How to Settle In to Your New City

Photo by Alexas Fotos via Pixabay

Moving to a new city is an exciting time, but it can also be stressful. Getting the lay of the land, especially if you don’t have contacts in the city, is intimidating. From figuring out your transportation options to learning where the most affordable grocery store is, you have many things to tackle to get comfortable in your new space. Here are some tips that may make the transition just a little easier.

1. Join a Group or Organization

Do you have a favorite hobby? Is there a charitable cause you’re passionate about? Find the local group, and join. If you don’t have a favorite hobby or charity, find out about groups or clubs in your city that sound interesting, and join. You’ll be able to connect with people who have similar interests, and making local contacts will help you start learning your city.

2. Say “Yes”

When an opportunity presents itself, say, “yes.” Whether it’s coffee with a new acquaintance or a volunteer opportunity through the group you joined, the more times you can get out into the community and explore its offerings, the more connected you will feel. You only have to say, “yes,” the first time you’re invited, but be willing to step out and experience life in the community.

3. Walk the Streets

While public transportation or your own vehicle are convenient ways to get around the city, they aren’t always the best way to learn its layout. Grab a map, or your GPS on your phone, and start walking. Of course, keep safety and walkability in mind, but if you can, take a walk for your next errand. This will give you the best possible feel for the layout and vibe of the city, and also a more realistic idea of how far away various features are. It will also give you more opportunities to meet the people around you.

4. Find “Your” Spot

Find a place where you can go to hang out when your home or apartment starts to feel confining. This may be a coffee shop, library, or local restaurant, depending on your tastes. When you need to get out, go to your spot. Soon you will become a “regular,” people will start looking for you, and you just might make some friends!

Most importantly, give yourself time. It takes time to get comfortable in a new city, and that’s OK. If you use these tips, you will make some friends, and soon be able to enjoy life in your new community.

3 Moving Costs You Need to Know About

After you buy or sell a house, you may have only a short amount of time to relocate to a new address. As such, it helps to plan ahead for moving day. Because if you start preparing for your move right away, you can budget accordingly.

There are many moving costs you need to account for as you prepare to relocate, and these expenses include:

1. Packing

The costs of moving boxes, packing tape and other packing supplies can add up quickly if you are not careful. Fortunately, if you consider what you will require so you can pack your belongings, you may be able to minimize your packing costs.

Oftentimes, you can repurpose cardboard boxes for appliances and use them for moving day. If you have empty cardboard boxes for appliances you purchased, you may be able to re-use these boxes during your move.

You also may want to reach out to local supermarkets. In some instances, grocery stores have empty cardboard boxes and bubble wrap that they no longer need. And in these cases, you can pick up assorted supplies that you can use to get ready for your upcoming relocation.

2. Storage

If you have a large collection of items but do not have a place to keep them at your new address, there is no need to stress. In fact, you can rent a storage unit to keep these items safe until you are ready to bring them to your new home.

A storage unit is valuable for those who are moving to a temporary location until they find a permanent house. Or, you may want to rent a storage unit if you still unsure about which items you want to bring to your new residence.

There is no shortage of storage unit providers in cities and towns nationwide. If you shop around, you can find a storage unit company that offers you the space you need to keep your items safe for the time being.

3. Travel

If you want expert help on moving day, you may want to hire a moving company. That way, you can work with a moving company that can accommodate your moving day requests at a budget-friendly price.

Of course, you should account for travel costs associated with food and fuel, too. And if you are relocating from one state to another, you also may need to account for hotel costs as part of your travel expenses.

If you are uncertain about how to prepare for moving day, you may want to consult with a real estate agent as well. In addition to helping you buy or sell a house, a real estate agent can help you plan for moving day. Best of all, he or she can offer tips to help you seamlessly relocate from one location to another.

Create a moving day budget – you will be happy you did. If you account for the aforementioned moving expenses, you can avoid the risk of spending beyond your means to get ready for moving day.

Protecting Your Belongings on Moving Day

Moving day is likely the most stressful day of the home-buying process. With so many items to keep track of, not to mention kids and pets, it can be easy to get overwhelmed during the process. To make matters worse, sometimes the items to so carefully pack are damaged during the move, or while unpacking at your new home.

In this article, we’re going to attempt to alleviate some of that moving day stress by giving you expert advice on how to avoid damaging your belongings during a move, and what to do if damage does occur.

What items are prone to damage?

Some items need to be handled with extra care while packing and while moving. Those items include:

  • Glasses, plates, and other fragile kitchenware

  • Electronics, especially those with display screens like televisions, tablets, or digital photo frames

  • Mirrors and glass decoratives

  • Anything containing liquid–this could be shampoo, cleaning supplies, wine or alcohol bottles, and so on. These are of particular importance because if they leak they can damage other items, not to mention require a cleanup that you don’t have time for

Packing to avoid damage

There are a few things you can do while packing and securing your boxes to avoid damage during a move. We’ve outlined some important packing tips below:

  • Buy bright red fragile stickers and use them appropriately. Putting a fragile sticker on every box is no use, because you’ll need to know while ones shouldn’t be stacked high or left in insecure places in the moving van.

  • For fragile items like glasses and plates, wrap them several times in packing paper, and put them in a double-thick packing box. When you fill the box, avoid leaving too much empty space but also be careful not to pack too much inside. This will put excessive pressure on the fragile items inside.

