Work Smarter, Not Harder

Oftentimes, it’s nice to have heavier furniture or appliances simply so they don’t move around when they’re nudged, sat in, opened, and so forth. It can be bothersome to constantly fix where they’re sitting on your floor, and even then, you may worry about the safety of your hardwood flooring or nice tile. But you may come to dread such weight in appliances and furniture simply since moving it whenever you move in or out of somewhere can take forever while also put significant physical strain on you.


But typically you’ll almost always need someone else to come help you move something for your own safety. Our few solutions? They’re no different: be sure to have someone helping you, even if these methods only require one person to do the moving itself. Getting items underneath big items still requires someone else to tip a piece of furniture or an appliance on its side so that you can slide a shim or whatever beneath the object.

Check out these easy and cheap ways of moving your furniture when its just too heavy.

Lifting straps.

Furniture lifting straps are relatively uncommon, yet they’re some of the most genius things to assist lifting heavy items. Some straps hold onto your forearms inorder to quickly and easily get started on moving items, whereas others have a harness that goes around your midsection for even heavier items. We suggest that you start thinking about investing in these if you’re young enough to need them for the rest of your life or old enough to need them for the safety of your back.

Using basic packaging supplies.

Honestly, this is a pretty much free investment in moving heavy things. Excess cardboard boxes can be broken down into little buffer pads that allow you to drag heavy things across carpet, hardwood floor, and linoleum easily enough to not have to really lift the object off the ground. When the cardboard is flat and on the ground, it’s not hard to move things around by sliding them, and you don’t have to worry about the furniture damaging your floor.

And this is the reason why this method really shines. Protecting your floor means you won’t have to worry about the feet of the furniture or appliance dragging against whatever flooring you have down since the cardboard will be between the two. And a bonus? Such packaging supplies are absolutely cheap (or almost free) considering everyone has some laying around.

Moving blankets.

These are best for protecting furniture during the shifting caused by moving vehicles, but they can also double as a dragging blanket. Much like the use of cardboard, putting a furniture blanket beneath heavier items makes it easy to drag your furniture along flooring without damaging the flooring or the item. This method makes it much easier to actually drag heavy items in comparison to small shims that could accentally be thrown away.

Making Do with What You Have

I never would’ve understood how useful some old shipping boxes really were until taking in a rescue cat. Let me just put it this way: those boxes are coming in clutch right now while we figure out what supplies the cat needs from an actual pet store.

It’s funny how you learn to be resourceful when you’re forced to be resourceful. When my fiancee came home with a kitten this weekend, we didn’t have much outside of a litter box and some cat food in a dispenser. Luckily, placing an old blanket in a small cardboard box creates a perfect little area for a small animal to sleep, and she’s been making great use of it as a little “safe area” ever since we brought her home.

Of course, we’re only 24 hours into the adoption, but we hope that in time, she grows more confident in walking around, checking things out, interacting with us, and approaching the dog. (Though to be honest, I think we’re more worried about how the dog handles interactions with the cat rather than the reverse!)

Nonetheless, making do with what we have at the moment has been going quite smoothly. I know we’ll be making a trip to the pet store this week for a proper scratch tower, a few toys, and perhaps even some wet food to help her gain weight. It’s just that a last minute decision to bring a cat home on the weekend can put you in a small “do what you can with what you’ve got!” situation.

We’re quite fortunate to have a big basement with plenty of places for her to get comfortable, explore, and hide in. And it’s perfect for separating her from the dog during the day when we’re at work. Luckily, the dog never used to go down there in the first place, so she can claim it as her own.

I think while we make do with what we have, we may even use a few more shipping boxes as multiple little places for her to play in, almost as if it were multiple different rooms to lay in and hide in. At least, from what I know with cats and cardboard boxes, they quite enjoy squeezing through them, hiding, and jumping in an out.

As with anything in life that catches you off guard, you’ve got to learn to roll with the situation, handle as best you can with what you’ve got, and prepare better the next time. Thankfully, the cat is very easy going and we’ll have everything she needs in no time.

Unknown Camping Tips

With the onset of fall officially here, I reached out to a handful of my buddies and asked if they wanted to go on an impromptu camping trip at a site just an hour away from most of us. Luckily for me, most of my friends enjoy out of the blue plans like this, and those guys are always down for something fun like camping, hiking, and canoeing with each other. With the promise of beer and a good time around a campfire, everyone agreed on a date and time for next weekend quite readily.

I’m also quite lucky to have one of those buddies volunteer to drive me and another friend down there. That takes the gas/driving commitment out of the equation for me, which is less work on my end and more fun playing tunes in the car and navigating for my friend.

