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.


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.


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.

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Renew Fading Friendships

A function of maturing and making your way through life is that you’ll occasionally leave behind someone you really care about. It might be your best friend from high school, your old neighborhood buddy, a college dorm roommate, or even a past co-worker you connected with.

Over time, you may find yourself yearning for another conversation, a lunch out or evening spent with a long-lost friend. But after so much time has passed, how can you renew fading friendships before they disappear completely?

Consider these suggestions to re-connect with a friend from your past:

  1. Give your friend a call. You might freeze up at the thought of calling because, after all, it has been so long. However, the only way of renewing your friendship is to make contact. Just do it.
    • Tell her you’ve missed her. Mention you’ve been thinking about the fun you had shopping and playing tennis together and that you want to maintain your friendship. Listen to how she feels about the relationship. Inquire about what’s going on in her life.
  2. Persevere. If you don’t have your friend’s telephone number, call his parents or drive by the last residence where he lived. Knock on the door and inquire of the residents if they know what happened to him. Contact a mutual friend and ask where your old friend is living now or how you might get in contact.
  3. Set up a rotating commitment. Once you contact your friend and discover he wants to continue your friendship, suggest the two of you get together on an ongoing basis to keep your relationship going.
    • For example, meet for dinner every other Wednesday evening. Get together one Saturday a month for lunch. A standing appointment keeps you both looking forward to spending time with one another.
  4. Be willing to make the extra effort. If your friend lives 90 minutes away by car, when you call, say you’d love to drive over and spend some time with him. Show you’re willing to do what’s necessary to see your friend occasionally. Hopefully, your friend will eventually be willing to drive over to see you as well.
  5. Write a letter and send it by snail mail. A hand-written letter shows you put some time and thought into what you wanted to say. Plus, your friend will have a tangible representation of your attempt to contact him, which means he’ll notice your efforts to get in touch.
    • This method is particularly helpful when you don’t have the person’s telephone or cell numbers.
    • Send a letter every other month for 6 months or so and include all your contact information, such as your cell phone number, home phone number, e-mail address, and home address. Doing so will make it easier for your friend to contact you using whatever method he prefers.
  6. Once you’ve established initial contact, use technology to stay connected. Find out from your friend if he uses e-mail and texting. If so, send him an e-mail every few days. If your friend prefers a quick text, use texting to stay in touch.
  7. Consider Facebook. After you’ve made your initial contact, find out if your friend is on Facebook. If so, “friend” him and use Facebook to keep in touch.

It’s a great feeling to discover an old friend wants to renew your relationship. Go ahead and be the one who takes the first steps to rekindle an old friendship. Use these methods to re-connect with that wonderful friend from your past.

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Enjoy Quality Family Time with Family Nights

Life is hectic and, without making a concentrated effort, it can seem almost impossible to enjoy quality time with your family. To solve this dilemma, schedule a weekly Family Night.

Family Nights can be an incredibly uplifting way to bring your family closer together.

What is Family Night?

Family Night is an evening designated by parents (usually) when everyone in the immediate family suspends their busy social calendars to spend time with each other. Some experts suggest that Family Night occur every week, for example, every Thursday night. Parents make it clear that all family members must be present.

One of the jobs parents have is to keep family interaction as positive, illuminating, and fun for the kids as possible. Spending time regularly with family members provides opportunities to re-connect and instills the value of family in children. Regular Family Nights enable you to accomplish these goals.

What Can You Do For Family Night?

The great thing about Family Night is that your family can do whatever you like to do together.

These ideas show you some of the ways your family can re-connect and have fun:

1. Cook dinner together. For example, your teenage son can make the salad, your daughter sets up the table, Mom cooks the entrée, and Dad has the side dishes under control.
2. Watch a movie. Have dessert, popcorn, or other snacks after dinner while relaxing and watching the movie.

• Let the kids take turns picking the movie.
• Or you might select a film you believe covers educational or interesting topics to discuss with the kids after viewing.
• Of course, you can also go out to a movie theater to watch a film on Family Night.

3. Go out to dinner. Let each member of the family take turns selecting where you’ll go to dine.

Make it fascinating, fun and educational by introducing the kids to a cuisine of a different culture each week.

4. Take part in a fun activity together, like walking, biking, or playing baseball. Incorporating healthy physical activities into your weekly Family Night is smart because kids learn to enjoy regular exercise and focus on physical health as a family.
5. Occasionally, do a family project together. Family Night might also be spent with the family working together to complete a project around the house.
• Painting the driveway, pulling weeds and trimming plants outdoors, or even washing the car are examples of projects that families can do together on Family Night.
• When a family works together, children can learn all kinds of important lessons about teamwork, perseverance, correcting errors, and feeling pride about a job well done.
It’s best not to do a work project every week.

6. Vary your Family Night activities. Try something different each week.

• You could post a short list of things to do and let the kids take turns picking the weekly activity.

Having regular Family Nights are important to the development of a well-functioning, happy family. With these ideas and your own adventurous spirit, you and your family can enjoy many wonderful experiences. Discover the joys of scheduling regular Family Nights together.

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Rejuvenate Your Mind and Body in Nature

Enjoying fresh air and sunshine is one of the easiest ways to rejuvenate your mind and body. There are numerous advantages to going outside every day!

