4 Reasons You Should Sell Your Starter Home Right Now


7 Signs It’s Time To Downsize

Toss These 5 Things Before You Move For a Fresh New Start

Toss These 5 Things Before You Move For a Fresh New Start

While you’re packing, consider throwing out these household items and give yourself a fresh start in your new home.


Houzz Contributor, Aly Finkelstein

It’s a great feeling to walk into your new home and know you have a blank space to work with. But making sure your new home stays this fresh, clean and exciting is much harder. Here are five things to consider throwing away before your next move.

1. Old trash cans. Old and used garbage cans and bins can be dirty and in bad shape. And nothing says “yucky” like an old trash can that you’ve used for years.

If your family is anything like mine, you have gum, stains and sticky spots on even the cleanest of indoor and outdoor trash cans. Do yourself a favor and throw out the old bins before you move to your new home. You can buy new trash cans that match, fit the space and are clean. This rule may also apply to recycling bins you have around the house.

If buying all new cans isn’t in your budget, definitely clean your cans before packing them into your moving truck or car. Fill the inside of the can with dish soap and warm water and let it soak. Then scrub. The soak will make scrubbing easier.

2. Toys. Moving is the best time to clean out the things you haven’t used and the things that won’t serve you in your new space. Toys are a major clutter culprit, and often many of them just aren’t being used anymore. My motto: Keep the favorites and toss the rest. Once you’re in your new space, you can buy a special new toy to celebrate the move.

Pro tip: If you feel too guilty about getting rid of your child’s toy, pack up the ones you think your child may miss and leave them in a separate box in the garage. If they don’t ask for them after a certain amount of time, get rid of them.

3. Old paint. Every client I work with has gallons of old paint. Chances are the colors match your old house but not your new one, so this is a great time to clean out all the old cans.

Before disposing of paint, check your town’s rules on recycling or disposing of it.

Pro tip: If you loved some of those colors, add them to a spreadsheet on your computer. Make sure you list the room a paint was used in, for future reference. Make sure to update the spreadsheet as you repaint in your new house too.

4. Paper. As long as you’ve rectified your statements, paid your bills and set aside important documents and receipts, you don’t need to keep all the paper that’s weighing you down. File the things you need to keep, such as tax documents, health insurance paperwork and property records, and get rid of the rest.

I keep three files on my desk at all times: bills to be paid, business receipts to keep and paid bills. Once I see online that the paid bills have been registered as paid, I throw the paper versions out. This keeps the files small and manageable year-round.

Pro tip: In the weeks before you move, carve out five to 10 minutes a week to tackle the paper piles you have around the house. Almost all of the items in these piles can be thrown away if you take the time to go through them.

Read more about which papers to toss and which to keep

5. Storage containers. Do yourself a favor and get fresh storage containers for your new home! The container drawer is often a major source of clutter and frustration for my clients. Your new home will feel even newer with a full set of matching storage containers.

I store my containers with the lids on so they don’t get separated. If for some reason the lid does go missing, I repurpose the bottom or get rid of it. I’m loving glass containers these days because I can microwave, store and eat from them. They can do it all and then go back into the drawer with their matching lids.

Pro tip: Buy storage containers based on your family’s needs. For example, if you cook often and send friends and family home with leftovers, buy inexpensive, disposable containers. If you use your containers weekly for whole meals, buy larger sizes.

Selling the Family Home?

Selling the Family Home? Three Questions to Consider About Your Homeowners Insurance

Getting ready to sell your home? Make sure you have the answers to these three questions.

By Ryan Hanley


The number of home sellers continues to increase across the United States, which is reflected in new data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

According to the NAR, 5.54 million homes are expected to be sold in the United States this year. The NAR also has predicted the national existing-home price will rise around 4 percent in 2017 — a positive sign for home sellers.

Although the U.S. real estate market is improving, selling the family home may seem impossible at times, particularly for those who still need to find a real estate agent and complete various home improvement and maintenance tasks. Plus, there often is an aspect of selling the family home that goes unaddressed — homeowners insurance.

With the right homeowners coverage in place, you’ll be able to safeguard your home and personal items as you navigate the home selling process.

