87 family activities to help you avoid coronavirus cabin fever

It’s not fun being cooped up because of self-isolation and social distancing, but with a little bit of effort, you can create some fun things to do at home to help the time pass and make some wonderful memories. You’ll probably have to work with what you have one hand, since so many stores are closed. But with a little creativity, we’re sure you can make most of these ideas work. You’ve got this!

1. Zoom around in cardboard race cars

Let your kids zoom through the living room in their very own race car. Get the instructions here.

2. Make a cardboard dollhouse

Create your own dollhouse, as intricate or as simple as you’d like. We’ve got instructions for one that’s a series of “apartments” that can be broken up and played with however you’d like. Find it here.

3. Make your own drive-in movie

Make a box car for an indoor drive-in film. Get the instructions here.

4. Bring Minecraft to life

Got a Minecraft fan at home? They’ll flip for this creeper box craft. Find it and templates for Minecraft pixel pickaxes here.

5. Make your own pinwheel

This simple craft is best enjoyed in a breeze, but standing in front of a fan gets the job done too. Learn to make your own here.

6. Make a portable art easel

Don’t throw away that cardboard box! Make a sturdy and portable art easel for your mini Monet. Get the instructions here.

7. Make a calming jar

Help your kids cool down and relax with these easy-to-make calming jars. All you need is hand soap, water and a handful of shiny glitter and beads to help your kids find their inner peace. Get the instructions here.

8. Blow bubbles

Go buy some bubbles at your favourite dollar store, or make your own at home. Plus, learn how to make your own bubble wands here.

9. Play hide-and-seek

Another classic fun things to do at home. Who can find the best hiding spot in the house?

10. Make a bird feeder

What better spring craft is there than making a DIY bird feeder? Or try painting a birdhouse, which you can purchase at your local craft store.

11. Play a game of hopscotch

You might think this game is too simple, but it’s always a great time-killer and super fun to play at any age.

12. Get gardening

Spend some time outdoors by planting flowers in the yard. Your little ones will love getting messy in the fresh soil and being on garden hose duty.

13. Wash your car

If it’s warm enough outside, get the kids to help you out with cleaning up your family vehicle(s) on the driveway.

14. Collect and paint rocks

Go to a nearby park and collect rocks, then make a craft day out of it. Paint them with whatever paint you have at home and maybe even turn them into rock magnets for the fridge.

15. Take lots of pictures

Make sure that while living in the moment, you don’t forget to snap photos of the silly and fun times, too. Print the photos and have the kids help you finally put together that scrapbook or album you’ve wanted to make.

16. Build a fort

Any time of the year is the perfect time to build a fort. It’s great for some pretend indoor camping!

17. Draw with sidewalk chalk

Sprawl out on the sidewalk with a big bucket of chalk or spruce up your driveway with your wildest creations.

18. Have a scavenger hunt

Put together a list of household objects and see who can be the first to find everything on the list!

19. Watch the sunset

The best ending to the perfect spring day is watching the sunset with the little ones before calling it a night.

20. Get baking

Ge the most out of baking with your kids. Pretend to be bakers while practicing essential skills like reading with recipes or counting with ingredients.

21. Get silly with your kids

Try these low cost options for just having some good ole silly fun.

22. Make a twig sailboat

Time to set sail in a lake, pail or bathtub! Make these cute little crafts out of simple supplies. Find instructions here.

23. Make a time capsule

A sweet time capsule filled with special trinkets and memories is always a fun indoor activity to do with kids. Have them help decorate the box and curate which items to put in it. Learn how here.

24. Learn a few magic tricks

Who doesn’t love magic? Learn some simple sleight of hand with this easy guide.

25. Play card games

Teach your kid some fun classic card games like Go Fish!, Crazy Eights, Slapjack and more!

26. Play freeze dance

Choose some of your kids’ favourite tunes and turn up the volume. Ask them to dance until the music stops. When it does, they have to freeze in whatever position they find themselves in – even if they have one leg up. To make the game more challenging, ask the kids to freeze in specific poses: animals, shapes, letters or even yoga postures. Toddlers in particular love this game.

27. Do a puzzle

Exercise those creative, cognitive and problem-solving muscles with a good puzzle. You can use a store-bought variety or have the kids make their own. Have your children draw a picture on a sturdy piece of cardboard or Bristol board. Then use a pencil to outline puzzle pieces directly on their drawing. Cut out the pieces with a good pair of scissors, mix them up and get solving. Indoor games and craft in one fun activity!

28. Improvise some paper-bag skits

This indoor game is ideal for larger families. Divide the kids (and adults) up into groups. Give each group a bag filled with props, such as a spoon, toy jewelry, a sock, ball or ribbon. Then give them 15 minutes to construct a skit around the props. This game is so much fun that it doesn’t have to be competitive. If the kids want, though, they can vote on a winning skit.

29. Make a DIY balance beam

If you have masking tape on hand, why not make your own balance beam? We all know how much kids love walking in straight lines every chance they get. Put on some music, and one at a time the kids can take their turn walking one-foot-over-the-other across the straight line of tape. Make the game more challenging by having the kids walk backwards or balance with one foot on the line.

