• Ask Allied: How do I Tackle Unpacking?

    by Jackie Heath | Sep 17, 2014

    How to unpack after a moveThere are hundreds of articles and how-to tips on packing up a home to get ready for a big move, but we tend to forget that there’s a whole other side to the moving process: the unpacking. Because there usually isn’t a deadline in place, unpacking is a more leisurely affair. A few boxes here, a few boxes there, a few boxes that linger in a corner for months…if you’re like most people, there’s much less pressure to get everything done in time.

    Of course, that doesn’t mean you aren’t eager to have all the unpacking accomplished and the boxes carried out. As you face a house full of belongings and furniture just waiting to be put away, here are a few tips for making the process go faster.

    5 Tips to Starting to Unpack after a Move

    1. Start with the Kitchen: Until you get your kitchen unpacked and stocked, you’re going to be spending a lot of time exploring local takeout companies. It can be difficult for a house to feel like a home when the cupboards are bare and you have to search for every fork, so put the kitchen at the top of your list. You don’t have to put everything away, but make it functional and ensure you have enough counter space to do your cooking.

    2. Have a Place to Rest: After the kitchen is done, make sure you have beds to sleep in and a comfortable place to sit and rest. Food and sleeping—those are your top two priorities right now. Everything else can be delayed or spread out over a longer period of time.

    3. Place the Big Pieces: You might be itching to get inside those boxes and start putting everything away, but make sure all your large pieces of furniture are assembled and placed first. TV stands, beds, couches, pianos, chests of drawers, dining room sets, bookshelves—once these items are in place, you can start tackling the contents of those boxes.

    4. One Room at a Time: Instead of moving through your house in a haphazard whirl, consider taking it one room at a time. Choose a small room to start out with and make it your priority. You can paint it, decorate it, unpack the boxes…make it perfect and then move on to the next room. You’ll appreciate having a nice, quiet, fully unpacked room to turn to when you start to feel overwhelmed.

    5. Set Small Goals: Instead of saying you want to be totally unpacked by next week, set smaller, more attainable goals as you go. Unpack those two boxes before lunch. Get the bathroom fully set up by the end of the week. Move that pile of boxes upstairs before bed. Give yourself credit for each success.

    Perhaps most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Moving heavy pieces should always be done with more than one person on hand, and there’s nothing wrong with inviting friends over to have an “unpacking” party. It might take you days, weeks, or even
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  • Settling into a New School Year

    by Jackie Heath | Sep 15, 2014

    Back to School after a MoveYou made it through the first few weeks at a new school. Your kids are settling in and making friends. Your house is (almost) unpacked and you’re ready to tackle everything the fall has to offer. (At least in a perfect world, right?)

    The hard part is finished—now all you have to do is keep the momentum. Keep your children engaged in their surroundings and avoid a few common “new school year” mishaps to ensure continued success both at school and at home.

    1. Find Junior League Sports Teams: Extracurricular activities aren’t just a great way to keep your kids in good shape and build their future college applications—they’re also a way to engage children and build them a sense of place. A sports team, an academic club, a dance troupe…all of these things can help your child become grounded in their new surroundings and make lifelong friends.

    2. Be Involved (but not Over-involved): Your instinct might be to take every possible step to ensure your kid feels like he or she belongs. You might volunteer for school bake sales, offer to be an assistant coach, show up early for every PTA meeting, and be the coolest mom on the block for snack time—which is great, but be careful not to overdo it. Your child might want a little freedom to find his or her place in the community away from your influence.

    3. Create Longer-Term Incentives: One way to get kids excited about their new home is by allowing them to paint their rooms any color they want or setting up a game room in the basement. While this is a great plan, try not to do all the good stuff in the beginning. After the initial rush of moving-renovating-school wears off, your child may experience a slump (similar to the post-holiday feeling). Avoid this trap by setting long-term incentives like a new bed in October, a kid-themed housewarming party in November, or a staycation in December.

    4. Don’t Fill the Calendar All the Way: Make sure your kids have regular downtime without any sort of event or activity taking place. Moving to a new school is overwhelming, and they may need some alone time to reflect, relax, and just unwind.

