Fiesta 2021: How San Antonio Got Its Groove Back


San Antonio’s annual Fiesta gathering is more than just an excuse to party… 

It’s Fiesta’s sense of community that locals cherish as much as the Mexican historical significance behind it. 

But, last year in 2020, Fiesta was canceled in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Typically full of very joyous announcements and anticipatory preparations, the streets of San Antonio simply weren’t the same. 

Something was notably absent from the city’s vibrant spirit.

Fast forward to 2021, and Americans everywhere are starting to mingle much more freely at social gatherings in the wake of increasing COVID-19 vaccine rates.

(And frankly, many folks were tired of canceled events and staying at home for a year.)

Fiesta returned fiercely

Ready to celebrate like old times, excited throngs of San Antonians showed up, breathing life back into their city and traditions. Even a global pandemic couldn’t shut down Fiesta for another year. The best part is that we were able to join in!

Our love for San Antonio, the culture, and the community will never waver. So, naturally, we came bearing new pins, wide smiles, and even wider hats for a city we love.

Kayla’s Take on Fiesta 2021

Never one to miss Fiesta, here’s what stood out to our city Market Manager and San Antonio native, Kayla Morales, as she served up pins and Good People, Great Movers vibes with the community.

So, what’s the deal with Fiesta?! Sure, 2020’s event was canceled, but why are San Antonians usually so excited about it? 

For me, it’s about the food and community coming together to teach different cultures and traditions. 

There are so many beautiful bright colors and DIY [do-it-yourself] ideas that everyone comes up with that really drive the people to come out and have fun!

Ok, so what’s with those medals and huge DIY hats (er, sombreros)?

Ahh yes… The hats and medals have been a tradition for as long as I can remember and I am 30 years old! 

People take a lot of pride in their hats and [the] medals they create on their own or buy to wear out during the whole week of fiesta. These medals can represent the businesses around the city, helping out a family fund their families cancer fund, or sharing our love for certain things around the city like the Spurs, Missions, or any other favorite major league, high school, or college sports teams. 

Same with the hats as well. But, you tend to see more Fiesta-oriented hats with bright colors, flowers, or the famous tagline, ‘Show me your shoe!’

How do you decide what to do each year for the medals?

When you are making your design, the more unique the pins are, the better. That’s how you bring people to the booth or business to buy them.

What’s your favorite thing you look forward to at Fiesta?

The food and parade. This year there was no parade, but during Pin Pandemonium the community did put on a small parade and this was so refreshing since we missed out in 2020. 

You never really know how much Fiesta really does help the community and people, but it really does.

As I said, culture is a big part of San Antonio and for people to be able to showcase theirs and educate people on their culture it can make a difference.

How do you and the team prepare for the day of Fiesta?

Ahead of time, the Fiesta Commission will reach out and let us know the dates of the event.

Then, we have to make sure we have our medals designed and ready to go. We make sure all the marketing materials are in and that we have food and snacks for the workers and attendees.

What did you notice was different about this year’s Fiesta from previous events?

This year it was smaller than previous years. Not as many vendors were participating and there were a lot of empty tables. Traffic started to pick up toward the end of the night rather than the beginning. 

Also, this usually takes place in late April which is cooler than June. With the heat, not many people wanted to be out there early. For the people who did show up, including the vendors with their medals, we had some common ground. Everyone who was in attendance was still dealing [with] COVID.

We know how much the demographics of San Antonio are growing from an influx of Americans leaving other states. Do you think Fiesta is still significant as the population changes to include more non-Texans?

Fiesta is a celebration of the Hispanic culture. The city itself comes together to celebrate and participate in Fiesta. There are many different attractions to be a part of such as the Pin Pandemonium, Battle of Flowers Parade, and NIOSA (Night Out in Old San Antonio). 

Many different ethnicities and cultures come to celebrate with us. It is a very inviting event for all of San Antonio’s citizens and non-citizens. 

As the city grows outward and becomes more culturally diverse, I don’t think there will be a decline in Fiesta but rather an increase in events throughout the city rather than just in the downtown area.

Wrapping Up

Are you excited for Fiesta 2022? We’re definitely looking forward to it! We also can’t wait to implement Kayla’s creative ideas to reach out to the San Antonio community for next year! 

Fiesta will take place from March 31-April 10, 2022. Hope to see you there!

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8 Hacks to Quickly Clean Your Apartment Before Moving Out


Trying to quickly clean your apartment before moving out doesn’t have to be a chore. 

Not only can decluttering make your move less stressful but cleaning your apartment can actually save you money.

It’s true: 

Usually, if you leave your apartment in super clean condition, you can earn your deposit back!

Most leasing companies and landlords reserve your initial deposit for cleaning and repair fees after you move out.

By cleaning it yourself, you save them money and time while getting back the cash you put down in the first place!

It’s a win-win situation, right?

So, for this Spruce Your Space post, we sat down with our friends at Berry Swift Cleaning for their most helpful apartment-cleaning hacks EVER.

Take note of these 8 expert-approved cleaning tips that will help you move fast—and get your deposit back—when you’re moving out of your apartment.

Table of Contents

1. Start With a Clean Canvas

You probably think starting with a “clean” canvas sounds like a contradiction, but it’s really not. 

Larger pieces of furniture, kid’s toys, shelves, and cabinets full of items you haven’t used in ages… 

Who wants to clean around all of that

It’s a recipe for disaster. (It makes it easy to lose all motivation, procrastinate, or totally skip cleaning altogether!) 

Instead, Berry Swift Cleaning recommends making sure you prepare to clean your apartment by removing all the clutter in the way.  

“Get everything out—including trash—before you start to clean,” says Jazzmine Berry, co-owner and Brand Ambassador for Berry Swift Cleaning.

This could mean doing a deep declutter or moving your furniture out completely.

And, you know who can help with that?

That’s right.

Movers.

So, first thing’s first: schedule your move a day or two before your apartment lease officially ends. 

Doing this will give you an extra 24 hours to deep-clean your apartment, request repairs, and leave everything a little better than you found it.

It’s much easier to clean your apartment after your furniture and any debris are gone. Plus, you can call maintenance to fix any minor dings or problems for FREE. 

  • You won’t be charged for damages…
  • You will (most likely) get your deposit back…
  • Your leasing office will be happy…

It’s a total win for everybody!  

You can space out your responsibilities rather than trying to clean at the same time as your move—an already super stressful day. 

Takeaway Hack:

Move out 1-2 days before your lease ends so you can clean and schedule apartment maintenance without anything around.

2. Completely Clean From Top to Bottom

Sure, this is an old saying, but Berry Swift advises you to take this advice as literally as possible: 

“Start at the top and work your way down,” Jazzmine says.

It seems obvious, but for people who hate cleaning or who get easily distracted or overwhelmed, it’s a great way to streamline and track what to clean next.

If you don’t find cleaning enjoyable on its own, scrubbing down your apartment before a move can be extra stress on top of an already hectic time. 

That’s why picking an area and cleaning it from top to bottom is so important. 

Chunking parts of a room into smaller, more manageable sections and cleaning it from top to bottom will help you:

  • Easily tackle dirty areas—even if they’re a huge mess
  • Ensure you don’t miss cleaning any spots before moving on to the next 
  • Manage your breaks, especially if you get interrupted or have helpers
  • Document any parts that need to be replaced or repaired (doorknobs, lights, stove drip pans, cabinets, etc.)

Even if you’re not sure how long it will take to clean your whole apartment, it’s so much better and faster to clean from top to bottom, one area at a time.

Takeaway Hack:

Focus on one area of your apartment at a time, and clean it from top to bottom before moving on.

3.  Cut Through Dusty Layers With a Dryer Sheet

What do mini-blinds, stove vents, air conditioner vents, cabinets, and baseboards have in common? 

First of all, they’re common areas where dust tends to accumulate. 

And when dust accumulates over long periods of time, it can tend to be a bit, well, greasy.

This is especially common in areas with higher levels of moisture (like bathrooms or kitchens). 

Gross, but true. 

It can also be pretty difficult to clean sticky dust, particularly if the thing you’re cleaning can’t be sprayed with liquid or a chemical. 

Yes, sprays are great for disinfecting, sanitizing, and imparting a fresh scent, but they just won’t do for certain areas. 

Sticky stove hood vents, dusty blinds, and furniture made from delicate, natural materials all need a different touch. 

In such places, Jazzmine recommends using dryer sheets to get rid of caked-on, dusty layers. 

“Try using a dryer sheet for dust, especially if it’s caked-on,” she says. 

“Especially for buildup on mini blinds, use dryer sheets. Dryer sheets also work for a buildup of grease on cabinets or stove covers!” 

Since dryer sheets are designed to reduce static and they’re coated with a thin layer of wax, they have the added bonus of actually repelling dust, too.

Try swiping a dryer sheet over areas that attract lots of dust, spattered oil, and pet hair. 

Places like electronics, corners, upholstery, shelves, and above-the-stove kitchen appliances are perfect spots.

Takeaway Hack:

Use dryer sheets to remove caked-on or greasy dust and pet hair.

4. Sweep Apartment Baseboards With a Broom

Jazzmine highly recommends using a stiff broom to clean baseboards. 

It doesn’t necessarily have to be a broom, but whatever you use should have stiff bristles. 

“Hand-wiping alone doesn’t work,” she explains. 

“Elbow grease is required to clean baseboards in your apartment. If baseboards need to be wiped down after dusting, you can use water and mild soap and clean them.”

Just don’t be too overzealous when trying this hack…

The stiffer the bristle, the more damage you risk on painted baseboards. 

Brooms typically aren’t coarse enough to scratch through paint. 

You should still be wary of the potential for paint damage if you use anything stiffer than a broom to clean baseboards.

If you rub or sweep too vigorously with a rigid brush, it could scrub off the paint. In turn, you’d have to call maintenance to quickly paint it before you move.

A move is enough to worry about. 

So, you definitely don’t want a lot of avoidable mistakes when cleaning your apartment before moving day. 

Try not to be too rough on your baseboards with this hack.

Takeaway Hack:

Gently clean the baseboards in your apartment with a broom, then wipe down with soap and water.

5. Take Advantage of a Self-Cleaning Oven, (or Use This DIY Recipe Instead)

When’s the last time you even thought about cleaning your oven? 

(Yes, your oven needs to be cleaned, too!)

Jazzmine admits that this hack is more akin to a reminder, but only because so few people actually recall to do it before moving out of their apartment.

“Self-cleaning ovens offer a lot of convenience,” she stresses, “Oven cleaner isn’t required!” 

Lack a self-cleaning feature on your apartment oven and don’t have any oven cleaner?

Berry Swift Cleaning even has a remedy for that.

“Even if you don’t have a self-cleaning oven, you can remove gunk at home,” Jazzmine says.

Below is her do-it-yourself solution for a greener style of oven cleaner:

  1. Mix 1 part baking soda with 1 part dish soap
  2. Spread it all over the interior of your oven, especially on the inner door
  3. Scrub off with a rough sponge or scouring pad  
  4. Wipe it off again using a microfiber cloth and white vinegar

Let’s be honest, it’s also a great idea to clean your oven before in your new place, too. 

I mean, who knows how many years’ worth of splattered food particles is in there?!

Takeaway Hack:

Use the self-cleaning setting on your apartment oven, or clean it with a #DIY baking soda + dish soap + vinegar recipe!

6. Remove Everything From Your Fridge Before Cleaning It

If you’re planning to move out of your apartment, you will probably already have a plan for clearing out your refrigerator and consuming your most perishable food. 

But cleaning the actual fridge isn’t necessarily something you think about before moving out of your apartment.

It’s also one of the dirtiest areas for food spills, odors, and more. 

If you don’t clean it, someone else will have to, and that’s what your deposit is for.

But if your goal is to get your deposit back, don’t stop at packing up your food when it comes to your apartment fridge.

Luckily, our friends at Berry Swift Cleaning have a hack to keep it simple:

“Refrigerator cleaning is easiest if you remove all the food first,” Jazzmine advises. “Fill up your sink with soapy water to instantly remove, wash and dry each shelf as you go!”

Next, all you have to do is individually wash the shelves, drawers, and remaining caddies with a degreasing soap.

Simply dry the pieces with a microfiber cloth and place them back into the refrigerator. 

You’re done!

Takeaway Hack:

After tossing or packing your food, remove all drawers and shelves from the refrigerator for a more thorough clean.

7. Get Your Carpet Professionally Cleaned

We love fur babies and kids here at 3 Men Movers!

Yet, for all their endearing charm, they can absolutely be messy

If you have children or pets, chances are that you’ve had at least few carpet mishaps.

For pet-parents who live in apartments, you’ve often paid the risk to your apartment upfront with a separate, pricey pet deposit… 

A deposit that exists largely to assume there will be animal-related damage to your flat.

And if they’ve ever left a lingering stain or odor, you’ll definitely be charged for it.

Even excessive pet hair can cost you (and we all know how notoriously pet hair clings to everything no matter what.)

In this case, the best and easiest remedy is to get your carpet professionally cleaned. 

You can certainly do it yourself, but it may be more trouble than it’s worth if you’re trying to simultaneously take care of other pre-move errands…

  • You’d be responsible for renting, maneuvering, and returning any equipment you borrow within the same day… 
  • Plus, it may not be readily available during peak moving season—meaning you could have to wait… 
  • Then, you’ll still have to remove any stubborn stains, odors, or pet hair from the carpet on your own if the rented equipment doesn’t work well enough. 

Not good if you’re on a tight moving schedule!

The good news is that professional cleanings are very affordable and include much more than just a vacuum and shampoo of your carpet.

For example, Berry Swift Cleaning offers a package that will handle 100% of your apartment cleaning needs for under $200. 

