Moving Into Your First Home

Moving into your college dorm for the first time is a very exciting thing, especially if it’s the first time you’re truly living on your own. And then, suddenly, you’re moving into your first apartment where you’ve got sole responsibility of keeping it maintained and not breaking anything. But the biggest jump of them all out there is buying your first home.

Home ownership is one of those things that is often mysterious to kids and younger adults, and it really shouldn’t have to be. The entire process of purchasing a home is an elusive, confounding experience for anyone not in the know, yet once you do understand the ins and outs, it’s suddenly a breeze.

As for moving into that first home, things needn’t be so roundabout and confusing. Read on for some tips on moving into your first home.

Enlist help.

Whether it’s your family, some old college friends, or even hired help, there’s no better way to make a move less stressful than to have multiple hands on deck. Sometimes you’ll find that certain friends or family members are unwilling to help. Well, this is bound to happen and those people aren’t great in your life if they won’t help after you’ve asked. Still, do what you can to get at least 5 or 6 more people than just yourself to help you move. When you’ve got all sorts of hands available, the work becomes even easier for everyone, meaning everyone is happy to do more for you. It’s kind of a snowball effect.

Have the right equipment.

Couple Moving Into New Home And Unpacking Boxes

You’ll need a few dollies. You’ll definitely need furniture blankets. You’ll want plenty of straps. Don’t skip out on having these things unless you want to make moving in an extreme hassle to you and those who you’ve asked to help you. Straps make sure your belongings arrive exactly as they were organized. Blankets make sure that nothing becomes damaged. And dollies are your savior unless you actually want an injured back.

Use a trailer.

Don’t ever try to move from one place to the next in a simple pickup truck or a few vans. You’ll hate yourself for it. Trailers, whether open or closed, just have too much space to not use. Do you really want to torture yourself with ungodly amounts of trips back and forth in vehicles that aren’t using trailers? No. Try to get two trailers if you can. This is especially true if you’re moving long distances.

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When Making a Move, Have These Things Handy

The most stressful part of buying a home, many would agree, is the act of searching for homes that fit your family’s needs and wants. Or, as others would say, it’s actively closing on the home and finalizing everything that’s needed with that procedure.

Or even others would agree that it’s actually making the move to the new home.

If you fall into that last camp, you must not be moving your things in an efficient and planned out way. With a little bit of preparation, having the right materials and tools, and enlisting some help, you shouldn’t have any troubles whatsoever. Let’s dive into what makes the move so stressful and how you can actually make the entire process much easier than what you’re accustomed to. Because, let’s face it, buying a home is the most stressful and toughest part of the entire process, not moving in (physically stressful on your body, sure; but your mind? Nope).

Having the right materials.

Moving doesn’t just mean jamming things into your vehicle and making 20 trips. That’s the definition of inefficiency and possibly even stupidity.

What you need to make sure you have is pretty much three things: a trailer (or 2), cheap moving boxes, and moving equipment, such as straps, handcarts, and furniture blankets.

The trailer is pretty much your number one priority to secure simply because it reduces the amount of times you have to drive back and forth. Unless you’re hiring someone to move everything for you, you should waste no time in making sure you and your family have access to at least one trailer. Whether it’s an open bed or an enclosed trailer, you need one for your bigger furniture more than anything. All the smaller things can fit in your cab or truck’s bed if needed.

Secondly, the cheap moving boxes are absolutely needed just for packing all of your smaller items into. From clothes to toiletries and dishes to decor, you’ve got to have boxes and bins to hold everything that is loose and needs packaged in an orderly and easily recognized manner.

Then, you’re going to want (and sometimes need) the right tools. Moving straps are amazing at securing things to your trailer so that they don’t bump, bounce, and break. You’ll never be gladder that you invested in some of these. Additionally, handcarts are a must for both carrying/lifting/dragging heavy items and making fewer trips to and from the house. And finally, you’ll want furniture blankets to protect your furniture as well as use to drag heavy items across hardwood flooring.

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You Have the Time to Accomplish Your Tasks & Chores

Keeping your place nice and tidy isn’t one of those things that you just do because you’re a neat freak and can’t function without order. In fact, a lot of people who organize their house and keep it clean are deemed as such, and I feel it’s a bit unfair to categorize orderly people as crazy or obsessed.

The problem is that the majority of people seem to relate more to a sense of laziness than they do cleanliness. I wouldn’t say that the majority is necessarily sloppy and owns a ransacked house. Rather, I feel like everyone can empathize with those who don’t have the time to stay on top of things every single day.

Most of the time, people say they don’t have enough hours in the day for their cleaning and organizing. I honestly believe this is where you need to start if you want a more organized and put together home. The number one way to continue your lazy lifestyle is to continue making excuses about the time. Because unless you’ve got multiple kids and pets, you work 60 hours a week, and your weekends consist of another job, guess what? You have the time to keep your house nice.

