Archive for June, 2012


Options for Protecting Your Move with Insurance

Moving can be an expensive time for anyone, especially if your bill isn’t being picked up by your company as part of a relocation package. One way your moving can go higher? If your stuff gets lost or damaged. The cost of replacing these items can cost you more money. Movers are supposed to provide you with insurance when you contract their services, but more often than not, this type of insurance is not enough to cover the entire value of your items. So, to protect yourself, make sure you get the right type and right amount of insurance. In some cases, it’s better to be safe than sorry. And so, here are some the things you should know to protect your move with insurance.

Liability Insurance

According to federal law, your moving company should provide you with a basic type of insurance called the liability-release value insurance. It’s the cheapest option available and doesn’t require you to pay anything more than your moving estimate price. However, most of these will pay around 30 cents per pound for in-state moves and 60 cents per pound out of state. Now, if you don’t have any valuables and are only moving your clothes, kitchen items and maybe some furniture, this is goo, basic coverage. However, for big ticket items like computers or flat screen TVs which can weigh in anywhere from 10 – 20 pounds, 30 cents per pound probably isn’t going to give you enough cash to replace a $2000 TV.

Full-Value Replacement Insurance

This is perhaps the most complete moving insurance plan out there. For an extra cost, you can get additional insurance the can cover the cost of the value of your item (although take note the value is at the mover’s discretion.) A lower deductible means you won’t be paying out as much when you do have to make a claim, however it can mean higher cost for the insurance premium itself. Make sure you list all your belongings on the inventory sheet, so they can be included in the coverage.

Outside Insurance

Also known as Third Party Insurance, you can purchase insurance from other parties to protect your move. If you feel your mover is giving you a high rate, or if you don’t agree with their insurance terms, then you can certainly refuse their full-value insurance offer and seek your own from third parties who specialize in moving insurance. Getting an insurance from a third party may not only mean lower premiums, but you may be able to have an easier time claiming in case of damage.

Homeowners Insurance

Many types of homeowners insurance covers the items when you move. It’s important to check your insurance provider and perhaps if it’s not, ask them how much it would cost to add this to your policy. However, if you do make a claim, this could affect your entire homeowner’s policy, so think carefully before you do decide on this.


Stress-Free Holiday Dinner Preparation

Perhaps the easiest way to avoid Holiday dinner preparation is is to not do it at all. However, if you don’t have any choice or perhaps you do enjoy cooking but not the stressing, then there are many things you can do to avoid this. Here are some ideas to help you avoid that dinner preparation stress.

Use Only Tested Recipes

Sure, it’s nice to try out new things, but if you’re trying to avoid getting stressed out, you may want to cook things you’ve only cooked (and cooked well) previously. If you really want to try that complicated chocolate soufflé, then why not do a test run a few weeks before? You can try to master the recipe, work out the kinks or at least you’ll have an idea of the steps and you won’t be glancing at the recipe book every 10 seconds.

Shop Ahead of Time

On the days before Christmas or New Year’s, you’ll probably find that the supermarket is getting more crowded with other harried last-minute shoppers, and less and less items on the shelves. To avoid the rush of that last minute grocery shopping trip, do your shopping a few weeks before. There are many non-perishables you can buy ahead of time, like dried herbs, flour, bread crumbs, canned sauces and vegetables. You can even save yourself a trip by ordering them online as well.

Cook Ahead of Time

There may some recipes or preparations you can do the day or even week before the big dinner. You can make some cold salads (like pasta or rice salad) the night before the dinner. Soups and stews always taste better after it’s been simmering for a few hours, so why not toss in your ingredients into a slow cooker and all you have to do it set the time and temperature. Desserts like jams, cookies, and even pies and tarts can be made up to 2 weeks in advanced.

Split Duties

There’s nothing wrong with asking for some help – so why not ask a close friend or relative to come early and help you cook or ask a few people to contribute to your dinner? As host, you should take care of the main dish, but why not ask people to add some sides or dessert? This also makes sense in these economic times, as you can split the costs as well, and each of you can spend more on your dishes to make it more special.

Do It Semi-Homemade

It’s not cheating if you have a little help from pre-made stuff or a restaurant. Besides, it’s the holidays, not an exam! There are some pre-made things you can use to help cooking easier on you. You can get store-bought stuffing and add a few ingredients to make it a little different. Why not get a cake or cupcakes from the bakery and frost and decorate them yourself? Just make some cream frosting and sprinkle them with red and green sprinkles.

Minimize Your Menu

There’s really no need to put on an elaborate spread with all the trimmings to impress your guests, especially if you don’t really have the time. As long as you have enough food for all your guests, just prepare one main dish (like a turkey, ham or roast), one starter, one side and one dessert. You’ll be able to give more attention to each of your dishes instead of spreading yourself thin trying to create 10 dishes.

