How-To: Have An Organized Move

In the less than four years we’ve been married, Nathan and I have moved five times.  We’re basically pros at it now.  The last time, all our stuff was moved out of the old places (house and apartment) and into the new within four hours (in a torrential six-inches-of-rain-in-four-hours downpour, complete with flooded and closed roads, mind you) and unpacked within three days.  Here’s our list of tips and tricks, which we learned the hard way, just so you could read our list and make your first move go smoothly.

happy movers

Oh look, if you follow my tips, you’ll be smiling fondly at your spouse, skinny, have really great hair, and a nice plant.

1) Get mostly small boxes.  1’x2′ is best for most items.  The first time we moved, we went to the UPS store and bought the biggest boxes they sold.  They were almost as tall as us, and it seemed fantastic because we only had to move eight boxes.  It was all great and wonderful until we actually had to MOVE those 985 pound boxes.

2) Be picky about what boxes you get.  We have found that produce departments and liquor stores typically have stiff, sturdy boxes meant for heavy items.  Have fun explaining to your friends that you didn’t really drink 28 cases of Jack Daniels.

3) Put everything in a box.  Everything.  Even that random lamp, or your stand mixer, or the basket that you think you could just pick up.  Everything’s easier to move if it’s in a box.  You’ll be able to stack things more easily in your moving truck, and it makes it easier for all those friends who are spending their Saturday handling every single thing you own.

4) Exception: don’t put your clothes in a box.  Trash bags are your friends when it comes to clothes.  Keep your clothes on the hangers, put them in trash bags with the tops of the hangers sticking out, and cinch the trash bag’s tie around the hangers.  When you take them out, your hangers should all be going the correct direction, instead of being tangled up.  It will only take a couple minutes to hang the clothes in the new closet.

On our first move, I took all the clothes off of the hangers, folded them and put them in boxes, and then put the hangers into boxes.  Not only did this take forever on the front side of the move, but I then spent hours untangling the hangers and hanging our clothes in the new closets.

5) Sort through your closets and cabinets before you start packing.  In the weeks before you move, go through everything you own.  Don’t wait until you start packing, as it will feel overwhelming.  I get pretty ruthless here.  If I haven’t used it recently, it’s likely that I’m not ever going to.  I start by bringing our excess stuff to a consignment store, and whatever they won’t take, I donate to Goodwill.  Some other stuff is just trash, especially from our office area.  I stay on top of the paper piles, but when we move, I always have a giant pile of old receipts, expired coupons, etc.

6) Don’t try to unpack during the actual move.  Instead of parking myself in the kitchen and starting to unpack (which is what I want to do), I’ve found that it’s most helpful if I stand in the doorway and just tell people where to bring boxes.  I usually have the boxes labeled with the room, but things seem to go way faster when I direct people.  We also tape a sign to the door of each room, identifying it as “Master Bedroom”, or “Hudson’s Room”, or “Office”, and so on.  We wait to actually unpack boxes until all of our helpers have gone home.  That way, we know where our stuff is, and it’s organized in a way that makes sense to us.

Hope this helps!  Do you have any tips or tricks to add to the list?


Back to Blogging

Anyone out there?

(Dusts off keyboard)

I’m alive! I really didn’t intend to take a 15-month blogging break (are blogs even cool anymore?), but life happened, and now I’m back.

Oh, and I completed a pretty big project while I was away.  Yep, I grew this guy:


Meet Hudson Paul, who was born March 30th, and has been growing like a weed ever since.  Being pregnant wasn’t my favorite thing ever- I mean, who really likes throwing up from weeks 5-36, sleeping sitting up because of heartburn, and having strong contractions every 10 minutes for 48 hours before labor really progressed?  But, I can honestly say that every day of little Hudson’s 3-month life has brought me more delight than I could ever imagine.  I love being his mom.


