Falling for fall

Written by Dawn Kroeger

autumn-homeNow’s the time when college football chatter is a hot topic at the office, caramel apple and pumpkin flavored drinks are available at your local coffee shop, the Pottery Barn Kids Halloween costume catalogue is delivered to your door step – there is no denying, signs of fall are everywhere.

I love everything fall – decorations, events, and food. Yet, here I find myself, dusting off the same old fall decorations (didn’t I JUST put these away?) and putting them on display, again. Every year I tell myself I will shop the 70% off sales at the end of the season for new fall decorations. And every year, by the time those sales come around, I’m completely over the season and well on my way to winter depression. So this year, I found a few quick ways to spruce up that awesome autumn atmosphere in my home and prepare it for Old Man Winter.

1. Homemade potpourri: In the absence of a fall candle, I remembered my grandmother used to simmer a pot on the stove and it made her home smell like fall heaven. I just threw together water, cloves, cinnamon sticks, and a sliced apple and simmered on the stove. Instantly, my family wanted to know what smelled so good. There are several other recipes to try, too!

2. Clean the gutters: Before the leaves start flying this fall, take the time to clean out your gutters. Clogged gutters can lead to damaged exterior surfaces and lead to water in your basement. Once they’re clean, look into gutter mesh guards to prevent leaves from getting in.

hurricane3. Fall hurricane: I loosely followed the instructions for the fall hurricane found here. It was easy and fun for kids to help create and it makes a festive yet affordable centerpiece. When the fall season is over, I plan to replace the seeds and candle with ceramic bulbs in holiday colors.

4. Fall flowers: Nothing says fall like a hardy mum. These babies come in many colors and can be purchased at your local farmers market very affordably. I purchased three: two for my front porch and one for my entry way. The site of the robust flower makes me happy each time I walk in my door. Added benefit for anyone with a less-than-green-thumb: It’s nearly impossible to kill one of these beauties.

5. Furnace: The weather is starting to get cooler and it’s time to give your furnace a checkup. It’s a good idea to have your heating system inspected by a professional and cleaned to ensure your home is toasty warm this winter. To avoid the last-minute rush, consider scheduling this task in early fall, before the heating season begins.

Now, with the time and money you saved, grab yourself a hot caramel cider and spend the afternoon on Pinterest pinning a multitude of fall recipes you may or may not decide to make.

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. Let us help move you forward! For more helpful tips and information on moving services subscribe to our blog and like us on Facebook.

Pack and Protect Christmas Decorations

Written by Cait Quinn

The holidays are over just as fast as they arrive, and we can all agree cleaning up and tearing down after the festivities, food, and family gatherings is one of the last things you want to tackle. Make the packing process a breeze this year with these decoration packing and organizing tips. You can return to relaxing in no time.

1.    Get everyone involved – Packing up Christmas goes by much quicker with some helping hands! Choose a time when your family can get involved, and incentivize the crew with dinner or a movie afterwards. Post-packing plans will also give everyone something fun to look forward to!

2.    Organize – Start by separating your decorations. This can be by category, such as outside and inside decorations, by room (living room, kitchen, and childrens’ rooms), or by the order in which you bring out the decorations. For instance, if your family usually strings lights right after Thanksgiving with the tree the following week, you can sort the decorations in that order and number each box for maximum time-saving. Choose the order that makes the most sense for your holiday habits.

Christmas lights organization3.    Storage – Once your holiday décor and related materials are sorted, boxing them up should be quick. We recommend using the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® dishpack box to store gift-wrapping supplies. The full instructions to utilize the box are here.

When packing lights and garlands, take extra care since they tend to tangle easily. Try using an old paper towel roll or a piece of cardboard and wrap the lights around it, then label the shelf where the lights are placed. And speaking of reusing wrapping scraps …

Christmas ornment organization4.    Recycle! – There are many ways to use all the leftover wrapping paper and boxes from the year. One simple way to pack Christmas tree ornaments is to wrap them in used wrapping paper or bubble wrap and nestle them in the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® dishpack box. The paper will protect ornaments and the special dividers keep them separated. Did anyone in your household get new shoes for Christmas? Use the silica gel packets that come inside shoe boxes to place inside your Christmas decoration boxes. They keep the humidity out and allow your decorations to last even longer.

5.    Label, label, label – Nothing is more frustrating than searching through box after box looking for one specific item. Make this process less stressful and save yourself some time next holiday season labeling items found in each box!

Do you have any great decoration packing tips to share? Leave a comment below and let us know. Have more to pack? TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is here to move you forward with tips and answers to your packing challenges.

We hope you enjoyed this holiday season with your family. Blessings to you in the New Year!

TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. Let us help move you forward! For more helpful tips and information on moving services subscribe to our blog and like us on Facebook.

Preparing home for the holidays

Written by Claire Schneider

I love this time of year! Everyone is cheerfully awaiting the holidays, sitting by a fire, drinking hot cocoa, and making plans to spend cherished time with loved ones.  Unfortunately, with all the excitement enters stress, especially if you’re playing host or hostess. Don’t fret; I’ve come up with some inspiration ideas for getting your home holiday ready.

