Hello My Friends!
I hope that you and your loved ones have been safe and healthy during the Coronavirus pandemic. Isn’t this so crazy? It’s been a long time since I’ve written here in my blog, but there is so much that has to be said when it comes to moving during corona 19 especially since I just finished relocating myself.
So, by now,it has been almost five months or so with us living under the constraints of the Coronavirus. Some of us are still practicing social distancing, some of us are observing self quarantine, masking up and wearing gloves to do the simple and mundane grocery shopping, walking the dog or any other basic activities. Maybe that’s it and others, well- not so much. But as crazy and scary as all of this sounds, life must go on as carefully as we can!.
So with that, I have recently completed a big relocation for myself and my family from state to state, and let me tell you, it was hard, it was totally brutal and beyond challenging. Surely it was one of the most difficult tasks that we faced as a family, for me as a professional organizer. Moving my family during a global pandemic was not a small feat by any measure, which if you are doing it, it may not be so easy either. We ended up doing a DIY move, and it was also a pain in the back! While I have many tips and strategies up my sleeve for moving client’s this pandemic and health crisis made it complex, confusing and even dreadful at times, something I never ever expected for myself and my family.
Well, at long last, we completed our move last week. It has been several days since we have been settling in and it has been such an amazing relief, now we are just unpacking and organizing little by little.
I plan on sharing what I have learned with you later and you will be shocked to read about some of the unexpected pitfalls I encountered moving during my Covid 19 mass move and relocation.
In the meantime, timing could not be better, just as I was completing my own personal move,
I was contacted by Lexi Klinkenberg over at Redfin about her awesome relocation guide that she wrote and asked me to share with you.
Her recommendations and ideas are spot on..
I just lived it and it looks like she has some great insight too.. The guide compliments many of the ideas that I will share with you later. Check out her guide below on my next article!.
Organizing Boutique Blog article #4 Publishing, The Ultimate Guide to Relocating During COVID-19 August 5, 2020 by Lexi Klinkenberg originally on Redfin on August 5, 2020
So, you’ve decided to take an exciting new step in your life and relocate to a new town or even a different state. You may be feeling stressed and overwhelmed with all the scheduling, packing, and expenses that go into relocating, not to mention you have to do it all while the Coronavirus pandemic is affecting most things around you. Whether you’re relocating to a more rural area because of COVID-19, or you no longer have to commute into work every day and moving to a small town just seems more ideal for you, there are important steps in the relocation process that can often be overlooked. That’s why we’ve created the ultimate guide to relocating during COVID-19, including steps to take before, during, and after the move.
Learn about your new city or town
Once you find a new area that you are interested in, make sure you do your research about how your new city is handling the coronavirus pandemic and what restrictions and guidelines they have in place. In addition, become better acquainted with your new community by researching the local culture, weather trends, cost of living, public transportation, while also finding out how much house you can afford in different neighborhoods. If you have any relatives or friends who live in the city, reach out to them for any suggestions or advice. Familiarizing yourself with the new area will help you begin thinking like a local in no time.
Find the right neighborhood for you
The best way to truly get a feel for every neighborhood is by simply visiting and spending time in each one. While you’re exploring and keeping socially distant, decide what qualities are important to you and don’t hesitate to jot down the pros and cons of each area. Perhaps you value restaurants and shops within a short distance, parks and schools nearby for convenience, or just the quirkiness of a quaint neighborhood. Once you’ve narrowed down your options, you’ll be able to compare information like median home prices, walkability, school reviews and rankings.
Lean on your realtor
It’s the real estate agent’s job to support you through the homebuying process, so take advantage of their neighborhood expertise and industry knowledge. And during this time of Coronavirus, you’re still able to get an in-person perspective while reducing the risk of being exposed to the virus. You can see homes virtually through live video-chat tours or 3D walkthroughs, make an offer online, and close on your new home electronically if need be. Your agent will be aware of housing market trends, potential red flags, or anything else you may have concerns about. When it’s time to make an offer, they will help you make a good offer and assist with the negotiating process. Buying a home is a big decision and can be an emotional process, but working with an agent you trust will give you the support you need.
Research storage options
If you are choosing to move some of your belongings in stages or looking to store items for an extended period of time, you’ll need to consider all of your options and factor in storage costs. Research storage companies and compare rates while keeping in mind the length of time you’ll be storing items, the size of the storage space, and any additional services offered, such as central air/heat and surveillance.
