Month: July 2017

Real-Life Hobbit House Built in Tomich, Scotland

By Eileen O’Sullivan

Earlier this year, a few photos of Stuart Grant’s enchanting, compact home near Tomich, Scotland found their way onto the internet. Since then, the house has become something of an online sensation. Affectionately referred to as the “Hobbit House” because of its uncanny resemblance to Bilbo Baggins’ (the hero of author J.R.R Tolkien’s The Hobbit) adorable home, Grant’s dwelling is commonly regarded as a superfan’s homage to the Lord of the Rings film series.

Though the house’s circular front door, gorgeous wooden hand-carved artifacts, and overall magical feel are certainly reminiscent of Bilbo’s on-screen abode, owner Stuart Grant explains that he had never seen any of the iconic films when he began building it: “I had not seen the Lord of the Rings or the Hobbit films before I started my project. Those came later. But I’m not aware of them knowing about my house either. It’s all coincidental.”

In fact, the 84-year-old Grant started building his home all the way back in 1984. He had been living in Australia for some time but decided to move back to his native Scotland following a divorce and the onset of a degenerative neuro-immune disease called myalgic encephalomyelitis. He was also broke during this period, stating, “I was living rough. I had a 100 watt bulb, two wooden stools, a camp bed and a gas ring.”

At first, Grant intended to live in a cottage quite close to his Hobbit House’s current location. Instead, he decided to move into that cottage’s shed, which had previously housed a pig, cow, calf, donkey, and even a few chickens. He explains, “It was full of other people’s junk, tools, cement mixers and such like. But it had four walls and a better view than the house so I put a new roof on it.”

That roof is now teeming with vibrant moss, and the walls beneath it have been clad in ivy. In keeping with this natural aesthetic, the home’s circular door has been flanked by a pair of gnarled and twisted tree branches. Inside, you’ll find some intricately painted china, mullioned windows, colorful crocheted quilts, and tables made from the cross sections of tree trunks — all the hallmarks of a fairytale home.

The Hobbit House’s practical use of space only adds to its magical appeal. In the bathroom, you’ll find a washing machine hidden in a nook next to the toilet, which boasts a beautiful design in and of itself. The entire toilet has been encased in wood, and its seat is made from a rough-hewn section of tree trunk. Not a bad place to perch off of when you’re throwing a load of laundry in the washer!

In the yard, you’ll find a greenhouse and a pretty garden with its own pond. Kahlum G, Grant’s nephew and the person who first shared pictures of the house online, claims that his uncle loves receiving guests. That’s good news for anyone who might want to see this 21st-century version of “Bag End” in the flesh.

Grant describes himself as “the luckiest man alive,” and says, “I live in a stunning part of the world, I have a home that looks like the home I had dreamed about and I get by. The fact that even my door looks like the Hobbit doors in the films is… well it is very strange, isn’t it?”

 

 

 

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Amazing 2 Single Beds Room Ideas

Usually two single beds are placed in a shared kids bedroom or a guest bedroom. But instead of just putting the beds separately you can be a little more creative and put them at different angles. And even if you put them in the conventional way you can give attention to the walls, the bedding and other decor factors. If you are in search of some good furniture pieces you can buy them at Gum Tree. So, take a look at different ways to decorate a room with 2 single beds in the best possible way:

1. Put Two Storage Single Beds at An Angle and Add a Corner Shelf for Boosting Storage in a Kids’ Room

 

If both the beds of your kids are storage beds then put them at a right angle and fix in a storage unit in the corner space created between the two.

2. For a Room Shared by Two Girls Do it in Pink and White and Add Canopies to The Beds

Image via: crushculdesac

If your girls are more towards the princess like pink bedroom then decorate it in pastel pink with hints of white and hang canopies for a fairy tale feel.

3. For a Guest Bedroom with Wood Ceiling Accent It with Mint Green Walls,White Beds and a Jute Rug for a Breezy Coastal Feel

Image via: houzz

Coastal decor is always a hit when done in the right way. For example this room that is a pure bliss.

4. For a Room Shared by a Girl and a Boy You Can Mark Their Cute Little Zones

Image via: pottery barn kids , woo home

You can also create zones for your kids by decorating in the tried and tested pink and blue combo.

5. Two Beds and One Long and Cozy Tufted Headboard

 

If you want something in the room that can pull focus then install one long tufted headboard. It will not only amp up the style but will also increase the coziness by many folds.

6. Decorate with a Minimalist Neutral Theme Because Less is More

Image via: carla aston

If you want your room to have subtle tones then decorate with neutrals. They have the prefect balance and thus are not too warm and not too cold.

