Get Out and Camp!

Camping is an American pastime that is evergreen and won’t likely ever see any decline in the near future as a weekend activity for families all around the nation. Just about anywhere you live, there are campgrounds within an hour drive of you, making it just far enough for a 2 or 3 day vacation but not so far that you have to have it all planned out months in advance. In fact, so many families just pack up and go from time to time, preferring to camp out in a park instead of doing other weekend things that many others typically do.

One thing that deters some people from camping more often (aside from those who prefer to “glamp” with a camper instead of rough it in a tent) is the right gear. People say that camping is expensive because you have to have all of the right materials and gear before heading out for a weekend, so they end up never going with their family or friends.

To me, this is an excuse and I find it a bad one. Sure, if you have absolutely zero tents, sleeping bags, and coolers, you won’t be able to camp. But other than those three essentials, what else do you actually need? Weenie roasting sticks are optional. Beer is optional. A camp light is optional. Nice rain gear is optional. Hiking shoes are optional. You really only need a handful of things, and once you’ve fronted the costs on those to start, you won’t ever be spending much money in each subsequent trip after the first.

But for those out there who want to be cheap, all you have to do is pack up your change of shoes, your cheap tent, and sleeping bag in a few cheap moving boxes, toss it all in the vehicle, and get on the road towards the campgrounds. Part of the magic of camping really is minimalism, so it’s not like you have to have an array of awesome gear that has very niche uses.

I mean sure, if you’re someone who does multi-day hikes and sets up camp on the go, you’re going to need lightweight gear and all the essentials to get you through a weekend or more. That stuff will add up in expenses for sure. But you don’t need all of that stuff if you’re driving somewhere to camp among other people for a weekend. That’s all extra gear and extra cost, so you don’t need anything else but those cheap moving boxes full of your essentials.

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My Future Study

I’m someone who grew up loving books and the entire idea of dissecting things I read. I like to revisit old books I’ve already read, study up on concepts I had come across once before, and just have a look at some of the notes I took in the margins of books I marked up.

It should probably come as no surprise, then, that I want to have a study in my home some day. While I think I’ll get much more use out of it once my kids end up making their way into high school (as my hands will be quite a bit fuller while they’re younger), I just think it’s too early to be thinking about dedicating an entire room to my collection of books and finer things.

But boy, when I do put it all together, it’ll be a breeze with all the brainstorming I’ve done regarding the room. I know exactly what type of bookshelves I want, how big I want the room, and even what other decor I’ll have placed in the room. To give you a little sneak peak of my perfect study, I’ve broken the main aspects down into a list for your enjoyment.

Liquor collection.

So, if I’m going all out fancy with this study, I’ve gotta do it like it’s portrayed in the movies. And honestly, there’s reason to put my nicer spirits in the “nicest” room in my house. I mean, what’s classier than sipping on a fine spirit neat while enjoying some literature or top-notch nonfiction? I can already picture a sizeable collection of tequila with a quality mixing cart and different types of glassware right there near my grand armchair.


Speaking of armchairs, furniture is a big part to what makes a study so classy. Some people may prefer a loveseat or small couch in their office space (I definitely do at my office), but an armchair is the absolute perfect piece of sitting furniture for none other than yourself to enjoy on your own. It speaks volumes about the entire room actually being a study. Without the armchair, some people may confuse your study for a storage room full of books, you know?


If you’re going to have a study proper, you know that you’ll have to have an ample amount of office and packaging supplies on hand in the off chance that you need to ship something, store something for a long period of time,

or even repair an old book. Put these in your drawers or cabinets within the study to be out of sight but at the ready for when you may ever use them. You may say that you don’t need any packaging supplies or other types of minor utility features in your study, but it’s these supplies that actually make your study such a versatile and useful place to hang out in.

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Making the Most of Your Office

If you’re someone like me with their own office at the workplace, you’ve probably considered at one point or another how bland your room is. And at times, it can even be a bit depressing how barren and devoid of character it seems.

But I recently did something about mine and it didn’t even cost that much or take any effort. Now, I feel like it’s a lot more homey and personalized than it was before, something that makes me happier on the job.

And that’s something I wanted to note, too. If you dislike your office space, you’re giving yourself a much higher chance of disliking your job itself. I mean, who wants to sit in a boring and bland room and do work, right? But if you enjoy where you sit and work, you’ll likely have a much higher chance of enjoying your job and the people you work among.

With that said, here are a few of my tips on updating your office to make your life on the job a heck of a lot more enjoyable.

Maximizing your personality within your office.

The number one piece of advice I can give to anyone is to make your office space you. If you don’t have the things you enjoy collecting, looking at, using, or whatever it is you prefer, then it’s not going to feel familiar to you and you’re not going to enjoy being in your workplace much.

