Tina McManus | Beverly Real Estate, Salem Real Estate, Hamilton Real Estate, Danvers Real Estate


So you've found the perfect home to move to, whether it is your first home up- or downsizing, congratulations. Now it is time to pack up. The rest is exciting, but now you dread the headache of packing, knowing how much supplies that you need to get (without a million trips to the store) and making sure that your fragile items make it to the new place intact. 

How many supplies you need depends on what you have

The pros have enough experience to help with estimating how much supplies you should get based on the size and the description of your home and possessions. To get a picture of what is needed, a rule of thumb to measure by is per 1200 square feet of living space. Some suggestions are one 25-lb roll of packing paper, six rolls of tape, one roll of small bubble wrap (more if you have a bursting kitchen or many trinkets), mattress covers for all your mattresses and box springs (make sure they are the right size) and 80-100 furniture blankets.

Getting and keeping your boxes sealed

Depending on the scope of the move (length, time, movers or friends, etc.) you may be used to folding the flaps of your boxes closed, but this leaves them vulnerable to moisture, insects and other stuff getting into your boxes. Not to mention that it makes it much more likely that something will fall through (cue driveway full of what was once packed nicely into the box now empty in your hands). The easiest way to ensure that nothing goes in or out of your boxes once packed place three strips of tape across the top and bottom of all of your boxes. Types and number of boxes can be determined by asking your movers or putting it into a moving supplies calculator online.

Packing material

Packing paper helps protect breakable items by preventing friction between objects. It does not leave ink residue that you have to try to remove after unpacking everything. It also helps to cover knives and other such items to help keep injuries from happening while unpacking. Bubble wrap is for the more fragile items in your house. Small bubbles for smaller things and large bubbles for things like large art and such.

Mattresses and box springs need care too

Mattress covers are essential for protecting the place where you spend one-third of your life and ensuring that no stains, dust or rips affect your investment. If you have a king size bed, remember that the box spring is usually two extra-long twin size so remember to get covers accordingly.

Furniture blankets

Don't forget to protect your furniture during the move. Scratches, dings, and dents, or broken drawers and doors, especially on expensive or heirloom furniture, could put a damper on any move. If that many blankets are too many for your budget, get enough for your most important furniture and then get paper moving pads or shrink wrap for the rest.

Avoiding the headache that can accompany moving 

Although moving can be stressful, there is no reason to make it any more so than necessary. Do some research or ask a professional near you to take the stress, and trips to the store, out of moving this time around and enjoy your new home.


Saving for a down payment, getting your debt eliminated, or wanting to pay for a car in cash; these are all worthwhile financial goals. Although you may think these are hefty expectations that are unattainable, there are ways to achieve them with planning. Creating financial health is achievable with a willingness to see money for what it is: a tool. When you learn how to manage and direct your money, you will be able to put together plans toward the things you want to accomplish.

Evaluate, Eliminate, and Create to Win Financially

Looking at your current income and living expenses can give you an idea of what it will take for you to carve out a path to your destination. You may find your income needs to grow to gain ground. There are a plethora of ways to increase your income. You may need to get a second, or third, job. Develop one of your hobbies into a side business. Sell some of your unused stuff. Think of what services people are looking for and what they will pay to have these done for them and fill that gap. Maybe your path to increasing your income is to go to school for more education. Many professions pay more for added certifications or degrees. Make sure the cost of the additional education will bring enough increase to your future income to be worth your time and the expense. 

A Little Bit of Planning Goes a Long Way 

In addition to increasing your income, you will want to look at the possibility of decreasing your expenses. Write out a budget, look to see what is a fixed expense and a variable expense. Ask the tough questions. Are the payments a necessity or convenience? The things that are not necessarily adding value to your goals, can you do without them? You will have to change the way you approach your lifestyle. Think about making your coffee at home instead of grabbing it on the go - pack that afternoon snack along with your lunch. Make a weekly menu, then a complete shopping list, and take one trip to the grocery store instead of running in on your way home from work when you are hungry. This change will take some time management skills. Prepping your food for the week ahead during the time you would typically choose to do other things, takes discipline. Keep your goals in mind when tempted to order that pizza and rent that movie. 

This week write down two financial goals and how you can achieve them. Your mortgage broker can give you an idea of where you need to be to qualify for a loan, so get some free advice to help you shape your goals.


How many times have you heard yourself say (or think) something very similar to this: "One of these days, I'm going to organize my closet(s)"? If not your closets, then it's your basement, attic, or garage that needs decluttering, organizing, and/or cleaning.

Question: Are you one of those homeowners (or apartment dwellers) who keeps saving things you don't need, and then finally gets around to sifting through it all when mountains of clutter have taken over your valuable storage space? If that sounds all-too-familiar, then don't worry; you're not alone! Unfortunately, the easiest thing about organizing your home is putting it off until another day.

There comes a point, though, at which clutter takes over your life. Symptoms you're moving in that direction include an inability to find things and the inexplicable disappearance of storage space (actually, there's a perfectly rational explanation for it)! So if the "clutter monster" has been rearing its ugly head in your home in recent months, here are some causes and possible solutions to the problem.