With these holiday dinner tips, you’re sure to have a stress-free holiday, so you can enjoy your time with your loved ones.


Getting Rid of Unsightly Wires

One seemingly unavoidable eyesore that tends to mar a perfectly decorated room is the sight of electrical wires. Picture your beautiful living room equipped with the latest flat panel TV and a 5.1 home theater system – unfortunately, your rear speakers would have to be connected to the front with wires.

In the wake of all the advanced technology in electronic appliances, it seems ironic that nothing much has developed in the design of these appliances when it comes to the external wiring aesthetics. To be sure, there are already a number of devices in the market which are capable of wireless data communication and even wireless electric power transmission. But these are few and possibly only some could actually afford them.

Most devices are still connected by copper to sources of power and data. For those of us who tend to get tied up in knots at the sight of spaghetti at the back of our desktops, TV sets and game consoles, we can try to provide a semblance of order to the chaos through the use of so-called
“wire organizers”.

These are products which wrap together two or more wires along their length much like the wiring harnesses found in car electrical systems. This has the advantage of reducing the visible wire count but effectively doubles the diameter of the bound wires. In practice, these items could be plastic spirals, nylon cable ties, or plastic tubing depending on personal preferences. The wires are still there but hidden in plain sight. The plastic spirals have the advantage of easy installation and removal.

If you have the budget, there are some high-end speaker systems which can be connected remotely to the source device. Since the system has no wires which can limit the distance and location of the speakers, the audiophile can re-arrange their locations as she pleases without worrying about tripping over hidden wires. This setup is most advantageous for 5.1 or 6.1 sound systems.

For wires on the floor, you can conceal them under your carpet, or tuck them securely under rugs. Or, buy floor cord covers which now come in different colors and textured designs that can match your wood floors.

As to data transmission, there are now devices which can be plugged into home electrical outlets to convert digital signals and carry them across existing electrical power wires and over to other digital devices inside the home. This works well with computer networking and communications setups inside the home with no additional wiring to worry about. The only consideration is the cost of the converter units. Aside from this, the home itself can also be configured to receive external broadband signals over power wires.

Perhaps the best time to think about concealed wiring systems is when you build a new house. The next best time is when you decide to remodel your home. Short of these two, you may need to tear down wall sections, lift floorboards or dig into concrete to provide channels for conduits. This will take time and money.


Moving an Apartment: How to Pack


So you got a new apartment? Now what?

Whether you are moving from an apartment to another or from your old house to an apartment elsewhere, knowing how to pack your belongings right make perfect sense. On this article, we’re going to talk about the easiest and quickest way to pack. Read? Let’s go!

Getting Started

Most people would start by picking any item they see and stuffing it in the box. This is the hardest and most stressful way to pack. Being organized is the key to a smooth packing activity. So first of all – before touching anything, you need to plan on how you’re going to do the packing. For instance, you need to know where you’re going to start. Will you pack the room first? How about the kitchen? Should you begin in the living room? Wherever you start, make sure to finish packing that area before you proceed to the next. This will prevent forgetting things and going back and forth.

Preparing the Materials

As much as possible, you don’t want any item to get damaged during the move. So, you have to be equipped with the right materials. Bubble wraps, pads, clothes (fabrics), and foams are ideal for delicate furniture and appliances. You will also need packing tapes, boxes, bags, and other containers. For small items like jewelries, secure them in a plastic container or a sturdy box. To cut the cost, you can make use of towels, blankets, and bed sheets instead of buying furniture pads or foam.

Prioritizing Things

Some people would start with the biggest items like furniture and appliances while others would begin with the smallest. Which one is right? Well, nothing’s wrong with these two methods actually. But here’s the best thing to do – start packing items that are least used. They can be relocated at the earliest time possible without affecting your daily routine. So you may want to begin packing display items like painting, racks, etc.

Preparing the Survival Box

Make your move as convenient as possible by securing a survival box which contains essential items like a few utensils, medicines, food, water, clothes, towel, and toiletries. You’ll need them during the first few days after your relocation. Once you reached your new apartment, you don’t want to rummage one box after the other just to get the things you need.

Starting Early

The things mentioned above are best done in the earliest time possible. Packing takes time and a lot of effort. If you’ll just do it in one day, you’re sure to lose your energy. So take it slowly but surely. To avoid cramming, make sure to set a start date and a finish date which is ideally set one week before the actual date of move unless you have a very few items.

Seek Help

Whether you’re considering hiring a moving company or you’re just moving alone, it pays to ask some help. Packing becomes a fun and exciting activity when there are people around to assist you and make you smile in times when you seem so, so tired.