Before you sell the family home, here are three questions that you’ll want to consider about your homeowners insurance, including:

  1. Are sufficient coverage limits in place?

 If you remain in your house while you’re trying to sell it, your current coverage will stay intact. However, you may want to check your homeowners policy to guarantee that sufficient coverage limits are in place.

For example, many potential homebuyers may view your residence over the upcoming weeks and months. Your homeowners policy likely includes personal liability coverage that protects you against damages to people injured by you or your property, but the standard amount of this coverage is usually about $300,000 per occurrence. Thus, you may want to boost your personal liability coverage accordingly.

It also is important to note that your personal belongings will be covered by your homeowners policy as long as you stay in your home. Conversely, if you own rare antiques, collectibles and other valuable items, you’ll want to insure these belongings properly.

Contact your insurance agent if you’re uncertain about whether sufficient personal property coverage limits are in place. This will enable you to provide details about any valuable items in your home, establish the optimal coverage limits and guarantee that you’re protected throughout the home selling process.

Furthermore, if your home will remain vacant while you sell it, you’ll want to notify your home insurance agent immediately. A vacant home presents some unique exposures, so the risks associated with insuring this residence are higher than those associated with a traditional house. Therefore, you’ll want to make sure that your home insurance agent can offer supplemental coverage for your unoccupied house — or find out whether you’ll need to purchase a separate vacant home insurance policy.

  1. Will you need a renters policy?

 If you intend to move into temporary housing while you sell the family home, you may want to purchase a renters policy.

Renters insurance represents an ideal option for property owners who plan to rent an apartment, condo or house temporarily. It covers losses of personal property such as computers, furniture and electronics. In addition, renters insurance safeguards you against losses due to natural and manmade disasters, theft and vandalism.

On the other hand, if you decide to move in with a family member or friend until your home sells, your personal belongings will be covered under his or her homeowners policy. This family member or friend may need to bolster his or her homeowners policy’s coverage limits as well, however.

Remember, a family member or friend who offers temporary housing will need to account for his or her personal belongings, along with your personal items. As a result, this individual may need to increase his or her homeowners policy coverage limits to ensure that an entire home and all of the belongings stored in it are insured.

  1. Are you moving out of state?

 Let’s face it — moving can be a hassle, especially if you are relocating out of state. You’ll need to pack up all of your belongings and ensure that they can reach your final destination quickly and safely. Perhaps most important, you’ll need to guarantee that your personal items are fully insured for the time it takes to move them from one location to another.

If you plan to hire a moving company to assist you with an out-of-state move, find out what types of insurance are available in advance. In many instances, a moving company may require you to sign a release bill of lading, which means that you will be covered for a given value of your personal belongings based on an amount of money per pound. A moving company also may offer full coverage for the value of your personal items, but keep in mind that the fees associated with this type of coverage can be expensive.

Lastly, your home insurance provider may offer moving coverage that comes with your existing homeowners policy. There are numerous third-party moving insurance options at your disposal, too.

When it comes to selling the family home, review your homeowners insurance carefully and talk to your agent before you introduce your residence to the real estate market. By doing so, you’ll be able to safeguard your house and personal belongings and focus on what’s important — showcasing your residence to a wide range of potential homebuyers.

About Ryan

Ryan Hanley is the Vice President of Marketing at TrustedChoice.com and the Managing Editor of Agency Nation. He is also a speaker, podcaster and author of the Amazon best-seller, Content Warfare. Ryan has over 10 years of insurance expertise and blogs frequently to help consumers understand complicated insurance topics.

Lindsay is the the Senior Manager of Media Engagement for Coldwell Banker Real Estate and manages the brand’s media and social media department. She is also a licensed real estate professional. In 2017, she was named a top 20 social influencer in the real estate industry in the annual Swanepoel 200 power rankings.

Lindsay lives in Livingston, NJ with her college sweetheart and now husband Joe and recently welcomed another Joe into her life as she became a mom in June 2016. Lindsay and her two Joes love spending their time playing with their cat Rory, watching sports and vacationing in Cape Cod.

