Thursday, March 14, 2013

5 Items You Should Never Buy Used

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Buying many of the objects you want and need used can save you a ton of money. You can buy amazing things for a fraction of the price you would have paid if you had bought it new. With that being said, there should be no reason you would buy anything new, right? Well, not necessarily; there are certain things you should never buy used. 

Never Buy These Used

1. Mattresses: Let’s face it people, we live in a world that is full of bugs. Some of these bugs serve an important purpose. Bed bugs are not one of them. They infest these mattresses, and once you bring them into your home, these nasty little critters will be everywhere. They are disgusting little parasitic insects that feed off of human blood. They leave little itchy bite marks and are incredibly difficult to get rid of. Yes, you may save a pretty penny buying a mattress used, but think about the expensive bill you’ll wrack up getting rid of bed bugs if you get them. 

2. Hats: Hats and other head attire may look cool inside a second hand shop, but be cautious! It’s worth repeating, we live in a world that is full of bugs! You don’t know the person who owned the hat before you. They could’ve had lice. These little suckers are also fairly difficult to get rid of. If you do buy a hat infested with lice, getting rid of them requires pesticide treatments on everyone in the household, not just the person who wore the hat. You will also have to thoroughly clean linens, bedding, clothes, mattresses,  and any other soft fabric in the house. This can be time consuming and costly. So, save yourself some money and avoid hats!

3. Vacuums: Cleaning and tidying up is tedious and your cleaning supplies can take quite a beating. Vacuums are often pressed against the wall, and the pieces, like belts and bags can get broken easily. It can be a hassle to find the right parts to replace the old. On top of that, vacuums are designed to suck up dirt from rugs. If the previous owner had bed bugs or lice, guess what’s being sucked up into the vacuum? You guessed it, those nasty creepy crawlers. 

4. Swimsuits: Swimsuits are designed to hug the body and fit fairly snug. With that being said, this close contact between the skin and the fabric can transmit bacteria and other diseases. Swimsuits come with special washing instructions. If the instructions weren’t followed properly, that could leave the fabric fragile and lead to rips. 

5. Stuffed Animals: Children love their stuffed animals, and many bring their favorite teddy with them everywhere. Now, imagine all of the places Teddy goes with their child. They are placed on various surfaces, with dirt, bacteria, and gooey substances ending up on Teddy. Washing stuffed animals can get rid of a lot of the baggage that it has collected, but again, it won’t get rid of bugs! Lice and bed bugs love stuffed animals, so be careful!

Hopefully this list of the top 5 items you should never buy used is helpful. It could potentially save you hundreds of dollars. Do you honestly want to risk buying something that could be infested? Just thinking about it gives you the heebie jeebies. 
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Buying Second Hand Items

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Are you interested in buying something new? Maybe you need something, like a new car seat for your child, or a textbook for college. Surely, you’ve questioned how much these objects are going to cost you, but have you thought about how much you would save if you bought many of your items second hand?

We live in a culture that is constantly seeking the newest and most updated version of everything. So, what happens when someone gets bored of their designer shirt after wearing it three times? They most likely donate it to a second hand or thrift shop where it will be marked down and sold. There’s a type of stigma surrounding second hand shops, like they’re dirty and only for poor people. This mindset needs to change! Of course, there are some things you should never buy second hand, like a bed for example, but there are many things you can buy that will save you a ton of money and you won’t miss out. 

Examples of Items Worth Buying Used

Second hand cars: are a very popular purchase. However, you do have to be careful, since there are some bad apples. Make sure you get it inspected before buying it, and if at all possible ask for a vehicle history report, like CarFax. This can save you a lot of money, and you can get a reliable car in the process. 
Books: are also a steal when you buy them second hand. There really isn’t a reason why you shouldn’t buy your books used if you can. In the case of textbooks, most of the used books are in pretty good shape, since they’re normally only used for one semester. The price difference is amazing for a new textbook and a gently used one. Think about it!
Sports and Exercise Equipment: aren’t used as much as people initially intend and often people decide to discard of them. Weights don’t go bad, and as long as the equipment has all the pieces, it’s normally very sturdy and useful. 