    5. Maintain Careful Ties to the Past: There’s no question about it—one of the hardest parts of moving with kids is striking the right balance between new and old. You don’t want them to completely cut ties with their old friends and habits, but you also want to encourage them to find a place in their new surroundings. Do what you can to foster healthy relationships in both the cities where you have social ties.

    Above all else, be sure and talk to your kids about how well they’re settling in. They may be putting a happy face on things for your sake, or they might be perfectly happy with the change in situation—the only way you can know for sure is if you have good running dialogue and regular check-ins to see how things are going.

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  • How Should I Prep My Old Home for Moving Out?

    by Jackie Heath | Sep 12, 2014

    Preparing a Home to Move OutAfter you’ve gone through the process of selling your home, packing up a lifetime’s worth of belongings, and moving to a new house, you’re probably ready to enjoy a clean slate in your new city. Unfortunately, there are a few housekeeping issues you’ll need to take care of at your old home before you’re ready to cut all those ties.

    These steps don’t have to be costly or time-intensive, but you should be sure to make a checklist so you don’t forget any of these important moving out tips.

    1. Final Walk-Through: Always make a final walk-through of your home that takes you from top to bottom and inside-out. Check closets, drawers, and underneath built-ins. Don’t forget attics and storage closets and even the garage. This is your last chance to see if you left anything behind, so this should be a thorough search and probably involve an extra person to help.

    2. Deep Clean: In an apartment, giving your home a deep clean before you move is a good way to ensure you get your security deposit back. In a single-family detached house, cleaning everything is a good way to ensure the house remains free of vermin and mold/mildew growth if it will be standing empty for a period of time. If you’re not up to the task of cleaning out the appliances and scrubbing all the toilets before you move, you can hire a cleaning company to come to a final deep clean for you.

    3. Weatherproofing: If your house will be standing empty for any period of time, it’s a good idea to weather-proof your home. Winterize your plumbing or empty the water lines to avoid freezing. Empty your hot water heater to avoid sediment build-up. Ensure all windows and doors are closed tightly and sealed against harsh weather. Weatherproofing experts can help you with this process if you aren’t familiar with winterizing a vacant property.

    4. Turn off Utilities/Electronics: All utilities, electricity, gas, and water should be turned off (or attended to) before you move. Nothing should be left plugged into the outlets. You should make arrangements with your utility providers to ensure the bills will be signed over to the new homeowners. Gas hookups should be undone for added safety.

    5. Notify the Community: An empty home is always going to be a safety risk in terms of vandalism and infestation. If the home will be standing without a resident for any longer than a few weeks, be sure and notify the proper authorities. A neighbor you trust can be asked to keep an eye on things, or you can alert the police department or local fire department so they’re aware of the vacancy.

    6. Double Check your Home Insurance: A vacant home is held to different insurance standards than an occupied one, and you’ll need to shift over your policy from one home to the other anyway. Work with your home insurance provider to ensure that you know exactly what kind of protection you have and when it switches over so there are no gaps in your coverage.
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  • 5 Stress-Free Housewarming Party Ideas

    by Jackie Heath | Sep 09, 2014

    Stress-free housewarming partiesMoving in to a new home is almost always a stressful and time-consuming task, so the last thing you’re probably thinking about right now is throwing a housewarming party. After all, who wants to show off a home still overflowing with unpacked boxes and a kitchen in desperate need of a paint job? That’s hardly the message you want to send to your new neighbors.

    Fortunately, it is possible to throw a low-stress housewarming party that you’re not only proud of, but that makes you excited to continue settling in. No matter what stage you’re at in the unpacking process, here are 5 ways to celebrate your new home without turning the event into a hassle.

    1. Stay Outdoors: If the weather is right, make your housewarming party a housewarming barbeque. It’s much easier to clear a space outside than it is inside (especially if you’re not all the way moved in yet), and you can provide tours of the house with strategically closed doors to hide the worst of your sins. This has the added advantage of encouraging neighbors to “stop by,” since there’s no pressure for them to linger any longer than they wish to.

    2. Keep the Food Simple: Wine, cheese, and crackers. Beer and pizza. Margaritas and a taco truck out front. No matter what theme you decide on, do whatever you can to avoid spending time in the kitchen. The goal of a housewarming is to relax and enjoy, not spend days cooking (especially if you should be spending those days unpacking). Simplify the menu and focus on what’s really important.

