Spring Cleaning: How to Declutter Your Home Before Moving

Here are some tips for organizing the items in your home for spring cleaning.It’s well-known that spring is the perfect time for giving your home a top-to-bottom clean. Once the cold, short days of winter are over, people everywhere are practically waking up from hibernation. If you’re going to be moving to a new home in the late spring or summer, use this springtime energy to your advantage. The fewer belongings you have, the less time you’ll have to spend packing, moving, and unpacking. Start decluttering your home using these guidelines:

Don’t Start What You Can’t Finish

Once you get your spring cleaning momentum going, you may be tempted to dart throughout your house and organize everything in your path, but try to contain your energy to one room or specific project at a time to prevent burnout and half-finished projects. Spend up to three hours tackling a project before taking a break.

Try the Four Box Method

Set up four boxes in the center of each room you declutter and mark one “trash,” mark another “sell/give away,” another “storage,” and the last one “put away.” The first two boxes are self-explanatory – put items in them that you intend to throw in the trash, donate, or sell. You can sell items online, in a garage sale, or at a consignment shop. For seasonal items you don’t need at the moment but don’t want to get rid of, like heavy winter coats, place them in the “storage” box. Items that just need to be put away in their proper place go in the “put away” box.

KonMari It

Marie Kondo is famous for her book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which instructs readers in a decluttering method that’s proven to simplify people’s lives and sometimes prevent them from ever having to repeat the process again. These are the highlights of her tried and true KonMari method:

  • Sort items by category rather than by room, starting with clothes, moving on to documents and books, and even going through mementos and photographs that are usually held onto without a second thought. For instance, while parsing through your clothing, grab every item of clothing from every room in your house and place it in one pile on the floor. You may be surprised by just how much clothing you own!
  • Consider each item individually and ask yourself the question “Does this give me joy?” If it doesn’t, throw it in your “sell/give away” or “trash” box. Exceptions should be made for items you might not be particularly excited about but can’t throw away, like work uniforms or legal documents.
  • Eventually, the idea is to only be left with items that have a proper place in your house where they can be put away. That way, tidying up will only take minutes as you put things back in their place, rather than hours spent decluttering. If you add items to your house, ensure that they have a proper home or get rid of other items to make room.

Donation Drop-Off Centers in Cleveland

Here are some places in Cleveland to drop off household item and used clothing donations.

Donation Drop-Off Centers in Pittsburgh

These are some places in Pittsburgh to drop off your household item and used clothing donations.

Once you’re done decluttering for your move, it’s time to find your moving boxes and packing supplies. Check out our moving blog or contact Weleski for tips.

How to Deduct Moving Expenses from Your Taxes

How to deduct moving expenses from your taxesIf you were required to move at least 50 miles away for work within the last tax year, you may be eligible to deduct any moving expenses not paid by your employer. That includes the cost of moving and storing your belongings as well as travel expenses. Due to 2018 tax reform, this is the last year you’ll be able to use this moving expense deduction, so be sure to take advantage of it if you meet the qualifications.

How to Qualify for Moving Expenses Deduction

In order to deduct your moving expenses from your taxes, you must meet the time and distance tests.

  • Time: Have you worked as a full-time employee in the area you moved to for at least 39 weeks during the first 12 months after you arrived in the area? If the answer is yes, you may qualify for the moving expenses deduction.

You still qualify if you’ve worked for more than one employer in the 39 weeks. However, if you’re self-employed in the area you’ve moved to, you must have worked a total of 78 weeks during the first 24 months after arriving, whether you were self-employed for the entire time or worked for multiple employers.

  • Distance: Is the distance from your old home to your new workplace at least 50 miles greater than the distance between your old home and old workplace? If the answer is yes, and you meet the time test above, you can deduct your moving expenses from your 2017 taxes.

Confused? Here’s an example: If you lived in Pittsburgh and then moved to Cleveland (about 140 miles away) to be closer to your job, worked at your Cleveland employer for 24 weeks, and then became self-employed in Cleveland for 54 weeks, you are qualified.