7. Take Inspiration from Dorm Style and Put The Kids’ Beds Lengthwise

Image via: houzz , houzz

You can take inspiration from a dorm room as well and place the storage beds in a row.

8. Go For a Monochromatic Decor Such as This Serene Green Twin Bedroom

Image via: novate

You can also pick one color and then play with different shades of it in the room like this green bedroom that is just so calm.

9. Decorate with Gray and White and a Beadboard Wall Will Look Just Perfect in Such a Room

Image via: 12 play 4 fun

If you have neutral colored beds for example these gray beds then pair this color with a white wall. But instead of just painting the wall clad it with beadboard.

10. Decorate The Room with Patterns

Image via: houzz

Patterns used in the right proportion always look charming. For example this beautiful girls’ bedroom.

COLOR SPOTLIGHT: BENJAMIN MOORE COVENTRY GRAY

Hi Remodelaholics!  Cyndy here from The Creativity Exchange back with another Color Spotlight.  If you missed my my last post about the most popular black paint colors, you can find that here.

For today’s Color Spotlight, I wanted to highlight one of the most popular mid-toned grays on the market.

 

Benjamin Moore Coventry Gray is an all-star gray that has been extremely popular in the last five years because it’s such a beautiful and versatile color.

Coventry Gray by Benjamin Moore

At first glance just at the paint card, you’re probably thinking Coventry Gray is just another basic gray-nothing special, right?!  Coventry Gray is one of the most versatile mid-toned grays out there because even though it’s a gray, it’s a gray with a lot of depth. Let me just show you!

In spaces with a lot of natural light, Coventry Gray will lean a beautiful shade of blue/gray.

via Matthew Cane Designs

At dusk with a mix of natural and artificial light, Coventry Gray is a stunning and rich slightly warmed gray with slight hint of blue.

 

via CWB Architects

In spaces that do not have a lot of natural light, Coventry Gray will lean more warm gray. A stunning color as well!

 

 

via 12th and White

While Coventry Gray really looks beautiful in almost any light, I think the “sweet spot” is in spaces with a mix of natural and artificial light like this below, where you can really see the richness and beautiful depth of this color.

 

via Benjamin Moore

Coventry Gray is also one the most popular gray cabinetry colors on the market today as well! For great reason, it’s perfection used on cabinets!

 

via Studio McGee

 

 

via Design Manifest

As you can see in the above two cabinetry images, the first image has a lot of natural light, so the color leans a little blue/cooler.  However, in the above kitchen with little natural light, Coventry Gray leans warm gray. I always talk about the sign of a great paint color is if it works well both interior and exterior. As you can see, Coventry Gray looks incredible on the exterior as well!

 

via Driven by Decor

Benjamin Moore Coventry Gray is one of those all-star colors that beautifully works almost anywhere and is a great color to consider!

 

 

Thanks so much for stopping by today and if you’re interested in seeing more beautiful paint colors, I just shared a beautiful new home project that I color consulted on that you can see here on my blog. In that post, I walk readers through our process for choosing paint colors.  You can also find me on Facebook here, where I share lots of paint color inspiration.

Thanks again for stopping by!

Cyndy

Landscaping: 4 Tips to Instantly Improve Your Yard’s Curb Appeal

by Mindy Jensen

 

“Lush landscaping, that’s what sells [houses]. You spend money on trees, and you get it back triple.” –Charlie Munger

The name Charlie Munger may not ring any bells with you, but you’ve probably heard of his business partner, Warren Buffett. Together, they have been making billions of dollars since just about the dawn of time. A little known fact is that Munger made his first million in real estate.

When you buy a house to fix up, you are usually looking at the inside. I drool over the 1970’s and 1980’s kitchens. I don’t think there was an uglier time for interior decorating, and I am oh-so-happy to rip out the old and bring in the new.

My own house was an absolute disaster. The inside was ugly, but the outside was even worse! Horribly overgrown (and some even outright dead) trees and shrubs, patchy scrubby grass and–pièce de résistance–lava rocks. Not the cooler, black-colored lava rocks, the ugly red ones.

Here are a few tried-and-true, easy landscaping ideas that can dramatically alter your home’s appearance.

Landscaping: 4 Tips to Instantly Improve Your Yard’s Curb Appeal

Make a Landscaping Plan

I wanted to keep a unified look in my yard, so I decided on a color scheme–pink and purple because I have two daughters. I went to the lawn and garden department of the big box home improvement stores and found a lot of plants to fit my theme.