  • For liquid items, check that caps are all screwed on tightly. Then place them inside of ziploc bags if you’re able. If not, putting them inside a plastic grocery bag and typing the top should be sufficient enough if a small leak occurs from one of the bottles.

Securing items in the moving truck

When it comes to stacking your boxes in the moving truck, put the heaviest, largest, and least-fragile boxes in the truck first. Use straps and bungee cords to keep items grouped together and avoid having boxes or other items tip over. Think of filling the truck like a game of Tetris- the better the items fit together, the less likely they are of falling.

What to do if your items are damaged

First of all, make sure to read the contract with your moving company and to purchase insurance. Then, take photos of your fragile and valuable items to that you can prove they weren’t damaged before the move.

If something is damaged, take a photo of it right away and request the paperwork required to file a complaint with the moving company. If they ignore your request, you may choose to file a formal complaint with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on their website

Ways to Get Involved in the Community in Your New Neighborhood

It’s easy to feel alienated when you move to a new city or town in today’s world. Traditionally, being friendly with neighbors was much more valued in decades past than it is now. And, with the help of things like Facebook and Skype, it’s easier to stay in touch with your old friends from your previous town than it is to make new ones in your new town. 

There is, however, much to be said about becoming involved in your local community. You’ll meet new people, discover new places to explore, and can make new friends in the process.

So, how can you go about involving yourself in your new town? Read on for our advice.

Say “hi” to the neighbors

Meeting the neighbors can be beneficial in a number of ways. They’ll be able to give you the lowdown on your neighborhood, including any issues you might want to be made aware of.

They’ll also be able to tell you if they notice anything strange or concerning around your house when you’re at work. And, if you go away on vacation, a good neighbor might volunteer to take in your mail for you or water your plants.

Find local events

There are a number of ways to find out what’s happening in your new town and get involved with them. Some places we recommend that you check frequently are:

  • Local newspapers and magazines

  • Library and town hall bulletin boards

  • Facebook groups for your town

  • Craigslist community boards

  • Meetup.com groups

You could also check out some local businesses, including cafes and restaurants, to introduce yourself to some of the people who likely live and work in your town.

Learn a new skill

One of the best ways to become involved in your new community is to find out what classes are offered nearby and to join one that you’re interested in. If fitness and wellness are one of your priorities you could consider joining a yoga or fitness class.

If you’re more into crafting, see what classes are available at the local library. And, while you’re there, ask the librarians for recommendations for local places to visit, whether it be museums or specialty stores.

Volunteer your time or skills

If you’d like to give back to your community a great way to do so is to volunteer for a local cause. Many cities and towns have neighborhood or park cleanups. Others have food pantries and assistance for the elderly.

If you have a skill that you think could be useful, such as carpentry or graphic design, find out if any local groups could use your skill.

Go to town meetings

If you want to quickly learn some of the ongoing issues and conversations in your town the weekly or monthly town meetings are a great way to familiarize yourself. Most towns and cities post their meeting schedule online and even offer recordings of past meetings if you want to get a feel for what the meetings are like before attending.

Other places that meetings are held that could be of interest are the local library, churches or spiritual centers, and parks or the town common.

Moving Tips You’ll Be Glad to Know

Moving can be a daunting task. There are so many things to keep track of and a lot of feelings come up along the way as you pack up your home and live in chaos for the next few weeks leading up to, and even after, the move.

Never fear! There are things you can do to make the moving process go all the more smooth, so whether it’s your first time or your fifth you’ll look like a downright pro!

Prepare ahead of time – create a master list of everything that needs to be done before, during, and after the move. Take note of important deadlines and create a master timeline like move out and move in dates, utility cancellations in the old house, utility set up in the new house and when to hand in the keys. Put together an overnight bag with all your personal necessities you’ll need on hand during the move and a box full of the everyday house goods you will need on hand your first day in the new house. Decide on which order you are going to pack up your rooms and add these days to your deadline list. You will also want to make a list of any repairs and cleaning that needs to be done before moving day.

Strategize – Know where everything is going ahead of time. This means a room by room plan prepared before moving day. Label boxes with not only what is inside but what room it will need to go into. You can even take this a step further by color coding boxes by room. If you need to take furniture apart, pack the screws and small bits in a sandwich bag and label what furniture they belong to. If hiring movers, review any requirements they might have for move in day as some will only move boxes and not trash bags.

Clean out – get rid of as much as possible at least a month before moving. The less there is to move, the easier it will be to pack up with less to carry. Anything shoved to the back of cupboards or closets and long forgotten can go. Do a closet purge and donate unwanted clothes. Hold a yard sale or put valuable items up for sale ahead of time to give yourself plenty of the time to get rid of things before you start packing. Don’t add to the stock in your fridge during the last two weeks and consume what you can as moving day approaches. Allow your fridge to defrost the day before the move.

During the move – stretch wrap any furniture with drawers to hold them in place. Pack a cooler with lunch and/or snack items ahead of time and keep it easily accessible during the move to refuel throughout the day. Clean and prepare the bathroom first stock it with soap, toilet paper, and towels. It will be good to go to take a shower at the end of the moving day!

The list of things that need to get done when moving can be overwhelming, but with a master list in hand and some tricks up your sleeve, you can make the process feel a lot less stressful. In fact, you might even enjoy it!