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2
May 17

Nontraditional Ways to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo

May 5th is Cinco de Mayo. This holiday commemorates a military victory that took place during the Franco-Mexican War in which the outnumbered Mexican troops halted France’s army. Festivities in U.S. communities with high Mexican-American populations tend to be bigger than those in Mexico (Cinco de Mayo is a minor holiday in its native country) and are often full of parades and historic reenactments of the battle. In fact, the prevalence of Cinco de Mayo in the U.S. just goes to show how much of an influence Mexican culture has had on its neighboring country. If you’re observing the holiday, here are four ways to honor it:

1. Color your home
Mexico celebrates Cinco de Mayo with colors galore, including, of course, red, green and white. Bring the joy of the holiday to your home by sporting bright and saturated tones. While the colors of the Mexican flag are a good place to start, yellow, pink, orange and blue are also up for grabs.

One way to bring the brilliant hues into your home and also enjoy spring, is to decorate with fresh Cinco de Mayo flowers. Any brightly colored bouquet will make a beautiful addition to the festivities.

2. Prepare an authentic meal
The conflict that took place on Cinco de Mayo in 1862 is also known as the Battle of Puebla, named after the town where the event occurred. Many celebrations of Mexico’s victory include dishes native to the area, such as mole poblano. After all, according to Business Insider, Puebla is the foodie capital of Mexico, so whipping up traditional cuisine is both a tasty and appropriate way enjoy the day.

Chicken tinga, chalupas and molotes are all other iconic foods to try on Cinco de Mayo. Do some research into ingredients that are native to Puebla to plan your menu.

3. Go to a museum
To truly understand the history of Cinco de Mayo, or to better appreciate Mexican culture, consider seeking out a Mexican-American museum or cultural center in your community. See if the locale is holding any festivities or hosting special exhibits. If not, you can still learn a lot from the material already available.

This is also a great celebration option for families with kids, as your little ones will have the opportunity to explore a new culture. Call the museum ahead of time to see if it has programs for kids. You can also create a worksheet before going to the museum for your children to fill out while you’re there.

4. Enjoy local festivities
In addition to observing Mexican culture by visiting a museum, you can experience Mexican-American traditions by checking out festivities where you live. Whether it’s attending a parade or watching a re-enactment of the Battle of Puebla, you’re sure to find something new and exciting if you live in a diverse community.

If your town doesn’t observe Cinco de Mayo with as much flair, you can watch parades on TV or online to enjoy the celebrations.

5. Attend a concert
Discover another part of Mexican culture by attending a concert. Not only will seeing live mariachi give you more insight into Mexican culture, but it also supports the artists and can be a fun time – few things are more energizing than live music.

4
Apr 17

Mastering Working From Home

In many industries, working remotely from home has become quite common. Many of the advantages are undeniable, especially when living in a big city. You don’t have to get up early to face a long commute to the office via congested interstates, or embark on the hustle and bustle of mass transit. You don’t have to worry about skipping breakfast or packing a lunch. You don’t even have to get dressed! All you have to do is walk a few steps across your apartment. However, a major challenge of working from home is the ability to focus and prioritize. We’ve put together five tips to improve your productivity while working at home:

1. Claim Your Workspace
Dedicate an area of your apartment as your sole workspace. No more wandering off to look for important work documents and getting sidetracked by television. A dedicated workspace helps establish boundaries for a better work/life balance. Storing your work supplies in one area – as opposed to spread throughout the apartment – will help keep you organized and focused.

Many apartments are too small for a separate home office, but you can always find ways to separate a work area from the rest of the apartment. It may be a drawer devoted to your work supplies, or even a tucked away small desk and work chair. Whatever it is, do your best to make sure those areas are dedicated to work — and work only!

If you reside with a roommate or spouse, let them know that when you’re sitting in your workspace, you are officially at work. Anyone sharing a residence with you should respect your work life and understand that you are at a job each day, just like if you had left your apartment and gone into the office.

