Tricks of the Trade


Season’s Greetings! Last year we posted some great tips about saving boxes and thought we would share them again as a reminder and for those who might have missed the original post.

Have you ever received a gift and wondered, “Do I need to keep the box this came in?” With the Holiday Gift Season upon us, here are our Top 5 Tips to help you decide.

1. Flatscreen Televisions: We recommend ALWAYS keeping the original box and any included styrofoam and screen protection. If you don’t have the original box next time you move, the moving company will charge you between $75 to $135 for a new one.

2. Other electronics: Stereo speakers, computer printers and monitors – keep. DVD players, desktop towers and other “square” items – keep if you’ll be moving across country; maybe not if just across town. Your decision may be determined by the amount of dry, clean space you have to store boxes.

3. Collectibles: We don’t profess to know which collectibles are more valuable if you have the original box, but we do recommend keeping boxes and associated packing materials for extremely breakable or fragile items. Seamless Moves knows how to wrap a figurine for shipping so that it arrives with all 5 fingers intact, but do YOU want to pack that item yourself?

4. Toys: We recommend keeping boxes for toys that have many small parts and for toys that may be handed down to future generations (such as a train set or special doll).

5. Kitchen items: Unless the item is extremely fragile, a professional packer can pack your item to move as well as or better than in the original box. Therefore, keeping the box is not necessary.

Additionally, any items that you only use occasionally, such as holiday decorations and entertaining dishes, should be kept in their original boxes as your space allows when not being used.

Now that you have boxes figured out, here are some great wrapping tips: GiftWrap1, GiftWrap2 and GiftWrap3, and one just for laughs: How to Gift Wrap a Cat for Christmas.

And remember, if you would like some help getting organized after the holidays, Seamless Moves is ready to help. Have a wonderful Holiday!

 

Moving can be stressful. Sometimes in the rush and commotion of a move there are things we forget to do or to pack. Aside from the obvious filling out a change of address card with the post office, here are a few things to consider:

Don’t forget to return library books, transfer or cancel gym memberships and pick up things at the dry-cleaner or shoe repair shop.

What about the spare keys you left with the neighbor or any hidden valuables? Be sure you collect all your records, including medical, dental, vaccine and veterinarian, school and a prescription list from the pharmacy.

Gather all personal files (marriage license, passport, birth certificate, wills, insurance papers), home movies, photo albums, tax records, car keys, safe deposit box keys, deeds, checkbooks, jewelry, stocks, school records, medicine, etc. These items should travel with you to ensure they don’t get lost in the move.

On moving day for a local move, use travel coolers for refrigerated/frozen items or line small boxes with a plastic bag.

Tape the remote for the cable TV to its box for easy return to the cable company. Check inside the washer, dryer, oven, microwave and dishwasher to ensure nothing is left behind inside them.

Make up a HARDWARE BOX to put all hardware in when packing–shelf pins for bookcases, special picture hanging items, small tool kit, hardware for dressers, etc. so that everything is handy when you arrive at your new home.

Designate one box or drawer in the home you are leaving for items that need to stay behind and add to it as you come across things when packing, e.g., appliance manuals that stay with home, mailbox keys, access codes for garage opener, etc.

Can you add anything to this list?

As if moving to a new home isn’t stressful enough, add in a baby or toddler and you can have REAL chaos and life can be downright EXHAUSTING!

Thanks to Baby Zone for some helpful hints on making the move easier:

Get Help: Enlist the help of friends, schedule some play dates to help you get things done. Or (shameless plug), you can call Seamless Moves and we’ll pack up for you while you take the kids to the park.

Help Your Child Feel Secure: Even if you think that your baby can’t understand, talk to him. Using simple phrases, such as, “The truck is coming today,” or “Soon we’ll be driving to our new home.” An infant will  be reassured by the tone of your voice, even if he can’t understand your words.

Make the Move Special: Having a favorite Elmo doll or well-loved afghan on hand can go a long way toward helping your child settle in to a new home. Try to pack up your child’s room last and unpack it first. Consider including a surprise box containing new toys and knick-knacks for your child to open along with her familiar belongings.

