Monthly Archives: September 2016

DIY Options for the Storage Obsessed

I’m not gonna lie- I love organizing.  When I lived in SoCal it was almost beyond my comprehension, the amount of stores surrounding me that were dedicated strictly to organizing.  Stores like The Container Store and IKEA.  That you could walk into and be in for like three days.  Now I live in a little southern town at the southernmost tip of the state.  Needless to say, my options for organizing stores are Bed Bath and Beyond and Target.

Don’t get me wrong, I love them both, but they don’t quite stroke my obsession like I was used to.  Instead of trying to force something that isn’t there, though, I turned to something else: DIY storage.  Do you have any idea the awesome storage and organizational tools you can create using cardboard boxes?  It’s pretty stinking fantastic.  Here are just a couple of the ideas that I have used and fallen in love with:

  1. Shoe boxes.

– By the time I am done here, you will never, ever, EVER throw away another shoe box.  A quick trip to your local craft store and you will have a storage system people pay good money for.  Decoupage the outside (which means “glue paper to it”), and then use adorable labeling stickers on the outside to indicate the contents.  Not a bit of this project will wind up looking handmade in any way (for those of you who don’t want your friends to think you are poor).

– Use a spray adhesive to attach gorgeous fabrics to the shoe boxes, mixing up the patterns so that everything coincides but isn’t too matchy-matchy.


  1. Wooden Boxes

-You don’t have to stick with cardboard boxes, though.  You can go crazy decorating wooden boxes, and the plain ones from the craft store are pretty cheap.  High gloss paint and gold embellishments give you a box that could cost upwards of a couple hundred bucks in the retail world.  And why would you do that?  If you don’t want to go through all of the trouble of “finishing” the wooden boxes you can simply embellish them jewelry.  A gorgeous pin or broach over top of the latch takes the look from dollar store to couture as fast as you can heat up your hot glue gun.


  1. Random Ideas

-Use puffy paint on your cardboard boxes to make your effect all-inclusive and 3D.

-You can make boxes from felt, with long, winged sides on the lid, of you can cover jewelry boxes with felt to get the same effect.


-Even if you have boxes laying around that you want to add some life to, give them a coat of spray paint and attach something to the top, like a figurine or glamorous rock.



A Basic Guide to Proper Packaging

The goal of sending a package is for it to get to its destination in the same condition as when it left.  Sound too obvious?  Well, it’s not.  Packages are frequently arriving at their final destinations in an altered state, and its not always the fault of the carrier.  Any carrier that takes pride in itself will handle packages appropriately and be staffed with professionals who make a living off of deliveries, so they aren’t going to jeopardize their own jobs by poor work ethic.  On the other hand, an improperly packaged item is susceptible to damage and destruction along the way.


A properly packaged item starts and ends with the shipping supplies.  These are the common denominator of all packages, but also the hidden key to a successful shipping experience.  Shipping supplies usually consist of four categories: cushion, sealant, boxes (or envelopes) and labels.  Let’s look at each category a little more closely:

CUSHION: shipping supplies don’t have to be an obvious product that you purchased at the post office.  Crumpled newspaper makes a great filler.  It’s incredibly important to fill all empty spaces in your package so that nothing is moving around inside of the box in transit.  Wrap each item individually with some kind of cushion, like the newspaper or bubble wrap, making sure to pad fragile items with extra care.

BOXES: Whatever you are sending, make sure it is being sent in a sturdy, outer box.  Compartmentalize your items in smaller boxes, or even bags if you need to protect them against possible moisture or pests.  Use double wall boxes for shipping heavier items, and make sure that any box you are using is in good condition and properly sealed.

SEALING: Not all tapes work well for shipping.  It is important that whatever tape you do use adheres to following the guidelines- plastic tape should be pressure sensitive, paper tape should be water-activated, and reinforced tape should be water-activated as well.  Any tape that you choose should be at least two inches wide, and you should use the H taping method on the top and bottom when sealing your box.


LABELING: Delivery information should be included inside of the package as well as outside, including both addresses.  Make sure that any other addresses or stickers have been removed or covered.  Packaging slips and labels should be facing the same direction, and be on the same side of the package.  The labels should be on largest surface.


Most carriers can’t promise continual compliance with any instructions you may have annotated on your package (such as “this end up”), but it would still be a good idea to indicate them all the same.

How to Have a Well-Organized and Smoothly Operational Moving Experience

Is it possible to  have a well-organized and smoothly operational moving experience?  Yes!  The answer is yes.  So, naturally, the next, most obvious, question is: How is it possible to have a well-organized and smoothly operational moving experience?


Here are five super simple and yet uber helpful tips to set you on the right course:

Create Your Hub!

The first thing you should do is create a space that will be your “headquarters”.  This could easily be a box that you write “moving headquarters” on and fill with stuff like shipping supplies (tape, scissors, labels, any important paperwork regarding the move, phone cords).  Your contents list is going to be stationed at your headquarters, and that’s going to be explained in the next tip…


Have A Contents List!