Here’s some good news—if you’re married, only you or your spouse needs to meet the distance and time tests. You may also qualify for an exemption to the distance and time test in the case of job loss, disability, or involuntary separation. You don’t have to meet the time or distance test if you are a member of the Armed Forces and moved due to a military order and permanent change of station.

Which moving expenses can you deduct from your 2017 taxes? Deductible expenses include:

  • DIY moving trucks or pods
  • Professional moving company services
  • Cost of hiring moving help (e.g. paying someone to load your truck)
  • Packing supplies
  • Moving insurance
  • Storage for a maximum of 30 days
  • Cost of gas and oil if you travel by car
  • Any travel expenses aside from meals for each member of your household (one trip each)

Need some help filing taxes this year? Check out these free tax preparation services in Cleveland and Pittsburgh. Find tax assistance near me.

Free Tax Help in Cleveland

Visit www.211oh.org or call 211 to schedule an appointment to prepare your taxes in Cleveland.

Free Tax Help in Pittsburgh

Visit www.pa211sw.org or call 211 to schedule an appointment to prepare your taxes in Pittsburgh.

How to Move Fine Art and Sculptures

Canvas painting of a woman with art suppliesWhether its value is monetary or sentimental, it’s normal to be paranoid about having to move art. The unusual shapes, weight, and fragility of paintings and sculptures make safely packing them a special challenge. Follow these guidelines to keep them safe and protect their value.

How to Move Paintings and Drawings

  • For expensive and large artwork, consider a custom-built crate. The crate can be built around the painting on-site and then disassembled when it reaches its new home.
  • Do not use cling wrap, which can create mold. If you want to wrap the artwork to prevent scratching, use a blanket, silicone release paper, unprinted newspaper, or plain brown paper.
  • Avoid packing multiple paintings in one box or crate, even without frames. They may scratch against each other in transit and damage the paint or canvas.
  • For glass-covered artwork, create an X with masking tape over the glass to prevent it from shattering in case of cracks.
  • If your artwork must go into storage, make sure it’s climate-controlled to prevent damage to the paint.
  • Stick large red FRAGILE labels all over the crate or box.

How to Move Sculptures

  • Fill in crevices with foam padding before wrapping the sculpture in a generous layer of bubble wrap.
  • Place foam padding or packing peanuts inside the box on all sides of the sculpture to prevent any movement.
  • Sculptures should be packaged individually to prevent breakage from friction or banging together in the truck.
  • Mark the box as fragile and indicate which side of the sculpture’s box should be facing up with large, red labels on all sides.

When in doubt, call in the experts. At Weleski, we’ve moved every kind of item you can imagine and will treat your valuable artwork with the utmost care. Contact us with questions or to request an estimate today.

How to Pack and Move an Office

Woman packing and moving an office in a boxAn office move is even more difficult than a home move. Every minute that normal business operations are interrupted by packing and transporting office furniture, money and opportunities go out the window. Whether you work for a large company or work for yourself at home, these tips will help you prepare, stay organized, and stay in business.

Two Months Before Moving

  • Make an online calendar pointing out important dates and mapping the entire move on a timeline. If you have employees, share it with them. The more people who know the ins and outs of what’s going on and when, the better. Share important dates with your suppliers and movers, too.
  • If the office is outside your home, notify your property manager that you plan to move and follow their move-out procedures.
  • If you’re in a company with multiple departments, delegate to department heads. Give them the responsibility of communicating important information to their employees and taking care of any special requirements.
  • Get excited! Moving means renewal and change for business. New location, new opportunities. Share your vision for the new location with your employees, partners, and customers.
  • Take inventory of supplies, furniture, electronics, and everything else that’s going with you.
  • Everything that’s being left behind can be donated or sold.

One Month Before Moving

  • Documents older than seven years can be shredded or put into storage.
  • Order new stationary and other office supplies featuring your new address.
  • Call utility companies and give them your moving date.
  • Let neighbors know that moving trucks might be temporarily blocking the street.
  • Back up important files digitally on a cloud server.
  • Notify customers that you’re moving and give them your new contact information.

