Switching Homes? Make Your Move a Successful One

Moving homesMoving is stressful; there are very few people who have a 100-percent anxiety-free move. There are things that you can do to make moving as stress-free as possible. If you want to have a successful move, there are tips to follow. Here are five of them:

1.Book Your Moving Company

The American Moving and Storage Association tells us that summer is the busiest time for professional movers. If you are planning to move between May and September and will be using a moving company, find one and book your dates now. This will ensure that your dates will be free and you won’t have to adjust the time of your big move. If you’re not moving during the busy summer months, still plan to give any moving company that you choose a six-week notice.

2.Try to Overlap

If it’s possible, overlap the close of your home with the move into your new home. Try to give yourself a two week cushion. This will give you time to paint walls, replace carpeting and make minor, necessary repairs to your new home. A cushion will also allow you to move slowly rather than all at once. When you do this, you can move one room at a time, unpacking as you go. Moving in this manner ensures that your new home will be set up and ready to live in when it’s time to vacate your old one.

3.Purge

Before you pack, take a good look around your house and get rid of anything that you don’t use. The general rule of thumb is this: If you haven’t used it in six-months, and it’s not a seasonal item, it can go. There’s no sense spending time and energy moving your unused items into your new home. Whether you sell your belongings, give them to charity or recycle them is up to you; just make sure they don’t make the move with you.

4.Utilities

Two to three weeks before your move, contact your utility companies. You’ll want to have your old utilities shut off and your new ones turned on. If you call ahead of time, you won’t have the hassle of living in a new home without lights or heat. Try to set up your appointments for a day or two before you move into your new home. This will ensure that you aren’t inconvenienced by schedule changes or problems that arise with your hook-ups.

5.Cleanclean house

There’s no sense putting your items into a dirty house. Before a single box makes its way into your new home, wash the floors, clean the cupboards and wipe down the walls. As you’re unpacking, wipe off your belongings to remove any dust that settled during transportation. You aren’t going to want to spend a week unpacking and another week cleaning. Cleaning as you go will save you time.

You can’t make your move completely hassle-free, but if you follow these tips, your move will be as easy as it can possibly be. Make appointments ahead of time, overlap your move-out and move-in dates and get rid of clutter before you pack. For more tips on a successful move, contact your realtor for assistance.

About the Author 

Robin Knight writes for real estate blogs. If you live in the DC area, click here to find out more about homes in Alexandria.

Family Fitness: Staying Healthy Together

In these days of fast food dinners and hours spent sitting at computers and video games, families need more than ever to work together to stay healthy. As a parent, you have a responsibility to teach your kids the importance of being physically active every day.

Exercising together as a family ensures kids will grow up with this healthy practice deeply ingrained. In addition, when your family shares time together, regardless of the activity, it also secures and reinforces emotional bonds.

Be creative when it comes to planning family fitness activities. You might be surprised at how positively your family responds to new types of exercise together!

Examine these ideas for family fitness and commit to trying some of them:

1. Bike-riding. If your bicycles are gathering dust in the garage or shed, clean those bicycles and get them tuned up. Then, plan a family bike ride twice weekly.

• Vary the times of day you ride until you find the hour that fits best for everyone. Mornings on the weekends and in the summer might work. Alternately, try late afternoons before dinner or early evenings after the meal.

2. Swimming. Most children love playing in a swimming pool. Once all your kids know how to swim, take the family to the pool a couple of times a week, weather permitting.

• Swimming expends many calories and provides plenty of opportunities afterward for the family to just hang out in the pool to talk and spend quality time together.

3. Alternate walking and running. Sure, a family walk is a nice, leisurely activity. But what if you changed it up a bit and alternated walking 3 minutes then running 3 minutes? Most kids love to run, and would even happily race you for the few minutes you’d be picking up the pace.

4. Mini-biathlon. If your family likes to run and bike, bike and swim, or run and swim, plan your own mini-biathlon. Parents can design easy and fun training schedules for everyone.

• Engage the entire family in planning, training, and completing your mini-biathlon. You’ll spark your children’s interests in physical activities while sharing special moments together.

