Friday

Tips on Moving from Large Home to Apartment

So you have to downsize and you just don't know where to begin.  Well, you just might want to plan accordingly so that you won't find yourself overwhelmed midway through the move, because all your stuff simply won't be able to fit in the apartment.

In order to organize effectively and create a comfortable living space, you might want to plan prior to packing.  Ask yourself, "What can I do without for a time?"  Many items are decorative, memorable, and really serve no real purpose other than to make one feel good.  However, when you have limited space, one must cast "the feel good sensations" aside and go with logic.

Pack all items that you know you don't use first.  For instance, photographs are not used like certain kitchen tools.  Place the unnecessary items in boxes and bins.  Be sure they are secure and not loosely stored away.  They will be transported and the chances of something breaking during the move is probable if they aren't packed well--bubble wrap works wonders! 

1.  Break up your items according to size.  The bigger items that have more than one function should have a reserved space.  These items will come in handy when storing items like: bookshelves, an end table with drawers and a shelf, a storage rack, plastic sliding drawers, etc.  Other furniture that doesn't serve a purpose such as fancy decor for viewing only should be stored away in a separate facility.

2.  Storage bins or boxes with keepsakes can take up much space.  It is best to keep these items packed separately and stored elsewhere.

3.  Your most important things you use often will need to be stored in your apartment, so be sure to make room for those items by cutting down on things like: bedding, towels, and miscellaneous goods that are rarely used.  Some organizers can be room wasters, so if they take up room it might be better to lose them.

4.  Bedroom closet space is essential and must be used wisely.  Consider buying hangers that can hold more than one item.  Use shoe boxes and small bins to store smaller items.  Give away or sell items you no longer wear or like.

5.  Take advantage of hooks that can be placed on the back of doors or over the door racks.  These come in handy for storing items that might otherwise end up on chairs or the floor.

6.  Don't feel obligated to unpack everything.  How many dishes will you really be using?  How often will you wear certain clothing and shoes?  Is it really necessary to display your keepsakes, collections, and other interesting items?  How many curtains will you be hanging up, picture frames, and artwork?

7.  Use space under the bed, under cabinets, behind walls and doors, corners, and other places.  Note: for bathroom items in addition to the space under the cabinet, consider getting an over the toilet rack, shower caddy or corner shelf for more storage.

In your mind, as you sort and organize, know that the rooms you will be loosing when you downsize might be combined.  You might want to consider dividing up the living room or one of the larger bedrooms to accommodate your needs.  Consider a room divider or use a couch or other large piece of furniture to separate areas.  For instance, if you are losing a room that held your office items, you may have to create a small space within a bedroom or living room to meet at least some of your needs.

If it helps to design a drawing that includes where everything is going to go, list inventory that is going in your apartment, take measurements of your items or the room, and other things to answer some of those questions in your head, do it!  You can eliminate some stress when you know in advance what fits, what you would like to keep in your apartment and what might have to go for a time.

Nicholl McGuire enjoys uploading some of her trips on McGuire Travels http://www.youtube.com/budgettraveltips

Monday

A Good Example of an Upgraded, Clean Apartment

One who hasn't shopped for an apartment in a long time may have forgotten what to expect when touring a rental.  So often landlords get away with renting problematic suites, because they assume that someone who has never rented an apartment or hasn't moved into one in a long time doesn't know much.

Upgraded suites tend to have many features that are appealing.  This is because the buildings are usually quite old and the only way to get prospects interested in the community again is to upgrade.  From playground and pool amenities to new sink fixtures, the landlord is going to do what it takes to ensure that his or her property is appealing.

So when visiting a rental, check for the upgrades, notice the cleanliness of the apartment--pay particular attention to any possible rodent or insect droppings along crevices and under cabinets, and most of all use your smelling and touch senses.  Sniff around for bad smells, notice soft spots in flooring walls, and wood surfaces.  By doing these things, you are checking for mold, mildew, and shoddy maintenance work.

See example photos below:

 
No unsightly carpet stains or wall markings.  Fresh paint job with added color for appeal.

 
Kitchen area clean.  No grease stains or ugly markings on cabinets.  Knobs intact.  Stove works.  Some communities might expect you to supply your own microwave and refrigerator.

 
Counter tops upgraded, nice to view.  Upgraded sink fixtures.  Once again clean, ready to move in!

 
Blinds are intact, no stains or cracks.  This should be expected.
 


