Vacationing on Long Island – Great Local Sites on a Budget

Not only is Long Island, NY the largest and longest island in the United States (with an area of over 1,377 square miles), it is home to dozens of vacation spots that are family-friendly, affordable, and educational. If you’re moving to the island or just moved and are looking for a vacation spot to take your family without breaking the bank, here are some places you can visit just a few miles from home.

Walt Whitman Birthplace State Historic Site

Located at 246 Old Walt Whitman Rd in Huntington Station, NY this historic site is an educational and affordable place to spend a day with the entire family. For only $6 per person ($4 for students, $5 for seniors and veterans), your entire family can spend a day in a relaxing atmosphere and learn about America’s quintessential (and greatest) poet. For admission details, click here.

Are you not familiar with Walt Whitman?  Read his Leaves of Grass collection of poems before you head out.

Washington Irving’s Sunnyside House

Another destination for American literature lovers is Washington Irving’s Sunnyside House located at 3 W Sunnyside Lane in Irvington, NY. Sunnyside House was home to the iconic American author of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and other tales about a time when New York was still part of the American frontier.

Visit Sunnyside and hear the tales of Ichabod Crane and Rip Van Winkle, and see where the places from which the author drew his inspiration.

Tickets are available online (for a $2 surcharge), or at the door ($12 for adults, $10 for seniors and students).

Lyndhurst Mansion

One of America’s finest Gothic Revival mansions, the Lyndhurst Mansion, is located at 635 South Broadway in Tarrytown, NY. With its park-like estate, it’s a perfect place to enjoy a relaxing afternoon and picnic on its spacious lawn.

It’s a bit pricier than the Walt Whitman Birthplace ($18 admission), but it’s also the home to lectures and concerts on the lawn during warmer months. Check out their website for details on upcoming events.  

The Big Duck

Long Island is home to The Big Duck, a kitschy piece of Americana. This roadside attraction is at 1012 Flanders Rd in Flanders, NY. Built in 1931, The Big Duck has become a Long Island icon, and with free admission, it’s worth stopping by for a perfect selfie or family photo op while you explore the island. The Big Duck is open 10-5 daily.

Montauk Point Lighthouse

This famous lighthouse, at 2000 Montauk Hwy in Montauk, NY, is the oldest lighthouse in New York State and offers a breathtaking view of the Atlantic Ocean. Complete with a museum and gift shop, it has daily tours. Hours change seasonally. Also, be sure to check the weather, as this National Historic Site is only open weather permitting. Admission is $11 for adults, $8 for seniors, and $5 for children.  

Horton Point Lighthouse and Nautical Museum

A lesser-known but equally as charming lighthouse is the Horton Point Lighthouse which boasts an impressive museum of historical artifacts, including displays highlighting the War of 1812. Located at 3575 Lighthouse Road, Southold, NY, it is also home to an impressive Whaling Collection of Captain Henry Green.

Plan your visit, as the lighthouse is only open from 10 am to 3 pm, Mondays through Saturdays, Memorial Day through Columbus Day. Admission is only $5 per person or $10 for a family.  

Appreciate the Sights

For less than you might imagine, you and your family can have a great vacation and stay in your own backyard in your new home on Long Island, and keep your vacationing costs under control. Enjoy!

5 Ways to Make a Move Less Stressful

A move means disruption to you and your family. Whether you’re moving locally, long-distance, or internationally, you’ll have to adjust to a new home, new neighborhood, new neighbors, new ways of getting around, new schools, new doctors, etc. It’s no wonder a move is considered one of the most stressful life experiences.

To lower the stress of your impending move, here are our top five suggestions:

1. Lighten Your Load  

A move is a terrific time to do an accounting of your life and your stuff. If you’re like most people, you’ve probably accumulated a lot of junk over the years. Nothing is more stressful during a move than having to pack up junk and unpack it at your new home.

Rethink your relationship with your stuff. If it doesn’t make your life better, doesn’t bring back good memories, or worse, brings back bad ones, give it away to a charity (like Goodwill or the Salvation Army), sell it in a yard sale, recycle it, or throw it away.

Your move is a chance to start over.  

2. Treat Yourself and Your Family to Something Special

Before you begin packing, spend a day at a spa, go camping, or pamper yourself and your family.

Sit down with your family and decide together on what activity you’d like to do. Make sure to allow enough time to unwind and relax. If possible, take a day off during the move to unwind and de-stress and then start again. You’ll find that you’ll be better able to cope with the decisions and stress of the move if you do something for yourself and your family.

3. Create a Ritual/Mourn

A move is a little like a death, so don’t be afraid to mourn.

Take all the time you need to drive around your old neighborhood, take pictures, collect memorabilia, talk, and remember the good times (and the bad times) you had there. If you have younger (or even teenage) children, allow them the time they need to grieve. Grief is a complicated and necessary process, and without giving everyone the space to mourn before (and after) the move, you’ll encounter more sleep disturbances and behavior problems than if you allow the process to unfold naturally.