Go Vertical

My yard is about 2-1/2 feet above the sidewalk and surrounded by a rock-and-cement wall, which is actually prettier than it sounds. But once I cut away all the dead, dying and overgrown original landscaping  (much of which couldn’t be saved because they were Junipers that cannot be trimmed), I was left with a fairly bare canvas. I wanted to keep some grass, but not very much.

I outlined the front yard with a wavy-edged border to keep it interesting. Next, I added height by filling in the border with mounds of dirt. I covered the whole thing with landscape fabric to try and keep out the weeds, then I placed all my newly purchased plants around the yard to make sure I liked how it looked before I dug holes in the wrong spot.

Use Lots of Color

I live in Colorado. A common misconception about Colorado is that it snows all the time. We are actually a high desert, which means very little precipitation. In order to conserve water, I xeriscaped my property—landscaping that uses little or no water.

I was not very excited to do this at first. I thought I would be stuck with unattractive brown grasses and other plants without flowers, but I found some gorgeous greenery for my yard that is absolutely blooming with color.

My favorite is the Salvia. It bushes out with vivid green leaves and tall stalks of violet flowers. The plants attract bees and hummingbirds to make your yard positively hum.

 

Another favorite are Snapdragons. They come in almost any color you could imagine and produce copious amounts of blooms.

 

Imagine my surprise when I found a purple ornamental grass called Purple Fountain Grass. Of course I bought them, but instead of just winging it, I actually read the instructions for planting them. The teeny plants I bought said to plant them 3 feet apart. I did, but thought they looked silly spaced so far out. I’m really glad I followed directions because these guys got HUGE by the middle of the season!

 

Perennial Favorites and Other Tips

Another thing to think about is how much time you want to spend digging in the dirt every year. While I enjoyed making my yard look great, I was ecstatic when I was finished. I certainly didn’t want to do this amount of work every year. I purchased mostly perennials–plants that come back year after year. I do supplement with annuals  (the ones you have to plant every spring), but my yard is mostly filled with plants I only have to plant one time.

Find plants that do well in your neck of the woods. Advice is only as far as a Google search away. Most state universities have extension programs to help guide you to native plants.

If you want to save even more money, start a bit earlier in the season from seed. Seed packs are far less expensive than plants.

Walk around your neighborhood for ideas. I am not a landscape designer, and I am new to the area. My family takes nightly walks through the neighborhood, and we brought our cameras with us to take pictures of favorite plants. A quick consult with the local nursery told us about the plants and their water needs and matched them up with our general landscape design. The results speak for themselves.

before-after

Our Yard Looks Great, Now How About You?

My house is located in the middle of my street. We have been extensively remodeling it for the last two years. People walk down my street all the time and whenever I am out, I am showered with compliments about the house in general and the landscaping specifically.

I only spent about $700 to landscape the whole property, but I have easily added three times that in value.

[Editor’s Note: We are republishing this article to help out our newer readers.]

What is your favorite plant to add to your landscape? What landscaping tips would you add?

How to Save Money

Confession time – I’m a natural spender. I always knew that I should save money, but I never knew how to save money. My idea of saving money was getting something on sale. Sure I spent $25 that I probably didn’t need to, but I “saved” $75!!

 

In order to get our finances in order and get our debt paid off, I had to go from being a spender to learning how to save money. This transition is not always easy, but here are 5 simple things that you can do to start saving money.

1. Save Your Raise:

Any extra money that you receive that you’re not used to living on, save it before you spend it. This can include any bonus or overtime pay, raises, and tax refunds. Before it disappears and you have no idea what happened to it, put those extra dollars into a high-interest savings account.

 

2. Save Your Spare Change:

Every day or at the end of the week, empty your pockets or coin pouch into a jar and watch the savings grow. Since we use cash for most of our daily purchases, our change adds up quickly. In 2016 we accumulated $160 in loose change which was used to purchase the gifts for our two daughter’s Christmas stockings. Not a bad way to use those coins that would normally weigh down your wallet.

 

3. 52-Week Challenge:

If you’ve spent even a minute on Pinterest, than you’ve probably seen this savings trick. The idea is that every week you save a predetermined amount of money. You start by setting aside $1 on week one, $2 on week two, so that by the time you get to the last week, you’re saving $52. Follow this and when the year is up, you will have saved $1,378.00. There are many savings challenges out there depending on what your goal amount is, and the reason why they work is because the savings goal for each week is a manageable amount therefore making it easier to stick with.

 

4. Pay Yourself First:

Another way to save money automatically is to pay yourself first. If you have your paycheck directly deposited, talk to your Human Resources department and see if they are able to split the deposit so that you have money deposited into your savings account with each pay. You can determine how much you would like sent into your savings. It could be $25, $50, or even 10% of your earnings. Since it’s being put into your savings account right away, you’ll be sure to save it before you can spend it.