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Moving? Pack Up Your Garage in 5 Easy Steps

Moving? Pack Up Your Garage in 5 Easy Steps

While the garage is often the last room packed in a home, there are many reasons to make it your first.

Guest Post by NorthStar Moving Co-Founder Laura McHolm

When it comes to packing up your home for a move, the garage is often the last room packed. Let’s face it, we put it off due to the sheer number of things piled up and the items in the garage are the most awkward things to pack. Garages are full of tools, landscaping equipment and things you don’t want to look at. Often, our garages have become the dumping ground of junk we don’t want in the house. But…there are so many advantages to making the garage the first room packed. With a little planning, packing up your garage will ease your mind and possibly fill your wallet! So, how do you tackle packing a garage?

#1 Sort & Have a Garage Sale

Moving is the time when the garage finally gets cleaned out. Hurray! It doesn’t make much sense to move belongings you really have no intention of ever using at the new place. Now is the time to get rid of what you  really don’t need: the stroller for your now 10 year-old; the growing collection of sport teams t-shirts; tools never used; etc. But, don’t just toss them out. Sell them or donate them. If you have the time, a garage sale is a great way to de-clutter and get some extra cash in your pocket.

First, sort items by creating two sections in your garage: one section for the things you are taking with you and one for the stuff you don’t want or need anymore. Then price and tag the unwanted items for your garage sale. The items that don’t sell can be donated. Donate clothing and household items to your local favorite charity such as Goodwill for someone else to enjoy. You can even donate your unwanted furniture to the Habitat for Humanity Restore. Getting rid of items will cut down on your moving expenses and keep your new garage space nice and a great place to get the rest of your house organized!

#2 Get the Right Supplies

Get the right stuff for your stuff: the right boxes and supplies paired with the right packing methods are crucial in the success of your entire move. In the garage, most items are heavy and oddly shaped. Be sure to have the following on hand:

  • Boxes: Sturdy, recyclable cardboard boxes (various sizes)
  • Eco-bubble wrap: Use Biodegradable wrap to protect items
  • Packing Tape: Every box needs to be taped, top and bottom, with 2 – 2 1/2 inch gummed or masking tape to give it additional strength and prevent opening, so you’ll need approximately one roll of tape for every 15 to 20 boxes. Run multiple strips of tape along the bottom of the box in both directions to make sure the box stays secure.
  • Packing Paper: While ordinary newspaper works fine for some purposes, be aware that the paper’s print will run giving you an extra cleaning task at your new home.
  • Blankets: Your mover can provide you with moving blankets for large items.

TIP: Before you start placing your garage belongings into the moving boxes make sure you have secured the boxes bottoms with several layers of packing tape for added protection. Correctly packed boxes paired with the correct moving supplies keep your items safe during storage and transport.

#3 What Not to Pack

Most garages have hazardous materials that can’t be moved due to safety reasons. Common sense and the law forbids moving companies from moving flammable items such as aerosol cans, paints, gasoline, paint and paint thinners, charcoal, propane tanks, fertilizers, pesticides, chemicals, cleaning supplies, etc. Be sure to properly dispose of these items before your move.

#4 How to Pack Garage Items

Leave smaller hand tools such as screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers, hammers, etc. in your toolbox and close securely.

Wrap any items with sharp blades with a few layers of eco-bubble.

Bundle large garden tools such shovels and rakes together with tape or rope and wrap them with a large moving blanket.

If possible, pack power tools in their original container. Remove any detachable parts a tool may have, including the batteries, and pack them in the same box.

Gas operated machinery such as lawn mowers and chain saws must be emptied of their fuel before they are moved.

Stack outdoor chairs and disassemble other outdoor furniture when possible. Remove cushions and pack them in boxes.

Wrap fragile flowerpots in eco-bubble. However, keep in mind moving companies cannot move plants across state lines. And your plants won’t survive in  storage.

Clean, defrost and dry: refrigerators and freezers. Wrap them with moving blankets for protection.

Dissemble bikes as much as you can before the movers get there, remove the handlebars and wheels. If you can, it is best to go to a local bike store and look for an original bike box and use it to pack the bike.