4. Rely on Your Support System

Whether your move is due to something positive (like a job promotion) or negative (like death, illness, or divorce), you’ll need your support system more now than ever. Don’t be afraid to call your friends or family, stop by their home, or just go out for coffee. Reach out to those willing (and able) to help you deal with the emotional and practical matters of a move.

5. Make Plans to See Your Old Friends

Though we live in a connected world, people you interacted with won’t be a part of your life in the same way after a move. Make plans with them before the move to re-connect, and make sure you have their phone numbers, addresses, email addresses, social media account details, Skype IDs, etc. before the move. Make a list of the people you want to stay in touch with, and reach out to them to collect the information you need before you set out for your new adventure.

A Less-Stressed Move

A few simple steps will help you and your family cope better with the stress of moving, and make the experience a more positive and relaxing one for everyone.

If you need help with your move, we can help cut down on the stress even more. Contact us today for a quote.


Utilities 101: Things to Keep in Mind When You’re Moving

Part of the process of planning your move is setting up the utility services you’ll need in your new home. Here are some things to keep in mind as you plan your move.


You may be moving to a state that has a deregulated energy market. See this map to see the current regulation status of your energy market.

Things to keep in mind when choosing an electric company:

  • Do they require a credit check?
  • Do they require a deposit?
  • What are the penalties (if any) for switching providers?
  • Are flexible payment options available?
  • Can you cost-average your electric usage (pay a fixed amount each month no matter your usage)?
  • Can you set up auto-pay from your bank account, and if so do they offer a discounted rate for doing so?
  • What is the kilowatt-hour charge, and does it vary according to the time of use or the amount you use?  

Cable/Satellite TV

You may have fewer options available when you’re choosing a cable television provider. In some areas, cable services are deregulated, while in others you may not have a choice.

If cable television isn’t your cup of tea, and your property has a southern exposure, you may want to explore the possibility of satellite television.  While DIRECTV and Dish Network are the most common satellite TV providers in the US and Canada, you have more choices in this matter than you might realize. Engadget has a list of the top 10 satellite television providers in the US.

Whether you’re opting for cable or satellite television, keep the following in mind before you sign a contract:

  • When will the technician come to install the service?
  • Can I use existing equipment (cable already in the home or a cable box or satellite receiver from your old home)?
  • Do I get a discount for signing up for a longer contract term?
  • What penalty do I pay if I switch providers?
  • Can I install the equipment myself?
  • Can I purchase pay-per-view movies and events?
  • Do you have international channels or channels in another language?  


Internet service can be provided by a local ISP (Internet Service Provider) or by your cable or satellite television company. To find a list of high-speed internet providers in your area, check out this link.

In many locations, you don’t have to bundle your cable or satellite TV service with your internet service, but you may find it more affordable and easier to do so. Even if you want to use different providers for your television and internet service be sure to ask them a few questions before you sign your contract:

  • Do I receive a discount if I bundle my television and internet service?
  • Am I penalized if I discontinue or change my plan?
  • What speed is my internet service?
  • Will I be charged if I exceed my monthly download allowance?

In some cases, your television provider may also provide a home telephone line. Check with your internet or cable provider to see if they can include a home phone number with your service. If you do bundle a home phone number with your internet service, you need to be aware that calls to 9-1-1 can’t automatically find your address in the event of an emergency.  


If you’re moving into a house or townhouse, be sure to call your city public works department or department of sanitation to make sure your garbage pickup is scheduled when you arrive. Make sure you get answers to the following questions:

  • What CAN and CAN’T I throw away?
  • When will my garbage bin be delivered?
  • Do you offer curbside recycling?
  • Are there things that I can’t recycle (such as glass or Styrofoam)?
  • What about items set on the curb? Will you pick them up?
  • What about things like paint cans, aerosol cans, etc.? Can I throw them in the trash?
  • Do you have a bulk pick-up day (or days) for heavier items?
  • What’s the weight limit for garbage bins?
  • Do I have to provide my garbage cans?

If you’re moving into a condo or an apartment make sure you call the homeowner’s association in advance to find out how you can dispose of trash.


Many municipalities include water service with sewer service. If your city doesn’t bundle these items separately, be sure you understand who’s responsible for what.

If you’re moving into a home that includes a city sewer, chances are when you set up water service your sewer service can be included as well. If it’s not, make sure you call your city public works department to check when and how you’ll be billed for service. If moving into a home with a septic system, make sure you call a septic tank service and arrange for service before your move-in date.  Your septic tank should be emptied and prepared with adequate good bacteria to avoid problems soon after moving in.

Heating Oil/Gas/Firewood

If you’re moving to a home that uses oil as a heating fuel, make sure you call heating oil companies to arrange for delivery of fuel before you arrive. You want to be sure to have an adequate supply of oil in your tank before the first cold snap of the season. If you use propane or natural gas, the same rules apply.

Do your homework before you move, and you’ll make your new home comfortable and ready for move-in.

