Moving Tips & Tricks

Moving is stressful; possibly one of the most stressful things we do.  Anything to make it easier is a blessing.  Here is a list of tips and tricks I’ve found that make it a bit easier.

  • Get free boxes.  Scour online classifieds and Facebook groups, go to the grocery or liquor stores.  I have a client who recently was driving through a neighborhood and saw someone moving in and asked what they were doing with their boxes afterward–she went home with enough to pack her entire home! Don’t be shy!  Have the boxes ahead of time, so that when you begin packing, you are totally ready.
  • Use your luggage! Your clothing is heavy and putting it in boxes isn’t easy.  Don’t waste space hauling empty bags and luggage; use it for what it was made for.  More luggage than loose clothing? Use your rolling luggage for heavy items like books.
  • Speaking of clothes, don’t bother taking your hanging clothing off of the hangers! Take a few at a time, and cover them with a garbage bag. Poke the hangers through the top and your clothes are both protected and easy to pack.
  • Fill crockpots, pans, etc with your spices.  This uses otherwise empty space AND keeps your spices upright.
  • Brightly colored Duck Tape is an amazing tool when you’re moving.  Choose a different color for each room to close up your boxes.  This will be a huge help when you move into your new home, as you can just pack like colors into the rooms they are labeled for! But don’t forget–you still want to label the box with sharpie also!
  • Use clear tape for screws; it will both hold the screws well and it is easy to label with permanent marker.
  • Pack things like linens, towels, and blankets inside your washer and dryer.
  • Do your last grocery shopping two weeks before your move and have far less food waste.
  • Defrost your refrigerator and freezer 24 hours prior to moving.
  • Thread your necklaces through straws or roll your jewelry in towels to avoid tangles.
  • Don’t forget to purge!
  • Label cords and cables.

Do you have other tips? Please share!


Painting Your Cabinets

Sometimes just updating the color of your cabinets and changing out hardware is the best option for your kitchen or bathroom cabinets, but there are SO MANY options and it is hard to sort through which tutorial/color/paint/primer/etc will work the best for your project.  Never fear! I ran across this blog post that goes through it all for you, and links to the best tutorials on the web.  Check it out here.

If you decide to paint your cabinets, I’d love to see your before and after photos! Fresh, inexpensive updates like this improve value on your home, should you choose to sell, and they make it feel updated if you’re just looking for an update. Or, maybe you’ve been looking at homes and you’ve seen a great house with a terrible kitchen or bathroom and can’t afford a full remodel right after buying–this could be the solution!


I am always trying to find ways to reduce my “footprint” on the planet.  I drive a hybrid car, I don’t use K-Cups, I try extra hard to remember reusable bags at the grocery store.  It’s the little things, right?

So, I thought I’d do some research into composting; making less trash is a pretty big deal now days.

The Do’s and Don’ts  of Composting.

Alternate layers of nitrogen-rich greens & carbon-rich browns.
• Vegetable peelings
• Rotten fruit & Fruit Peelings
• Leaves & Grass ( green & dry)
• Coffee grounds &  Tea leaves
• Manure from vegetarian pets: rabbits, gerbils, guinea pigs, sheep, horses,cows, llamas, etc.
• Dry leaves, grass and plant stalks
• Shredded newsprint (non-toxic inks only)
• Shredded Brown Paper bags
• Unbleached paper towels, napkins, wet is okay, greasy no!
• Cardboard (small pieces)
• Corncobs
• Straw
You can also add:
• Rinsed, crushed eggshells
• Pet hair, to help discourage rodents
• Dryer lint
• Wood ash
• Select a level, partially-shaded spot for your bin with good water drainage. Be sure it is at least 8 in – 12 in away from walls, fences, bushes, doors and windows.
• Cut kitchen scraps up into smaller pieces – faster decomposition.
• Whenever you add any food layer, top it off with brown material. Keep a pile of dry browns near the bin to sprinkle on top each time you add kitchen scraps.
• The beneficial microorganisms in your pile need oxygen. If too compacted (like in a landfill), they produce methane as they decompose, which is a greenhouse gas. Leave lots of air space in your bin and mix the contents every week or two with an aerator tool, or an old broom handle.
• Collect dry leaves and grass in a separate, dry container. Then you can use them year-round.
• Compost is generally ready to use after two or three months but aging the pile another one to two months before putting it on lawns or garden will improve it.

    • Grease, oils or fats.
    • Bread or bread products
    • Rice
    • Pastas
    • Salad dressings or sauces
    • Dairy products
    • Nuts or nut butters
    • Fish
    • Meat
    • Bones
    • Dog or cat feces, kitty litter, human waste – Meat-eating animals, including humans,  carry diseases, and kitty litter may contain chemicals.
    • Ash from barbecues or coal Contains harmful chemicals.
   • Weeds with mature seeds. When you spread the compost, you’ll spread those weeds, to your garden.
    • Treated wood products May contain harmful chemicals.