It’s a fantastic deal if you don’t have the time to personally clean your apartment before moving out.

Takeaway Hack:

Hire a team to professionally clean carpet to remove stubborn stains, odor, and pet hair.

8. Check the Most Forgettable Areas of Your Apartment

Finally, Berry Swift Cleaning suggests you make a special effort to check the most forgettable areas in your apartment. 

By that, they mean the spots most people completely forget to clean when moving out of their apartments.

The top places most people forget to clean before moving out are:

  1. Top shelves in closets
  2. Bathroom drawers, shelves, and medicine cabinets 
  3. The warming drawer at the bottom of your oven (which often doubles as extra kitchen storage)

Except for the bathroom drawers, these areas also tend to gather the most dust, and—for those with pets—hair, as well. 

It’s important to check them not only so you don’t leave anything behind when moving, but also to clean any grime that’s accumulated over the long term.

Takeaway Hack:

As you clean around your apartment, make sure to open drawers, cabinets, and closets in your bedroom, bathroom & kitchen. This will *visually* remind you to clean them.

Wrapping Up

Now that you’ve got some quick tips on the best ways to clean your apartment, you’ll be ready to move in no time!

Still need some guidance on how to get started? 

We recommend decluttering before you start cleaning. It will help you avoid getting too overwhelmed by trying to clean around items that you should discard.

Get ready to have less stress on your moving day (and more money in your pocket) with these 8 handy hacks for cleaning your apartment!

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Savvy Ways to Maximize Your Apartment Furnishing Budget


Trying to balance your budget for furnishing an apartment can be stressful. 

We’ve already detailed how much it costs to furnish an apartment.

Now, we’re here to walk you through how to maximize your apartment furniture budget!

(Including how and where to get the quality furnishings you need, all while saving money.) 

We’ll also cover the factors with the most influence on your furniture spending so you can be aware while shopping around!

If you’re on a tight budget for your apartment furniture, or if you have limited space, your money has to go pretty far for everything you buy. 

Here’s exactly how you can maximize your budget to furnish an apartment that you’ll love! 

Table of Contents

5 Ways to Maximize Your Apartment Budget, Get Furniture You Really Need, & Spend Less

1. Use What You Already Have

The biggest way to stay in control of your apartment furniture budget is to use what you—or family and friends—already have.

Items that you may already have (and don’t have to buy) usually include:

  • Towels/washcloths
  • Bedding/pillows
  • Laundry hamper
  • Clothing hangers

 

Items you can ask family/friends to give you for your new apartment might include:

  • Flatware 
  • Kitchen dish towels
  • Unwanted plates or glassware
  • Cookware, gadgets, pots & pans
  • Console tables (these can get pricey)
  • Dressers
  • Storage boxes
  • Shelves/Bookshelves
  • Small cooking appliances
  • Unwanted TVs in great condition

 

Furniture pieces you can get at thrift or consignment stores for under $1,000:

  • Tables
  • Bed Frames
  • Any seating without fabric or cushioning (to avoid insect pests)
  • Shelves & storage boxes
  • TV console/entertainment centers
  • Plates
  • Dressers
  • Planters for your patio or indoor plants
  • Home decorations
  • Wall art
  • Lamps

 

Apartment furnishings that you can buy brand new for well under $1,000:

  • Sofas/sectionals
  • Bath towels + washcloths
  • Bed linens + pillows
  • Mattresses (get on sale, especially the kind that doesn’t need a box spring)
  • Televisions (look for Black Friday deals or new open box items at Best Buy) 

2. Cap Your Apartment Furniture Budget

Once you’re sure you need to move, your next step is to start your budget planning process.

Essentially, give yourself a cap based on how much you’re willing to spend. 

For obvious reasons, this has to be centered around what you can afford.

$1,000? $3,000? $6,000? 

Whatever your budget cap is, make sure it’s within your reach after factoring in all related moving and rent expenses. 

3. Create a Comprehensive Budget For Every Piece

You need a budget to be able to maximize it in the first place, right?

So, here’s how to furnish your apartment using an actual budget:

  1. Make a list with 2 columns: what you need to buy vs. what you already have 
  2. Create a spreadsheet of options for everything under the ‘Need to Buy’ section and their prices by store 
  3. Find the total cost for purchasing at each store (a simple Google search can turn up items at nearby or online stores, or use our list!)
  4. Calculate how much you have saved vs. the cost of the items at each store

Now you know how much you need to save, AND the most affordable places to buy them!

How to Use the Apartment Essentials Budget Sheet

  1. Click the link below to open the Google Sheet.
  2. Simply go to File > Make a copy. This will automatically add the copy to your Google Drive.
  3. Or, you can download it as an Excel (.xlsx) file!
  4. After that, it’s yours to edit as needed. 

See?

It’s super easy to come up with a quick budget for your apartment furniture—no sweat.

4. Focus on Purchasing Essentials First

What good is a beautiful centerpiece or vase if you don’t have a table to sit and eat on?

Buy the essentials first, and your budget will go a much longer way (instead of buying everything at once.)

It’s a master exercise in patience to wait it out for the little knick-knacks and decorations that make your apartment cozy and personal. 

You’ll also be more likely to buy pieces you actually love on their own merit instead of succumbing to interior design trends. 

Remember, you can always get fancy later.

5. Shop Seasonally For Apartment Furniture

You can easily stay under budget if you know the best seasons to purchase your apartment furniture

Sales in the furniture industry mostly follow a seasonal, bi-annual schedule. 

So, to get the best deals on furnishings, try shopping during one of the following times:  

  • When retailers are getting rid of last season’s inventory prior to bringing in new furniture
  • When there is a holiday or special event sale coming (even if it’s a major competitor’s event, they’ll usually price-match pieces)

Here’s a guide to the best times of year to buy furniture:

Types of Furniture:

Best Times to Buy:

Indoor Furniture

January-February & July-August

Outdoor Furniture

Winter months (can vary by location)

Office Furniture

August-September (during back-to-school season)

Mattresses

3-day weekends & holiday weekends (e.g. Independence Day, Presidents’ Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, etc.)

Televisions

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and in weeks leading up to Super Bowl Sunday

Electronics

July-August, November-December

Appliances & Kitchen gadgets

Late September-October, Black Friday, Cyber Monday 

General Furniture & Decor

Amazon Prime Day & Wayfair’s Way Day (competitors will usually price match)

Alternatively, you can always shop at thrift stores or garage sales, too! If you love a bargain, that may be a better option than buying brand-new items. 

Newer and pricier decor doesn’t necessarily equal top quality. 

So, buy furniture that piques your interest—not someone else’s.

6. Buy Pieces In Sets

When you’re looking at the smaller items you’ll need to buy for an apartment—like kitchen utensils, garbage cans, end tables, lamps, etc.—you’ll sometimes need more than one piece.

Even if you found a standalone lamp that you like, you’ll probably need two if they’re going in your living room. 

So, why not buy in pairs? 

The cost is almost always substantially lower than buying individually.

The same goes for cooking tools… 

Instead of buying each spatula, tong, and serving spoon separately, get a set that includes them all. 

You’ll inevitably need all of these items in your kitchen anyway, right? 

Not only will this help maximize your budget, but you’ll also save lots of time that’s normally spent shopping around.

Top 3 Factors in the Cost of Furnishing Your Apartment

Even if you have a set budget, your spending can easily get out of hand if you’re not careful. 

If you’re looking to furnish your apartment cheaply, familiarize yourself with the factors that will either increase or decrease your budget. 

For example, if your personal style is more glam or trendy than Scandinavian or minimalist, you may have a harder time staying under budget because certain décor tends to cost more.

(Think: Z Gallerie modern glam vs. IKEA functional minimalism.)

Conversely, if you’re spending only a few months to 1 year in your new apartment, or if you’re saving up for a house, you may not feel the need to invest in high-end or heavy, solid pieces which often cost more. 

How much it will cost to fully furnish your apartment depends on several factors

#1- Your Furniture Style Preferences

Some people prefer IKEA while others fawn over Z Gallerie or Pottery Barn. 

While each has its own merits, they’re clearly in different price ranges.

Your personal tastes will have a huge impact on how much you’re willing to save or stretch your apartment furniture budget…

But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to expand your furniture-buying options by:

  • Doing your research to catch a sale
  • Browsing furniture consignment shops, wholesalers (e.g. Sam’s, Costco), or outlets
  • Saving your online favorites to get alerts when they’re on sale using Shoptagr (now, Karma) or Honey
  • Finding gently-used options on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or neighborhood garage sales
  • Checking out Etsy, Overstock, or flash-sale sites like Gilt and Nordstrom Rack Home

Pro Tip: 

No matter what your favorite furniture style is, look for deals whenever possible!

Always sign up for the company’s texts/emails.

You’ll be alerted when there’s a sale, and you’ll typically get a first-time buyer discount. 

#2- Where You Purchase Apartment Furniture

Will you buy from a direct-to-consumer (DTC) company? Are they also designing your space? 

Despite the upfront sticker shock, DTC furniture brands will surely save you some cash in the long run. 

You can save thousands of dollars by skipping the retail middlemen and going straight to the source.

Just be aware that DTC brands may not always have flexible delivery options. If a design team is involved, you’ll also have to make time to communicate with them clearly about your needs. 

(But hey, it beats finding every piece by yourself through hours of internet research or weekend store trips!)

If you’re a busy workaholic or non-creative type who craves a chic-looking apartment, you’ll love having your furniture and interior design needs taken care of at the same time!

Our picks for top (DTC) furniture brands and furnishing design services:

  • Furnishr. Work with experts to fully design and furnish any apartment size.
  • Modsy. Starts from $159-$499/room, or $299 for multiple rooms.
  • Havenly. Starts at $129 for decorating from scratch + 0% APR financing via Affirm.
  • Article. Sells furniture, but also offers from-scratch interior design.
  • Burrow. Durable + luxury-focused. USA-made and affordable with plenty of unique patents pending.
  • Interior Define. Chic meets mid-century modern. They’ve got an Austin-based shop and a virtual room in Houston.
  • Inside Weather. Sustainably made-to-order with upcycled plastic by California artisans.
  • Maidenhome. Superb quality pieces by the world-renowned furniture craftsmen of North Carolina + lifetime cushion warranties.
  • Sabai. Cozy, sustainable seating with affordable repair pieces & a waste-busting trade-in program that sells refurbished pieces up to 30% off original pricing.
  • The Inside. Be your own designer and customize your fabrics on everything from sofas to peel & stick wallpaper.
  • Albany Park. What’s not to love about designer pieces in apartment-friendly boxes with easy assembly and a 30-day warranty?

Pros & Cons of Buying From Retail Furniture Shops

Conversely, if you choose a local furniture retail shop, you’ll probably have a lot more style options.

However, your pieces may not arrive all at once. 

And, of course, there’s the drawback of having to look for it all on your own, then pray that everything looks great together in your new place. 

Retailers may charge anywhere from $150-$300 for delivery, not including the markup of furniture itself. 

Assembly of your new furniture may or may not be included, so consult the store to be certain. 

#3- How Long You Plan To Live in Your Apartment

Moving into an apartment for the short term?

You probably won’t want to make a big investment in super high-end furniture and lots of decorations. 

In that case, your budget will probably be substantially lower than if you’re moving into a new apartment for your long-term dream job.

Consider renting furniture or possibly even choosing a fully furnished apartment. 

Heck, even an extended stay hotel can be cheaper if you’re moving for a temporary job and want to maximize your salary. 

You could pay thousands of dollars less in an extended-stay suite instead of paying for apartment rent, furniture, and utilities. 

Not only can you bypass purchasing furniture for an apartment, but there are plenty of other things you don’t have to worry about by living in a temporary stay hotel, like:

  • Paying for utilities, WiFi, & cable
  • Lugging your clothes to a communal laundromat
  • Cleaning up (in hotels that have a daily housekeeper)
  • Having a lease

It may be cheaper for you to choose a temporary or extended stay versus buying furniture for an entire apartment. 

Just note that this option is more financially worthwhile if you plan to live in a new apartment anywhere from one month to a year.  

Wrapping Up

Creating your apartment budget doesn’t have to be super time-consuming. 

Now that you have it done and understand all the factors that will affect your budget, you can get to the fun part—decorating! 

Was this budget sheet helpful? Let us know on social media!

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How Much It Really Costs to Furnish Your First Apartment


Furnishing your apartment can be both amazing and nerve-wracking—especially when you’re trying to keep costs relatively low.

So where do you start?

What is it that you do and don’t need to be comfy in your new space?

How do you stay within your budget and on-trend?

Regardless of whether it’s your first or your fifth apartment, as movers, we realize that everyone’s furniture needs will differ depending on the reasons for moving.

So no, this isn’t a one-size-fits-all guide to furnishing your new apartment, because we know that your lifestyle needs are unique.

Even better: this Spruce Your Space post will help you create a plan and better understand the costs involved for every piece of your essential apartment furniture budget.

Table of Contents
 
 
 

 

How to Easily Furnish Your Apartment: Here's What You Actually Need

Sure you’ll need a toolset (with a hammer, nails, drill, and screwdriver), but that’s a given. 

Here’s everything you may or may not have thought about getting in your new apartment—including what you do and don’t need right away.

 

Basics: What You Absolutely Need to Settle In

Not only will you feel incomplete without these pieces of furniture in your apartment, but you may be in a bind. 

(After all, where the heck are you supposed to eat if you don’t have any seating or a table?) 