If a grill is equipped with a propane tank it cannot be moved even if it is empty. And, you cannot move charcoal either. Best to give them away to neighbors. Remove the entire propane tank and the charcoal before you move just the grill.


Remember that memory card game? It’s hard to find those two matching elephants in rows and rows of cards. Label each box with what contents are on the inside and write the location where this box is going: “Habitat for Humanity Restore” or “GARAGE” and  remember to write “FRAGILE” when needed.

While the garage is often the last room packed in a home, make it your first. It takes a lot of time; from sorting, dealing with odd shaped  tricky items to packing and donating. So start early and ask for help!  You can also use that empty garage space for moving items out of each room and sorting. Repeat the above steps for each room. Wishing you a stress free move!

Laura McHolm is an organizational, moving & storage expert and co-founder of NorthStar Moving Company. NorthStar Moving Company is an award winning, “A+” rated company, which specializes in providing eco-luxury moving and storage services.   www.northstarmoving.com

Don’t Pack These Items Up When You Move Into A New Home

Don’t Pack These Items Up When You Move Into A New Home

From medications to plants, here is a list of items you need to put some extra thought into for your packing strategy.

Guest Post by NorthStar Moving Co-Founder Laura McHolm

You have gone through the packing drills: Boxes? check; Tape? check; Precise type of boxes? check. Ready, set, go! Start packing! Wait a second! Hold it! Before you pack every tea cup and toy car in your home; take a break and step back. There are some items  you should first set aside; these items should not be packed. Certain valuables should always be kept close to you during a move, other items can be dangerous and some items simply should be left to the pros to pack to prevent injury and breakage.

Here are some of the items NOT to pack and move with the rest of your belongings:

1. Treasures: Money, securities, valuable papers and jewelry – Keep your treasures with you. If they are already tucked securely in a safe deposit box in the bank, don’t forget to get a new safe deposit box close to your new home and transfer the items there before your move.

2. Flammables: Items such as aerosol cans, paints, and gasoline – Ask the local hazardous waste organization in your community how to dispose of these items properly. The local fire department can point you in the right direction.

3. Perishable Items: Frozen foods and produce – You can donate food to your local food bank. Move for Hunger is a great organization for linking you to a food bank near you. Or, have a very eclectic left over dinner: ice cream and frozen waffles, anyone?

4. Plants & Flowers: Some states don’t allow plants to cross state lines so a moving company won’t be able to transport them for you. Moving locally? Way in advance of moving day: Ask the moving company if they can move plants. Can they move them in one day or  would you be better off moving your green friends yourself? You don’t want those plants in the dark without water too long!

5. Soaps & Polishes: Check with the water department and fire department on proper disposal.

6. Medications: Speak to your pharmacist, get your prescriptions transferred to your new home and find out how to transport them safely. Don’t forget your pet’s medications too. Talk to your vet and get those records and prescriptions transferred to your new home.

7. Explosives: Have guns, firearms, fireworks, explosives, or toxic substances? Check moving details with your local police department. Many cities have a no question asked turn in your firearms policy. Don’t under any circumstances leave them unattended. Children get very curious during a move and the last thing you would want on moving day is a horrible accident.

8. Family: Children, special need individuals, elderly family members and pets including fish and reptiles – Now, I know you aren’t packing these loved ones! BUT it is very important to make sure they all have a safe, cool and have a secure place to be on moving day, away from all of the boxes, commotion and movers. Make those arrangements way in advance of moving day and make sure everyone knows where everyone is going during the moving process.

The Ultimate Lifesaver Packing Tip:  Items you want to have easily accessible and close by your side on moving day be sure to pack a suitcase for each family member so everyone has their pjs, a change of clothes, phone/computer chargers, toothbrush, toothpaste, meds and favorite teddy bear. Also, make sure each family pet is microchipped, tagged and has a backpack full of food, meds, treats and toys to keep them settled where ever they will be babysat during the move. If you’re moving a long distance, make sure each family member has enough to get them through until the moving van rolls up to the new home. Really, you don’t want anyone to start that new school or job in their polka dotted pjs!