Your International Move – 6 Must-Do’s to Prepare for Your Adventure

Whether your international move is because of a job transfer or for personal reasons, you have a lot of planning to do. It’s far more complicated to move overseas than long-distance in the US. You’ll have to deal with language and cultural differences, and the simple matters of everyday life in your new country may seem overwhelming at first. Getting used to new food, manners, a new language, and new ways of living can be frustrating and turn an adventure into a frustration.

Here is a list of 6 things you absolutely must do as you prepare for your international move.

1. Learn the Local Language

“I was overwhelmed. I had studied French in school, but nothing had prepared me for the experience of living in Paris. It had been twenty-some years since I opened a textbook, and I thought my memory would be just fine. After all, I was smart – I was a senior manager in a Fortune-500 company, but when I arrived in Paris I couldn’t remember my high-school French when I went shopping or out to restaurants. I wish I had brushed up on it more than I had, or bought a language course or something.”

–    Jeff, IT manager, now living in Paris

If moving to a non-English speaking country, you need to learn some basic phrases to get around. English may be the de-facto language of international business, but few people are as fluent in it as you might wish. Trying to speak the local language and dialect will open a lot of doors for you, and help you make friends and feel more at home.

Here are some ways to learn (or brush up on) a new language:

Smartphone apps Check out the list from LinguaLift for a review of the best free and paid applications for your smartphone or tablet.

Language classes at a local community college, university, or extension serviceThe College Affordability Guide has a list of affordable degree and non-degree language programs that you can attend online or in-person.

Online classes – FluentU has compiled a list of the 30 Best Online Language Courses for Any Budget or Level.

Local study and expat groups – If you live in a major city, consider joining a cultural society for expats from the country you’re moving to. Not only will you get early exposure to the language of your destination, but you’re also bound to learn a great deal from people who’ve lived where you’re going to be living.

2. Get Your Passports

Check out the US State Department’s website for requirements and instructions on how to obtain a passport for you and your family members.

Here’s a general list of what you’ll need for your passports:

  • Passport Form (the exact form depends on your circumstances)
  • Citizenship evidence – Identification and Proof of relationship (for children under 16). If you don’t have a certified birth certificate, contact the Vital Records department for the state in which you were born.
  • One 2″ by 2″ color passport photo. See Passport Photos for requirements and photo examples.
  • Fees. See the link ‘Passport Fees’ for a complete list.

Need to get a passport quickly? The US State Department has a list of acceptable reasons to get your passport issued quickly, even on the same day you need to travel.  

3. Get an International Driver Permit

In the United States, International Driver Permits (IDPs) are only issued by the American Automobile Association and the American Automobile Touring Alliance. The US State Department discourages purchasing an IDP from other sources as they are all illegal to purchase, carry, or sell. IPDs are valid for six months.  

4. Visit Your Destination

If you’ve never visited your destination before, spend at least a few days there before you arrive. Getting your feet on the ground and exploring the local scene will give you an opportunity to get oriented, check out schools, see possible living arrangements, investigate day-to-day matters like shopping and driving. Don’t rely on the glamorous descriptions of books and travel guides to paint an accurate picture of life in your new home. It’s ideal to spend time at your destination before you move.

5. Research Visa Requirements and Get Your Visa

According to Wikipedia:

“As of February 2018, holders of a United States passport could travel to 176 countries and territories without a travel visa, or with visa on arrival.”

For a complete list of what countries require visas for US citizens, see Wikipedia’s article on visas.  

6. Prepare Your Health

Some countries will require immunization before you enter. If you have any medical conditions, don’t forget to stock up on any medications that you might need until you can connect with local doctors and pharmacies. Make sure you collect complete medical records for your entire family.

Your International Move 

Good luck planning your international move! Before long, you’ll be fitting in like a local, and feeling at home in your new overseas destination.

At Liberty Moving & Storage we offer a broad range of international moving services. Contact us for assistance with your international move.

Your Long-Distance Move: 8 Tips to Make Sure Your Long-Distance Move Goes off Without a Hitch

You’ve probably moved in your city before – to a new apartment, a new condo, or a new home.

You might have rounded up your friends, borrowed a friend’s pickup, rented a truck, or just packed your car and made a few dozen trips back and forth between your old and new homes.

But if you’re moving a long distance (whether between states, across the country, or overseas), there are things you need to keep in mind that will make a long-distance move a bit easier.