Here are the definite must-haves you’ll need in your new apartment:

  • At least one table (for eating/sitting)
  • At least two chairs 
  • At least 1 lamp each for living room & bedroom (in case of poor lighting)
  • Television (only if you watch TV)
  • TV stand (if you have a TV)
  • Sleeper sofa, loveseat, or sectional (depending on your living room space)
  • At least 1 nightstand
  • Clothing dresser
  • Standing wardrobe closet or rack (for lofts or studios)
  • Extension cords (handy for adding flexible lighting or electronics)
  • Bed frame (possibly with a box spring)
  • Clothing hangers
  • Mattress + pillows
  • Bedding with duvet/comforter + pillowcases
  • Extra bathroom storage drawers (especially if you have roommates or lack linen space)
  • Pots & pans
  • Cutlery 
  • Cooking utensils (measuring cups, tongs, spatulas, etc.)
  • Food storage containers
  • Kitchen dish towels & cleaning cloths
  • Cleaning tools & disinfectants for kitchen & bathroom
  • 2 trash cans (one each for your bathroom & kitchen)
  • Dishes, glasses & flatware
  • A dish rack (if you don’t have a dishwasher)
  • A microwave (if it’s not included)
  • Shower curtain + liner
  • Washcloths
  • Hand towels + bath towels

 

Nice-to-Haves: What You Can Splurge on Now or Get a Bit Later

No, you don’t have to have these items as soon as you move in… But, they’ll instantly make you feel more comfortable and right at home. 

When the timing is perfect for you and your budget, you’ll want to grab these pieces to completely furnish your apartment:

  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Broom + dustpan
  • Barstools or extra chairs for a kitchen/dining area 
  • Oven mitts
  • Paper towel stand
  • Mixing bowls
  • Kitchen rug (memory foam or flat-weave)
  • Extra kitchen storage (baskets, under-cabinet shelves, and racks, etc.)
  • Curtains (nice, but not essential since most units already have blinds)
  • Coffee table
  • Living room area rug
  • 1-2 accent chairs (ya’ know, for company)
  • Working desk + chair
  • Bookshelf/storage
  • End tables (at least 2 for living room)
  • TV entertainment center (the kind with storage shelves)
  • 4 lamps (2 table lamps/1 floor lamp for the living room and 2 for your bedroom nightstands)
  • Floor-length mirror (once you have one, you’ll never go back)
  • 2 nightstands (if you want storage or lamps on both sides of your bed)
  • Bathroom caddy for toiletries, toothbrushes, etc.
  • Bathroom mats (memory foam is the best)
  • Balcony/patio furniture
  • LED lightbulb replacements (to save on your electricity bill)
  • Home décor & wall art 

 

How to Know What You'll Spend on Apartment Furniture

It will cost the average person anywhere between $2,930 to over $5,000 to fully furnish an apartment with just the basics, even for first-timers—according to design & furniture brand, Furnishr.com.

And that’s not even saying much about the quality or longevity of your chosen furniture!

Figuring out how much you can expect to spend on furnishing your apartment is actually very personal

In fact, your apartment budget largely depends on several factors:

  • Your style preferences. Champagne taste? That means you’ll have to get creative—and zero in on furniture sales or consignment shops.
  • Your budget. This is—regardless of your style—what you can actually afford without racking up credit card debt.  
  • What you need + Where you’ll buy it. Already have furniture and only need certain pieces? You can snag discounted items from IKEA, HomeGoods, Ross or TJ Maxx. But, starting from scratch means you’ll need a lot more, so consider direct-to-consumer companies that will save you money by nixing the middleman. 
  • How long you’ll live in your apartment. Unlike temporary stays, long-term living means you’ll need to invest in better pieces to be comfortable. No matter your budget or length of your lease, stick with furniture that makes you feel cozy. 
  • The size of your apartment. You can’t fit as much furniture in a studio or loft as a 1-2 bedroom apartment. The smaller your apartment is, the more multifunctional furniture you’ll need to maximize limited space.
  • Whether you have children or dependents. If the person you’re living with is financially dependent on you (like a child) you may be responsible for at least some of their furniture—if not all of it. That’s something else you’ll need to factor in when budgeting for bedroom furniture or bathroom storage & linens.

 

6 Places You Can Shop to Buy Everything for Your New Apartment

As shocking as it seems, Target isn’t the top place most people turn to furnish their household. 

According to Statista, the top-ranked furniture retailers since 2019 are:

  1. Ashley HomeStore
  2. Amazon 
  3. IKEA
  4. Williams-Sonoma (its furniture subsidiaries are: Williams-Sonoma Home, West Elm, & Pottery Barn)
  5. Wayfair

Naturally, the top furniture retailers are going to be the most competitive in pricing and price-matching.

And that’s a good thing for you!

Price-matching and comparison-shopping are 2 key methods to help you stay on budget when furnishing your apartment. 

BUT, you’ll still want to save as much money as possible for your other moving expenses. Buying items in sets will really help you stay on track.

In our apartment furnishing breakdown, we'll go room-by-room and factor in a lot of furniture sets to help your budget.

 

What Can You Expect to Spend on Essential Furniture for an Apartment? Here’s a Room-by-Room Breakdown!

Now that you’re clear on the basics and nice-to-haves you’ll need in your apartment, how much can you expect to spend?  

Next, let’s compare prices for essential apartment furnishings between 2 of these popular stores, plus a trusty favorite:

  • Overstock- an enormous marketplace that basically throws sale alerts and discounts at you (in a good way.)
  • Wayfair- seems like every Instagram home decor influencer has this retailer as a favorite for furniture & home décor.
  • Ashley HomeStore- they’re everywhere and great for shopping in person. 

To be mindful of your budget, we’ll focus on sets, which help you maximize your time and your money. 

By the end, you’ll have a better idea of what you can expect to spend and how to set your budget accordingly.

Before we breakdown the cost to furnish each room of your apartment from these 3 stores, let’s note a few things:

  1. This is NOT an endorsement nor review of any of these products. We haven’t tried them and they’re for illustrative purposes only.    
  2. Prices are accurate at the time of publishing this piece. And, they don’t include taxes. You can definitely find these items or alternatives for less or more, depending on when you shop and if you have a discount code. Based on that, please take these numbers as pre-tax estimates.
  3. Discounts will lower these totals, but the prices below do not include extra discounts. We ABSOLUTELY encourage you to sign up on these sites’ email/ text lists and social media pages to catch great offers and coupon codes!
  4. We tried balancing the furniture picks evenly between the following factors: a substantial number of great reviews/ratings, reasonable price points, or multi-piece sets to maximize your apartment furnishing budget. So while some pieces may not be the cheapest, they have higher rates of customer satisfaction.

 

Kitchen + Dining Area Essentials 

These days, most apartment kitchens have appliances like dishwashers, microwaves, and refrigerators (and of course, a stove). Luckily, you’ll often only have to worry about buying your cooking utensils and seating. 

Many apartments may or may not have an available kitchen island that can double as bar seating. If that’s the case, you don’t necessarily need a table (unless you just want one.) 

Regardless of whether you have a kitchen bar, some places actually have space for a dining table, while others won’t. 

If your place lacks a bar or island, you’ll definitely need a table with chairs—but not necessarily one that’s big enough for a traditional dining room in a house.  

Look out for dining sets, which include the tables and the chairs, or at least a pair of dining chairs sold together. 

For smaller apartments that barely have a distinct dining area, check out bistro-style table sets that are small, circular, and usually include 2 chairs. You’ll maximize your budget this way, even if it seems like a lot upfront.

  Overstock Ashley HomeStore Wayfair
Dining table set $516.37 (5 pcs.) $479.99 (5 pcs. + storage) $649.99 (5 pcs.)
Dishware $83.99 (16 pcs. serves 4) $91.99 (16 pcs. serves 4) $59.99 (12 pcs. serves 4)
Flatware/Silverware $51.49 (40 pcs.) $73.99 (20 pcs.) $29.99 (16 pcs.)
Glassware $24.99 (16 pcs.) $55.99 (6 pcs., for adult beverages or water) $29.99 (16 pcs.)
Food storage containers $35.99 (24 pcs.) $27.99 (14 pcs.) $41.50 (10 pcs.)
Pots & pans $159.95 (11 pcs.) $112.99 (12 pcs + cooking tools) $199.99 (20 pcs. + bakeware)
Basic cooking utensils $39.99 (24 pcs.) $27.99 (6 pcs.) $49.99 (12 pcs.)
Knives/Cutlery $79.00 (13 pcs.) $29.99 (10 pcs. + cutting board) $101.90 (12 pcs. + block)
Garbage can $134.99 (13 gal. & 2.5 gal., touchless, odor control. Use 2.5 gal for your bathroom!) $80.99 (30L & 3L; use the 3L for your bathroom!) $53.99 (30L & 8 gal.; use the 8 gal size for your bathroom!)
Totals $1,086.77 $953.92 $1,221.59
Total cost to furnish apartment kitchen

Living Room Essentials

The furniture you’ll need in the living room area will vary depending on the layout of your apartment, but be prepared to spend $$$ if you want it to look nice and cozy.

For example, studio and loft-style apartments lack a defined sleeping space. 

If you’re moving into one of these, you’ll probably want more flexible options like a sleeper sofa, or a loveseat plus a room divider to section off your bed for privacy. 

In these cases of limited space, having a lift-top coffee table is ideal so your living room can double as an instant workspace or eating spot. 

Have a roomier apartment with a bigger living room?

You can play around with more traditional-style coffee tables. Or, consider getting an ottoman that offers a place to kick up your feet or extra hidden storage.

If you’re the type who can live without end tables (or simply don’t have the room) then save your money. 

However, if you like the idea of having extra space for a drink or décor, then look into coffee table set that includes two side tables. You’ll get what you want at the most bang for your buck.

Sounds bonkers, but, A LOT of people are ditching TV in favor of their smart devices.  

TV prices can also vary wildly depending on various factors and highly personal reasons. For these reasons, we didn’t include a ballpark cost for buying a television. 

But, we did include the cost for purchasing an entertainment center or TV console. 

Regardless of what kind of TV you buy, you’ll need a place to store it. Mostly because it’s a major headache to try and mount a TV in an apartment on your own. 

Plus, it may not be allowed. And who wants to deal with damages?

With the calculations below, you’ll at least have an idea of how much a media center costs to house your television, should you choose to buy one at all. 

Since the furniture in your living area will vary so much, take the totals below with a grain of salt.

For example, if you have a studio or loft apartment you may opt for a lift-top coffee table. 

Conversely, you may want a roomier storage ottoman or larger coffee table if you have a bigger apartment living room. 

So, in the chart below, we included the estimated cost range of furnishing your apartment living room based on recommendations for your space. 

Totals include the price ranges of furnishing either a small studio/loft living room, or a larger apartment living room.

Ultimately, the cost of furnishing your apartment living room will be based on the style, quality, and lifestyle fit you prefer.

  Overstock Ashley HomeStore Wayfair
Lift-top coffee table (for smaller/studio living rooms) $199.99 $197.99 $319.99
Sleeper sofa (for studio/loft apartments) $819.99 (full to queen-size futon) $1,039.99 (seats 2 + chaise; queen-size sleeper) $919.99 (seats 2; queen-size sleeper)
Storage ottoman (for larger living rooms) $177.74 (Flip-top with tray) $399.99 $159.99
Sectional sofa (for larger living rooms) $1,351.34 (seats 3 + chaise) $1,679.99 (power reclining + chaise) $1,199.99 (removable & reversible cushions
Floor lamp $95.99 $88.99 $108.99
TV console/ entertainment center $219.99 $759.99 $839.99
Total Cost Range $1,335.96–$1,845.06 $2,086.96$2,928.96 $2,188.96$2,308.96
Studio/Loft Totals $1,335.96 $2,086.96 $2,188.96
Larger Living Rm. Totals $1,845.06 $2,928.96 $2,308.96
Total cost to furnish apartment living room

Bedroom Essentials

Ah, the sweet escape of your bedroom. If you’re going to be comfortable anywhere, it needs to be here. So don’t be afraid to invest well in your bedroom pieces

As far as mattresses are concerned, these are also highly personal based on your own likes/dislikes and needs. Costs for mattresses will range so widely depending on not only your own preferences, but also the brand, construction, and size. 

Naturally, the mattress costs also mostly depend on what you can actually fit into your apartment space—whether it’s a studio or multi-bedroom.

So no, we didn’t include the price for a mattress in our calculations below because there’s no way to choose between them all for you. 

However, according to the Sleep Foundation, you can expect to pay anywhere between $250-$3000+ for a mattress.

An excellent, cushy mattress doesn’t have to blow your budget, either! 

It’s a little-known fact that you can negotiate and price-match at most mattress stores, and we totally encourage you to! Sometimes they’ll throw in a free pillow. 

For this reason, we didn’t add pillows in the mix, but you absolutely need to have it on your shopping list. 

In fact, we encourage you to buy pillows and sheets at a brick-and-mortar store. Why?

The last thing you want to do is order exciting new bedding, only to have to return it later because it’s super uncomfortable.

You can avoid this by shopping around in person to touch and feel the pillows in the packaging. 

You’ll get a much better idea of whether a pillow is truly perfect for making your new apartment bedroom comfy. 

If you need new bedroom furniture for your apartment and are on a budget, we definitely suggest getting a set whenever possible. 

That means, at minimum, you’ll get a dresser, at least 1 nightstand, plus a bedframe all for one price

Just be sure to check if the bed frame requires a box spring for your mattress, because that could mean an added expense.