30. Do some indoor bowling

A great way to reuse water bottles (or you can purchase an indoor bowling set). Line six-10 water bottles up at the end of your hall or living room. Place a line of duct tape at the starting line. Grab a medium-sized indoor ball and start bowling! If you want, keep score and give out trophies at the end. (Note: if you need to stabilize the water bottles or make the game more difficult, simply fill them up with some water. Don’t forget to screw the tops on tightly!) Learn how to make a classic set of pins here, or find instructions for some cute cactus-themed bowling pins here.

31. Play Hot Potato

This game will have everyone giggling. Ask the kids to sit on the floor in a circle. Turn on some tunes and have them pass the potato (a bean bag or soft ball) around the circle as fast as they can. When the music stops, the player holding the potato leaves the circle. Keep going until only one player is left and wins the game.

32. Play the listening game

This game is sure to both educate and delight little ones. Take out several miscellaneous items. Have the children look at all the items, and then take them away. Next, ask one child to hide his or her eyes and listen as you pick up an item and make sounds with it. Ask the child to guess which item made the sound. Examples of items might be a comb (run your fingers along it), a glass (gently tap it), cymbals, shakers, sandpaper, blocks rubbed together, a pot and spoon. Be creative and have fun!

33. Play Simon Says

This traditional favourite will never get old. To start, choose one player (probably a parent for the first round) to be Simon. The rest of the players will gather in a circle or line in front of Simon as he calls out actions starting with the phrase “Simon says”: “Simon says…touch your toes.” The players then have to copy Simon’s action, touching their toes. If Simon calls out an action without uttering the phrase “Simon says,” the kids must not do the action. If a child touches his toes when Simon didn’t say…, he or she is out of the game. There are lots of great ways Simon can trick players into doing actions when Simon didn’t say: Simon can perform an action without uttering a command, for example, or he can perform an action that doesn’t correspond with the command. Fun! The last player left in the game wins and becomes the next Simon.

34. Set up a game of indoor basketball

You can’t be too little for this version of basketball. All you need is a bucket and a rolled up sock (or a small, light ball). Each player takes a turn at throwing the sock-ball into the bucket. When a player scores a bucket, he or she takes a step back and throws again until missing. The player who shoots the ball in the bucket from the farthest distance wins.

35. Learn some classic hand-clapping games

These classic hand-clapping games are sure to pass the time with your little ones. Just make sure everyone washes their hands before and after!

36. Make an emoji magic 8-ball

Who knows what the future holds during this uncertain time? Your little ones will after the make this adorable craft. Get instructions here.

37.Take to the skies in cardboard planes

Fly in style with this colourful plane. Find it here.

38. Make a mini city out of toilet paper rolls

Save up your empty toilet paper rolls and once there’s enough, have your kiddies make a city out of them! Get the instructions here.

39. Make rainbow crayons

Collect all those broken crayons and melt them down into moulds to turn them into exciting multicoloured crayons in fun shapes! Get the instructions here

40. Make a pair of paper roll binoculars

These binoculars are powered solely by your kids’ imaginations. Have your kids go on an epic safari right there in your living room. No need to worry if they ever rip or get sat on, it’s super easy to whip up a new pair. Get the instructions here.

50. Make a foosball table

See that empty shoe box? With some wooden dowels, paint, and a handful of clothespins, it is now the home of your awesome DIY foosball table. Game on! Get the instructions here.

Help your kids get their desks organized with these cute desk caddies! Made from a shoebox, toilet paper rolls and newspaper, your kid can design it however they want. Get the instructions here.

52. Make a jetpack

Want to send your kids on an imaginary adventure in outer space? Have them make a jetpack out of empty pop bottles and watch them travel the galaxy. Get the instructions here.

53. Have sensory fun with this lady bug sensory box

A few basic supplies are all you need to make a cute and educational sensory box. Get the instructions here.

54. Make a holiday tree

Got some old cupcake liners lying around? Depending on their colours, this paper tree craft can be used to make decorations for different holidays throughout the year. Red and green liners? Christmas! Orange and black? Halloween! Pink and white? Valentine’s Day! What holiday will your family be celebrating next? Get the instructions here.

55. Make a basketball pennant flag

The NBA season may have been suspended but you can still celebrate your kid’s favourite sport. Get the instructions here.

56. Craft some cozy critters

Make these cozy little critters to keep your kids’ hard-boiled eggs nice and warm. When eggs aren’t on the menu, they do double as tiny puppets! Get the instructions here.

57. Make some fancy felt hairpins

Turn plain bobby pins into your child’s new favourite accessory with some felt shapes, glue and glitter. Try different shapes to match the season: snowflakes for winter, flowers for spring, a beachball for summer and leaves for fall. And stars work for every season. Get the instructions here.

58. Make some owl eye pillow masks

Get your little night owl excited to sleep with this charming eye mask. Do this craft with your kids in the morning before lunch so it’ll be ready for naptime! Get the instructions here.

