Mother’s Day gift ideas

Mother’s Day is just a few days away. Here are some gifts that can help the female parent figure in your life stay organized.

Hobbies

A foldable stool that has a gardening tool caddy is handy for around the garden. It could also be used at sporting events to hold a myriad of gadgets while still providing a place to sit.

For the sewing enthusiast, the book, Organizing Solutions for Every Quilter: An Illustrated Guide to the Space of Your Dreams has great information for, not just quilters, but anyone who has an interest in sewing and fabrics.

Tech

There are several types of charging stations available for Apple Watches and iPhones. This one, made from bamboo, is stylish and does a great job of hiding the cords. The watch sits flat so that it won’t accidentally slide off the charger. The MoKo charging station’s minimalist design also allows the watch to sit flat to charge.

Bose noise cancelling, wireless headphones will allow Mom to enjoy her favourite music and movies without hearing family members housecleaning in the background.

Consumables

For those who do not wish to have more things, consumables are a great option. There are plenty of gift baskets available. Some have chocolates and candy, others are filled with fresh and dried fruits. If coffee is a preferred beverage, organic, free-trade coffee might be appreciated. Food enthusiasts may enjoy a collection of seasonings and spices or a jar of organic free-trade vanilla bean paste.

Ask Unclutterer: Shower storage and organization

Unclutterer reader Derek commented on our post about storage ideas for bathrooms:

At our house, the problem in our bathroom is the shower. With 4 people using this shower, the number of product bottles is overwhelming. We’ve put up a hanging caddy that hooks onto the shower head. The problem is that it only holds a certain amount of product and it can be a pain to get stuff out of. Not sure what the solution is!

This is a great question Derek, one that I’ve struggled with because we have a family of four, all using the same shower. It was okay when our children were young and they both used the same baby shampoo and mild soap but once they became teenagers, we had shampoos for detangling long hair and unfrizzing curly hair. Plus, there were soaps that smelled like ocean breeze, ylang ylang, peach blossoms, and tropical islands. Add to that a myriad of conditioners, exfoliants, and shaving creams — our shower looked like an over-stocked beauty supply store!

There are several solutions to this problem, some may work for you, some may not.

Buy a bigger house?

Years ago, I mentioned this issue with a colleague and he suggested that we just move to a bigger house so that everyone can have his/her own bathroom. This is not a solution that many people would find feasible. Besides, cleaning four bathrooms is even more work.

Simplify first

Separate the products into groups according to who uses which products. If there are any un-owned products, remove them from the shower area and make a plan to either use them up or dispose of them.

Next, see if family members are able to and willing to share products. Perhaps everyone could agree on using only one type of soap. If that’s the case, then use up what you’ve got and only buy that particular soap going forward.

Baskets

Assign each person his/her own basket full of the products they use. The baskets could be stored in each person’s bedroom or on hooks on the bathroom wall or door. It’s a good option for teenagers because it will get them into the habit of like living in a dorm. It’s a little inconvenient if you’re already in the shower and realize you’ve forgotten your basket.

Mini Bottles

Purchase easy-to-refill travel sized bottles, a different colour for each family member. You can keep the larger bottles in a cupboard and fill up the smaller bottles weekly. This may not minimize the number of bottles in the shower but the bottles will take up less space. The disadvantage is having to refill the smaller bottles often especially for those with long hair who use shampoo at a greater rate. Also, the pre-printed labels on the bottles are quite small which makes them difficult to see.

Dispenser

shower dispenserInstalling a dispenser system in your shower is an alternative. I like this model because you can either attach it to the shower wall or hang it over the shower head (ideal if you rent your home). The dispenser holds three times more than the travel bottles so it won’t need to be refilled quite so often. However, it only holds four different products so you may need to have two (or more) dispensers for your family’s needs.

Shower head caddy

You mentioned that you had a caddy that hung over the shower head but was difficult to use. There are several different designs available. This model designed similar to a wine rack holds the bottles sideways at an angle making it easy to get them in and out. By placing the bottles with the lid towards the floor, you could also get every last drop of shampoo. As with most shower head caddies, small children might have trouble reaching what they need.

Over the door/curtain caddy

An over the shower door caddy would be helpful for corralling your bottles but only if you had a shower door. Shower curtain caddies are a popular option but they work best if your shower curtain rod is permanently fixed to the wall.

