How to Pack Anything Like a Pro

Few people relish the daunting task of packing, and even fewer have mastered the art of packing like a pro. Unless you and Martha Stewart share the same DNA, you’re going to need a few tips to ensure that you are well-prepared for your trip to the Grand Canyon, the next sofa in your couch-surfing career, or the Betty Ford Center. There’s nothing like arriving at your destination and realizing you forgot your toothbrush, or unraveling a twisted, wrinkled clump of clothes you were going to wear for orientation night.

With these pointers at your disposal, in no time flat you will be packing your suitcase, storage boxes, and car so expertly people will be paying you to do it for them. And at $26,000 a month to kick the peace pipe habit, you could certainly use the extra cash. Continue reading

Essential Items to Have in Your Car This Winter

The recent viral video (above) of a car owner using a sled for a spare tire during a snow storm can either be described as pure genius or downright insanity. Seriously, it could go either way.

No matter which way the judgment scales tip in the case of the – illegal? Yes? No? – sledding car, the video brings up the good point that many people don’t properly pack their vehicles for winter weather. Just throwing a protein bar into the glove compartment won’t cut it when faced with a wall of snow and using a credit card for a snow scraper won’t help dig out your tires– although it will garner a stern look from your bank when you later tell them why it broke.

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The Domestically Disabled Diva: A Motivational Speech for Your Vacuum

business woman dancing with her vacuumQ: Dear Abby,

I’m in a bit of a conundrum in that my vacuum has decided to quit working as hard as it used to work for me. While I have a new dustbuster that I can use for the tile, that does nothing for the carpet! Any suggestions for how I can kind get my vacuum back to the way it once was?

A: I’m very into vacuuming and celebrate “Swiffer Sunday” weekly, so I understand your frustrations. I suggest you focus on communication between you and said rebel vacuum, perhaps try and pep it up a bit by reciting the following motivational speech: Continue reading

The Domestically Disabled Diva: How to Change a Shower Curtain Liner

Every few months I am reminded that there is yet another task that somehow manages to highlight my domestic disabilities—changing the shower curtain liner.

This is a task that must be done on a regular basis, lest one plans on growing an assortment of invasive species in their shower. But like putting a new key on a keychain, it’s often complicated by a) the ridiculous metal rings that have to be opened and closed and b) the fact that I’m me. Continue reading

Two Hour Drill: Organizing Junk Drawers

Junk Drawer Organizing

If you are like me, and I like to think I’m not alone here, things begin to pile up around the house.  Those strange odds and ends that do not seem to have good homes and end up cluttering the kitchen table until they bother you enough that you shove them into a drawer where they might never see the light of day again. Continue reading

Everything you’ll ever need to know about storage trunks

Later this week my husband is going to head out of town for a few days for an interview (send us some good thoughts if you have a moment), and part of preparing for this trip is packing up his suitcase.  We got our luggage set at an estate sale a few years ago.  It’s black, soft sided, with wheels and handles, and lots of little storage compartments (that we never seem to use).  Basically it’s your typical modern luggage.  As the history buff that I am, though, I cannot help to wonder how different this trip would be if he was making it 100 years ago.  There would be lots of differences of course, to start with he could not have gotten on a plane and been at his destination in a few short hours, which would mean he wouldn’t have been back in just a few days either.  Then there is cost, attire, tools (as an electrician, his field looked very different), and how he would have communicated with us during his trip.  The topic I would like to go over today, though, is his luggage, as that is what helped to inspire this post in the first place.  He would not be carrying a lightweight suitcase.  Instead I would be packing up his steamer trunk.

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The 4 Must-Do Daily Chores

Chore Collage

After three and a half years of being a stay at home mom I found I was still struggling with maintaining a cleaning schedule that kept the house presentable most of the time. I have tried a few different chore rotation schedules and even tasked myself with getting a few regular chores done each day, but for some reason nothing I tried seemed to work. Dishes piled up, laundry sat in hampers, dust collected, and floors got sticky. Continue reading

DIY: A Step-by-Step Guide to Rehabbing a Girl’s Dresser

An old dresser, just awaiting some fresh paint and a little love

New Dresser! All pretty now!

I have seen these long low dressers with seating on the top for little readers on Pinterest a lot lately, and decided to try and create one myself. Considering this is only my second real attempt at rehabbing furniture I think it turned out well.

I completed this project in about ten days, but with more diligence this could easily be a great weekend warrior project. Continue reading

DIY for Dummies: A Guide to the Homeowner’s Basic Toolkit

guy holding way too many tools

That’s not how you use a wrench, silly.

A coworker of mine offered a single piece of advice when I bought my first home. He told me to get ready for the giant sucking sound. That sucking sound, he said, is the sound of your money being pulled from your wallet at high speed as household repairs and improvements start adding up.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Continue reading

How to Cram Every Inch of A Storage Unit

couch potatoes

Where will you put that bench when the little spuds move out?

Open the door, back up the truck, and now what? You have a storage unit, but how do you fill it? It’s a different task than putting furniture in a living room or storing things in your basement. With a storage locker, all you have is four walls, one floor and one ceiling to guide you. The two most important things to do when you start loading your locker are to think ahead, and to think vertically.

Think Ahead

Consider how often you might want to get each item from the storage unit. Maybe those old bed frames won’t be needed again, but you’ll surely be back for the Halloween decorations, right? This is important so that you can determine where to store each item. Here are a few examples of thinking ahead.

If you are storing a dresser that’s not going anywhere for awhile, use the drawers to store other items that won’t be going anywhere for awhile.

If you have boxes of decorations or papers that you know you will need access to, store them near the door, and label them clearly. Use colorful duct tape and sharpies to make them stand out.

Leave a path down the center to make it easier to access things in the back. This is good for short term and long term storage. You don’t need to leave more than about 18 inches.

If you’re planning to store lots of small or loose items, it is probably worth investing in sturdy plastic tubs. These are stackable and offer some protection against moisture (though don’t use these tubs as an excuse not to buy storage insurance). Plus, they help you keep items organized and make it easy to load and unload things as needed. They also can help make shelving systems significantly more efficient.

Think in 3D

That 10 X 10 storage unit might be 100 square feet, but it’s probably 800 cubic feet. A 20 X 20 unit is 400 square feet, but 3200 cubic feet. So why should you limit yourself to the floor? Stack it! A few ideas:

  • Put a couch down, then flip over another couch right on top of it.

  • Remember that dresser from before? Flip another dresser or a desk on top of it.

  • Use the space beneath tables for boxes.

  • Stack chairs on top of one another.

  • Lean a mattress and box spring against the wall.

  • Keep televisions in the foot space beneath desks, if they fit.

  • Put loose items in plastic bins. This is a much more efficient use of space, compared to having them all loose.

The Wrap

Do these tips seem simple to you? I would think so! But sometimes the simplest tips are the best. Keep these in mind and you will find that your storage locker, no matter where you live or how big the locker, will have plenty of space available.