Most storage companies are still operating but are taking extra precautions to protect their customers from COVID-19. Make sure you do your research prior to showing up so you can be prepared, in case they have limited hours or a reduction in the amount of customers allowed at any given time. You may also be interested in the portable storage option, a popular alternative among those storing belongings for a short duration. The company will drop the container off at your home and once you’re done packing it with your belongings, you have the option of storing the container at their facility or shipping it to a specified location.
Research moving companies
Hiring a reliable moving company to do the heavy lifting can relieve some of your stress, and generally results in a safer moving process. If you’re worried about your upcoming move during the pandemic and haven’t scheduled movers yet, it’s hard to say what will and will not be available in the months to come. For now, continue to do research on companies and ask the movers questions about what precautions they’re taking at this time.
Moving companies typically offer different levels of services – full service, basic service, and specialty services – so it’s important to weigh the prices and options when deciding who to work with. Full service typically handles everything from packing, moving, and unpacking. If you opt for basic service, you’ll be responsible for packing and unpacking, while the movers will handle transporting your items. It’s true you’ll save money upfront by handling everything yourself, but you may find that it takes significant time and effort.
Ask for a quote in writing, and don’t forget to double-check customer reviews, licenses, and credentials – knowing you’re working with a reputable company will provide peace of mind. Even if you’re relocating from Sacramento to New York City, their job is to transport your belongings from point A to point B safely.
Hire a cleaning service
Before getting settled into your new home, save time and start fresh by hiring a cleaning company to clean your new home before all your belongings are moved in. During this age of COVID-19 it is very important that your new home be completely cleaned and sanitized before you move in to help you and your family avoid any illness. Sometimes the previous owners of your new home haven’t done a thorough cleaning (which they are not required to), so paying for a cleaning service will allow you to focus on packing and moving safely. The cleaners will be sure to leave your home spotless.
Update your mailing address and retrieve important documents
Before relocating, remember to forward your mail and notify banks and credit cards of your new address. If you have kids, inform the school district of your upcoming move, and request transcripts in advance for a smooth transfer. Don’t forget to retrieve medical records, and cancel any subscriptions or memberships – anything from gym memberships and magazine subscriptions to utilities, electricity, cable, and internet. Consider creating a moving checklist to revisit while you’re packing and on moving day.
Organize and Declutter
Set aside a binder for move-related paperwork so you’re able to access any documents quickly. Before packing, remain organized by creating a detailed inventory of your belongings noting the condition, location, and size of the items. This will help you get a better idea of how much you’ll actually be moving and if any belongings require specialty packing services because of their size or fragility. Also, if your belongings are damaged during the move and you need to submit an insurance claim, an inventory list will come in handy. You can also begin to sort through your belongings and decide what items you’ll keep, discard, or donate. If you’re downsizing, don’t be shy when giving items away – consider organizing a garage sale or donating to a charity. It can be helpful to hire a professional organizer or decluttering service to help you with these tasks.
Sell your home
Before listing your home on the market, be proactive by hiring a home inspector, then make any repairs or minor updates necessary. The time you would save sure beats having to do repairs during the negotiation phase when the homebuyers hire out their own home inspector. Also, research the U.S. housing market and homes that have recently sold in your area to get an idea of what your home is worth and how competitively you should price your home. This will just be an estimate, so don’t forget to hire a professional to get your home appraised. Make your home stand out by hiring a cleaning service and working with a staging company to prepare your home for professional photos and open houses. Staging your home to sell with professional real estate photos will, on average, sell for more.
Make sure you are taking all the necessary precautions if you are holding open houses and during house tours. Have hand sanitizer ready at the door and supply extra masks in case someone forgets theirs. Your real estate agent will be able to assist you with all the proper COVID-19 safety measures.
During the Move
Pack strategically and stay organized
It’s common to begin packing and realize that you’ve accumulated far more than you’ve ever imagined. In this situation, staying organized and creating a plan of attack is essential. While tossing everything into uncategorized boxes may be the quickest option, unpacking identical boxes will create unnecessary work. Instead, label your boxes strategically using stickers, a numbering system, or even color-coding.
About three weeks before relocating, pack non-essential items that you won’t be needing during the move, such as decorations and books. One week before moving day, begin packing the essentials, with the exception of enough plates and silverware for everyone in your household. Be sure to label “open first ” on a few of your boxes containing bedding, toiletries, towels, and tools, and a “valuables” box including birth certificates, fragile belongings, and passports.