Furniture: is often a great bargain when you find it used. Just be careful, and cautious of potential hazards, like bed bugs. If you find the right piece of furniture at the right price, you can save yourself hundreds of dollars. People also go hunting for antique items or unique items at second hand shops. As the saying goes, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure!”

Jewelry: can also be a great bargain. Diamonds are forever, right? Gold and silver never tarnish, and you can find some great pieces that will bring you joy for years. Why would you want to go to a high-end jewelry store before checking second hand shops? You might find something you love and you’ll pay a fraction of the price!

Baby Gear: is only used for a short time, babies are constantly growing, and outgrowing their clothes, toys, and furniture. You can find some really cute clothes for your little one at a second hand shop, and since you know they’re only going to fit into them for a short while, you can feel more easy buying clothes at a cheaper price. 

Other items you can buy used and save a ton of money include clothes, tools, electronics, movies and games, and dish ware. You can save thousands of dollars by buying used. Let the other people make the initial purchase, let them spend a ridiculous amount of money, and when they’re through with it, you’ll be there reaping all of the benefits; money still in your pocket!
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The 'Open Me First' Box

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Staying organized during the moving process can be tricky. There are so many small things to keep in mind, and it can be overwhelming. You would think that it would be so much easier if you could just throw all of your stuff into boxes, tape them up, and send them away. However, unpacking all of that mess would be a nightmare!

Moving can be exhausting, and packing and unpacking can cause unnecessary stress that you can avoid. If you start with an organizational approach, packing can move smoothly. If you have packed efficiently, then moving can have minimal hassle. If both the packing and the moving went ok, unpacking should go much easier. What does all of this mean, you might be wondering. Well, first, it is smart to plan your packing schedule and write everything down. Have some sort of inventory list of what each container holds and label them. This step alone can make or break your unpacking experience. If you have to rummage through your boxes time after time to find what you’re looking for, chances are the time that you spend unpacking is going to be much longer.

You should also think about your mindset on moving day. Don’t expect yourself to want to unpack everything on the first day after moving everything. You should have an “Open Me First” box for every important room. These boxes should contain the essentials, so that you can unpack everything at a more leisurely pace. “Open Me First” boxes are incredibly helpful.

After a big, hectic day of moving, you and your family are probably going to be hungry. Think ahead of time as to what you want to do on moving day, and that will determine what you pack in your “Open Me First” box for the kitchen. Some people pack paper plates with plastic silverware and water bottles so they can whip something up quickly when they are at the new place. Other people plan on ordering take out the first day, so if that’s your plan, program the takeout place’s number into your phone ahead of time; it’ll save you the hassle of looking it up on the spot. Your “Open Me First” box for the kitchen should include items such as 
  • Non-perishable snacks: for you and the family, you’re going to get hungry!
  • Roll of paper towels: things might get messy and you’ll need something to clean up with.
  • Dish soap: a small bottle should be ok, this is for the first couple of days. 
  • Cookware: one frying pan, pot, spatula, and couple of plates and utensils should do for the first couple of days until you’ve had time to unpack more. 
  • Coffee pot! The morning after the big move you’re going to be tired, and many people cant even function first thing in the morning without their coffee. Remember to pack coffee cups, creamer, sugar, coffee, and filters along with the pot. 
Your “Open Me First” box might have more in it, but remember these are the essentials; the things you’re going to need the most and probably the soonest. The china and the knick knacks are probably low on your list of things you cant live without. You can have a box for the combination of bathroom and shower. This box can contain items such as
  • Toilet Paper: at least one roll to get you through the first couple of days
  • Hand soap: moving day shouldn’t be an excuse not to wash your hands after going to the bathroom. 
  • Hand towel or paper towels: to dry your hands
  • Shower Curtain: and shower curtain accessories like the curtain rod, curtain hooks, etc. You won’t really be able to take a shower without it!
  • Shampoo, conditioner, and soap: At the end of moving day, you’re going to feel dirty and sweaty. Taking a nice shower will help. 
  • Bath Towels: You’ll need these for showering, unless you think you can pull off drying you and your family with paper towels!
  • Toothpaste and toothbrushes
  • Blow dryer and hair brush
You don’t need to put your bathroom rugs and vanities around during the first day or so, remember, just stick with the basics! Some things you might not want to forget are cell phone chargers and scissors. They will come in handy in every room. Also, be mindful of your sleeping situation. If you are planning on sleeping in your beds that night remember to pack your pillows and blankets in an “Open Me First” box for each bedroom. Each family member should also pack an individual bag that has a couple of days worth of clothes in it so everyone isn’t scrambling for clean clothes. Remember your medications as well, they’re needed for a reason!
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Friday, March 1, 2013