  Overstock Ashley HomeStore Wayfair
Laundry hamper $49.99 (3-bag sorter, rolling hamper) $29.99 (hamper with lid) $35.99 (rolling hamper)
Table lamp set $67.99 (2 pcs.) $133.99 (2 pcs.) $117.56 (2 pcs.)
Bedroom set $941.99 (queen bed, night stand, & chest $1,317.95 (queen bed + storage drawers, mirrored dresser, 2 nightstands) $1,369.97 (queen bed, mirrored dresser, 2 nightstands)
Clothes hangers $48.99 (100 pcs.) $29.99 (25 pcs.) $39.99 (100 pcs.)
Totals $1,108.96 $1,511.92 $1,563.51
Total cost to furnish apartment bedroom

Bathroom Essentials

Good news: 

Furnishing your bathroom is simple and straightforward. 

You will undoubtedly spend less on items for your bathroom compared to any other room of your apartment!

Depending on how much space you have in your apartment bathroom, you may need to buy a  small cabinet or drawers to store things like cleaning products, cosmetics, etc. 

If your space is limited, remember to always go upward in terms of the kinds of storage solutions you get. That means investing in shelves, tiered drawers, racks (even under the bathroom sink), etc.

All apartments will have a rack for rolls of toilet paper installed on the side of a wall or cabinet. So, although some people claim it’s a necessity when you move into an apartment, you don’t need a toilet paper stand. 

Not yet anyway… 

Unless you share your apartment bathroom with others or are the type who regularly ends up stranded during #2 without TP within arm’s reach. (In that case, PLEASE get one!)

But for now, you can do without and put that money where you really need it. 

You’ll need the following essentials, and as we’ve said before, it’s best to grab them in sets so you spend less and have fewer things to shop around for.

  Overstock Ashley HomeStore Wayfair
Plunger $49.99 (with toilet brush) $27.99 (no toilet brush included) $39.99 (with toilet brush)
Bathroom rug set $44.98 (2 pcs.; memory foam) $52.99 (2 pcs.) $47.99 (2 pcs.; memory foam)
Shower curtain (no liner) $29.98 $35.99 $54.99
Bath towels + washcloth set $35.10 (6 pcs.) $40.99 (6 pcs.) $47.99 (10 pcs.)
Small garbage can Nothing if you bought the set. (13 gal. & 2.5 gal., touchless, odor control. Use 13 gal for your kitchen!) Nothing if you bought the set.  (30L & 3L. Use the 30L for your kitchen!) Nothing if you bought the set. (30L & 8 gal. Use the 30L for your kitchen!)
Totals $160.05 $157.96 $190.96
Total cost to furnish apartment bathroom

So, How Much Does It Cost To Furnish Your Entire Apartment From Scratch?

Now that you’re clear on the ballpark costs involved to furnish each room of your apartment, let’s total it up by store based on the previous charts:

  Overstock.com Ashley HomeStore Wayfair
Studio/Loft $3,691.74 $4,710.76 $5,165.02
1-bedroom apartment $4,200.84 $5,552.76 $5,285.02
Cost of furnishing a studio & 1-bd apartment from scratch

Prefer rounder numbers?

Check out these estimates of how much you can spend at each store to furnish an apartment from scratch:

  • Expect to spend around $3,700 to $4,200 to furnish a studio to 1-bedroom apartment using Overstock.com
  • Expect to spend around $4,700 to $5,500 to furnish a studio to 1-bedroom apartment using Ashley HomeStore
  • Expect to spend around $5,200 to $5,300 to furnish a studio to 1-bedroom apartment using Wayfair.com

Wrapping Up

Whew, that was a lot to cover!

Now that you know:

  • Exactly what you’ll need right away in your apartment
  • What you don’t need to rush out and buy right away
  • General factors that impact your apartment furnishing budget
  • Your different options for buying new apartment furniture
  • The ballpark amounts you can expect to spend per room

...you’re ready to get to the fun part and start making your new apartment feel like home!

If the above retailers don’t really suit your taste, take heart!

We cover higher-quality, USA-based furniture options that cut the middleman and save you money in our next post. Plus, you’ll learn savvy ways to maximize your furniture budget.

How do you feel about buying furniture for your apartment now?

Did you find this post helpful? Share it with a friend, or tag us in your new apartment pics on the ‘gram (@3menmovers)!

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Everybody Hates Moving – Here’s How to Make It LESS Stressful


Did you know that moving can be so stressful, some researchers rank it as the most stressful life event1?!

For most of us, moving leads to new chapters and new beginnings. It’s a time for celebration and looking forward to brighter days ahead. 

But to get to that point, you’ve got a LOT of preparation to do for the moving process. (And yes, part of this involves creating a shift in your mindset.

To help you get through this process unscathed, let’s dive into the causes of move-related stress, plus our best tips to relieve the common anxiety around moving.

Table of Contents

Why is Moving Stressful?

The cost. 

Scheduling. 

Shoving the entire contents of your life into boxes and dropping said boxes off with a stranger who will haul them across the country in a truck.

Picking up and moving your family across the country where you know no one — the list of why moving is so incredibly stressful goes on and on.

A survey by the American Psychiatric Association found that Americans are the most anxious about finances, safety, and health. Moving can trigger anxiety because it impacts your finances and safety.

Here are the top causes for move-related stress:

Moving Stress Trigger #1: Money

Money plays a significant role in moving stress. 

Moving is expensive. There are deposits, down payments, the cost of the movers and moving supplies, new furniture, and so on. 

This can lead to many sleepless nights worrying about whether you can realistically afford all the mounting costs.

Moving Stress Trigger #2: Planning

There’s a lot of planning to do when you’re prepping for a move… Including everything from finding a reputable company, coordinating the move day and other contractors, to finding new schools, doctors, and more.

Plus, you have to squeeze in all the planning between your daily routine of work, school, and your relationships! (Sometimes all three.)

Moving Stress Trigger #3: Packing

Packing up your entire life is one of the most dreaded parts of moving. 

It’s time-consuming and exhausting. But it’s also stressful. 

What if your great-grandmother’s tea set gets damaged? How are you going to live without all of your belongings until they arrive at your new place?

Moving Stress Trigger #4: Pets

Your pets need to accompany you on the move, but it doesn’t mean they’ll enjoy it. 

It can be stressful to coordinate their care. Once you arrive, you have the added stress of an unfamiliar location for your fur baby. You may spend more time soothing your pet than you expected.

Moving Stress Trigger #5: Fear of the Unknown

Another major moving stress trigger, and the one that’s most likely to have your thoughts racing at all hours of the night, is the unknown.

You’re likely moving to an unfamiliar place, and the list of fears that come with the unknown is endless.

This anxiety becomes magnified if you have children who must also adapt to a new place, new school, and curriculum, finding new sports teams and friends, and so on.

Stress and Moving—What the Science Says

Let’s dig deeper into some moving and stress-related stats and studies:

  • 34% of movers report feeling anxious during the move.
  • 40% of movers reported depression and physical illness during the move.
  • 60% of survey respondents have put off looking for a new home because of moving-related stress.  

The Impact of Moving

Change, even when it’s expected, planned for, and for a great purpose, is HARD.

As humans, we adapt to our routines and find comfort in familiarity.

When that changes as drastically as it does during a move, it can be a recipe for an emotional rollercoaster.

Helping Kids Cope with Moving Anxiety

Moving can be especially difficult for children who have to adapt to a new schedule and curriculum. They also have to adjust to new teachers, coaches, other authority figures, and find new friends.

These disruptions may even cause children to misbehave and act out when the stress and anxiety feel overwhelming. 

Here are a few ways to alleviate the stress and anxiety of moving for your kids:

  1. Explain why the move is necessary.
  2. Try to familiarize your kids with the new area as much as possible. You can use maps, photos, social media, and books if/when physical visits aren’t possible.
  3. Talk frequently about the “pros” the new location offers that your kids will appreciate, such as a state-of-the-art water park or a beach.
  4. If your child is a senior in high school, consider letting them stay with a close family member or friend until they graduate.
  5. Get the kids involved with designing and picking out furniture for their new room.
  6. Make sure your kids know they can stay in touch with their friends from their old neighborhood.

How Does Moving Effect Your Pets?

Effects of Moving Stress on Cats

Cats get stressed in unfamiliar locations. It’s important that you keep the same routine as at the old house as your cat adjusts, try to bring as many of their favorite toys or items with the smell of the old house on them with you, and when all else fails: catnip. 

Effects of Moving Stress on Dogs

Does moving stress out dogs? It definitely can!

Dogs are more stressed with unfamiliar noises and items in the house. So, get your pets used to these disturbances beforehand. 

Start acclimating your pets to the sound of tape and stacks of boxes a couple of weeks before you start the process. 

Stick to your routine and give them extra play and walk time. A new toy or bone at the new house doesn’t hurt either!

3 Expert Tips for Relieving Move-Day Stress

If you’re already feeling the stress of moving, here are a few tips that can help:

1. Keep Your Stress in Check

It’s important to take a step back and breathe every once in a while during the moving process.

Remember that, while it may be sad to leave the place where you made so many memories, you’re only leaving the physical location. You can take the memories with you.

Focus on self-care to keep your stress in check and make time to go on walks, take a bubble bath, or watch an episode of your favorite show.

These small serene moments will do wonders for keeping stress at bay.

2. Moving During a Difficult Time

Unfortunately, not all moves are under happy circumstances. 

Moving because of a job or family member loss can aggravate the already stressful situation. During these times, lean on your support system as much as you can. 

That may mean asking your friends to help lift boxes, storing some things in a family member’s garage, and looking for short-term housing solutions.

It’s important to take the moving process—like everything else—day by day if you’re moving during a difficult time.

3. Make a Long-Distance Move Less Stressful

The farther you’re moving, the more stress you’ll inevitably feel. 

However, there are some things you can do to relieve long-distance move stress, including:

  • Prepare early. Don’t expect to pick up and move across the country in two weeks. Coordinating a move in a faraway place requires much more time and planning. As soon as you know you are moving, start the planning process. Map out each stage of your move in writing so you can see what needs to be done and when. Move backward from your moving date and note what needs to be accomplished in order of priority.
  • Lighten your load. When you’re making a long-distance move, it’s best not to keep everything. You’ll be more stressed trying to cram everything on the moving truck, and your moving costs will escalate. Plus, the time spent packing and unpacking will only add to your anxiety and frustration.
  • Do a home inventory. Take inventory of your house and figure out which items are worth keeping (items with sentimental value, the kids’ favorite toys, items you love, etc.), and which items you should sell or donate. 
  • Get professional moving & packing help. One surefire way to make your long-distance (and local) move a lot less stressful is by leaning on an expert team of professional movers. Movers will handle the logistics of the physical move as well as the heavy lifting. Entrust an experienced moving company to get your goods safely from point A to point B for your own peace of mind.

Wrapping Up

Moving doesn’t have to be a stressful, dreaded experience.

If you give yourself enough time to prepare, get organized, and rely on a team of moving experts, you can safely move your belongings to your new home without the added chaos.

Ready to get started on a stress-free move? Choose trustworthy movers with superb training and thousands of great reviews! 

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Sources:

  1. “Moving Is More Stressful than Getting Divorce, Becoming a Parent, Survey Finds.” Study Finds, Oct. 2020, www.studyfinds.org/moving-more-stressful-than-divorce-having-kids. Accessed 28 Apr 2021.
  2. “APA Public Opinion Poll – Annual Meeting 2018.” Psychiatry.org, 2018, www.psychiatry.org/newsroom/apa-public-opinion-poll-annual-meeting-2018. Accessed 28 Apr 2021.

62 Easy, Room-by-Room Decluttering Tips to Refresh Your Home + [CHECKLIST]


Wondering how to declutter every room of your home? 

Are you overwhelmed with where to start first? 

Decluttering your room is an essential part of spring cleaning which instantly makes you feel better and makes your home look better. 

Although it’s frustrating, decluttering room-by-room is your ideal first step before scrubbing down your place. Once you’re done, you’ll have more space and fewer items to clean up or around.  

In this Spruce Your Space post, we’ve got you covered with a guide on how to declutter room by room—including a FREE printable PDF decluttering checklist!

So read on for our tips on tidying up the most crowded parts of each room, as well as where to start and what to consider as you declutter every room in your home or apartment.

Table of Contents

Use This Ultimate Declutter Your Home Checklist PDF + Calendar to Organize Without Stressing

Make decluttering your home easy with this printable PDF checklist! 

This simple checklist guide will also help you declutter each room fast and stay organized with:

  • Cut-out labels (Donate, Discard, or Sell) to tape on each box or bin as you sort through everything
  • A calendar to help you plan when to declutter each room—especially if you’re planning to move and need to start weeks ahead 
  • Checkboxes for each room to track your progress on the most commonly cluttered areas
  • Space to add notes for each room (great for adding tasks you may have to circle back to for some reason)

How to Declutter Your Bathroom

Bathroom Areas to Declutter:

  • Countertops
  • Under sinks
  • Cabinet shelves and drawers
  • Linen closets
  • Product storage areas in your shower or tub 

What to Declutter First in Your Bathroom:

Under your sink and other storage compartments are where you should declutter first.

It makes sense that bathroom storage areas are usually the most crowded since this is where your everyday hygiene products are kept (especially for product junkies out there!) 

Heat and moisture degrade active ingredients in your cosmetics, skincare, haircare, and even your medicines, making them decay or become ineffective at a faster rate. 

So you’ll want to pay attention to anything that is past its expiration date and ditch it. 