 

5. Have a Spending Plan (aka The Budget):

This is the biggest money saver of them all. Set up a monthly budget where you list your monthly income that is expected and deduct the various expenses that will need to come out. From the remaining amount you can determine how much you would like to set aside into savings.

No matter what method or methods you use to save money, the trick is to make sure that you are consistent and stick with it. Happy Saving!!

 

Your Turn!

  • What do you do to make sure that you are saving money each month?

9 Clever Landscaping Hacks for Your Best-Ever Yard

Kill Weeds with Boiling Water

For an all-natural and virtually free way to kill weeds, all you need are a few kitchen basics. Fill a pot with water, bring it to a boil, then dump the water on any offending plants—the piping hot liquid will kill them instantly. This trick works especially well for weeds that pop up in cracks or joints on the patio or driveway, because the hot water could harm neighboring plants, but it won’t hurt the surrounding hardscape.

 

Use Fake Turf to Deter Dogs

Because pets use the lawn as a playground and bathroom, dog owners often end up with torn-up grass with patchy brown spots. But you can have a gorgeous lawn and keep your best friend happy too if you install lush-looking artificial grass in place of the real stuff. The turf will deter dogs from digging, conceal their bathroom area, and prevent them from tracking mud into the house. As an added bonus, homeowners with artificial grass never need to mow the lawn!

 

Plant Over a Septic Tank

Septic tank covers can be a real eyesore in a garden. Instead of ignoring the sewage necessity, try covering it with layer of mulch and beautiful flowers. Homeowners can easily sweep the mulch out of the way to access the tank, and nobody will know what lies beneath the landscaping.

 

 

Use Bulbs to Create Year-Round Color

Many flowering plants have brief bloom times, and some perennials have surprisingly short lifespans, so if you want constant color in your garden, you need to plant vibrant annuals or switch out perennials regularly. For a low-maintenance alternative, plant a mix of flowering bulbs, such as snowdrops and lilies, that bloom at different times. If you rely on bulbs, you’ll have to plant only once each year, and your garden will look great from spring to fall.

Prevent Flooding with a Rain Garden

Surfaces that don’t absorb rainwater, such as streets, sidewalks, and rooftops, can cause water to collect and pool, leading to flooding. You can capture the water runoff and return it to the environment by creating a rain garden, a depressed area in your yard planted with a mix of perennials and native plants. Rainwater will flow toward the garden, where it will nurture the plants and drain into the soil.

 

Fill Your Flower Bed with Pots

To pack your garden with color year-round, purchase pots and fill them with flowers that have different bloom times. Place the pots with blossoming plantsfront and center in your garden. As the season progresses, move the pots around to make the most of the flowers, and swap out pots when necessary.

 

 

Edge a Garden with Pine Board

Giving your garden a well-defined edge keeps things tidy and instantly increases curb appeal, but stone borders are expensive, and flexible plastic edging can be unattractive. A wooden border is a great compromise: Pretreated pine boards are readily available, inexpensive, and easy to cut. Simply outline the perimeter of the garden bed with a shovel or spade, then wedge in lengths of wood to create the edge.

 

 

Pack Planters with Peanuts

Although large, dramatic planters and pots pack a punch in any landscape, they can become inconveniently heavy when filled with soil. Fortunately, most plants don’t actually need that much soil to take root, so you can lighten the load by filling the containers halfway with packing peanuts before adding the soil. The planters will be easier to move around, and you’ll save money on soil to boot.

 

Plant Ground Covers on a Slope

Maintaining a steeply sloped section of lawn can be tricky, because it can be tough to mow and can easily erode from exposure to wind and water. Structural solutions like retaining walls or terracing can be expensive, and most plants don’t grow deep roots fast enough to control erosion. As a solution, try planting ground covers like English ivy, periwinkle, or dead nettle, all of which grow quickly and densely, making them ideal for holding the soil in place.

 

10 Reasons to Get a Fire Pit

On the fence about adding one? Find out the benefits and which type is right for you

By Laura Gaskill

Photo by Michael Prokopchak, ASLA – Discover patio design inspiration

1. Fire pits are crowd-pleasers. Lighting up a fire is a natural way to create a focal point at an outdoor gathering. Whether it’s the hypnotic dancing flames or some sort of primal memory, the fact is that people love to gather around fire. And if you’re looking for an excuse to invite people, all you need to say is “We’re lighting up the fire pit tonight. Want to come over?”

