Moving? Save Money and Save Time: Tips for a Better Move

Moving? That’s the last thing any of us probably want to do, but a new school, warmer location, nicer neighborhood or many other reasons could be the cause. But does moving really have to be the total pain that we all expect it to be? The answer is no. And it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to get your stuff from old place to new place, either.

Maybe you’re making a cross-country move from a Cincinnati apartment where rent prices are finally stabilizing to a LA beachside mansion and you’re expecting a huge bump in living expenses; or you’re simply moving down the block in your local suburb and the prices aren’t changing — either way, there are some things you can do to make the process much, much easier and less expensive.

How Much Time Do You (Really) Have?

If you know well in advance that you’re going to be moving soon, it makes sense to take advantage of the time you have. Sometimes, quick moves are unavoidable and you can’t do anything to change the circumstances. That’s an entirely different issue; but for now, follow these steps for a great moving experience.

One Room at a Time

Start in one room. Pick one–any one—and drawer by drawer, closet by closet and shelf by shelf methodically pack everything away into easily handled boxes. If you’ve given yourself ample time to prepare, just divide the number of days you have left by the rooms and stick to the schedule that way. When you finally have all materials from one room boxed up and ready to be moved, then start on the next room. It might sound simple, but pacing yourself is key. Of course, first pack the things you do NOT use often. Simply put, don’t pack your toothbrush two weeks in advance.

Use a Service

We’re all busy. Jobs, family, social functions, your side hustle to earn a few extra bucks. Who has time to do this all themselves? If you’re bogged down or just not willing to make the move by yourself, go find someone to do it for you. For a few bucks, you can find an organizing service. They’ll pack your stuff for you, and you can even work side-by-side with them to make sure nothing gets lost or stolen. And if you oversee their work, you’ll be able to easily unpack and find everything you need in your new place.

Researching the Moving Company

Moving companies are all over the place. It’s 2018, so with just the click of a button you’ll be able to find a company suitable to your needs. That said, be careful and do your research. Many people have reported problems with these services like lost items, late trucks and belongings held hostage.

Instead, consider getting a cube delivered; you fill it up, lock it up and open and unload it at your new location. Again, there are many services that will help you do this—for a fee of course. These services also have amazing tracking services, so this will provide you with some well-needed peace of mind.

Truck Drivin’

If you’re an adventure seeker, then head on over to the truck rental spot and grab yourself a 24-foot truck. Load it—or get help—and you then drive it to your new place. You can take extra time, do it leisurely, or power through it and drive long hours. Either way, you are with your stuff and will not have to even think about someone else being in control of it.

Yard Sale?

How much stuff do you have in your place that you truly never use? If you’re like the rest of us, that’s actually the case with most of your material items. Easy fix — give it away, throw it away or sell it at a yard sale.

Do you really need the original notes you used to write your master’s thesis, or that old giant TV that still works but takes up an entire shelf and sticks out two feet?

Think you might need all of those monitor cables and old computer towers for some reason? Face the facts, you’re never going to use that stuff anymore.

Overall, moving is never that much fun, but if you take the time to plan out your strategy, you’ll save a ton of time and even more money. Maybe you’re a Millennial looking to purchase your first home; or someone saving up for a down payment on a newly constructed suburban home — either way, saving money on your next move is huge.

Plan it out and you’ll thank us later.

Forgotten Home Maintenance Items

Owning your own home comes with chores aplenty. Keeping up with things requires constant attention to make sure all of your bases are covered. It’s easy to get into a routine when getting to these chores and there are certain areas of your home that need more frequent attention than others. Others only need to be done once a year or even once every two years, and these chores can be very easy to miss the next year. In this post, I will outline a few home maintenance items that are easily forgotten about but important to make sure your home runs smoothly and you don’t end up with unexpected failures or outages.

Gutters

Gutter build up is easy to miss as it’s not easily visible from the base of the house. However, backed up gutters can create some serious issues like water seeping into the home potentially causing flooding and or mold. Schedule some time before you expect the rainier/snowier season and give them a good clean out.

