Now that you have found a wonderful new home you need to coordinate your move. Though it may be tempting to just stuff everything in boxes this strategy can make unpacking a nightmare. To help make your move go smoothly try these 5 helpful tips that will help you pack like a pro.


  1. Pack an overnight bag

Packing an overnight bag helps ensure your first morning goes smoothly. Especially if you have to rush off to work the next day you don’t want to be frantically hunting for things. By being prepared you can reduce the amount of move related stress you experience and focus on unpacking and organizing your new home.


  1. Pack the stuff you will need right away in a clear, or clearly marked bin

Chose a bin that will really stand out from all the other boxes so that you can easily find it in the post move chaos. This bin should contain the things you will need right away, such as toiletries, basic cooking items, medications, more clothes and a full set of bedding. This will help you get at least somewhat settled right away and let you focus on what needs to be done.


  1. Label your boxes intelligently

Being confronted with twenty boxes labeled “kitchen” doesn’t make it easy to find the specific item you need. Try and group related items together and either label your boxes with their contents (ie: Kitchen - pots and pans) or assign each box a number and create a spreadsheet detailing the contents of all your boxes. Finding a specific item is much easier when you know exactly which box it is in, and saves you time because you don’t need to open every single box in order to find it. Numbering each box also helps you ensure that no boxes get lost or stolen while you are moving. 


  1. Use a colour coding system and clearly label bedrooms

If you hire movers to help you move colour coding boxes makes it much easier for them to figure out which boxes belong in each room. Brightly coloured duct tape makes colour coding easy, and gives you a convenient place to write the room designation for each box. If your new home has several bedrooms it is also helpful to label these as well. Use a piece of paper and a bit of sticky tack to clearly label the door of each room. That way your movers know which area is the “Office” or “Katie’s Bedroom”, saving you time and effort later. 


  1. Wrap breakable items in clothing and bedding

Bubble wrap and newspapers work well for transporting breakable items, but mean you end up wasting a lot of valuable space. Since your clothing and bedding need to come with you anyways you might as well put them to good use. Opt for heavier items like scarves, sweaters and blankets. You should also try and choose items that won't easily wrinkle in order to save yourself a ton of extra ironing.


Photo Credit: "I got it!" by Meathead Movers

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Now that you have all of your stuff has been carefully packed you actually need to move it all. This task may seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are _ things you can do to help your move go smoothly.


  1. If you want to get rid of it, do it at least two to six weeks in advance

Items that you want to sell should be put up on Craigslist, Kijiji or Ebay at least six weeks before you move in order to give you enough time to hopefully sell them. If you are donating items to charity arrange for a pickup at least two weeks before you move. You don’t want to waste time and energy moving items you are only going to part with right away


  1. Change your address at least two weeks prior to moving

This will help ensure you don’t have any mail that gets lost or left behind once you move. You don’t want to be missing bills or other important items.. 


  1. Make your last grocery run two weeks before the move

Moving food presents all sorts of new potential problems including spills and spoilage. Try and avoid moving as little food as possible so you can avoid throwing anything out. Unwanted non perishable items can be donated to the food bank.


  1. Hire a sitter for the dog and the kids for same city moves

Children and pets can get underfoot, and that is the last thing you need while moving. Children in particular get bored easily, and while you are moving you don’t have a lot of extra time to keep them occupied. Hiring a sitter, or dropping them off at their grandparent’s house for the day means the move will go easier for you, your kids and your pets. 


  1. Defrost your refrigerator and deep freeze and remove any liquid at least a day in advance

The last thing you want is melted ice leaking all over your possessions. Plus, if your refrigerator and deep freeze don’t get a chance to dry before you move them they can start to smell pretty badly.


  1. If you can, clean your new kitchen and bathroom in advance

Depending on when the old owners move out you may be able to get your keys a few days before you actually move in. Take this time to give your new kitchen and bathroom a good cleaning. It is much easier to clean these rooms when they are empty, and it saves you time on moving day.


  1. Pack toiletries right

When packing your shampoo, conditioner and other leak prone items take the top off, place a layer of cling wrap over the opening and then re-secure the lid. Cosmetics such as powder compacts and eye shadows can also break easily during moves. To help prevent this take a cotton ball or pad and place it on top of the powder or eyeshadow before closing the lid. This reduces the amount of room the makeup has to move around and will cushion it from any blows.


  1. Pack plates vertically like records

Instead of placing your plates down flat inside the box try placing them with the edges down. This reduces the likelihood of them getting broken in transit. Also, wrap each plate individually in bubble wrap, old newspaper or a t shirt to help cushion them.


  1. Unpack methodically

When you first arrive set up a sort of “home base”. Get your sleeping stuff organized for the night and stow your overnight bag. Try and unpack your “right away stuff” before you go to bed so that you can easily get ready the next morning. Once you have your essentials unpacked tackle each room one at a time. This not only makes it easier to get things organized (since you aren’t going back and shuffling things around) it also makes it easier to see real progress, which offers a good morale boost.


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As you prepare for the big move or are already settling into a new home most of your possessions are probably boxed up. This can prove a logistical challenge when it comes to cooking dinner. For those of you who can't don't want to eat Take Out for the next week, here are some easy, one dish recipes to help you during your transition.

