by Apple Moving 0 comments
Perhaps you're feeling the squeeze of the Austin real estate market and opted for less square footage than you would prefer, or maybe you're loving the tiny house trend. Either way, living in a small space can be challenging: how can you make everything you own fit in the space you have without feeling completely claustrophobic? Here we give some of the top tips for organizing your small spaces:
Keep Only the NecessitiesAs we've mentioned in previous blog posts, one of the best parts of moving is that it forces you to re-examine everything that's been stuffed in closets, drawers, in the attic, and under beds for years. Especially if you're downsizing, make sure you use your move as an opportunity to get rid of things you no longer need. Consider whether you've used items or worn clothes within the past year - if you've made it a whole year without needing them, chances are you're probably safe to donate them or take them to the dumpster. If you're not eager to part with belongings because of how much you spent acquiring them, remember that it's a sunk cost; the money is already gone regardless of whether you hang onto the item or not. You can, however, donate your household goods and clothes to a number of local thrift shops and help others while also getting a tax refund.
Multi-functional FurnitureTo create even more usable space, you can make the most of all your furniture:
- Use decorative baskets and bins on otherwise empty shelves to create extra storage while keeping things pleasing to the eye. In the living room, baskets might help you keep toys, blankets, or DVDs organized, and in the bathroom you can use them for toiletries or towels.
- If you have kids, consider swapping out a traditional bed for a bunk bed with a desk underneath. This better utilizes the vertical space in rooms with a smaller footprint.
- Buy ottomans or other pieces that double as storage.
Utilize Space Under the BedThe area under your bed can become the landing ground for a random hodge-podge of items that you need to stash somewhere - out of sight, out of mind, right? But why not fully maximize the storage space the area under your bed provides? Once your beds are set up, take the time to measure the height, width, and length of the empty space. Armed with measurements, find storage containers from your favorite retailer. Container Store, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Ikea are great places to look for affordable storage options. Once you've made your selections, you can start filling them. Think of things that are relatively short and that you won't need on a daily basis. Here are some ideas of how to use your under the bed storage:
- Gift wrapping items: Keep gift bags, tissues paper, ribbon, etc. in one of your boxes. Its always nice to have these items on hand for last minute gift-wrapping, but they can easily get lost or wrinkled in a closet and don't need to be readily accessible on a daily basis.
- Christmas ornaments: This is the perfect place to keep ornaments for the 11 months out of the year that you aren't using them.
- Electronics: Take all your unused electronics and put them in one bin. Neatly coil up Ethernet cords, cables, and power strips, cinching them together with twisty ties or rubber bands and stacking them neatly alongside keyboards, modems, and other electronic components you aren't currently using, but may have a future need for.
- Spare sheets: Sheets usually fold up flat and would fit nicely in the shallow storage this space provides. Added bonus - keeping your spare sheets so close to the bed may even encourage you to change them more frequently.
- Out-of-Season clothes: see below.
Put Away Out-of-Season ClothesA great way to maximize your closet space is by putting clothes elsewhere when they are out of season. You won't be needing your parka in the blazing Austin summer, so save some closet space and pack it in a plastic storage bin. Vacuum seal bags provide a great way to reduce the bulk of chunky winter clothes like jackets and sweaters, making them compact enough to store in the bins under your bed. Here in Austin, you can probably get away with swapping out clothes twice a year as we tend to not get four distinct seasons.
Use the Backs of DoorsYou can create extra storage space by hanging items on the back of your closet doors. You can hang a shoe organizer bag on the inside of your closet to door to keep your shoes off the floor and increase the available space in the rest of your closet. You can use these shoe organizer bags throughout the house for a multitude of other things including holding cleaning supplies, craft supplies, make-up, office supplies and snacks.
Use Vertical SpacePeople often forget to utilize overhead space. For example, we've seen the creative use of pulleys to store and display bikes in the living room. Even if you'd rather not have bikes gracing your living room, consider storing similar items from the ceiling or high on the wall in your garage. Use shelving or built-ins elsewhere in the house to maximize the home's storage capacity.