Moving can actually be fun for toddlers. Empty boxes offer hours of excitement. Children can decorate the moving boxes with colored markers or watercolor paints. With a little imagination, large boxes can be turned into castles, cars, or firehouses.

The Day of the Move: Moving day will be frantic no matter how well you’ve prepared. If at all possible, have someone watch your children at another location. Kids can get hurt or lost among piles of boxes and stacks of furniture. And having a rambunctious toddler on the loose is one thing you just don’t need when there’s an enormous moving van jockeying around your driveway.

Remember to set aside some key items that you and your children will need in the short term. Pack a separate bag for your shampoo, brushes, makeup and an extra change of clothes for yourself, along with pacifiers, bottles, and can’t-live-without toys for the kids. Even if you’re only moving across the street, hand-carrying these essentials to your new home will ensure that you won’t have to unpack endless boxes looking for a precious blanket.

When we blogged about moving with a cat it required a 2-part blog post to cover what to consider. Moving a dog is a much simpler job. Our first thought was, “What’s the big deal? Just put the dog in the back of the car and go.” Basically that is correct, but here are a few tips that may help reduce the stress for you and your dog.

Visit ~ If possible make a few visits to the new home. Let the dog explore all parts of the house and property.

Hire a Dog Sitter ~ Take the dog out of the chaos of movers and boxes and the trips in and out of the house.  This will reduce the anxiety of wondering what is happening.

Favorites ~ Before bringing into the new home have his blankets and favorite toys ready and waiting for him.

That’s about it…If you are looking for a few laughs check out this humorous dog moving story here.

How about you? Any dog moving stories to can share?

OK, you’ve moved to your new home; now what to do with the cat?

  • First, make sure you cat-proof the new house. Tuck away electrical cords, plug up nooks where a cat could get stuck, make sure that all windows have secure screens and confirm that no pest-control poison traps have been left anywhere in the house. Immediately take your cat to a room that will remain relatively quiet. Before opening the carrier, set up your cat’s food and water dishes, litter box and bed. Place some cat treats around the room to encourage your cat to explore.
  • Keep your cat in this “home-base” room for his first several days in the new house. This will allow him to gradually get used to the sights, sounds and smells of his new home without feeling overwhelmed. Keeping your cat in one room will also make it easy for him to find his litter box, food and water.
  • Spend time with your cat in his home-base room, at first doing low-key activities like reading or watching TV. When he begins to explore, offer your cat attention, treats and playtime.
  • When the flurry of unpacking is over, gradually give your cat access to the rest of the house, one room at a time. If it’s not possible to close doors to limit his access, closely supervise your cat during short exploration sessions.
  • Provide a second litter box where you’ll want to keep one permanently. Keep the box available in the home-base room for at least a few weeks. Once your cat has settled in, you can remove that box. Alternatively, you can keep the home-base litter box but gradually transfer it to a preferable location.

A major worry when moving with a cat is what will happen when they first venture outside their new home. There are never any guarantees that a cat will not decide to try and find his way back home, but you can reduce this happening:

  • Try and keep your cat inside for the first three weeks. This is not always possible and some cats adjust to their new surroundings much quicker than others. Only you as its owner will recognize if your cat is relaxed enough in the new home to allow them to go outside for the first time.
  • Let them out just before meal times, and then you can call them back with their favorite food.
  • Go outside with your cat and stay with them for a while. This will help your cat feel secure. If your cat doesn’t want to follow you out, do not force them to go.
  • Leave the door open so that your cat can return to the house when they want to. It might be a bit scary out there at first.
  • Keep the first few times they go out short. This will build up the bond to the new home.

Always make sure your cat is wearing a tag on its collar with your name and phone number. Check the rules in your new city regarding whether your cat needs to have a license and/or rabies vaccination and whether they must wear those tags on their collar. You may wish to look into a microchip for kitty as well.

How about our readers? Any tips for moving a cat to a new home? Have a great photo of your cat moving?

Again, thanks to WEBMD/Pets for the great cat tips!

Moving to a new home with a cat can be hard on both you and your cat.  So making the move to a new home as stress-free as possible for your “kitty” can have big benefits, including reducing the risk of fear-based house soiling, excessive meowing and crying, hiding, escape attempts and aggression.