59. Play pretend with these Yoda ears

These ears will instantly turn your kiddo into a wise, old jedi master. Round out the ends and use black and pink felt to make easy cow ears. White and pink felt will give you the cutest lamb ears. Now who wants to play pretend?  Get the instructions here.

60. Make pipe cleaner crowns

Speaking of dress up, what princess (or prince) would be caught without their crown? We have three adorable (and bejewelled) crowns you can make with just a few supplies. Find the instructions here.

61. Make mini hockey sticks

Who’s up for a game of mini hockey? These mini hockey sticks are quick and easy to make, just use a plastic bottle cap or small circular piece of cardboard as a puck! More instructions here.

62. Print out some fun pencil and paper games

These fun, simple pencil and paper games will keep kids occupied while parents try to get some work done. Get the printables here.

63. Whip up some edible playdough

This craft is perfect for little ones who love sticking everything in their mouths. (I’m looking at you, glue-eating Tommy.) This edible, dye-free playdough can be made with ingredients you likely have on hand. Make it before the party and then set out cookie cutters and rolling pins on a craft table. Then the kids can get their dough on! Learn how to make it here.

64. Make matching heart headbands

Some people like to wear their heart on their sleeve. But we prefer to wear our heart on our head! Make matching ones for everyone in the family and share what you love most about each other. Find out how here.

65. Create some braided accessories

These colourful braided accessories are fun to make and great for playing dress up. Kids can experiment with new patterns and colour combinations. Let the creative juices start flowing! Learn how to make them here.

66. Rock out with some disco microphones

Your little disco stars can sing their hearts out with these easy DIY microphones. Let them can choose a disco ball, glitter or sequins to decorate their very own mic for a karaoke showdown! Learn how here.

67. Marble-dye some eggs

These pretty marbled eggs don’t have to be just for Easter (although it’s coming up!). The kids can paint them to match a birthday theme, or turn them into their favourite characters (like red-and-blue for Spider Man). All you need are some eggs, food colouring and shaving cream. You might want to lay out a lot of newspaper—things might get messy! Get the instructions here.

68. Make sweet flower crown

Have a little flower-lover? Then this is the craft for your little one! She’ll be a true fairy princess this sweet flower crown. Learn how here.

69. Shake it out with these water bottle maracas

Feeling pent up? Let off some of that bottle up energy with these fun maracas. Learn how to make them here.

70. Make a kid-friendly terrarium

This easy DIY terrarium is the perfect activity for kids. We’ve got the how-to here. Got a mason jar? Make these terrariums instead!

71. Make some bath fizzies

These instructions may be for Halloween-themed bath bombs, but you can make them into any shape you’d like to add more fun to bath time.

72. Make cute plastic lapel pins

Yes, you can make trendy pins with your flair-obsessed kids at home. They look super cute on a denim jacket or backpack (for when school finally reopens) Learn how here.

73. Refresh some old sneakers with splatter paint

Create your own designer sneakers at home with this simple splatter paint craft. Get the instructions here.

74. Make an old-school whirligig fidget toy

Fidget toys are perfect for when the family is stuck inside. Try making your own version of the old-timey classic with this easy DIY whirligig. Find out how here.

75. Make an easy reversible felt playmat

This reversible playmat is such a cinch to make and will provide your little one with hours of fun. Get the how-to here.

76. Create some easy felt embroidered patches

What kid (or adult) doesn’t love a cute embroidered patch? Watch this tutorial and learn how to make one yourself with our easy-to-follow steps. See, you are crafty!

77. Dip-dye a watermelon T-shirt

This sweet t-shirt is a fun and easy project to take to the yard. If you know how to dunk, you already know how to dip dye. Find out how here.

78. Play a board game

Boards games are great for bonding time as a family (even when it gets competitive). Check out which boards games are perfect for what age group here.

79. Sound safari

Show your school-age kid how to use the digital recorder on your phone, then ask them to go around the house or yard recording 10 different sounds. Emphasize that they should take their time and try to stump you. (Variation: very close-up shots with the camera.) Then get them to return to the sound booth, aka the couch, and you try to figure out what the sounds are. Pro tip: To keep your phone out of the toilet, ban “flushing” sounds.

80. Play a game of What’s on my butt?

Get comfy on the couch, belly down. Your kids take turns finding things around the house and putting them on your behind. You ask, “What’s on my butt?” (feel free to add funny voices here) and then try to guess. Hil-ar-i-ous.

81. Watch clouds

No, there are no clouds on the living room ceiling, but this is an imagination game. Lie down with your kiddo and whisper, “Wow, look at the beautiful clouds.”  You can take turns pointing out what you “see” and pretty soon, creative kids will be spotting elephants and waterslides.

82. Stargaze indoors

Get a kitchen colander or two, a decent flashlight and some of your household’s thousands of little toys. Dinosaurs and horses are good. Lie down in a dark room and shine the flashlight through the colander onto the ceiling. Instant starry night! You can also shine the flashlight behind the toys to project shadows onto the ceiling and walls.