Shelving

If you have a shower stall, consider the OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Corner Standing Shower Caddy. It has non-slip, adjustable feet so it won’t wobble on uneven floors. The shelves can be removed for easy cleaning.

Constant tension corner shower shelves can be installed with no tools. The shelf heights can be adjusted to fit all bottle heights. This model also has hooks for hanging razors, combs, and wash cloths. It is easy to clean and rust-resistant.

Other suggestions

sport bottle holderDepending on how much room you have in your shower/tub area, sport bottle holders designed for your kitchen cupboards, could hold your shampoo bottles. A wall-mounted wine rack could also hold bottles when they are not being used in the shower.

Thanks for your great question Derek. We hope this post gives you the information you’re looking for.

Do you have a question relating to organizing, home and office projects, productivity, or any problems you think the Unclutterer team could help you solve? To submit your questions to Ask Unclutterer, go to our contact page and type your question in the content field. Please list the subject as “Ask Unclutterer.”

Charity, Repair, Switch, and Store

sweater storage bagOne of the responsibilities that comes with keeping an uncluttered life is spring cleaning. When warm weather sets in, I turn to two books in my personal library for help: Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook (pgs. 27-29) and Better Homes and Gardens’ Making a Home: Housekeeping for Real Life (pgs. 56-60). Both books have lists of chores and maintenance that, when done semi-annually, can end up saving a lot of time, money, and stress.

Before beginning any spring cleaning routines, I like to have what I call a Charity, Repair, Switch, and Store Party. I open my closet and identify the winter clothes that I didn’t wear over the last six months or that have gone dreadfully out of style and I put those in a charity pile. I gather together all clothing that needs to be repaired or altered and put those clothes in a bag to take to the tailor. Next, I identify all of my clothing that contains wool or cashmere, fold it up, and put it in vinyl storage bags with cedar chips. Finally, I pull my warmer weather clothes out of storage (I keep these contained in large plastic containers under my bed) and swap out the contents of my closet.

I do a similar task with my shoes: one pile for charity, one pile for the cobbler, and switch my summer shoes to the top of the shoe stack. I also do the same with the front hall closet: charity, tailor, moth proofing, and switch the winter coats, hats, and gloves with jackets and umbrellas. If I had children who stored sporting equipment in the garage, I would have them take on the same type of task there: charity, repair, switch, and store.

 

This post has been updated since its original publication in 2007.

The Tupperware is everywhere!

One of my pet peeves in my kitchen has been the Tupperware drawer. Most food storage containers aren’t that easy to stow away in an organized manner. In my kitchen, we had a plastic tub that barely contained the clutter of all the bowls and lids. They just didn’t fit together nicely and the overflow began to make me see red every time I reached for a container.

Our solution was fairly simple. We purchased a set of Tupperware FlatOut containers and happily dumped our old set into the recycle bin. The FlatOut containers are collapsible and flatten down to a half an inch which makes storage so much easier. Now when I reach for Tupperware, my blood pressure doesn’t rise and the clutter in that drawer is completely gone. I highly recommend these containers, which are dishwasher safe and also very durable.

Since the original publication of this post in 2007, Tupperware has ceased manufacturing FlatOut containers. However, Thin Bins are an ideal alternative. These containers are made from food-grade silicone. The lids have an airtight seal plus a vent so that steam can escape during microwave heating. They are microwave and dishwasher-safe.

 

This post has been updated since its original publication in 2007.

Tough questions for your things

I like to think of myself as a person who is unattached to physical objects. Truth be told, however, this might not necessarily be the case. My lifestyle, being more minimalist than average, means that I make a conscience decision to bring something into my home. Each object exists in my space for a reason, and a chunk of time, planning, and research was dedicated to its acquisition, and there are further evaluations to let it stay. I make an investment of myself in every object, and that is why it’s hard for me to say that I’m not attached to these objects.

I likely will never resolve this quandary, but I think that the acquisition and evaluation process that I put into every object — and I do mean every object — is a valuable one. If I bring a non-essential item into my home, it ultimately will become clutter, and I am more interested in keeping a clutter-free lifestyle than one full of knickknacks and pointless objects.

I have two set lists of questions that I ask myself about every object in my home. These lists have changed a bit with time, and I expect them to go through some adjustments as my family grows, so feel welcome to adapt these lists for your own use and adjust as you see fit. The first list is directed toward new acquisitions and the second is for objects that are already inside my house.