Moving a cat successfully to a new house does involve some planning and preparation. Here are some suggestions from WEBMD/Pets:

Before the Move

Get the cats used to the ‘evil’ carrier. Place a favorite blanket or piece of your human clothing (that you’ve worn but haven’t washed) inside the travel carrier. Drape a blanket over it for an instant play cave.  Leave the carrier open near a favorite hangout and place stimulating kitty toys inside or some favorite treats.

If your cat is very skittish, nervous or easily stressed, speak to your vet about using anti-anxiety medication to make the moving process easier on him/her.

On Moving Day

  • To prevent your cat from dashing out the door while movers are going in and out, close kitty in a bathroom with food, water, a bed and litter box. Place a sign on the door asking the movers to keep the door shut.
  • Feed your cat a very small breakfast on moving day to reduce stomach upset.
  • The last thing to do before leaving your house is to move your cat. Pop them in their carrier with a comforting blanket. By leaving them till the very last, it will help to reduce stress and also keep the trip as short as possible.
  • While in transit, resist the urge to open your cat’s carrier to soothe him. A scared cat may try to escape.
  • All cat lovers know, cats are not to be transported in the moving truck or the trunk of the car. :-)

Tune in next week for some tips on settling your cat into her new home.

While doing our research, we ran across this funny cat moving story.  How about your last cat move?   We’d love to hear your cat moving stories.




Ever look at a well-dressed woman and think to yourself, “She looks great in that scarf! I should wear my scarves. Where ARE my scarves?”

Out of sight, out of mind. If you can’t see them, you probably won’t wear them. Your scarves should be easily accessible. If it is a chore to find a scarf, there is a good chance you won’t wear it. Likewise, if it is too much trouble to put it away, it may not get put back where it belongs.

We recommend using a tie or belt rack that can be purchased at any organizing store or website. They are simple, inexpensive and your scarves will be easy to see and select when you get dressed. You can also try hanging them from over-the-door clothing hooks (sometimes used for bathroom towels), arranging them in a decorative basket on your dresser or closet shelf, or our previously featured over-the-door organizer.

They are beautiful, after all; that’s why you have them. Show them off!

In the What’s New and Cool category, check out Wall Candy Arts patented peel-and-stick Chalkboard Decals and Dry Erase Decals that turn any wall into a writeable surface. They are removable, reusable and repositionable. Use a regular eraser or a paper towel to start fresh. Peel, stick and remove without a trace. Great in home offices and children’s playrooms!

The Chalkboard Decals come in fun shapes such as stars, hearts, circles, cupcakes, elephants and rococo. The Dry Erase panel decals are like a regular whiteboard; easy to use and clean.

The wall decal kits contain enough removable, reusable peel and sticks to transform a plain space into a sophisticated haven without making a mess. They are as simple to install as a sticky note and can be easily rearranged numerous times.

Find them at WallCandy Arts (affiliate link).

What would you use yours for?

You’ve heard this tip before: When in the clutter-banishing mode, pack things you want to let go of into boxes. Label the box with the date and put the box in the basement or garage. One year later, if haven’t unpacked it, let it go immediately-WITHOUT OPENING IT! If you open it you will have to start all over. If you haven’t missed whatever is in the box for a year, you don’t need it.

Unfortunately, many people refuse to believe that they won’t need their “put aside” things later. We blame the evil Clutter Fairy*. What can you do if you get a case of the “might need it laters”? Here are a few tips:

1.  “I’m saving it for a special occasion” (candles, “good” china, perfume, etc.). We can’t tell you how many senior move clients we’ve worked with who have had to give away these lovely items because they are not ABLE to use them any more. LIFE IS NOW! Enjoy your things while you can.

2. “It just needs a small repair.” Call an upholster, handyman or glass repair shop and see if the fix you had in mind will cost more than you are willing to pay. If so, let the item go. If you intend to repair it yourself, put an appointment on your calendar for this weekend to do the project.

3. “It might be worth something someday.” Call an appraiser or estate sale professional today and find out! We regularly check on items our downsizing clients have been saving for many years, only to find the amount the items are worth may not have been worth the space (and sometimes cost) to store them.

