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King Park Indianapolis

The Secret of Moving to the Suburbs Without Losing the Perks of City Life

When you first moved to the city for college and stayed to build your career, you may have resolved never to leave. But now you’ve established yourself in your career and settled down to raise a family. At this stage in life, you’re not alone if you no longer view city life through rose-colored glasses. Gradually, you realize you’re tired of facing the realities of city life like:

  • Finding parking spots
  • Carrying groceries through streets and up flights of stairs
  • Dealing with noisy neighbors
  • Wrangling toddlers in small apartments with no yard space

Still, the city hasn’t entirely lost its allure. You hate to sacrifice what you love about the city just to overcome a few annoyances. Lucky for you, many suburban communities offer perks similar to city-dwelling but without the stuff that bothers you. If it’s time to consider a move to the suburbs, here’s how to do it without giving up what you love about city life.

Experience the Ambiance

The move from the city to the suburbs often causes people to wax nostalgic about the unique aspects of city dwelling. They don’t want to say goodbye to all-night take-out places, one-of-a-kind clothing boutiques, and well-maintained city parks. But, many suburban centers have similar perks. Plus, these sites are usually less crowded outside of city limits.

Make a list of your must-haves or nice-to-haves for a suburban community. Think rec centers, local theaters, concert venues, bars, nightclubs, or whatever else you typically do in the city. Then drive around and look for those options every time you go house hunting. Park the car and take a walk downtown. Go into the shopping mall. You might be surprised at the array of stores it offers. In short, be on the lookout for places that can become your new favorites.

However, be cautious about clinging too much to any one suburban downtown area. It’s only one factor in what creates a community’s atmosphere. Interact with the people you pass on the street. Many suburbs have replaced the isolated, city-life mindset with more neighborly patterns of interaction. Strike up a conversation with someone at the local coffee shop and ask about the area. Watch for friendly interactions among store clerks and customers to get a sense of the community atmosphere.

Visit Local Schools

Shutterstock.com

Shutterstock.com

In the city, a top school frequently means an expensive private school. But your kids can obtain a quality education at a public school in the suburbs. No wonder almost every family moving to the suburbs has “top-rated school system” at the top of their must-have list-even families without kids yet. As you evaluate area schools, examine these factors:

  1. Look beyond test scores. Kids are more than their test scores, and so are schools. Test scores are only an end way of measuring a school’s performance. Class size is a better indicator of how much personal attention your child will receive from teachers-smaller is better.
  1. Examine all grade levels. You might be making the move to the suburbs when your children are barely in preschool, but you could live in your new house until they head off for college. With that in mind, visit schools for all grade levels in the area. Make sure the middle school and high school options meet your education standards, too.
  1. Make sure your favorite extracurricular activities have community support. You can’t predict which hobbies your kids will adopt as they get older, but you can make a few good guesses. If you take your kids to the theater frequently, make sure the school district has a strong history of supporting the arts. If you attend sporting events, look for a school with an established sports program. You want your kids to have options when they start developing their non-academic skills.

Consider the Commute

For many people making the switch from city to suburb, the extended commute becomes a primary consideration. After all, what’s the point of finding a larger, quieter living space if you’re hardly home to enjoy it? For any community you consider moving into, think about these factors that will affect your commute:

  1. Public transportation. Does the thought of fighting rush hour twice a workday send your blood pressure through the roof? If so, look for a suburb with public transportation options built for commuters. Don’t just locate the local train station on the map. Actually visit it. You need to know about parking availability and overall convenience. You could even take a test train ride into the city to time the trip and gauge the crowds.
  1. Carpool lanes and toll roads. If you don’t mind driving, you’ll probably still want options to speed up your commute. When you make the hull out to the suburbs to house hunt, pay attention to the highway and calculate the cost of paying for less-crowded toll roads. Look out for carpool lanes. If you see any, ask around at the office if any co-workers would share the ride with you.
  1. Working from home. Increasing numbers of suburban dwellers have cut their commute down to the time it takes them to walk from the bedroom to the office-they telecommute. That might not be an option every day, but your supervisor might be willing to let you work from home a few days a week.

Finally, estimate how often you envision yourself heading into the city for reasons other than work. If you think you’ll visit it more than once or twice a month, look for suburbs just outside the main hub to cut down on your travel time. That way your favorite city spots won’t be too far away.

Your trek to the suburbs can yield many of the amenities that city life does. Use these tips to find the perfect community and home for you. Once you’ve found it, call a moving company to arrange moving your belongings. Get ready to make new memories that will last a lifetime in a space that won’t feel cramped as your family grows.