Questions for New Acquisitions:

  1. Do I have something like this already that fulfills the same purpose?
  2. If I own something like this, am I ready to get rid of the older item since this newer item will have to replace it?
  3. Will this item make my life easier/save me time/save me money/fulfill an essential need?
  4. Where will this object live in our house?
  5. Is this the best price for this object, is this the best quality that I can get for the money, and is this object in its best possible condition?
  6. Do I need to do more research about this object before I make this purchase/bring it into my home?
  7. If this is a perishable item (like food), when will I use it and what will I do if I don’t use all of it?
  8. Does this item help me to develop the remarkable life that I want to live?

Questions for Items Already in My Home:

  1. Do I have something else like this that fulfills the same purpose?
  2. If this is a duplicate item, which of these items is in the best condition, of the best quality, and will last me the longest?
  3. Is this item in disrepair and need to be replaced or fixed?
  4. Does this item make my life easier/save me time/save me money/fulfill an essential need?
  5. Why does this object live in our house and is this the best place for this object?
  6. Do I need to do more research to know if this is the best object to fulfill its essential need?
  7. If this is a perishable item, has its expiration date passed?
  8. Does this item help me to develop the remarkable life that I want to live?

I’m interested in knowing if others have additional or alternative questions that they pose before acquiring or retaining objects for their homes. Please feel welcome to use the comments for this post to discuss your decision-making process!

This post has been updated since its original publication in 2007.

Unitasker Wednesday: Ember temperature control travel mug

All Unitasker Wednesday posts are jokes — we don’t want you to buy these items, we want you to laugh at their ridiculousness. Enjoy!

Travel mugs are great. They keep your beverage (tea, coffee, hot chocolate) hot during cold winters. Sure, sometimes the beverage is too hot to drink right away and you have to wait for it to cool a bit but eventually it will be comfortable to drink. In really cold weather, it might cool off a little too quickly but if you purchase a good quality travel mug, your hot beverage will stay hot longer.

But if you’re willing to pay $150, consider the Ember Temperature Control Travel Mug. It will keep your drink at the perfect temperature all the time.

Let’s say you pour boiling water in your mug but your preferred drinking temperature is 137ºF (58ºC). Your Ember Travel Mug will cool your drink at a much faster rate than a normal travel mug and keep it at 137ºF (58ºC) until you finish drinking your drink. Just think, you can start drinking your coffee first thing in the morning and if you don’t finish it, it will still be exactly 137ºF when you return to it late in the afternoon!

You’ll have to ensure that you keep the mug in the charging dock. Yes, it is another item to keep plugged in and another battery and system of electronics that you’ll need to eventually figure out how to dispose of in an ecologically safe way, but hey — coffee at the perfect temperature all day long.

We’re back!

Thank you, dear readers, for your patience over the last month as we worked to overcome some administrative and technical challenges. We’re back in full swing with uncluttering and organizing information coming to you every weekday including posts in your favourite categories; Uncluttering, Minimalism, and of course, Unitasker Wednesday.

We always appreciate hearing from our readers. If you’ve got a question for us, please feel free to go to our contact page and type your question in the content field. Please list the subject as “Ask Unclutterer.”

Thanks again for your understanding. We hope to hear from you soon!

Sincerely,

Team Unclutterer

No more wire hangers!

The next time you head to your dry cleaner, take all of your unused wire hangers with you. Most dry cleaners recycle hangers and actually appreciate you returning them because it saves them money. You get rid of clutter in your closet and help keep landfills free of hangers.

Also, unless you have a need for the plastic bags they wrap around your clothing, you can ask for the dry cleaner to keep the bags off of your clothes. It keeps you from having to toss the bag when you get home, and again saves the dry cleaner money. Men’s dress shirts also can be folded instead of put on a hanger so that you don’t have to take a hanger home with you at all.

When you go to pick up your clothes at the dry cleaners, take reusable high quality hangers and garment bags with you just like taking reusable shopping bags with you when grocery shopping. That way you don’t even need to take their wire hangers and plastic bags home.

 

This post has been updated since its original publication in 2007.

Collapsible gardening container

Collapsible Garden ContainerFor those of you who have spring fever and are itching to get outside and clean up your yard, here is a nice 30 gallon gardening container that may interest you. It is completely collapsible, and when it is not in use it can be stored nicely out of the way.