83. Play Don’t wake the giant

Since you’ve got those little plastic toys out…lie down and ask your kids to arrange the toys on your back or belly. Urge them to use their imaginations to set up scenes like a village, the African savannah or a parking lot. But wait—they’ve actually set up everything on a sleeping giant! Stretch, scratch, shake, or maybe even stand up.

84. Just roll around on the floor

Little-known fact: rolling around on the floor is a great way for your preschooler or kindergartener to fine-tune all kinds of developmental skills related to balance, coordination and strength. How awesome that you get to lie on the couch to get the best view of their game. Ask if they can roll straight like a pencil (little kids tend to move their top half first then their legs) or roll in both directions. Ask them to put their arms above their heads and hold on to a stuffed toy while they roll (this requires more strength and coordination). More than one kid? Get them to form a “conveyor belt” with coordinated rolling to move a toy along from one kid to another.

85. Make a race track

Lie on the floor with one knee up and maybe an arm outstretched. Get your kid to set up their train track or car track all around you. You’re the landscape!

86. Operation time

Introduce the kids to the retro game, with you as the...


Moving Checklist: Tips to Prepare You for a Successful Moving Day

The prospect of a new home is exciting. Packing up and moving your stuff – not so much.

We asked Sarah Roussos-Karakaian, whose New York company We OrgaNYze specializes in packing and unpacking for residential moves, to help us design the perfect stress-free move.

“The biggest mistake people make when they pack,’’ she says, “is not being specific enough.”

The American Moving & Storage Association recommends that you start preparing for a move eight weeks out. This will give you time to go through everything you own and determine what you’re bringing, giving away or selling. If you’re enlisting friends, give them plenty of notice so you can be sure you’ll have the help you need.

Taking time on the front end to organize will ensure a much better moving and unpacking experience. Here’s a week-by-week checklist for moving to help you manage your schedule:


  • Start a folder or binder. Keep everything related to your move in one place: packing lists, estimates, receipts, mortgage paperwork, etc.
  • Do an inventory. Go room by room estimating the cubic footage of your stuff to determine how many boxes you’ll need. Measure big furniture to figure out what goes where in the new home.
  • Purge what you can. Everything you take will cost money to move, so don’t cart the same unused stuff from attic to attic; be ruthless and get rid of it. Sell it on eBay, or donate it, and take a tax deduction.
  • Order new appliances. If your new home doesn’t come with a refrigerator or stove, or needs an upgrade, order now, so the appliances are delivered before you move in.


  • Research moving companies. Get in-person, written estimates, and check references with the Better Business Bureau. Confirm they are licensed and insured by verifying their USDOT number. Interstate movers must be registered with the U.S. Department of Transportation. Get at least three in-home estimates from moving companies and make sure there’s a binding “not-to-exceed” amount on any contract you sign. You don’t want unpleasant surprises at the end of your move.
  • Retain any specialty movers. Moving expensive or fragile items like art, antiques or a grand piano? Find movers who specialize. Pool tables, for example, typically require an expert to dismantle and reconstruct.
  • Review your mover’s insurance. Ensure that the liability insurance your prospective movers carry will cover the replacement value of anything they might damage.
  • Call utility companies. Arrange to have utilities turned off at your old home and turned on at your new place. Find out dates for garbage and recyclable pickup, as well as any restrictions about having packing debris picked up.
  • Make travel arrangements. Moving long distance or shipping a vehicle? Make travel and auto transport arrangements now. If you have children, will they need to change schools? Get the necessary paper work filled out and records transferred. Pets? Schedule kennel time or ask a friend to keep your 4-legged friends out of the moving chaos.
  • Gear up for packing. Some movers provide boxes. Stores like Home Depot, Lowe’s and Staples sell them. And some retailers or company mailrooms give them away. Get more boxes than you think you’ll need, particularly easy-to-lift small ones. Don’t forget packing tape, colored tape and markers for coding boxes, bubble wrap for mirrors and prints, and packing peanuts.


  • Start packing seldom-used items. Box out-of-season clothes and holiday ornaments before moving on to more frequently used items.
  • Track boxed items. Create a spreadsheet with color-coded rows for each room and enough columns to cover all the boxes per room. As you pack, mark and number each box (e.g., “Kitchen 12”) on its 4 vertical sides (the top is hidden when boxes are stacked) with the relevant tape color. As you seal each box, list its contents in your spreadsheet, so you AND the movers will know what’s in each and where it goes.
  • Use specialty containers. Get specialized boxes for TVs and wardrobes. Pull garbage bags over hanging clothes in clumps and tie the bags’ strings around the bunched hangers to keep contents clean and easy to handle. (Color-code these bundles, too.) Seal liquids in plastic storage tubs with lids.
  • Keep hardware together. Put screws and other hardware from anything you disassemble – sconces, TV wall mounts, shelves, etc. – in sealed plastic bags taped to the items themselves. Just be careful not to affix the bags onto a surface that could be damaged by the tape’s adhesive.
  • Update your address. Change your address with USPS to have your mail forwarded to your new address. Give your new address to family members, your banks and credit card companies, magazines and newspapers, the Department of Motor Vehicles and your employer. Be sure to update the extensive list of contacts you should inform when you move.