2. Set Professional Standards.
You might be tempted to leave those pajamas on every day, but getting dressed helps define the workday and fosters productivity. When working remotely, your mindset is important. If you’re in the correct frame of mind about being at work, it won’t matter as much whether you’re in an office or your own apartment.

The snooze button is a remote worker’s best friend and worst enemy. The time you save on commuting can be spent catching a few extra winks, but you should still aim to be focused and ready to work by the start of the regular work day.

3. Limit Distractions.
There’s no doubt that having an apartment in the hub of the city has many benefits, but one major problem is noise. People going about their daily lives in the apartment complex may distract you from work. Invest in a pair of good headphones to reduce the noise that invades your home office space. You can work in a virtual bubble with a pair of headphones and only let in the noise you want, such as computer alerts or phone calls.

4. Stick to a Schedule.
Schedule your work day to be as productive as possible. Keeping a schedule might seem silly when you work from your rental, but it has been shown that strict scheduling each day will keep you on top of your “A” game. Remember that part of your schedule is taking time for yourself. Don’t let your apartment serve as an office exclusively. Make suer you take a break for lunch, or take a 15-minute break to walk the dog and deactivate your work brain. You would do this if you were out of your apartment at an office, so make sure you translate this to your work space. It’s tempting to “stay late at the office” if you need to complete a project, but don’t make it a habit. Quitting time applies to home offices as well.

5. Applications and Programs.
Computer and mobile apps have come a long way to help you stay in contact with business associates from around the globe. You might want to consider using Skype, join.me, Grasshopper, Basecamp, Trello, and Google apps for business when working from a home office. These great tools foster collaboration and give you the ability to seamlessly connect from anywhere.

Twin Ridge

7
Mar 17

4 Foam Roller Exercises For Your Apartment

Foam Roller Lower Back
Foam rolling — where you literally roll your muscles on a piece of foam to help loosen them up — might not be the most “showy” exercise on the planet (hello weightlifting), but it can play an important role in keeping your muscles loose, thereby reducing soreness and helping avoid injury. If you’re searching for a way to help yourself stretch, you should consider adding foam rolling to your routine. Regularly rolling your muscles out can help you maintain flexibility and your range of motion too. Certified trainer Robbie Davis, who started his career 20 years ago working with the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team, has created these four exercises that apartment renters who live in small spaces can perform. If you do these exercises a few times per week, expect to notice a significant difference in the way you move, says Davis. Consider rolling before or after exercise.

What you’ll need: a soft, carpeted area or a yoga mat, and a foam roller.

General tips: You’ll want to ensure you have proper positioning before you start rolling. It’s also important to roll slowly to allow your muscles to release.

Foam Roller Calves
Calves

Sit upright on the floor with your legs out in front of you so your body makes an “L” shape. Slide the foam roller underneath your legs so it rests right below your calves near your ankles. Place your hands flat on the ground on either side of you, and lift your weight off the ground. Slowly push yourself forward and backward, rolling up and down both your calf muscles.

Tip: For added intensity, cross your feet and focus on each leg individually.

Foam Roller Quads
Quads

Lie on the floor face down and place the foam roller between the ground and the area right above your knees. Be careful not to roll directly on the knee. Plant your hands in a push-up position, lifting yourself up so only your hands touch the ground. Use your upper-body strength to move your body back and forth, rolling across your quads.

Tip: For added intensity, cross one foot behind the opposite knee so your legs make the number “4” and focus on one leg at a time.

Foam Roller ITBands
IT Bands

Before we get into the specifics of this exercise, we want to give you some background information on your IT bands. Your iliotibial band, or IT band, is a ligament that starts at the side of your hip and ends at your shin. Tight IT bands can contribute to injuries and can be painful too.

Turn so you’re lying on your left side, then push your upper body up with your left hand so you’re resting on your left elbow. Bend your right knee and plant your foot on the ground in front of your left knee. Lift up off your hip and place the foam roller at the top of your IT band, or just below your hip. Push your body forward and backward, slowly rolling along your IT band. Repeat on the right side.