Questions to Ask Yourself When Decluttering the Bathroom:

  1. Do my appliances and accessories still work? Do I still use that curling wand or blow dryer, or can I give it to someone who needs it more?
  2. Is there anything here that I can put into smaller containers? 
  3. Are my makeup and skincare products past their expiration dates (or, over 2 years old)? If so, it’s time to ditch them, especially if they’re in dark glass bottles, meaning the contents are light and heat-sensitive, and therefore more likely to decompose faster!
  4. Do I have products that are almost empty? Prioritize using them up first, or dump out what’s left and recycle the containers.
  5. Do I have duplicates of items that do the same thing? If so, scale down, choose the preferred brand and stick to one—not multiples). Then, discard what’s left. 
  6. When did I last replace—or at least disinfect—the shower curtain, loofahs, sponges, or bathmats? Now’s a good time to check for any moisture traps that could lead to mold or bacteria overgrowth.

How to Declutter Your Bedroom

Bedroom Areas to Declutter:

  • Nightstands
  • Closet
  • Drawers
  • Under your bed
  • Floors

 

What to Declutter First in Your Bedroom:

Many people will vouch for starting out with decluttering your closet.

But, since a closet is practically a whole different room with its own challenges to tackle, we suggest focusing on decluttering the drawers in your bedroom furniture first

Drawers are often full of junk and items we don’t actually need. They function as places to put away things we don’t want to see, or things we’re saving for later, rather than storage.

Clearing out your drawers first helps you quickly figure out what you don’t need. In turn, it ultimately lets you make room for what you’re going to keep and how to organize them within your drawers.

One thing to keep in mind when decluttering your drawers is never to simply shove items inside. 

Decluttering is pointless without organization. With an unorganized drawer, you’ll be tempted to add more items, viewing it more as a junk drawer which ultimately invites—you guessed it—more clutter!

So try to keep your items organized and avoid keeping them jumbled together, especially when it comes to your clothing.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Decluttering Your Bedroom:

  1. Do I need extra storage space (such as an ottoman at the foot of the bed, under-the-bed compartments, or shelving around the headboard) to help declutter my bedroom and still keep it cozy?
  2. Is there anything that I don’t regularly use or enjoy in my bedroom that can be put out of sight or thrown away?
  3. What’s currently on top of my dresser that can be discarded or organized inside of a drawer or a decorative surface tray?
  4. Can I fit more items into a drawer by rolling clothing or adding drawer dividers?
  5. Where can I store off-season items in my closet?
  6. Is there any way to maximize empty vertical space inside my closet by adding extra shelving or racks, cabinets, or hooks?
  7. Is there anything scattered on top of my bedroom chair or bench that needs to be put away? Where should I always put these pieces so my seating area is available when I need it? 
  8. Do I already have a basket or shelf where I can store blankets and bed pillows when not in use?
  9. Do I need a single organizer for accessories (like neckties or jewelry) instead of having multiple boxes or strewing them in drawers?
  10. Are there enough hampers and are they put in a good spot, like my closet or bathroom, to store dirty clothing/linens as they’re used?

How to Declutter Your Kitchen

Kitchen Areas to Declutter:

  • Pantry
  • Cabinets & shelves
  • Countertops
  • Fridge/freezer
  • Drawers
  • Hutches, islands, and other storage areas

What to Declutter First in Your Kitchen:

Since it’s home to loads of snacks, dry foods, and kitchen supplies, clearing out your pantry is a great place to begin when decluttering your kitchen. 

You can begin decluttering your pantry by throwing out expired foods, empty boxes, containers without lids, old spices (yes, they do go bad and lose their potency) and condiments or snacks you tried but actually hated.

The next biggest step is to organize your pantry and fridge. Keep similar items together to ensure they stay organized and are easy to reach. 

Figure out what you need to discard or donate (in the case of canned foods), you’ll need to remove everything from your refrigerator or pantry shelves. 

Questions to Ask Yourself When Decluttering Your Kitchen:  

  1. Do I have any clear containers where I can store and easily see food supplies?
  2. Do I have more dishes, glasses, pots, or pans than I actually use? Can some of them be donated?
  3. Are there areas of empty space (6 inches or more) where I can add storage racks, shelves, or cabinets?
  4. What can I throw away in this kitchen junk drawer that I no longer need or that’s expired?
  5. Which food containers are open and going bad that I can throw away?
  6. Are there any appliances on top of the counters that can be grouped together so they’re not scattered across the kitchen?
  7. Are there any essential tools, ingredients, cookware, or appliances I can put into  easy-to-reach containers?
  8.  What loose items are on the countertops that I need to discard, or that can store out of sight in a cabinet, shelf, or drawer?
  9. Are there cooking utensils that I can sort together by type into their own containers/areas (like spatulas, knives, dishes, cups, et al.)?
  10. What’s in my freezer that I can use right away or discard if it’s too old?
  11. Is there room to store round kitchen utensils (like whisks, measuring spoons, pots, etc.) on hooks? Can the hooks be placed on walls or inside cabinet doors for additional storage space?
  12. Do I have space for a hanging rack or extra shelf space to organize pots, pans, and lids?
  13. Are there serving pieces that can double as storage (e.g. using a bowl or cake stand for fruits and spices?)
  14. Can I add two-tiered storage racks or pull-out organizers to space under the kitchen sink?
  15. Are there seasonal items or cookware that I can store out of sight until I need them again?
  16. Can I prep fresh foods for the week in containers so there aren’t too many loose items in the fridge at once?
  17. How can I better organize my fridge and freezer by using labels, clear bins, or by sectioning containers?

How to Declutter Your Dining Room

Dining Room Areas to Declutter:

  • Buffet tables
  • Dining table
  • Dish cupboard/China cabinet

What to Declutter First in Your Dining Room:

If you’re not doing dinner parties every night, there’s a strong chance your dining room table is a magnet for clutter. 

Whether setting things down “for a minute”—which can turn into days—or using it for anything but dinner time, your dining table and chairs can end up as coat racks, mail drops, and more. 

Instead, change how you approach your dining area. 

Think of yourself as a guest (or as if you’ll be expecting company at any moment) and you’ll be able to keep it much cleaner.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Decluttering Your Dining Room:

  1. Are there pieces on your buffet table that aren’t supposed to be there? Can you place them in a closet or cabinet storage?
  2. If there’s extra silverware, can I roll it into extra placemats and place it in a drawer for future use?
  3. Are there any items on the dining room table or buffet that belong in a totally different room? Where can I put them quickly and easily next time so that I don’t junk up the same area?
  4. Are there any extra candles or decorations I can store in the buffet or dish cupboard for the next time I need them?
  5. What’s the best way to set up my dining table and buffet decor so it looks ready for guests at any time?
  6. If the dining room table tends to double as a home office, are there folders, binders, or boxes I can use to store the papers that don’t belong there?

How to Declutter Your Living Room or Foyers

Living Room/Foyer Areas to Declutter:

  • Cord areas behind tech devices
  • Side tables 
  • Coffee table
  • Media center/Entertainment center 
  • Sofas and Sectionals 

What to Declutter First in Your Living Room/ Foyer:

While there aren’t many places where tons of clutter can build up in a living room, your end tables and coffee tables are where this usually occurs. 

From paper mail to cups and snack containers, your coffee tables and end tables often end up with items that don’t belong and make the space less cozy or less presentable. 

For this reason, we suggest clearing off the tabletops in your living room before decluttering elsewhere.

If you can create a system for decluttering and downsizing your living room surfaces, having a clear living room is definitely doable. 

Questions to Ask Yourself When Decluttering Your Living Room:

  1. Is each seat close to the coffee table or a side table where items can be set so they don’t pile up on the sofa?
  2. Are there specific and separate storage slots or drawers that have been set aside for mail and magazines?
  3. Can your old DVD or video game collection be housed in a flip-top Ottoman with storage?
  4. Can your media center be organized by zones (sentimental items vs. photo frames, etc.)?
  5. Are there lots of cable cords behind my TV or stereo systems that can be zip-tied together and run along the corners of the wall to be more inconspicuous?
  6. Is there a basket or hall closet where I can store pillows and blankets when I need them, instead of piling them on the sofa all at once?
  7. Do I need to read through or discard any stray mail or magazines that are cluttering up my living room?
  8. What kind of habits can I start that ensure I clear clutter off my coffee table and end tables every evening?
  9. Is there a convenient tray or end table drawer where I can store my remote control or other devices?
  10. Do I really need these sentimental items sitting out, or can they be placed in a digital photo frame or storage?
  11. Where can I fit some decorative boxes or trays to house small but necessary items, like reading glasses, remote controls, coasters, etc.?
  12. Is there any unused wall space where I can add floating shelves or a bookcase to store reading material, knick-knacks, etc.?
  13. Are there any end table drawers that can be used for storing items that I want to keep but don’t immediately need?

How to Declutter Your Home Office

Home Office Areas to Declutter:

  • Desktop
  • Bookcases/Shelves
  • Filing cabinet

What to Declutter First in Your Home Office:  

The home office seems to be one place where clutter is more acceptable, but it shouldn’t be since this is where you want to be the most productive! 

The solution? Clear your paper clutter from your desk and don’t fall into the to-do list trap… (You know, where you don’t feel accomplished unless you’ve checked off everything on your daily checklist.)

Yes, there are *some* projects that require more urgency than others. But, the truth is, your desktop work will never be 100% clear unless you retire. 

So, focus on clearing off your desktop first so you’ll have a fresh start every day. 

This way, you’ll still clean up without feeling overwhelmed or ashamed at not finishing what’s still on your plate. 

Questions to Ask Yourself When Decluttering Your Home Office:

  1. What papers can I scan and store as digital copies in order to discard the paper clutter on my desk?
  2. Can I switch to paperless billing to ensure I don’t have a build-up of paper in my office? 
  3. Is there a new way to rework my workflow so I don’t have tons of sticky notes and reminders lying around my office space?
  4. Do I have a corkboard where I can pin ideas and super important reminders within view?
  5. What’s the best way to organize my to-dos, important documents, and current project papers on my desk? A three-tier tray?
  6. How often should I go through my filing cabinet and desk papers to ensure I’m not accidentally hoarding too much paper?
  7. Do I have enough shelf or cabinet space to store the notebooks, binders, etc. that I need to keep?
  8. What financial files should I shred vs. keep (we recommend keeping 7 years for tax purposes due to IRS audit timeframes)?
  9. Do I have enough filing cabinet space to store all my folders and papers, or do I need a bigger size?
  10. Do any technical power cords need to be corral with zip-ties or velcro to give my office a more tidy look?

Wrapping Up

Use these tips to efficiently declutter every room in your home with the checklist, and you’ll be relaxing worry-free in no time!

If you’re preparing to move and need help packing, just give us a call. You can always book our professional packers to help streamline your move.

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Get The Perfect Time-Saving Checklist to Help Declutter Your Home


There’s never a bad time to spruce up your home. No matter whether you’re behind on spring cleaning or you’re preparing to pack for a move and need to get rid of unwanted items, decluttering is the perfect place to start. 

But, what are you actually supposed to do when you’re short on time but have a ton of stuff to sort through?

Overwhelmed doesn’t even begin to cover that feeling.

That’s where a checklist comes in handy. For this Spruce Your Space entry, use this rundown of the best time-saving tips to help you efficiently declutter your home or apartment.

Table of Contents

Don’t Start Decluttering Your Home Until You Do This First

How do you declutter when just one look at your closet or garage makes you cringe?

You’re not alone. 

Many people report feeling embarrassment, stress, frustration, and anxiety over having too much “stuff” in their homes. 

In fact, holding onto junk may be a psychological safety net in certain cases. 

According to brain imaging studies, parting with items can activate the same brain regions associated with pain and conflict in some people (specifically, hoarders.) 

In others, the opposite effect can occur where one feels rewarded after discarding things they don’t need. 

(You’re probably in the second camp if you feel like throwing out unwanted items is a big accomplishment. Lucky you!)

It’s so crucial to get in the right mindset before sifting through everything you own, then figuring out what to do with each item. That goes double if you’re the sentimental type who can’t bear to part with certain items (even if you really don’t need them.)

Organization expert, Marie Kondo, has a ritualistic remedy she uses with clients that works perfectly: 

As you’re going through your clutter, hold each item and ask yourself, "Does this add value to my life?"

If not, it’s time to ditch it by giving it away or throwing it away. 

How to Painlessly Psych Yourself Into Decluttering

The good news is that you can avoid slipping back into old habits. All you have to do is prepare for your new, refreshing journey using positive thoughts and a good strategy

Based on basic behavioral conditioning and mindfulness techniques, there’s actually a more scientific way to boost your willpower and aid in your decluttering process:

No matter how tidying up makes you feel, reward yourself after each decluttering session. This makes you more likely to do it while associating positive emotions with the task!

Example: If it takes you 2 days to clear out the under-the-stairs closet, treat yourself to something nice, twice

Sounds good, right? 

Just make sure that “treat” doesn’t end up adding to your workload! 

NOTE: If you suspect you may have a bigger issue when it comes to holding onto things, please seek assistance from a certified professional who can help. 

What Are the Steps To Decluttering Fast?

When starting a declutter project, the biggest thing to remember is the triple D’s… (Not *that* kind, but it caught your attention, right?)

Here are the 3 key phases to quickly clear out your stuff and the best questions to ask at each stage.

The Triple D’s: Steps to Decluttering Your Home:

  • Downsize- do you really need to keep or take this item to a new space? Is there a better way to store it or make use of it? Can I get a smaller version? Can I sell it online or at a garage sale?
  • Donate- if the item is still in good condition—especially canned goods, furniture, kitchenware, clothing, or shoes—can it be donated locally? Would your friends, relatives, or neighbors want it?
  • Discard- throw out whatever you haven’t used in the past 6 months to 1 year, and whatever doesn’t make you happy. Would you be in dire straits if it ever went missing? Can you still repair or find parts to it if it stops working? Is it uncomfortable, ragged, or did your tastes change? Did you even remember it was there?

12 Tips to Help You Tidy Up Everything

The key here is to get rid of anything you no longer want or can no longer use.

