Top Tips: Seasonal Clothes Swap

October 29, 2010

I’m so glad I finally got around to switching out my seasonal clothes last week because it was only 32 degrees this morning when I walked the dog and will be a balmy 37-40 all day today. Brrrr!

Although I have more overall storage in the new house, I have less bedroom/clothes closet space than I used to.  So I’ve been storing out-of-season items so I can better utilize the space I do have. 

Hate swapping out your stuff? Not sure where to start? Here are my top tips:

  1. Do all your current laundry. Laugh if you want, but this simple first step will save you the later annoyance for having to drag out the ladder/schlep more items to the basement/etc. to add more items to your already tucked away storage boxes.
  2. Have medium, airtight, plastic storage containers on hand. I like clear ones so you can actually see what’s inside. Don’t go too big – clothes and shoes can get heavy. Or, if your only storage option is under the bed, or you are worried about moisture, invest in vacuum-seal storage bags that air-seal.  If you are swapping out stuff already in storage, dump it all out next to your dryer and use those same containers. You’ll want to spin all your storage stuff in a quick “refresh” cycle before you put it back in your closet anyway – but you do that last. 
  3. Clear off a large space (the entire bed, or all your floor space) as your “decision drop depot” and set out a couple of empty containers that you can quickly toss stuff into.
  4. Pull everything out of the closet you know you’re NOT going to wear this season and toss it all into one of three containers/piles:
    1. Store
    2. Give away
    3. Throw away 
  5. Bag up all of your give away and throw away items and get them out of the way. Less stuff to think about. Yay!
  6. Now take everything from the store pile and set it all out by category first, before you pack them. I pile up all of my shirts, jackets, pants, pjs, work-out clothes, and shoes separately, and then pack like items together.
  7. Label everything! List on your labels what types of items are in that container.  That way, if you need to go looking for a particular item later, you know exactly where to find it:
    1. SUMMER – Ts, Tanks & PJs
    2. SUMMER – Shorts & Skirts
    3. SPRING/FALL – Jackets, Pants, Capris

Now you have lots of room to put away all those “refreshed” clothes in your closet for this season!  (Or shop to fill in the gaps – LOL!).

Have fun!

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‘Tis the season for moving

June 7, 2010

Everybody dreads moving – or something about it.  Whether you dislike the cleaning, packing, de-cluttering and purging or the heavy lifting (my least favorite part), I think we can all agree that there are some less than pleasant chores that accompany the process of transitioning to a new apartment, condo or home.

We don’t have a definite move-in date just yet, but we will soon, and I’ve already started to strategize.  Since I’ve moved a LOT over the years, I have come up with some super tips to making moving less stressful and less overwhelming.  And since June and July are the heaviest moving seasons – I figure it’s only fair to share.

Here are my top 5 best moving tips:

Tip #1 – Make sure you have the right tools.  I’d say the absolute essentials for any move include:

  • At least 10 more boxes than you think you need (you ALWAYS need more)
  • Clear packing tape (with built in dispenser is totally worth the extra money)
  • Scissors
  • Box cutter
  • Post-it notes
  • Thick-tipped black permanent markers (at least 2)
  • Thin-tipped red permanent markers (at least 2)
  • At least two different colors of thick painters tape (I like blue and pink)
  • Big stack of newspaper (or magazines you planned to recycle anyway)
  • Stack of white printer paper (or scrap paper with one blank side)

Tip #2 –Mark your territory.  Save time by using small post it notes to mark every empty drawer, cabinet, closet and room.  Use all one color – like bright yellow – and you’ll know not to waste your energy checking that medicine cabinet one last time, just in case.  Finish packing the entire bathroom? Close the door and put a post-it on the outside of the door.  You get the picture.

Tip #3 – Label every box.  Yep. Some people like to number their boxes and then keep a list of what is in each numbered box, but this necessitates that you don’t lose the paper list.  What I like about labeling each and every box, is that anybody can grab any box and know exactly where it goes.  This is where it also comes in handy to have the two different colored markers and the two different colored tapes (or more). Read the next tip 🙂

Tip #4 – Color coordinate.  Almost every move has a couple of different designations of where certain items go. Sure, most stuff is going to go into main living areas (i.e. Living, Dining, Kitchen, Master Bed, etc.).  This stuff gets a big strip of blue tape on at least two sides of the box that designates that room.  Then, use the red pen to write anywhere else on the box the specific contents of the box (i.e. kitchen utensils, linens and pot holders).  This will help with unpacking later.

If you move into an apartment or condo you may also have things that go directly into your storage unit (or in a house, into the basement) like holiday decorations, seasonal sports equipment, luggage, tools, etc.  Theses boxes and items should get big strips of thick pink tape on them, designating BASEMENT.

When the movers show up you can give them very clear directions: everything with blue labels goes into the house and into the corresponding rooms.  Everything with pink labels goes directly into the basement.  So easy.

Tip #5 – Make the right deposits the first time. Put up signs in each room where you want movers to deposit your boxes.  You’ve no doubt already scouted your new digs and know exactly where you want your furniture placed.   And you’ve already gone to the trouble of labeling each and every one of your boxes with its designation.  Tape up a piece of paper in each room with the name of that room written in black permanent marker, and place the sign in a place where you know you aren’t putting any large furniture items, and where a big pile of boxes won’t be in the way.  This way you can tell your movers to just pile up boxes in each appropriate room underneath the signs.  Less carrying for you later, when it’s time to unpack.  Trust me, your back will thank you.

This also gives you the luxury of (barely) directing traffic while your movers do all of the heavy lifting, and having them place your furniture in exactly the right spots, so you don’t have to try to move anything later and risk scratching floors or hurting yourself.

Here’s to happier moving. Cheers!

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