Roofing

While you’re up on the ladder to clean out your gutters it’s a good idea to give your roof a look over. There are many signs your roof may be decaying that are visible with a quick glance. Be on the lookout for:

  • Shingles that are blistered, buckling, or curling up
  • Cracked or missing shingles
  • Moss or lichen build up (a sign the roof may be corroding underneath)

HVAC

Your HVAC system is among the most important parts of your home. Dust, dirt, grime, and condensation can severely hamper your systems ability to function efficiently, and when things go wrong it can add it up very quickly. Do a good check up on this system at least once a year. House logic has a wonderful HVAC preventative maintenance check list that I recommend making a copy of.

 

Sump Pump

If you live in an area where your water table is above the foundation of your home, a sump pump is an absolute lifesaver. They are not needed often but when they are, you best hope it works. That’s why it’s important to do a yearly check up on this important facet. You can test your sump pump by unplugging and plugging the unit back in if the unit doesn’t immediately turn back on it needs to be repaired or replaced. The second way to test your sump pump is to raise the water in the reservoir to raise the float, at which point your sump pump should kick on and remove the excess water.

Draining Your Water Heater

The most common type of water heater found in homes is a tank style water heater. They contain a tank with 20 – 80 gallons of heated water. Because of the minerals and sediments that exist in the water from your city (which can vary depending on what region you live in), you should drain your water heater at least once a year. This is a great video on how to properly drain your water heater.

There are some of the most commonly forgotten home maintenance items for homeowners. One thing that I found helpful to make sure nothing slipped through the cracks was to add a note on the calendar on my phone to reoccur each year, that way I am reminded to get to every item.

Should you invest in Solar Panels for your Home?

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The cost of electricity is continually rising as the cost of home solar panel systems decline every year.  Investing in a home solar installation is a better financial decision than it’s ever been before. The actual cost of install and the amount of money you can save, however, depends on many important factors.

Before making a decision, research your current electricity plan stipulations, the suitability of the are you reside, and how local and federal incentives can impact the total cost of a solar installation.

 

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Look Over your Electricity Plan

Solar panels generate electricity during daylight hours on their own and can entirely offset your power bill every month. The more expensive your electric rates are currently, the more you can save from switching to solar.  Electric usage amounts and kWh rates frequently fluctuate month-to-month and since it is generally the main expense on your power bills, the amount you will save each month varies.

As power prices change, so too does the amount of your potential savings.  Also, if the amount of energy your household consumes frequently varies by the month, the amount of savings you attain by going solar may surge and deflate accordingly.  The location of your home also significantly affects electricity rates along with the amount of sun/shade you receive.

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Conduct a Solar Evaluation of your Home

If you live in an area the gets more sun, more power can be generated each day (and vice versa), and you’ll have more savings potential by switching to solar power.  Your roof’s orientation in relation to the sun, your roof type, and the amount of shade your home receives on average also greatly affects solar panel electric output.  Your neighborhood’s solar efficiency rating can be calculated by using a Solar Estimate Calculator tool online. Enter your zipcode, your home’s energy efficiency rating (which they help you calculate), and details about the roof area you wish to install the panels on.

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Initial Cost of a Residential Solar Installation

Despite the downward price trend, solar panels can still be rather expensive.  According to UK Power Ltd, “The standard solar PV costs associated with any installation depend on your system’s brand, efficiency and power generation capability. Standard costs include:

  • Equipment and installation costs of between £2,500 and £15,000 depending on the size and quality of your system. (A typical 3.5kWp system, which has the potential to provide you with up to 75% of your electricity needs, costs around £6,500.)
  • A fee of between £60 and £120 for an Energy Performance Certificate, which you need before you can receive payments under the Feed-In Tariff (FIT) scheme.

All these initial costs can be offset against future profits, and financial assistance is available for those who need it.”

The long-term power expenses of your home will help offset the initial installation expenses.  High quality solar panels often come with 20+ year warrantees and don’t require much maintenance to operate at optimal efficiency.  When calculating out all of the install expenditures, look over your power bill and consider how much electricity you normally use each day on average and decide on a suitable size and kWh production rating for your solar panel system.  Ideally, your system should generate enough electricity to cover your needs most days.