Last August, Nathan got a job in the town I was already working in, which is over an hour away from our sweet farmhouse.  We tried commuting together for all of 4 days, then threw in the towel and rented a little apartment in our new town.  We put our house on the market this spring, and our first home is now being loved by a new little family.  The house is on our way to Nathan’s parents, so we get to frequently drive past at a normal speed slowly and see what they’ve been up to.  The house looks great!  It makes me so happy to know that the house that we poured our blood, sweat and tears into (lots of tears!), is still getting tons of TLC.


Watson.  This little dude was an awesome pet and member of the family.  The three of us had so much fun together.  In September, he ran out into the road and was hit by a car.  He didn’t make it, and we still miss him.

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Last weekend, we moved into a spacious two-story in a quiet neighborhood with a beautiful back yard and lots of potential.   We are thrilled to have our own home again!  The couple we bought the house from built it in 1967, raised their three kids here, and now are in assisted living.  They took good care of the house, so everything is functional and livable.  However, they loved wallpaper- lots and lots of wallpaper.  The light fixtures, linoleum and shag carpets scream 70’s.


Camping on the porch.

So, that’s where things are around here. I hope you’re ready to see this dated home transformed into an awesome space for our family!

Painting Project


Before: Monroe Bisque walls.  I liked them, but I didn’t love them, and I wasn’t feeling a connection between the walls and the floor.


After: Walls in Rockport Gray by Benjamin Moore.  It’s so much cozier, and it brings out the warm grays in the tile.  Now, to do something about my less-than-beautiful kitchen table.  I would just spray paint it black, but it’s on loan to me from a relative.

I have looked at so many pictures of gray paint in rooms over the past few weeks, always searching for the perfect gray that didn’t have a blue, brown or purple tint.  I settled on Ozark Shadows by Benjamin Moore.  One brush of that on my wall and I could tell it was a definite no.  It was so purple!  So, I searched again and found Rockport Gray by Benjamin Moore, and I love it!


Before: Primed trim that desperately needed a coat of glossy white paint.


Before: Primed and puttied crown moulding that also needed a coat of glossy white.



After: It was a lot of tedious work, but the trim feels so much cleaner and really pops out now against the darker walls.

I still need to finish painting the kitchen (I’m down to just one more small wall) and the adjoining hallways.  I can’t wait to share pictures of the finished room!

Downstairs Bath: Before and After


Before: Tiny-feeling room with no windows and a 7-foot ceiling.


Demolition: Tearing out plaster while living in the house.



Between: Drywall is hung and mudded and repair work on the floor begins.


Between: Shower walls, shelf and bench have taken shape.



Window, electrical and plumbing are installed.


The beginning of a week-long process to water proof the shower floor and walls.


Laying the shower tile.




Cleaning grout residue off the tile.



Watson would just sit in here with us and watch us work.


Sink #1 is installed and the plumbing is working!  Watson approves.

Benjamin Moore Ice Cube Silve

Finished!  Sink # 1

Benjamin Moore Ice Cube Silve

Toilet area.

Benjamin Moore Ice Cube Silve

Sink #2.

Benjamin Moore Ice Cube Silve

Walk-in shower.

Bathroom Update

Benjamin Moore Ice Cube Silve

Benjamin Moore Ice Cube Silver

We had some downtime Sunday afternoon between family dinners, and we decided to cross another thing off our list- hanging the towel bars and blinds in the downstairs bath.  I couldn’t believe what a difference it made, and it didn’t take long!

Benjamin Moore Ice Cube Silve

Finally, I won’t be on display through this VERY large window in front of the toilet.  Yes, it’s a new window and we put it there.  This was originally going to be the laundry room, but we re-imagined the space after we installed the window and it just wasn’t worth it to move it.  Love the light it it gives for putting on makeup, but being on display….not so much!

Benjamin Moore Ice Cube Silve

Benjamin Moore Ice Cube Silve

Benjamin Moore Ice Cube Silve

We went with towel hooks instead of a large towel bar, and I can already tell that it will be easier for towels to dry.