Packing Up Your Self-Storage Unit

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If you’re planning on putting your stuff in a self-storage unit, there are a couple of things you have to keep in mind. You wouldn’t think there would have to be so much thought put into it, but in order to pack it successfully and efficiently, you have to think about it. 

First. think about the packing material you’re going to use. Make sure that what ever you put your stuff in can be stacked easily. Plastic totes are perfect for this, and are more durable than boxes. Remember, put the heaviest containers on the bottom, and the lighter ones on the top. 

Depending on the size of your storage unit, you might want to incorporate small walkways and paths throughout the unit. This alleviates having to move containers around trying to get to the one you want. 

If you decide to use boxes, make sure that you fill them up all the way. If you don’t they tend to crumple and fold in on themselves, which makes them fall apart easier, and thus they’re less durable. 

Make sure to clean metal objects before storing them. They should be be dried very well too, since metal objects that sit for a while tend to rust. 

To lower the chances of theft from your storage unit, put the most valuable belongings in the back of the unit, that way it looks like there isn’t anything valuable in the storage unit. Make sure to buy your own padlock as well. 

If your storage unit isn’t climate controlled, and humidity rises, your stuff might be effected. Furniture warps, metal rusts, appliances mildew. To avoid this, leave space between your stuff and the unit’s floor and walls. This allows the air to circulate within the unit. Also, laying plastic sheeting on the floor and stacking boxes on wooden pallets so they’re off the floor avoids trouble. 

There’s absolutely no reason for you to leave anything flammable or combustable in your storage unit. That means you cannot keep gasoline,oil, cleaning fluids or paint thinner. If you’re storing any machinery that runs on gas, drain the tank before you store it. Do not store hazardous chemicals, fuel, or illegal items.

After reading all of the above, it’s easy to see that there’s a lot that goes into packing and storing things in your storage unit. If you follow all of the advice above, your storing experience should be great. 
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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Moving Tips

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Let’s learn some awesome moving tips to go along with packing tips. There’s more to just moving than packing up your stuff and hauling it to the new place. If it were that easy, many people wouldn’t be so stressed, they would hire someone to do everything and that would be it. Moving requires a lot of effort and close personal attention to detail. 

First you have to get organized. Moving is not something you should procrastinate doing. You probably have more stuff than you think you do and it’ll probably take longer than you think it will to pack and move it. By starting early, you give yourself enough time to pack everything you thought you didn’t have. Making lists can also help to keep your organized when everything is disheveled. You can make two lists, one for your current place, and one for your new place. This helps your manage what has to go where. These lists can include a room inventory. Writing down what’s in each room can help with packing and unpacking, and also knowing where things are. 

It’s moving time. If you are planning on hiring movers to do the brunt work, make sure you do your research. Make sure you hire professional efficient movers, sometimes bad movers are worse than no movers at all. You can weed out the bad eggs by getting referrals from many people, your friends and local real estate agents. Check their reputation. Look them up through the Department of Transportation, the Better Business Bureau, and MovingScam.com. Of course, check their price! If that price is right and everything else checks out, they're the movers for you!

Moving doesn’t only effect you and your family. Other people need to know that you’re moving as well. Don’t forget to tell the post office that you’re moving, otherwise, you won’t be getting your mail! If you’re moving a long distance away, you should also get medical records, and school transcripts at the same time that you’re notifying the doctors and schools of your move. 