Check-in with yourself
Make sure you are staying healthy during the moving process. It is most important to keep you and your family safe and healthy. It’s common for people to experience moving anxiety and relocation depression, especially when relocating during a pandemic. We tend to underestimate the toll moving can have on our bodies, physically and mentally. If you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed during this time activities like napping, journaling, exercising, and refueling with food and drink can change your mood and give your body the break it needs. Your health comes first so be sure to listen to your body and recharge when you need to. And if you’re not feeling comfortable with any of the steps in this process, you can forgo them and figure out an alternative.
Settling into Your New Home
If you’ve labeled your boxes and can identify the contents of each, unpacking should be a breeze. Be sure to check all boxes and furniture for any damages associated with relocating, especially valuables and appliances such as the stove, dishwasher, washer or dryer. Refer back to your inventory list to make sure nothing was lost in the transition. As a safety measure, it is best to sanitize all items before placing them in your new home to avoid the further spread of germs. To avoid becoming overwhelmed when you’re unpacking, focus on one room at a time, and if possible, even one box at a time.
Perform a general safety check
Even if you hired a home inspector during the homebuying process, it’s important to perform a safety check throughout your new home. Change locks on the doors, be sure all windows lock, and perhaps look into installing a new security system. Other precautions include checking the electrical system and water pipes, the fire and smoke alarms, and the air filters and HVAC systems.
Organizing Boutique Blog article #2 MARCH 27, 2019 Written by: Rosemary Lopez-Gonzalez -Professional Organizer WWW.ORGANIZINGBOUTIQUE.COM
Hello Beauty! -Happy Spring!
Yes, I know spring started last week, but I’m so happy that it has finally arrived. So as the temperature starts to slowly warm up, I can’t help but get excited about the prospect of starting anew. Spring is the time when I step out of my wintery cave with visions and dreams of how my family and I will enjoy warmer days ahead lounging around at the park or on a beach or hiking a trail someplace lush, “foresty” and green.
Spring provides the opportunity to start new and allows us the opportunity to enjoy a fresh start. It is amazing how nature has a way of renewing and refreshing itself without so much effort. Nature gets ready a little bit at a time in a perfectly timed cycle.
My old philosophy was contrary to nature, it dictated a need to spend countless hours racing and scurrying around to “spring clean and organize” manage my stuff until everything was perfect. I used to get all stressed out because it’s the time to go crazy spring cleaning and getting things all ready for the summer right? Well it should not be. Gratefully, that was my old way of thinking. I used to spend many spring weekends cleaning and organizing with the hope of tackling my grand master plan before the summer began. By the time I managed to get through half of my list, Spring was almost gone. For the past several years, I have worked on being intentional in how I live and have focused a lot of effort in being less frenetic. The simplicity and calm have been such a welcome change.
My strategy for staying “spring ready” all year long is -to mimic nature and work in mini cycles and tiny bits regularly. Having a standing routine of decluttering and cleaning serves as an anchor and enhances simpler maintenance. I work on one area at a time per week for short drills. There can be times when I want to dive in a bit further and do a bootcamp organizing or cleaning session, but for the most part I try to keep it light and easy. This process can be done weekly, monthly or even daily if time permits. Then, when a new season approaches there won’t be too much to focus on indoors because it has been addressed the prior month. Alas, finally time to get out there and enjoy the Spring!..
I have found this method of staying organized with routines to be a most helpful framework. It keeps things calm and prevents the need for a crash course in spring readiness. If we were to operate in cycles, or mini drills like nature does we could relax and enjoy the changing seasons as they develop right in before of us.
I encourage you to consider doing the same. Establish small routines regularly and spring organizing will be part of your normal day. Plus, this process will be so much easier than having to make a mad dash.
How have you made changes to how you look at spring cleaning and organizing? Do you like intense drills and bootcamps to kick off the season which I like too sometimes, I say that sparingly. Or do you like to ease into the season gently?
I would love to hear what you would have to say share your comments!
With warm regards,
Three Easy Organizing Tips you can Use While at Home During a Snow Day!..
Yeah a Snow day!
Whoohoo!!.. One of the best things I love about winter in New York City is having an occasional snow day!..
Snow days are like gold and are awesome little unexpected holidays in our family. Today, the New York City school system has shut down and many companies are closed due to the snow which has fallen overnight in the Northeast Region.
So, now that we have this precious snow day, the children have planned to sleep in a bit given that the news came in last night that school was closed. A snow day is a wonderful way to extend the weekend we just had.