So, this really all begins with the right mindset. It’s kind of like moving houses. If you have a gameplan and enough cheap moving boxes, you’ll coordinate the move just fine and it won’t be that stressful.

Well, if you have the right mindset about your home, such as having an idea what days you’ll clean what areas and you have the right supplies (the analog to cheap moving boxes in this example), you’ll be able to accomplish anything.

So more than anything, being clean, organized, in shape, healthy, intelligent, successful, and financially stable all boil down to your approach and perspective. If you can see that you have just enough time or more than other Americans, you’ll realize that it just takes a new routine, a fresh perspective on all of it. But if you constantly write things off as undoable because you apparently can’t spare 15 minutes a day to keep one particular room a bit cleaner than it was before the day began, you’ll never be able to accomplish anything you want to do.

If there’s anything you take from this, make it this: you have the time to get stuff done; you just don’t want to.

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Stocking Up for Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day is one of those holidays that goes under the radar most of the year, yet when it comes around, Americans seem to plan big barbecues, family get togethers, and even trips to the lake. If anything, it’s the holiday that says “Let’s kick off the summer!”

And there’s good reason that we all get so excited for Memorial Day Weekend to come around. We’ve been waiting more than half a year to enjoy some amazing weather, so once the end of May hits, we’re all itching to get out in the sun, grill some good food, have some drinks, enjoy the company of family and friends, and just relax.

Memorial Day Weekend isn’t possible without planning ahead, however. If you don’t have the right supplies, foods, drinks, arrangements, or place to do it, it can be more stressful than it needs to be.

Without further adieu, here are some essentials you’ll need to be fully prepared and stocked for the first major holiday of the summer.

Foods.

Whether you’re doing a crawfish boil or a barbecue grill out, you’ll need to have the right meats, the right vegetables, and all the seasonings and charcoal that are needed to bring it all together. And just as well, it’s best to designate a “master chef” for the event so that everyone knows who is doing most of the work (because then that person won’t have to do any clean up or bartending or babysitting!).

Supplies.

Whether it’s paper towels and plastic utensils or packaging supplies like packing tape to hold table tarps down, you want to make sure there’s enough “things” to make the weekend possible. Other useful packaging supplies include cardboard boxes and even sharpies to mark down certain ingredients, foods, or even names for styrofoam/solo cups. Just as well, you need to make sure there are cleaning supplies handy in case someone makes a mess and something needs cleaned up in a hurry to keep the festivities ongoing.

Activities.

Planning activities can either be a major headache or very simple. It’s when you overextend that activities and games can become a chore. Don’t try to plan some huge boating trip if everyone doesn’t have the money or isn’t free for an entire day on whatever day of the weekend you choose. Sometimes it’s just easier to plan things like cornhole and darts if whoever is hosting has available space for such games. And if you’re planning a day at the lake, it’s easier if someone you know or are related to actually owns a lake house so that everyone can chill inside if the heat gets to them or if they have just been outside all day.

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Gift Ideas for Your Parents

If you’re looking for Father’s Day and Mother’s Day gifts for your parents this summer, you’re early enough for one and a biiiit last minute for the other (though don’t most people wait until the week of to actually go out and get gifts?). Luckily, all stores realize procrastination is king and keep their cards and gift cards and other seasonal items on their shelves for a few days after the holiday.

But even if you are still searching for something for your parents, the good thing is all you need are some old cheap moving boxes to get things wrapped and presented and you’re good to go. All it starts with is a little inspiration and a few unique gift ideas and you’re solid.

Candy!

Whether it’s a box of chocolates or your parents’ favorite hard candy, you can’t really go wrong with this as a supplement to their actual gift. Luckily, a lot of stores have branched out in their collection of candies and sweet treats, ranging from anything chocolate covered to newer, healthier alternatives that your parents may enjoy.

Dinner.

You can’t skip a dinner with your parents on their special days! No matter where you live and what your budget is, something will fit your situation and budget. All it takes is a little bit of planning, likely a reservation to ensure you have seats at the restaurant you’re going to, and dressing decently so that your parents know you’re wanting it to be a nice evening with them.

The alternative to this is hosting your own dinner and doing all the prep to surprise your parents. This can be a bit more taxing and tiresome, but if done right, it can show you care even more than they originally would’ve imagined.

Concert tix.

Perhaps it’s just me and my hobby of going to live shows, but sometimes this can be a super fun and surprisingly great experience even for people who don’t attend many live shows. The key here is to know your parents well enough to not buy them tickets to something completely out of their wheelhouse. While pushing their musical boundaries somewhat is healthy and maybe a surprising opportunity for them, you don’t want to be buying your parents tickets to a Garth Brooks concert if they’ve specifically said they hate country. That just shows you don’t care what they think or you don’t know your parents at ALL.