If you want to make the move from the city to the suburbs, a local agent  in your area will be able to assist you with all of your moving needs.

Meet new neighbors after a relocation by shopping for groceries with your dog

Ripley after our relocation to Indiana. He loves hanging out at the local farmers market.

Ripley after our relocation to Indiana. He loves hanging out at the local farmers market.


Relocating from Oklahoma to Indiana was a stressful experience for me and my family. Our relocation was prompted by my husband’s job transfer. Essentials had been packed and taken with us on our drive to get us through a few days until the professional relocation company delivered our furniture. We arrived in Indiana to an empty house. The first few days were a little like camping. After a long car ride and sitting in an empty house, the family was starting to get a little stir crazy.

New to the city and neighborhood, we decided to get out and about. So, we leashed up our dog, Ripley, and went to the local farmers market. It was a great experience! We met lots of locals and several of our neighbors as well as many local farmers. I even met a local rancher and purchased some meats to grill that evening. Our dog enjoyed exploring and meeting new canine friends, too. Many people stopped to chat with us because Ripley helped break the ice. It was a win-win and made us feel at home more quickly.

If you just moved to a new community, get out and explore by taking a trip to the local farmers market. The markets are free to roam, many have live entertainment and most have some prepared foods and snacks, which are perfect if your appliances haven’t arrived yet. Just being outside around other local people and the fresh, brightly colored fruits and veggies makes you feel more welcome.

Our family has gone to the local farmers market every Saturday it’s open. I love having the option to take my dog shopping for groceries!

Click here for a list of farmers markets in your area.

Relocating with Rhonda

Rhonda Baker (second from left) joined Bekins' Sales & Marketing team in early Spring

Rhonda Baker (second from left) joined Bekins’ Sales & Marketing team in early Spring


Relocating is a unique experience for everyone. It’s exciting for some and dreadful for others. One of the best ways to understand the process is by seeking advice from those who’ve experienced it first-hand.

Sales and Marketing Project Manager, Rhonda Baker joined the Bekins Van Lines team this spring. Prior to her job and life in Indiana, she lived in Oklahoma City with her two sons and husband. When her husband’s job required relocating, they packed up their life and headed to Fishers, Ind.

“I grew up in Oklahoma,” said Rhonda. “It’s all I had known my entire life.”

Adjusting to such a major change is no easy task. Rhonda’s advice – Don’t overlook the milestone. In the weeks leading up to the move, be intentional about spending time with friends and family for a proper goodbye.

“Relocating definitely makes you appreciate friends and family,” said Rhonda. “You won’t take any time together for granted. It inspired me to make more of an effort to get together with close friends and family.”

Rhonda said she looks forward to planning several trips to visit her two sons, lifelong friends and family who still live in Oklahoma.

“I was most surprised about the amount of planning involved,” said Rhonda.

Rhonda attributes a great deal of the success of her move to the attention to detail in planning prior to relocating. She went as far as measuring their current furniture and comparing it to measurements of the new house. This saved time, money and space when it came to deciding what items to move.

“Downsizing and adjusting to a new home was definitely a challenging aspect of moving.”

She suggests diving into your favorite hobbies soon after relocating. For Rhonda, it is gardening and sprucing up her outdoor space. This made the new house feel like a home and took her mind off the move.

She also suggests asking a friend to ‘dog-sit’ for moving day. The last thing you want is your precious pooch running away on moving day.

“Having Ripley running around the new house made it feel more like home. Pets can play a huge emotional role in moving.”

Heed the advice of someone who has seen moving from the professional standpoint as well as personal.

Technology Tip: Google Helps Organize Your Move

Google produces a plethora of tools that enable a person’s life to be organized to the max.  Since we’re always trying to make moves easier and less stressful, we decided to investigate and test many of Google’s tools to determine which would be most helpful during an interstate move.

If you haven’t already, you’ll need to create a Google account to use the tools listed below.

Gmail

Gmail logoGmail is Google’s official email system.  If you use Gmail, or choose to use it in the future, it serves as a one-stop-shop for all of Google’s other tools mentioned in this article.  An added bonus of using Gmail during the moving process is that you can use the account for all of your electronic communications related to the moving experience: full-service moving companies, cleaning companies, utilities, and other services.

Google Calendar

Moving and relocating is a long process with many moving parts, appointments, scheduled phone calls, and general information to keep track of. Using a Google Calendar could become your new best friend as you’re able to stay on top off all your commitments and responsibilities.  Helpful tip: Google Calendar syncs nicely onto your smart phone.