  • Finish packing the house. Label the boxes you pack last that contain your most-used items – laptops, phones, everyday dishes, remote controls, etc. – with three strips of colored tape. Tell movers to keep these boxes easily accessible in the new location.
  • Confirm your dates. Call utility companies to make sure your services are scheduled to be connected the correct day, and double-check the move time with the movers. If you’ve arranged to have your old home cleaned, it’s smart to double-check that task, too.
  • Defrost your fridge and drain gas-powered equipment. Unplug the refrigerator to give it time to defrost and drain. Drain gas and oil from mowers and similar equipment, and discard the fluids properly.
  • Create a “First Night Kit.” Pack a box or overnight bag for each family member with a change of clothes, toiletries and medications, plus favorite toys for kids and pets. Include cleaning supplies, toilet paper, snacks, a utility knife (for unpacking) and a first-aid kit.
  • Pack your valuables. Carry jewelry, medications, easily damaged items and other valuables with you.
  • Do last-minute errands. Get cash to tip the movers and buy pizza for the family. Take pets to a kennel or drop them off with a friend. Pick up the keys to your new home.

Moving Truck Tips

Renting a truck to haul your stuff can involve all kinds of complications — from choosing the right size of van or truck to packing it properly and making adjustments to drive it safely. Brandon Scivolette, president of Elite Moving Labor, a national moving company, shares what he knows to make your move go smoothly.

Moving right along. Truck rentals range in size from 10 to 26 feet. Clearly, you need to prepare for this new experience behind the wheel. If you have the opportunity, give the truck a trial spin in the parking lot, testing its overall visibility as well as how it handles and turns.

“You need to realize that these trucks don’t have rearview mirrors, so you have to get used to that,” Scivolette says. “Using a car carrier will change how you reverse. If you want to reverse to the left, you turn the wheel right. This can confuse people.”

Check it out. Rental trucks will have maintenance issues from time to time, especially if they have a lot of miles on them.

“The most important things to look at are the condition of the tires and the total miles,” Scivolette says. “The more miles the truck has, the more likely it will break down. So if it has a lot, ask if you can exchange it for a more recent model.”

Choose your size. The general standard says that a 14-foot truck will move one to two bedrooms. Or that a 12-foot truck will haul 450 cubic feet worth of home “stuff.” Scivolette recommends 12 feet or less for small, one-person moves; up to 17 feet for a small home or one- to two-bedroom apartment; and no less than 20 feet for single-family or town homes.

“If you’re ever unsure,” he says, “you should always defer to a larger truck size — especially if you’re relocating a long distance and multiple trips aren’t an option.”

Pack correctly. Establish a foundation with heaviest items first. Build in tiers from left to right, floor to ceiling and heaviest to lightest.

“Stacking items is fine as long as they’re of comparable size and weight,” Scivolette says. “After completing a first row from left to right, place fillers — nonbreakable items like clothes, blankets and pillows that can be shaped into a space — into the gaps. Use mattresses and box springs to wall off and secure tiers. Place mirrors and paintings between mattresses and box springs.”

Pick a good time. If you can, schedule your move to make sure you don’t run into prime season.

“The most expensive time to move is between March and October,” Scivolette says. “Throughout the year, it’s more costly in the beginning and end of every month, especially on weekends. Also, Memorial Day weekend and the last weekend in July are the two busiest ones of the year.”

Moving Day

  • Arrive ahead of the moving truck. Give yourself plenty of time to figure out furniture arrangement and where things go.
  • Direct the operation. Explain your system to the moving firm’s foreman, and give him a copy of the spreadsheet before his team begins working. Lay cardboard or a plastic sheet on the floor of the moving truck.
  • Take care of your movers. Moving is tough work, so plan to provide water and lunch for the movers. As for tipping: For a half-day job, $10 per mover is the rule of thumb; for a full-day, $20 each.
  • Give your old home a clean sweep. If you’re a homeowner, you’ll probably have to do this before the closing. If you rent and have a security deposit, take photos after you’re done — in case of disputes. Consider hiring a professional cleaning service to save you time and effort.
  • Unpacking in your new home. When you arrive at your new place, unpack the necessities first, like your bed, basic kitchen supplies and comfortable clothing to wear as you unpack the rest. Arrange the furniture first to make sure there’s a clear path to the bed. Make the beds now, so at the end of the day, everyone can just tumble in — exhausted.

First Week After the Move

  • Pick up the pets. Make sure you have their food, water and litter boxes.
  • Change all exterior locks. Get a new set of keys to the house and make copies for all family members and a few extras.
  • Unpack the kitchen. Find those final-items “three stripes” boxes and unpack.
  • Congratulate yourselves. Sure, there’s still plenty to do and you probably won’t get as far as you’d like in the first week. Says Roussos-Karakaian: “If you’re hanging art in the first seven days, you’re a rock star.”

Keep your valuables safe before, during and after your move with homeowners insurance. Learn more about homeowners insurance and renters insurance that Nationwide offers

Source: Nation Wide


Basement Storage Tips

When properly utilized, a basement can add much-needed storage space for your home, instead of being that black hole where things are tossed and disappear.