 

Photo by Michael Tebb Design – Look for landscape design inspiration

2. A fire pit doesn’t have to be wood-burning. Wood fires are glorious, and in the right conditions, a wood-burning fire pit can be the perfect backyard addition. But if you have close neighbors or live in an area with restrictions on wood burning, you’re not out of luck. Just make yours a gas or propane model instead of wood-burning.

 

Photo by Urban Oasis – Browse patio ideas

Fire Pit Fuel Options

Wood Fire Pit

  • Pros: Wood-burning fire pits are straightforward to build, with many options available at all price points. If you’re DIY-savvy, you can even build your own.
  • Cons: Wood fires contribute to air pollution, and their use is banned or restricted in some areas. Sparks flying out of the pit can also increase fire dangers; using a protective screen can help minimize this risk.

Natural Gas Fire Pit

  • Pros: Lighting the fire in a gas fire pit is as easy as flipping a switch, which may mean you use it more often. Gas fire pits can often be installed where wood fire pits cannot, such as on decks.
  • Cons: Installation is more expensive and is dependent on being able to connect to an underground natural gas line. Once installed, you cannot move the fire pit.

Propane Fire Pit

  • Pros: Like natural gas, a propane-burning fire pit is quick and easy to light. Some propane fire pits are free-standing and can be moved easily.
  • Cons: You will need to monitor propane levels and haul the (heavy) canister back and forth to the store regularly for refills. Some (but certainly not all) propane fire pits look a bit clunky. It’s not easy to hide a bulky propane tank, and some pits do this better than others.

 

Photo by Outdoor Dreams – Browse patio photos

3. A fire pit lights up the night. All the fancy landscape lighting in the world can’t compete with the flickering blaze of a real fire. Use the warm light emanating from your fire pit to light up a far corner of your yard without having to fuss with electricity.

 

Photo by Tierney Conner Design Studio – Browse patio ideas

4. A fire pit can work in spaces both large and small. Even a compact urban yard or patio can handle a fire pit. In fact, it’s sure to become the centerpiece of a small yard. In a large yard, sprawl out with a big fire pit surrounded by bench seating for a crowd.

 

Photo by Urrutia Design – Discover patio design ideas

5. A fire pit is an outdoor feature you can use year-round. You would be hard pressed to find a backyard feature as versatile as the fire pit. In the summer, roast s’mores by starlight. In fall and winter, wrap yourself in a thick blanket and sip hot cider or cocoa while gathered with friends and family around the cozy blaze.

 

Photo by Hsu McCullough – Browse patio photos

6. A fire pit creates a cozy atmosphere for two. Fire pits aren’t just good for parties, they are equally suited to romantic nights for two. You may be tempted to skip the wine bar when you can sip vino beside the fire in your own backyard as stars twinkle overhead.

 

Photo by Maric Homes – Discover patio design inspiration

7. Fire pits are available at all price points. From simple fire bowls and DIY projects to elaborate custom designs with built-in bench seating, there is sure to be a fire pit that fits your budget. Whichever style you choose, don’t skimp on safety, and be sure to place the fire pit on a nonflammable surface.

 

 

Photo by Michael Kelley Photography – Discover landscape design inspiration

Fire Pit Safety Tips

  • Fire pits should be at least 10 feet from your home or other structures. Some city and county codes may require an even greater distance, so be sure to check before you build.
  • Don’t place a fire pit beneath a tree or overhang.
  • Don’t burn on “spare the air” days if these are used in your area.
  • Don’t put a wood-burning fire pit on a deck. A gas fire pit won’t send out dangerous sparks, making it the safer choice.
  • Educate your kids about fire safety, and always supervise children around an open flame, even when you’re sure they know the rules.
  • Keep a container of water, a hose, a fire extinguisher or all three on hand whenever you light up the fire pit.

 

Photo by Design by Misha – Browse landscape photos

8. You can even use a fire pit to make dinner. Make a backyard campout feel even more authentic by cooking dinner over the open flames. Cooking over a gas fire pit is not advised, but if you have a wood fire pit, you’ve got options: Place a grill rack over the fire to cook above the flames, or wrap up foil packets and tuck them among the coals. Then pull up a seat and dig in. Food always tastes better outside!

9. And, of course, a fire pit is perfect for s’mores. Kids (and kids-at-heart) know that making s’mores is one of life’s great pleasures. With a fire pit in your own backyard, why not make every Friday night s’mores night?

 

Photo by Ward-Young Architecture & Planning – Truckee, CA – Browse patio photos

10. A fire pit may help you sell your home. According to a recent Houzz survey, fire pits are among the three most popular backyard additions by renovating homeowners. In other words, fire pits are hot. Having an attractive and well-maintained fire pit in your yard could give your home an edge if you decide to sell. But once you have that cool new fire pit, you probably won’t ever want to leave.