Exuberant entry

Fall WreathThe front entry really sets the festive tone of your home. Adding a few potted evergreen plants beside a door truly makes an entry more inviting. The added benefit of potted evergreens are their ability to transcend more than a single holiday. Display the plants for Thanksgiving, then add a strand of lights and ornaments for a whole new look for Christmas. A wreath is also a nice and simple decoration to add. There are myriad styles and themes of wreaths out there, too! This year I decided to tap into my creative side and make my own. If you love crafts like me, it is simple to make customize your wreath. I visited my local arts and crafts store, selected a medium-sized, plain wreath, and selected little items I could apply with my hot glue gun. It was a wonderful feeling seeing it take shape, and I placed it on our door for the neighborhood to behold.  I also plan to make another for Christmas.

HolidayFrontEntryIt’s important to recreate the warmness of the entry in your foyer. If you live in a colder climate, clear a space in the coat closet for guests. Designate an area where visitors can place their wet shoes, and provide a basket for mittens and hats. This will help you maintain a tidy and organized entry while you entertain. Music is also an essential component of the holiday atmosphere, engaging one of your guests’ key senses. Power up your iPod and select a favorite holiday playlist as  guests enter the party, grab a glass of cheer, and mingle with each other.

Genuinely gifted

HolidayEntryTreeAs we all know the holidays are a time for giving in every sense of the word. A unique way to welcome guests is to set out a decorative bowl filled with small gifts. You can incorporate the gifts into your décor by wrapping them in festive wrapping or patterned paper from a stationary store. Gifts could be tiny boxes of candy, cards, mini games, small gift cards, and puzzles. If you have adequate space, place a small tree on a table and surround it with the gifts. This will be a pleasant surprise your visitors weren’t expecting.

Delightful de-clutter

Now that your guests have been awed by the grand entrance and are working their way to the main living space, ensure they are comfortable. De-cluttering your home may seem overwhelming, but by setting aside an hour to go through the main rooms of your home, your guests will feel the serenity of the space.  Rid the gathering rooms of unnecessary items and be sure there is enough sitting room and walkways for guests to chat and relax. Since the holidays are a time of giving, it is the perfect time to donate any unwanted items.

Festive feast

HolidayCenterPieceWhen setting the holiday table, be mindful of the details.  I love including candles to my centerpieces since they provide a warm and intimate ambience.  One of my favorite centerpiece ideas is to place candles in vases, lining the edges with acorns. I did this for Thanksgiving one year, and it was a simple project which produced rave reviews from my guests.  As the Christmas season commences, spruce up the centerpiece ornaments around the base of the vases. If you are arranging a formal place setting, spruce it up adding holly or greens. You can also transform an pine cone or ornament into name card holders. Taking a few extra minuets will show your visitors you care and are glad they’re celebrating with you.

HolidayPlaceSettingHolidayplacesetting2

Blissful bathroom

The guest bath and powder room are perfect places to infuse a little merriment.  The addition of seasonally scented candles, a small poinsettia plant, and other little touches will drastically transform the room. Remember to replace old towels with festive, new ones and clear the counter of unnecessary items. I also love having a small basket of toiletries on the counter in the event your guests forget to pack important items.

By taking a little initiative to focus on key areas of your home, your holiday event will indeed be one to remember. For even more holiday inspiration, follow us on Pinterest.

Staging your home like a pro

Written by Claire Schneider

Home staging started in 1972 as a concept of making a home appealing to the highest number of potential buyers. Staging a home makes a huge difference when putting it up for sale, especially in today’s competitive market. In fact 95% of staged homes only take an average of 11 days or less to sell and are sold for 17% more than non-staged homes. This shows how first impressions are not just important in real estate – they are critical. Buying a home is a big deal and buyers need to know they are making the right decision. Staging helps potential buyers realize the full potential of a home.

Staging your home doesn’t have to take long or cost a lot of money. Here are a few simple tips to help sell a home.

Declutter. When staging your home, make sure to take out unnecessary items. This includes decoration items and furniture. By taking out these items, it will maximize the size of the room.

Depersonalize. When potential buyers are looking at your home, they want to envision themselves living there. One of the best ways to help them accomplish this is by removing any family photos. They don’t want to be reminded of the family that lived there before but rather the memories they can create when they move in.

Increase lighting. Adding more light to a space can make it feel warm and inviting. This may mean bringing in more lamps but it could also be as simple as increasing the wattage of the exiting lamps. Make sure you have three types of lighting: ambient (general or overhead), task (pendant, under-cabinet or reading) and accent (table and wall).

Paint. You can easily transform any room by changing up the color. For a room to appear larger, paint it the same color as the adjacent room. This will create a seamless look and make them feel like one big room.

Vary wall hangings. Many people make mistakes when it comes to hanging wall art and hanging it in a high line encircling each room.  Art displayed creatively makes it stand out and shows off a space. Break up that line and vary the patterning and grouping.

Add flowers. Flowers are a great design element for staged homes. They show the home is well cared for and adds a fresh, soft touch. To save money, find a flower that blooms and stays nice for nearly a week. Don’t use fake flowers, especially in more expensive homes.

Have three. According to HGTV, when it comes to eye-pleasing accessorizing, odd numbers are preferred, especially three. Think about the different ways to arrange items. For example, instead of having them all in a row, why not try a triangle. Also make sure the items vary in size.

By following these seven simple tips your house will be that much closer to having buyers feel at home.

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 TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® is the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. Let us help move you forward! For more helpful tips and information on moving services subscribe to our blog and like us on Facebook.