During and After Moving

  • Update social media profiles and online directories like Google My Business with your new contact information.
  • Make sure nothing is missing according to your inventory list.
  • Instead of arranging everything exactly like it was in the old office, switch it up and breathe some new life into the décor.

We understand how much work and careful planning goes into an office move. Contact Weleski today for more information or to request an estimate.

How to Coordinate a Move around the Holidays

Red sack of wrapped Christmas presentsSometimes, you have to move when you have to move. Your lease is up right before Christmas, or there’s a serious problem with your current house right before the New Year, or you’ve decided to pack up and go and can’t wait until spring. While moving during the off-season is more difficult, it can be done. Here’s how to do it without significantly disrupting your life and your enjoyment of the holidays.

Plan Ahead

If you have the luxury of extra time before the holidays to do important things like gift shopping, decorating, and planning, do it now. Don’t let anyone judge you for thinking about Christmas before Thanksgiving! Once your gifts are already bought and wrapped, you’ll breathe a sigh of relief.

Pack Your Decorations Last

You don’t have to sacrifice your enjoyment of the season. Leaving up your holiday decorations will cheer you and help you stay in the moment when you’re stressing out about your impending move. On that note, only use decorations that are easy to put up and disassemble.

Re-Gift

Use your move as an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. Unload nice items that you’re not attached to by giving them as gifts. Most people won’t care that the items are second-hand as long as they’re in good condition and given thoughtfully.

Give Yourself Permission to Say “Sorry, I Can’t”

If you explain your predicament to your family and friends, they will understand if you can’t accept every party invitation, cook a meal for every potluck, or spend a ton of money on every gift. Give the gift of whatever time you can spare, and if you sometimes have to prioritize your move over having fun, there will always be another year.

Contact us today to get an estimate and schedule your move. We’re here to help you!

How to Decorate for the Holidays Before and After Moving

Portrait of a Young Girl Wrapped in Christmas LightsYes, it’s true that putting up decorations right before packing up and moving creates more work. If you’re still trying to sell your old house, this too is a reason to keep the walls bare. And, after you’ve just moved into a new home, taking time out of unpacking to decorate for Christmas is probably the last thing on your mind. However, aren’t the holidays all about taking time to slow down and enjoy the little things like cold weather, good food, and time with friends and family?

This doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing situation. Here’s a list of subtle, low-effort decorations that will put you in the holiday spirit without breaking your back once you have to take them down, pack them up, and put them back up in a new home.

1. A Wreath for the Door

A simple wreath featuring faux evergreen, cedar, or even magnolia, olive tree, or berry arrangements is ridiculously easy to install and remove. You can hang it using command strips or a special wreath hanger that clips to the top of your door. When it comes time to move, just take it down, pad it carefully, and pack it away with your other decorations.

2. Projector Lights

These mini projectors that cast LED lights all over your house were designed to save time and labor, and they can create an incredible variety of effects to your personal tastes, from twinkling stars, to gently falling snow, to twirling snowflakes. Best of all, if you’re worried about what potential sellers will think of your decorating tastes, you can simply switch it off. All you need to do to install a projector is stick it in your front lawn and connect it to a power source. Packing it up and taking it to your new home is as easy as packing up any small household electronics.

3. Alternatives to a Christmas Tree

Putting up and taking down a Christmas Tree can be too labor-intensive even for people who plan on staying put in their houses. Instead, try any one of these Christmas tree alternatives. Some of them can be made with objects already in your home that you’re planning to take with you to the new house, like your books. Some can be made and decorated by your kids, like a chalkboard tree.

4. Wrapping Paper

You can easily pull off these leftover wrapping paper DIYs with the remnants of last Christmas. Line your shelves with white and red, or fill your empty photo frames with squares of paper bearing Santa and holiday tidings. When it’s time to pack, all you have to do is take it down and recycle it, and you can easily do it over again in your new home.

