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How to Downsize Your Home

Minimally decorated apartmentWhether you’re retiring from full-time work or simply want to spend less on housing, moving from a big house or apartment to a smaller one is a highly efficient way to save more money every month. By downsizing your home you’ll not only be paying less for your mortgage or rent; you may discover that, with limited space, you spend less overall on household items. Follow these downsizing tips to reap the benefits of more efficient living.

Make an Inventory of Your Belongings

A detailed inventory of everything you own will not only give you some perspective on just how much stuff you have that you probably won’t need – it will also come in handy for filing an insurance claim in case of theft or damage, and for packing and keeping track of your stuff during your move. Use a spreadsheet to document your items with an accompanying description and inventory number, then take a photo and label it with the item’s inventory number. You can keep everything handy in your Dropbox or Google Drive. Your insurance company might also provide a free inventory tool.

Decide What You Can Live Without

Decluttering is a vital step when moving from a large home to a smaller one. Now that you have a detailed personal inventory, you can easily categorize items by belongings you must have, things you could stand to give away or sell, and items that can easily be replaced if necessary after you move to your new home. Determine the room dimensions of your new house or apartment and take your measurements into consideration when deciding which furniture to keep.

Organize While Moving, Not After

In order to ensure that you can keep your new space clutter-free, everything you own should have a place where it can be stored or put out of the way as soon as you unpack it from its moving box. Move your largest furniture first to get a better idea of where small items are supposed to go. If you realize that something you brought with you doesn’t have a space in your new place, now is the time to save yourself a headache and get rid of it.

For more tips about how to manage a move from a larger home to a smaller one, contact us. We’ve been in this business for decades and have learned a thing or two about downsizing your home.

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.

Places to Eat in Cleveland While Moving

Here are some places to eat in Cleveland while moving. These local Cleveland delis and restaurants serve delicious carryout and sit-down meals.Whether you’re moving to Cleveland or moving away, you probably won’t have a lot of time for meal prep or spare cash for delivery, and you don’t want to have to transport a lot of perishable ingredients. Here are some of the best Cleveland restaurants for grabbing a quick bite without blowing your moving budget.

Barrio

Barrio is a popular local Mexican taco joint with five convenient locations, including downtown, Lakewood, Tremont, Cleveland Heights, and Willoughby. With over 30 options to customize the taco of your dreams, it’s guaranteed to hit the spot. Their full menu is online, so you can call for carry out to speed up the ordering process.

West Side Market Cafe

The West Side Market is a great place to pick up quality ingredients from local farmers and butchers, but if you don’t have time to cook, the West Side Market Cafe will use these ingredients to whip up a delicious meal for you. Stop by at any time of the day for a quality breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner that’s as good as homemade.

Superior Pho

Superior Pho lives up to its name, laying claim to the title of “best pho in Cleveland.” This hearty soup paired with a delicious banh mi with juicy pork and crispy vegetables will fuel you up for a busy day of moving. Best of all, a large bowl of pho for carry-out costs less than $10!

Nate’s Deli & Restaurant

Nate’s isn’t your typical deli with bland toast and scoops of chicken salad. While it does offer the expected deli fare like corned beef sandwiches and chicken noodle soup, Nate’s Deli & Restaurant also loads your plate with delicious Mediterranean cuisine, like gyros, spinach pie, stuffed grape leaves, and hummus made from scratch. Nearly everything on the menu costs less than $10.

Vincenza’s Pizza & Pasta

Vincenza’s Pizza & Pasta claims to serve the best New York style pizza in Cleveland, and they can back it up with several awards! It’s easy to stop by and pick up a sub, a plate of pasta, or pizza by the slice to go, but they also deliver.

Don’t see anything you like here? For more tips about the best places to go in Cleveland, contact us!

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 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.

These Are Your 8 Packing Essentials

You’ve probably seen the typical “I’m moving. Need boxes!” plea on Facebook. Sometimes people come through with boxes left over from their own recent move, but more often adequate packing supplies are scarce and those friends have to resort to hauling their clothes in black garbage bags.8 essential packing supplies you need for your move.

