By Serena Norr
It’s that time of year again; out with the old and in with the new. Part of that old might involve upgrading your home with a renovation or new design or throwing out your old clothes or moving  to a new town or city – all exciting prospects that warrant a few pointers in the new year. As we say goodbye to 2010, we wish you the best of luck with your prospective change and have a few pointers to help you make your 2011 brighter, more exciting and more organized! Happy New Year from all of us at Relocation.com!
1. Moving in the New Year? Whether you are planning a big move across the country or a small move around the block, we advise planning ahead. All too often we hear stories of people scrambling for movers  – only to use the first company that they find. We always advise researching three to five licensed moving companies from a reputable resource such as Relocation.com AND to have the movers come to your home for an in-house moving estimate . Taking estimates over the phone is a huge NO for 2011 – these prices are not binding and are subject to increase on moving day. Having movers come to your home allows them to see your belongings (thus determine the price) and this is also a great opportunity to ‘interview’ them – where you can ask them about anything from their insurance policy to how long they have been in the industry. No questions are off limits.
2. Decorating? Designing? Renovating? If you staying put you may want to spruce up your home with an exciting decorating project or an entire home renovation. No small feat, you should start by determine if the project is a necessity (leaky faucets) or a want (painting a room). The necessity should take precedence over the want and in some instances should only be handled by a professional. Be honest with yourself by what you can handle. You don’t want to start a huge project only to find out that you made a bigger mess that you started out with. As with finding a mover, meet with three to five contractors, architects or home improvement  experts to discuss your project. They can also tell you how long they are expected to work in your home, what fees are involved and what the room will look after the project (if you designing). If it is a simple project, like painting , create a plan for yourself. Make a note of your budget, prospective color scheme  and the estimated time line. Visit your local hardware store and bring home a few samples before you begin the job – also make sure to ask about what supplies you will need.
3. Out with the old in with the new. The New Year is a great time to get rid of some junk that you have been hoarding. Oftentimes we hold on to items that we no longer need or no longer realize that we even have. This turns into junk; leaving our homes filled with tons of useless stuff. Of course, some items are valuable or sentimental to us but still may not have a place in our homes. In those instances, consider keeping your belongings in a secure and climate-controlled storage facility . Going from room-to-room, evaluate your stuff by placing your items in a keep, toss or donate/store pile. Be honest with yourself about your needs vs. wants as well as your space restrictions. Items in the keep pile are necessities. Items in the toss and donate pile can be sold in a garage sale or donated to a local charity or to the Salvation Army.
4. Storage solutions. We are huge fans of storage – as mentioned above. This doesn’t only include housing your belongings in a self storage facility but placing your items in smaller organizational units to clear up some space. We love under-the-bed storage options such as this one from Bed Bath and Beyond and this modular closet system  that organizes items in your closet. The kitchen and the bathroom are also major areas for clutter. Consider using roll-out under-cabinet drawers  to contain and organize anything from products to dish towels.
Stick with your housing or moving resolution for 2011 – big or small – Relocation.com is here to help you every step of the way!
More Ideas for the New Year:
- Decorating Ideas: How to Design a Room with Your Kids 
- Five Quick and Easy Outdoor Projects 
- Empty Nest: What to Do with Your Child’s Old Room When They Move Away 
- How to Get Organized and Have an End of Season Garage Sale 
- You’ve Moved! Five Quick Design Ideas to Make Your New House a Home