I know I absolutely despise overhead lighting as it comes off far too clinical for my tastes. So I prefer to use a standing lamp in my room. It gives me the ambience I prefer while typing away without seeming too bright.

Making it comfortable.

Some kind of furniture needs to go in your office room at some point. Whether it’s a single armchair, a love seat, or even a cheaper futon, giving yourself a place to sit down more comfortably every two hours or so will give you a fresh change of pace to the day and even change your point of view.

Having the right supplies.

If you don’t have the right office and shipping supplies available to you, it can make doing certain tasks a bit tougher. And it’s never fun to ask around the workplace if someone else has tape or mailing envelopes, especially if you feel like you need to pay them back. Stock up on your shipping and office supplies about once a year, and have a specific compartment, container, or drawer dedicated to those supplies.

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Camping: Pack for Versatility

Spring is just around the corner, and I’m absolutely stoked for its arrival. Though this winter hasn’t been too harsh or snow ridden, it has stuck around for some time, which is becoming pretty typical lately here in the Midwest.

A big part of my excitement for spring is being in the outdoors a lot more. I enjoy camping at state parks, hiking to see beautiful sights, and being able to walk my dog a lot more often so that he’s not so cooped up in the apartment. Just as well, I’ve sorely missed hanging out on my back porch during nice weather and grilling out, so that’s a huge change to my lifestyle I’ll be welcoming in soon enough.

With those hiking and camping trips comes a bit of planning and packing, though, and one thing I swear by during my trips is taking a few extra packaging supplies. Things like folded up cardboard boxes can be a godsend to lay beneath your sleeping bag if you’re lying on particularly hard ground, but it’s also great when you need a few “compartments” to store some of your things or at least keep them organized and not rolling around the campsite. Versatility is key when you’re on camping adventures, so I like to bring along things that get multiple uses.

Other packaging supplies that come in handy are packing tape and sharpies. First off, I think everyone should have their camping gear labeled with their name and phone number on it in the off chance that weather carries it away while you’re off hiking, canoeing, or foraging around. Just as well, if your buddies have extremely similar gear, it helps to avoid them taking yours and vice versa.

As for the tape, I often find my trash bags getting minor tears in them while I’m on camping trips, oftentimes no thanks to the raccoons. Having some tape to patch them up and keep them useable for the weekend can be quite a useful tool. And if you’ve got any extra food leftover from cooking dinner and want it “bagged up” but don’t have chip clips or rubber bands on the likes, tape can at least reseal it in a very basic fashion to last another day or so.

Ultimately, trips in the great outdoors just require a little bit of planning, a little bit of packing, and a whole lot of ingenuity. Try to think outside the box when bringing items so that you’re covered in a great variety of scenarios in the off chance that something goes wrong or you don’t have the exact tool needed for a situation. You’d be surprised at how versatile a lot of your gear really is!

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Plan Ahead and Organize When Moving

Moving can be quite the stressful task, especially if you’ve got quite the load moving from one house to the next. With that much stuff, it can take a very long time to pack up your belongings at one house, make multiple trips to the new one, unload it all, and finally put away everything. Moving can oftentimes take up to a month to complete if you don’t have enough people helping you throughout the multiple stages of the process.

I’m not overly worried about my move from my apartment to a new house in about a year. Honestly, my girlfriend and I like to live small as it already is, so I can’t imagine having a huge house in the first place to populate all sorts of furniture with. Right now with what we’ve currently got at our apartment, that should only take a day of packing into a trailer or two (that her dad owns, thankfully). From there, it’s just getting it all into the new place. And again, since the house we’ll likely get won’t be much more than 2500 to 3000 square feet, getting it all unpacked and put away and in place with just a few helping hands won’t be overly stressful.

This is what makes it all interesting, though. Without proper planning and the right packaging supplies and cheap moving boxes, well, things take a lot more time to complete. It’s all about efficiency and planning, not how strong your movers are and how many helping hands you have. There is such a thing as having too many people around to help, but there’s no such thing as planning too much ahead and having it all lined out.

If you’re planning a move soon, the number one thing you can do is prepare, organize, and plan. If the phases are laid out clearly, everything is organized and boxed up in their cheap moving boxes beforehand, and the appropriate moving supplies are on hand, well, you won’t be complaining nearly as much had you not prepared, and your anxiety level about the whole ordeal will be much lower.

happy young couple sitting together on sofa and looking away in new house

Don’t wait around until the day you’re moving; get ahead of the task, make sure your movers know the plans, and execute when the time comes. It’s a lot easier to do these things than you think, but it’s just about doing them and getting them done.