There are many different solar panel installers across the California so be sure to shop around and compare installers the same way you would for other expensive items, like a car for example.  Remember, solar companies are competing for your business and will often offer lower install costs through money-back rebates or other incentive programs.  Get a quote from at least 3 to 5 installers before making a final decision.

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Cash In on Government Incentives

Tax credits and local incentives vary by zipcode, but if your home is in an area with a high solar ranking, you could possibly be eligible for extra property tax exemptions, expedited permits, and waived fees in some cases. UK Power further states, “To encourage the take up of Solar PV, the government will pay you just for generating energy, even if you’re using it yourself.  Also, if your Solar PV panels produce more electricity than you need, the excess can be sold back to the national grid through a Feed-In Tariff scheme. Consumers with a typical 3.5kWp Solar PV system could make combined saving and income of £628 per year (based on a solar PV system eligible for a generation tariff of 15.44p/kWh). What’s more, a typical Solar PV system will save around 30 tons of CO2 in its lifetime.”  Look up local and government incentives and tax credits that might be available in your area online and speak with a solar contractor for additional advice.

Incentives won’t last long unfortunately and some may disappear entirely by 2020, so don’t wait for too long.  As solar PV becomes less and less expensive, federal and local governments and utility companies are tightening the incentives available to homeowners.

If you’d like to upgrade your home with solar panels but can’t afford the initial expense, you can avoid the sticker shock be exploring PPA options through your utility company and zero-down solar loans.  Leasing also offers a lower upfront cost, but since you don’t actually own the solar panels, they will not increase the value of your home and you would be ineligible for incentives.  No matter how you invest in solar, you can expect decreased electric bills and will be actively supporting a greener planet.

Home Improvement Projects Worth Their Cost

With the explosion of internet connected appliances, home battery tech, and smart thermostats, what projects really add value to your home? Is it the new home tech you see in tech magazines? Or do commonly started projects like a kitchen renovation or landscaping changes provide more value to your home? It turns out, both are valuable when done correctly but it’s important to keep in mind what is valuable to your local housing market. Here’s why: 

Simple Home Maintenance: 

The absolute most important thing you can do for your home is to keep up with the maintenance. By making sure your bases are covered with your foundation, roof doors and windows you can substantially increase the value of your home and it will pay for itself when potential buyers are looking for a new place. A home with good bones can go a very long way. 

Frequent Upgrades: 

Most people decide to renovate one of the following spaces in their home: bathrooms, bedrooms, kitchens, living rooms, basements, and outdoor areas. Which makes sense, since we truly live in these areas. Larger upgrades, however, can add up quickly and may not return your investment. Minor upgrades to kitchens and bathrooms can recoup a lot of the costs and quickly. Research suggests a remodel of about 20,000 dollars recoups about 80 percent of the initial investment. 

Tech Upgrades: 

Fancy getting internet connected refrigerator that will text you to pick up some milk and eggs next time you go to the grocery store? While the ability to organize and make note of these things is absolutely amazing, it’s to your benefit to wait for your forever home to purchase this item. There are a few tech-heavy upgrades that are worth it. A smart thermostat can save you thousands over the course of a few years by optimizing your heating and cooling to only kick on when you are home and to power off when you are away. Another great option is a consider a change in your water heating device. This resource shows you which water heaters are eligible for federal and state incentives which will allow you to ensure you are getting the most efficient model for both energy use and cost available. 

Make sure your bases are covered with the bones of your home. Siding replacements, gutters upkeep or replacement, a good front door, sound roof and adequate insulation are all things home buyers look for and can make a sizable difference when they look to purchase their dream home. Avoid expensive remodels of living rooms, kitchens and bathrooms unless you plan on staying in your home for a long time. Smaller remodels (about 20,000 dollars) offer good returns on these spaces, so use this as a guideline when planning. Some high-tech upgrades have bigger upsides than others, but look for what will give you the most bang for your buck and stick to that first. 