If you’ve decided to do your packing alone, make it easy on yourself and get what you need. Maybe then you can be that friend who comes through for someone else with spare packing supplies. These are the eight packing essentials you can’t move without:

  1. Corrugated cardboard boxes in various sizes. When you pack boxes, avoid making them too heavy for the average person to carry. Large boxes are perfect for lightweight items like bedding, towels, and lampshades. Appliances and toys will fit fine in medium boxes. Finally, he smallest boxes are good for dense, heavy items like books and tools.
  2. A dish barrel. This tall, narrow cardboard carton is especially good for containing plates and glassware. Some come with cardboard dividers for your glasses, mugs, and stemware.
  3. A wardrobe box. Say goodbye to black garbage bags – this is, hands down, the easiest way to transport your clothes from one closet to another. You don’t even have to take your garments off their hangers; simply hang them on the bar across the top of the box.
  4. Flat boxes. There are large, shallow boxes specifically designed to transport flat screen TVs, decorative mirrors, and art. Use them to protect some of your most valuable items.
  5. Packing paper. This is one of the most versatile and useful packing tools that people often forget about. Unlike newspaper, packing paper won’t rub ink all over your belongings. It’s perfect for cushioning plates and glasses, and you can rip and crumple it to fit into any sized space or corner to prevent movement and provide extra cushioning.
  6. Bubble wrap. It’s lightweight, it provides superior cushioning, and it’s fun to pop when you’re finished moving. Use bubble wrap on your most fragile and precious items, and wrap it around things like wooden furniture legs to prevent chips and scratches.
  7. You’re going to be taping like a fiend, so don’t wrestle with a bargain bin packing tape dispenser with a dull blade – get yourself a tape gun and save the time and frustration normally expended on trying to find and peel back the end of the tape after losing track of it for the fifth time.
  8. Finally, you’ll need to mark your boxes. You can use a classic black felt tip marker, or you can strive for maximum efficiency by color-coding your labels. Make sure you write your labels on the sides of the boxes so you can still read them after stacking them.

Want more advice about what packing materials to use for your move, or where to get them? Just ask us and we’ll be happy to help you.

How to Have a Garage Sale Before Moving

Before you pack everything up in boxes and take it to your new home, you can do yourself a big favor by getting rid of the things you no longer need. Unless you are saving an item for someone else, if you haven’t used it in the last 3-5 years, there’s a good chance you never will. A garage sale or yard sale lets you make money, and also helps you save money by reducing the weight of your shipment.

Pick a date (Saturdays are prime) and advertise. There are several ways to get the word out.

  • You can use social media networks (Nextdoor is ideal)
  • Post/distribute flyers in the neighborhood
  • Put notices out through the local newspaper, church bulletins and bulletin boards

Publish the starting time and duration (e.g., 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.). When you open the garage door at 8 a.m., you’ll likely see a swarm of early birds—be prepared for the rush.

If parking is limited, you might contact your neighbors a few days before your event to ask if they would park their cars in their drives to free up space on the street. If you live on a narrow street or road with no shoulder for parking, assess the capacity for parking in your yard. Designate the parking area with highly visible signs.

Long, counter-height tables are ideal for displaying things. Keep kitchen things, tools, hardware, clothing, knick-knacks, books, etc. grouped together, as in departments. If something you wish to sell isn’t fully functional, note “as is” on the price to acknowledge it may need repair. However, most folks understand that garage sale items, especially in a moving sale, are sold “as is.”Containers labeled with prices hold merchandise being sold at a garage sale

How you price items can have a big impact on your success. In this era of eBay and online shopping, it’s easy to find a market price on just about anything you wish to sell. Remember, your goal is to get rid of things, so make your prices attractive.

Be prepared to consider offers below your asking price. A common mistake is to place a sentimental value on top of a market value. Books, for example, bring only pennies on the dollar, despite the fact that the enjoyment and enlightenment they offer can be immeasurable. If you are having a hard time parting with something, think of the enjoyment it will bring to someone else. A bit of charity in your outlook will serve you well.

If you are unsure of how to price some of your things, denote them with “make offer.” For items of relatively higher value, you may attach a piece of paper for bidders to write an amount they are willing to pay along with their contact info (phone or email) so they can be notified at the close of the sale.

Be aware that garage sales can be prime hunting grounds for sticky fingers and fraudsters. It pays to have several family members and friends on hand to help “mind the store” and keep things from walking off. A Dri-Mark® counterfeit detector pen is a worthwhile expense and can save you the embarrassment of ending up with funny money in your till.

Do you have a tip from your experience with garage sales and moving sales? Leave it in a comment to this post—I know our readers would like to hear from you!