And, don’t bother talking yourself into keeping something because of One Day Syndrome… 

In other words, hoping that one day you’ll get around to using it. 

(Let’s be real: does that actually ever happen?) 

  1. Set a goal competition date. Give yourself at least 2 days for each smaller room. Plan to tackle larger or more stocked areas within at least 3 days.
  2. Designate a big box, laundry hamper, large garbage bag, or area for items to discard.
  3. Repeat, but this time have a container for items you plan to donate or sell
  4. Use sticky notes (or if you’re using a box/bag, write on it) and label with DISCARD or DONATE/SELL.
  5. Put each item or set in its own place. Choose a spot that’s obvious & easily accessible so you won’t forget where it is.
  6. Organize sets of items in the order that you use themespecially cosmetics or tools—and store them all together.
  7. Combine similar items with each other instead of leaving them scattered around. (Example: put all office supplies in one place, and small kitchen gadgets in another place, together.)
  8. For a lot of the same type of items, (like clothing, toys, etc.) spread everything out in a single area so you can see what you have. Then, decide whether to discard or donate.
  9. Clean a little as you go. This doesn’t have to be a deep clean (which might be too overwhelming if you’re already tackling lots of clutter), but wiping up dust and spraying here and there will go a long way.
  10. Don’t transfer clutter from one place to another. You’re trying to de-clutter, not re-clutter, remember? If you’re not keeping it, put it in either your DISCARD box, or the DONATE/SELL box.
  11. SUPER IMPORTANT: don’t move on to the next room—or even to the next area in the same room—until you’ve completely finished.
  12. Wait until you’ve fully decluttered (and know what’s staying) to buy storage or organization products. As you declutter, note any areas that waste vertical or hidden space so you can find storage solutions for your remaining items later.

Use This Ultimate Declutter Your Home Checklist PDF + Calendar to Organize Without Stressing

Make decluttering your home easy with this printable PDF checklist! 

This simple checklist guide will also help you declutter each room fast and stay organized with:

  • Cut-out labels (Donate, Discard, or Sell) to tape on each box or bin as you sort through everything
  • A calendar to help you plan when to declutter each room—especially if you’re planning to move and need to start weeks ahead 
  • Checkboxes for each room to track your progress on the most commonly cluttered areas
  • Space to add notes for each room (great for adding tasks you may have to circle back to for some reason)

Wrapping Up

Since you now have a checklist to work from, decluttering your home should be super simple.

Forget the overwhelm, anxiety, and just plain confusion of not knowing where to start. 

You’ve officially got this

Just stick to the plan above—plus, the checklist—and tackle your next sprucing or downsizing project by going out with the old, in with the new!

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5 Reasons To Check Your New Home Insurance Policy Immediately After Moving


Whether you’re a homeowner or a renter, living anywhere near the Gulf of Mexico means you need to prepare ahead for storm season. 

That doesn’t just mean getting a generator and stocking up on food essentials. 

If you’re into going above and beyond (kind of like us!), you’ll want to do the smart thing and check on your home insurance policy so you’re not left high and wet dry!

We sat down with Ken Robinson of MAKZ Insurance to get the scoop on why it’s so important to examine your insurance policy as soon as possible. 

So why do you really need to check out the details of your home or renters policy right away?

According to Ken, here’s exactly what you should know (and do) about your renters and homeowners insurance policies before the official start of hurricane season!

Table of Contents

#1: Insurance Carriers Prepare Early for Storm Season—Even if You Don’t

Hurricane season in the Atlantic Basin (which includes the Gulf of Mexico where the great state of Texas extends) *officially* lasts from June 1 to November 30 each year. 

But, as anyone living in Texas, Florida, or Louisiana knows, a tropical storm can strike at any time. 

In fact, the first hurricanes of 2020 actually began in May:

A survey by the American Psychiatric Association found that Americans are the most anxious about finances, safety, and health. Moving can trigger anxiety because it impacts your finances and safety.

If you think insurance companies don’t track weather reports, think again.

So instead of waiting until the eleventh hour of a storm forecast, there are quite a few reasons you shouldn’t wait to do an insurance check-up. More obvious factors include protecting your major investments (like your house, rental property, and your personal items.)

The less obvious reason? 

Cutoff dates are set by all insurance carriers in the face of named storms. 

Yes, this varies by the insurer, but if you don’t prepare early, you could end up waiting too late to get or update your homeowner’s or renter’s policy.

#2: You Can’t Get ‌Homeowners‌ or Renters ‌Insurance‌ During‌ ‌Hurricane‌ ‌Season

Let’s clear something up:

While Ken verifies that you can get homeowners or renters insurance at any time—remember, official hurricane season starts June 1—there is a catch when it comes to impending storm warnings…

“You cannot get insurance when a named storm is so many miles away from the coast,” he says. 

“So for instance, if you’re in the Houston or Galveston area, and a named storm is like, 100 miles off the coast… Most carriers shut down binding authority, which means that you can’t buy a policy at that time.”  

Why the heck does this even happen?

Insurance carriers operate off of their financial reserves to pay out claims, based on the number of clients. 

The companies could literally go bankrupt if they accommodated everyone who scrambles to get home or renters insurance due to a storm forecast. 

Then, they’d have to pay out MASSIVE amounts of claims all at once, based on the hundreds of thousands of new clients…

We’re talking in the millions to billions of dollars worth of damage that storms often cause.

Imagine how quickly the industry would collapse if they accepted new clients every time a storm was miles away from the coast of a major city! 

To protect their reserves, carriers set a cut-off date for purchasing last-minute policies.  That’s why it’s critical to buy, change, or adjust your renters or home insurance policy before storm season even starts. 

—Ken Robinson, MAKZ Insurance Tweet

“Don’t wait until it’s too late,” Ken warns, “because if you wait until the storm is 100 miles off the coast, it’s too late. Every carrier has their [own rules] and threshold of what they feel is their breaking point.” 

That goes for all types of property policies: homeowners insurance, renters insuranceflood insurance, and even auto insurance!”

#3: Storm Damage Isn’t Necessarily Covered by Your Homeowners Insurance

You should definitely check out what your deductible says on your declaration page specifically regarding storm damage. 

Perhaps you assume that coverage is automatically included, but that depends on a few things.

Some insurance carriers combine wind, hail, and named storms under one deductible, while others have three separate deductibles for each. 

All storms are typically covered by your policy unless you or your carrier exclude the coverage for some reason… Such as, where you live:

“There are parts of Galveston, and down the coast where you may have to get a separate wind policy because you’re too close to the coast,” Ken says, “But, for the most part, all homeowner’s policies cover wind damage, fire, and most storms.”

#4: Flooding Is Super Common During Storms, but Isn’t Covered by Your Renters or Homeowner Policy

One thing our team and Ken have noticed in plenty of discussions with new homeowners or people moving into storage, is the confusion over flood coverage. 

And, since it floods so easily in the Gulf Coast, Ken wants to end the confusion once and for all.

Flood coverage is an entirely separate policy, which means you have to add it to your current coverage. 

Don’t assume that just because you have homeowners or renters insurance that you also have flood insurance. Make sure you check with your insurance carrier to verify.

#5: Your Policy’s Replacement Cost vs. Actual Cash Value Coverage Can Be Very Different

Your policy’s replacement cost vs. actual cash value (ACV) can be very different.

Typically, under a basic renters or homeowners policy, your personal property is covered at ACV instead of replacement value. 

You can increase or upgrade this with your carrier, though.

Here’s the difference between actual cash value and replacement cost when it comes to covering your damages:

This is the amount your item is worth, including depreciation over time. Whatever amount is not covered, you’ll have to make up the difference yourself.

This is the amount your insurance carrier will pay to replace your item at its brand-new & current cost

To decide between keeping ACV or upgrading to replacement cost, Ken suggests that you:

  1. Get an appraisal if you’ve been in a home for a while (say, 10-15 years), or have had major repairs/renovations done. 
  2. Take inventory of what you own. Using a receipt-tracking app or folder in your email is a great way to document when and how much you paid for each item. This way, you can decide which insurance option is best.
  3. Adjust your replacement cost/ACV policy limits through your insurer so you have solid coverage in case of a hurricane.
  4. Even renters may need to adjust their policy limits, especially if you own high-value items. You can also get a special endorsement for pieces like jewelry. The good news is you only really need to worry about your personal belongings

Replacement cost vs. actual cash value can be a little more complicated than what’s presented here.

See more in-depth info in our previous post about the differences between replacement cost and ACV to help you determine how much you need (of either option) to protect your new home:

Wrapping Up

There’s nothing better than knowing your personal property is safe (or that you’ll at least be reimbursed if it’s damaged)… especially as we face increasingly stronger, more frequent storms here in Texas.

Now that you know to start early, ensure you have the best renters or homeowners policy coverage for your needs before storm season! Get in touch with your agent to protect your home or personal belongings right away. 

You can also contact Ken Robinson at MAKZinsurance.com for assistance with any confusing insurance details.

Remember, if you’re already moving out or need storage due to storm damage, we’re always here to help you, too!

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Use This Smart Homeowners Insurance Checklist to Prepare For Storm Season


If you live in a Gulf state, you’re probably well aware of when hurricane storm season arrives… But the real test is whether your homeowners or renters insurance can withstand the, well, weather.

Since we’ve moved a lot of clients into storage or new homes after floods and hurricanes, we know how devastating it can be if you suddenly lose your belongings or home in a disaster.  

Your relationship with us doesn’t simply stop after we move your last pieces of furniture… We want to help you live your best, most comfortable life in a place you love and can protect

So, whether you’re a homeowner, renter, or landlord, we want to help you prepare for storm season with a savvy insurance evaluation.

Both the National Weather Service and our go-to insurance guru partner, Ken Robinson of MAKZ Insurance, recommend doing an insurance check-up long before hurricane season officially starts

Let’s get into everything you need to know and the most important ways to prepare for storm season!

Table of Contents

5 Things To Check on Your Home Insurance Policy Before Hurricane Season

Before a storm, most of what you need to evaluate for your residential property insurance is listed on your declaration page

Your declaration is essentially a page that describes your policy coverage for renters, landlord or homeowners insurance. 

From your dwelling limit, to liability, all the way to your listed endorsements—everything you need is on the declaration page.

To narrow it down, Ken advises checking these four key areas on the declaration page of your home insurance policy:

1. Windstorm Insurance 

“One of the main things you want to make sure, is from a homeowner’s perspective, is that your policy actually covers wind damage,” Ken says. 

If you own a new or existing home, however, this doesn’t have to be a huge concern since homeowners insurance is required and windstorm coverage is usually part of the deal. 

However, if you live in certain areas, this may not be the case!

“Most homeowners policies do come with wind coverage,” he adds. “But if you are in an area that’s very coastal, you might have to get a separate wind policy.”  

If you do live in a more secluded, coastal area, your location is often considered higher risk for damages from storms. That means wind coverage may not be included in your standard homeowners policy, so it’s best to confirm this by looking at your declaration page. 

And if you’re not covered, you’re personally responsible for any windstorm damage to your home.

Yikes!

Thankfully, all you have to do to add wind coverage onto your current policy is contact your insurance carrier or contact Ken directly

2. Flood Insurance 

In the insurance world, “flooding” is described as any water that enters the home from outside, usually due to rising water. 

Despite its incredibly high risk for floods, the state of Texas doesn’t require flood insurance as an add-on to your homeowner’s insurance. 

It also doesn’t prohibit home builders from constructing in a flood zone.

So with enough rain, your new home could be at risk for flooding.

Do you have a flood policy to cover damages?

Unfortunately, it’s very common for homeowners to skip flood insurance (and other endorsements) in order to save a few hundred dollars each year.

Here’s why Ken suggests adding flood insurance to your current policy:

“There are some agents out there who will say you’re not in a flood zone,” Ken states.

“What I believe is that there are high-risk zones and low-risk zones. So, with us living in this Houston area, it’s a bayou. So it can flood anytime no matter where you’re located. It just takes enough rain to flood in your area.” 

With Texas’ history of flooding—even in unexpected places—it’s wise to be cautious and safeguard your home with a good flood policy.

3. Water Damage Coverage

Water spreads so quickly and so fast that you may not notice until later.  

Although it was a far cry from a hurricane, in February 2021, Winter Storm Uri bursted pipes and caused electricity outages in icy temps across Texas.

Besides outrageously expensive energy bills, many Texans are still shouldering the financial burden of ruined plumbing, clothing, and furniture from serious water damage.  

“A lot of people are not aware that [homeowners] insurance does not actually cover your pipes,” Ken reveals.

“They cover the water damage that happens from the pipes. A lot of people were misinformed by that and were becoming frustrated by that. And there were a lot of people who actually didn’t even have water damage covered.”  

While most policies automatically include water damage, others are more basic and exclude it. You’ll want to make sure you have an HO3 or HOB policy in place. 

Ken offers a simple way to remember the difference when you spot any of these policy types on your declaration page:

  • HO3 policy- most policies cover water damage; some may require you to endorse it

  • HOB policy- definitely covers water damage

  • HOA policy- typically used on older homes; may not include water damage  

If you’re not covered, you’re on the hook for any water-related damages from burst pipes or internal leaks. 

Keep in mind that a home warranty can cover piping and plumbing damage indirectly caused by a storm since that isn’t covered under homeowners insurance. 

Policies that do cover water damage will replace the flooring and water-damaged items.

This is often included, except on basic policies. Check to make sure you have an HO3 policy (this is usually covered, but not always.)

If you have an HOA policy—which tends to cover older homes—this isn’t always covered.  

