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How to Stay Organized on a Cross-Country Move

Any move has the potential for stress, but a cross-country move much more so. There is no practical option to take things slow and move in chunks, or even bring the most important items to your new place in a few loads. However, the good news is that there are numerous things you can do to remain organized on a cross-country move and make the experience as stress-free as possible.

If you’re looking for a guide on how to stay organized, you’ve come to the right place. Read on for our best tips for making this process as painless as possible.


Decluttering always comes first. Image: Kai Pilger

Start organizing early

The most important part of organizing for your cross-country move is to start planning as soon as you can. The moment you realize that you will be moving a long distance, it’s time to start evaluating what items you actually need to keep. It goes without saying that the fewer items you need to move, the less time and effort it will take.

Go through everything in your home categorically, from clothing to kitchenware to furniture. Evaluate what you actually need and then divide everything else into piles to sell or donate. If you start this early enough, you can tackle a different category each weekend and have time to spare.

Once you’ve decluttered, start making a master to-do list with everything that needs to be done before you go. Include things such updating your address with banks and other accounts, updating your voter registration, finding a new doctor and registering your kids for school. Include when each task must be done, as well as who is responsible for it.

pre-move prep

Take care of as much as possible ahead of time. Image: Twelve Stones Designs

Start crossing off tasks as soon as possible

After you have your to-do list in place, start checking off tasks. In many cases, you can cancel your utilities in your old city and set up the new ones before you move. You can also set up a forwarding address with the USPS in a matter of minutes online.

When in doubt, research. If you’re unsure if a task can be tackled ahead of time, ask the internet or a trusted friend. The key here is to shorten your to-do list as much as possible so that you have less to do while going through the hassle of unpacking your new home.


It’s crucial to stay organized while packing. Image: Rawpixel

Pack wisely

As with any move, keep track of which items you should pack last and open first. Ideally, you’ll have one or two boxes labeled “pack last, open first.” These will have essentials like toilet paper, scissors, tape, markers, pens, paper, paper plates and anything else you will need while getting organized.

As for the rest of your items, pack in an organized fashion. As you pack, think about which items belong to which room of your new house and label the boxes accordingly. To make your life even easier, try color-coding each room; this way, you can use colored stickers on your boxes and tell at a glance which box belongs to which room.

When packing, keep in mind which items should always stay with you. This includes all of your important documents and valuables, medications and the clothes you will need immediately before, during and after the move. Put these items to the side or in your car on moving day, so the movers don’t accidentally take them.

cross-country move

Accept help where you can. Image: Jacob Talbot

Reach out for help

Moving cross-country is a huge task. If possible, try to get a friend, family member or significant other to help you. In addition to splitting up the items on your to-do list, see if one of you can go ahead to the new house while the other stays behind.

For this to work, wait until nearly everything is packed. One person can then head to the new home to take care of cleaning and other preliminary tasks. This way, you can guarantee that one person will be at the old home when the movers pack it up, yet someone will also be at the new place by the time the movers arrive. This allows for some breathing room, as the person who stayed behind doesn’t need to rush to beat the movers.

Have we missed any important tips for a cross-country move? What would you add to this list? We’d love to hear your thoughts below.

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The Best Allergy-Friendly Flowers for Your Garden

allergy-friendly flowers

Allergy-friendly flowers make it possible for you to enjoy your garden this summer. Image: Katia Goffin Gardens

Do you feel the urge to sneeze just looking at that picture? You’re not alone. The CDC reports that over 50 million Americans live with allergies. In fact, it’s the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the country. Fortunately, there are still ways to enjoy the outdoors this spring and summer without getting stifled by allergy-aggravating pollen. Plant these six colorful allergy-friendly flowers, and you can enjoy your yard sniffle-free!

allergies - pansy

Pansies are allergy-friendly flowers that are easy to grow. Image: Gardening with Confidence

