friends, music, photos, and snack breaks. Move-in day is the start of your college experience this year. Make it great!

 

If you have concerns about moving into college housing, call Ayer Moving & Storage at 1-800-233-MOVE. If you are just beginning to plan for your move, download a copy of the Ayer Moving & Storage guide: Packing Tips from the Professional Packers at Ayer Moving & Storage.

Maintenance for Your New Home

It’s human nature. Once you’ve signed the closing documents and your new home is really yours, you’ll start thinking about what you want to do to improve it!

There’s that wallpaper that you can’t stand. And the carpet that really needs replacing. Before you drive yourself crazy running to Home Depot or Lowes, grab a fresh notepad and make a wish list. Invite each member of the family to add to their own page of “wishes” so you can prioritize them and address each one at the appropriate time.

Before you address changing the décor, here are ten maintenance items that should be done sooner, rather than later to avoid problems.  You can replace that ugly wallpaper later!

1. Clean Refrigerator Coils

Refrigerator condenser coils are located on the back of the fridge or across the bottom. When coils are clogged with dust, pet hair and cobwebs, they cannot efficiently release heat. This means your compressor works harder and longer than it was designed to, using more energy and shortening the life of your refrigerator. Clean the coils with a vacuum and a coil-cleaning brush, which is bendable to fit in tight areas.

2. Check the Dryer for Built-Up Lint

A clogged lint screen or dryer duct can drastically reduce the dryer’s efficiency. It can also use up to 30 percent more electricity, wasting money you might use towards another home improvement project.

3. Check your Furnace and HVAC Filters, Too

Just like in your dryer, only on a larger scale, a clogged filter makes your heating and cooling systems run less efficiently, wasting energy and money. A clogged filter traps harmful pollutants and allergens that affect interior air quality. Replace the filters if needed and mark your calendar to do this on a regular basis.

4. Re-caulk Your Windows

It is especially important in New England to minimize heat loss in the winter. Sealing the spaces around windows can help. The type of caulk you’ll need will depend on the type of windows you have. You’ll want a caulk with a joint movement capability of between 25 and 50 percent and a 20-year weather-seal warranty. Apply to clean and dry surfaces when outside air temperature falls within the suggested range on the caulk packaging.

5. Clean A/C Condensers and Evaporators

Turn off the electricity to the unit and vacuum the outdoor condenser exterior fins with a soft-bristled brush. Clear away bushes, weeds and overgrown grass within two feet of the unit. Replace the furnace filter on the evaporator unit, vacuum the blower compartment, and clean the condensation drain. If this is too much DIY for you, make an appointment with your HVAC company for an A/C tune up in April or May before the pre-summer rush.

6. Locate the Main Water Shutoff Valve

In the flurry of activity on moving in, you may not think to locate the main water shutoff valve. Important for obvious reasons, check it out before you need to shut off the water for any reason.  Usually you’ll find a main shutoff valve directly before the water meter and another after. You’ll see a gauge and a paper or vinyl tag that indicates the handle of the valve. Turn the handle perpendicular to the pipe to shut off the water.

7. Clean Gutters and Roof Valleys

Gutters with leaves and debris will prevent water from draining into the downspouts and can cause the gutters to freeze and become damaged. Water can back up and cause the roof to leak. Clean gutters by removing debris with a trowel or your gloved hands and then flush with water from a garden hose.

8. Check Smoke and CO Detectors and Replace, if Needed

Be sure you know where all the detectors are located and check them to be sure they are working properly. If needed, replace the batteries or the units themselves and mark your calendars to change the batteries every time you “Spring Ahead” or “Fall Back.”

9. Test Your Sump Pump

Before the beginning of the rainy season, pour water into your sump pump to make sure it works. The most common (and worst) time for a sump pump to fail is during the first heavy rainfall after months of not being used. Pour a bucket of water or two into the sump to make sure the pump kicks on.

10. Create a Homeowner’s Journal

Purchase an accordion file or a ring binder into which you can file insurance papers, repair receipts and documents relating to improvements and repairs you make. Storing all these household records in one place makes it easier for you to locate information when you need it.

If you have questions about moving or would like a no-obligation moving estimate, call Ayer Moving & Storage at 1-800-233-MOVE. W have experience moving across town or across the country or internationally. If you are just beginning to plan for your move, download a copy of the Ayer Moving & Storage guides.

A Beginners Guide to Packing

If you’ve decided not to hire professional packing services, and will be packing your own household goods for an upcoming move, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:

The right cartons and packing materials are vital. Don’t think that banana boxes from the supermarket are good enough. Moving cartons are manufactured to withstand the rigors of moving. Ask your mover for some help in selecting the right sizes and types. Don’t forget unprinted newsprint, bubble wrap and heavy-duty tape.

 

Cushion boxes with paper. Wad up unprinted newsprint to create a cushion on the bottom of the box before packing. Fill empty spaces with more wadded up paper.

 

Don’t overcrowd boxes. Don’t pack them too heavily (especially boxes with books) and keep like items together.

 

Hang clothes for fewer wrinkles. Pack clothing in stand-up wardrobe boxes on hangers. Without overcrowding, clothes will hang straight and stay wrinkle-free.

 

Pack glassware upside down. Wrap glasses individually with two pieces of newsprint paper and stand upside down on end (not on their sides).

 

Pack dishes on their sides. Wrap dishes individually with two pieces of paper and stand on their ends (not flat)!

 

Specialty items need special cartons. Pack computers, lampshades, mirrors, flat screen TVs, pictures, and artwork in special cartons designed for them.

 

Organize room by room. To make unpacking easier, pack rooms separately and mark the room name on the top and sides of the box.

 

More on labels. A good idea is to use a label with, not only the name of the room prominently displayed, but also include your name, contract number and a brief description of what’s inside. Add “UNPACK FIRST” to the box with move-in essentials and only mark boxes “FRAGILE” if they truly are fragile!

 

Resist the temptation. Don’t pack paints, turpentine, aerosol cans, bleach, or flammable liquids. By law, movers cannot carry flammables. Properly dispose of them or give them away. You don’t want to risk a fire or damage to your belongings en route to your new home.

 

Packing for a move can be time-consuming. When getting estimates for a move, be sure to ask for one with and without packing. When you add in your time and effort and the cost of additional insurance you will need, you may find it is better to leave packing to the professionals. Ayer Moving and Storage will be pleased to talk to you about ways you can ensure a safe and secure move of your household. Call 1-800-233-MOVE or visit the website.