Friday

All that Glitters Ain't Gold - Bad Rental Properties

Apartment leasing staff are typically told about a variety of issues in a rental property by the renters.  Some will address needs very quickly and rectify any persistent issues.  However, there are unfortunately unethical staff who couldn't care less about a lemon for a residence and will continue to show the property with promises to "get that fixed...it will be done before move-in" etc.

Issues that can be taken care of with a little paint, a decoration, or some other eye-catching piece are considered low cost expenses.  Yet, major problems that require much money may be put off for months even years with cosmetic treatments.  A little paint here, a cheap replacement part, a pretty little decoration to cover up the mess underneath, and other things are used to sell the residence.  In time, the problem water leak returns, the weird smell comes back again, stubborn insects decide to greet the new residents, and so on.

Too often newbie renters are impressed with how beautiful everything looks that they don't see the signs that say, "You have a future problem on your hands."  When residents are unhappy with where they are they will leave.  It isn't always a personal issue or life change that sends people packing, sometimes unmet needs has a lot to do with it.  From a toilet that is never fixed to an air conditioning unit that was supposed to have worked upon move on, renters are left feeling like they have been manipulated into handing their money over to a headache.

Some shoppers might think it is a good idea to walk the rental when a renter is at the home, so that he or she can speak with the person about the unit.  Sometimes this is a great way to find out the truth about the property, but other times it isn't, because the leaseholder will not divulge anything negative for fear of retaliation, loss of money, etc. particularly with the landlord or leasing professional standing right in front of him or her.  The staff know that the renter will want to be cooperative so that the property gets rented especially if the person wants out of his or her contract early.  So the renter is forced to keep his or her mouth shut about the problem rental so that he or she won't have to pay monthly rent as long as the property is empty.  Speak with an attorney if you are in a situation like this.  There are ways around this.

Think twice before you put your money down on a rental.  Be aware that apartment leasing staff are salesmen and women  at the end of the day, they have a boss to answer to and a paycheck like any other business professional.  Some are ethical and will do what is right, while others won't.

Search for the street address online to see what comes up about the property and/or neighborhood. Check review sites about the management company and also type the name of the property when researching.  Tell your social network about your find and ask if they know anyone who has dealt with the company.  Mention neighboring streets and request any details from your network about any problems (without giving specific details about where you hope to move).

To your apartment shopping success!

Nicholl McGuire

Wednesday

Calling a Variety of Moving Companies Will Save You Money and Time

When planning your move, seek out at least three businesses that could help you with your move.  You may notice in your comparison of the moving companies the following:  there is a price difference, ratings are better or worse, and the time at which the movers can get the job done might be good or bad.  The more contacts you have the better. 

Also, check for discounted offers, coupons, and other places that you could save money on your moving expenses.  Do you have a membership with a company that helps save you money on things like moving materials, companies, shipments, etc.?  Ask the company if they accept any partner discounts. 

Keep in mind, a deposit will be expected to hold the date of your move.  Be prepared to list all that you have to move.  Anything that fits in a box or bin will need to be in it. Fragile items should be secured.  Do take the time to shrink wrap and bubble wrap your keepsakes. 

Pricing will flutuate depending on weight and location.  Get as much information upfront before signing anything.  Be sure you have read all the fine print before handing over your debit or credit card information.

Check the Better Business Bureau and other places online for consumer feedback about a moving company.

Take into consideration these things while planning your move. 

Nicholl McGuire

Toxic Mold Symptoms



If you discover mold in your dwelling, take photos.  Use bleach to treat areas.  If mold returns, be sure to take additional photos.  You will take your pictures to the leasing office or contact the corporate office.  Purchase a test and ship it off to be analyzed.  This will come in handy in case you have to put money in escrow, deal with a future legal battle and other issues, because landlord refuses to deal with the problem.  Note dates and times you had to be treated by a physician.  Explain to the doctor about the presence of mold in your residence, ask about tests and treatments for yourself.  Don't treat mold issues lightly, they are a matter of life or death depending on how severe.

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Over 20 years office work experience, six years completed college coursework, background in print media and communications, recognized for exceptional attendance and received merit increase for past job performance, self-published author and part-time entrepreneur, Internet marketing and social media experience. Interned for non-profit organization, women's group and community service business. Additional experience: teaching/training others, customer service and sales. Learn more at Nicholl McGuire and Nicholl McGuire Media