• 5 Apartment Moving Tips

    by Patrick Redmond | Nov 07, 2014

    Apartment Moving TipsMoving to an apartment isn’t the same as moving to a new house. Because houses are usually larger and easier to get to (none of that climbing up a staircase to the sixth floor or trying to fit a couch in the elevator), the process of getting all your stuff moved into a house is a little bit easier than an apartment.

    Whether you’re downsizing to an apartment or moving out on your own for the first time, here are five apartment moving tips to make the transition easier.

    > “Seasonalize” Your Wardrobe in Advance: Apartments are notorious for never having enough closet space, so now is a good time to consider a seasonal rotation for your clothes. Instead of boxing everything up and trying to find room for it in your closet, take a few extra hours during the packing process to put everything in seasonal boxes. (Vacuum-sealed bags work even better if space is tight.) Only put out the clothes you need for now, and rotate with the ones in storage as soon as the temperature starts to change.

    > Scour the Neighborhood for Food Deliveries: Before moving day arrives, take a walking tour (or driving tour if you aren’t in an urban space) of your new neighborhood. Find restaurants that deliver and gather as many menus as you can. These will make a great dining plan in the first few weeks after moving in, when your boxes are still packed up and you aren’t quite ready to start cooking yet.

    > Clean Everything Before You Pack: Start as clean and fresh as you can by washing all your furniture, clothes, bedding, and linen before you arrive. Even though things can get dirty in transit, you’ll have enough to do with unpacking and settling in that you won’t want to tackle a deep clean. This is an especially good tip if you’re moving somewhere with a washer and dryer to an apartment with community laundry.

    > Carry Snacks: Moving into an apartment is rarely a one-person job. Movers, friends, neighbors, family…they’re all likely to pitch in and help (you might even meet a few people on your floor this way). Show your appreciation by stocking plenty of food and drinks. Encourage people to take breaks as they work and make sure they’re well-fed. A “party atmosphere” will help everyone work harder and enjoy themselves more.

    Hang Pictures First: It’s easy to feel out of place and overwhelmed by a new space, so do what you can to make it comfortable and familiar. Take a few minutes to hang your favorite photos, lay out an heirloom tablecloth, or set up your sound system so you can play some comforting music. Little touches like these will make the entire settling in process more enjoyable.

    Above all else, be sure and remember to relax at the end of all your hard work. Moving is a tough business, and you deserve to sit back and enjoy your new apartment!

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  • Moving to Phoenix, AZ

    by Patrick Redmond | Nov 05, 2014

    As the capital city of Arizona, Phoenix has much to offer to its residents. A population of 4.3 million residents within the larger metropolitan area means there’s always a high level of activity taking place, while its location in the Salt River Valley means that the panoramic vistas make it one of the most beautiful places in the world. If you like hot summers, a more laid-back approach to city life, and a backdrop unique to this part of the United States, Phoenix could be the perfect fit.

     Living and Working in Phoenix

    Phoenix is one of the oldest cities in the Western United States, with an origination date of 1867, when it was largely an agricultural community. Although there are still some farming areas and cattle grazing land today, it’s now primarily a business-oriented economy, with a focus on finance, avionics, and technology jobs. Four Fortune 500 companies (Avnet, Freeport-McMoRan, PetSmart, and Republic Services) are located here, as is the home of Best Western, American Express, and the University of Phoenix.

    The layout of the city is one in which neighborhoods are divided into fifteen “urban villages.” These areas each have their own planning committee, which means that all development is overseen by residents and officials who have the village’s best interest at heart. Of course, there is also a bustling downtown center where many of the top jobs can be found. Although it is fairly large, you’ll find a much lower commute time than in many other capital cities, thanks in large part to good roads and public transportation options.

    Fun and Entertainment in Phoenix

    Because it is a capital city and bustling metropolitan area, much of the entertainment in Phoenix is concentrated around sports and the arts. The city has its own orchestra, ballet, and opera, as well as many art museums and galleries that focus on the Southwestern style. Colleges like Arizona State University also add to the backdrop.

    Professional sports teams the Phoenix Suns, the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Arizona Cardinals, and the Arizona Coyotes all have a home here, and you’ll also find spring training facilities to keep you entertained in the off season.

    One thing is true about Phoenix no matter who you ask: it’s hot here. With a year-round desert climate, you can expect summers with an average of 100+ heat and sunny winters with temperatures mild enough to enjoy any outdoor activity. Lush, green parks and sprawling lakes tend to be at a minimum, but if you enjoy hiking, biking, climbing, or exploring the rugged desert terrain, you’ll find more than enough activity during the cooler months.

    Welcome to Phoenix!

    Popular as a seasonal destination and as a place where families thrive, Phoenix continues to experience substantial growth every year. Although it takes some time to get used to the constant presence of the sun, the fairly low cost of living and great year-round amenities make this city well worth putting down roots.

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  • Atlanta Online Resources for New Residents

    by Patrick Redmond | Oct 30, 2014

    Atlanta Online ResourceAtlanta can be an overwhelming place for first-time residents and visitors, so it’s a good idea to take some time to get to know your new city before you arrive. With these great online guides to dining, entertainment, transportation, and more, you’ll be sure to find your feet and start exploring everything this city has to offer.

    City of Atlanta
    : Get to know the official side of the area with the Atlanta city website. Learn about city services, municipal facilities, and visitor information in one easy location.

    Atlanta Magazine: If you want a comprehensive look at the city, including everything from the latest in dining and fashion to pop culture and politics, Atlanta Magazine is a good site to visit. They also have a physical magazine if you prefer to do your reading the good old-fashioned way.

    MARTA: Short for Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, MARTA is your guide to public transportation in the Atlanta region. Because of the city’s huge size and busy downtown center, many residents rely on the train and bus system to get where they’re going.