Need more ideas about how to organize your move without missing out on the holidays? We’ve moved thousands of families at all times of the year, so just ask!

How to Make Moving Fun for Kids

Make moving fun for kids - a young child waits in the car while parents load the carMoving is already stressful. Adding frustrated or bored kids who are trying to cope with change can be a recipe for disaster, but it doesn’t have to be this way. By helping your kids view moving with a positive attitude, they’ll not only have an easier time, but their high spirits and abundant energy can help make moving more fun and pleasant for you, too.

Talk to Them about Moving

Kids have their own concerns, fears, and questions about moving to a new place. It’s hard for anybody to accept something in which they have no choice or leave behind the familiar, and children are no exception.

Giving them something to look forward to in the new location can ease the transition. Sign them up for a class where they can practice their favorite hobby. Show them pictures of local parks and attractions and promise to take them there once you’re settled in. Get them excited about decorating their new bedroom. The adjustment will take time, but helping them look forward to moving will make a difference.

Turn Packing into a Game

  1. Are you familiar with the “going on a picnic” game? If not, read the rules of the game. You can easily adapt them to packing boxes. For older kids, challenge them to remember everything that’s going into a box and repeat it back to you before they can add something else. Younger kids who have more trouble with remembering long lists can simply name an item that begins with the first letter of their name.
  2. Task your kids with organizing all the items in the house by category. For younger kids, challenge them to find and stack all of their clothing, toys, and books in a pile. Older kids can organize in more detail, separating types and seasons of clothes and grouping things of similar weight and size together.
  3. Let your kids decorate the boxes and create elaborate labels using stickers, markers, and crayons. You’ll get a smile on your face with every box you pick up and move as you admire their creative handiwork, and the back of your moving truck will look like an art gallery.

Make the Car Ride Fly By

  1. Music and car games will sustain your kids for an hour or two, but once boredom sets in you’ll have to endure a never-ending chorus of “Are we there yet?” Making the back seat comfortable with pillows and blankets and loading it with snacks will help keep the crankiness level low.
  2. With audio books, children will be able to follow longer stories above their reading level, and they won’t get car sick from reading paper books.
  3. Bring sleeping masks and ear plugs along for light sleepers (beware of the choking hazard for younger kids). If you’re lucky enough, your kids might pass part of the time by napping.

Help Kids Settle In

  1. Give them some independence about how their bedroom is organized. This will make unpacking and putting things away more fun and will motivate them to keep the room neater. With some guidance, let them decide how to decorate their room.
  2. On the first night at the new house, bring everyone’s mattress into the living room or another communal area so the whole family can “camp” together. This will make it easier for your children to tolerate new sounds at night.
  3. Let the kids get creative with the leftover boxes. They can make rocket ships, castles, masks, and even decorations for their rooms out of cardboard.

Over the last 50 years, Weleski has moved thousands of families with kids. If you have a question about how make moving fun for kids, just ask us!

Where to Get Moving Boxes

Where to get moving boxes - boy and dog sitting in a boxNothing beats a sturdy, easy-to-stack box for safely moving your belongings. But where do you get moving boxes? Sadly, it often seems like the supply of quality cardboard boxes has suddenly run out the closer you get to your moving date. Don’t resort to throwing your valuables into garbage bags – plan ahead and use these tips to ensure that you have all the clean and durable boxes you need.

Ask Your Friends and Coworkers

Before you start driving around the neighborhood and diving in dumpsters, the first thing you should do is put out a notice on social media that you’re moving and need supplies. The wider you can cast your social net, the better. The average American moves once every five years. Chances that a friend (or a friend of a friend) just finished unpacking and has boxes to spare are high.

If you work in an office, ask if you can take home empty printer paper boxes. Offer to take the packaging from your coworkers’ Amazon shipments off their hands. Maybe they’ll appreciate you saving them a trip to the recycling bin.