 

Things to Do First After Moving to Los Angeles

The Los Angeles lifestyle comes with a lot of perks. There’s the city life, warm weather all year round and a beach not too far away. What else is there to ask for? Here are a few things every new Angeleno must do when moving to the city:

Grab a Burger

Whether you land at LAX or drive into the city, the first thing to do when visiting LA is eat at In-N-Out Burger. The fast-food restaurant is known for its cult following and only has locations on the West Coast. While there are only three burger varieties — a hamburger, cheeseburger, or double-double — many In-N-Outs serve “secret” menu items. Try asking for french fries “animal style.” That is regular french fries with a heaping of grilled onions, cheese and In-N-Out’s special sauce on top.

Walk in the Footsteps of Stars

Los Angeles is known as the home of Hollywood. Take a trip downtown and walk down Hollywood Boulevard, a street dedicated to movie making magic. The street is home to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, where people can take pictures next to star-shaped plaques dedicated to their favorite celebrities. A few steps away is the Chinese Theatre, which still hosts movie premieres. Not too far away is a view of the famous Hollywood sign.

Watch a Game

Sports fans looking for things to do in LA should check out a game at Dodger Stadium. The stadium is home to the Los Angeles Dodgers and known for no-hitter games. Fans should try the famous Dodger Dog. Served either steamed or grilled, the foot-long hot dog is sold to more than 2 million fans each season. The stadium just installed a new statue dedicated to Jackie Robinson, the first African American player in the Major League Baseball team.

Pick Fresh Produce

Angelenos are known for enjoying the freshest fruits and vegetables at the historic Farmers Market. The market has more than 100 vendors serving foods from all ethnicities. Try a handful of fresh cherries, a guacamole-topped taco or homemade ice cream for dessert. After visiting the market, take a trolley to The Grove next door. The Grove is a shopping area that features a beautiful water fountain in its center. Stay for a little while, and there is a good chance you can catch one of the many live shows performed near the fountain.

Party in Venice Beach

Venice Beach is home to the quirky side of Los Angeles. The boardwalk is home to a variety of vendors, street performers and food trucks. Millions visit the beach each year, making it a great place for people watching. The beach offers a variety of volleyball courts, handball courts and a bike trail. There are also basketball courts, but be prepared to bring your A-game. Professional basketball players have been recruited from the Venice courts.

Spot A Celebrity

The best chance of running into a celebrity is on Rodeo Drive. The two-mile street runs through Beverly Hills, and it’s common to see the latest luxury cars parked along the sidewalk. Rodeo Drive is the hub for Los Angeles fashion. Many high end stores are along Two Rodeo Drive in buildings modeled after shopping alleys in Europe. The street has made a cameo in movies such as Beverly Hills Cop and Shrek 2. Take a walk on Rodeo Drive keep your eyes peeled just in case your favorite actress walks by.

Take a Hike

The Los Angeles Griffith Park and Observatory are great places to get in touch with nature. Covering more than 4,000 acres, the park is one of the largest urban parks in the U.S. A short hike through the park will lead to the observatory. The facility has stunning views of the city and the Hollywood sign. Admission to the observatory is free. The observatory houses a model of the solar system, a statue of Albert Einstein and a telescope that projects an image of the Sun.

Play Carnival Games

Try your hand at winning a giant stuffed animal at the Santa Monica Pier. The pier is a historic landmark that is more than 100 years old. There is an amusement park, arcade and solar paneled Ferris wheel. The pier has been featured in a variety of movies and television shows such as Forrest Gump, Iron Man and Grey’s Anatomy. Both the Ferris Wheel and roller coaster light up at night. While it is fun all year round, the pier is great to visit during the summer. There are weekly concerts and outdoor movie screenings that are often free to the public.

Sample the Juice of the Gods

California is home to many vineyards, and there are plenty that do wine tasting tours near downtown Los Angeles. Bring a few friends and try new flavors of your favorite red or white wine. A few vineyards also serve fresh cheeses from nearby farms.

As you can see, you have chosen a great city to move to. Los Angeles has an abundance of things to offer its residents spanning everything from delicious seafood to celebrity sightings. No matter your interests, your new home has something for you.

How to Drain Your Water Heater

Water heaters are often one of the most taken for granted appliances in your home, that is until they stop working. To keep things running smoothly and your family happy, there are some simple maintenance items you should do on a regular basis. A few simple items like checking on your anode rod and draining/flushing your water heater can save your thousands by extending the life of this important appliance. In this article, I will explain how to drain your water heater properly to ensure it runs smoothly.