Final TouchesOnce the dust settles from your move, consider further maximizing your small space with the following tips:
- Use of monochromatic, neutral tones on your walls: Painting your home is a relatively easy way to freshen it up. Using a neutral color palette can help make the space feel larger.
- Lighting: Use lots of light to brighten the room and make it welcoming. Track lighting is perfect in small spaces because it helps avoid using floor lamps that take up room and clutter the space.
- Mirrors: Designers often strategically place mirrors in rooms to make it appear as if the room is larger. Mirrors are also great to enhance the room's lighting.
by Apple Moving 0 comments
You have found your new home, and now it’s time to decide how you are going to arrange all of your furniture. It’s best to give this some thought before the actual move so the full service movers can unpack everything in the right place the first time – saving you hours of back-breaking rearranging after they leave. While the fortunate few are great with spatial reasoning and can plot furniture arrangements in their heads, others of us could use assistance in this area. Thankfully, there are now several apps that now give you the ability to test different furniture arrangements with the swipe of a finger. Of course, you’ll need to know the measurements of your new space. Many apartment complexes and condo units have this floorplan information posted online, but if you are moving into a house, you’ll need to take measurements. Here we give you a quick run-down on some of the best room arranging apps out there to get you started.
Figuring out your FloorplanFirst, you need a floorplan. Do you know the shape and measurements of your new rooms? These are a couple of apps we found that can help you figure out the dimensions of your room without pen, paper, or a measuring tape:
RoomScan by Locometric (3/5 stars*)Though criticized by some for being difficult to use, this is a really neat concept! Rather than busting out a measuring tape to create an accurate floorplan, you simply open the app and scan the room, tapping the phone on each wall, to create a floor plan that includes measurements and even door and window placement. Might be good to have this app along when you’re doing a walkthrough of your new home.
MagicPlan by Sensopia (4.5/5 stars)Instead of scanning the room and tapping walls, MagicPlan creates floorplans using pictures and indicates openings for doors and windows and pieces the pictures together to create a whole map of your room. This app is an all-star with an impressive resume in the apps world.
Arranging Your FurnitureOnce you’ve nailed down your floorplan, you can focus on decorating by dropping your room dimensions into one of the following apps, adding furniture and even doing some remodeling:
Room Planner by Chief Architect (4/5 stars)The Mercedes of room planning apps, this software enables you to get a 3-D glimpse of your rooms in just minutes. Beyond just arranging furniture, you can also play with color palettes and textures, letting you visualize blending some new décor with your old to transform your new home. Maybe you decide that some furniture would just fit better if you knocked some walls down – well you can also dabble with remodeling with this app. While the basic tools are free, you can also pay for add-ons to conquer projects that go beyond simple arranging.
Home Design 3D by Anuman (4.5/5 stars)Used by millions, this gem of an app offers an easy to use 2-D floorplan where you drag and drop objects into place to create your ideal layout. Upgrade to the 3-D version to explore unique features like round-the-clock views of various rooms to see where the sun will shine at different points during the day.
Amikasa by INDG (4.5/5 stars)It’s obvious why this app was winner of the Webby Award in the category of lifestyle mobile sites and apps. Simple-to-use and aesthetically pleasing, this app lets you either create your own room and play with arranging furniture and designs or use the camera on your phone to capture what a piece of furniture or design element would look like in a particular space.I decided to decorate using the existing furniture in my house. While the table is real, the app superimposes a vase with tulips in the view finder of my camera so I can see if I like them. Then I decided to create a whole new room:Here, I chose to create a new living room. I selected the room shape and dragged the walls to the correct dimensions, finishing off the room with a door and window in approximately the right places.I selected the “living room” setting and picked out furniture similar to my current pieces to see how they would best fit in the new space. I even dreamed about putting in sleek new hardwood floors and adding a splash of seafoam green to the walls.Here's my final product. This was all in the span of about five minutes. I highly recommend!