1. Pansy

Pansies come in a huge range of colors, so they’re ideal if you’re looking to add some eye-catching pops to your garden. While they do create pollen, it’s sticky; as a result, the wind can’t catch it and spread it to you. Not only are these flowers perfect for allergy sufferers, they’re also practical for beginning gardeners. They’re very forgiving, especially when situated in a planting bed. Pansies reward minimal care with long-lasting, vibrant blooms. They can even add color to your food if you’re looking to get adventurous with your salads this summer.

allergies - bougainvillea

Drought-tolerant bougainvillea is also tolerable for allergy sufferers. Image: Secret Gardens

2. Bougainvillea

Adding color to your garden shouldn’t spike your water bill. If you’re looking for drought-tolerant, hardy and allergy-friendly flowers to add vibrancy to your outdoor spaces, look no further than bougainvillea. The vivid pink and orange blooms of the bougainvillea are actually not flowers at all, although they’ll fool your friends and neighbors. The actual flower of the plant is contained within its leaves. Because the real flower is very small, it produces minimal pollen, keeping you comfortable.

allergies - tulips

Spring’s favorite flower is perfect for a sneeze-free garden. Image: Cording Landscape

3. Tulip

It’s surprising that the flower most associated with spring is also one of the least likely to trigger allergies. Tulips’ low pollen count makes them a great addition to your garden. You can even cut the blooms and arrange them inside: Each tulip bulb contains such little pollen that bringing them indoors shouldn’t cause a spike in your symptoms.

However, take note of contact during planting. Some people with allergies have reported a mild rash after handling the flowers for extended periods. Wear gloves to protect yourself.

white begonias

Begonias come in a wide variety of shapes and colors, all with minimal pollen. Image: Veseys

4. Begonia

If you have allergies and shady outdoor spaces, you may feel that owning a bright garden is impossible. However, begonias may be the perfect solution. These allergy-friendly flowers come in a wide range of shade-loving varieties. Some have ruffled petals. Some grow up to two feet high. They can be red, pink, yellow, white, orange or any combination of those colors. No matter which type of begonia you choose, though, you can rest easy that it will shed minimal pollen.

allergies - hydrangea

Large and long-lasting hydrangea blooms won’t trigger your symptoms. Image: Westover Landscape Design

5. Hydrangea

If you’re looking to fill your garden with allergy-friendly flowers that will last most of the year, check out hydrangeas. They stay in bloom from spring to fall. Like begonias, they’re also available in a variety of colors. They thrive in a wide variety of environments — you can find them growing everywhere from North Carolina to Southeast Asia — but always need a good amount of water. Keep your hydrangeas hydrated and they’ll reward you with large blooms.

allergies - roses

Roses are a classic choice for any garden – even if you have allergies. Image: Environmental Design Landscape

6. Rose

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, and even allergy sufferers can confidently inhale the scent of these garden favorites. Roses do create pollen, but the pollen particles are fairly large. As a result, the wind doesn’t pick up much of it, keeping the surrounding airspace safe for people with allergies. If you’d like to give your outdoor space a classic look and keep your symptoms at bay, roses are a great choice.

Allergy sufferers, rejoice! It’s still possible to enjoy a vibrant, flower-covered garden. Choose your blooms wisely and you can surround yourself with color without the need to surround yourself with allergy meds and tissues.

What are your favorite allergy-friendly flowers? Which will you be planting in your garden this summer? We’d love to hear about it in the comments.

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Dazzling Home Makeover With Before And After Photos

Potential can be found in just about any space if you have the eye for it. Inspiration may not strike when you’ve grown up in an unorganised and aging interior, but this dazzling family home makeover reflects the fresh taste of a new generation. This family home was revamped by Simple Interior Design Alliance for the daughter of a writer, sprung from an avid reading family. This writer’s home was filled with books and clutter, and was crying out for a complete redesign. The layout of each area was replanned to maximise light, and the decor received a radical overhaul that included a long overdue installation of organised storage solutions.

Before the remodel, rickety storage made the hallway appear makeshift and overcrowded. The dimensions of the hallway are actually quite spacious, though you’d never have known it surrounded by dingy decor and sagging wiring.