On Snowdays, we tend to have a deliciously decadent breakfast consisting of my husband’s amazing “Blueberry” pancakes to get the day started. A snow day for us means going out to play in the snow, while it is fluffy and white, having some creamy hot chocolate from fresh cacao. It means, more time for us to connect as a family and eat yummy comfort food too. But this also means that once we are done with our snow day festivities, we can just relax and do our own thing so, I guess you can imagine what I love to do. Well, I steal a couple of hours to myself to get organized either in our home, for myself or my husband, or helping our children.
Tip # 1 - Organize your Photographs
A snow day is so great to look back on your memories with family and enjoy the times you have had and chronicled in photography. Photographs are usually in a sentimental category so this may take a long time to go through all of your pictures. You may want to do this in tiny sections or by photo albums if you have lots of photography to sort through. The key is to simplify the task and sort it out so that it is easy and the tasks are achievable versus looking a massive project. One of the tips I like to offer is, You can digitize your favorite pictures by scanning them and also by making fun family photo books according to category, events, timelines or however you would like. I use shutterfly www.shutterfly.com or snapfish, www.snapfish.com to make photo books either for myself or clients and have found this to be a great resource for keeping important photographs accessible to me for print anytime I’d like. It is also a great time to purge those old photographs that are poor quality and or if you have duplicates. Since it is a snow day and you’re not really going anywhere, you can bundle up in a cozy blanket and take your time. Just make this a fun and relaxing event and your are organizing an area in your life that you have been wanting to organize anyway.
Tip # 2 - Organize a small Hot spot in your kitchen
Another area that I love to organize when I am home on a snow day can be any small area in my kitchen. It does not have to be a deep purge or intricate organizing session, just any small hot spot in my kitchen. That can be a pantry that is bursting at the seams with items that have expired or are no longer things you or your family love to eat. Purge whatever you do not need, this is relatively easy to get through because if things are old or you don’t like them you can easily discard and that frees up space this allows you to see what inventory you already have and or need. Quickly, organize the silverware drawer that is full of plastic ware that you will never use from the take out restaurants, discard any old plastic ware [forks, knives, sporks, and spoons] and the old ketchup and mayo packets and soy sauces that have accumulated in the drawer. This is super fast and easy and makes a big impact right away. I also love to organize the refrigerator when home on a snow day. This is great especially if I have gone shopping in advance of the “snow storm” and I’ve shoved everything into the fridge.
Tip # 3 - Organize your handbag, work bag or kids backpacks!
If you are like me and my family, there are often times when we have not been able to clean out our bags during a given week. I have found children's socks and diaper changing supplies, and even binkie's in my work bags so being able to organize this area makes life so much simpler when you are heading back to your routines after a snow day. During a snow day, take some time to organize handbag, work bag or backpack. Getting organized in this area is a Godsend when you are racing around commuting to work or school or living in a fast paced city. Clean out your wallet, take out any duplicate metro cards. Sort, discard and file your receipts, remove all of the old candy and gum wrappers from your bag. It’s a great time to take out the 24 lipsticks that somehow have ended up in your bag during the week.
As far as your work bag, take out all of the old files, paperwork or bills that you do not need to carry and streamline your bag. Ensure that you have all of your electrical components and gadgets neatly tucked away in a small cosmetic purse so that it is easily accessible. For the Kids backpacks have them remove everything from the bag, and sort through all of their crumbled papers, any notebooks and textbooks. Have them sharpen their pencils, refresh notebook paper in their binders and make a list of any supplies they need for future shopping. They can place everything back nice and neat and now that the bags are ready to go. You are ready to face the week again with a streamlined handbag, work bag or backpack. Thanks to a free snow day that gave you some time to get a few extra things done.
So, whatever way you chose to spend a snow day, I hope that you find joy in the gift of a stress free unexpected day off. Whether you organize one of your collections, a small hot spot in your kitchen and or get your handbag, work bag or child’s backpack ready for the week. These are great strategies to keep in mind if you want to take advantage of a free day and get organized during a snow day. - I look forward to seeing you at my next post.
Please post a comment and let me know what things you like to do during a snow day.
Do you ever spend time organizing when you are stuck at home on a snow day and what do you like to organize.
I look forward to hearing from you, adios Beautiful..
With warm regards,
Rosemary Lopez-Gonzalez, I am a Professional Organizer and Founder of Organizing Boutique. I write stories and essays about life in New York and I love to share tips and tricks on how to stay organized and find calm and simplicity in one of the busiest cities- New York.