UnknownMoving into a new home is an exciting experience! Especially if it’s a space that’s been remodeled or designed just for you. But for too many people, moves are a stressful time, from packing to coordinating the logistics of the actual move to finally unpacking and settling into their new space. But it doesn’t have to be that way!

Today we’ll look at how you can skip the chaos and stay organized after a move. We’ll break it down into three phases: preparing, unpacking, and living in your new space. Keep reading to learn more.


An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It’s a cliche for a reason: it’s true! And it’s especially true when it comes to moving into a new home and staying organized and sane. For every extra hour you invest in preparing for your move, you’ll save at least two hours of frustration when it comes to unpacking and moving into your new home.

Leave it to the Pros

When you look at the bottom line cost, hiring a moving company can seem expensive. But if you value your sanity and peace of mind, it can be a investment that more than pays for itself.

Professional moving companies move houses everyday, whereas you’ll probably only do it a handful of times throughout your life. Their experience is incredibly valuable. They can provide the tools, equipment, trucks, and manpower needed to move the the heaviest, most unwieldy items in your home. And they know how to pack your valuables so they stay safe throughout the move!

Most moving companies offer customized moving packages that will allow you to do as much or as little as you like. If you’d prefer to handle packing or unpacking of your belongings (perhaps as a family bonding experience), a moving company can just handle the moving. This can save a bit of money, too. Or you can have a moving company do it all, which really cuts down on the stress and the chaos.

Donate & Discard

After the move, there’s nothing more demoralizing than unpacking boxes and saying, “I don’t even know what this is,” or “Does anyone remember why we own this?” And then imagine finding a place in your new home for possessions you don’t need or even like.

Whether you’re moving yourself or hiring movers, the first thing you should do is ruthlessly discard and donate. If you can’t remember the last time you used a kitchen tool, wore a piece of clothing, or why you bought a gadget the first place, you probably won’t need it in your new home.

Make it a fun game with your family. Go room by room and make piles for donations and discards. Encourage your kids to donate unused toys and help them find an organization that needs them! They’ll learn a lot and you’ll have less to deal with when you’re unpacking.

Develop a System

If you’re packing your own belongings, create a system that’ll make unpacking them easy. A common strategy is to label each box with its contents. I suggest taking this a step further and making sure the room in your new home that the box belongs in is also clearly labeled. That way you or your movers won’t be stuck carrying a heavy box not knowing where to put it.

A great trick if you’re really looking to take your preparation to the next level is to assign one of your family members to write or type up notes as you pack. Consider including information like:

  • A unique number for each box
  • The box’s contents
  • The room that box belongs in
  • A ranking (high/medium/low) for the priority of unpacking the box

 By determining priority for unpacking each box, you won’t waste time on your first night in your new home sleeping without blankets or waking up the next morning having to hunt around for your coffeemaker.


Odds are, your new home will be quite different from your old space. Maybe you’re upgrading from a small apartment to a starter home or to a larger house to accommodate your growing family. Or maybe you’re downsizing to a condo or smaller home to enjoy retirement.

That’s why, no matter where you’re moving, a smart unpacking strategy is key to avoiding post-move chaos.

Start with a Plan

Luckily, you followed my advice for preparing for your move, so you know where everything is and where it should go, right? If so, you’re ahead of the game and will find unpacking to be a fun, low-stress activity.

If not, you’ll need to settle down and make a plan. Start unpacking in your largest room and organize your possessions. Don’t just run around putting things away as fast as you can. Unpack as much as possible and develop a plan to keep from just stuffing your possessions into whatever space is available.

Make the Best Use of Your New Space

Consider the available storage in your new space and make the best of it. Don’t just put everything back the same way it was in your old home. Now’s your chance to use the features of your new home that made it so attractive in the first place.

Do you have more closet space? Consider organizing clothes by season, or create a place for supplies for guests (linens, toiletries, etc.). Is your kitchen bigger? Think about hanging your beautiful copper pots and pans instead of hiding them under the stove.

Be Systematic & Relaxed

Depending on the size of your new home, getting settled in and relaxed probably won’t be a morning project. Start by unpacking the essentials so you can live your life. Then chip away at the rest. Make a schedule and stick to it. Don’t get overwhelmed and don’t rush. Take your time, think through your options and make smart choices. The more relaxed you stay throughout the process, the easier it will be. And if you stick to your schedule, the end of the move will be in sight and you’ll be able to anticipate and look forward to enjoying life in your new home.

Enjoy Life in Your New Space 

Once you’ve moved in and finished unpacking, there’s one key to enjoying your new home.

Don’t fall back into old bad habits. A new home is a new beginning and it’s your chance to get and stay organized and avoid inviting chaos into your life. Just because the move is over, don’t stop planning, organizing, and keeping everything running smoothly.


Moves are stressful, but they don’t have to be– and they shouldn’t be! They should be a time to celebrate an exciting time in your life!

So prepare for your move, don’t move anything you don’t need, have a unpacking plan in mind, get the essentials put away first, take advantage of your new space, and then slowly but steadily get everything else put in its place. And those are my keys to skipping the chaos and staying organized after a move. Are there any other tips that helped with your last move? I’d love to hear about them.