  • You know you have a lot of junk, but you're not sure what to do with it. Well, first of all, "one man's junk is another man's treasure," so things you no longer have any use for may be very useful to charitable groups, community fund drives, or homeless shelters. In addition to giving stuff away, you could also offer free or inexpensive things to people in your social media network, hold a yard sale, or offer gently used hand-me-downs to relatives and friends. If your unwanted stuff is actually junk (by anyone's standards), then it might be worth it to have a local junk hauling service pick it up at your house and properly dispose of it. An alternative is to rent a dumpster for a few days and fill it up at your convenience. The cost may be surprisingly affordable, and the amount of living and storage space you'll reclaim in your home will make it all worthwhile. You never know until you get a quote or two!
  • You just can't seem to motivate yourself to get started! Procrastination is one of the leading causes of household clutter, but there are solutions. One strategy is to announce to your significant other, best friend, or parents that you're going to devote two or three hours on Saturday (or Sunday) to straightening out your closets, basement, or garage. The value of telling someone else of your intentions is that it sort of puts you on the hook and makes you accountable. A similar approach is often used for dieting, exercising, or spending quality time with your kids. Even though two or three hours of work probably won't transform your home into a model of organization, you'll at least have gotten started and made a dent in the project. For most people, the biggest hurdle to getting organized is getting started!
Picking up a supply of inexpensive bins, storage compartments, and shelving at your local discount outlet, hardware store, or even neighborhood garage sale may also give you the nudge you need to get your decluttering plans moving forward!

Family bonding moments are precious and something you should take for granted. They are essential to developing lasting memories with your children before they move into those stubborn teenage years. Getting kids to take part in activities can sometimes overwhelm, but it's much easier when it suits their interests. Here are a few fun projects to do with kids and enjoy the best family moments.

  1. Decorate a cake Baking is one of the fun things to do with kids and other members of the family. Don't worry about your baking expertise, buy a book with the right instructions and get started. The fun increases when it's time to decorate the cake. Allow the kids to get creative no matter how disorganized the decoration looks. The aim of this activity is not to make a picture-perfect cake but to bond and share laughter.
  2. Crafts Crafts are a popular choice among parents because kids seem to get so interested in creating something. The materials you would need are always simple and depend on the crafts you want to create. Look for ideas at your local craft store or even take a course together. You can stimulate young DIY-ers by participating in a weekend class at your local hardware store.
  3. Board games Playing board games is something everyone in the family can enjoy. A game of Scrabble or Monopoly not only provides bonding moments and memories, but it also teaches children teamwork, problem-solving, and decision making. The children's attention span for board games may be short, so keep them interested with the promise of a reward.
  4. Look at the stars at night Simple, yet enchanting and beautiful, stargazing is a great bonding time. Set out a few minutes after dinner to sit in the yard or lay on the grass and see the stars. It is an excellent time to tell stories, share experiences, and take in some fresh air. Make it a part of the family schedule periodically.
  5. Movie night Watching movies together never gets old so long as you watch something that everybody loves. You can try classic films or recent ones that the entire family will excitedly anticipate. Take turns giving each family member the opportunity to choose the video of the week.
  6. Plan a treasure hunt A treasure hunt shouldn't be a cliché or a predictable game. With older kids, you can step up your game to suit them. Make treasure hunts an exciting family affair with a worthwhile treasure. Create a challenge and don’t make it too easy.

Waste no more time in creating bonding moments with your family. To make great memories in your neighborhood, invite your neighbors to join you, especially if you're new to the community.


When you have children, you want to ensure that they’re safe and healthy. You probably have done childproofing and try to keep as many hazards out of your kid's way as possible. There are plenty of hidden dangers around your home that you may have never thought of to protect your kids. Read on To discover more ways to keep your kids safe. 


Dishwasher


You use your dishwasher on a regular basis, and if you have kids, there are a few risks involved that you may have never even thought. The door on the dishwasher should have a secure locking feature on it. If the door isn’t properly closed, all it takes is a little tap from a child, and everything from the dishwasher can come crashing out. Even the door to the appliance itself can be heavy. You don’t want that hitting your child.  


For older children, if the dishwasher isn’t properly loaded, chores can become hazardous. Sharp knives and forks should be pointing in the right direction so when a child is unloading the dishwasher, they aren’t accidentally hurt. 


Dishwasher detergent pods can be a choking hazard as well. Keep these out of reach of children. 


The Oven Or Range


Your oven or range should be correctly installed to avoid injuries. Anti-tip brackets should be mounted on ranges so that there isn’t a risk of the appliance falling on your child. If the child leans on or climbs on the range, there is less risk this way. 


Wall ovens should have doors that lock well. Usually, wall ovens are installed a bit higher up in the kitchen, but oven doors that fly open can pose an injury risk. 


On the stovetop, make sure that pot handles are turned in to keep little hands from grabbing them. If you can, use the back burners instead of the front. This will be an added security to keep your kids from getting burned. 


Your Child’s Room


Young children will spend a lot of time in their nursery. Between napping and playing, you want to be sure that the room is safe. The crib should be sturdy with a firm mattress. Nothing should be placed in the crib besides a fitted sheet. It’s preferable to have new cribs for babies as older cribs can be worn and wobbly. Hand-me-downs could even be missing parts. Be sure that the child’s room doesn’t have a lot of electrical cords and any unused outlets have caps on them.            




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