 Laura McHolm is an organizational, moving & storage expert and co-founder of NorthStar Moving Company. NorthStar Moving Company is an award winning, “A+” rated company, which specializes in providing eco-luxury moving and storage services.   www.northstarmoving.com.

How To Take the Stress Out of One of the Most Painful Parts of Moving

How To Take the Stress Out of One of the Most Painful Parts of Moving

Say goodbye to tangled wires and hours of nightmare unpacking.

China packed? Check. Picture frames packed? Check. Clothes packed? Check. Suddenly, you look into your office and family room, the music from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho plays in your head. The computer, stereo, and home theater all glare back at you, taunting you – “Go ahead pack us, we will never come back to life again.” Electronics are some of the last things to be packed before a move. No one wants to disconnect their entertainment and online lifelines. You’re filled with the dread of trying to fit each electronic piece into boxes and the terror of not being able to set them all up correctly in your new place. Thankfully, with these tips your entire computer, stereo and home theater will fit into boxes properly. You can put an end to the scary visions of endless tangled wires and the confusion of not knowing where to plug each cord. Simply color-code your wires and use your cell phone camera to document the process.

Here is how to tame your electronics:

Step 1: Prepare & Pack

Get the Proper Gear: Visit your local office supply store and purchase colored dot stickers and colored Velcro cord wraps.

Label: BEFORE unplugging your computer, stereo systems, and home theater wires: neatly wrap each wire with a different color cord sticker. Label each corresponding input with a colored dot. Match the color of the sticker wrapped around the cord to the color of the input dot. For example, place a green dot next to your mouse input on your computer and place a matching green sticker wrap around your mouse cord. You simply match the colors when you are setting your computer and electronics back up. Always label both ends of each cord with the same color dot.

Photograph: BEFORE you unplug. Use your camera and snap a shot or two of your color-coded work.

Unplug: After you have colored labels on all of your cords and inputs, properly shut down your electronics. Then unplug all of your cords from all inputs.

Organize: Before packing up a cord, place a Velcro colored wrap around one end of the cord. Use the same color Velcro wrap as the dot sticker already placed on the cord. Then gently and loosely wrap the cord in a circle around your hand. Once you have wrapped it, secure it with the Velcro wrap. Using Velcro cord wraps will better secure your cords during your move as well as prevent them from tangling.

Now you will be able to channel your inner geek and set your electronics back up like a nerdy pro! Next up, packing your electronics.

Step 2: Pack Your Electronics

Proper Gear:  If possible, pack your electronics in their original cartons. If you did not keep their original boxes, use a dishpak box. Dishpaks are specially designed boxes to handle and protect fragile items. You can find dishpaks at moving companies, box stores and home improvement stores. If you can’t find dishpaks, use double corrugated boxes. You will also need lots of recyclable packing paper, bubble and packing tape.

Assemble: Put the boxes together. Place double packing tape on the bottom of each box over the opening and across the middle. Then double tape the perimeter for extra support.

Pad: After taping, pack the bottom of each box with crumbled packing paper for padding.

Wrap: Always pack your heaviest items first, so for instance, pack your computer tower and monitor first. Wrap all electronic items separately. Lay your bubble on a flat surface with the pop side facing up. Place your computer tower, stereo, DVD player, etc. standing up right on top of the bubble. Pull the wrap over and tape it all together. Repeat by laying the item on its side and pulling the bubble over the sides. Keep taping until the wrap is securely tight to the item and on all sides. Make sure the item is completely covered. Place it up right, vertically in the box. Repeat this process for the next big item then place it vertically in the box next to the first item. For a computer, this would be the computer tower next to the monitor in one box. Pack the computer items in one box, stereo items in one box, etc.

Stuff: Before packing smaller items like your keyboard, mouse and speakers, and remotes, stuff packing paper in open spaces between the bigger electronics such as the computer tower and DVD player to ensure they cannot shift. Pack some paper on top for extra cushion.