Google Drive

Google Drive acts as an electronic file storage site.  You can store moving contracts and other moving-related paperwork, lists and more.  You will no longer have to worry about losing or misplacing important, loose papers.

Not to worry: while you’re en route to your new home, you’ll be able to access all of your files via your tablet or your smart phone so you’ll never be more than a click away.

In Google Drive, you’ll also have access to Google Docs: Google’s document creation tools.  You can create spreadsheets to help you maintain an inventory of your belongings or lists of items that you’ve donated during downsizing for tax purposes, just as a few examples.

Google Maps

Google Maps isn’t just a tool to get directions.  It’s a very powerful component of Google’s arsenal Google Maps logoof organizational aids. You can use Maps in a variety of ways during your move. Here are a few of our suggestions:

  • Take a street-level tour of your new neighborhood
  • Investigate the nearest home improvement stores, convenience stores, gas stations, grocery stores, post offices, and other essential locations in proximity to your new home
  • Plan the driving route between your old home and your new home

Google Tasks

Google Tasks is simply a “to do” list tool.  You can create as many task lists as you need and name each one for easy organization.  You can also sync your Google Tasks with your Google Calendar if you wish.  Think about how convenient it would be to have multiple to do lists in your hand via your smart phone as you’re packing, donating and throwing out belongings.  You can also do the gratifying task of checking items off lists as soon as you complete them.

Google Keep

Google Keep is a handy place for storing thoughts and other inspirations.  You can drop images into a Keep note for those times when inspiration for decorating your new home strikes, or just to make a note of an idea someone mentions to you.

YouTube

YouTube has become one of the best do-it-yourself resources there is, and it’s no exception when you’re beginning to plan a move.  There are how-to’s on literally everything you can think of: from packing fragile items to giving your house more curb appeal.

Finish Up

It’s near impossible to remember everything you need to do during a move.  Put Google and your mobile device to work for you and ease yourself into a less stressful move.

Technology Tip: Top Apps to Use When Moving to a New City

It’s almost as if our smart phones have become another extension of our bodies – wherever we go, our iPhone, Android or other communication device is sure to follow.  There’s a good reason: these gadgets are handy and can help us out with almost every facet of our lives – including moving.

We’ve compiled a list of four apps that will serve you well during your move – Check them out!

  1. Moving Van: Unfortunately this app is only available for Apple products, but it’s handy enough to still be featured.  This app allows you to easily figure out exactly where you packed your items.  No more sifting through box after box trying to find your cell phone charger.  Simply assign each box a number and coordinate that number with the items in the box.  Then when you’re looking for something, you simply search the item on the app and it tells you which box it’s in. Handy? We think so!Moving Van app
    Has anyone used this app?  What did you think of it?

 

2. Moving Day: This is another very handy app, and bonus: it’s free!  The real highlight of Moving Day is that it has a built-in barcode scanner and label maker.  You can also print or e-mail directly from the app. It’s always helpful when everything can be completed in one process – this app gives you that capability.moving day app

3.  Beat the Traffic: This a favorite for a lot of people and for many reasons. First of all, it’s free. Second of all, no one likes getting in traffic jams while traveling and this can help you to avoid them at all costs. This app is accurate, has camera views, and gives a person the ability to report accidents or jams.  This is great for any kind of traveling, but if you’re moving a long distance and traveling there by car, it’s a necessity to have this app.

Beat the Traffic app
4. Gas Buddy:  No one likes getting a bad deal, especially on gas.  There’s nothing worse than filling up your car’s gas tank and then driving only a few miles down the road to find gas ten cents cheaper.  If you’re moving a long distance and are planning on spending a lot of money on gas to get there, this app must be downloaded as soon as possible.  You’ll be able to scout for the best deal on fuel and have a little extra money. Use it to treat yourself to a delicious meal while on the road!

Gas Buddy app

 

These are just a few of the many, many apps that can aid in the moving process.  Did we miss one of your favorites? If so, let us know! Leave us a message on the blog, comment on our Facebook page or Tweet at us.

 

Stay tuned for more technology tips that can help your move be as smooth as possible.

Bekins Recaps: National Moving Month

National Moving Month

It’s been one month since National Moving Month began.  That means we’re one month in to the busiest time in the moving industry season.  To celebrate this month, Bekins produced a series of moving tips to help ensure a smooth and successful move. Now that we’re at the end of the month, let’s take a look back at the tips that we provided.