Troubleshooting (Symptom-Diagnosis-Treatment):
Compost is attracting pests: dogs, rodents, raccoons.
Improper materials added.
Use a pest-resistant bin.  Put kitchen scraps in the center of the pile and cover with soil.
Compost pile is wet and stinky, too much green material.
Add brown material. Turn pile. Insufficient covering.
Put scraps at the center of the pile.
Pile is dry too much brown material.
Not enough water.
Add fresh kitchen scraps. Moisten with water.  Cover pile to reduce evaporation.
Pile is cold.
Lack of nitrogen.
Add green materials such as grass clippings, kitchen scraps.
Compost is attracting flies.
Food scraps are exposed.
Cover green material with browns. Avoid adding grease, oils, meats, breads, etc (see checklist above). Cover food scraps with soil or brown material. Put kitchen scraps in the center of the pile.

Tips for Effortless Entertainment

It is summertime, and along with summer comes lots of visiting and entertaining.  Sometimes we overwhelm ourselves with complicated recipes, fancy drinks, and crazy themes, but none of those things are necessary.  Here is my recipe for effortless entertaining:

  • Simple is best. You don’t need a million options or to use the most complicated recipes. Don’t be afraid to scrap a thing or two if you are running low on time. It will save you stress and no one will know you didn’t make that extra dish!
  • Grab items that are easy to unwrap and put out.
    • Grab some salami, prosciutto, pancetta, and ham. Either transfer directly or plate it up creatively.
    • Grab one or two types of cheese and cut into cubes/slices and position near the meat.
    • Put out a few crackers and/or apple slices to go with the meat and cheese.
  • Fresh veggies and dip. My go-to has always been Ranch but I have started developing spread recipes as well to offer another option for our guests. Pre-made hummus is another great go-to option. Check out the Blue Cheese and Pecan Spread. It is always a hit. The spread works well with the veggies or along with some fresh French bread. And is worth a few extra minutes of prep time.
  • Throw a few pickles or olives out for a salty taste. Nuts are another great option.
  • Then, add something for the late night sweet tooth. My favorite thing has been to try out different popcorn recipes. Everyone loves popcorn and who couldn’t resist it late at night! Check out Crack Popcorn & Peanut Crunch for one of my favorites.
  • Chips and dip. Store bought or homemade pico de gallo is highly recommended or even make your own guacamole.

Thanks to for this blog post.

Uncommon Mortgage Terms You Need to Know

When it comes to finding a new home, there are lots of complex ratios, terms, and contracts that you’ll encounter – and at times, it’ll feel like you’re trying to navigate a minefield. If you’re not careful, you may find yourself signing on for a mortgage that doesn’t suit your needs. Here are five mortgage terms you may not encounter regularly that you’ll need to know when buying a home.

Escrow: Money Held In Trust To Pay Taxes

An escrow account is a bank account that your lender maintains on your behalf. When you close your mortgage, you’ll need to deposit a certain percent of your annual property taxes into the escrow account, which your lender will hold in trust and use to pay your property taxes.

PITI: How Your Lender Calculates Your Monthly Payments

Your lender uses a specific formula used to calculate exactly how much money you need to pay your lender each month. Each month, your mortgage payment will include portions that go toward your principal loan amount (P), your interest payment (I), your property taxes (T), and your homeowner’s insurance (I). If you have private mortgage insurance, it’ll be included with this PITI payment.

Rate Buydown: Lowering Your Interest Rate With A Larger Down Payment

A rate buydown, also known as a discount point, is a chunk of your mortgage interest that you pre-pay in order to get a lower monthly interest rate over the life of the loan. Each point you buy reduces your interest rate by a small amount.

Loan Estimate: What Your Lender Must, By Law, Give You

A loan estimate is a form that your lender is required to give you when you apply for a mortgage, as per the Truth in Lending Act. Your loan estimate will include your estimated costs of carrying the loan – including monthly payments, interest rates, and processing fees. Loan estimates allow you to compare terms and rates across different lenders.

Loan-To-Value: Determining How Much House You Can Afford

Your LTV (loan-to-value) ratio is a ratio that is used to calculate the amount of equity you have in your home and to assess your risk as a borrower. Typically expressed as a percentage, your LTV is determined by dividing the total amount of your mortgage loan by the property’s fair market value. Borrowers generally prefer to see lower LTV ratios.

Creative House Numbers

Little things add a lot of curb appeal.  Yes, house numbers are available at the hardware store, and they’re relatively inexpensive. But putting a little extra effort pays off big on curb appeal.  Here are a few fun ideas.


Contemporary Frosted Glass. Instructions here.


“Hit the nail on the head” with this easy project! Pick up a piece of wood of the right size from the scrap bin at the hardware store. Stain or paint if desired. Print out your house numbers in a bold font of the size you desire. Make sure to tape it to the house where it will be displayed, then step back and make sure it’s large enough to be seen from the street. Now tape the paper over the wood base. Starting in the center of each number and working your way out, tap nails into place within the printed number. The closer you can comfortably space the nails, the easier it will be to read. Use a needle nose pliers to hold each nail as you tap it into place. Try to get them straight! When finished, tear away the paper. This look would look great on both a more modern home, or if you are creating a more rustic feel.


Find instructions for these fun “bucket” house numbers here.


These are similar to the buckets, but with pots instead.


This one is a fun and inexpensive one that allows you to get creative. Instructions here.


I love this “grass” house number! It’s so fresh, modern and fun! Instructions here.


Use succulents and scrap wood to make this modern chic address plaque. Instructions here.