Easy Chicken Curry

This is a staple of my grandmothers. All you will need to prepare this dish is two pots (one for rice, on for the curry), a cutting board, a sharp knife and a large spoon for stirring.

Ingredients:

- 1 Jar pre-made curry sauce (Sharwoods is my favourite, easily found in the Indian food isle)
- 1 pre-roasted chicken or 3-4 cooked chicken breasts. Chicken should be cut into bit sizes pieces.
- rice
- chopped vegetables (peas, lentils, cauliflower etc.) (optional)

1) prepare your rice. There is an excellent guide here: http://dish.allrecipes.com/how-to-cook-rice/. If you don't have the time, energy or utensils to cook rice you can also buy microwaveable rice in the rice section of your grocery store.

2) Cook your chicken, then add your vegetables and your sauce. Pre cooked, frozen vegetables can be added right away, but raw vegetables may require being pre-steamed if you like your vegetables quite soft. Lentils must be pre-soaked.

3) Heat the sauce with you chicken and vegetables. Stir regularly, and allow the sauce's flavour to permeate the chicken and vegetables.

4) Serve on a bed of rice. This dish pairs well with steamed vegetables

Beans on Toast

An English classic! Hearty and easy to make. You will need a pot, a can opener, a toaster or frying pan, and possibly a cheese grater. You can also buy pre-shredded cheese, or skip the cheese entirely.

Ingredients:

- can of beans (beans with tomato sauce is the traditional)
- cheddar cheese (grated) (optional)
- bread for toast
- butter (optional)

1) Open the can of beans beans and pour it into the pot. Heat until bubbling. Add cheese if desired.

2) Toast the bread. You can either use a toaster, or if that is packed you can butter the bread and fry it in a frying pan.

3) You can now decide if you want to use our toast to scoop up your beans, or pour the beans on to of the toast and eat it with a knife and fork. Both ways are acceptable, but pouring the beans on the toast can make the toast soggy. This recipe pairs well with raw veggies.

Pan fried Pierogis and Sausage

This easy meal requires only one frying pan and a spoon/flipper for stirring and serving.

Ingredients:

- Pierogis (fresh or frozen). Typical varieties include cheese and potato, bacon and potato etc.
- sausage
- butter

1) First, fry the sausage. You can either cook it whole or cut it into bite sized pieces first. Save the sausage grease in the pan

2) Fry the pierogis in the sausage grease, adding butter if needed. The pierogis should be a pale golden colour and the outside should be crispy. If you don't cook them long enough the inside will still be cold. The butter and/or sausage grease will help to brown them.

3) Serve. This recipe pairs well with either cooked veggies or a green salad.

Vegetable Omelet

Who says you can't have breakfast for dinner? This recipe is perfect for using up the last of the eggs and fresh vegetables before you move! All you need is a frying pan, a mixing bowl, a mixing spoon/spatial and a flipper. You will also need a knife and a cutting board of your vegetables are not pre cut.

Ingredients:

- eggs
- cheese (grated)
- milk (optional)
- assorted chopped vegetables (ie: peppers, onions, spring onions, chives, parsley, tomatoes etc.)
- salt and pepper (optional but recommended)

1) Crack your eggs into the mixing bowl. Add the grated cheese and the chopped veggies. Mix thoroughly. Add one approximately one table spoon of milk or water for each egg. Milk will give you denser eggs, water will give you fluffier eggs.

2) Pre heat the frying pan. Pour in egg mixture once pan is hot. Stir consistently till eggs are entirely cooked.

This dish pairs well with fruit salad or a hearty vegetable or bean salad.

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Did you know that many ordinary items found in your pantry or fridge can also double as cleaning ingredients? To help keep your home spotless try these handy tips that are easy on the environment and your budget.
 
1) Use Vinegar as a mild disinfectant 
 
Add a half cup of vinegar to a litre of warm water for an easy and gentle cleaning solution. Works well on all wipeable surfaces.
 
2) Use vinegar as fabric softener 
 
Whether you want something gentler or just discovered you are out of fabric softener in the middle of doing laundry vinegar can help! Add half a cup to your washing machine for gentle softness without the strong scent. Simply pour in a top loader, or pour into the fabric softener compartment of a front loader.
 
3) Use lemon juice as bleach
 
Avoid the harshness of bleach by swapping it out for lemon juice. To keep your whites bright simply add lemon juice to your next load of whites. Simply pour in a top loader, or pour into the bleach compartment of a front loader.
 
4) Baking Soda Scrub
 
To tackle yellowing grout simply mix up a paste with baking soda. Add approximately 2 tablespoons of baking soda to a table spoon each of water and lemon juice. Using an old tooth brush you can now scrub away those ugly stains. For a more potent mix, substitute a cap full of bleach for the lemon juice.
 
5) Freshen stinky shoes with baking soda and your freezer 
 
Conquer stinky odour simply and effectively. Place your shoes in a sturdy ziplock bag or Tupperware container and place them in the freezer overnight. This will kill any bacteria that may be causing the odour. If the smell persists then liberally sprinkle the soles with baking soda and allow the shoes to stand for 24 hours. Use a cotton swab and rubbing alcohol to deodorize the sides of the shoes.
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