Rooms by List Logic Software (3.5/5 stars)One of the coolest features of this app is it lets you lock a configuration of furniture in place so you can move it all at once (if only we could do that in reality!). So if you know you want those two chairs on the same wall with a side table in between them, you simply lock the furniture together and drag all three pieces around in one easy swipe. Like the other apps, Rooms also lets you choose from a variety of colors and makes it easy to see the room from different angles.Hopefully you’ll have some fun experimenting with these apps and envisioning yourself happily moved into your new space. When the time comes to do the heavy lifting, give us a call at Apple Moving and let the moving pros get you settled in!*Ratings from Apple App store
One of the most overwhelming parts of moving can be the actual unpacking of those stacks and stacks of boxes. You likely had a place for most things in your old house, but organizing your new space may seem daunting. Of all spaces in your new home, the kitchen may be especially challenging to organize with the sheer bulk of dishes, gadgets, and appliances. Yet, the kitchen is also the hub of your home - it's where everyone gathers and spends time recounting the day, so it's probably on your priority list of rooms to get organized the fastest. Here we outline ten helpful tips for organizing your new kitchen:
1. Make Sure It's CleanNothing is worse than unpacking the items you'll be using to cook and eat in an environment that is unsanitary from the last owner or tenant. Usually cleaning is part of the move-out contract, but it's always reassuring to at least run over surfaces with anti-bacterial wipes yourself prior to unpacking. Make sure you check the nooks of your appliances like ice trays or the fruit drawers of your fridge for possible mold or filth.
2. Set the FoundationAfter you've cleaned, but before you start unpacking, you'll want to make sure you have the tools to effectively organize your kitchen in place. Essentials for organization include the following:
- Shelf liner: Options for shelf liner have evolved from the sticky covering your grandmother used. Now you can find heavy-duty plastic ribbed liners that not only don't create a sticky mess in your cabinet but are reusable for the next time you move. Lining your shelves keeps a layer between your dishes and who knows what was previously in that cabinet, but also makes cleanup easier in the event of spilt items, like syrup, as they are removable and washable. Before unpacking dishes or stocking the pantry consider investing in shelf liner.
- Utensil and other storage trays: Put all your forks, spoons and knives in their place with a plastic utensil tray. Additionally, purchase larger storage trays for items like spatulas, whisks, graters, and other kitchen gadgets that usually just get thrown in a random drawer, so you have an easier way of organizing them.
- Storage for spices and baking supplies: If you are much of a baker or cook, you've probably accumulated a large stock of spice jars for your various recipes over the years. Rather than throwing them all in a box at the back of the cabinet, spend a few dollars on a spice rack that displays all of your spice jars for easy use. As important as spices, are the flours, sugars, and other dry goods you use to make your favorite treats. The paper bags these goods arrive in usually end up with holes and aren't the best way of keeping items fresh. We advise investing in clear, air-tight containers that make these pantry staples visible, fresh, and critter-free.
3. Think Through the FlowNow that you've set the foundation for your kitchen, let the unpacking begin. Start by thinking through the flow of your kitchen. Where does it make the most sense to put items?
- Heavier items like pots and pans generally do better in lower cabinets so you don't risk dropping them on yourself when trying to access them. You may also want to put these items close to the oven and cooktop since this is where you'll be using them.
- Lower shelves of upper cabinets are great, easy access for dishes and glasses as they are lighter and among the most frequently used items in your kitchen. If you frequently pour drinks from the fridge consider putting your glasses in a cabinet nearby.
- Utilize deep, narrow, cabinet space for baking sheets and cutting boards.
- Keep dishcloths and towels in a drawer close to the sink so they are at hand when needed.