"People are really looking to maximize every space they have now and basements allow them to do that," says Oak Park, Illinois interior designer Amanda Miller. "The more organized you are, the more you can achieve in the space."

Consider the space itself. While some basements are a finished lower level of the home, others can be damp and dark with a high humidity level. These conditions can lead to mildew and mold growth, musty odors and damage to items like upholstered furniture. Address any moisture-related problems before you move items downstairs.

Tip One: Determine what you need to store in your basement

Removing everything from a basement to sort items can be overwhelming for most people, says Omaha, Nebraska-based Certified Professional Organizer, Amy Tokos, CPO. Instead, Tokos suggests sorting items into bins using five or six general categories (like "toys" or "household cleaning supplies") to establish what to keep, toss or donate to a local charity. Group like items together, and set up zones for storage of designated items.

Miller takes a different approach with her clients: she first focuses on how her clients use the space and the style they want, then builds a vision for the basement before they sort and purge items.

"I ask them questions like what are your actual media needs? Are those toys no longer used? Their answers help us establish the storage solutions for the space," explains Miller.


Tip Two: Utilize key tools for different storage needs

How often you need to access items and the size of the items helps you decide the best storage solutions for your basement.

"Shelves are really important for storing items in basements because they get everything off the floor and they help you use vertical storage space," says Tokos.

Miller likes clear labeled bins for households with children, so they can easily see what's inside and resist the urge to dump everything on the floor. Avoid using cardboard boxes in damp basements, because they can become mold-y and attract rodents.

If you have the budget, built-in cabinetry gives you the luxury of creating storage where you need it. Free-standing storage units available at many retailers are a good alternative. Wall systems with labeled baskets that slide in and out are great for a finished basement that doubles as a media or play room.

Tip Three: Use special solutions for hard-to-store items

Keepsakes require special attention. When storing fine linens, use an acid-free box and separate the linens with acid-free tissue paper. Felt rounds used between stacked plates sorted by color helps preserve heirloom dishes.

Color-coded, tight-lidded plastic bins (red for Christmas, orange for Halloween) help keep holiday decorations easy-to-find and organized. When storing out-of-season clothes, a hanging rack with dust cover is better than boxes that take up space. If you want to store heavy sweaters, use covered bins with cedar balls added for freshness.

For wedding gowns, many dry cleaners offer "heirloom packaging" that protect the garment from the elements--but store the dress on a top shelf or in another spot in the house if your basement isn't dry or temperature-controlled.

Keep toys easily accessible but organized. A labeled bin, drawer or basket all work, but for little kids consider adding a picture along with words to your label. Avoid a big, deep general bin that can create a large mess, warns Miller.

Pieces of sports equipment can be hung on the wall, freeing up floor space and helping you avoid a safety or tripping hazard. And for family photo albums, Tokos suggests having them digitally converted for easier and safer storage of your most prized images.

Tip Four: Make your system user-friendly

No matter your storage system, the time and effort required to set it up will feel wasted if you go back to bad habits. Keep your storage solutions as simple and basic as possible, so everyone is encouraged to place items where they belong.

Source: HGTV


6 Ways to Help Your Child Cope With Moving to a New Place

It is the premise to every other young adult novel or movie: the new kid struggling to make his way in a new town without their old friends or familiar comforts.

Such a scenario is endlessly relatable, because it so darn accurate. It’s difficult for kids to move to a new home, adjust to a new school, and make new friends, but there are things parents can to do make them feel less overwhelmed.

“Parents can talk with their children about how things will change when they move to a new home,” said Maria Sanders, a social worker and parent coach.

She suggests asking children if they have any questions about the move and what their new home will be like.

Ali Wenzke, founder of The Art of Happy Moving blog, says the more parents involve children in the planning of a move, the better they’ll feel about it.

“Moving, even if it’s just down the street, can be a big adjustment for your child,” Wenzke said. “It feels like their world is being turned upside down.”

Here are six tips for helping kids adjust when they relocate to a new home:

1. Prepare Your Children in Advance.

Being prepared means saying goodbye to people and places before the move takes place, said Julia Simens, author of Emotional Resilience and the Expat Child”.

Well before your scheduled move, talk to your children about your plans to relocate. They’ll be more willing to part with old friends and familiar surroundings if they know something about the home they’re moving to and the reasons behind the move.

2. Make Sure They Know About Big Changes They’ll Face.

Children often fear the unknown. When they don’t know anything about how their lives may change, their imaginations fill in the blanks. The more they understand about what their new home will be like, the less threatened they’ll feel.

For example, if they must give up household pets or if extended family members who’ve been a part of their lives no longer will live nearby, they need to have an explanation, said Simens.

3. Let Them Participate in the Move.

Simens recommends that you start planning your move as early as possible to reduce stress.

In order to make your children feel a part of what’s going on, give them chores to do to get ready for the move. If they’re allowed to pack their own things, they’ll understand that their possessions will be waiting for them when they arrive at their new home.