Bekins’ National Moving Month Tips:

  1. Invest in a high quality notebook. 
  2. Take pictures of your electronics before unhooking and packing.
  3. Keep your boxes as light as possible.
  4. Don’t forget to change the locks on your new house.
  5. Donate your non perishable-food items.
  6. Once you know the layout of your new home, sketch a floor plan.
  7. Use packing labels.
  8. Save your receipts.
  9. Clean your new house upon arrival.
  10. Update your driver’s license and license plate.
  11. Donate unwanted or unused items.
  12. Ensure your pets are ready for a move.
  13. Drain all the oil and gas from your power tools prior to moving.
  14. Use towels to stuff boxes.
  15. Prepare to move your appliances.

National Moving Month

Bekins’ National Moving Month Tip #15: Moving Appliances

15.  Prepare to move your appliances.

Many of your kitchen and laundry appliances – refrigerators, dishwasher, washing machines and others – require a bit of preparation to move.  It will make your moving experience much easier if you prepare to move these appliances several days before your actual move.  Bekins Van Lines knows that it’s overwhelming, and somewhat complicated – especially if this is your first move.  Don’t worry; Bekins has compiled a helpful how-to for moving appliances.

kitchen appliances

Photo via http://bit.ly/118yly3

Refrigerators

Make sure that your refrigerator is turned off about 48 hours prior to your move.  Also, secure any attachments inside the appliance or remove and pack in another container.  If your fridge has a funny smell, try leaving an opened box of baking soda inside. It should absorb any unpleasant odor.

Freezer

The freezer needs to be completely defrosted prior to your move.  Depending on the size of the freezer, this could take just a couple hours or days.  Judge to the best of your ability and remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Defrost ahead of time and remove all food.

Dishwasher

It might be helpful to hire a third-party service to help disconnect the dishwasher from the water source. If you’re a total DIY-er though, make sure that the hose, inlet line and water valve are all disconnected and that the dishwasher has an ample amount of time to dry. Leave the door of the appliance open for at least 24 hours.

Oven

If you have a gas-powered oven, a third-party service provider will be very helpful. If you have an electric oven, make sure that the appliance is unplugged from the power source.  All removable parts such as burner pans, grates and the shelves inside the oven should be secured or detached completely.  As always, if time allows, it would be a bonus to clean the inside and outside of the appliance.

Washing Machine

The most important component to preparing a washing machine is ensuring that it’s completely drained.  No matter what time of year you’re moving – even if it’s the summer – the appliance needs to be completely void of water.  You’ll also want to make sure that the washer drum is secured.

Dryer

You could benefit from hiring a third-party provider to help disconnect your dryer, especially if it’s gas-powered.  Regardless, the dryer should be disconnected from whatever power source its connected to and the cord should be taped to the back of the appliance.

Bekins has tons more moving tips that we’d love to share with you!

If you have any more helpful tips to moving appliances, let us know in the comments section!

 

Bekins’ National Moving Month Tip #14: Towels

14.  Use towels to stuff boxes.

Packing is an art, and just like any art, it can take a lot of practice.  It can be a challenge to fit items perfectly in to moving boxes and sometimes it can be nearly impossible! Bekins recommends though to not have any empty space in your box and the box also shouldn’t be more than 30 pounds, so what are you to do?

Stuff all the remaining space in your boxes with either towels or light linens.

You’re going to have to pack all of your towels and linens anyway, so they might as well serve some sort of purpose during a move.  Packing with towels, cloth napkins, table cloths, curtains, and other light linens is an efficient way to ensure that the boxes are full. Towels and linens are also light, so you won’t be straining your back carrying these boxes out of your house even if they are completely full.

What other materials have you used to pack your boxes? an assortment of colored towels

Check out Bekins other National Moving Month moving tips!

Bekins National Moving Month Tip #13: Oil & Gas

13.  Drain all the oil and gas from your power tools prior to moving.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but when you’re constantly thinking of things that need to be done before a move, it’s easy to forget.

lawn mowerBekins Van Lines, and any other van line, will not transport items that are flammable or have gasoline inside them.  Considering the price of gasoline, it would be unfortunate to forget about this prior to a move and waste a tank of gas.

Along with gasoline, here is a list of other items to leave behind when packing:

  •  Aerosol cans
  • Heating agents
  • Nail polish/remover
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Any type of gas in bottles or tanks, including propane or oxygen
  • Paints, varnishes, solvents, thinners and oils
  • Ammonia, bleach and other household cleaning agents
  • Chlorine granules or powders
  • Muriatic acid (aka hydrochloric acid)
  • Auto batteries
  • Charcoal/lighter fluid
  • Matches and lighters
  • Ammunition
  • Any other combustible product

Can you think of any other items you should leave behind when moving?

Be sure to brush up on your  moving facts by checking out the rest of Bekins’ moving tips.