It is a great time of the year to get a jump on getting your yard in order. The winter weather is behind us (fingers crossed), so get all those branches, leaves, and dead plants out of your yard. Feel welcome to explore our different strategies to keep yard maintenance to minimum so you aren’t spending too much time with upkeep during the warmer seasons.

 

This post has been updated since its original publication in 2008.

House Hunting Trip, part 2

In House hunting trip, part 1, we discussed how to prepare before you leave your current home. Here are a few more tips.

Before you leave home

Take measurements of furniture that will be moving with you. Ensure you know how big your credenza, chesterfield, and large screen TV are. If you’re moving appliances, measure those as well. Keep this information on a spreadsheet either on paper or on your laptop. You don’t want to buy a house that your furniture won’t fit into.

Pack a tape measure in your suitcase. You’ll want to be able to measure room sizes and spaces to fit appliances. Most real estate websites only list approximate sizes for rooms. For example, they will state that a room is 10ft by 12ft when really it is 9ft 10 inches by 11ft 11 inches. Those few inches might make a big difference when trying to fit a large piece of furniture. You may also need to measure the width of doors and windows.

You might also want to take a laser measure for determining the size of large spaces like open basements, garages, and even fenced in back yards. They are also handy for measuring smaller rooms because sometimes people’s furniture is placed so you cannot accurately use a tape measure.

Note taking equipment (pen, paper, clipboard, etc.) is essential on a house hunting trip. You will likely look at so many homes you won’t remember which house has which features. It is helpful to print out the real estate listing with the address and a photo of the house and write details about the house on the reverse side.

A camera is also an essential tool but be organized in taking photos and videos. Think of how they make a movie. At the start of filming, they use a clapperboard to show the name of the upcoming scene. When you are house hunting, take a photo of a piece of paper with the address of the house. Then, take photos of outside, and inside the house. At the end of the showing, take a photo of something completely different (yourself, your car or even just blank paper) to indicate the end of that set of photos/videos. It will be much easier to separate one set of house photos from another — especially if many of the houses are similar in colour and design.

On arrival

On the first few days of your trip, visit as many houses as time allows. Don’t hesitate to cancel a showing if you know right away a house will not meet your requirements. (One time, we arrived at a showing and realized the house was directly below the flight path to an international airport. After we heard the noise of the airplane overhead, we didn’t even bother going inside the house.)

Here are a few things that you might want to think about to narrow down your choices before you call in a home inspector who can inform you of structural issues with your potential new home.

Location

What is the noise level like? Are you close to train tracks? Are you underneath a flight path? Is there a busy thoroughfare for emergency vehicles (loud sirens) nearby? If you’re moving into a multi-unit building, what is the soundproofing like?

What smells? Are you downwind from a farm or a local dump? Are there any factories nearby that might create smells from time to time? If you are looking at a multi-unit building, can you smell your neighbours cooking dinner?

What can you see when you look out windows? Are you looking at factories, rail yards, or derelict empty lots? Who could look back and see in your windows? Remember to think about what you will see when the trees lose their leaves or if they have to be cut down for any reason.

Traffic

Are you near a bar, restaurant, or event centre (theatre, concert hall) that becomes boisterous in the evening? If your house is on a route between a bar/restaurant and major public transit stop there may be people walking past or heavy traffic making lots of noise after the venue closes.

Will a nearby school create traffic problems that make it impossible to get out of your driveway at school start and finish times? If your house is on a route from a school to other community services (recreation centre, shopping area, playgrounds) it might mean kids marching past your house all afternoon.

House orientation

An east facing master bedroom window will let in a lot of light first thing in the morning — not ideal if you like to sleep late. Avid gardeners will want to ensure that the yard gets sunlight during peak growing season. Those in snowy climates will want to check wind direction to ensure that they won’t have to shovel deep snow drifts right in front of the garage door. Don’t hesitate to use the compass app on your smartphone to help you figure things out. Try to visit the house on a sunny day and a cloudy day to check light levels inside and outside the house.

Household chores

If you are going to be living in this new home, you are going to have to clean it. You might not like that gorgeous chandelier over the large, open stairwell if you have to rent a scaffold to clean it every few months. A yard with lots of shade trees is nice until you spend every autumn weekend raking leaves. Likewise, that sloping driveway might add a touch of class and elegance until the first ice storm turns it into an Olympic-like bobsled track.