All the towels are from Target, as well as the big aqua vase.  The branches are from Pier 1 (it’s only 3- they are really full).  The cabinets are a copy of these Pottery Barn ones I found.  I had our cabinet maker build them for us, and I feel the quality is better, and we didn’t have to pay shipping.  Wall color is Ice Cube Silver by Benjamin Moore.  It’s okay, but I don’t love it.  I intended for it to be a true gray, and it has a blue tint in real life.

Benjamin Moore Ice Cube Silve

Benjamin Moore Ice Cube Silve

Benjamin Moore Ice Cube Silve

Benjamin Moore Ice Cube Silve

We had the hardest time finding a vent cover to fit here.  We bought a couple different covers and they didn’t work.  Finally, we ended up using a hack saw to make this one more shallow, and it worked!


Just so you can see the difference these little changes made, here are the two BEFORE pictures:


Benjamin Moore Ice Cube Silve

And the two AFTER pictures.

Benjamin Moore Ice Cube Silve

Friday Mish-Mash

We’ve been having a rough week around here!  In the big picture, it’s just little incidents, and it’s starting to get humorous the way it’s all piled together.

I was in a minor car accident (everyone is fine, and my car just has a scratch on the front bumper) while driving to a student’s house the other day.  It was early evening and the road was congested with everyone coming home from work.  Several cars were stopped behind a city bus as it let off passengers.  Traffic had just started to move when the car in front of me came to a sudden stop.  I was driving too close (so, yes, I got a ticket!) and bumped the car in front of me, which, of course, was a BMW.  It wasn’t a big deal, but we still had to call police and sit there for an hour while the accident report was filed.  We’re starting to think that marriage is bad for my driving!  Before the wedding, I never had a ticket.  Since then, I’ve gotten a ticket for talking on the phone in a school zone and have now been in two minor accidents.

Nathan was burning a big pile of brush Monday night, and it became a much bigger fire than he anticipated, and started to get out of control.  It started a nearby tree on fire and began to burn an electrical pole before the fire department arrived.  They were able to put it out very quickly.  I was just glad I wasn’t home and didn’t hear about it until it was over.  Certain relatives of mine claim that my motto is, “When in danger, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout!”

Finally, last night, as Nathan was leaving soccer practice (he coaches a U14 club team), he realized that his wedding ring was missing.  He scoured the field for an hour and a groundskeeper came out with a metal detector, but they didn’t have any luck finding it.  It’s sad that it’s lost because of the sentimental value, but I’m reminded that all the things that happened this week only happened to our STUFF.  We can fix our stuff or get new stuff….or maybe have less STUFF!


Okay, back to house renovation stuff.  I have to paint my front and side doors this weekend.  They are currently white, and that’s by default.  As in, they have been installed almost a year and I still haven’t put a drop of paint on them.  The exterior of our house is grey and white, so leaving them white would be fine, and safe.  I know what that looks like.  I want to paint them black though, like the following pictures.  What do you think?  Should I be brave and go black?  Our door has sidelights, and then we have the moulding around the door (like the first picture) which will definitely stay white.  If I do go black, should I paint the sidelights black, too?






Laundry Room: Quick Update

I’m just popping in to show you the little update that we did one evening on the laundry room.  We’re plugging away here through our list of details to finish on the house, and I’m hoping that by the end of summer, we will have most of it done.  With the hanging bar done and the cabinet hardware installed, I think we are done in the laundry room for now.  Eventually I might hang some pictures to bring a little “pop” to the room.


The wall color is Misty Moonstone by Glidden.  The cabinets are just stock cabinets that I got for just $300.00 and then I painted them with a couple coats of Martha Stewart’s Cement Gray.  The colors are really soft, which I love.




We’re planning to get a stacking washer and dryer, too.  Our dryer is broken, but we’re waiting on the washer to die so we can replace the set with a stacking one and gain some floor space that way.  We bought the set used three years ago, so it surely will die soon.  Of course, now that we want it to quit working, it’s going to hum along for a decade…


The high ceiling makes such a big difference.  Remember what it looked like before?






The transformation is awesome.  Thanks, amazing handyman husband!