Here are our top eight tips for making sure your long-distance move goes off without a hitch:

  1. Packing breakables carefully is even more important for a long-distance move than a local one. If you’re moving locally, you might simply load up your car with your breakables and make dozens of careful trips to a new apartment or home nearby, but moving long distance means that it’s far more likely that fragile items will break. Be extra careful in packing your items, and make sure you don’t scrimp on bubble wrap, tissue paper, tape, Styrofoam, and specialized boxes (such as picture frame or mirror boxes) when packing your goods. A little extra care in packing will save time and money in the long run.
  2. Consider moving in the off-season. If you have a choice, consider moving when rates are lower. Many moving companies charge higher rates during the busy summer months, but if it’s possible, try to move when fewer people are doing so. Be sure to check seasonal rates with your mover. You may get a substantial discount for adjusting or changing your packing and moving dates.
  3. Make sure you have insurance. Check your homeowner’s or renter’s policy to see if breakage during a move is covered (it usually isn’t). While most movers offer some liability coverage for breakage, make sure you understand who is responsible when something breaks or is lost. If your mover loses or breaks an item, providing them with receipts will help insurance claims move along faster. If you don’t have a receipt, you may have to accept ‘fair market value’ for your lost or damaged item. It is possible to purchase moving insurance online –  you can purchase e-Moving insurance in minutes with a click of your mouse.
  4. Don’t pack food or liquids. Not packing liquids should go without saying. Heat, cold, and vibration can cause even the best-sealed liquid items to rupture and spoil your household goods.  Even if you have dry or canned food items, don’t pack them. The temperature will affect even dry items, and there’s no guarantee that even the most well-packed food item won’t tear or break, and you’ll be left with a box of spoiled food and a big mess to clean up. Your food items may sit in a storage warehouse for weeks or months following your move, and spoilage is practically guaranteed. If you need to dispose of food items, consider giving boxed and dry goods to a local food pantry, or even to neighbors. Avoid packing food or liquids to prevent a moving disaster.
  5. Anticipate delays. Your mover will probably give you a delivery window of several days. Traffic, weather, and mechanical issues may affect when your items are delivered to your new home. Be prepared to live for several days without your household goods, and be sure to pack enough clothing and personal items to get you by until you can unpack at your new home. If you’re moving across the country, check out the U.S. Department of Transportation’s website where you can see traffic delays nationwide.
  6. Know when you’re allowed to move in. Just because you’re ready to move in doesn’t mean that you may be allowed to do so. Make sure you check with your new leasing office, property owner, or community to see if there are restrictions on days or times when you’re allowed to move in.
  7. Decide on how you’re going to travel. Many long-distance movers may put your car in a tractor-trailer along with your boxes of household goods and furniture. If your car is going to be loaded on a truck with your items, make sure it’s empty (or nearly empty) of gas, and that there are no fluid leaks. If you’re traveling by car to your new home, be sure to allow for extra time on the road for safety and rest breaks. If you’re traveling by air, take direct flights, if possible, to lower the stress of travel. If you’re traveling with a pet by air, be sure to check for up-to-date airline pet policies.
  8. Don’t forget to have a proper goodbye. Even in the internet age, long-distance moves mean you won’t have the same kind of relationships with your friends, family, and neighbors after you move. A Skype or FaceTime call is a poor substitute for a personal visit, so make sure you spend enough time with your friends, neighbors, and family members before you set off. If no one is throwing you a farewell party, consider throwing one yourself, especially if you have children or teens.

If you follow these simple eight guidelines, your long-distance move is sure to be a more pleasant and less-stressful one. Need assistance with your long-distance move contact us!

The Ultimate Packing and To-Do List for Your Move

Moving can be overwhelming and stressful. To help keep your mind at ease, we’ve created the ultimate packing and to-do list, based on our experience and that of our customers.

Materials needed:

  1. Permanent markers (1 per room) – Stick with large and wide black markers for easy visibility. The best places to buy permanent markers are Costco, Office Depot, and Walmart (in multi-packs).
  2. Tape:
    • Packing tape – Stick with heavy-duty packing tape and dispensers and be sure to pick up at least two rolls of tape for each room.
    • Duct Tape – For reinforcing pre-cut handles of boxes, and for taping closed doors of ovens or fridges. Best places to pick up duct tape are Home Depot and Costco or Sam’s Club in multi-packs. Duct tape can also be used to label moving boxes.
    • Masking tape – Masking tape is useful for taping Ziploc bags of odds and ends like screws, brackets, and so on to the inside of boxes, so little things don’t get lost.
    • Blue painter’s tape – No move is damage-free, and sticking a small piece of blue painter’s tape on scratches on floors, dings on walls, and scratches on counters makes it easier to assess damage and submit claims when you are done.
  3. Ziploc bags – Get Ziploc bags in a few sizes – Gallon, quart, and sandwich. Secure the bags containing cables, brackets, screws, and nails using tape to the back or inside of your items or boxes to save you time setting up when you arrive. Costco, Office Depot, and Walmart are good sources for larger quantities.
  4. Large garbage bags – Large size garbage bags (outdoor-type bags) are useful for softer items like sleeping bags, pillows, blankets, linens, and so on. Be sure to label the outside of any bags with duct tape and a description of its contents.
  5. Kitchen-size garbage bags – Kitchen size bags are a more manageable and lighter solution than larger bags for some items. Again, be sure to label each bag with a piece of duct tape and a description of its contents.
  6. Adhesive remover – Use a non-corrosive adhesive remover such as Goof-off or Goo-Gone to remove the unsightly and sticky tape from surfaces. Be sure to check the label to ensure that paint and stain won’t be damaged.