Here’s a possible list of people you should let know about your move:
  • Accountant/tax preparer; Alumni associations; Attorneys
  • Babysitter/ child care provider; Banks (auto loans, checking accounts, credit cards, home equity, IRA’s, mortgage, safe deposit box, savings account); Broker; Business cards (order new ones if applicable)
  • Cell phone provider; Child care/ daycare; Chiropractor; Courts, especially for traffic tickets or local disputes; Credit bureaus; Credit card issuers
  • Dentist; Department of Motor Vehicles; Diaper service; Doctor; Dry cleaning pick-up and delivery
  • Family members and friends
  • Health clubs; House cleaning service; House of worship
  • Insurance providers (auto, health, life, other vehicles); IRS (form 8822)
  • Lawn care; Luggage tags (replace existing ones)
  • Magazine subscriptions
  • New business cards; New employer; Newspaper subscriptions
  • Old employer; Orthodontist
  • Parent-teacher association; Passport; Pet sitter/ dog walker/ pet day care; Pharmacy (get year-to-date expense summary for taxes); Physical therapist; Physician (get referral for new location); Post office; Professional organizations
  • Retirement plan holders; Return address labels (order new ones)
  • Schools ( get copies of transcripts); Snow removal service; Social Security Administration; Swimming pool maintenance (pool cleaning, pool opening or closing); Swimming pool memberships
  • Veterinarian get vet records and recommendations
  • Water delivery service
After all of that, it’s time for the big day; moving day. There’s even more to do then, but first, let’s complete everything we have to do before the big day. Remember, if you start early and give yourself enough time, it will lower the stress involved with the moving process. Make sure you stay on track and give yourself little due dates throughout the moving/packing process. For example, the kitchen needs to be packed by monday. Get to work, and try to have fun!
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What To Do On Moving Day

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It’s moving day. And as the saying goes, the early bird gets the worm. In the case of moving day, when you start early, you give yourself more time to move and it makes you feel less rushed. Of course everyone wants to get done as soon as they possibly can, but starting earlier rather than later gives you more time and you might not feel the time crunch as much. 

As if moving isn’t stressful enough, there are several things you have to worry about on the big day. Perhaps you have children, maybe their too little to help move, and watching them in the midst of the chaos may be too much. Moving day is a good day to hire a sitter. Doing so, gives several benefits. First, they will be out of harms way. You won’t have to worry about them getting hurt while everyone and everything is going from one place to another like a crazy person. They also won’t be in the way, whether you’re the one doing the moving, or the movers are doing the brunt work; they stay out of everyone’s way. You don’t have to focus on them, their safe and out of your hair.

When the day starts, try having food ready. Having breakfast food like coffee, orange juice, donuts, bagels, and muffins will help get everyone started and ready to work. Moving on an empty stomach is no fun, and if you do start moving early in the morning, you know what they say about breakfast being the most important meal of the day!

Before the moving truck leaves, make sure everyone knows where they’re going and has contact information in case they get lost. If you’re hiring a truck driver, or if the moving company drives their own moving truck, make sure they have your number and you have theirs, that way if you get separated, you can get in touch with each other and no one gets lost. Make sure your directions are accurate and thorough, especially if they’re going somewhere they’ve never been before. 

Once you and your stuff has gotten to the new place, make sure you have the moving company’s payment. Sometimes, they won’t unpack a single thing until they have their payment, in cash, and in full. Save yourself time and frustration and have it ready ahead of time. If you’ve taken on the task of moving on your own, with some help, this would be a good time to take a short break before having to move everything in to the new place. 

Hopefully, these tips will come in handy for you on your big day. Moving can be stressful, tough, and tiring, but if you stay organized and consistent, it’ll be a lot easier for you. Now you get to think about all of the fun you’ll be having when it’s time to unpack everything!
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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Packing Tips

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Moving can be very stressful. Packing your belongings can be even more stressful; you have to worry about fitting stuff into the containers in an efficient way and be concerned about potential damage to your stuff. You have to form some sort of organizational strategy as well as do a majority of the grunt work putting your stuff into your packing containers. There are a lot of things you have to think about when you pack up for the big move.

First, you need some type of list. This doesn't mean literally going through all of your stuff and writing down every single thing you own (although this would be helpful). A list can be packing one room at a time, that way, you're packing similar things together. I cannot express enough however: label label label! It'll make unpacking so much easier! You don't have to be fancy with your labeling, it can be as simple as "Kitchen, Living Room" etc. You should also have a couple of containers that you label with something along the lines of "Open Me First" these are your necessities for this room. That way, the morning after your big move, you can find your coffee pot to get yourself energized before the big unpack. 