Draining Your Water Heater

After reading over your owner’s manual and locating your water heater, here are the steps to properly draining your water heater.

  1. Locate Water Supply Valve and Shut off

At the top of your water heater there should be a water pipe and a shutoff valve leading directly into the unit. This valve when turned off will stop water flowing into the tank.

  1. Turn off electric or gas power to water heater

Electric water heaters need to be shut off from your circuit breaker box whereas gas water heaters have a gas valve that needs to be shut off.

  1. Let water heater sit overnight

The water inside your tank water heater is going to be hot, so it’s important to let it sit with no power or gas to heat the water overnight. This gives the water time to cool off before it’s ready to drain.

  1. Locate and attach hose to drain valve

Locate the drain valve on your water heater and attach one end of the hose to the water heater and the other end into a water drain inside your home or outside to the ground.

  1. Open drain valve

This valve when open will allow the water to flow into the drain valve and out the drain hose. Draining the tank can take awhile depending on the size of your tank and how dirty the water is.

  1. Turn water back on

Turn the water valve back and let if flush the tank of remaining gunk and sediment in the tank. Once the water is coming out clear from the hose turn off the water.

  1. Detach hose and refill tank

Remove the hose from the tank and close the drain valve. Then turn the water back on and refill. When the tank is filled turn the electric or gas to heat the water back on.

 

 

For the more visual learner, Danny Lipford has an excellent video tutorial explaining this process, found here.

If you feel uneasy about dealing with electricity, gas, and messing with your water heater altogether consider calling a local plumber to complete the job for you.

How Frequently Should You Flush Your Water Heater?

It’s recommended to flush or drain your water heater about once a year. Regular check ups and maintenance can extend the life of your water heater by making sure sediment building is at a minimum. Depending on how hard the water is in your local area it can be more beneficial to do more frequent draining. Hard water has excess sediment which leads to more build up inside of the tank.

 

How Much Does It Actually Cost To Rent In LA?

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Los Angeles rental prices went nowhere in January, remaining exactly where they were a month before, according to multiple reports.

Citywide, the median cost of a one-bedroom apartment is $1,340 per month, while two-bedroom rentals fetch $1,730.

Rents have shot up four percent since this time last year, says the report, but prices have actually dropped off a bit since August, when they hit $1,350 for a one-bedroom and $1,740 for two-bedroom units.

Since then, rental prices haven’t budged much—a trend some market analysts think will continue in the coming year.

So, how does that compare to the rest of the country? Well, you’d think that Midwestern apartment rates would be far cheaper than Los Angeles, right? Wrong.

Take a look at rent prices from ABODO Apartments, a Midwest-based listing company. Rent prices in Minneapolis are as high as $1,600 for luxury one-bedrooms.

Rent prices in Milwaukee are on the rise as well. And those in Chicago are paying almost $2,200 for a one-bedroom unit.

Los Angeles has some of the nation’s highest rent prices, but the rest of the country seems to be following along not too far behind.

Other reports show that with a new NFL stadium coming to Los Angeles, rent prices are going to skyrocket. Let’s hope this doesn’t happen, because at that point, many of us are going to be heading back to our parent’s basements.

At the same time, this is no joking matter — the number of homeless residents in the LA now tops more than 34,000, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority—a 20 percent increase over the year before. Countywide, nearly 58,000 residents lack a permanent address.

 

Rent prices are getting out of control all across the country, and with homeowner struggles to get financing, we need to find a solution, and quick.

Functional Kitchen Design For 2018

Today, kitchens are one of the most utilized rooms in the home. Some may even say that the kitchen is the centerpiece that holds everything else in your house together. Therefore, it’s no surprise that a lot of time and effort goes into making the kitchen look impeccable. According to a survey conducted by Houzz, 63% of homeowners stated that having enough storage was the most important feature in a kitchen, followed by having enough space to work, play and live, entertain, and clean. Here are a few current design trends that will help make your kitchen look stylish and modern.