Watch for home staging tricks

Staged homes may be so uncluttered that they seem incredibly open and spacious but remind yourself that real life never looks like this. Think about how small the living room would look with your large sectional and several toy boxes.

Pedestal sinks make bathrooms look larger but then storage and usability are a challenge. How easy would it be to shave, do your hair, and put on make-up in the morning with no counter space?

Other tricks for giving the illusion of space include strategically placing mirrors, using smaller sized furniture, arranging furniture diagonally in a room, and removing closet doors and doors between rooms. Always measure, measure, measure so you ensure that your belongings will fit comfortably in your new home.

Some dubious tricks have been used by home stagers as well. These include strategically placing rugs and carpeting to hide damaged flooring, hanging unique art pieces to divert your attention from leaks or cracks in walls or ceilings, or hanging curtains to hide old or rotting window sills. Take a moment to look a little deeper and if you see any of these issues, bring them to the attention of your home inspector.

How it flows

Imagine your typical day living in the home. If you and your partner are using the walk-in closet at the same time, is there enough room? Do you need to assist children with their brushing hair and teeth? If so, can two or three people fit in the bathroom at the same time?

Do you and your family members cook meals together? Make sure you can all work comfortably in the kitchen. Ask your real estate agent to pretend to load the dishwasher while you pretend to get a roast out of the oven. Then see if there is still room to have someone chop vegetables at the counter at the same time.

Is there enough space in the entryway? It might be summer when you visit a home but think about winter coats, snowsuits, and muddy boots. Will there be enough room to store everyone’s things? Consider the design of the home. Will you have to track through a snowy, muddy entryway to go from one area of the home to another?

Is the laundry area convenient? If hidden away in a dark, dank corner of the basement, it might be difficult to motivate yourself to get the job done especially if you have to carry heavy laundry baskets up and down two flights of stairs.

If you have children or pets, take into consideration their safety requirements such as doors at the tops of stairways (or the ability to easily install safety gates), spacing between banister rails in older homes, secure fencing in the yard, etc.

Outlets and vents

Take a moment to note the locations of power outlets and heating/air conditioning vents. Are there enough power outlets and are they at the right locations? You might want to ensure you can plug in both your coffee maker and toaster in an accessible area in the kitchen. Likewise, you may wish to ensure there are power outlets in locations where you normally charge your electronic devices. Note locations for phone, cable, and internet connections as well.

If there is only one living room wall long enough to put your wall unit, make sure there isn’t a heating vent there. It is expensive to relocate ventilation ducts. Likewise, make sure you check the bed placement in relation to vents so that you won’t blocked a vent with a bed or end up with air from a vent blowing on you all night.

Rank your choices

Now that you’ve accumulated all of this information, you’ll be able to rank your home choices. Return to your top three or four choices for a closer look. Re-rank your choices if required and provide this information to your realtor and home inspector and proceed with the next steps in home buying (or renting if that’s what you’ve chosen).

Finding the home of your dreams in a short period of time doesn’t have to be stressful if you’re prepared and organized.

Readers are more than welcome to chime in with other tips and tricks they have for finding a home.

Being organized: A learned behavior

Reasons people give for being disorganized usually align with being too busy or a life changing event (new baby, death of a loved one) or general laziness. These are reasonable explanations and are obstacles that can be overcome.

Every once in a while, however, someone will try to explain to me that they are disorganized because of their genetic makeup. They use phrases such as, “I come from messy people” or “I couldn’t be organized if I wanted to.” Yes, some families are pack rats over the course of multiple generations, but those are learned behaviors. There is not a gene as far as any scientist has found that predetermines a person’s affinity for organization.*

Can growing up in a household of highly disorganized people affect your perceptions and habits? You bet. But does it sentence you to a lifetime of clutter? No!

As with any life skill — time management, cooking, walking — those necessary to maintain an organized life can be learned. You may need to practice these skills, the same way you practice a musical instrument, but you can eventually work to a level of mastery.

I haven’t always been organized. If you’ve read my book, you’ll know that I used to be the type of person who held onto every object I deemed sentimental. I eventually realized that holding onto so much stuff came with a lot of stress, worry, and financial expense, and that I wanted a different way of life. So, I learned organization skills, practiced them, and implemented them throughout my life. You can learn them, too.