The revamped hall is now a fresh vision of white decor and wooden accents. Four large cupboards are flush fitted where the old open shoe rack used to balance. The ample storage units are white to blend with the walls; they have an open shelf through the middle to show off the depth of space. A white LED strip makes the recessed shelf look light and clean.

All of the old exposed wiring has been hidden in the plasterwork.

Now first impressions of the home are bright and welcoming.

Before the revamp, the living room was a scene of chaos, with bad lighting and ventilation.

The remodel of the living room involved an adjustment of the wall marking the divide between the lounge and the hall, to square off the opening. At the other side, interior doors were removed to make the dining room part of the same continuous living space. The new TV wall decor involved adding plenty of storage space for media items, and to catch other stray belongings. The design was also geared to bring in a feeling of closeness to nature, with an abundance of natural colour, wood grain and leafy accents.

Wooden nesting coffee tables mimic the shape of a crescent moon and a full moon. A decorative vase brings a touch of elegance to the room.

Before the transformation, the dining room was non existent. Bad space planning meant that this area was originally utilised as extra kitchen and utility storage.

The reinstatement of a dining room makes the home appear abundantly more spacious. A cluster of three dining room pendant lights are fixed over the eating area, making it appear as though the table has always been right here. Wood framed sliding glass doors have been installed to allow the kitchen sounds and smells to be screened from the rest of the living area when desired.

A smoked glass pitcher and drinking glasses sit poised on the wooden dining table. A clear window is situated in the study wall opposite the modern dining set, letting borrowed light flow through.

Before the kitchen received its overhaul, the badly aging units were beyond shabby. The so-called decor was a hodgepodge of styles and finishes.

An overspill of kitchen paraphernalia filled two towers of temporary shelving.

Now, the shiny new white and wood kitchen is unrecognisable as the same space. A high spec oven with an integrated extractor hood brings the cooking space bang up to date in technological advancements.

The space that was originally occupied by the old hood is now able to be used in a more practical way, for concealed storage that helps maintain the new level of order and hygiene. A neat spice rack and an indoor herb planter are the only items left out on the countertop.

The kitchen still accommodates a selection of open shelving units but now they are sleek in appearance, with visually pleasing displays.

Before the study was tamed, the books seemed to commandeer the space as their very own!

The packed home library was the product of the girl’s writer father who relished reading. However, the overwhelming book collection also created a breeding ground for other household clutter.

Uniform stacks now crisply populate the study. The calmly organised space is now inviting and conducive to work and concentration.

There is also space for a cosy reading nook, in the shape of a cool bean bag chair and a floor reading lamp on a woven rug island.

A concrete planter introduces greenery to the room.

Before overlaying the new decor scheme, the original positioning of the bed was nostalgically maintained.

The old crown moulding was removed to create a more minimalist bedroom. The same soft grey, white and wood tone colour scheme was brought through from the living area.

The desk chair in the bedroom is a repeat of the dining room chairs, which means that this piece could be called upon if an extra guest comes by for dinner.

On the other side, a bedside unit cradles a indoor house plants here is the Swiss Cheese Plant.

Before this room became a guest room, it was used as a home office.

A sofa bed was selected instead of a fully-fledged bed since this will only be slept in very occasionally. Offering a comfortable place to sit means that this room will receive more use.

Artwork and cute house shaped flameless candles are displayed on a shelf behind the bed. Wall units span the space above the ‘headboard’ shelf.

Before the renovation, the bathroom was a complete disaster. A crazy concoction of storage baskets spilled from an ugly storage rack and childish transfers danced across dated wall tiles.

The visual noise made the crowded room feel uncomfortably narrow.

Matching wooden bathroom cabinets and smooth grey floor tiles make the newly designed room look astonishingly more spacious.

Recommended Reading: Singapore Flat Multifunctional Makeover

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Two Small Apartments: A Blue Oasis of Minimalist Living

These cozy apartments may be small, but they emanate big style with their elegant finishes and multipurpose layouts. All white may work to highlight and expand some smaller spaces, but these humble abodes take small living in a different direction. They are bold, brilliant, and blue. That’s right, blue! Each one is filled with a mix of contrast and color that helps showcase their brilliant design. Would you downsize your life to fit in one of these stunning, multi functional homes? We never thought that you could find everything you need in a 50 sq. meter apartment, but these blue beauties have us thinking twice!