You also need to be very aware of how fragile your belongings are. You should take the extra time and be cautious; carefully wrap your delicate pieces in newspaper or bubble wrap before putting them away. Many people look around for empty boxes, and buy extra rolls of tape for boxes that will contain especially heavy pieces. This isn't recommended. If you haven't noticed, the word "box" hasn't been mentioned, because in most cases, boxes are awful to move with. They aren't very sturdy and require additional adhesives like extra tape to reinforce them.

Think about using storage totes. They may be a little more expensive up front, but they do a better job at the following:

• They do a better job stacking.
• They are more durable.
• They are infinitely reusable.
• They come in many different sizes.
• They come in different colors and designs.
• They don't get ruined if they get wet.
• They have resealable lids.
• They don't wear out as easily.

Packing can be stressful, but it's encouraged to make it a little fun. Listen to some music while you're packing, and think of your storage container as a tetris game, fitting each piece as close to the other pieces as possible, which will help you put more stuff in your containers. 
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Friday, January 18, 2013

Types of Storage Facilities

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There are several different types of storage facilities that offer different incentives to their customers. Not every customer will need the same thing from their storage unit, and some storage companies take advantage of this. They range in price and convenience and some are more popular than others. The different types of storage facilities include:
  • Moving Company Storage
  • Self Storage Units
  • Mobile Storage
  • Climate Controlled Storage
  • Temperature Controlled Storage
Moving Company Storage is generally the most expensive, but it's the most convenient as well. Moving companies are not only safe, but they require practically no work from you on the big day. With company moving, they typically use their own moving truck and store your belongings in their own storage containers. They're not really a cheap moving option, but if you hire the proper moving company, you can be assured that your belongings will be packed correctly, the movers will pick up the stuff in their moving truck and it will be transported to the storage shed. People who don't have a lot of packing supplies, are physically incapable of moving, or are unwilling to spend the time to do everything themselves usually hire professional moving companies. 

Self Storage Units are also a popular option. Self storage facilities are cheap storage options for people living in all types of places. They have different sized storage units to fit personal needs. Self storage companies can be inside a building, or they can be located outside. If the storage unit is located outside, or has a code entry, they allow their customers to visit their storage sheds at anytime, without an appointment. If the storage containers are located inside a building, they still might use a code entry or you may have to enter the storage space during regular business hours.

Mobile Storage involves some type of compartment being sent to wherever you indicated to the storage company. The compartment can be a wooden or steel vault, trailer, or 12-16 foot container. Generally, you pack and move your belongings into the storage container and then the storage container is transported to the storage facility. Moving these containers can be kind of tricky, so if you are the one packing your stuff, you should take packing precautions, and pack your stuff carefully. You should use the proper storage techniques for antiques, electronics, furniture, and especially fragile pieces, like glass.

Each type of storage company may offer options like climate control and temperature control. Now, don't be fooled by what some storage facilities might advertise. There's a difference between climate controlled storage units and temperature controlled storage units. The difference being, climate controlled storage controls the entire climate of the storage container, including obstacles like humidity. They are regulated fairly strictly, and are not allowed to fluctuate by more than one degree. In temperature controlled storage units, the temperature is allowed to fluctuate in a larger range and the temperature can change by a lot. The temperature within the storage unit is normally similar to that of the entire storage facility, which doesn't always mean it's a bad thing. However, if a storage company doesn't have air conditioning, and runs hot and humid in the summer, the storage shed will be the same way.

Each storage unit has a basic level of security, normally it's a padlock or combination lock; usually you'll supply your own lock. On top of that, most storage companies keep a log of who enters and when they leave. Some companies require a personal code to be let in to the facility, and others just have a sign in/sign out sheet. Public self storage companies with containers located within a building typically only allow access during business hours, which decreases the risk for theft and other mischievous activity.

Now that you are more informed as to the different types of storage facilities and furthermore storage units, you are more inclined to make a better, educated decision as to which route you want to take and what type of storage experience you want to have. Now that you know the different names and techniques that storage companies use, you will be able to shop around more efficiently and find a company that will best serve your storage needs. 
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