Finding Great Deals to Furnish Your New Home

Furniture collage

Almost everyone has gone through a time when you realize you have too much stuff in your summer apartment to fit into a dorm room, or when you’re rushing to put things into storage while you find temporary housing for a few months. However, not many people talk about what can happen when the opposite occurs. How do you avoid going into major debt and a money pit when you have a large brand new house and very little furniture to fill it? Continue reading

Things that no one tells you about parenthood

baby with food around mouth

This is what we parents call, “a neat and tidy meal.”

Having a child is the greatest thing that ever happened in my life. I used to hate hearing parents talk about how much their children changed their life. I still do, but now I get to join in the conversation, so it’s not as bad.

However, there are a lot of things that they don’t tell you about parenthood that would be nice to know. I’m not referring to diapers and bottles and crying in the middle of the night.

No, I’m talking about the stuff that really matters. There are some lessons that I have learned in my nineteen months as a dad that I think all prospective parents should know. Continue reading

Moving Horror Stories: Choose Your Moving Company Wisely

Didn't see the side of the road there, eh? Just jumped out at you? And now I can't have my stuff back? Interesting...

Didn’t see the side of the road there, eh? Just jumped out at you? And now I can’t have my stuff back? Interesting…

I asked a simple question on a Facebook the other day and was surprised by the incredible responses that I got. The question was this: “Anyone who’s ever moved… what were some things that you wished you had known before you moved?”

The responses that I got were almost universal in their hatred of moving companies. I had a good experience with the moving company that I used, so this did not cross my mind as being a major issue. As I dug a little farther into things, though, it became clear to me that fraudulent movers are a huge problem. To top it off, it turns out that this is not a local St. Louis problem, but a national one.

I found that the complaints fell generally into one of two categories: price gouging/fraud and incompetence. Of course, those who accused their moving companies of incompetence also felt gouged, and rightfully so. I want to share these stories, as a warning to anyone thinking of hiring movers: do your homework and thoroughly research any company you plan to trust in your home and with your belongings.

One respondent, Chris, quickly summed up the views of many when he wrote:

The movers thing is insane. I am about to move and my estimates vary from $200 to $800. Why am I charged $2 per roll of tape? Why do I get charged for that plastic stuff?

He’s not alone. One of the biggest complaints was about the difference between the quoted price and the final price. About his moving experience, Scott wrote:

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14 Free Resources to Help Simplify Your Move

Moving sucks.

I’ve been lucky. I’ve only had to move a handful of times, but those moves have made one thing clear to me: moving truly sucks.

The real question, though, is this: can it suck less?

I say yes, and to prove it, we here at the onlineselfstoragedirectory have put together this handy-dandy list to help your move suck a little less. We can’t guarantee ice cream and puppies, but at least we can help make a stressful day a bit easier.

And if not, we like mint chocolate chip and poodles.

Neighborhood Scout

This is the starting point. You can zoom in to the state and city you’re looking at and compare local schools, crime rates, home price, cost of living and more. The site also has a pretty cool tool for finding the right neighborhood (click on search). Even if you’re not moving, it’s pretty interesting. If you are moving, it’s irreplaceable. (For the record, I punched in what I look for in a neighborhood, and it recommended my current neighborhood. Not bad!)


So, you have found your neighborhood. Now, find your house or block. Zillow gives you the tools to see the history of homes and apartments, and to see the trends in a ZIP code or city. They also have lots of handy widgets and articles with tips and tricks. Not that you should leave our site for that, of course.

Looking to buy a house or condo? Realtor has you covered. It doesn’t replace hiring an actual real estate agent, of course, but it sure helps. It can save you from cold calling agents and asking if there are any houses for sale in, say, Los Angeles. A little information can make a big difference.

Basically, this is Realtor for apartments. Enter a ZIP code or a city, adjust a few settings, and out pop apartments in the area that meet your criteria. Much easier than driving aimlessly looking for the clubhouse/laundry room/game room/mail room/pool that doubles as the office.