Visualizer: Konstantin Entalcev  

This elegantly executed apartment was created for a young woman as a multi functional space. From a bedroom that transforms in to a living room to a bed that doubles as a projector screen, no space has been wasted in this modern, mini design. And certainly no style has been sacrificed either. Whether it’s dinner for one or a party for ten, this apartment has it covered!

The modern vibe of this small, open-concept design has us in awe. A projector screen that we can see right from the kitchen table? Yes, please! Not to mention that when you’re done, that same screen folds down to create a cozy bed. Just see for yourself in the next photo.

Slide out, glass panels are an ingenious addition to this home’s design. They’re a great way to impart a little separation between the kitchen and bedroom, all while maintaining that open-concept feel.

From contemporary living room to cozy bedroom. This fold down Murphy bed is one to envy with its built-in shelf surroundings and luxurious, navy blue linens.

Pot lights, under cabinet lighting, globe pendant lights, and a large window make sure there is no lack of light here. The small blue living room off to the side looks like the perfect place for a cup of tea and a good book. It is the epitome of cozy, if we’ve ever seen one!

The light wooden countertops and white brick backsplash are the perfect contrast against the navy blue chairs in this eat-in kitchen. Little touches like the bold fruit bowl also don’t go unnoticed in this setup and really help harmonize the space.

A great view of all the natural lighting and the waterfall countertop. Yes, this kitchen may be small, but the layout makes sure that there is still plenty of space to prepare meals. The kitchen island that doubles as extra eating space is perfect for this compact room.

Open cabinetry, large drawers, and more built-in bookcases. Built-ins are such a great way to maintain a modern, clean feel in a home, all while functionally housing and stylishly showing off your book collection.

A pull out, accordion wall to give the bedroom a little bit of privacy. The wall having the same white and wood finish as the cabinetry and countertops helps give an effortless flow between the two rooms. .

From this floor plan we see that there is also a bathroom, walk-in closet, and sitting room. This apartment truly has everything that you could possibly need.

Visualizer: Vadim Ryzhkov & Evgeniya Raskosova  

This contemporary, blue living room is a serene oasis with a minimalistic style that we can’t get enough of. From the Scandinavian modern accent chair, which is the Wegner style shell chair to the unique floor lamp thoughtfully named the Grasshopper, everything comes together beautifully in this space.

Just as we saw in the previous apartment, built-ins are great to create a high style, storage solution. This one is particularly stunning coated in a powder blue finish that helps highlight the rest of the room, all while functionally housing the flatscreen TV.

A couple more views of the cabinet and all of it’s asymmetrical allure. The fact that not all the shelves are open gives it a clean, uncluttered feel, which is exactly what a small living room calls for.

A sneak peek in to the dining room/kitchen. The combo of white, oak, and stainless steel creates a delicious contrast in both texture and color.

The white radiator gives a vintage charm to the room, while the spider-like Serge Mouille style 3 arm lamp adds a bit more of a contemporary vibe. The modern, modular couches are perfect with so many configuration options. Definitely a good choice for a multipurpose home.

The dining table chair combination in this eat-in kitchen is unexpectedly divine. The fact that all four chairs don’t match, adds a quirky touch to the kitchen and helps keep things interesting. And the modern, overhead lighting, is truly the black cherry on top.

The oak wood finish and light flooring being carried out on to the balcony really ties it in with the rest of the home’s airy aesthetic. The unique plant display isn’t only great for homing your favorite greens, but it also doubles as a bit of a privacy panel.

The full wall, flat-panel cabinets in this dreamy blue kitchen are minimalistic, yet make a big impact. The wall oven and counter stove top only add to this sleek, linear design.

The first thing we noticed in this black and white bedroom is the unique swing arm wall lamp in a Flos Mod 265 style . The original is available here.