3 Months Ahead

  1. Put together a moving folder. Keep all your receipts, notes, and inventory sheets in an accordion file or manila envelope. Label your moving folder carefully and clearly with a permanent marker.
  2. Get rid of unnecessary junk. A move is a great time to pare down your life and simplify the move, so take advantage of a move to lighten your load. Consider taking a tax write-off by donating your unused goods to the Salvation Army, Goodwill Industries, or the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Make sure you get a receipt for tax purposes.
  3. Make an inventory of what’s left over – Once you’ve lightened your load, go through each room carefully and note what’s in it. Keep your written records in your moving folder.
  4. Get rid of outdated appliances. Consider getting rid of older appliances. They’re far less efficient than newer models, and moving them can be costly. You can list your appliances free on Craigslist.
  5. Document everything. Keep clear records of your conversations, names, phone numbers, and so on in your moving folder.
  6. Consider having a yard sale. A move is an ideal time to sell things you no longer want. You can use the money from a yard sale to help pay for your upcoming move.
  7. Get school/medical records for family members. Contact schools, doctors’ offices, and clinics to get your family’s medical, dental, and school records.

2 Months Ahead

  1. Contact specialty movers. If you have items that your moving company can’t or won’t move (such as a piano) contact a specialty mover to arrange for pick-up and transportation to your new home. Make sure you understand very clearly what your moving company can’t or won’t move, and don’t wait until moving day to find out that they won’t move artwork, statues, outdoor equipment, and so on.
  2. Contact utility companies. Arrange for your utilities to be shut off or suspended (cable or satellite television, water, sewer, natural gas, heating oil, electric, and phone company).
  3. Contact schools. Contact both your children’s existing schools and their new schools to make sure their academic and health records are transferred.
  4. Buy or secure your packing boxes, bubble wrap, foam wrap, and tape. Home Depot, Lowe’s, Walmart, and Office Depot are great places to get clean, new boxes for packing as well as bubble wrap to pack breakable items. Stick with bubble wrap that can be torn for ease of use. To save some money, check with local retailers to see if you can have boxes from their recycling bins. Avoid produce boxes coated with wax. Check your retailer to see if unused (or used) boxes can be returned for a refund.
  5. Call your insurance agent to check on policies. If your homeowners, renters, auto, and liability insurance companies operate in your new location, be sure to tell them of your moving plans and notify them of your change of address.

1 Month Ahead  

  1. Pack up things you don’t use frequently.
  2. Fill out a change of address form from the USPS.
  3. Confirm travel arrangements.
  4. Cancel newspaper subscriptions.
  5. Notify the employer of the new address.
  6. Have your throw rugs cleaned and stored.

Week Before the Move

  1. Finish packing your boxes.
  2. Get cash on hand for last-minute items.
  3. Pack suitcases.
  4. Get health certificates from veterinarians.
  5. Cancel newspaper subscriptions.
  6. Arrange for a deposit for moving company.

Day Before the Move

  1. Pack up your first night box.
  2. Pack your suitcases.
  3. Count your boxes and document in your moving folder.
  4. Walk through your home with the mover, make sure all your questions are answered to your satisfaction, and verify your inventory.

Day of the Move

  1. Sign the bill of lading
  2. Lock windows, turn off lights, close doors, and take a final tour after the movers have finished making certain nothing is left behind.

With this list in hand, you should be able to organize and plan your move easier. Let us help make your move easier contact us for a quote today!

10 Tips to Help Your Kids Get Acclimated to a New Home

Any parent who’s moved with children knows it can be a trying experience. Moves can be a lot harder on kids than adults. They’re leaving behind everything that’s familiar – their home, school, friends, neighborhood, and sometimes, family. A move can be a traumatic experience for a child of any age.

You probably have plenty of good reasons for your move, but those may not matter to your children. While children are resilient, they’re more sensitive than adults to changes in their environment and routines. The discomfort of moving will pass, but there are things you can do to make the transition easier for the entire family.

Here are ten tips for helping your child get acclimated to their new home:

Before You Move

    1. A few weeks before you leave, take some time to read books with your children about the move. After you read with them, ask them questions about how they feel, and give them time to tell you what they might be afraid of or might be looking forward to. Here are some suggestions for books to start the conversation:

      I’m Not Moving, Mama, by Nancy White Carlstrom

      We’re Moving, by Heather Maisner

      The Berenstain Bears’ Moving Day, by Stan and Jan Berenstain

      Big Ernie’s New Home, by Teresa Martin

      Bruce’s Big Move, by Ryan T. Higgins

    2. If possible, before you move take your child to their new environment. Drive them around their new neighborhood, show them their new school, and of course, their new home. If your realtor (or landlord) allows it, show them the inside, including their new bedroom. Park your car and take a walk around your new neighborhood and point out simple things. Ask them questions about what they notice.