Tip: For added intensity, press firmly against the roller, inching along any tight spots.

Foam Roller Foot
Feet

Stand up straight and place the foam roller under one bare foot. Push into the roller as your foot rolls up and down, working the heel, arch and sole. Repeat on the opposite foot. It’s best to stand near a wall if both feet are on the roller so you can catch yourself should you fall. Keep one foot on the ground if balancing is something you struggle with.

Tip: For added intensity, angle the foot to roll along your instep or the arched middle part of your foot.

Twin Ridge

21
Feb 17

Spend More on these Things

adult

Crossing the threshold into adulthood is signified by many telling things. Paying off a constant bombardment of bills, for instance — and reckoning with forces like quickly decelerating metabolisms and heartburn (after just two slices of pizza, at that).

It’s also marked by a slow-but-sure learning process where habits shift — where you begin to optimize your routines, learn what to invest time and money on, and generally how to live better.

Figuring out all that stuff takes time, though, and it’s much easier to just ask other people who’ve been there, done that. So, from someone who’s been adulting for a few whole years now (and with plenty of advice from much more experienced adults), here are some of the things that are always worth the money.

Eating Well
I’ve never really found the “Think about what you put in your body!” admonishment compelling, since I often think that my body just wants a greasy cheeseburger. Instead, it’s more effective to remind myself that stateside healthcare is extremely costly, and maintaining long-term wellness will mitigate those expenses.

MORE WHOLESOME FOODS
Spend more on meat raised without antibiotics, and use this guide to find seafood that’s raised or caught with minimal chemical use and damage to habitats. When it comes to produce, buying fresh, local, and in season will provide various benefits: Not only is it cost effective, but fruits and veggies are also at peak taste and vitamin content when they’re picked while ripe and consumed quickly, rather than being trundled cross-country on a truck.

BETTER-FOR-YOU SNACKS
Vending machine confections have passed their heyday: 40% of the snacks consumers carry these days are classified as healthy, and better-for-you snacks are readily available on supermarket shelves. If you’re craving something savory, reach for nutritious picks like seaweed snacks or dry-roasted edamame. For sweet treats, indulge in Nature Valley Granola Cups, which strike the perfect balance between creamy and crunchy, decadent (chocolate and nut butter!) and wholesome (whole-grain oats and nuts).

BASIC KITCHENWARES

Cooking is a skill that’s worth investing time in, since it’s conducive both to saving money and eating healthier meals. Even if your cooking savvy is questionable, investing in a few good knives — or even just one chef’s knife, which are extremely versatile — will make a significant difference in the kitchen. Here’s a great guide to essential knives. A cast-iron skillet is another must-have; with proper care, the thing will last a lifetime, and it will only set you back about 20 bucks.

Stuff You Spend Your Nights On
Nights! They happens every 24 hours, and it’s in our best interest to spend most of them sleeping. According to The Handbook of Clinical Neurology, we spend a third of our lives sleeping, or trying to do so — all the more reason to invest in things that’ll make our beds more comfortable. Good mattresses will make a difference in your sleep quality, but they can be prohibitively expensive. Try retailers like Casper and Tuft & Needle, which offer 100-day trial periods before you decide whether or not to commit.

Another alternative is buying a mattress topper, which can elevate a sad bed without breaking your bank. The same philosophy applies when buying pillows, comforters, and sheets — quality products will make the difference between the feel of a cheap motel and a snug, serene sleep sanctuary. (A friend of mine even “has a guy” for quality sheets.) Another thing to consider: If you’re sharing a bed with a blanket-hogging partner, picking up an extra flat sheet and comforter might save your relationship.

Tools That’ll Make Your Home More Livable
There’s a reason that apartment maintenance, be it cleanliness or even interior decor, can cause so much strife between roommates and partners. Upkeep of a living space is important, and it’s psychologically beneficial to retreat to a place of comfort and belonging.