Just as well, he’s quite keen on camping and hiking and has some of the nicest gear you could hope for related to those hobbies. Since he’s a master of the outdoors, it’s no surprise that he has extra gear for people and offered me an extra hammock for the night. It’s safe to say I’ll enjoy the hell out of hammock camping for the first time. I really can’t wait to see how comfy I find the experience the following morning.

Most times we go camping, I always end up forgetting a thing or two that I would’ve rather had with me just in case. It’s not that I ever leave behind an essential item like a sleeping bag or anything like that. It’s just more along the lines of convenience items for camping, like an extra blanket or multiple pairs of shoes and sandals to adapt to the weather.

This time, though, I’ll be quite prepared for multiple things. For example, I’ll be taking a handful of extra shipping supplies, like cardboard and packing tape in order to have extra materials for kindling, sleeping pads to put under other people’s sleeping bags, and the tape is extremely useful for keeping food sealed quite well (to help ward off against thieving raccoons in the night). Who would’ve guessed that basic shipping supplies would be so useful on a camping trip? I never really knew they could be so versatile until I saw a buddy bring some scrap cardboard for a multitude of uses around our previous campsite.

A Glimpse into the Past

There’s something pretty magical about revisiting old things or getting your hands on someone else’s old belongings. It almost feels like you’re transported back to that point in time when those things were used a lot or popular.

I’ve always felt this way about obtaining old books, especially when you can tell that the pages are quite delicate and have been around a lot longer than most of the people I know. It’s fascinating to think about such a thing being printed back in the day, and it gets me to wondering who people were when reading such a book, or just wondering what the previous owners were like.

In fact, recently my fiancee and I were looking through some old shipping boxes full of cassettes and records that her dad used to listen to. Since he no longer had a record player and we recently got one, he figured we should give a look through of everything he owned in case we wanted anything in his collection.

As we flipped through everything, it was enchanting getting to glimpse into his life simply by the records he owned. Taste in music says a heck of a lot about someone, or that’s at least how I like to look things. I can get a read on how average someone is depending on what they listen to, and if they do happen to stray from the norm, it’s easier to get a read on who they are, what their life is like, and more all because of the albums they choose to own and listen to.

This is something I’m highly fascinated with, the whole “getting to know someone based on what they used to like or own.” I mean, if anyone somewhat close to me in my life who is a lot older offered for me to look through their old shipping boxes full of belongings, I’d hop on the opportunity right away to get an idea of what they used to be like (and possibly still are like). It’s not often people open up to others so willingly, so when these opportunities arise to truly know someone better, even if they’re unaware of how I view it, I definitely hop on the chance.

It makes me wonder what someone down the line will think of me when they go through my record collection or book collection. I like to think that what I own now gives a good indication as to who I am and what I think about life. It’s exciting to conjecture about what I’ll be like in ten years time, and what the me then will think of me now.

Unboxing Videos

It seems YouTube content creators have thought up just about everything when it comes to footage for people to watch. From tutorials (what most people probably have used YouTube for at one time or another) to video game “Let’s Play” videos, there’s everything out there you could hope for.

What’s really quite interesting is to watch new trends happen as time goes on and the platform develops. You start to see certain creators draw inspiration from others while forging a new path. And while watching people play video games in their set up rooms is something that isn’t new to the genre, watching people unbox limited edition games, accessories, and consoles has become quite an interesting and exciting experience as of late.

That’s right: people make videos for you to watch them unbox their gaming necessities. It’s exactly what it sounds like, too. From watching them carefully remove shipping supplies and packaging materials to finally removing the product from within, the experience watching these videos is pretty interesting to say the least.

I think what pulls people in so much is the believability of it all. You can tell that the content creators are actually removing this stuff from the packaging and all the shipping supplies for the first time, which generates a sense of excitement, wonder, and mystery for you, the viewer. This directly impacts your experience, taking you from a passive bystander to a firsthand participant (or so the perspective makes you feel).

Just like so many other fads and genres on YouTube, unboxing videos are a legitimate source of pleasure for so many viewers out there. Whether you watch one to gather a sense of the quality of a product or you just enjoy watching others take shiny new products out of a box, these videos are at the very least something different than the rest. And it will definitely allow you to get a sense of value on the product you may be considering buying, because a lot of these videos also review the products once they unbox them. They’ll honestly and accurately describe what flaws the product has and what they like about them (though it’s important to keep in mind that this is all subjective to the creator, despite some of them attempting to be as objective as possible). So, these videos double down as an experience in total as well as a means of reviewing a product.

A New Way of Looking at Money Spent

I think one of the main things people should spend their money on, rather than material things that are brand new such as clothes and technology, should be books and food. I’ve got a few reasons as to why these two things are so important in our everyday lives, though I’m sure people would argue that books are unneeded because of the internet and food is something that we all spend money on inevitably to begin with.