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It’s Time to Put All Your Decorations Away

When it comes time to take down the holiday decorations and clean up your place, it can be a daunting task (which is typically why so many of us put off taking down the decor until February). And the longer you put it off, the more you’re not going to want to do it and things will build up. This, then, makes it last even longer until you actually handle putting it all away. It’s almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy.

But man, when you do finally clean house and put everything away for good, it feels really good to have it out of the way.

Just recently my parents came to visit and I realized it was finally time to clean up the place, put everything away, and get all of their decorations packed up. Seriously, just the fact that my mom let us use her decorations for Christmas was all it took for me to finally clean everything up and take stuff down. All because she was coming to visit and would probably like to get her decorations back home and stored away for the year.

And now, my place looks so much better. So much cleaner, more open, and a slightly emptier (which is fine). It’s almost directly impacted my mood, in a way that feels great. I don’t have to stress about packing everything up into storage or putting away all my gifts from the holidays. There’s no more clutter, things are more organized and in order, and now I can relax more once I get home (instead of feeling like there’s this impending sense of cleaning that needs to be done every night I come home from work).

What’s really helped move along the cleaning process is having the appropriate packaging supplies. By having all sorts of cardboard boxes, packaging tape, labels and markers, and other various items, I’ve been able to sort things away a lot easier and bundle like items up to put in the basement. Now, there are not so many things laying around the place scattered and waiting to be stepped on. Instead, they’re in cardboard boxes and labeled so that I know what’s in that box and where it all is.

It goes to show how having some extra packaging supplies on hand at all times makes things like cleaning, shipping, and moving so much easier. Without those things, I feel like I’d still have a clutter in my basement “storage” that isn’t any better than those items were strewn about upstairs.

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Making a Little Cash off of Memorabilia

I find myself having a hard time getting rid of memorabilia that I feel still applies to my life today. While a lot of people don’t want to dispose of or sell old things that have no use anymore (i.e., hoarders), I feel that a lot of my stuff is different in that it really could be used somehow.

Those things in particular are usually CDs and old video games. Rather than toss them, though, I know I could make some petty cash off of my old collection just by hitting up a local resale shop for gaming and music. The problem is that I just feel like I’m going to play some of those games or listen to some of that music at some point.

But, I do realize that it’s a problem considering I don’t own anything that can play CDs or those old video games anymore. So, I’m merely justifying my hoarding by saying they’ll get use at some point. (And I really know that’s not going to happen.)

So instead of having some old, cheap moving boxes full of video games and CDs from the early 2000s, I’d be far better off making an extra hundred dollars and clearing space in my basement for other things that need stored.

I just have a hard time ridding myself of the sort of things I spent doing so much as a teen, I suppose. While the video games definitely won’t get any use, I still think about how the next vehicle I get may have a CD player. In that case, there are tons of great CDs that could be played again.

But who am I kidding? Spotify is king now when it comes to music, and any newer vehicle will have a Bluetooth hookup enabling me to listen to anything I want on demand right away. And since that’s what I’m used to using currently with my truck ever since the CD player died, I can’t imagine I’d want it any other way in a newer vehicle.

So really, this has served as a rant that has convinced me I need to just bite the bullet, gather up everything out of those cheap moving boxes, and sell it all for a small profit. At this point, it’s just money waiting to be claimed. Why would I throw away free money or sit on it indefinitely with no expectations to ever use it? It seems silly and really underscores the problem that so many true hoarders don’t see.

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Having the Right Supplies for V-Day

With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, you’re likely scrambling for gifts for your partner. To be completely honest, well, I haven’t even begun to get anything at all for my girlfriend. If it helps any, though, I can almost guarantee she hasn’t gotten anything for me yet, either.

But no matter. The procrastinators of the world are still people and still end up getting things done, even if it’s last minute.

Whether you’re opting to get your significant other jewelry, alcohol, dinner, a stuffed animal, loads of candy, a gift card, new technology, or tickets to an event, most of those items need some sort of presentation added to the gift itself. So, do you have the packaging supplies and container necessary to gift it up and hand it to them come February 14th?

Bags are personal favorites of mine on “lesser” holidays like V-Day. They just seem more acceptable to give than they would on a birthday or Christmas (i.e., holidays where people may expect a little more effort than simply tossing something in a bag).

But just because you’re opting to use a bag as a container doesn’t mean you can’t at least put a little thought into the packaging itself. Tissue paper works quite well to “seal” up the bag so that it’s not easily peeked into. And don’t forget to include a nice tag with your SO’s name on it. Lastly, make sure you do get a card to include your heartfelt writing within. This can go in or on the package itself once you present it.