Check Online Listings

There’s a good chance that somebody on Freecycle or Craigslist is offering all the free boxes you need in your area. All you have to do is look for a listing. Don’t see anything right now? Post your own listing advertising your need with a contact phone number. Wait a week or so for the calls or texts to roll in. All you have to do is pick them up.

Stop By a Recycling Center

You should ask for permission first, but it’s unlikely that anybody will mind if you take whatever whole boxes you can find from the stacks of cardboard at your local recycling center. After all, reusing materials again and again is even more effective at reducing energy consumption and protecting the environment than recycling!

Visit Area Businesses

The best quality boxes will come from businesses that deal with shipments of dry, clean goods in a variety of sizes. Try an office supply store, a bookstore, or a pharmacy. You may have more luck at local businesses than at chain stores. You’ll get even luckier if you can figure out how often those stores receive shipments. This is where your network of friends can come in handy. Ask around and one of them might be able to alert you to a recent influx of usable boxes.

Do you need help on your quest for boxes? Just ask us and we’ll give you more detailed information about where to get moving boxes and how to get all the moving supplies you need.

How to Move Electronics

Other than dishes and glassware, electronics are some of the most fragile items in your home, and they’re often even more complicated to move. Unless they’re covered against damage, breaking them will take a hefty bite out of your wallet, too. Keep them safe on their journey to your new home by following these 10 tips.

7 Tips for Moving into a College Dorm

For many students, moving into a college dorm room will mark the first time they’ve ever been away from family and old friends for the long term. It’s important to make dorm room surroundings familiar, cozy, and organized. That way they have somewhere to retreat to when school stress wears them out. However, resist the temptation to pack anything and everything you can into a U-Haul. It will only make moving out at the end of the semester a nightmare.

  1. Follow the move-in instructions.Van loaded full of student's possessions ready for moving into a college dorm

    Nearly all colleges and universities provide students with move-in information via mail before their arrival. Read these instructions thoroughly to make sure you understand where to park, what time the doors open, and where and how to check in.

  2. Only pack the essentials.

    Leaving home is hard. It’s understandable to want to bring as much of it with you as you can, but it’s not practical! Remember that dorms typically provide basic furniture like beds, desks, and wardrobes. Make a list of what you’ll need within your first two weeks, like bedding, toiletries, casual and dressy shoes (limit yourself to four or five pairs), two weeks’ worth of outfits (including loungewear, athletic clothes, and something formal just in case), laundry essentials, kitchen utensils, and a basic tool kit.

  3. Coordinate with your roommate.

    Does your new roomie have an awesome smart TV and a mini fridge that they’ve offered to share? Then don’t bring your own! Save the precious car space and the energy spent carrying them up and down the stairs.

  4. Ship what you can.

    Ask if you’ll be able to receive packages on move-in day. If you can, ship bulkier items ahead of your arrival, like mattress pads, pillows and blankets, black-out curtains, and towels. Don’t bother bringing your whole wardrobe – leave seasonal clothing behind so it can be shipped to you later in the year.

  5. Buy it online.

    If there’s something you won’t need right away but you’re worried you’ll need it eventually, consider whether you can buy it on Amazon and have it shipped to you at your convenience. Maybe by the time you’re finished moving in you’ll change your mind and save yourself from having to move it out again.

  6. Use storage bins.

    Buy organizers and bins ahead of time and pack all your items inside them. That way every item you bring with you will have a home, keeping you clutter-free throughout the semester. Not to mention how much easier it is to carry items in a storage bin with handles and a lid than in a garbage bag or open laundry basket.

  7. Bring some mementos from home.

    And by mementos, we don’t mean a bunch of fragile knickknacks, but a few pictures of parents, siblings, family pets, and other loved ones to post on the walls will go a long way in making this new space more welcoming. If you have a comfort object like a childhood stuffed animal or blanket that will make getting to sleep easier, don’t be embarrassed! Your roommate will probably have something too.

Want more tips about moving into a college dorm, or need some help on moving day? Feel free to contact us and ask us a question.