If you’ve convinced yourself that you are destined to a life of disorganization, try changing that attitude! Put in the time, effort, and practice necessary to become the more organized person you desire. No need to go overboard, just find the best level of organization for you that allows you to live the remarkable life you desire.

*I want to note that there is something actually called a Disorganization Gene, but it has nothing to do with clutter. It’s about birth defects and cellular mutations involving the actual genetic code of an animal becoming disorganized. || Image courtesy of wikipedia.

 

This post has been updated since its original publication in 2008.

House Hunting Trip, part 1

Being a military family, we have been through several relocations (12 so far) in our 27 years. Prior to each move, we are allotted between 5 and 7 days to find a new home — our “house hunting trip”. If you’re moving soon, here are a few tips that can help make your house hunting trip a little less stressful.

Define your needs and wants

We always make two lists when we are searching for a home — one list with the absolute minimum we will accept and another one with some features that we would really appreciate. For example, our bicycles are an essential mode of transportation for us so we need secure outdoor storage. We need at least a large garden shed or a one-car garage. We would really appreciate a two-car garage.

Other questions to ask yourself include:

  • Do you want an older home with character and potentially higher maintenance costs or a newer home with modern design and lower maintenance costs?
  • Do you need to be close to a specific school for your children?
  • Do you need to be on a direct public transit route to work/school?
  • Do you want to be close to fitness centres, cycling/hiking trails, dog parks, grocery stores?

Remember to speak to your financial advisor to determine what kind of mortgage payment you can manage and factor that in to your needs and wants list.

Research homes and neighbourhoods

Real estate websites have detailed listings of homes that are available but check Google Maps and Street View to get an idea of what the neighbourhoods are like.

Contact a real estate agent as soon as you know you’ll be moving into the area. They know the area very well and they know the market. Provide your list of needs and wants as well as your budget and a timeline of when you plan on moving into the new home. Your agent can put together a list of potential properties based on the requirements you provide.

Research other information such as tax rates, schools, and crime statistics. You might also want to verify costs for services such as electricity, water, heating fuel, internet accessibility and other municipal services such as public transit and garbage/recycling collection.

Following the Twitter accounts for public transit, city services, local traffic, and local police will also give you some good information about the city as will listening to live-streaming of local news radio stations.

If you’re lucky enough to know people who live in your new city, reach out to them for advice. They might be able to connect you to Facebook or LinkedIn pages and groups that can provide information about your new area.

Consider renting

Your house-hunting trip may only be a week long and you may have a limited selection of homes to choose from. Rather than invest money in a house you may not be happy with, consider renting. While you are residing in a rental property, you will have the opportunity to get to know your new city, its neighbourhoods, traffic patterns, and amenities. You’ll have to move again (out of your rental and into your own home) but that hassle might be worth it if you can take the time to find your dream home in your preferred neighbourhood.

Indicate to your real estate agent that you are open to renting if you don’t see what you want to buy. Do a bit of research into the landlord-tenant regulations and standard leases in your new area to ensure you are comfortable with the terms of a rent or lease agreement (for example, how much notice must you give before you move out, are there penalties for moving out early, etc.).

Prepare before you go

Most realtors will be able to send you a list of potential homes before you arrive. Go through the list and eliminate any homes that do not meet your minimum requirements. Have your realtor make viewing appointments for any homes you do want to visit.

Ask if your realtor will be chauffeuring you around or whether you will be driving the realtor around. If it is the latter, take a few moments to enter the addresses of the homes you’ll be visiting into your car’s navigation system — if you’ll be using your own car. If you’ll be using a rental car you can use your own GPS or app on your phone.

Check your cell phone plan to ensure you will have phone/text/data coverage in your new area. Your phone company might offer a data roaming add-on for a discounted rate. This is especially important if you are using your phone as a navigation system.

Purchase a paper map of your new city. They have the advantage of allow you to view a much larger area and it is easy to see in one glance the location of all important landmarks and features (e.g., shopping centres, parks, etc.) near each home.

Book a hotel nearest to the neighbourhood where you’re looking for homes. There’s nothing worse to waste your time than being stuck in downtown traffic when you’re trying to get out to the suburbs on the far side of town. It’s also nice to be able to return to your hotel for a bit of a break and to freshen up between showings.

Finding a new home and moving can be stress inducing but when you are prepared ahead of time, you will find it much easier to make a home-buying decision.