 

 

The Debt-Free Move

Looking at a big move in your future? Here’s how to minimize debt in the process.

by Chris Sirico

 

 

No matter how you slice it, moving is expensive. The American Moving and Storage Association estimates that the average in-state move cost around $2,300 (and that number increases to $4,300 for a state-to-state move.) But with careful budgeting, research, and a little elbow grease, it’s possible to execute a move without racking up tons of debt. This guide will help you think through the costs you’ll face and how to minimize them as you plan for your move. We’ll cover when to use professional help, planning for the day-of, getting settled in and avoiding financial pitfalls along the way.

Contents

Planning Your Move
Selling Your Old Stuff
When to Hire Help
U-Haul or…? Options for Bulky Items
Case Study: Baltimore to Chicago
Practical Packing Tips
Moving In

Planning Your Move

You’ll be better able to control expenses if you can begin planning weeks or months in advance. Here are some things to consider as you build a moving checklist.

Negotiate an Employer-Paid Move

If you’re moving for work, ask your employer about covering your relocation expenses. You may also be able to negotiate a reimbursed move if your current employer transfers you to a new city. An employer-sponsored move could include container rental, storage, shipping, travel and petty cash.

Save Receipts for a Tax Deduction

You might be eligible for a tax deduction if you are moving for work but your employer isn’t covering the cost. This could be one of the biggest ways to recoup some of your moving expense. Read more on the IRS website.

Move Off-Season

About 60% of moves occur June through October, according to a US Census report.The cost of movers, rental companies and even housing can increase during this peak season. Move during the cooler months to use the law of supply and demand to your advantage.

Minimize Storage and Time Off

Try to avoid relying on renting storage for your things. While you may need a few days (or weeks) of storage, an early start and a little creativity can help minimize this cost. Be sure to sell, donate and toss the things you won’t keep before moving your stuff into storage.

You will need to take some downtime from work, but a head start can help minimize the cost of those lost wages. Chip away at your pre-move tasks a little at a time. Once you’ve moved, give yourself a couple days to get the basics unpacked in the new place, but get back to work as soon as practical.

Moving While Selling and Moving Quickly

Your priorities might shift depending on your circumstances. It makes more sense to pay for storage if you’re showing your house while preparing for a move. It may also make more sense to pay for professional moving services if you need to move in a hurry.

Consider a Balance Transfer Card

If your move will cost more than the cash you have on-hand, you’ll need a plan to keep that debt from costing you even more in interest. Hopefully a costly move brings better financial prospects. But if you need a little time to pay off your moving debt, you might look into a balance transfer credit card.

Balance transfer cards offer attractive terms for those looking to transfer a balance from another credit card. Balance transfer cards usually have 12-, 15- or even 18-month introductory periods with 0% APR. Some also include cash back or other rewards programs you’ll appreciate even after you’ve paid off your balance.

Subscriptions and Services

Don’t forget to cancel your gym membership, cable and utilities. You can forward your mail online ahead of time, but you’ll also need to update financial accounts, online retail accounts and magazine subscriptions.

Get a Tune-Up

The last thing you need during a big move is an automotive breakdown, which could result in very costly repairs on top of your moving expenses. Make sure your vehicle is up-to-date on regular maintenance: oil, fluids, tire pressure and parts replacement. Be sure you have a spare tire with sufficient air pressure, too.

Include Extra Time and Cash for Emergencies

Don’t plan to move in a half day, especially if you’ve hired movers to load your belongings. It’s bad moving etiquette not to be available for the duration of the work.

Think it’ll take 3 days to move? Give yourself 5. The hardest part of planning a move is the unknown unknowns. Be sure to build in some margin for error. There are bound to be a few wrinkles, and moving is stressful enough without feeling like you’re in a time crunch.

Note that these prices are seasonal and show just one example of how these services might compare. Quotes will vary by provider, moving distance, location, dates, and other factors.

The same is true for the cost of your move—it’s likely to cost more than you expect. Have access to cash in case you need more transport capacity, storage time or another emergency solution. It’s normal for unforeseen expenses to pop up. Count on them ahead of time, and you’ll be able to face them more calmly when they do arise.

Pack a Lunch (and a Tent)

A family can spend hundreds on meals and accommodations during a long move. Fortunately, you can take advantage of the occasion to enjoy a few nice picnics and a night under the stars. Pack a cooler of groceries for your drive: sandwich items, fruits, veggies and bottled water are cheaper, healthier alternatives to highway restaurants.

If you’re not afraid of roughing it, a campground can be less expensive than a hotel. My family always looked for KOA exit signs when traveling cross-country.