A VACUUM THAT WORKS
My roommates and I went through a series of cheap vacuums, which all disintegrated in a matter of weeks and ended up on the curb. We’ve since invested in a $200 vacuum that not only works better, but has already lasted us several years with no loss in efficacy — extra important, since I’m the mother to a furry pet.

HOME AUDIO

A fancy surround-sound system isn’t necessary unless you’re a serious audiophile — but if you find yourself engaging in any type of passive listening (putting on podcasts or music while you perform chores, for instance), decent speakers are worth investing in. If you’re not sure where to start looking, a good portable bluetooth speaker is a breeze to use and will serve all of your basic audio needs.

BATHROOM BELLS ‘N’ WHISTLES
Buy a heavy-duty toilet plunger before you need one. Have you ever lived with a serial toilet-and-drain–clogger? I have, and none of us were ready until it was too late. And while we’re on the topic of lavatorial habits — if you haven’t stocked your bathroom with strong, two-ply toilet paper, you’re not living your best life.

Twin Ridge

27
Jan 17

Skiing near Maryland

liberty_mountain_resort_winter_sports_landing_page_main_image_081415_v2-2

We haven’t much of a white winter, but don’t let that deter you from making the most of your skiing experience! The resorts listed below have had their mountain tops covered with powder for weeks now, so the snow is good and packed from active users. Plus the mild temperatures and sunshine mean you won’t freeze!

Not everyone in your family wants to ski? No problem, these places offer other amenities and activities for both kids and adults; like snow tubing, exercise rooms, restaurants and more.

Liberty Mountain Resort—78 Country Club Trail, Carroll Valley, PA, 717-642-8282, libertymountainresort.com.
Ski area: Elevation is 1,190 feet high with a vertical drop of 600 feet and 100 acres of ski-able terrain. It has 16 trails and three terrain parks, serviced by nine lifts, with complete snow-making coverage.
Hours: 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Fri. and non-holidays; 8 a.m.-10 p.m. weekends and holidays. Snow tubing is 4-10 p.m. Mon.-Thurs. and non-peak times, 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Fri., 8 a.m.-10 p.m. weekends and holidays.
Cost: Lift tickets are $55 midweek, $67 weekends and holidays. First-time skiers and snowboarders can get a lift ticket, lesson, and equipment rental for $78 midweek, $92 weekend/holidays.
Other amenities: Tubing, lessons, equipment rental, child-care center, and restaurants and bars. An exercise room, wireless Internet, and a hot breakfast buffet are included with hotel rates.
Driving distance: One hour, 24 minutes.

Roundtop Mountain Resort—925 Roundtop Rd., Lewisberry, PA, 717-432-9631, skiroundtop.com.
Ski area: Ten lifts take downhill enthusiasts to 16 trails, plus a terrain park with a super pipe and half pipe. Elevation is 1,400 feet with a vertical drop of 600 feet and about 103 ski-able acres.
Hours: 9 a.m.-10 p.m. weekdays and non-holidays, 8 a.m.-10 p.m. weekends and holidays.
Cost: An eight-hour lift ticket is $55 midweek and non-holidays, $64 on weekends and holidays.
Other amenities: Fireside Pub and Grill, sports shop, ski and snowboard schools, and tubing.
Driving distance: One hour, 30 minutes.

Whitetail—13805 Blairs Valley Rd., Mercersburg, PA, 717-328-9400, skiwhitetail.com.
Ski area: Elevation is 1,800 feet with a vertical drop of 935 feet. Nine lifts take skiers and boarders to 23 trails and two terrain parks, with 100 percent snow-making coverage.
Hours: 8:30 a.m.-10 p.m. daily.
Cost: Eight-hour lift ticket is $58 midweek, $69 weekends and holidays.
Other amenities: Tubing, child care, ski and snowboard lessons, food court, slope-side Windows Restaurant, and adaptive snow-sports program for children and adults with mental and physical challenges.
Driving distance: Two hours.