      By helping them get to know and name their new environment you can help to ease their transition.If you can’t take them there in person, look up resources online that show pictures of their neighborhood. One tool you may find useful is Google Earth (available as an app on the Apple and Google app stores and for the Chrome browser), but keep in mind that some of the images may be a few years old. If your child or teen is tech-savvy, let them navigate Google Earth so they can get to see what their new neighborhood looks like.
    3. Before leaving, have a goodbye party for their friends. Invite their closest friends, teachers, and neighbors over to your home to wish them well. One great idea is to have each person attending their goodbye party bring a special memento of their friendship.
    4. Make a memory book. Children, even more than adults, need to have a sense of continuity, and filling a scrapbook can be helpful during those times they feel uncomfortable in their new home.

      If you don’t have a scrapbook or don’t know where to start, try a local craft or hobby store (check on Yelp), or even Amazon. For tech-savvy parents, an eScrapbook is a great alternative. The folks at SmileBox have perfected the art of electronic scrapbooks.
    5. For younger children, use toy trucks, toy cars, or even building blocks to act out the move. Legos are one way to help your child make the transition. Help them build a model of your new home and neighborhood, and act out your life together in your child’s creation.
    6. Visit special places in your new neighborhood – parks, museums, etc. Take some time to play on playgrounds, or even to picnic in a park. The more you get your child excited about the impending move, the easier the transition will be.

After You Move

  1. It’s essential to keep your child involved in setting up their new environment. A child will have a better sense of ownership of their bedroom, for instance, if you let them make some choices about where to put their toys, books, clothes, and other belongings. Keeping their new room arranged the same as their old room may help them feel more comfortable with the move as well.
  2. Keep your family routines intact as much as possible. Remember that children crave stability and predictability, and keeping the family routines such as bedtimes, wake-up times, television and game times, and so on, will help them feel that things are more like they used to be.
  3. Hold off on getting rid of your child’s furniture. While a move might seem like a perfect time to get a new bedroom set, waiting a month or two may help your child make the transition easier. If you’re set on getting new furniture for your child, take him or her with you and let them participate in the decision. The more your child feels empowered, the easier they will settle into their new surroundings.
  4. Give lots of hugs. It’s bound to be an emotional time for your child, so all the nurturing and support you can give will help them ease into their new life.  Spend some extra time with them, so they know that even though their environment has changed, your love for them hasn’t.

No move is 100% free from stress, and the stress is bound to show up in how your children behave. But by following these simple steps as a family you can help your child ease into their new life and surroundings, and to make the move a positive, enriching experience for them and you.

At Home in Your New Home: 10 Tips for Feeling More at Home After You’ve Moved

One of the most challenging things about moving to a new city is learning the mechanics of everyday life: finding grocery stores, doctors, schools, things to do with your family, children’s activities, movie theaters, places of worship, and most importantly – making friends.

Fortunately, it’s far easier these days to find answers to the questions about the mechanics of everyday life and to connect with people than ever before – you don’t have to look any further than your mobile device or computer.

Here are ten tips for finding things that will help you feel more at home after you’ve moved.

  1. Yelp is your friend. Yelp is a lot more than just a place to find a restaurant – it’s a place to find reviews by real people on things like dentists, dry cleaning, phone repair, and so on. Angie’s List is another great place to look for services like plumbers, electricians, handymen, etc., but keep in mind that unless you’re a member, you can’t get any of the discounts offered to members only.
  2. If you’re relocating because of a job transfer, your employer may have provided you with a list of local schools. Don’t have a list? The folks at Niche can help you find a school in your area. For parents or caretakers of school-aged children, try checking out the reviews at Great Schools and School Digger. If you’re looking for a private school, the National Center for Education Statistics has a great web page to search for private schools near you.
  3. Finding a skilled, compassionate doctor can be a challenge in a new location. If you have a health insurance plan, your insurance provider should give you a list of primary care physicians and specialists when you sign up for coverage. Before you choose a caregiver, however, be sure to check out what HealthGrades and Consumer Reports have to say.  Keep in mind, though, that nothing beats the recommendation of a friend or co-worker, and the Washington Post points out that online reviews may not be the best way to choose a doctor.
  4. There’s nothing quite like spending an afternoon at a local museum, and there are bound to be more museums in your area than you might expect. GreatMuseums has a museum locator that will help you find that perfect place for an educational outing.
  5. Need some inspiration? One of the best places to connect with like-minded folks might be your local church, synagogue, mosque, or another place of worship. CBN (the Christian Broadcasting Network) has a directory of churches sorted by denomination where you can find a spiritual home. If you’re looking for a Synagogue, check out the list of Synagogues from Maven, the Jewish Web Directory. The online Muslim support network Islamicity has a tool to locate a mosque near you as well.
  6. Another way to connect with new people and make friends outside your workplace is to join a civic organization. The Jaycees, Elks, Kiwanis, and Rotary are great places to connect with people, do some good in your new community, and have fun. Michigan State University has a list of links to the national websites of service and civic associations to begin your search.
  7. If you have children of any age (or either gender), the Little League is a wonderful organization not only for them but you. Your children can meet other kids their own age, and you can meet other parents of school-aged children. Use the League’s League Finder tool to locate a league near you.
  8. It’s easy not to realize that your new location might be the perfect tourist destination. TripAdvisor has a list of attractions that’s good not only for visitors but for locals as well. With lists of everything from places to hike, historical sites to visit, and places to ride your bike, you’re sure to find a way to ease into your new surroundings.
  9. Are major or minor league sports your thing? Check out the websites for the NFL, the NBA, the MLB (Major League Baseball), or the NHL for a list of teams and games. AlternativeSportsCentral has a list of links for ‘alternative’ sports teams (like soccer, lacrosse, and rugby) as well as a list of minor league teams. Need tickets? Ticketmaster sells everything you need to find tickets for the perfect sporting event.
  10. Remember that nothing beats the recommendations of locals. People who have lived in your community are more likely to know the inside story about where (and where not) to go better than any online review. Talk to your new neighbors, bake them a cake, or invite them to dinner. The next time you’re waiting in line at the grocery store, strike up a conversation with someone else in line. Take a chance – small efforts on your part will help you feel part of your new community, and you’ll be making new friends in no time.