Black bedding makes a huge impact in this space, contrasting against the white walls, light wood finishes, and white modern swivel chair.

Sure, we would take a 2 second commute from our bed to the office! The built-in desk with side shelving and ample desk space, makes a functional and modern home office. The Serge Mouille style wall lamp is also a great fit for this workspace, since it is both flexible and doesn’t take up any desk space.

There isn’t much color to this home, besides blue, which makes the Eames bird really pop. He might be the cutest co-worker ever!

Simple, sleek, and to the point can be used to describe both the hallway and the bathroom in this humble abode. We see that blue has been carried to this side of the house and thoughtfully accented with a gorgeous marble finish.

A view from above. This really gave us a sense of how each room in this small, but mighty apartment, masterfully fit together. Kudos to visualizers, Vadim Ryzhkov & Evgeniya Raskosova, for creating this stunning home!

Recommended Reading:
30 Blue Living Rooms To Relax The Mind, Body And Soul
30 Beautiful Blue Kitchens To Brighten Your Day

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How to Declutter: 5 Home Clutter Culprits to Fix Before (and After) You Move

If you’re staging your home for sale or have just moved, you probably love the fresh look and feel of a decluttered home. But after some time, life happens and you find yourself accumulating (and overwhelmed by) stuff.

Well, home clutter no more! We’ll show you how to declutter your space by looking at the most common home clutter culprits and how to fix them, before and after your move.

Clutter culprit 1: Crowded kitchen countertops

The biggest home clutter culprit is often the kitchen countertops. Why? Items left here have nowhere to hide and are the first thing you notice. Instead of appreciating the gorgeous and well-thought-out selection of Quartz surface, you see the vitamin collection or stack of bills. Here are some ideas on how to declutter the most visible part of your kitchen for a fresh and open kitchen space.

how to declutter a kitchen

Minimalist farmhouse chic. All items have a place in the cabinets or shelves for an open, expansive feel. Image: Cadence Homes

How to declutter your kitchen:

  • To maximize cabinet and drawer storage, focus on kitchen organization items that store behind closed doors.
  • Avoid overloading the walls, open shelves and pot racks with items.
  • Select smaller countertop appliances that store easily or choose under-cabinet mounted styles.
  • Use attractive boxes and baskets to hold smaller items that must stay on the countertops.
  • Consider creating an appliance “garage” by adding a door that hides appliances when not in use.

Check out how this home conquers kitchen counter clutter:

clutter free kitchen ideas -

The secret to this uncluttered kitchen is all the hidden storage, shown below.

A hidden appliance garage hides small, everyday items and appliances. Corners are tricky to use so the designer installed corner drawers for silverware, spices and more. Images: Flavin Architects

Clutter culprit 2: Crowded, dusty bookcases and shelves

Bookcases are the perfect organizational furniture. Whether you’re living in a small studio or a large home, chances are bookcases or wall shelves are an important element in your home. But over utilizing your bookcases by loading them creates a crowded, cluttered effect. Luckily, there are simple design secrets to maximize your bookcases and shelves — while still displaying your belongings artfully.

how to declutter bookshelves

A collection of strategically placed books, objects and art is displayed on the shelves for an uncluttered look. The walls behind the bookcases are painted an accent color to flow with the room’s design. Image: Hoister

How to declutter your bookshelves:

  • Get rid of anything you haven’t used in more than a year.
  • Sort the bookcase items by size and type. Make piles for books, magazines, decorative objects like vases or photos, and small items.
  • When placing items on a shelf, leave some open space to visually lighten up the shelf.
  • Arrange your books back in your shelves by size or color. Be sure to use no more than half of each shelf for books.
  • Place magazines or smaller items that don’t need to be displayed in decorative boxes and arrange them in the lowest and highest shelves.
  • Place odd-number groupings of your objects like vases, candles or photo frames in the empty space you’ve left next to the books.