4. Less is MoreThe blender, the toaster, the coffee maker, the knife block... The list of items you may be tempted to leave out on your counters is long. However, extra appliances can make your kitchen look cluttered and reduce the amount of usable space. Consider what really needs to be out and accessible, within hands-reach. It may make sense to leave out the knife block since you use it everyday, but put away the blender and mixer in a cabinet where they are still easily accessible but not eyesores or space stealers.
5. Pair Like ItemsIt's advisable to organize drawers by function, i.e., place all baking items like dry measure spoons, spatulas and measuring cups in one drawer and cooking necessities like the cheese grater, apple corer and meat thermometers in another drawer.
6. Storage ContainersIt's so frustrating to spoon your leftovers into a container only to be unable to find the lid! As you unpack, pair containers with lids - if you don't have a pair toss the odd item out. No sense in keeping non-functional items. Stack your containers according to size and shape so they stay organized and easy to see. Place all lids vertically in a separate container so it is easy to thumb through and pick out the corresponding lid for your container.
7. Maximize SpaceDeep shelves are great in theory but can be difficult to utilize. To best use the extra space, fill the back of deep cabinets with infrequently used items like the shaved ice maker your kids begged for last summer (and never use), while putting more frequently used items towards the front. Use Lazy Susans to easily see and access bottles and jars like olive oil and vinegars.
8. Cleaning SuppliesWhile these are necessary for keeping your kitchen sparkly and sanitary, cleaning supplies should have a designated space far away from food and food prep tools. Storing these supplies under the kitchen sink makes them accessible but also puts a barrier between them and the items in your other cabinets. If you have animals or children make sure wherever you store cleaning supplies is secured with child-proof locks to prevent poisoning.
9. The Kitchen DrawerThere is always the infamous kitchen drawer that gets cluttered with change, pens, random receipts and other trinkets that need a home. Organize this drawer like you would any other drawer in your kitchen. Buy storage trays that can accommodate an area for pens, another for twisty ties and rubber bands, tape or whatever other items you may need to keep in the kitchen.
10. Keep Emergency Numbers NearbyThe fridge can be the hub of birth announcements, report cards, and wedding invitations, but it can also be a great place to post emergency numbers for easy access. This is especially advisable if you are leaving children in the supervision of a babysitter.We hope these tips help you as you organize your kitchen!
Moving is one of the greatest motivators when it comes to cleaning out your home. It isn't until you start boxing up your belongings that you start asking "Do I really need this?" Here are some tips on getting rid of the things you don't need.
Give it new life. One big issue for most people when it comes to holding onto things is the fact that "it's still good!" Sure, that basketball isn't flat, but do you even have a hoop? Or play basketball? Yes, that waffle maker does still work, but you hate cleaning it out so much, that you haven't used it in 2 years. If an item is still good, then find a place to donate it. Your can always takes things to your local Goodwill store, or find a domestic abuse shelter that helps families start over. Doing good for others and for yourself is a win-win.
Streamline those precious memories. Raise your hand if this sounds familiar: You have every single report card/piece of art work/ book report your child did during their time in school. It just seems wrong to part with such important memories. Why not make a scrapbook? You don't have to get fancy, get a 3-ring binder with plastic sheet protectors and stick all of your favorite pieces in there. Take school documents (ie. report cards) and put those in a file with your child's other important documents. You will still have the memories, but not the 3 boxes of papers to cart around.
Don't be afraid to toss it. It may have been your child's favorite blanket, but now it's a holy scrap that hasn't moved from the corner in the garage. That t-shirt from college was your favorite thing to wear back in the day, but it has so many holes now, you can't tell where to put your arms. Your great aunt gave you her old coffee pot, but it hasn't worked in 10 years and it takes up prime kitchen shelf real estate. It is OKAY to throw stuff out. You will always find a reason to keep everything. But when there is no longer a practical use for it, or if it is damaged beyond repair, it's time to let it go.Cleaning out stuff before your move boils down to one simple question "Will I use this in the new place?" If the answer is no, then let it go. Don't cart the old baggage to your new home and your fresh start.