4. Your Deductible (or, How Much You Agree to Pay)

Your deductible is the amount you agree to pay before your homeowners or renters insurance coverage kicks in for the rest.

The good news about your deductible is that you can switch it to a lower or higher tier at any time throughout the year.  

In fact, Ken says you’ll just have to pay the difference (if you decrease it) or get a credit back (if you increase it).

The bad news? 

You can’t change your deductible in the event of a named storm. 

It follows the same ‘binding authority’ deadline your carrier sets for flood, homeowners, landlord, and renters policies when a named storm is X miles from the coast. 

Avoid doing last-minute endorsements during storm season and check your deductible for the best possible coverage, as early as you can! 

5. Your Insurance Policy Limits (or, How Much Your Carrier Will Pay)

Did you know your homeowners insurance won’t cover certain damages?

Do you know how much your personal belongings are worth vs. how much your policy will pay out from storm damage?

Even if a hurricane wrecks your home, it would be a huge mistake to assume that your insurance policy will cover everything, at full cost, no matter what. 

“Every policy has a limit… So you definitely want to check your limits,” Ken states. 

Example:

If your declaration page says your dwelling limit is $200,000, that is the maximum amount your policy will pay for damage to the structure of your residence.

Likewise, a contents (a.k.a, personal property) limit of $50,000 will only pay out up to that amount

Ken offers some general guidance to make sure homeowners get the right amount of insurance: “If your home is 2,000 square feet, you really want to have at least $200,000 worth of coverage and up. Anything below that, and it’s honestly going to be undervalued.”

How to know if you have adequate policy limits:

  1. Check your Coverage C (personal property) policy limit to see what you currently have. Remember, carriers will only pay damages up to your policy limit.
  2. Take inventory of your belongings to see if you should get an endorsement to boost your policy limits, and ultimately, how much your insurer will pay.
  3. Based on the value of your items, choose between replacement cost vs. actual cash value (ACV). More on that, next…

Of course, increasing your contents or dwelling policy limits can raise your monthly payment.

However, that’s worth it if you have high-value items you can’t afford to immediately replace. 

Plus, you’ll be 100% covered during storm season.

How Homeowners & Landlords Can Prepare for Storm Season

Good news for all you homeowners out there! 

You have a little more coverage since your personal property is in the primary residence where you live. 

Landlords, however, need to keep coverage not only on their primary residence but on their rental property, too. 

If you’re a landlord who has furniture and/or appliances in your rental, Ken suggests you opt for up to $15,000 in personal property coverage in your landlord policy.

How homeowners and landlords can protect themselves before storm season:

  1. Regardless of whether you’re a homeowner or landlord, you should get adequate flood coverage.
  2. Check piping & plumbing—especially in older buildings with copper or galvanized plumbing fixtures. Make any needed repairs so your carrier won’t hold you liable and will still payout for any claims.
  3. Look for preexisting water damage, particularly around pipes, ceilings and under sinks, and inspect for signs of mold or mildew.
  4. Strongly consider getting a home warranty to cover any damages not protected by insurance.
  5. Install storm-resistant shutters and check roof shingles.
  6. Remove any yard debris and trim any hanging tree branches near your home. 
  7. Take a home inventory and update it after each major purchase.
  8. Review and adjust actual cash value or replacement cost based on your home inventory. (If budgeting isn’t an issue, assume you need a bit more than your current values.)
  9. Even if you don’t see obvious damages, get a home appraisal every 10-15 years, or after a major storm or flooding.

How Renters Can Prepare for Storm Season

Renters have it easier when it comes to preparing for storm season. 

However, in the event of a hurricane, remember that basic renters policies default to ACV. 

So if your brand-new TV gets ruined when your first-floor unit floods, you’re out of luck!

Honestly, most tenants don’t closely examine their renters insurance policy, assuming it covers every mishap or disaster.

Here’s how you can prepare your renters insurance policy for hurricane season:

  1. You really only need to worry about your personal belongings. So take inventory of everything you own, including any new items.
  2. Check your personal property policy limits (whether it’s replacement cost or actual cash value, the payout should cover the value of all your belongings so you don’t have to pay out-of-pocket)
  3. Consider getting an endorsement if you have high-value items or want to increase the limits your policy will pay out. 
  4. Flood and storm-related damages to your items aren’t covered under basic renters policies. So if you rent a house or live in a first-floor unit, consider adding on a flood policy. 

Wrapping Up

Protecting your investment in either your home or belongings in a rental will give you peace-of-mind and much greater security.

No more anxiety about what will happen to (expensive) years of hard work in case of a storm!

Now that you’re crystal clear on what to look for and adjust in your insurance policy, whip out your declaration page to review it, or call an agent like Ken to help! 

Want to ensure you have the best coverage before hurricane season? Contact Ken Robinson at MAKZinsurance.com or connect on Instagram!

You’ll be miles ahead of everyone else, plus you’ll be able to make changes before the next hurricane or flood warning… All thanks to simply doing it early.

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Must-Have Safety Tips for Packing Your Garage to Move


Trying to figure out how to safely pack your garage for moving can make your head spin.

We get it, and boy is it frustrating!

Whether you’re moving next week, within the coming months, or in a few years’ time, it’s important to know what you’re doing.

This not only includes how to pack up your garage equipment but also how to pack it safely.

No part of the house proves this more than the garage, which is, arguably, the most dangerous and haphazard area of your home. 

From power tools to storage boxes to sporting & garden equipment, your garage contains all sorts of objects that are often both difficult and precarious to move.

Regardless of your moving timeline, it’s essential for you to know how to pack the most commonly found items in your garage, and how to stay safe while you’re doing it.

Table of Contents

HOW TO PACK YOUR GARAGE TO MOVE

When facing off against a project as daunting as packing a garage, it’s tempting to just say “Forget about the right way!” and start throwing stuff on the truck. 

However, doing this is going to present you with an even more daunting problem: 

Not only have you packed your garage recklessly, you’ve likely damaged your stuff and put your safety at risk in the process. 

Instead, your best bet is to follow these steps.

Step One: Get Rid of Your Garage Clutter First

You’ll know it when you see it… even if you skipped getting rid of it: 

Clutter.

It may be the old and broken appliances, or even clothes and knick-knacks you meant to sell at a garage sale last summer…

It could even be the stack of Amazon boxes over in the corner that you can’t figure out what to do with.

Whatever it is, don’t even bother wasting your time transporting junk and clutter from one home to your next!

Not only is it a total waste of your precious time and energy, but it’s also going to take up that much more room in your moving truck.

Instead, save that space for the bulkier, more cumbersome objects you’ll certainly encounter when packing.

Have a yard sale, call in a dumpster, recycle…

Do whatever it takes— just get rid of the clutter before you start packing your garage.

Step Two: Determine Which Items Can’t Be Packed

You’re likely well aware that there are some items that just can’t be put into a cardboard box. 

How do I move a lawnmower? 

How do I pack up bikes? 

How should I store my fishing poles? And so on. 

To start, it’s in your very best interest to take stock of any of these items:

  • Flammable or otherwise hazardous materials like gas, paint, or aerosols
  • Explosives like gunpowder, ammunition, fireworks, or primers
  • Gardening supplies like plants, soil, and fertilizers
  • Power tools that have fuel in their tanks like lawnmowers or weed whackers
  • Corrosive materials like car batteries or acids

Once you’ve taken inventory, set the items aside. 

Since movers can’t legally transport these types of items on their trucks, dispose of them before your move. (We’ll touch on this step more in the next section on safety.)

Step Three: Properly Pack the Tools in Your Garage

Power tools, gardening tools, hand tools, whatever it may be, heavy-duty items like this can’t exactly be neatly packed in a box for several reasons: 

They might puncture the box they’re stored in.

They might have odd shapes and won’t fit properly.

Or, they might simply be too heavy to be packed in a box.

Instead, here’s what to do when you’re packing your garage tools & equipment:

  • Drain out the gas from any tools that run on gasoline, because A) it’s a safety hazard (duh), and B) it could leak during transport. Movers are also legally barred from transporting equipment containing fuel.
  • Sharp ends and edges of any tools should be wrapped in bubble wrap or other thick, protective material that can’t be easily punctured. Have a case? Even better! This prevents your tools from scraping or impaling anything else during the truck ride.
  • Keep hand tools in their original boxes. A metal toolbox is the absolute best option. If you don’t have one, check your local home improvement store. 

Step Four: Protect the Goods

From your lawnmower to the delicate keepsakes in the corner to that big glass mirror you could never find a place for, “the goods” — a.k.a. the fragile or expensive objects in your garage— need to be protected from Point A to Point B… 

And the trip in between can certainly be a bumpy ride!

Moving blankets are perfect options to provide that protection and additional padding during a possibly bumpy ride. 

Invest in moving blankets (avoid bedding comforters, which aren’t as thick or weighted) to keep your stuff in good shape.

If you’re hiring professional movers, you’re in luck!

Just let our movers know if you’ll need moving blankets and we’ll bring them along. The best part?

It’s included in the cost of the move!

No matter which moving company you’re going with, check to see if they’ll bring blankets along for free or if you’ll be charged. 

HOW TO STAY SAFE WHILE PACKING YOUR GARAGE

When done incorrectly, it’s incredibly easy to get hurt while packing. 

This is especially true when packing your garage, where everything is larger, heavier, and nothing looks like it could fit neatly into a box. 

If you’re packing your garage alone, use the safety tips below.

1. Don’t Lift More Than You Can Handle

While it might sound obvious, you should never lift more than you think you can handle. 

If it feels heavy, odds are you’re setting yourself up for an opportunity to get hurt. 

There’s nothing wrong with taking a few trips instead of getting it done all at once, especially considering you’ll have to unpack that stuff you’re moving once you get to your destination — if you get hurt during the load-up, how will you unload?

if you book professional movers, they’ll do the loading and unloading/heavy lifting for you!

2. Treat It Like a Workout

Would you go work out at the gym in a pair of jeans and a button-up? 

Would you start lifting weights without warming up and stretching?

Of course not. 

So, as you prepare to pack your garage, stick to wearing clothing that’s generous, fits well, and stays comfortable throughout the bending, lifting, and stretching you’ll inevitably have to do.

As you pack your garage, think of your move like a workout. For example: 

  1. Wear appropriate clothes.
  2. Stretch before and during the moving process to keep yourself from pulling a muscle or being too uncomfortable. 
  3. Get enough sleep, drink enough water, and take breaks as needed (especially if you’re moving during the summer when the heat is intense).

Tricks to Moving Heavy Objects in the Garage

You should never move a heavy object alone. 

Even if it takes one, two, three, or even four extra pairs of hands, you’re still much better off than doing it by yourself. 

The added help will relieve some of that burden and help you move those hefty objects you never could have moved on your own.

Beyond this, you should also remember these age-old lifting tips:

  1. Keep the object you’re lifting close to the hips as you move it.
  2. Maintain a stable, balanced position while you lift and again while you walk.
  3. Make sure you’ve got a good grip on the object; otherwise, it’ll slip right out of your hands.
  4. Always lift with the knees while leaving the back straight. Don’t bend your back when lifting. 
  5. Never twist your back or your body when lifting and moving.

Whether you’re moving heavy plant pots or that old mini-fridge you only use for drinks, these tips and tricks will ensure you  can safely move heavy objects without injury.

Wrapping Up

When all is said and done, nothing is more important than staying safe and following the rules when packing to move a garage. 

If this sounds like way too much to handle, don’t be afraid to call in some help.

Reach out to us for help with packing your garage and leave it to the pros! 

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Unique Housewarming Party Ideas You Can Do Year-Round


Ready to celebrate after moving into your new home or apartment? Finding ideas for a housewarming party is the logical (and exciting) next step to take after moving into your new space. 

It’s also a great way to settle in and embark on your new journey of getting to know your neighborhood and neighbors!

Properly planning your housewarming party and finding attention-grabbing ideas is key to entertaining your group of besties and family. 

But if your local weather forecast is looking kinda iffy for the next few weeks, you need celebration ideas that can work in any season, rain or shine. 

So, as part of our Spruce Your Space series, we’re rounding up some unique, all-season housewarming party ideas to make your first great memories in your new home or apartment.

3 Creative & Unique Housewarming Party Ideas For Any Season

1. Housewarming Theme Idea #1: New Home, Who Dis?

Photo by Christian Stahl on Unsplash

 

Theme:

You just moved into a new house and you’re in love with the possibilities. 

So you know that the amazing people in your life are going to feel proud and excited for you, too. 

Play up the optimism by putting the focus back on your home—especially if you’ve done some cool renovations or stunning decoration. 

Before initiating the games, do a tour of your home first (hide any unpacked boxes that are still around). You’ll understand why later!

Food:

Whether you’re whipping up the creations yourself, catering with interesting new fusions, or if you’re giving your guests ideas on what to bring, you can focus on brand-new or unheard-of foods. 

Even if it’s a recipe that you’ve recently discovered or a regional food you’ve never tried, it will get both you and your buddies out of your comfort zones and chatting.

Games:

Prep your own personal list of different attributes in your new place: 

  • Is the stove gas or electric? 
  • Are there any ceiling fans? 
  • What kind of flowers are in the front yard? 
  • What color is the outside of the front door? 

These are just some facts about your home that you can easily turn into a trivia game. 

It will help you find out which of your guests has a keen eye and a great memory! 

Perfect For:

Anyone who just moved into a new house. Doesn’t matter whether you’re the tenant or homeowner. 

This can also work if you moved into an apartment or condo that’s larger than a one-bedroom… Just make sure your space is already decorated or the game won’t be challenging at all.

2. Housewarming Theme Idea #2: Local Lovin’ 

5 Stages of Living In San Antonio

 

Theme:

How well do you and your friends know your own city?