This list should help get you started. With patience, persistence, and a little effort on your part you’re sure to feel at home in your new surroundings before long!

How to Prepare for a Cross-Country Move in 7 Easy Steps

Preparing for a cross-country move?

Wondering how to best prepare for the trip?

Moving across the country can be an exciting thing, but it can also come with a lot of complications. It can be very stressful getting ready for the move and trying to get all of your belongings from Point A to Point B.

Luckily, we’re here for you. Below we’ll tell you everything you need to know about preparing for a cross-country move, all in 7 easy steps.

1. Give Yourself Time

The critical thing to do in preparation for your move is to start early. If you can, make sure that you have plenty of extra time for your move.

Don’t underestimate how long it will take you to get everything packed up and to plan the logistics of your moving day.

Ideally, you should start the packing and planning process eight weeks before the move. This will give you plenty of time for each of the following steps. It will also allow you to feel a lot calmer and level-headed throughout the entire moving process.

2. Stay Organized

You may or may not be an organized person in your day-to-day life. However, when it comes to preparing for a cross-country move, you can’t afford to leave it all up to chance.

You need to have a plan, and you should create a checklist. Be detailed with your moving schedule, creating a day-to-day and week-by-week to-do list.

Be thorough with your checklist and ensure that you’re not leaving anything off of the list. Then, ensure that you’re crossing everything off as the big moving day approaches.

When it comes time for the big moving day, you’ll be happy you didn’t leave anything out, and you won’t be scrambling to complete a task you forgot the day before the move.

3. Start Cleaning

While it may seem a bit counter-intuitive, it’s a great idea to clean up your house or apartment before the big move. Make sure that everything is spotless and clean.

Cleaning beforehand will help because you’ll be able to assess better where everything is in your home. You’ll be able to visualize your space and determine what should come with you during the move and what should be eliminated.

Additionally, once it does become time to start packing boxes, you’ll also have a lot cleaner space to work in.

4. Get Rid of Everything You Can

A big move is a perfect time to declutter.

Find a way to get rid of anything you don’t need. It may be time to part with some of your unnecessary tools, kitchenware, and junk you’ve been keeping around your home for too long. Be vicious with it and get rid of as much as possible.

The less stuff that is going with you from Point A to Point B the better off you’ll be and the easier the move will go.

5. Pack It Well

Once you’ve gotten rid of everything you possibly can, it’s time to start packing up your stuff.

First, it’s important that you invest in some durable boxes and pack everything as safely as you can. Durable boxes, bubble wrap, and packing paper will help to protect your belongings during the move and will make sure that nothing breaks or gets damaged during your home transition.

You should also label all of your boxes. This will help you know where everything is.

Create a box for important papers and documents such as birth certificates, insurance policies, passports, medical records, and auto registration documents. Place these important documents in a specially marked box

Also, designate an essentials box. Place items you will need right away in this box. It could include medicines, toilet paper, soap, paper towels, basic cleaning supplies, paper plates, utensils, cups, chargers, and necessary tools.

6. Decide on Your Moving Method

Of course, you also need to decide on how you’re actually going to get all of your stuff to your new home. There are several options to consider.

You may choose to pack and move everything with your own vehicle and drive it across the country. However, if you have large furniture that you’re taking with you or a large amount of stuff, this can be difficult.

Depending on your vehicle, it may not all fit, and you’ll have to take several trips.

You may also choose to rent a moving truck or vehicle. This may allow you to get everything all in one load even if you have big furniture items to take with you.

Finally, you can also hire professional movers. Professional movers will be able to get all of your belongings across the country for you, taking the weight off your shoulders.

The final option is, of course, the easiest. However, be sure to compare different professional moving companies to find the best deal for you.

7. Get Moving

Now that you’ve taken care of all of the above steps, it’s now time for the big move.

