Home Help: Tips to make life less stressful

Moving can be stressful, especially in the busy fall season. Here are some tips inspired by professional movers from BobVila.com:

Moving can be stressful, especially in the busy fall season. Here are some tips inspired by professional movers from BobVila.com:

• Come up with a strategy: Before the big move, arrange and categorize as much as you can. Everything you do leading up to the move will make the day go smoother.

• Determine a timeline: Don’t wait until the last minute to hire help. Moving companies can be very busy, especially at the end of the month. As soon as you know when your new home will be ready, schedule the movers and a truck. Aim for at least two weeks in advance to mitigate stress.

• Don’t move everything: Use moving as an opportunity to reduce the amount of stuff you have. Take inventory of everything and only move what you really want or need. Instead of moving stuff that won’t make you happy but will take up space, consider selling or donating furniture or old knick knacks.

• Photograph wire configurations: To avoid frustration, take pictures of the back of your TV and other electronics to reference when it’s time to hook them up in your new home.

• Use clear bins for important items: “Don’t risk packing crucial papers in a cardboard box where it can be hard to find in a sea of cardboard boxes,” recommends BobVila.com. “Invest in a plastic, water-resistant bin for tax information, insurance documents, your will, passport and other vital paperwork. These items will be safer, less likely to get damaged, and you’ll be able to locate them quickly in case you need to access them soon after the move.

• Pack room-by-room: Load and label your boxes by individual rooms. This will make moving day smoother as you can just bring the boxes directly to the right place. It also speeds up unpacking so you can settle in faster.

• Pack smart: “Moving companies won’t move boxes that feel top-heavy, unbalanced or loosely-packed, so pack appropriately. Put heavier objects in small boxes and lighter objects in large boxes. Make sure to pack heavier objects at the bottom to avoid a top-heavy box that’s awkward to carry. Also avoid leaving space in a box to prevent breaking or damaging items inside. Stuff soft materials like T-shirts, towels, newspapers or pillows in boxes with empty space. If the box rattles, a pro mover will ask you to repack it before they load it.”

What causes tomatoes to crack?

If your soil is very moist, you might notice cracks on your tomatoes. These will appear as deep, top-to-bottom cracks or as concentric rings at the top.

According to BobVila.com, “tomatoes grow best under consistent conditions. When summer storms rain down extra moisture into the soil, developing tomatoes expand rapidly from the inside. Unfortunately, the outer skin cannot grow quickly enough, and so it cracks and splits. … Harvest cracked tomatoes immediately. If they are partially ripe, they will finish ripening indoors. Dispose of any cracked tomatoes that smell sour or have oozing wounds. Avoid cracked tomatoes by planting crack-resistant varieties, providing consistent soil moisture and mulching with plastic.”

The easy way to clean your microwave

After hundreds of mini-food explosions in your microwave, the inside is probably due for a cleaning. Though the prospect of scraping all the hardened grime off the walls of the microwave might seem daunting, there is a method to make the take easier. Fill a microwave-safe bowl with water and lemon juice and microwave it on high for two minutes. The resulting steam will loosen the baked and dehydrated grime. Then, simply wipe away the crud. Remember: the longer between microwave cleanings, the more difficult it will be.

Selecting door trim color

When painting a door, consider the trim color. Here are some things to keep in mind: “If your door will be painted white or another light neutral, do the surrounding trim in the same color,” according to BobVila.com. “If you choose a darker shade, pair with a complementary off-white or neutral tone trim. If painting the door in a darker color, paint trim first, allow it fully dry for at least 24 hours, protect it with painter’s tape, then paint the main portion of the door.”

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