    3. Go Full Potluck: Most people understand the hassles of moving in and will be more than happy to help you provide the meal. Ask everyone to bring their favorite dish and enjoy a potluck-style meal. This will prevent you from spending too much time cooking (and maybe even provide you with some leftovers for a few days so you can take time off from dinner duty).

    4. Get Your Guests Involved: You have a fence that needs putting up, a living room that needs painting, a few heavy pieces of furniture that could use some muscle. With the right planning, you can turn your housewarming party into a house-helping party. Let your guests know that you’ll be throwing a “living room painting party.” Provide the alcohol and food, some great music in the background, and all the necessary painting supplies, and let your guests do the rest. You can introduce them to your new home at the same time.

    5. Show off Your Unpacked Glory: If you set your housewarming party for the first week after you move in, you might be able to get away with doing zero unpacking. There’s something charming about a house that’s been just moved into, with the cavernous rooms and stacks of boxes, or piles of paintings and artwork propped against the walls. If you’re brave enough to show off the bare bones of your home rather than the finished product, you can turn this into your theme.

    Be proud of your new home and your new life no matter what stage of unpacking you’re in. Housewarming parties are meant to be fun and interactive—and your guests will appreciate any effort you make in the middle of all your other hard work.

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  • First Month Home Care Priorities after a Move

    by Jackie Heath | Sep 03, 2014

    just-moved-home-careAs soon as the moving van rolls away and you’re faced with a brand new home to decorate and renovate, you might feel overwhelmed at where to start. Should you pull out those old kitchen cupboards and install new ones? Upgrade your security systems? Get everything unpacked and then worry about repairs?

    Although everyone has their own set of priorities when it comes to settling in, there are a few standard steps everyone should take in the first few weeks. Here are our suggestions for staying safe and comfortable in your new home.

    1. Change the Locks: Unless you’re moving into a brand new home, there’s no way for you to know how many copies of your key are floating around out there. Have a locksmith come and change all your locks or install new handles yourself—anything with a lock or keypad entry should be reset and made accessible only to your family.

    2. Check the Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Install new devices, update the batteries, or run a test—whatever your method, make sure all your fire and gas safety features are working in top shape. This is also a good time to purchase new fire extinguishers and place them in strategic locations around your house.

    3. Hang Curtains and Blinds: Privacy is important, so take some time to hang properly fitting blinds and curtains. You may have to take these down again if you’ll be doing some painting or home repairs, but it’s best not to give your neighbors too close of a look at what’s going on inside.

    4. Unpack the Kitchen: Of all the rooms in your house, the kitchen is the one that tends to add the most stress. Make your cooking area functional and organized, and you’ll most likely feel a lot better about the rest of your unpacking.

    5. Attend to Home Inspection Issues: Take some time to go over your home inspection report and make a list of anything that needs to be done to ensure your home is safe from further damage. Repairs to things like mold or mildew, termites, unsafe electrical wiring, rotting wood, or weak porch railings should always come before cosmetic worries.

    6. Make Big Repairs: It will be much easier to remove that odor-stained carpet before the furniture is all moved in, and you might find it best to take down the bulky storage shed before the playground set goes up in the backyard. Big changes that you know you’ll be making anyway should always come before the smaller cosmetic issues, since you’re likely to have more time and space during the first month after a move.

    7. Choose One Room: If you’ll be doing extensive repairs or renovations to your home, it’s a good idea to set one room aside as your “safe” place. Put your favorite furniture in there, spruce it up with a quick coat of paint and some nice curtains, and make sure there’s a door that shuts firmly. You’ll need at least one room where you feel comfortable and relaxed so that you always have a place to retreat if the renovations become stressful.

    Painting, hanging pictures, buying new furniture, arranging your bookshelves, and finally getting those boxes put away are all important tasks, but they can wait a few weeks before they become an issue. Put safety before beauty and take care of the big tasks first, and you’ll be able to enjoy your new home that much sooner!

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MC 15735 U.S. DOT No.076235
Texas intrastate moves are hauled under the authority of Allied Van Lines, Inc., DMV No 7143; Texas DMV Phone No. 1-888-368-4689
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