If you’re doing the move yourself, you’ll need to plan your logistics carefully. Consider the gas costs and which routes you’ll be taking. You’ll also need to be sure to stay safe and avoid injuries when carrying large boxes.

If you’ve hired professional movers, on the other hand, then all of the important moving tasks will be taken care of for you. You’ll simply need to either fly or drive to your new home.

It’s important to stay calm when your moving day rolls around, so it’s often the best choice to hire professionals to help you with the move.

Stress-Free Cross-Country Move

By following the steps above, you’ll have an easy time, and you’ll make sure that your cross-country move is as painless of an experience as possible.

It can be stressful to make a big move, but with the right plan and professional movers on your side, it doesn’t have to be.

Are you getting ready for a long distance move? Click here to learn more about what we can do for you and get your free quote today.

9 Signs You’re Officially a New York Resident

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as a New York resident, you are one of 8,537,673 people. Whether you are one of the several hundred thousand people coming and going every year or whether you have lived in New York for a lifetime you are a New Yorker.

A New York resident has specific characteristics that make them stand out from the crowds. If you are a New Yorker, you can’t be confused with tourists or visitors. There’s something about life in the Big Apple that makes you unique.

Here are nine signs that you are a New Yorker.

Living in a Box

New York may seem to be vast but relative to its population it’s small. With so many people crammed into New York, the building solution has been to go up into the sky. Every scrap of real estate is turned to use.

As a result, you probably live in a small space. You can reach your bathroom from your bed in a couple of strides. You have multipurpose rooms so living space may also be sleeping space and may even be cooking space too.

You have an innovative approach to home decor. Storage solutions are super creative, and you know how to declutter. Your apartment defies scientific logic in that the internal space seems bigger than the external space.

You can prepare dinner for four on a counter the size of a postage stamp. You serve it to your guests sat variously on a couch, cushions and the floor.

You Don’t Drive

Perhaps you never learned to drive. If you did learn to drive, you have forgotten how to do it now. You ask people “How is owning a car a good idea in New York?”

So you walk and use public transport or a cab. This means you have become hypersensitive to sidewalk etiquette. More than two people walking side by side on the sidewalk is just not right.

You have developed a half walking, half running technique for negotiating crowds and dodging confused tourists. You always get to your destination much earlier than Google says you can walk it.

Coffee Culture

No New Yorker resident can resist a cup of coffee. Street vendors distract you on your way to work or class. At other times you have your favorite cup of joe to go to.

You are open to trying the latest new venture in the independent artisan coffee world. It matters to you where the beans came from and how the coffee is made.

Pizza Life

You treat having a pizza delivered to your 5th-floor apartment as common sense rather than amazing. You know just where to get the “best” pizza. You’ll argue your pizza preference beats all comers.

Citi Bikes

You either love or hate Citi Bikes. There’s no middle ground.

Of course, they are good for the environment, but if you love them, it’s because they have a handy basket up front. If you hate them, it’s because they take up even more space in this crowded city. The racks take up three parking spaces!

Subway Savvy

You have subway savvy developed by long hard-won experience. This is a body of knowledge that allows you to make the best use of your primary form of transport. This knowledge includes the following.

You don’t take the High Line to admire the view, but you do use it to avoid the traffic. You never use an empty subway car because – you just know better!

You have a sixth sense that allows you to find the subway exit nearest your destination. You have a technique for swiping your MetroCard on the first attempt and look down on anybody who has to swipe two or more times.

You never get off the subway at Times Square because it’s a tourist hotspot. Stay on the subway until you are at least a block away.

Cab Cunning

Visitors can regularly be seen trying to hail cabs with no light on. A New York resident knows where to stand (just off the sidewalk), how to hail and knows not to hail a cab with the “off duty” light on. You know never even to try hailing a cab between 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

It’s All About Comfort

Shoes have to be comfortable and durable. You walk miles in all weather conditions. Heels and style are all very good in their place, but that isn’t on the street in New York.

You’ve decided that all food tastes best when consumed while wearing sweatpants. You’ve taken comfort eating to the level of an art form.

You have cold weather comfort nailed with layering as your most effective strategy. Hats and scarves are not just for fun but function. Warm weather comfort is achieved by selecting almost weightless clothing.

You Know About Value

You know the “Pay what you wish” days at the galleries and museums. You may appreciate a particular gallery, but you’re happy to have tourists finance it.

You have a favorite brunch location that combines value and quality. Your knowledge of authentic and cheap ethnic food outlets is impressive. You know that the premium-priced coffee you’re sipping is worth every cent.

Business as Usual

Visitors to New York are excited when they chance across a movie filming in the street. They hope to get a glance of Spiderman or a Hollywood star. For you, this is just another hitch on your journey from A to B.

You’re a New York Resident

The New York skyline is on countless posters, advertisements and is undeniably iconic. Many non-New Yorkers can pick out landmarks and key buildings. To some, it stands for glamour, excitement or success.

You know you are a New York resident when what it means to you is, you’re home.

If you would like to learn about moving to or within New York, click here.