But, I’ve got a few retorts to both. Let’s get on with it.

Books.

If I ever see a deal for books online, especially ones I’ve been seeking, I order them immediately. I can’t begin to tell you how excited I get to see shipping boxes with books in them sitting on my doorstep waiting to be opened. There’s absolutely nothing like a new book and its smell and feel. (Perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself here.)

Books are worth your money primarily because of the benefits reading has for you. And I don’t just mean reading any text. No, the internet and scanning your smartphone isn’t nearly as great for you as picking up a book with sources or a strong story. To begin, books are a lot more legitimate than random articles you may find online. Just as well, reading pages in front of you isn’t nearly as harmful on your eyes. And as a bonus, you actually read faster when consuming text from the page opposed to text on a phone, tablet, or computer. These all sound like compelling reasons to order a few books online and eagerly await the shipping boxes like I do, don’t they?

Food.

Yes, we all budget for food and groceries anyway, but I think the problem with this mindset is that we look at food merely as a necessity and something we should try to save the most money on, period.

This is where things can go downhill. By looking at food as something you need to save money on, you automatically shoot your diet in the foot and undershoot the importance of what you put into your body. You should be fully willing and happy to buy whole foods, organic produce, and fresh/non-processed items. These are much healthier for you, they inspire you to actually appreciate what you’re eating, and you’ll learn a lot more about food and dishes once you prepare and cook with them everyday.

There’s something that needs changed in the way we currently operate as a society, especially considering how lazy everything has become, from browsing uncited sources online to microwaving our every meal. Neither are healthy, but I hope this inspires you to make a change in your life for the better.

Donate, Don’t Trash

I’m often pretty guilty of tossing items and foods that I don’t need any longer despite knowing better. It seems like a waste of money, time, and perfectly useable resources to just toss something that is taking up more space than you’d like.

Starting with food items, I’m looking to make an effort to donate more of the things I often throw away. It’ll be easy to begin with food simply because it’s more of a visible thing on a daily basis. Nonperishable items particularly do well as donatable items, because so many homeless shelters will gladly take in your excess food.

Just as well, it’s always a good idea to clean out your closets at least once a year in order to make room for yourself and get rid of the materials and clothes you don’t wear often enough to warrant keeping around. Goodwill is notorious for taking these items and reselling them at extremely low prices to help low-income families stay clothed. And the income they generate off these clothes? That goes to helping others in need, whether it’s homeless or disabled communities.

This sort of generosity is paramount in helping out disadvantaged communities and even the health of the environment (and it’s not even generosity for people to give or donate the things they no longer use, especially considering they would typically throw them in the trash anyway).

So one thing I’ll be focusing on for the remainder of the year is what all I can donate to places that will accept it. I have a lot of unused or somewhat used office and shipping supplies that would be of great use to someone out there. Considering no one is looking to buy my shipping supplies off of me, I may as well donate them to places that will definitely take them and repurpose them or give them away to others they know who are in need.

Overall, donating things takes no time or effort on your end besides sifting through what you’ll be ridding of your home. And that’s something you’ll be doing anyway, because if you’re not donating, you’re trashing those things. So why not be a part of a great cause and give back to your community in some sort of fashion? It’s free, it’s easy, and it helps out not only others, but yourself as well. Before you know it, you’ll be wanting to volunteer in other ways as well.

Get It Done Today

What is it about having in mind something you know you need to do, yet you drag your feet for days, weeks, or even months not wanting to do it? Is it the fact that it’ll take some time out of your day, so you say “we’ll do it tomorrow” and then do the same thing tomorrow? Is it the fact that it costs money, so you’d rather not see your bank account deplete any if you can avoid it? Or maybe it’s the fact that we’re all just inherently lazy people doing lazy things for lazy reasons.

I’m inclined to believe it’s a combination of the first and last items.


Think about it. We always have time to get things done, no matter what they are. It’s just that we feel exhausted at points from our work days, and so we look at evenings and weekends as free time to lounge about and do nothing so that we can rest. There’s no problem with doing that with some of your free time; however, it’s a problem when all of your evenings and weekends consist of this mentality.

Closeup image of notepad with pen.

You’ve got to learn to break it up and tackle the things you’ve been putting off. It’s not like you won’t still get to lounge. Heck, sometimes we don’t even have real excuses for not doing this. My fiancee and I, for example, have put off getting new yoga mats and a dental water pick for the last month and a half. We keep telling ourselves we’ll order it soon. Well, I wouldn’t call a month and a half later “soon.” What’s especially egregious about our procrastination up until this point is that all we need to do is order it online. I mean, the shipping boxes will be sitting there on our door steps in a matter of days. It’s not like we have to do any research for the products, considering both are recommended to us by friends who have a brand in mind that they enjoy.