Twin Ridge

30
Dec 16

Next year, sit less

standing_desk_westchester

Many people make resolutions for the New Year that involve making radical changed in order to lead a longer, healthier life. While a complete change of diet or committing to hit the gym everyday would be a major change for most people, some smaller decisions can also help improve health and vitality.

Consider committing to simply spending less time each day sitting down, and spending more time up on your feet. In recent years, researchers have been taking longer looks at what effect being seated for extended periods of time has on health. Research has connected extended periods off your feet with higher incidences of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and shorter life spans.

If you work a job at a desk, you are already in a chair for almost eight hours a day. When you add in time spent going to and from work and time spent relaxing at home, all the accumulated time spent sitting down could be harmful. Of course regular exercise can help counteract these effects, but getting out of your chair is the best bet.

Ulf Ekeland, a professor at the Norwegian School of Sports Science released a study this year where he and his team found that one half hour spent exercising per four hours spent sitting could help reduce some of the associated risks. For most people, this means that 60-75 minutes of exercise a day would be beneficial. All of this activity does not have to be at once, so a 15 minute walk during downtime at work could pay off in a healthier you.

Another small change that can be applied is to use a standing or adjustable height desk. These desks allow you to work on your feet, an option that also helps to reduce the risks associated with extended sitting. Standing or adjustable desks are becoming increasingly popular, and are available at many furniture stores, or you can go the DIY option and construct your own with instructions available online.

14
Dec 16

Can You Rent an Apartment If You Have Bad Credit?

bad-credit

Unfortunately, having bad credit can affect many different aspects of your life, from job applications to apartment hunting.

If your credit is bad, you can rent an apartment, but the process will probably be more challenging. Here are some tips for getting an apartment lease on bad credit.

Check your credit
If you think you might have bad credit, the first thing you’ll want to do is look at your credit report. You can order a free copy from each of the three major credit-reporting agencies — Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion — through AnnualCreditReport. You’ll want to look at all three, as one or more may have an error. If you do see errors on your credit reports, take steps to fix them immediately and be prepared to explain these to your prospective landlord. Since the formal dispute process for fixing a credit report takes time, you may try and get statements from the bank or credit card company involved explaining the mistake.

Think like a landlord
If your credit reports accurately reflect your credit situation, your challenge will be to convince your prospective landlord that you will be able to pay rent on time. It may be helpful for you to take a moment and role-play a would-be landlord, and think: what would you need to be willing to rent an apartment to a person with your credit profile? This can help you anticipate landlords’ objections and be able to react with less fear.

Repairing your credit
One strategy is to ask the institutions that reported delinquencies on your credit report to send letters stating that you have met, or in the process of meeting, your obligation. (Remember that a mark on your credit can stay for up to seven years.) You can also include letters of recommendation from previous landlords, especially those who have rented to you most recently. And you can write a letter yourself, explaining how you are meeting the debts and how you will be able to pay rent even though you have debts to pay. The more evidence you can amass that shows that you’ve thought hard about this problem and are tackling it, the more convincing your case.

Get a cosigner
Another possible strategy — for renters with very little credit history, as well as those with bad credit — is to find a co-signer on your lease. A parent, relative, or close friend might be willing to do this for you. Keep in mind, though, that if you end up falling behind on this obligation, you’ll be in trouble not only with your apartment community but with the person who put their credit at risk to help you.

Pay a larger deposit
There’s a third strategy, especially for an apartment you really love: offer a larger initial deposit. Some apartment communities have set rules as to how deposits are set; others can be more flexible. If your larger deposit is accepted, make sure it’s reflected accurately in the lease you sign. If you stay in the apartment for a year, paying rent on time, and choose to renew, you might not need to make as large an upfront payment for the second year’s lease.

If none of those options work well for you, there are apartment communities which don’t conduct credit checks. But even if your credit situation is negative, don’t give up hope on finding an apartment until you’ve used the above strategies!

1
Dec 16

Will My Rental Rates Go Up Next Year?