Islands

Regarding kitchen layouts and islands, experts at Kitchens International stated, “Layouts are usually dictated by the space available, but islands continue to dominate with many larger kitchens now opting for two islands.” They added, “Most will have a breakfast bar seating or banqueting seating attached to the island so that dining is incorporated into the kitchen area.”

 

Touching back in the point of creating a layout that provides plenty of space to cook, eat, clean and entertain, compartmentalizing where possible is key to creating more open space. Adding structures with multiple functions, such as an island or a counter that has a built-in breakfast bar or a kitchen island that holds a dishwasher and cabinet space, can really help you optimize the space you have.

Cabinets

It’s tough deciding on the best color and material for your cabinets. After all, there are a ton of factors that you have to consider that range from what looks best to what will last the longest. White has consistently been a favorite for kitchen cabinets. White cabinets provide a very simple, clean appearance which proves beneficial to the overall look of the kitchen, as they’re notorious for accumulating junk. The color white is expected to remain on top as a favorite in 2018 and it isn’t expected to be going anywhere for a while.

 

Gray has also been regarded as another popular cabinet color. Gray, similar to white, is clean and refined. It complements almost any palette and can simplify any look. Many homeowners will find that the combination of gray and white makes for a gorgeous kitchen space.

Counters

For many years, quartz has been a popular choice in kitchen counters. With its hyper-durable, scratch-resistant properties, it’s no surprise that many kitchens feature quartz counters.

 

2018 is witnessing a rise in popularity with darker counters. Though many may go for granite, soapstone is another underdog material that’s quickly gaining attention. The material, which is naturally resistant to bacteria build up, sports a gorgeous softened finish that is elevated by the light vine-like detailing in the stone. The combination of the dark soapstone countertops with the light cabinets makes for a lovely contrast that adds depth to your kitchen.

Smart Kitchens

As we enter a new year, we’re also entering a new era of technology. That being said, one of the biggest kitchen design trends this year is believed to be smart kitchens. Though technology in the kitchen has always existed in the form of kitchen appliances, more kitchens are being developed with technology incorporated into almost every square inch of the room. Lighting can be controlled via remote, coffee machines can be programmed to brew your coffee when you wake up, there are even refrigerators that can alert you when you are running low on food. This particular trend is expected to be one of the biggest in 2018.

Avoiding LA Rush Hour

Los Angeles is the city of dreams. There are so many things to do that it can be overwhelming just figuring out where to start! Truth be told, the overwhelming part isn’t what the plans are going to be, or with who. The most overwhelming part of choosing from all these things is planning around the traffic. There is nothing worse than being late to something that you really look forward to. Or even worse, being late to school or work. Hopefully, some of these tips will help you plan smoother and have you forgetting about the troubles of the road. Let’s look over the best ways to avoid LA rush hour and its traffic.

Drive the right vehicles

First of all, we should asses the vehicles being driven. In order to breeze through traffic, the most suitable vehicle would be a motorcycle. Motorcyclists are permitted to use the HOV (carpool) lane even if there is only one person because it is much safer to keep them moving than to have them stop and start repeatedly. Obviously, the trade off being that motorcycles are the most dangerous. Sedans and hatchbacks are a great all around option. Most come with great features that raise the safety rating of the vehicle itself. Also, these vehicles usually have great gas mileage. Try to stick with an automatic vehicle because manual can be a real pain if stuck in traffic. SUVs offer a lot of space, at the cost of gasoline. Instead, try a compact crossover for a balance between gas mileage and cargo space.

Choose the right times to drive

The most plain and simple approach to working around rush hour is to plan your time accordingly. Most would say the worst time to drive would be 7-9:30 am and 3-7 pm. The reason being is that people are heading to work at the time in the morning and people are getting off of work from anytime between 3-7. Noon (lunchtime) can also be a really big pain as well. Now that you know this, try planning accordingly. For example, if work is a commute for you, try getting a gym membership at a gym near your work. This way you can leave earlier than traffic starts and have something that you need to get done to occupy you until you work. As far as getting off of work at a time that rush hour starts, you might want to look into the next step.