Again, by finding a few cheap moving boxes that have been sitting around for awhile, you’ll be able to repurpose the cardboard into a gift box for your mom and dad on their special days. Talk about cost effective.

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Golf Isn’t a Boring Sport

I just recently started to get into the sport of golf, a phrase I would have never figured I’d ever say in my life. At least that’s what I thought a few years back. But the recent me isn’t surprised whatsoever considering anything seems to go regarding my hobbies and interests.

Golf is, to put it bluntly, a sport that appears boring when you have next to no knowledge about the game. The pace is slow. Players aren’t “directly” competing against each other but rather indirectly. The commentators speak in low and quiet voices, so they never get hyped up. And, for the most part, some people find it troublesome to locate the ball once it’s taken flight.

These are all valid complaints for someone who’s new to the sport. In fact, it’s expected that people say this kind of stuff, because they probably don’t know any better about golf.

But once you begin playing, you start to understand the appeal. You realize that it’s a sport against yourself first and foremost. Yet it’s relaxing. But it’s competitive and challenging. Yet you don’t have to exert nearly as much effort as you would in other sports.

To put it best, it’s completely unique compared to any other sport out there. Nothing quite comes close to it.

So you can imagine my own surprise to finally enjoying watching it, playing it, and even playing video games based around the sport. I never expected any of this, yet it all makes sense now that I’m beginning to understand.

While getting my own set of clubs is something that will likely happen far down the road, I really would like to get a few starter clubs and balls that are budget friendly until I learn more about the game. You can imagine my excitement to receive the hardware wrapped up in packaging supplies. I’ve just gotta wait a few more weeks until it all comes in. (Heck, I’ll be unwrapping all of those packaging supplies like it’s Christmas morning!)

Overall, I get it when people say “Golf is boring” or other huffy comments about how it’s no fun. It’s because they don’t know the nature of the game or what it all means and can really feel like when you’re doing it. But just like everything else, there’s no need to make opinions on something until you’ve given it a try yourself. All it takes is one experience before you can craft your own judgment.

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Making the Move

Within the next 16 months, life is going to be changing a lot for me and my girlfriend.

Just to put it all in perspective for you, we’ll be getting married in the early fall or late summer of 2020. That alone is enough for an entirely new chapter in our lives.

But with that comes moving into a house and becoming homeowners, too. That is arguably more of a change and responsibility than marriage itself. Because up until this point, we’ve only lived in an apartment together and never owned our own home.

So, a big part of this next year will go into living the engaged life and beginning to search for homes to buy next summer. While it’s still “awhile” away, time can be absolutely relentless when you have deadlines to complete things, and the next thing I know it’ll be 3 months before we need a house.

The good thing is, that’s about all the stress that’ll be on our plate. Because we have family ties with a furniture store owner who will likely provide the lion’s share of new furniture for our new home. So forking out a lot of cash for furniture right after we just put a lot down for a home won’t weigh as heavily on our minds, thankfully. We have our families’ support, meaning there’s so much less overall that we’ll have to do and tackle alone in the adult world.

Heck, even moving into the new home won’t be a hassle with all the family we have that will be able to help us out in transferring things from the old apartment to the new home. We’ll have plenty of bodies to help carry cheap moving boxes into the home we decide on, and even after it’s all “moved in” and we have no more transportation needs, our families will still be completely willing to help unpack and set up the contents of those cheap moving boxes.

It’s really comforting knowing we have support throughout our life’s bigger challenges and transitions. Honestly, without the help of her parents and my own, it would be a heck of a lot scarier and more uncertainty would abound. The fact that we have so little on our plate to do alone this next year allows us to dedicate more time to being happy and loved by one another.

To me, that’s the ultimate relationship. By having the time we need to grow and experience things together while not stressing as much over finances and time, we can focus on ourselves and what we want in our future. That, in my opinion, is the true recipe to happiness.

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How to Host Your Own Get Together

Get togethers are nice to host from time to time, even if you do end up dreading how much effort may be involved in getting ready, preparing the courses, making sure everyone is comfortable and having a good time, and picking up your place afterwards. The good thing is that you don’t have to drive anywhere and can hang out in the comfort of your own home.

But when throwing little parties or events, preparation is key, as always. If you aren’t prepared for the numerous guests coming, the food and drinks situation can be a disaster. If you don’t plan out the parking scenario, you’re only going to cause headaches for your guests and yourself.

Just make sure to keep these things in mind when getting ready for your next kick back.

Provide a spread of food.