The fact we’ve gone this long without pressing a few buttons on an app to order the products we want and have it shipped directly to our home in no time is pretty bad. Shipping boxes are a convenience for a reason: you don’t have to go out and do your shopping in person. You can do it online in minutes!

I think we just need to stop giving ourselves excuses and do the things that need getting done. Saying “we’ll do it tomorrow” should only be a pass one time. Once you’ve used that line for a certain task you know you have to do, you shouldn’t use it anymore. Do it tomorrow and never say tomorrow again on that specific chore.

What CAN’T Be Shipped These Days?

In the past month alone, I’ve probably seen myself undergo more changes for the better than I have in any one-month span during my entire life. And it all started with a diet shift.

To give you some context on my situation, my fiancee and I decided to try out a pescatarian diet last month in order to be healthier and more mindful of environmental and animal rights issues. Now, while you can say that we’re still eating animals and some animal products (which we are), the diet shift has kickstarted a lot of chain reactions in our home that have to lead to the healthiest state of mind and physical health we’ve both seen in ages. So, while we’re still not quite vegan in order to completely minimize our impact on the environment and taking part in animal products, we’re getting there slowly but surely.

Back to the diet, though. One thing that she and I have wanted to do for a few weeks now is to buy fish products from sustainable fisheries that have low environmental impacts and catch wild fish in healthy fishing areas (that aren’t overfished). Unfortunately, this has been a tough thing to pin down living in the heart of the Midwest, meaning nothing local is feasible since some of the major types of fish and shellfish out there are along coasts and not in freshwater areas around here.

This has to lead me to find a company that is a community-supported fishery (CSF), which has basically been taken straight after the CSA (agriculture, in this instance) model. Basically, you pay a monthly fee to have products sent in shipping boxes directly to your doorstep, and you’ll always get a certain amount of food per month. Products change based on season, meaning you may get salmon one month and crab the next.

I’m pretty stoked to try out this company’s fish to get me kickstarted on a happier, healthier, more sustainable product that I can know is the best possible option for my situation when it comes to buying fish. And even better, I won’t have to buy seafood from the grocery anymore, which is time saved searching for things and making trips. Now, we’ll only have to pick up vegetables when needed (and that’s something I’d love to do with the community-supported agricultures that are around my area, too).

It’s amazing what companies are out there today that will send along a few shipping boxes your way with all sorts of products to choose from. The fact that I can buy fish that is sustainable and wild caught and have it shipped to my door is pretty out there, but I’m glad it’s an option.

Modern Lodging

Anytime my fiancee and I travel, we always end up using AirBNB for our lodging needs. We’ve found that it’s comparable in rates to a decent hotel, yet the feel of the experience is far more in tune with the local culture than a hotel could ever offer. Just as well, we get invaluable advice and tips from our hosts, such as which breweries or bars to go to/avoid, where some local attractions are, and how to steer clear of tourists.

Overall, it’s just a much better model suited towards our lifestyle than a hotel could ever offer. Plus, we’d much rather give our money to hosts (and the app itself) than traditional hotels. This sort of business encourages and promotes travelers across the United States, and it does so through the model of having people host you at their homes.

Something we’ve noticed that sets certain hosts apart from others is the preparation involved. When we book a cheaper place simply to save money, we don’t expect too much out of the room we’ve booked. So long as there’s access to a bed, some outlets, and a bathroom with a shower, we can’t really expect much more.

But any rooms that approach $85 or more start to have higher expectations. Ability to control the thermostat is huge. Access to a refrigerator for storing drinks or anything else we need is a must. And, at that price, it’s nice to have contact with the host enough to find out more about the local culture and restaurants surrounding their home.

We’ve also found it quite nice to have a TV in case we want to wind down to something. Heck, one host we recently stayed with had a Roku on their TV, allowing us to watch Hulu and the likes. That was a pretty amazing feature for our two-night stay up in Michigan.

Detail of the livingroom at Hotel Vilòn in Rome

We’ve also enjoyed hosts having shipping supplies available in case we need to mail something in a pinch. Whenever we’re out traveling, it’s always neat to send postcards or trinkets back to family, so we’re often on the lookout for things like packing tape and labels and envelopes. Shipping supplies are cheap enough for hosts to be alright purchasing, too, so it only shows another level of expertise in hosting people in their homes.

More than anything, being prepared and having a clean home with amenities that any normal hotel would have is what makes a successful host. Even if you don’t have some enormous home with beautiful architecture and a pool and more, you can still become great at your craft in hosting weary travelers.