4. “My dear departed aunt gave it to me.” That’s so sweet. If you love it, keep it and use it! If it is hidden away in a box or closet, how well is it reminding you of her? We recommend taking a photo of the item as a keepsake, then offering it to a family member who can use and enjoy it.

Let’s defeat the evil Clutter Fairy at her own game!

* Cartoon used with permission of www.clangnuts.com.

Beginning Feb. 1, 2012, free Recyclables Service is closing at most King County Transfer Stations. These materials will no longer be accepted for recycling at King County‘s Cedar Falls, Enumclaw, Houghton, Renton, and Shoreline facilities: aluminum cans; cardboard; glass bottles and jars; mixed paper; newspaper; plastic bottles, tubs and jugs; and tin cans. Their FAQ Sheet may be viewed here:

Most cities include recyclables pick-up at no cost with your curbside garbage pick-up, except Skykomish, Snoqualime Pass and Vashon communities, whose residents may still take their recyclables to their local transfer stations.

We were curious what happens if you have more recyclables than will fit in the curbside pick-up recycling cart, such as after a move when you have lots of boxes and packing paper you don’t wish to keep. We confirmed with both Waste Management by telephone and with the City of Renton curbside recycling page on their website that there is no limit to the amount of clean recycling you can set out for collection. Put recycling that doesn’t fit in your cart in recycling bins, cardboard boxes (limit 2′x2′x2′), or a 32-gallon can with handles marked “recycling.” Check with your city of residence and garbage pick-up service for their policies.

Of course, it will take you some time to cut up your used moving boxes into 2′x2′x2′ pieces, but that is the requirement for having them picked up curbside at no cost.

Seamless Moves offers removal of moving boxes and packing materials to our unpacking clients, but what are alternatives for the moving do-it-yourselfer?

You may take clean, used cardboard and paper to a recycling center such as SeaDruNar Recycling in Seattle who pay you a small amount for them or 1 Green Planet in Renton who accept these and many other items (appliances, electronics, scrap metal, etc.) at no cost to you.

If you would rather have someone pick them up for you, we recommend Rubbish Works. Owner John Davies says, “Rubbish Works can help with any type of recycling services. Our two-man crews will show up on site and take co-mingled recycling – metal, cardboard, plastic, etc.  We then distribute it to the proper recycling center.” Rates depend upon the amount you have them pick up.

OR: Skip the cardboard altogether and use Frogboxes!

It really has no limit to what you can use it for.

1. Bathroom supplies

2. Cleaning supplies

3. Mittens, gloves, socks, belts (and of course) shoes.

4. Craft supplies

5. Children’s toys

6. Office supplies. Use a plastic over  the door shoe organizer to sort and store home office supplies. The pockets are great for pens, glue, stapler and staples, CD’s and paper clips.

What do you use yours for?

Have you ever received a gift and wondered, “Do I need to keep the box this came in?” With the Holiday Gift Season upon us, here are our Top 5 Tips to help you decide.

1. Flatscreen Televisions: We recommend ALWAYS keeping the original box and any included styrofoam and screen protection. If you don’t have the original box next time you move, the moving company will charge you between $75 to $135 for a new one.

2. Other electronics: Stereo speakers, turntables, computer printers and monitors – keep. DVD players, desktop towers and other “square” items – keep if you’ll be moving across country; maybe not if just across town. Your decision may be determined by the amount of dry, clean space you have to store boxes.

3. Collectibles: We don’t profess to know which collectibles are more valuable if you have the original box, but we do recommend keeping boxes and associated packing materials for extremely breakable or fragile items. WE know how to wrap a figurine for shipping so that it arrives with all 5 fingers intact, but do YOU want to pack that item yourself?

4. Toys: We recommend keeping boxes for toys that have many small parts and for toys that may be handed down to future generations (such as a train set or special doll).

5. Kitchen items: Unless the item is extremely fragile, a professional packer can pack your item to move as well as or better than in the original box. Therefore, keeping the box is not necessary.

Additionally, any items that you only use occasionally, such as holiday decorations and entertaining dishes, should be kept in their original boxes as your space allows when not being used.

Now that you have boxes figured out, here are some great wrapping tips: GiftWrap1, GiftWrap2 and GiftWrap3. Have a wonderful Holiday!

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