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April
29

Smart Moving Tips for Homeowners With Pets

You may be ready to start an exciting adventure in a new home, but what about your pets? Some furry family members may find moving to an unfamiliar place stressful, but there are ways to ease them into it with a little advance planning.

Pet-Friendly Properties

Living harmoniously with pets is a top priority for homeowners. The APPA National Pet Owners Survey by the American Pet Products Association estimates that 70% of all U.S. households – roughly 90.5 million – owns one or more pets. That's a remarkable figure that impacts many aspects of the economy, including residential real estate. People love their pets and today's home buyers are seeking properties that reflect it. For some house hunters, finding a pet-friendly home is as simple as getting a place with a fenced-in yard, hard-surface flooring or space for a litter box. Others, however, are looking for more deluxe amenities for Fido and Fluffy.

The Pampered Pet

Some pet-centric home designs cater to the four-legged family members. Today's popular custom details include under-cabinet food stations, pet washing facilities, and built-in crates, beds or pet suites. Also sought after are high-tech smart-home features like electronic pet doors and remote-access security cameras that let homeowners keep an eye on their pets when they're away.

Park, Park, Park!

Location matters to pet owners. A pet-friendly community is a must, and proximity to an off-leash dog park or long nature trail away from busy streets is a bonus. And while parents of young children often make school districts a priority, some pet parents also seek homes close to their veterinarian, boarding facility and doggy daycare.

This Way Home

Show your pets the lay of the land at the new house. Determine where your pets' toys, bed and water bowl will go, then take them on a home tour to familiarize them with their designated areas. Be sure to examine the home for safety hazards, then let them poke around and discover new scents and favorite spots. Cats may feel more comfortable adjusting to one room at a time, so start them off in a smaller space and let them take their time exploring.

Adjustment periods in a new home are easy when you keep these tips in mind and stick to your pets' regular feeding and walking routines. They should barely notice the move and continue living their usual happy lives in the comfort of your new home.

December
17

How to Cut Costs When You're Moving

Moving is a pretty big project no matter what age you are or how much stuff you have. It's almost always bigger than you think. When you're selling your home and moving to a new one, you'll want to keep your moving costs from getting out of control. These tips can help you cut moving costs and still get the job done.

  • Plan ahead.
    Probably the best thing you can do to save yourself some money is to plan ahead. Get started as early as possible sourcing the goods and services you'll need, so you can research and take advantage of deals or freebies. Movers are often booked up on weekends far in advance, so you'll pay extra for last-minute arrangements if you can schedule them at all.
  • Get rid of stuff you don't need.
    Packing and moving services use the time spent on your move, how much stuff you have and how many people they need to determine what they'll charge you. Moving less stuff means you'll save money. Before selling your home is the time to sell, donate, recycle, or just get rid of whatever you don't need.
  • Be open about scheduling.
    Try to schedule your move when the movers are less busy. It increases the chances of being able to book the movers you want and saves you money. Movers charge more for those popular time slots because they know they'll still be able to book them. Moving during the fall or winter instead of summer can save some money, but you can also save by avoiding the first few and last few days of the month, weekends, and holiday weekends. 
  • Comparison shop for everything.
    Movers, packing services, storage, truck rental, and packing supplies are all possibilities for a discount. You may find offers online or you can just ask if there's any coupons or sales available.
  • Be a DIYer.
    You can always save some money by doing things yourself. If you're not comfortable doing everything yourself even doing part of it will save you some money. For example, if you're not comfortable driving the rental truck, it's ok to hire movers, but you could do the packing yourself instead.
  • Take advantage of free.
    Get boxes from a local store after they unpack them. Use free newspapers or magazines or raid the recycle bin for packing materials. Reuse bubble wrap from packages you receive. Use towels, blankets, throw pillows and socks to cushion breakables.
  • Be sure to ask about additional charges.
    Read any contracts carefully and make sure you understand what you're being charged for so you can avoid surprises when it's time to pay up. Some examples of extra charges include unpacking charges, extra charges for extremely fragile or valuable items, and waiting charges.  
  • Use a moving container.
    These containers are delivered to your home for you to pack at your convenience, then picked up, stored if necessary and shipped to your new home. They are often cheaper than getting movers and a storage unit.

When you're selling your home you'll want to keep as much of that money as you can so keeping moving costs down just makes sense. No matter when or how far you plan to move, it doesn't have to break the bank. There are always at least a few ways to save some money. And with a little planning and creativity, you'll probably save quite a bit.