Pack Accessories: Wrap your keyboard, mouse, and remotes in packing paper before placing them in the top of the box. Then wrap up your carefully color coded wires in packing paper. Tape the paper around the wires to secure them and then place them on the very top of the box. Fill the rest of the box with crumpled packing paper. Be sure to label the wrapped up items with a pen: “cords,” “mouse,” etc. so they don’t get mistaken for the crumbled up packing paper.

Tape & Label: Tape each box shut by double taping over the opening and across the middle. Then double tape along the top perimeter of the boxes for extra security. Label the outside of the box with the contents and the room the electronic should be moved into.  Make sure to mark FRAGILE on all sides of the box.

Done! Your electronics are safely packed and organized! Ready to get back online? Just carefully unpack each component, refer to your photos on your camera and let your color codes lead you safely back to movie watching and cyber space. Check out this video to see these tips in action.

City vs. Suburbs?

There is no shortage of heated, seemingly eternal debates: Democrat or Republican? Apple or Samsung? Boxers or briefs? Team Edward or Team Jacob (ask some tweens…)? But through it all, one quandary reigns supreme:

Should you live in the city or the suburbs?

And cutting to the chase for homeowners: Which option offers the better long-term investment?

Since the rise of the American suburbs in the mid-20th century, there’s been a growing divide between the glamour, pace and possibilities of city life and the safety, serenity and family-friendliness of suburban life—and the homeowners who are attracted to each.

In 2012, the Associated Press reported that for the first time in a century America’s largest cities were growing faster than their suburbs. But three years later, in 2015, the Brookings Institute showed that city population growth, while still on the rise, appeared to be slowing.

Here at realtor.com®, we believe that home is where the heart is—whether in a split-level ranch house in a sweet township or a converted warehouse loft in an emerging urban neighborhood. But every romance needs a solid foundation, and in the case of real estate it’s the value of your financial investment. Where, we wondered, are homes holding their value best?

We sent our data team to find out. To differentiate between city and suburbs, we relied on Nielsen’s population density data. We then compared home prices in January, from our own listings, with those one year ago. And to round out the picture, we evaluated the most-mentioned home and neighborhood amenities in our listings.

Let’s hit the road, shall we?

Factor 1: Homes appreciate faster in cities

As of January 2016, city homes have seen their values grow by 11.3% from one year ago, outpacing suburban home values, which have grown 6.7%. Currently, homes in urban neighborhoods are listed at significantly higher prices ($431,000) than in the suburbs ($230,000).

Here are the top five markets where urban dwellings are appreciating the fastest:

 Rank  Market

Urban home price change (Jan. 2015-Jan. 2016)

Suburban home price change (Jan. 2015-Jan. 2016)

 1  Honolulu, HI  26.8%  1.9%
 2  Pittsburgh, PA  17.3%  0.0%
 3  Seattle, WA  29.6%  13.9%
 4  Portland, OR  26.3%  14.4%
 5  Atlanta, GA  24.5%  13.6%

Much of this growth is due to new construction. Honolulu, for example, has always been a highly desirable place, but in recent years the downtown waterfront area has become hotter then an island blacktop in August due to its growing luxury condominium inventory. In particular, Kakaako, a crane-dotted neighborhood 2 miles from Waikiki Beach, is in the midst of explosive expansion.

Some cities, such as Seattle, are enjoying the benefits of being high-tech epicenters. Others are seeing the results from long-term campaigns to revitalize their older neighborhoods, such as Atlanta’s focus on its once-crumbling Old Fourth Ward.

So does all this mean you should rush back to the city? Not without considering some other factors. Such as…

Factor 2: Your dog will be happier in the suburbs

All that stuff that’s been drilled into you by your parents and endless reruns of “Leave it to Beaver” and “The Brady Bunch” still stands: You’ll have way more room to spread out in the suburbs—they’re great for kids and dogs alike. In general, suburban homes are 300 square-feet bigger than urban homes. With the increased space, more homeowners are able to have features such as a family room, backyard, and garage—all of which they tout in our listings. Never dismiss the power of a nice backyard.


Factor 3: Museums and mojitos vs. trails and teachers

You choose! For city dwellers, you can have a variety of obscure and awesome ethnic restaurants, open all night, just blocks from your front door. You like Sri Lankan cuisine? You can get Sri Lankan cuisine. Or you can hop on the bus or subway to peruse the museum, or drop your paycheck in a pricey boutique. The high life! Listings for homes in the city often check off these boxes.