As for packaging supplies, tape rests at the top of the list simply because it can be used on bags, cardboard boxes, cards, tags, and so many other things. Grab yourself a solid roll of packing tape the next time you think about it because this will be super useful on any gift-giving holiday.

One last note on how to “do” Valentine’s Day is to go out for dinner. A lot of couples are quite accustomed to eating out often, while others primarily cook dinner at home together. No matter which category you fall under, you should definitely take the opportunity to go out to a nicer restaurant with your partner to celebrate your relationship. No matter how “cheesy” you think the holiday is, it really can be exciting to dress up, get a reservation somewhere, and really enjoy who you’re with for an evening out.

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Preparing for the Wintry Storm

Sometimes during the dead of winter we find ourselves completely and utterly confounded as to how the weather can get so absolutely cold.

And what inspires that thought is the winter vortex that’s about to slam the Midwest.

For the most part, we’re all pretty good about preparing for inclement weather. You know, letting your coworkers know that it’s on the way when you talk about the weather in your everyday small talk. Going out to the grocery to prepare for a few days’ worth of vittles. Heck, you even remember to put your windshield wipers up before the ice takes hold and freezes them solid to the glass.

But boy oh boy, when it all hits, people still lose their minds.

Sometimes you’ll see countless vehicles along the side of the road when making your commute to work. And sometimes, you still see parking lots at grocery stores absolutely jammed back because of all of those people who forgot to stock up beforehand. (And the local liquor store is quite the popular spot during these times.)

It’s the activities you choose to engage in during particularly bad weather that determines your safety, though. If you absolutely insist on going to that event you had planned that’s two hours away, you’re seriously risking your safety all for something that could be done again, even if it means waiting until next year.

Just as well, there are things you could avoid even around your home that don’t require when the snow and ice hits in full force. You don’t need to be walking any more than a couple of minutes, even if it’s “safer” than driving to the store. Frostbite and hypothermia are serious things to humans who forgot their pair of gloves or stay out in the cold for just a few minutes too long.

Rather than be silly and absentminded, you should hole up in your home and do inside activities with your family or friends. Whether you’re playing video games, board games, hosting a marathon, or even partying, do it all within the safety and comfort of your home.

And if you must go out, dive into those old cheap moving boxes you have in your basement that contain your heaviest of winter coats, hats, and gloves. You’ll need them if you’re attempting to brave the elements. Heck, we understand if it means you’re making a quick walk to the local sports bar to watch your team. But bundling up is an understatement when it comes to truly preparing for heavy snow, ice, and seriously cold temperatures.

So like I said, dig into those cheap moving boxes containing your winter gear. We’d prefer you take caution and stay inside, but sometimes there’s not that much to do inside and you really just wanna walk down to someone else’s place that has more going on.

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Retooling and Reorganizing Your Office

Wallflowers, couches, lamps, new desk, comfy office chair, trash can, and the basic office and packaging supplies

Changing up your scenery can heavily boost your mood and productivity. It’s no surprise that people take the opportunity to switch up things in their house often enough to keep them on their feet. Spring cleaning makes you feel good about having a clean and organized house, but when you go to restructure how your living room is set up and finally do it, you’re amazed at how different the same room feels. It gives you new perspective, a new attitude, and a new feeling about your home.

So, doing the same for your office at work should work wonders for those same things, right? Even a simple shuffling of your furniture should help to get you motivated.

With that said, we’ve got a few ideas for you to add, subtract, and shuffle things in your office.


Adding a couch, whether it’s a loveseat, an armchair, or something bigger, should give you a nice “homey” office. While you shouldn’t take advantage of it too often during the day lest you become tired, you allow yourself a comfortable change of perspective in your office from time to time. This will allow you to relax for a few to give yourself a breather. It also can help inspire some creativity in you just because you’re at ease and comfortable enough to let your mind wander.

Candles, oil burners, and wall scents.

No matter which of these you choose to use, giving your office a nice smell allows you to relax and enjoy where you work. You obviously don’t want the smell to be too overpowering, as that can cause a headache and even nausea from too much exposure. Nonetheless, adding any of these can really bring a new atmosphere to your office.

Office and packaging supplies.

What’s a complete office without enough office supplies and other packaging supplies? You’ll obviously want to keep this stuff out of sight and in your drawers or cabinets, but having supplies at the ready when you need them beats the heck out of scrambling and foraging for whatever you can around the workplace. Just make sure you have the essentials (like sharpies, tape, staples, and envelopes) and you’ll be set for a long time to come. Heck, you may even be known as the guy with the supplies for coworkers in a pinch, and they’ll come to appreciate your handiness.

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