CNN Money Cost of Living Calculator

Before you make the move, it probably wouldn’t hurt to know how it will affect you financially, right? If you’re getting a $10,000 raise and you’re moving from Manhattan, Kansas to Manhattan, New York, will that cover it? Not so much. What about moving the other direction? Definitely, though it will be tough to get to Mets games.


Yep. It’s us. Shocked? Didn’t think so. But we’re on here for good reason. People tend to leave this decision until the end of the process, when it should be considered much sooner. There are a number of situations where you may need self storage. Maybe you’re downsizing, or you have to move in stages. It’s always good to plan ahead, and we can help.

Change your address

Again, you can never start too soon. The Post Office, amazingly, has made this pretty simple. You can change your address and have your mail forwarded, and they can help you change your address with certain companies that you do business with. The cost? $1. That’s one dollar. If you print the form and take it to the Post Office, it’s free. Zero. Zip. Nada. Doesn’t get better than that.

Get boxes

No link. Why? Because they’re boxes. There are a variety of ways to go about getting the boxes you need. Grocery stores are often happy to give away boxes, and so are some printing companies. When the time gets closer, you can always hit the big box stores (pun intended), or simply talk to your storage company, truck rental company, or moving company. Many of them will sell you boxes in a variety of sizes at a good price. And don’t skimp on these… You always need more than you expect. Zillow’s box estimator can help.

This is one stop shopping for a truck rental or movers. Whether you’re moving cross country, cross town, or putting your stuff in storage, you have to get it there somehow, and I think that this might be more useful than your sporty hatchback. Less fun when the road gets twisty, but better suited for carrying that antique sofa you got from Great-Great Aunt Mable. By the way, that couch goes in storage, not the living room.

Find a new school for the kids

Let’s be honest. You probably would like it if your kids had a place to go during the day, perhaps a school of some sort. I’m betting that your new home has places just like that. You can find them here. Perhaps not shockingly, the National Center for Education Statistics can help you find the school in your area.

Check your cell reception

This is probably the last thing on your mind. But how often do you use your cell phone? Does “constantly” come to mind? Don’t get stuck in a house or condo without reception. It’s one of the little things that makes a big difference. This is also something to double check when you’re looking for a place.

Move your cable/internet service

Most of the national carriers, such as U-Verse, Dish Network, and DirectTV, offer simple moving procedures. In some cases, you simply bring the box with you and they’ll send someone out to hook everything up. I moved a year ago, and I didn’t bring anything. They hooked everything up, and as soon as we linked my account, all of my recordings and settings there. It was like nothing had changed. You know, except the house, couch, address, etc. But the TV was the same, and that was really nice. By the way, they almost always give you a deal for sticking with them. If they don’t offer one, ask about it. They can usually give you something.

Google Maps

Print directions. I know that it’s old fashioned and GPS is great, but if you accidentally pack your phone charger, your nav system may not be of much use. Print directions to and from your new home, work, storage unit, the location where you will return your truck, and a local grocery store. If you’re going to be using public transportation after the move, Google Maps can help you there, too.

Carry cash on the day of the move

I know that this isn’t a resource, but if you want to grab lunch or tip the movers, cash comes in pretty handy. Plus, until you get into your new routines, who knows when you’ll get to the ATM next? In case you’re wondering, though, here’s a VISA ATM locator. See? I snuck in a resource, anyway.

The Wrap

Moving sucks. Always has, probably always will. But these fourteen resources should help you make the day just a little better.

And if all else fails, I strongly recommend ice cream.

What resources did I miss? Add your own in the comments below!

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9 Tips for Keeping Your Friends Happy While Helping You Move

Hugging friends

Am I a nice guy?

I like to think so. But you don’t have to ask me. Here’s how you can tell that I’m a nice guy: I help friends move. I don’t own a truck, I’m not super strong, and I don’t bring strong truck owning friends with me. But, I’m a nice guy, so I help.

Here’s the thing, though… the friends who show up on moving day are your good friends. The friends who show up for your NEXT moving day… those are your friends for life. As someone who’s moved several times and helped countless people move, I’ve learned a few things about how to make the process as smooth as possible when friends are involved.

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