Selling Your Old Stuff

Start unloading unwanted items by selling online. Sell high-quality clothing at a consignment store or used clothing boutique. Sell or trade in unwanted books at a used bookstore. Use your imagination.

Don’t overlook your own friend base when selling your stuff. Use social media to post about your moving sale and any big items you’re looking to part with. Sell other items in a moving sale that you can promote with signs, social media and a Craigslist ad.

eBay is a great tool for selling small, high-value specialty items. Think of what might not find a fair price on Craigslist—electronics, musical instruments, hobby gear, specialty clothing, or accessories—and list those things.

Of course, there will be some items that don’t sell. Save the unwanted clothes; they’re handy for use as cleaning rags or packing materials when you move out. But donate other items to a thrift store. (Tip: be sure to fill out your donation receipt so you can take a tax deduction on the value of your charitable donation.)

When to Hire Help

How Much Stuff Do You Have?

The scope of the job, the time required, the number of large items, and the type of vehicle needed will all depend on the size of your household. If you’re moving with a lot of stuff – especially several big-ticket items – hiring professionals to transport your belongings safely can pay off.

A DIY Move Isn’t Free

It’s also important to remember that a DIY move isn’t free. You may face fewer out-of-pocket costs, but you’ll still have to spend your own time moving. You’ll have to pay for packing materials, fuel and rentals separately. When you do the work yourself, you also take on the risk of property damage—or worse—injury.

If you plan to enlist friends to help you move, you’ll probably want to at least feed them lunch as a courtesy for their help. Pizza might cost less than the $120–$200 per hour you’ll pay a four-person moving team, but it’s not free.

You Have Options—Hire Professionals for Packing, Loading or Transport

You can hire professionals for packing, loading, transport, or any combination of the three. Professional movers will pay for (or have insurance that will cover) broken items that they packed, loaded and shipped. (See the section on movers insurance below for more information.)

What If Something Gets Broken?

Renter’s insurance may cover damage when moving. It’s worth checking your coverage if you have it. Professional movers usually have a base level of insurance, but it might not be enough to cover damages to big-ticket items. If you’re concerned about loss, consider buying additional movers insurance. (The best insurance, though, is proper packing.)

U-Haul or…? Options for Bulky Items

Sell It!

If you ask a frequent mover how they move cheaply, there is one tip they’re almost sure to share: sell as much of your furniture as possible and replace it in your new city. Only ship furniture and bulky items with sentimental value. Sell and rebuy items from discount retailers like IKEA—they’re cheaper to rebuy than to haul, and they might break in transit.

Friend with a Truck

Let’s say you’re moving a short distance. If you’re like me, your first thought is, “Who do I know that has a pickup truck?” These people are born helpers, bless their hearts. I know pickup drivers who really enjoy helping people move, even if they do get asked a lot. So go for it! Just know there are other options if your truck-owning friends turn you down.

Rent a Pickup

You can rent a flat-bed pickup truck from a home improvement store for less than $30 a day. That’s less than a few cases of limited-edition craft beer you might buy to bribe a buddy. A rental’s truck bed is more spacious than the average pickup, too. A pickup rental is a great option for a one-day, in-town move.

Strap It on Top

I’ve moved mattresses, bed frames, bookshelves and dressers with nothing more than a midsize sedan, a moving blanket and some hauling straps. A set of 4 straps is about $10, and they’ll come in handy for years after your move.

Make sure you know how to use your straps. Get that item tightly secured, and give a couple tugs to make sure it can’t slide backward. Mattresses like to bend upward when they catch wind. To avoid this, strap them down near the front through your front windows and towards the back through your rear windows. (Then you get to hop in through the window like Mario Andretti.)

Rent a Moving Truck

If you do have a lot of furniture that you’d like to hold on to, a rental moving truck might be your default option. Shipping or truck rental is likely to be your single greatest moving expense, so do some comparison shopping before you choose. Factor in the fuel you’ll buy (with mileage as low as 6 mpg highway) and any per-mile cost the provider charges. It is usually possible to tow a car behind a moving truck if you’re moving solo.

Ship a Moving Container

Services like PODS, U-Box and U-Pack are transportation-included moving solutions that deliver a container that you pack. Pricing varies based on the packing volume needed and the distance you’re moving. These services tend to land in a price range at, or above, that of a moving truck rental (see case study below). But you might find that they hit the sweet spot for a small load of furniture that wouldn’t fill a moving truck. Container shippers do include fuel cost in the price. They also tend to offer storage, which might be helpful if you’re dealing with tricky logistics.