Whether you prefer doing finger foods or full on meals, it’s probably standard to provide at least a few different options for food. Your guests will likely be more than happy to bring dishes as well, but as the host, it’s somewhat of an expectation to have a few options for snacking.

Check to make sure you have enough seating room.

This thing happens more often than you think. If you’re worried about not having enough chairs in one room, some rearranging may have to be done. If worst comes to worst, you can always ask any of your guests if they have folding chairs or lawn chairs to bring. You don’t want guests to have to sit on the floor or in different rooms from one another, so make sure the seating situation is taken care of before you find out someone has to sit on the ground.

Advertise and plan first.

I myself like to create a Facebook event page when hosting anything in order to iron out the ground rules and expectations beforehand. That way, if someone contests anything or doesn’t want to leave at the time I designated, I can just point to the event page and say that it was all stated there when I sent the invites. If your guests are family or friends, they shouldn’t throw too much of a fuss about this.

Get your place looking nice.

Whether you’re breaking out some old office and packaging supplies to get crafty or simply cleaning up the place and placing a few candles around your place, making sure your place is nice and cozy is key. (But hey, we like the idea of the office and packaging supplies littered upon your table while you make little projects and things the day before. All the power to you.)

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A Life on the Go

I’ve always craved the life of living on the go. Perhaps it’s been a far-off dream of mine that will never come to fruition and I knew it wouldn’t all along, but there’s something freeing about living with absolutely nothing holding you tied down.

It’s not that I’d want to do that for my entire life, as if I were some hippie on the run. But even just a year of living out of a decked out van and humming along from one city to the next, week to week, sounds like something I need in my life to renew who I am and gain an entirely new perspective on what it means to live somewhere. Or nowhere, in this case.

Part of the “problem” with living like this is how many obstacles there are in the way of getting started. First off, you’d have to have a decent amount of money saved up to continue buying food for a year with no job. That, or you’d have to have a job that allows you to work remotely (which is quite hard to come by).

Another obstacle is actually having a bus or van big enough and with enough basic living amenities, like a sink, stove, bathroom, and bed. Getting plumbing and gas hooked up in a mobile vehicle takes a bit more work than you’d think, and you’ll definitely have a lot more in expenses on the front end.

Still, there’s something absolutely attractive about living a part of your life in a fleeting and no-cares-given sort of way. I think it’d be great for the soul, it would renew who I am, and give me the tools I need to really settle down and appreciate a home in one location, once I’m ready for that and for kids.

It’s fantasies like these that make me want to pack only the essentials up in a few cheap moving boxes, toss them in the truck, and go even though I don’t have the whole setup ready to go. I ask myself what could it hurt to really commit to just me, a vehicle, a few cheap moving boxes, and a life on the go. And unfortunately, the answer always comes back to me from the reasoning part of my brain.

There’s just a lot more planning and preparation and money that goes into such a stint of your life if you were really to pull it off. And I feel the number one thing that needs to be settled is your job and a vehicle to carry the plans through.

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Easter Gifts for Adults

Easter can be a holiday that we usually give gifts to kids on. There’s always plenty of baskets, chocolate, other candy, some cash hidden in eggs, and an assortment of spring decorations that usually are for the kids.

But when it comes to celebrating the holiday for adults, it can be a bit trickier in terms of gift giving and celebrating.

One tradition I’ve seen spring up lately is hiding craft beers around a backyard instead of eggs with cash in them. This appeals to all adults over the drinking age simply because it continues the tradition of finding hidden items (appealing to the inner child in all of us) while making it more exciting and worthwhile for someone our age.

When it comes to giving gifts, though, that can be a bit harder. Adults will still enjoy things like chocolates and cash in eggs (almost as much as or even more than the kids!). But sometimes, when it comes to giving a gift, it can be a bit harder to shop for someone unless you know them well enough to tailor a gift specifically to them.

One thing that every adult is fine with receiving more of is office and packaging supplies. What adult doesn’t want to keep their office desk and their home supplies stocked or replenished? I sure wouldn’t mind having a bevy of extra markers, tape, staplers, and even shipping labels.

This list of items may sound a bit lame to anyone reading who isn’t settled into their career at the moment, but trust me, a lot of people would be happy to receive those gifts without expecting too much more outside of their replenishment of office and packaging supplies. (I mean, they’d probably be fine with a few craft beers, too.)

I think the thing to keep in mind with gift giving around this time of year, though, isn’t to focus too much on the gifts. Worrying about whether or not someone likes what you got them isn’t in the spirit of Easter as much as being with your family and friends for the new season. Having any amount of stress at all while celebrating the holiday isn’t great for you or your family, so I’d advise just going with the flow, trying your best at picking out a gift for whomever it is you’re gifting, and enjoying yourself.

So, what is it you’ve got planned for the spring holiday that’s just around the corner?

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