This housewarming theme is all about the new location you now call home. You’d be surprised how little some people know about an area they’ve lived in for years!

Food:

Stick to serving anything that your new area is known for, (regardless of whether you cooked it or not). 

Moving to Texas? Find the best nearby barbeque joint that caters and grab enough utensils for everyone. 

Say, your new spot is in San Antonio, order local foodie staples like smoked chicken and puffy tacos for guests while whipping up margaritas. 

If you’re inviting neighbors who are particularly proud of their city, they’ll appreciate how you’re trying to acclimate to your new setting!

Games:

Option A: Trivia is the easiest go-to game for this Local Lovin’ housewarming party theme. So, round up some interesting facts from a quick Google search about your new city or state to test your guests. 

Have a list of each fact + answer, and number them all. 

Make some flashcards with the corresponding number on one side and the question on the other side, so the answer key will match the card number. Now you’re ready to play!

For incorrect answers, simply add a twist. 

You can turn it into a drinking game or have guests reveal a quirky dance move or hilarious personal truth. 

Option B: New spaces are great for inspiring creativity, so why not get artsy by painting? Plus, if the weather is less than ideal, this will brighten things up a bit. 

You can grab some watercolor paint (it’s extremely easy to clean if it spills), mini canvasses, and mini easels from your local hobby store. 

Set up your guests in the kitchen where clean-up is a breeze, and grab your favorite drinks.

Concentrate on one area of your home to paint so everyone has the same focal point. 

This will vary based on how much your kitchen is open, and which rooms it opens towards. 

If you have a killer view from an apartment, this works even better. (Or, you can always just paint a scene of your kitchen!)

Perfect For:

People who are moving to a new state, city, or town will love this.

Even if you moved within the same city, this theme still works.

3. Housewarming Theme Idea #3: House to a Home  

housewarming party game ideas using interior design swatches options

 

Theme:

We all know that watching tons of HGTV can really pump up your inner interior designer.

So, yeah, while turning your house into a home seems easy at first… 

You soon realize there’s a plethora of beautiful paint colors, wall, and flooring options to choose from.

Indecision can kick in…making you doubt everything for fear of the wrong choice. 

Forget that! 

Why not ask those who know you best? 

Invite your friends and family over to a party designed to turn your bare new house into a home. 

Food:

This theme is based on the comfort and coziness of home. 

Order some comfort foods and well-known desserts from local spots—like mac n’ cheese, lasagna, Southern fried chicken, chicken & dumplings, cupcakes, apple pie—you get the idea. 

You can also turn this into a potluck if visitors want to bring food.

Since comfort foods tend to be heavy, stick to small portion sizes and try to schedule your party earlier in the day. 

If your housewarming party time isn’t flexible, scale down the comfort foods into appetizer-sized versions:

  • Mac n’ cheese bites vs. a bowl of mac n’ cheese
  • Apple pie squares instead of an entire slice
  • Fried chicken tenders instead of a hefty drumstick or wing

Your guests will love the food, but they still need a chance to get home without being overstuffed and sleepy! 

Games:

Get your top choices for your next in-home project ready. 

So if you’re having trouble choosing between paint or backsplash tile options, don’t stress! Just get some samples not only for yourself but for your housewarming party. 

Alternatively, you can save inspiring examples online of the spaces you’d love to replicate in your new place (Pinterest and Instagram are the absolute best resources.)

If you have a projector or smart TV set up, you can cast these saved images from your computer or phone for your housewarming party audience. 

Get their votes and let them help you decide

Most importantly, don’t forget to keep them in the loop with the outcome. 

Your friends will love to know their input helped you make your final decision!

Perfect For:

Uncertain new homeowners/ renters who want to make minor changes to their space, but need advice from friends/family.

Should You Still Have a Housewarming Party During COVID-19?

If you’re wary about transmitting more than just good vibes—like COVID-19, for instance—you can always go virtual.

It’s as simple as setting up a call on Facebook Messenger Rooms, Zoom, Telegram, or Skype!

Although you still should do the standard party-planning stuff (sending digital invitations, giving advance notice, etc.), there’s a lot you don’t have to do for an online celebration. 

Virtual housewarming parties can actually be much less expensive and better in general for everyone who attends.

Here’s why:

  1. It’s perfect for long-distance loved ones to join in.
  2. You and your guests can skip buying food and drinks.
  3. No one has to pay for tolls or gas getting to your home
  4. Guests don’t have to worry about having one too many adult beverages before hitting the road. 
  5. Social distancing is so much easier.
  6. Anyone who is eating during a video chat, won’t have to worry about spilling food or remembering to put their mask back on.  
  7. Guests who want to give gifts won’t feel pressured to do so.
  8. People with children don’t have to find a babysitter/pet-sitter before your party, or rush home after it. 
  9. Your home and party decor don’t have to be the slightest bit done. (For virtual housewarming celebrations on a budget, you don’t really need party decor at all!)
  10. Once it’s over, the only person you have to clean up after is yourself 

**If you opt to have an in-person housewarming party and you’re not vaccinated:

Try sticking to the guidelines of reputable major health organizations, like the CDC or WHO (World Health Organization).  Your guests will really appreciate that their well-being is your priority while they participate in your big celebration!

Your housewarming party should be riveting—not regrettable!

So, avoid accidentally getting into legal skirmishes by sticking to your state and local guidelines, too.  There may be limits on the time of day or amount of non-resident guests allowed, among other things.

You definitely don’t want to unknowingly violate any local regulations simply by celebrating a housewarming party!

That would certainly give your neighbors something to talk about (and not in a good way.)

Wrapping Up

Now that you have some inspiration on what to do for a housewarming party, it’s time to schedule your party and send invitations. 

Giving your intended guests a heads-up is simply good old-fashioned etiquette. 

We highly recommend giving them no less than 3 weeks’ notice. (This way, anyone who RSVPs still has enough time to plan around their own schedules and possibly order a gift for you.)

These imaginative ideas for your upcoming housewarming party will give you an awesome time to remember, no matter the time of year!

Did you recently throw a killer housewarming party and have the photos to back it up?

Tag us on Instagram or Pinterest for a chance to be featured in our feed or Stories!

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Expert Ways to Use 2021’s Most Stunning Paint Colors of the Year


Did some stunning colors of the year catch your eye on Instagram or Pinterest?

Maybe you just want to update old furniture and need some color advice.

Lucky for you, the most drop-dead gorgeous colors of 2021 are great options for revitalizing your walls or used furniture. 

Annually, global design institutes and paint companies release their color picks for the year, causing color-lovers to create a frenzy of interior design inspiration across the web.

Ok, so you’re not even a teensy bit familiar with interior design… 

That doesn’t matter.

Good news is that you don’t have to actually be an interior designer to fall in love with these standout colors and use them like a pro! 

No matter where you just moved—whether a rental or brand-new house—our new installment series, Spruce Your Spacewill help you create a space you love. 

While we won’t rely on a lot of fancy home design and renovation jargon (and if we must, we’ll always explain), we’ll share exclusive insights from our local business partners that’s 100% doable. 

Spruce Your Space posts will also help you better understand what you can and can’t do to a space you don’t own, as well as alternatives.

(You know, like when you LOVE your rental price and location, but LOATHE the style.)

Now that you know what to expect, see how April Littman, Lead Designer at Neighbor Interiors, recommends using the top colors of 2021 in your home!

How to Paint With Pantone© Ultimate Gray & Illuminating

how to use Ultimate Gray the Pantone 2021 color of the year
how to use Illuminating, the Pantone 2021 color of the year

Both members of Pantone’s leading colorful duo of 2021 are bold yet versatile.

Ultimate Gray is perfect for a cleaner, elegant feeling.

Want to infuse your space with sunny optimism? Use pops of Illuminating in accent pieces or upholstery.

 

Where to Paint with Ultimate Gray

“The best rooms to paint with Ultimate Gray are going to be rooms with a lot of natural light, because it is really a moody color,” says April. 

“However, if you want a moody atmosphere, you could put it in a smaller room and bring in pops of color, like the Illuminating. That’s a really bright, cheerful color. So if you want to add some accents to brighten it up, that would be a great option.” 

 

Colors to Pair with Ultimate Gray

Color palette inspiration for pairing with Pantone's Ultimate Gray-2021 color of the year

Since this year’s Pantone© shade of gray is on the darker side, it’s smart to brighten up any walls you’ll be using it on by adding complementary neutrals.

These neutral additions can be whites and creams (if you want a warmer, cozier tone to the room.)  

Want more of a pop? 

Although somewhat dark, Ultimate Gray is neutral in itself. 

So if you prefer more colorful surroundings, it’s still safe to use it in conjunction with other paints or furniture in earthy tones like orange and mauve, or punchy jewel tones, like blues or greens

April’s Best Paint Match for Ultimate Gray:

Gray Matters by Sherwin Williams©

Where to Paint with Illuminating

Despite its positive and upbeat vibe, you may want to skip painting a whole room with Pantone’s sunny yellow Illuminating

While yellow is most often associated with happiness in color psychology circles, Illuminating can be overpowering to paint on multiple walls—or any walls at all. 

“Since Illuminating is such a strong, bright, cheerful color, I’d really only use that as an accent to a room. You could use it as draperies, a throw pillow, blanket, or maybe some vases,” April recommends. 

Exteriors are fair game, however. 

For instance, if you’re seeking to give visitors a warm welcome, Illuminating can also be used to refresh a front door or shutters.

Just make sure to power-wash your house first so you can get an authentic match for any exterior paint you already have!

 

Colors to Pair with Illuminating

If your dream is to have a room full of energy and life, pair Illuminating with similar vibrant colors like coral

Prefer to tone it down? Stick with whites and creams—or even Ultimate Gray!

April’s Best Paint Match for Illuminating:

Banana Yellow or Sunburst by Benjamin Moore©

How to Paint With Aegean Teal by Benjamin Moore©

how to use Aegean Teal the Benjamin Moore 2021 color of the year
Inspiration for Aegean Teal by Benjamin Moore

To put it mildly, 2020 was a turbulent year. 

So it’s easy to see why Benjamin Moore© chose themes of reflection and calm to inspire its 2021 color of the year, Aegean Teal. 

Wherever you decide to paint with Aegean Teal, this blue-green hue with gray undertones can provide any room with a tranquil, modern touch.

Where to Paint with Aegean Teal

To make a beautiful statement, April recommends painting kitchen cabinets or islands with Aegean Teal

If you’re doing a full refresh of your kitchen, we love the idea of replacing the hardware knobs with bronze or antique gold accents

Your home office and bedroom are also fantastic areas to paint Aegean Teal on the walls, repurposed wooden chairs, or built-ins.

Since it’s such a soothing color, April suggests you avoid using Aegean Teal in places where you want more energy—like a home gym or child’s playroom. 

The only colors you shouldn’t use with Aegean Teal? 

“Any color that’s going to be a dominant color, because it needs to stand out on it’s own,” she advises. “So I wouldn’t bring in any color—like red—that’s going to compete with it!”

 

Colors to Pair with Aegean Teal

color palette inspiration for Aegean Teal- Benjamin Moore 2021 color of the year

“Some colors that I think would go really great with it are the Ultimate Gray. Even a sand oak would be really pretty with the Aegean Teal.

It can go coastal, depending on what you put it with, so you have to be careful with that—unless you’re wanting a coastal space. But it can also be very sophisticated if you pair it with gray instead of the sand color,” April suggests.

HOW TO PAINT WITH URBANE BRONZE BY SHERWIN-WILLIAMS©

kitchen cabinets painted with Urbane Bronze the Sherwin-Williams 2021 color of the year

Described by Sherwin-Williams© as “down-to-earth,” Urbane Bronze offers a different kind of tranquility that’s more on the sophisticated side. 

It’s perfect for more decorating if your décor goals need a more modern, neutral, or masculine expression. 

Where to Paint with Urbane Bronze

Since it’s such a gorgeous, but dark shade, you have to be careful where you paint with Urbane Bronze. 

“It was developed as an accent color… I wouldn’t really cover an entire room in it because it will feel really dark and heavy,” April says.

Areas that work best to paint with Urbane Bronze include wood paneling, built-in-cabinetry, or kitchen islands

You can even use it to upgrade old wooden furniture placed near any wall painted in a creamy, complementary shade of white!

 

Colors to Pair with Urbane Bronze

color palette inspired by Urbane Bronze by Sherwin-Williams 2021 color of the year

April suggests sticking to light, bright, or golden bronze colors and accents to best compliment Urbane Bronze in any room. 

Urbane Bronze is one of my favorite colors! It’s so beautiful. To complement it, I love the look of white oak flooring. It has white in it, a little bit of tan, it’s a little bit of a neutral—it really compliments that deep Urbane Bronze.” 

As for what to watch out for when you’re decorating around walls or furniture that’s painted with Urbane Bronze:

“Avoid using black or any really dark colors,” April warns. “A dark and a dark [color] are really going to drown each other out.”

What if I Moved Into an Empty Space & Don’t Know Where To Start?!

Here are April’s tips for how to start your design project when you have a totally blank slate:

  1. Start with a color palette. Colors will affect the furniture you’re going to collect, so save pics of colors that you like.
  2. Determine what larger furniture you want to put into the room. Take measurements of your space to ensure the pieces you love will fit.
  3. Next, work on the smaller accents and decorations.

Use April’s suggestions or an online color wheel for pairing colors together that complement each other and don’t clash.

Wrapping Up

Now you’re all set to infuse the top colors of 2021 into your space.

For more of April’s design advice, check out her Instagram and brand website at neighborinteriors.com!

For more exclusive Spruce Your Space insights, connect with us on Instagram!

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