For suburban residents, you can avoid the fumes of city buses and garbage trucks and opt for a run in the woods—our listings show that more suburban homes boast of their proximity to parks and trails. And suburban towns often boast good public schools. You are more likely to be on your own for food and entertainment, though, so keep the fridge full and your Netflix subscription up-to-date.


Factor 4: Cities are more dangerous, but less than you might think

 We all know that cities can be scary places. And, yes, crime stats back this up. But the difference between city safety and suburban safety is becoming less pronounced each year.

According to 2014 FBI crime statistics, within all metropolitan areas in the United States, major cities had twice the property crime rate and 2.5 times the violent crime rate compared to surrounding suburban areas. Even though cities had seen significant declines in crime—a 14% decrease in violent crime and a 12% drop in the property-crime rate from 2009 to 2014—they had a long way to go before catching up with the suburbs.

But, hey, let’s get real: Violent crime is only part of the safety issue, and criminals aren’t the greatest threat to your health and well-being. A University of Pennysylvania study showed that the number of deaths from unintentional injuries are 15 times greater across the United State than those from homicides. And on this metric, urban areas win out: Researchers found that city dwellers are 20% less likely than most rural residents to die from injuries, with the top three causes of death being motor vehicle collisions, firearms and poisoning.

Factor 5: You can choose your route to a healthier lifestyle

In terms of access to health services, no significant disparity was detected between urban and suburban home listings. But as far as environmental conditions go, urban settings are way less than ideal: Filthy air contributes to respiratory diseases, dense population facilitates the spread of viruses, and fast-paced life increases stress levels. While many cities are making progress in cleaning up their air and adding green space, there’s still a considerable gap with many suburbs.

But living in the suburbs is not without its health drawbacks. The lack of public transportation leads people to spend about 18% more time driving, according to researchers at the University of Connecticut and the University of Colorado. City dwellers, on the other hand, tend to walk and bike more, contributing to lower levels of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, theresearch reveals.

The debate will never end. But at some point, you’ll make your choice, and it’ll be the right one. Eventually.

The Ultimate Moving Day Count Down Checklist

The Ultimate Moving Day Count Down Checklist

Everything you need to know to prepare for an easy moving day.

Guest Post by Co-Founder NorthStar Moving Company Laura McHolm

Just thinking about the process of moving can put you in a panic but don’t worry, there is no need for it. Unlike the popular perception, it doesn’t need to be a stressful and overwhelming process. A bit of planning ahead and the to-dos of moving are very manageable.

Okay, so what are the to-dos and when do I do them? Here you go, use this expert two-month moving calendar to keep you organized. Simply follow these steps and check them off one-by-one. The insider secret to a stress-free move: stay in the know and know what is ahead!


  • Start the process of selecting a mover.
  • Check your mover’s record with the BBB, on Yelp and other social review sites. A great reputation is the best way to choose a mover.
  • If you’re being relocated by your company, verify what the company relocation policy covers and what responsibilities fall on your shoulders.
  • Start to inventory your belongings: Decide which items to donate, recycle, to take and which items (if any) need to go into short-term or long-term
  • Your tape measure is your new BFF – measure all the rooms in your new home, include layouts of doors, closets and windows. Measure all the furniture that is going with you and create scaled cutouts to place in a scaled layout for each room. Think: to scale rooms and furniture ala paper dolls. Once you have finalized a room layout that works, photocopy your final layout for each room. Give a copy to the movers on moving day and tape a copy to each room.


  • Mail change of address cards or change your information online to:
    • Post office
    • Social security
    • Insurance companies
    • Credit card companies
    • Credit bureau and/or other creditors
    • Employer (to forward W2s)
    • Car registration
    • Broker
    • Mail order accounts
    • Department of motor vehicles
    • Magazines
    • Friends and relatives
  • Arrange to clean furniture, drapes, etc. in your new place if necessary.
  • Gather personal records (medical, dental, etc.)
  • Arrange to transfer children’s school records
  • Gather all pet’s vet records and make sure all pets are micro chipped and it corresponds to a cell number that goes with you on your move. Order new tags and licenses with new address.
  • Check homeowner’s insurance policies to see if moving is covered. Be sure your new home is protected by transferring fire, theft and other personal-property insurance.
  • Start to pack.