Here are some other ideas on how to organize your bookcases or shelves:

how to decorate bookshelves

A quick way to successfully redo your cluttered bookshelves is by organizing items by color. For every three shelves or cubbies you fill, be sure to display a single item in the next one. Image: David Jensen

how to declutter

Colorful orange boxes hide small objects that may add a clutter effect. Remember to leave open space in your shelving layout. Image: Room and Board

Clutter culprit 3: The drop-everything entryway

The entry area might be the busiest place in your home. It’s likely to house a collection of shoes for all seasons, kids’ backpacks, sports equipment and more. A cluttered entry hall makes it harder to find your keys and other things you need in the morning. But with a little planning you can declutter and beautify your entrance, no matter the size.

how to declutter a small space

An open, airy entry area can be created by finding a place for everything. Image: Closetmaid

How to declutter your entryway:

  • Start by adding a small or narrow table, bookcase or bench to hold keys, chargers and other items. One with drawers or doors makes it easier to hide clutter quickly.
  • Identify what items “live” in your entry and add a basket or two to catch them.
  • Add hooks or a coat rack to hold jackets, bags and backpacks.
  • Create a charging station by adding a multi-outlet charger for all your devices.

Here are other ideas for how to declutter and organize your entry:

how to declutter

Homeowners added built-ins to maximize and declutter their entry area. Image: Terracotta Design Build

A bench for getting ready and some hooks are a simple way to organize the entry. Add a large market basket or two as shown to hide smaller items like scarves, chargers or shoes you want to keep handy. Image: Scott Sanders

Clutter culprit 4: Overloaded closets

An overloaded closet creates a couple of problems. It makes getting ready or finding what you need harder than it needs to be. And if you’re closet is overloaded, chances are, some of its contents are lying around the room. At worse, things that can be stored in the closet for a clutter-free home end up in plain view.

One solution to a clutter-free closet is to only hang or display the current season’s clothes and store the other seasons in boxes until needed. Image: Wokai Design

How to declutter a closet:

  • Get rid of everything you haven’t used in the last year. A handy trick involves placing clothes on a hanger on the rod backward. Set the date to check back a year later. Whatever hanger was not pulled out in the last 12 months and still remains backward holds an item you haven’t used and should be considered for donation.
  • Once you’ve edited your closet, consider upgrading to a smart, closet organization system. These systems are usually affordable and make good use of the smallest of spaces.
  • Shelves, baskets, boxes and drawers make better use of space than hanging rods.
  • Box or bag larger or seasonal items and store in the higher shelving area.

This is one of the most organized closets ever. Steal some of these ideas for yours:

clutter-free closet ideas

Plenty of boxes, shelves and drawers hide away items that create a cluttered effect. Color-coordinating the items you can see creates a clean look. Image: California Closets

Clutter culprit 5: A garage where only boxes park

Do you have tons of boxes filled with items you rarely use in your garage? Is there a treadmill or a collection of bikes and sporting goods collecting dust? Do you wish you could actually park your car in your garage? Much like the tips on how to declutter a closet, an organized garage starts with deciding to toss, sell and donate items you rarely use.

garage decluttering ideas

Make the most of the walls in your garage to free up floor space for your car. Image: Closet Innovations

How to organize and declutter a garage:

  • Once you’ve edited your garage items down to the essentials, store them in labeled plastic bins. Cardboard boxes tend to attract critters and don’t stack as easily as plastic bins.
  • If you have many boxes, add a garage shelving system to place them in.
  • Add hooks to hang items like bikes.
  • A pegboard system is a good inexpensive way to hang tools and other items on the wall.

Other ideas to declutter your garage:

garage organization ideas

A pegboard wall can be modular. Use as many panels as you need to hang tools and gardening supplies. Image: Flow Wall

Invest in a garage cabinet system to find a place for everything. Cabinets with doors keep the items from getting dusty and dirty while creating a clean and sleek look. Image: Flow Wall

Take some time to reorganize these five zones and you’ll be living in a clean, clutter-free and organized home — pre- or post-move — in no time!

The post How to Declutter: 5 Home Clutter Culprits to Fix Before (and After) You Move appeared first on

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