4. Plan Activities For Your Road Trip.

If you’re driving a great distance to your new home, the trip will go more smoothly if you plan activities for your kids. Ask them what toys, games, and movies they would like to have with them.

“Consider splurging on new books or a new movie that your kids can use in the car,” said Wenzke.

Simens recommends packing your children’s favorite treats and taking plenty of rest breaks along the way.

5. Make Their New Room Seem Familiar.

Your children will feel more comfortable in their new home if you allow them surround themselves with familiar things, especially in the months immediately following the move.

“The rug they always stand on when they get up, their nightlight, the soft pillow they love would all be wonderful in a new environment,” said Simens. 

6. Take Your Kids on a Tour of the New Neighborhood.

To make your move a family adventure, take your children on a tour of the new neighborhood. Help them find the best routes to their school and other places they’ll want to visit, such as parks, the local library, and playgrounds.   

“When you move somewhere new, forget about getting every last box unpacked right away,” said Wenzke. “Instead, spend that time focusing on your neighborhood and your new city.”

Source: Spare Foot Blog


Selling Your Home: The 11 Most Important Spots to Declutter Before the Open House

Make no mistake about it: when you’re selling your house, potential buyers want to see everything. That means no area of your home (not even your utility closet) is safe from the gaze of a serious house hunter. That’s why it’s crucial to maximize every square inch of your place—backyard shed included—by minimizing your overall clutter.

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Before you can successfully show off your house to anyone (or even take listing photos) you need to ensure you have a home that people will want to live in: one that’s well organized and filled with ample storage space. To help, we’ve put together a list the most important places to de-clutter as you prepare to sell your home. And though we can’t promise it’ll shorten the length of time your home spends on the market, we can assure you it’ll make the staging process go a whole lot smoother.

1. Primp the Front Yard for Curb Appeal

House hunters love to drive by listings and check out neighborhoods before attending open houses. For that reason, it’s important to keep your front lawn trim and tidy—porch included—and make a positive first impression.

2. Tidy Hidden Storage Rooms So They Look Bigger

Believe it or not, people are going to want to see inside your garage, utility closets, and backyard sheds. Now’s the time to clean up (and perhaps invest in some industrial shelving) to make sure your storage rooms look spacious and organized.

3. Make the Entryway More Welcoming

Much like the front yard, an entryway sets the first impression of your place. Set up a sleek coat rack or accent table to keep yours organized—and offer a place for visitors to hang up their jackets during open house—and create an entrance that draws potential buyers in.

4. Clear the Way in the Hallways

A narrow hallway can make even the loftiest of homes feel cramped. So make sure and remove as much visual clutter in yours as possible—i.e. hanging hooks, photographs, and other artwork—especially the hall is super slender.

5. Showcase the Living Room

Living rooms should always be orderly and free of eyesores during open house showings. This calls for clearing out stacks of magazines, editing your bookshelves, and even paring down throw pillows and table accessories that can make the room feel heavy and smaller than it actually is.

6. Curate What’s in the Kitchen

Your kitchen is prime with places for potential buyers to scrutinize. This means your countertops stay clean and clear—a good rule of thumb is to have no more appliances showing— and your pantry and cupboards curated. Also, don’t forget to clean out your refrigerator, freezer, and under sink area, too, as they offer more sought-after storage space.

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7. Keep Closets Streamlined

Whether it’s a hallway coat closet or a master suite walk-in, your home’s closets will have a major big impact on prospective buyers. Box up off-season apparel—or better yet, donate it—and remove extra hangers so yours looks spacious and streamlined.

8. Beautify the Bathroom

Everyone knows the difference a bathroom can make for a house hunter, so keeping yours orderly is imperative. Organize everything from your countertops (no one wants to see your makeup and toothbrushes!) to your linen closet and medicine cabinets, so people can visualize what they’ll do with the space.

9. Put in Some Work in the Office

If you’re lucky enough to have a proper office in your home, rest assured your potential buyers will want to see it. File away or shred old papers, clear off your desk, and cover up unsightly computer cords to create a study area that people will actually want to work in.

10. Touch and Tidy Up Play Areas

Kid’s playrooms should be every as tidy as any other bedroom in your place, and the same goes your pet’s play areas, too. Limit the number of toys you keep out and make sure to have a nice storage bin to stash them all when they’re not being used.

11. Create a Covetable Laundry Room

While it might seem unnecessary, your laundry room also needs to make a good impression. Make sure all of your cleaning products are put away nicely and floors and appliances are kept spotless to create the kind of laundry space prospective buyers will covet.

Source: Apartment Therapy 


16 Easy Ways to Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal

Could your home use a bit of extra curb appeal? Your home’s exterior is like the cover of a book, setting the stage for what’s inside. And whether you’re interested in selling or just want to make some improvements for your own enjoyment, adding curb appeal is often an easy and inexpensive way to make your house look nicer and boost its value. Here are 16 projects that will help your home make a better first impression.