Ship with Amtrak

If you’re willing to try an adventurous method to save on moving, consider using Amtrak. You can ship up to 500 pounds of stuff per day, and it costs about 50 cents per pound. That could be a significant savings over traditional methods, but there are guidelines and some damage risk.

Amtrak’s basic shipping guidelines require shipments be in boxes 3′ X 3′ or smaller that weigh 50 pounds or less. Amtrak also ships bicycles, and some stations can ship fully-packed palettes and other large items.

Case Study: Baltimore to Chicago

Here are some quotes from container and truck rental providers for a hypothetical move from Baltimore to Chicago, a state-to-state move of 700 miles. These are summertime prices (peak season) quoted a week out from the beginning of a weekend move (peak days and non-ideal lead time). Bear in mind that this is a worst-case scenario in terms of pricing. Since each container is a different size, estimates are based on enough storage for a 3-bedroom house as defined by each company.

Averages are for illustrative purposes only, based on data from the American Moving & Storage Association Industry Fact Sheet using an average household moving load of 7400 pounds. Costs for all services will vary by location, service provider, size of household and season.

Details

PODS – $2791
(8′ X 8′ X 16′ box; includes transit and 30-day storage)

U-Pack Trailer – $1775
(using 17 linear feet X 8′ X 9′)

U-Box – $2350
(5 boxes; 7’6″ X 8′ X 5′)

U-Haul 26′ Truck – $2443 total ($2009 for Sunday pickup)
(maximum length, 26′ X 7’3″ X 6’10”)
$2170 (but down to $1736 for a Sunday pickup)
+ $273 Gas (6 mpg at $2.40/gal)

Penske 26′ Truck – $2195 total ($1964 AAA rate)
(maximum length, 26′ X 8′ X 8′)
$1922 ($1691 with 12% AAA discount)
+ $273 Gas (6 mpg at $2.40/gal)

Practical Packing Tips

You’ll set yourself back if you have to replace furniture you didn’t take the time to disassemble, glassware you didn’t pad, or a flat-screen TV you loaded loose into a shipping vessel.

Collect used boxes from a grocery store to save on packing material, but ensure each box is strong enough for its contents. Save unwanted clothes and gather newspaper for padding.

There are some packing materials you shouldn’t skimp on. Stock up on furniture pads, moving blankets, and stretch wrap. Get more than you think you’ll need. These tools are a physical insurance policy for your belongings—the short-term expense will prevent expensive replacement costs later.

Don’t wait until the last minute to start packing. Sort through and organize your possessions in the weeks leading up to your move. You’ll have less to pack and load if you can eliminate unused possessions by selling or donating them. You can also ease the days before your move by packing rarely-used items early. Check your attic, basement, shed, and closets to see what you can do without for a couple weeks.

Make sure you fit belongings securely into your truck and within each container. Jostling can cause objects to shift, fall or crush in transit. Bundle items in large groups. First pad with moving blankets or furniture pads between objects and on the outside of the bundle, then fasten everything together with stretch wrap. Secure packing is particularly important if you’re using Amtrak or a container service like U-Pack or U-Box.

 

Moving In and Paying Off

The job isn’t over as soon as you pull in to your new place, and neither are the expenses. Take these steps to make your new life on the other side of your move as affordable as possible.

Ask Around

Your realtor is a great resource in shopping for all the services you’ll need in your new place: TV, electricity, doctors, etc. They’ll be familiar with the area and can probably give you a rundown of popular options.

While you’re at it, make friends with your new coworkers and neighbors. They can point you to the best value at stores, gyms, nightlife and other pastimes in your new neighborhood. Maybe there’s a great park or dollar theater out there. Find out by asking around.

Unpack ASAP

There are a couple of reasons to get your new place set up quickly. For one, you’ll be less tempted to eat out if you have a fully stocked kitchen and a comfortable place to eat. For another, you won’t end up re-buying household items that are tucked away in boxes stacked in your garage.

Re-Buy Housewares and Furnishings on the Cheap

New home, new stuff, right? Maybe not. You can save money on the tail end of your move by shopping judiciously for the things you’ll need. Look for essentials at dollar stores and thrift stores. Check Craigslist for furniture before you visit retail stores. You can always add the bigger, nicer items later.

Space out Home Improvement Projects

No home really feels like home until you’ve added your own personal touch, but the cost of home improvement projects can add up quickly. The key is to prioritize what needs to be done immediately and what can wait. By all means, fix that roof leak to prevent greater expense in the future. The covered patio, however, should probably wait until you’ve paid off the cost of the move itself.

Think through your move ahead of time. Lighten your load by selling and donating possessions. A little creativity and comparison shopping can go a long way to save you money.