    Atlanta Urbanist: If you live in the downtown area or want to get to know your new city from an insider’s point of view, the ATL Urbanist is a good blog to check out. Lots of urban pictures help you to see the beauty and architecture of the area.

    Atlanta History Center: From a historical standpoint, few places are more intriguing than Atlanta. As an important part of both the Civil War and of the Civil Rights Movement, you’ll find more than your fair share of interesting people, great heroes, and monuments to the past. This picture blog showcases, letters, photos, and other insight into the area’s rich history.

    Eat it, Atlanta: One of the things Atlanta is known for is its great cuisine. With such a diverse and global population, the food here covers just about every taste and palate possible. One man tackles the dining scene and recounts his findings in this popular foodie blog. (Blissful Glutton is another great local food blog you might want to bookmark.)

    Atlanta Moms: You don’t have to be a parent to appreciate the Atlanta Moms blog. Although you’ll find plenty of information on activities for the kids, you’ll also get updates and discounts on events that people of all ages can enjoy.

    Creative Loafing Atlanta: For information on events, concerts, movies, bars, and clubs in the Atlanta region, you may want to visit Creative Loafing. This website offers as much information as the official tourist site, but with much more emphasis on activities for locals.

    Curbed Atlanta: If you’re moving to the Atlanta area and haven’t yet found a place to live, a website like Curbed can help you find the perfect place to put down roots. You’ll find information on neighborhoods, houses for sale, condos, apartments, and more—and all with plenty of pictures so you can get a feel for the local architecture.

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  • Storage Solutions for Small Spaces

    by Patrick Redmond | Oct 24, 2014

    Friday Favorites - Small SpacesAnyone who has lived in a small apartment or house can tell you—the secret to making it work is clever and innovative storage. Whether you plan to hide your clutter away from prying eyes with a secret cupboard or turn a closet into an office, here are our five favorite storage solutions for life in one thousand square feet or less.

    > Under the Bed: Your bed is an untapped gold mine of unused space. Instead of letting the dust bunnies multiply uninterrupted, turn that space into storage. Bed risers give you an extra foot or so to slide Tupperware containers and extra drawers in, or you can go all out and buy a storage bed with lifting mattress.

    > Tables that Turn into Art: Almost everyone has heard of or seen a Murphy Bed by now (they’re recognizable as the beds that lift into a wall panel after you’re done sleeping in them), but did you know that similar items exist for tables? This clever picture frame table drops to a table and back up again whenever you need some extra horizontal space.

    > Towel Storage: Small apartments and houses rarely have room for enough kitchen cupboards, let alone bathroom ones. This wine rack towel holder allows you to store all your clean linens on the wall and with an elegant finish—it can even save you the trouble of coming up with bathroom decorations!

    > Under the Sink Elegance: Wherever you do have the fortune to have a cupboard or closet, it’s in your best interest to use as much of the space as possible. Look beyond storing things on a single shelf by adding curtain rods that allow for extra hanging room. In larger or deeper closets and cupboards, you can actually mount several of these.

    > Roll-Out Pantry: Kitchens tend to be the most difficult area to find extra storage, since the shelves and cupboards are usually maximized for space already. Roll-out pantries are fast becoming popular among apartment owners, since they give you quite a bit of food storage space and only take up a few square inches on the floor next to your refrigerator.

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  • Moving to the South

    by Patrick Redmond | Oct 20, 2014

    Southern StatesAny time you move from one city to another, you’re going to feel a bit of culture shock at the change. After all, every town (and even every neighborhood) has its own way of doing things; from the food served in restaurants to preferred outdoor activities, no two locations are exactly the same

    Of course, some changes are a little more drastic than others—and no location is quite as unique as the South. If you’re making the transition from a northern state to the warm, welcoming world of the South, here are a few changes you can expect in your overall lifestyle.

     > Diverse Economy: In terms of economics, there is no single way to define the South. The large cities tend to have fast-paced and bustling job markets, and are home to some of the top Fortune 500 companies in the world. As you move out to smaller towns, however, you’ll find lower incomes and a more relaxed approach to life. This kind of variability is more marked in the southern states than it is in northern ones, and it shows in the homes and city centers in each region.

    >  Lots of Driving Time: When compared to the Mid-Atlantic States, the South is a huge, sprawling area with a spread-out population. Instead of hopping on a train and commuting a half an hour to the next big city, you’ll probably be located a few hours away from your metropolitan neighbors. Expect to live and play in the same area where you work—and to find plenty of room to spread out and enjoy your surroundings.

    > Warm Weather, Summer Heat: In other parts of the United States, your outdoor recreation activities probably follow a pattern of skiing in the winter and water sports in the summer. The South doesn’t make it quite so easy to set a schedule. The summer weather is often too hot and humid to really enjoy being outside, but a mild winter day might find you out enjoying hikes with your family in perfect comfort.

    > Cost of Living Decreases: Overall, the South offers a lower cost of living than the rest of the United States. While there are exceptions (especially if you’re looking at large cities or the more affluent suburbs), you’ll most likely spend less on everything from groceries and health care to housing, transportation, and utilities. You can expect comparable costs on things like private education, though.

    > Conservative Politics: The South is considered a conservative area when it comes to things like politics and religion, and this outlook seeps into the overall lifestyle here. From the companies doing the hiring to the neighborhood associations where you live, people here tend to place the empowerment of the individual above that of the collective.

    Moving to the South is something that many families undergo for school, work, and to improve their quality of life overall. Although it may take some getting used to, there is much about this area to make you feel welcome. Take some time to get to know your neighbors and the unique lifestyle here—chances are, you’ll feel like you’re home in no time.

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