  1. Go green

    One of the most obvious (and most impactful) ways to boost curb appeal is to add some fresh greenery and flowers. Don’t worry if you don’t have the time or money to spend on putting in a garden—you can get the same effect by adding some planters and window boxes. Use plants to accentuate and frame key visual points, like windows and entryways, and if you don’t have room for a standing planter, hook up a hanging one. Even just one pretty plant arrangement can significantly add to your home’s exterior appearance.

  2. Take care of your lawn

    While we’re talking green thumbs, it’s important to note that lawn care is a big part of maintaining curb appeal. Regularly care for your lawn by mowing the grass, raking off leaves, and pulling weeds. Keep it well watered to prevent brown spots. As long as you keep up with it, lawn care won’t become a huge project. Live somewhere dry where grass has a tough time taking hold? Consider lawn alternatives like shrub beds or artificial turf.

  3. Make your door pop

    Boost curb appeal by having your front door stand out instead of blend in. Painting a front door only costs about $75, and is a pretty easy DIY job, even for beginners. Opt for a bold color that accentuates and enhances (rather than clashes with) the other colors of your home’s exterior. Don’t be afraid to go bright, but do hold up a swatch before painting to ensure the final product will be what you’re looking for. You can also use the Front Door Paint app, which lets you virtually test out different colors.

  4. Let there be light

    There’s nothing welcoming about a dark entryway. If you already have a sconce or hanging pendant by your front door, replace it with something a bit more fun and fresh. Clean off all cobwebs and debris around outdoor light fixtures, which will instantly make the space appear more bright and clean. If you need some additional light sources, hang some porch string lights or use solar powered lanterns to light up a walkway.

  5. Embrace symmetry

    Symmetrical patterns create focal points that are pleasing to look at and instantly make your home look more put together. Achieve the look by putting matching wall lanterns or plants on either side of your front door. If you don’t have room at your entryway, you can do the same thing around your garage door.

  6. Makeover your mailbox

    Swap out a dated mailbox with something more stylish. It’s a super easy project to take on, and can make an understated but noticeable difference in your home’s curb appeal. Depending on the type of mailbox that you need (i.e. a standing mailbox or one that’s attached to the wall), plan on spending about $50-$200 to replace it.

  7. Clean your gutters

    Clean gutters both inside and out, clearing out any debris and really scrubbing the outsides until they look good as new (or as close to new as you can get them looking). You’ll be in awe at what a little elbow grease can do.

  8. Add some front door décor

    Wreaths aren’t only for Christmas. You can find wreaths year-round that add an exceptional dose of added beauty to your front door. Look for wreaths made from dried or preserved greens and florals, or make your life even easier by purchasing one made from faux plants. Avoid seasonal elements that can date a wreath and make it appear out of place. Instead, go with something simple that can add elegance throughout an entire season.

  9. Upgrade your house numbers

    Quickly modernize the look of your home by removing your old house numbers and replacing them with something that has a bit more oomph. Choose a font that aligns with the architecture of your home but that is also distinctive enough to really grab the eye. Even if you’re not super handy, replacing the numbers is an easy job that can be done in about half an hour or less.

  10. Hide electrical fixtures

    An electrical box on the front of your house can really stand out, and not in a good way. Fortunately, a quick paint job can camouflage the fixture so it blends in instead of being an eyesore. Go with a color that’s the same as your home’s siding, and follow these tips for painting it correctly.

  11. Power wash it off

    There are few things more satisfying than power washing years of dirt and grime off your siding, porch, walkway, and driveway. If you don’t own a power washer, you can rent one from a big box hardware store like Home Depot or Lowe’s.

  12. Stain your garage door

    A new garage door is expensive, but you can get the look of a new door for a lot less money simply by staining it a new color. Start by power washing the door to get the surface completely clean, then paint your stain on. Here’s an easy guide for how to do it right.

  13. Fix it up

    Take care of any small repairs, like ripped screens, burned out bulbs, or chipped paint. Even tiny flaws can stand out against an otherwise picturesque exterior, so it’s worth taking a day to fix them. Walk around the outside of your house noting anything that requires a quick fix, and then get the tools you need and get to work.

  14. Design a clear path

    A well-defined path makes your home look more inviting and put together. You can go big and build one out of stone or brick, or you can just use visual cues like lighting and plants to line a clear path to your front door through the grass or around an existing concrete walkway.

  15. Utilize outdoor furniture smartly

    Too much outdoor furniture can clutter your home’s appearance, while too little can make it look scarce or neglected. Try to find a good balance somewhere in the middle, and be sure that all outdoor furniture you have is clean and in good condition. For small yards, think about putting in simple ceramic stools for seating and add some extra charm by setting up a small table with a pretty planter on the top.

  16. Add new door hardware

    Replace your front door’s existing hardware with something new for a quick and noticeable upgrade. Choose a color that contrasts with your door’s paint color, such as black hardware on a white door or brass hardware on a black door. Take it a step further by adding a fun door knocker for guests to use when they come by.

Giving your home a curb appeal boost can be done in just a day or weekend if you plan ahead and prioritize the projects that will really make a difference. Chances are, your home already has plenty of beautiful elements and it just needs some finishing touches to really look its best. Put some time and effort into it and you’ll be amazed by the results.


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