  • Make arrangements to discontinue current utilities and schedule the start-up of new utilities:
    • Telephone service
    • Telephone listings
    • Cable TV
    • DSL/Cable/Phone line for internet access
    • Electricity (check for refund)
    • Gas (check for refund)
    • Fuel oil
    • House cleaners
    • Babysitters
    • Dog walkers
    • Gardeners
    • Pool Service
    • Diaper service
    • Water
    • Water softener
    • Parking
    • Other: ________________________
  • Have appliances serviced for shipment.


  • Arrange to transfer local bank accounts. Speak to your bank and find out about new checks being printed, etc. Don’t forget your safety deposit box contents.
  • Ask doctors, dentists and veterinarians for medical records.
  • Cancel newspaper delivery.
  • Refill all prescriptions. Get prescriptions transferred to new pharmacy closer to new home.
  • Make arrangements to move children and pets. Do you need a baby sitter for a day or two? A pet sitter?
  • Confirm that mover will move houseplants; if not, make arrangements. Houseplants, usually, cannot be moved by a mover, especially on long distance or out of state moves.
  • Start to disassemble any shelving, closet systems, etc. that you plan to take.
  • If you need one, hire a cleaning crew to come clean your empty place to get your deposit back. Will your new place need a cleaning crew before move in too?


  • Pack in separate boxes the items necessary for first days in new home: Label “LOAD LAST.” And label where to put each of those boxes in your new home: “top of kitchen counter.”
      • Medicine (always keep prescriptions on you)
      • Comfortable clothes
      • Linens and towels
      • Toothbrushes and toiletries
      • Paper goods
      • Disposable plates and silverware
      • Foil and wax paper
      • Plastic containers
      • Microwave
      • Vacuum cleaner
      • Garbage bags
      • Tool kit
      • Step ladder
      • Extension cords
      • Light bulbs
      • Cleaning items (mop and pail, broom and dust pan, etc.)
  • Each member of the family should also pack a suitcase with what they need for a few days while you’re getting settled into your new place. Don’t forget cell phone chargers, medications and favorite teddy bears.
  • If the movers are packing all or part of your goods, call to schedule and confirm the details. Make sure your mover knows how much packing you expect to do yourself and how much you expect them to do.
  • Plan to use up most food items before the move. If you have any leftover food on moving day, donate it to Move For Hunger.


  • Defrost and dry refrigerators/freezers to be moved.
  • Gather valuables and important documents from jewelry cases, safe deposit box, etc. to take with you in car. Do not pack these items with your other belongings.


Moving Out

  • Arrange to be on hand for last minute details and to give directions to movers.
  • Leave the whole day for your move. Don’t plan to go back to work, arrange a dinner date, etc.
  • Have payment for movers on hand. Avoid having to run out to bank, ATM, etc.
  • Have tips ready for everyone who is assisting you: cleaning crew, doormen, nanny, dog sitter, movers, etc.
  • Before leaving, check each room and closet. Check garage, basement and attic.
  • When you leave, turn off lights, close windows and lock doors.

Moving In

  • Supervise placement of boxes and furniture. Refer to your premade layout. Scotch tape a copy of the layout to each room’s door.
  • Check for damages. Inspect large items; look for boxes that are crushed or open. Inform the moving foreman and review the claims procedure with him.
  • Go back to the truck. Make sure nothing was left behind. Check all the compartments where fragile items are often kept for their protection.
  • Settle in to your new place, take photos for friends and family. A new chapter in your life has just begun! Let the new adventure begin!

Laura McHolm is an organizational, moving & storage expert and co-founder of NorthStar Moving Company. NorthStar Moving Company is an award winning, “A+” rated company, which specializes in providing eco-luxury moving and storage services.   www.northstarmoving.com