Get to know the neighborhoods

Remember, rush hour really only happens on the freeways. If you get to know your neighborhoods and side streets, then you can really shave some time off of your commute. Advice is seen all over. Examples being, if you are heading to LAX, try to take La Cienega. Traffic might seem a little bad on this road at first, but when the speed limit increases, the road opens up. If you are heading towards the Hollywood area, take Fountain street. It seems to be the fastest street going east to west or vice versa. Small tips like these can be learned by asking around or trying it for yourself.

Ditch the car

Sometimes the best way to avoid rush hour is to take your own separate means of transportation. Drive your car to a Subway station, park it for cheap, and hop on the subway. It is cheap and safe. Not to mention, it will take you almost anywhere you desire to go in Los Angeles. This will ease your mind and help you forget about being stuck in traffic and forget about the torturous parking procedure you’ll have to go through. While you ride the subway, you can also check your phone and get emails sent out. This is a lot safer than stressing out about your phone while you drive. Another great option is to take the train. Especially if you are heading downtown, to Hollywood, or to venice beach.

Use the correct apps

Remember when they said they have an app for everything? Well, it is still true. Do yourself a favor and download Waze as soon as you can. Waze will help you navigate your way through the madness by notifying you about obstacles, traffic, police, or any of the other scenarios you can think of while you’re driving. Understandably, a lot of people are not a fan of this app because it will lead you to where almost everyone else is going. The good thing is that the congestion you are directed to will be a lot better than the one you knew nothing about. Some would even argue that Google Maps is just fine. Sure, you don’t see police or speed limits, but Google is smart. It integrates with your calendar and automatically updates you on when the best time would be to leave and to arrive to your destination on time. Also, Google will automatically recommend a better route if it finds one. This has saved many a lot of times.

 

LA traffic is a monster on its own. But the monster can be beat! It just takes the right resources to really plan your route and get to where you want to be on time. Just keep in mind the basics, and add on from there. Good luck!

Make the Laundry Room Your Home’s Crowning Jewel

 

Laundry. It can be a dreary, highly procrastinated undertaking. But it’s a part of life that we, sadly, cannot avoid for long. Just like any task of this nature, sometimes we make it harder on ourselves than it needs to be. Even the most mundane chore can be improved upon with some ingenuity. Do you want to stop dreading laundry day? Maybe even start looking forward to it? Maybe the latter is a little ambitious, but crafting a laundry room that’ll make Louis and Dan down the street jealous is a great start.

When you think of a classic laundry room, images of a dank, dimly lit space might first come to mind. Step number one in achieving your dream laundry room is to throw that preconceived notion out the window. It’s a wonder that this chore gets such a bad rap when it’s associated with such an unappealing image. One way to instantly brighten things up is to come up with a new color scheme. You want to walk into the space and instantly feel at ease. Consider painting the walls a bright color such as, yellow or a soothing tone like powder blue. Remember to add fun decorative pieces to give the room a homey feel. A plant here, wall art there and voilà! You have a beautiful laundry room. There’s a ton of ideas to gain inspiration from online.

Spice up your laundry room with a brand new set of cabinets. Not only will this tuck those unsightly laundry detergents out of the way, but they can also add a much needed pop of color to the space. There’s a ton of different options when picking out storage for your laundry. You could opt for a barebones, open shelving look complete with cute wicker baskets. Or perhaps you’re more of a traditional, clean cut type. You can get a cabinet set that includes hooks to dry your delicates on. Some even include hanging racks or drawers specifically designed for laundry baskets. There are endless possibilities to suit your needs. Whatever style you chose, proper storage is key.

A laundry room is only as good as what you have inside it to get the job done. A great way to up your laundry game while also helping out the environment is to make your own laundry detergent. You can make your own laundry softener and dryer sheet replacements as well. DIY is your friend. There are a ton of really awesome items to help you in your mission to make laundry easier. One must have is a mesh bag to protect your delicates. Another helpful aspect to add if space allows is a folding area. It’s a great way to encourage you to get the chore done in one go. In the same vein, a great addition to any laundry room is a fold out ironing board.

Can’t you feel Louis and Dan’s envy already? Your laundry room doesn’t have to be boring. No, that’s far from the truth. So take up your paint swatches and motivate! You now have an arsenal of tips in your arsenal just waiting to be used. And just like that, laundry isn’t quite as dreary.