November
22

After the recent U.N. climate change report, we are all asking ourselves what can I do to stop climate change? We're looking at our homes, our recycling practices and the behaviors we are modeling for our children. We are looking for greener solutions for everything. No more, "I will do this tomorrow." Now is the time to get our green game on, by getting busy preserving our one and only beautiful Earth.

Learn how to combine your commitment to living greener, with your upcoming move. Like record numbers of Americans, you may be planning to move in the coming months. You're part of the "Great Re-Shuffling." The pandemic stay-at-home protocols forced us to evaluate our homes and as a result, millions of people are moving.

Unfortunately, when we move, we can create more waste than any other time of our lives. We finally, clear out those closets, garages, attics, etc. We throw away the most stuff. We use lots of boxes and plastic. But, there is always a green solution, if we just take a deep breath and be mindful.

Here are the top 5 ways to make your move green:

1. Create Less Waste: Use Recyclable Materials

Moving creates a lot of waste that contributes to our landfills. When you think about moving, what comes to mind first? Boxes, boxes and more boxes.

From boxes to bubble wrap, use 100% recyclable materials on moving day.  Look for boxes that are certified to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) Certified Sourcing standard, which means their fiber comes from responsible and legal sources. And use biodegradable eco-bubble instead of bubble wrap. Old fashioned bubble wrap can take hundreds of years to decompose. In a much shorter amount of time, Polycell eco-bubble will biodegrade into carbon dioxide, water and biomass. Go ahead, pop away guilt free!

Not only can you use recyclable boxes, you can save money by asking moving companies for used boxes made of recyclable materials. Some green moving companies will even give you a refund for returning your boxes at the end of your move. Cha-ching!

2. Give Back: Recycle Your Stuff

Because you are moving, finally, the garage and closets get cleaned out. Hurray! Now is the time to get rid of what you don't really need. But, don't just toss things out.

You know the drill: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Look to your local charities to donate furniture and clothing you no longer use, as well as domestic e-waste recyclers to dispose of your old computers, microwaves, etc. This will ensure that your electronics are  recycled in facilities that follow U.S. environmental regulations and not shipped off to unregulated third world environmental disaster dumping grounds. You can also hire a mover that takes care of the donations for you. A green mover can connect you with charities who can really make use of all those old clothes, and food banks or Move For Hunger that can use those Costco-sized cans of tuna, and the recyclers that will dispose of your unwanted items in an eco-friendly way.

3. Breathe Easier: Seek Biodiesel

Trucks that use diesel fuel emit harmful toxins into our air and are responsible for the majority of outdoor air pollutants, contributing to the risk of cancer.

Choose a moving company that runs their trucks on biodiesel fuel which is a cleaner burning fuel made from natural renewable sources such as vegetable oils. Also, inquire about their lift gates on their trucks. Moving trucks with battery-operated lift gates insure there is no need to leave the trucks idling at your curb while the move is taking place. If they have a government regulated weigh station installed and monitored at their headquarters that is a green bonus, as it saves unnecessary and costly fuel expenditures to off-site weigh stations.

4. Save Land: Use Warehouse Storage

Old fashion self-storage facilities with inefficient garage type self-storage facilities employ poor land use practices.

Earth-friendly storage is warehouse based and not long paved rows of self-storage "garages." Your belongings are stored inside the warehouse in recyclable and reusable wooden vaults. Not only is this storage greener for the environment, it is greener for your wallet. You only pay for the space you actually need.

5. Green Conscious = Customer Conscious: Choose an Eco-Minded Mover

Many companies think of moving as a one-time transaction. They don't care if they ever see you or your neighbors again. Yikes, how do you think they will treat you and your stuff?

When using a moving company that is environmentally friendly, you are also gaining movers that go the extra mile in providing top-of-the-line client service. Chances are if they care about the earth, they care about the folks that inhabit it too. They care about lasting relationships.

So, use your "green" to influence and encourage green habits by hiring companies that use environmentally-friendly practices in their offices and warehouses. Green moving companies' eco-awareness usually radiates throughout the entire organization. They care about their entire environment and they practice giving back to the community. It's a great big green win – win!

If we follow these eco-friendly steps, we can reduce moving day waste dramatically. From responsibly clearing your clutter; donating it to those in need; and giving your green business to a company that cares about our earth and you; there is really no better way to start a new green life. Just think…if every one of the millions of Americans moving put their green thinking caps on, the millions of "biggest trash days" would turn into millions of mini "earth days."

Laura McHolm is a home organization, moving & storage expert and co-founder of NorthStar Moving Company. NorthStar Moving Company is an award winning, "A+" rated company, which specializes in providing eco-luxury moving and storage services.   www.northstarmoving.com

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