One of the most common dilemmas renters face is whether or not your rates will go up when your year-long lease is up. Sometimes you might just have to pay $10 more, but some places can charge upwards of $200 or more per month. Rest assured we would never hijack your rent like that, but we understand you might not live at Twin Ridge forever, and want you to be aware of this at other communities. Here’s your guide to this common issue and what you can do to fight it.

will-my-rates-increase-02

“Aside from the obvious financial motive, raising the rent every year makes sense (even if the amount is trivial) simply to set expectations… Property managers want tenants to simply assume that rents will go up every year so that tenants don’t balk at rent hikes. Rents are also both a cause of and caused by inflation – they rise together, and while inflation may slow, it almost never reverses,” says Brian Davis, director of education for SparkRental — a company that educates owners about investment properties — and a real estate investor with 15 rental properties.

Davis also points out that rates will also rise depending on need. If the property manager has recently rented an apartment in your building for $1,000 and 50 people applied for it, it was priced too low. So the next time the lease is up for renewal, the property manager will hike up the rate.

Kass Management Services Principal Mark Durakovic, whose company manages more than 5,000 apartments in Chicago, also points out that maintenance and taxes usually do cost more each year for the property management company — another reason for rising rents.

What’s a Fair or Average Increase?

According to Durakovic, an increase of 2 to 4 percent is fair. If you’re paying $700 a month, an increase of $14 to $28 would be common. If rental rates of the buildings around you are rising, you should expect yours to rise too.

will-my-rates-increase-02
Negotiation Tips

Some property managers will negotiate. Others won’t. If yours will, be sure to look up what other apartments in your building are renting for so you can use that for leverage. If the property manager is asking for significantly more than what other apartments are listed for, you might be able to lower your rent.

According to Davis, you’ll have better luck negotiating with a private property manager as opposed to a larger corporation. Try to think about the situation from your property manager’s point of view to win the negotiation. Property managers want more than just money; they’re also searching for stability.

“A long-term tenant who pays on time and will be there for many years. They want minimal damage to the rental unit, and peace and quiet for the neighbors. They want security, the best assurance possible that the tenant won’t cost them money,” says Davis.

He recommends the following to get a lower rate:

-Offer to sign a long-term lease
-Offer a higher security deposit
-If your property manager lives in your building or nearby, consider offering free babysitting, dog walking or cleaning services to him or her.
-Davis once offered to pay the rent early every month at his current rate. If he ever defaulted on this deal, the property manager could charge more.

Ways to Tell If Your Rates Might Drastically Increase

If you’re worried about skyrocketing rental rates, compare what you’re currently paying to what other similar apartments in the area rent for. If you’re paying below market, you should expect an uptick in rent

When Is a Rental Hike Justified?

“If your property manager has recently made upgrades to your apartment or the community, your rent will probably rise. Likewise, if your neighborhood is improving, you might pay more,” says Durakovic.

Above all, remember that a price increase has to do with demand for the apartment, not with your needs as a renter.

“Demand can rise based on changes that have nothing to do with the unit itself; maybe the local schools get better, or maybe the neighborhood suddenly becomes attractive to a group of people who have more money. Maybe more businesses are opening nearby and more jobs become available. Rent increases only need to be justified by one thing: other people willing to pay more to live in the unit,” says Davis.

The good news here is we may not raise your rent at all. We look at each resident on a case-by-case basis and determine your rent for the following year based on certain criteria and negotiation. So, basically, you should just live here forever.

15
Nov 16

The Perfect Thanksgiving Side Dish

stuffing

What’s Thanksgiving without America’s #1 favorite side dish? Next to the turkey, no Thanksgiving is complete without the best stuffing, and you can find the perfect recipe here:

INGREDIENTS

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter plus more for baking dish
1 pound good-quality day-old white bread, torn into 1″ pieces (about 10 cups)
2 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
1 1/2 cups 1/4″ slices celery
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided
2 large eggs
PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 250°F. Butter a 13x9x2″ baking dish and set aside. Scatter bread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, stirring occasionally, until dried out, about 1 hour. Let cool; transfer to a very large bowl.
Meanwhile, melt 3/4 cup butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add onions and celery. Stir often until just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Add to bowl with bread; stir in herbs, salt, and pepper. Drizzle in 1 1/4 cups broth and toss gently. Let cool.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk 1 1/4 cups broth and eggs in a small bowl. Add to bread mixture; fold gently until thoroughly combined. Transfer to prepared dish, cover with foil, and bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of dressing registers 160°F, about 40 minutes. DO AHEAD: Dressing can be made 1 day ahead. Uncover; let cool. Cover; chill.
Bake dressing, uncovered, until set and top is browned and crisp, 40-45 minutes longer (if chilled, add 10-15 minutes).
YIELD: Makes 8 to 10 servings

2
Nov 16

7 Tips for Moving on Short Notice

Alarm clock in a shipping box with packing peanuts. Concept for receiving more time, or how fragile our time is.

Planning a move in the near future (hopefully here!)? Where do you start? Read our guide below for some tips on ensuring a smart and relatively stress free move when your deadline has come down to the wire.

1. Get Started

When planning your move on short notice, you’ll want to begin by properly assessing everything that may be required for the weeks (or even months) ahead.

Confirm the fundamental info of your move before delving into the more complicated steps that require making paid reservations and the like—knowing an exact move-in date, etc. will help lay a fundamental groundwork that will allow the process to go much smoother overall.

2. Begin Pre-Packing

You don’t need to wait for every bit of paperwork to be filled out before beginning to pack—in fact, preliminary packing of less commonly-used rooms can prove to be an outright requirement.

A good rule of thumb is to start packing at least a few boxes per day once you’re sure you’ll be moving in the near future. And start getting your place cleaned up if you are able to– this will save you cleaning time later.

3. Make Reservations

This one is no joke—moving during the summer means dealing with the busiest and most booked-solid mover schedules of the year. Arguably the most important factor in avoiding major issues will be to contact your movers of choice the moment your move in date is confirmed.

Otherwise, there’s an unfortunate and potentially disastrous chance that you may find yourself without any movers available in time—definitely the furthest thing from a fun situation to have to deal with.

4. Set Your Own Deadlines

Managing an arduous task like moving on short notice means you’ll need to pay special consideration to the importance of deadlines—in this case, managing your own self-discipline and ensuring things get done in time will be extremely important.

Set your own personal deadlines for when moving milestones should be completed, and before you know it you’ll have formed a realistic (and informed) moving timeline that gives you a clearer understanding of what to expect.

5. Recruit Help from Friends

As challenging as moving tends to be, you can expect to take those challenges and multiply them tenfold if you’re facing them on your own.

Recruiting the help of even just one or two friends can go an extremely long way in making the process much faster and much less of an overall burden—a committed team of friends can even sometimes knock out an apartment move in as little as one afternoon. Just be sure to reward them with pizza afterwards!

6. Compare Rates

A major factor in ensuring a smooth move without much time to spare will be to lock down an affordable overall rate as early as possible—you won’t want to scramble for a moving package at the last minute, only to find that the one you had in mind will run you considerably more than you wanted to pay.

Price can (and should) serve as a large deciding factor in your choice of movers and services, so there’s certainly nothing wrong with shopping around based primarily on price! Knowing how much you’ll be able to spend will most likely prove to be one of the earliest things you’ll need to get done before you proceed.

7. Label Boxes Smartly

One of the simpler ways to keep your moving process running smoothly can be to come up with a simple method for labeling your personal possessions—a few rolls of colored painter’s tape or something similar will usually be all you need.

Before moving in, coordinate the layout of your destination by deciding on a color (or similar labeling distinction) for each room or major area across your new home. Then, label your boxes and containers appropriately so that the contents intended for each room match their corresponding color.

This will allow you to quickly unload the contents of each room without having to give it too much thought. If your move is extremely short term and you don’t have colored labeling materials on hand, you might consider something as simple as labeling boxes by number or letter.

* Type the characters in the picture below.