Benefits of Spending Time Outdoors
* Fresh air and sunshine can help you regain focus. Spending a brief period of time outside in-between work tasks can benefit you greatly.
* The sun’s light is a powerful source of energy for the human body. Because it provides you with the essential nutrient Vitamin D, sunlight can benefit the strength of your bones, your moods and your overall health.
* Spending time outdoors can help relieve stress and tension. Breathe in the fresh air, enjoy the sunshine or the clouds, and take a short walk before going back inside. You’ll notice a difference in your mood.
* Going outside can also benefit your physical fitness. Whether you’re raking leaves, gardening, playing with a child, or pet or simply taking a walk, you’re sure to burn extra calories. Spending an hour or more outside every day can translate into significant calorie use throughout the week.
There are plenty of ways that you can get outdoors more, even if you usually prefer to stay inside and watch television or read.
How to Get Outside More Often
1. Take a walk. Whether you’re walking to get somewhere or simply for pleasure, the combination of fresh air, sunshine, and cardiovascular benefits make taking a walk outdoors a smart move, especially if you work it into your daily routine.
2. Play. If you have children or a pet that would enjoy playing outside, then use them as an excuse to get more play into your schedule. Try a sport, an outdoor game, going to a dog park for a game of fetch, or anything else that might get you active and outdoors during the day.
3. Get in touch with nature. Whether you go bird watching, flower picking, whale watching, fishing, or simply go out to take photographs, nature can be a beautiful place to be. Immersing yourself in this beauty is one of the greatest benefits of spending time outside.
4. Wash the car. Don’t bother taking your car to an automatic car wash. Consider the benefits of washing your car yourself. Not only will you save as much as $15, but you’ll do a much better job and get to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air at the same time.
5. Go beachcombing. If you live near the ocean, a lake, or a river, you can find plenty of interesting items as you walk along the edge of the water. Collect shells, pebbles and other trinkets from nature while enjoying some leisure time by yourself, with a loved one, or with your entire family.
6. Ride your bike. Ride to the store or work each day. Not only will this get you outside to soak up some Vitamin D, but it also offers numerous cardiovascular and health benefits, in addition to being eco-friendly.
Set a goal to get 30 minutes more sunshine outside today than yesterday. If you can meet this goal every day for a week, raise the bar again. Even half an hour of outdoors time every day can benefit your life in numerous ways.


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Taking Care of Mom is Essential for the Family

If you think about it, the family, in all its different styles and configuration is truly an amazing thing. Each person plays a role in the dynamic that you find, and each person is a unique and extremely important part of the group. A mother is no exception. Without a mother figure in a family, it doesn’t quite seem to work as well. Many times the mother will act as mediator, the glue that holds the family together, and sometimes the disciplinarian. As a mother, you have a number of roles to fill, and it is important, no essential that you take care of yourself, both for your sake and that of your family’s.

But finding the time to de-stress and take care of you can be a challenging task. Chances are your day begins before anyone else, and ends only when they are asleep in their beds. If you’re searching for ways to take care of yourself, if only for a few moments at a time, here are some quick-and fun- ways to put Mom first.

Listen to the Music

Whether you enjoy gospel, R&B, bluegrass or opera, finding the time to slip your mp3 player into your hand, some ear phones on your ears and listen to some great music is a great choice. Music has been shown time and again to help reduce stress, and change a person’s mood in a moment’s time. Granted, if your kids catch you dancing around the living room you’ll get some strange looks, but hey, if the song is good enough, why not?

Take the Time to Worship and Study

Perhaps one of the first things that most moms will give up in their hectic lives is the time that they spend in spiritual matters. It’s an easy thing to do, really. Between running around with the kids, making sure the budget is balanced, and entertaining a growing circle of friends and associates, spending time on such intangible matters often takes a back seat. It is important to remember, however, that you are not just a body alone. Just as your physical body needs nourishment, your spiritual side needs something as well. Taking care of you means taking care of all of yourself.

Put it all into Perspective

Often times, mothers will slip and lose their sense of perspective. When you down in the trenches dealing with everyday life, it can be difficult to really see the bigger picture. However, seeing the larger scope of things can be a great way to help reduce stress and help to prioritize what needs to be done. One of my favorite ways is to do this is to keep a quote book. It’s just a simple notebook that has a number of my favorite quotes from friends and family, or famous people. A quick glance through is a great way for me to get my point of view straightened out when everything else seems so topsy-turvy.

Take a Hike

One of the important aspects of taking care of yourself and your family is to get regular exercise. And it doesn’t have to mean going to a boring gym, or trying to follow an exercise DVD full of entirely too enthusiastic instructors. Instead, you and your family could go for a hike in the woods. Or, if the weather isn’t cooperating, consider walking around the mall with your teenager daughter or son. The amusement you’ll get when they accidentally meet up with their friends will be well worth the price of your window shopping. Getting regular exercise, no matter what form is an essential part of taking your health seriously.

There are many ways that you can make sure that your health and well being are in top form. These are just a few, and chances are with all the reasons you have to keep healthy, you can think of a few more. Remember, as a mother, you are an integral part of any family unit. Everyone depends on you to be healthy in every sense of the word. Take care of yourself!

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