Category Archives: Moving & Apartment-Hunting

Crafting a [Floor] Plan

Yesterday, when I shared Part 1 of my Backyard & Patio Makeover, Amanda from Hip House Girl asked:

What program did you use to design that diagram of your back yard?

The answer?  I used Floorplanner, a free online planning tool which is my I-love-to-move-furniture dream come true.  I discovered it shortly before we moved to this new house.  It’s awesome!!!  During our walk-through with the landlord, I measured all the 1st floor spaces, and was thus able to plan out the space prior to moving in.

Then, after we moved in and were inspired to design a patio for the backyard, I simply added it to the existing plan:

As you can see, I really like to plan ahead for a move.  That’s why I also planned out our new kitchen before the move, which only required a bit of text editing in Picasa:

So aside from recommending Floorplanner, here’s a little tip for those of you moving to a new space: Before doing the final pre-renting walk-through with the landlord, I sketched each room out in a bare-bones (and not-to-scale) diagram of the 1st floor in PowerPoint, so that all I had to do was measure walls and windows and jot them down on the Powerpoint sketch.  It made the whole measuring process much easier – I’d say it took me and Ryan about 2 minutes per room.

How do you plan?  Or are you more of a move-in-and-wing-it kinda gal (or guy)?

New reader?  Here are some of my other moving tips.  

I get around: All the places I’ve rented

In my slow-but-steady quest to make The Borrowed Abode more user-friendly, I’ve added a new page for my moving and apartment-hunting tips.

In writing the intro for the page, I realized that I’ve moved 10 times since my senior year of college, 9 years ago.  That’s insane!

How many times have you moved in your adult life?

Review: Two Guys and a Truck Movers

Before this last move, I swore I’d never move again until I could afford to hire movers.  With our busy schedules, we wanted the move to go quickly and painlessly.

We chose to hire Two Guys and a Truck for the move.  They were affordable, locally-owned, and came well recommended.

We chose to help them load the truck, because a) we can’t stand around and watch people work and b) the faster the move went, the cheaper it was.

If we wanted our glass items moved – such as my large mirrors and my Barcelona table – we had to sign a glass breakage waiver.  Which we did.  They then wrapped the items in heavy blankets, and put them into my car, where I figured they’d be a lot safer as compared to the large truck.

Speaking of large trucks, I’m proud to say that our stuff only occupied half of the moving truck, if that.

When I asked the movers, as they finished up, what I could have done to make the move go faster, they had one main suggestion: consolidate the smaller stuff into larger boxes.  In other words, one large and heavy box makes for faster moving than three loose lamps and several smaller boxes.  I’d packed for the pros the way I packed for previous self-propelled moves, leaving lamps and other medium-sized items loose, rather than enclosing them in large boxes.   Lesson learned.

But how cool is this guy’s moving technique?  He’d load up his back like a camel so that he could see where he was going.

We were pleased with how the move went.  The three guys were friendly and courteous, even if they found it odd that I was taking pictures of them as they worked.   I’d definitely recommend them as a budget-friendly moving service.

How to: Pack like a pro

We spent the last two weekends packing things up over here at the Borrowed Abode, and wouldn’t you know –  I don’t feel anywhere near finished.  To think I thought my apartment was clutter-free!

At least I know I packed like a pro, staying organized and structured despite the upheaval.  I tried to keep things eco-friendly, opting for “green” packing materials rather than the standard bubble wrap or foam peanuts.  If I lived in California, I’d surely have opted for the Earth Friendly Moving company, packing all my items in rented plastic storage bins.

Heaven knows I’ve packed and moved more times than I’d like. Here’s a few tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way for organizing an easy and chaos-free move:

1.  Start early

Start packing so early that you think you’re nuts for doing so.  Trust me, it always takes longer than expected.  At least a month ahead of time, save money and a few trees by snagging free boxes and packing paper off Craigslist or Freecycle.

2.  Hunt and gather

Go through your house, gathering up everything in categories, so you can pack like items together.  Here’s my dining room-turned-packing area with all my books, candles, and small decor items ready for packing.  (Yikes.  We’ll have a yard sale after the move to pare down the junk to just our favorite stuff.)

How to Pack Like a Pro

2.  Label everything

Know where your stuff is, even when it’s in boxes at your new house:  label everything. In detail.  Each box gets at least two labels:  Contents and Location.  Prior to packing, I print adhesive labels for every location in the new house.  Those labels get stuck to the upper right hand corner of every box, to help the movers know where each box goes.   I also print out large adhesive labels that read “Contents”, so that I can create uniform, easy-to-read box inventory lists as I pack.  When the box is full, and I tape it up, I slap the contents label right next to the location label.   Sounds OCD?  Maybe.  Uber-useful?  Definitely.

If the box is fragile, I stick those labels on every side.

3.  Wrap resourcefully

Save the environment and your wallet.  Use towels, sheets, rags, and fabric to wrap breakables.  I also picked up some Geami paper for wrapping the super fragile items.  It’s good stuff – made from recyled paper, and just as good as bubble wrap at swaddling wine glasses and other delicate items.

4.  Make space

Let’s face it, you’re gonna have to have a spot to pile all those boxes you’re about to pack.  And if you’re like me, you want to keep the house feeling uncluttered and organized despite the upheaval.  Corral the clutter as much as possible by devoting a wall or section of a room to stacks of boxes.  Bonus:   Storing them in one place makes for a faster, easier move on the day-of.

That’s it for my tips.  Did I leave anything out?  Any other tips and suggestions would be greatly appreciated – we’re moving soon!

Speaking of moving, this will be the last you hear from me until after the move.  I’ll return on May 1st bigger, bolder, and better than ever!  (Or not.  I just liked the way that sounded.)  But I will be blogging from a new borrowed abode, and will have a fun surprise to share with you all!