5. Calisthenics, Yoga, or Tai Chi. It’s nice to have some ideas for indoor fitness activities in case of a rainy day. Depending on the age of your children, many types of exercise can provide an enjoyable family fitness experience indoors.

• Stretches, modified push-ups, sit-ups and leg lifts will all provide physical challenges for you and your children when there’s inclement weather. Practicing Yoga or Tai Chi is also challenging and healthy without being too boisterous for inside the house.

• Use mats or blankets on the floor to make floor exercises more comfortable. You’ll get in some quality time and conversation with the kids while doing indoor exercises as a family.

6. Dance DVDs. One of the most enjoyable, carefree fitness activities to do with your kids is dancing. After all, who doesn’t love to dance?

• There are tons of dance DVDs on the market right now. From dancing to the oldies to learning to salsa to trying new hip-hop moves, you’ll surely find some DVDs that your family will love to do together.

Demonstrate that fitness is fun, challenging and invigorating and you’ll help your kids develop real excitement about staying active! When you educate your children from a young age about fitness and the advantages of staying in shape, these lessons will endure for their whole lives.

The Creative Parent’s Guide to Being Snowed In With Kids

Most kids love snow days but it can be a challenge for working parents to keep the unexpected time together enjoyable and productive. If there’s heavy snow in your forecast, try these techniques for creating a good time for the whole family.

Indoor Fun for Snow Days with Kids

  1. Eat a hearty breakfast. If you’re always rushing around in the morning to get to work and school on time, this is a great time to sit down and enjoy breakfast. Try making some old fashioned oatmeal with raisins. Break out the waffle iron. Squeeze fresh orange juice.
  2. Make some cocoa. Cocoa is another winter delight. Forget about the instant packets with all those chemicals. Use fresh milk or non-dairy milk. Add unsweetened cocoa and vanilla and sweeten to taste.
  3. Eat comfort foods. Comfort foods are designed for cold days. Whip up a healthy bowl of bean and pasta soup. Bake lasagna and freeze half for a fast and delicious meal some other evening.
  4. Do some crafts. Get in touch with your creative side. Set out some craft supplies and join your kids in building their design skills. There are plenty of instructions online for everything from sugar cube igloos to DIY snow globes.
  5. Watch a movie together. Snuggle up on the couch with a good movie. You can munch on popcorn and discuss the movie together afterwards.
  6. Study a new subject. If possible, let your kids take a day off from their usual schoolwork. Introduce them to a new subject. If they’re interested in science, try fossils and constellations. Junior artists may want to know more about Pop Art.
  7. Play a board game. If you’ve got an afternoon free, take out a board game. Let your kids pick their favorite and try to make everyone feel like a winner.
  8. Go through old photos together. Reinforcing family memories is one way to draw closer together. Show your kids pictures of themselves in younger days and remind them how much you always enjoy being with them.

Outdoor Fun for Snow Days with Kids

  1. Dress warmly. If the weather is relatively mild, dress warmly so you can experience the snow. Dress in layers, starting with long underwear. Remember your hat, mittens and boots.
  2. Shovel the sidewalk. Before you start playing around, shovel the sidewalk. It will help everybody avoid slips and falls.
  3. Make snow angels. Snow angels are fun for all ages. You just lie on your back and sweep your arms and legs back and forth.
  4. Build a snowman. Put together a snowman while the snow is still clean and white. Give him a carrot nose and button eyes.
  5. Take a nature walk. Unless the snow is extremely deep, you may be able to take a tour on foot across the neighborhood or at least around your back yard. Watch your children’s surprise at how different everything looks under a layer of snow. Pay attention to animal tracks and snowdrifts.
  6. Help out wildlife. You can help your children develop compassion by showing them how to help animals. Explain that frozen water is difficult for them to drink, so you’re going to put out warm buckets periodically for the birds to use. Let your kids rub a pinecone with peanut butter and roll it under a tree for some lucky squirrel to find.

Snow days can be a great opportunity to enjoy extra family time and the beauty of nature. Get outdoors for some fresh air or enjoy fun and educational indoor activities.