Keep a spiral notebook with you while you pack, so that you can write down a more detailed description of  what is going in each box.  This way you don’t have to say “misc kitchen” you can say “mixing bowls” and “measuring cups”.  Give each box a letter that coordinates with the room it’s going into (K for kitchen) and then a number (K1, K2, K3…).  When you want to know what is in K3 you go to your spiral notebook and look it up.

Don’t Skimp on the Supplies!

Make sure you have lots of shipping supplies on hand.  Lots of tape, lots of boxes, sharpies… That sort of thing.  You don’t want to run out right when you are in the thick of things.  That would be super inconvenient.

Stack of cardboard boxes in a room

Pack Ahead, and Pack Smart!

Don’t leave packing until the weekend before you move.  If at all possible, begin packing weeks in advance.  Packing always takes so much longer than we think it will, and it always winds up using way more supplies.  So buy your supplies far in advance, probably from an online retailer that sells packaging and shipping supplies.  Then, maximize the supplies that you have purchased.  If you are using wardrobe boxes, fill the bottoms with shoes so that you aren’t wasting space.

Protect what is dear! 

If you have the space in your car, keep your most valuable and personal possessions with you.  It’s one thing to lose your couch and clothes in the moving process, it’s another to lose the love letters you sent back and forth with your spouse in college, or your adoption papers.

7 Super Helpful Tips for Packing

Believe it or not, people do search the internet for tips on the best way to pack up their belongings.  Things used to be a lot more straightforward in the 80s and 90s, because things were a lot more straightforward.  Does that make sense?  The point I’m trying to make is that you didn’t need internet packing tips in the 80s and 90s because people owned a lot less, and their belongings were a lot simpler.


But what do I know… maybe if YouTube and Pinterest were around twenty years ago people would have been using them…  For now, let’s leave the past in the past.  Here are seven tips to help you with packing:

  • Start by properly securing your cardboard boxes. It all goes to crap if the bottom is going to fall out of your boxes.  Padding the bottom and sides with newspaper helps with strengthening the bottom.
  • Pack like with like and then label them correctly. There is nothing beneficial about throwing different stuff from different rooms in the same box.  And if you don’t wind up labeling what is inside of them you wind up with a bunch of heavy cardboard boxes and no idea what to do with them.
  • Cardboard boxes are expensive! If you want to save money, leave your stuff in their drawers and keep the contents in place using masking tape or self-stick plastic wrap.
  • Wrap your plates individually in paper and stand them on their sides. They stand a lot less chance of breaking without the weight of each other on top and underneath.
  • This is one is my favorite: when you are about to tape your box shut, put a piece of string along the seam, with a couple inches hanging off to the side. When it’s time to unpack you can just pull the string and it will cut the tape along the seam.
  • Did I mention properly labeling your boxes? I cannot stress this enough.  Label what room the boxes are supposed to go in your house, and what they are holding.  This way you don’t have to go breaking through all of them and moving them all around at the end of a long day/days.  Do I need to point out that the label should go on the sides?
  • Do yourself a favor and start packing well ahead of time.  You are obviously going to want to start in rooms that are less important, but you will be giving yourself a huge high five when it starts getting down to the wire and you are ahead of the game.

Simple Tips for Saving on Shipping Costs

Shipping supplies are often a “hidden” cost for a company or business, but they shouldn’t be.  If a business isn’t paying attention, they can wind up hemorrhaging precious resources  in this department. For companies that do a lot of shipping, and large shipments at that, hiring a logistics provide for to manage the ins and outs is definitely the best option.  Poor planning will waste so much time and money.


But for those of you who only do some smaller shipments some of the time, there are some tips that can help you save on your shipping costs and make better use of what your options:

Shipping Providers

Did you know that your shipping provider (United States Postal Service, FedEx, UPS…) has a business specialist that you can sit down with to get fees and services worked out?  Most companies and businesses don’t know about this service, and they wind up spending absurdly more trying to figure it all out on their own.  One crucial component is deciding when air shipping might be more beneficial than ground shipping.

Shipping Costs

Be clear to your customers when your company is going to pay for shipping and when they will need to.  For example, advertise that your company will cover three-day, standard shipping, but that they will need to pay for two-day or overnight shipping services.

Shipping Cost

Shipping Supplies

Use the shipping supplies that are available to you, and I’m not just talking about packaging tape and cardboard boxes.  Having your own hostage meter will make a world of difference.  What is a postage meter?  I’m glad you asked! A postage meter is a small machine (scale, if you will) that you can weight our packages on.  This way you don’t have “guesstimate” your shipping costs, and you don’t have to stand in line at your shipping providers to calculate shipping costs.

Shipping Smart

When you have “less than a truckload”, you can pair up with consolidation service that will find you other businesses that have “less than a truckload”.  The two of you, or however many companies, can consolidate your shipments and save on shipping.  Also, it is helpful to keep track of your service carriers performance (delivery time, customer service, costs…).  You can evaluate the performance levels and communicate with your service carriers about what should be improved upon and if fees can be adjusted.