Erin Davis is owner of Mosaik Design & Remodeling in Portland Oregon. For more information and tips visit http://mosaikdesign.com/ or contact her at erin@mosaikdesign.com

If you’ve got your house ready to show but you’re still living in it, things will invariably end up out of place. Take 15-20 minutes and follow the checklist below to make sure everything’s in shape before you leave your house for a showing.



  • Keep all keys, mail, and documents with personal information out of sight.
  • Store alcohol and prescription drugs out of view, preferably in a locking cabinet.
  • Password protect desktop computers, lock up laptops or take with you.
  • Lock up small valuables like jewelry, watches, mp3 players, tablets, etc.


  • Remove dishes from the sink.
  • Clear counters and tables, store small kitchen appliances out of sight
  • Rinse sinks, tubs, showers, and toilets clean.
  • Store toiletries in cabinets or drawers, straighten hanging towels.
  • Place laundry in covered hampers or otherwise out of view.


  • Put toys away – have a bin at the ready for quick pick-ups.
  • Secure pets in kennels or preferably out of the house.

Tip – get into the habit of running through this list before you leave the house every morning so you won’t need to worry if someone wants schedule a tour while you’re at work.


The Sellwood neighborhood is located on the southeast side of Portland and is settled on a bluff that looks straight out to the Willamette River. Part of Sellwood was originally nicknamed Antique Row, due to the number of antique shops speckled along SE 13th. The antique shops are still there, but the neighborhood has filled in with every type of business a community like this would want. Walking through Sellwood reminds me of strolling through a European Village.


Due to the strong real estate market, walkability and charm, Sellwood is now filled with cafes, restaurants, and all sorts of businesses. A favorite restaurant of mine is Portofino on SE 13th; Italian cuisine that also has a fantastic weekend brunch. One common thread throughout many of these bustling neighborhood communities is our locally owned New Seasons Grocery Store. The store has placed themselves in urban neighborhoods that have great livability! The new Orange Line of the light rail as well as the new Tilikum Bridge will now tie this neighborhood to the rest of the city.


Sellwood is filled with parks, they  include the Riverfront Park right on the Willamette river, Sellwood Park which is my favorite spot to play  tennis in the city. (You can be hitting balls and watching the boats on the river at the same time) and Oaks Park which many people forget is right in Sellwood. Oaks Park has been around for so long most people don’t even think about it. It was established in 1905, and was known as the Coney Island of the NW back then. Fun fact it is 1 of the 10 oldest amusement parks in the country! Even though it is so old it is still actually a great little amusement park for the family on those days you are trying to find something to do.


The real estate market has gone gang Busters in Sellwood. This area of town has been known for its Victorian and Craftsman homes, you will not find many English styles in Sellwood.  When walking down the streets you can tell that there is a lot of pride in home ownership. Friendly people throughout. It’s a part of town many want to live in and gravitate towards because of that happy welcoming feel.  Who doesn’t enjoy being waved to and smiled at every block?



Susie and Duffy the Real Estate Dog

Susie Hunt Moran is a Real Estate Broker with Windermere Stellar and has called PDX home for over 35 years. She is a Portland home expert and can be found working all over town with her Westie, Duffy the Real Estate Dog, always loyal by her side.

Now is a great time to start getting your home ready to handle the colder temps and rougher weather months ahead. Below we’ve provided a list to make sure you are prepared.



  • Replace batteries in smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors (use the equinox or “fall back” time change date as your annual reminder)
  • Ensure all heating vents are unobstructed.
  • Have furnace or heat pump serviced to ensure it’s working efficiently before the temperatures get too low.
  • Replace (or remove and clean) furnace air filter on the following schedule:
    • High-efficiency and electrostatic filters need to be replaced once per quarter.
    • Simple fiberglass or paper filters should be replaced monthly.
    • Reusable mesh filters should be cleaned monthly (do not reuse filters unless they are specifically intended for it).


  • Check foundation for cracks. If found, document with photos for future comparison – if cracks are over 3/16” wide or have increased in size since your last inspection, consult a professional.
  • Examine areas where different materials meet and where pipes or wires enter the house for any gaps. Seal with caulking.
  • Visually inspect roof for leaks, missing or damaged shingles, or rusting flashing and schedule repairs if you find any damage.
  • Make sure the seal between garage door and the ground is tight to prevent drafts and keep out small animals. Replace weather-stripping if necessary.
  • Inspect driveway for cracks. Clean out and repair any damage with driveway filler, then coat with a commercial sealer.
  • After leaves have fallen, clean out the gutters and downspouts, flush them with water, inspect joints, and tighten brackets if necessary.
  • If you remove your window screens, clean and repair them before putting them away for the winter.
  • Clean windows and reinstall storm windows and doors if stored in the spring.

Cracked Foundation

  • Have chimney cleaned; make sure flue damper closes securely.
  • Remove window air-conditioner units and store in a dry location. Protect permanently placed units by wrapping in a tarp or weatherproof cover.
  • Winterize outdoor faucets: Detach and drain all hoses. Shut off outdoor water supply valve, and then open all outdoor faucets to drain water remaining in the pipes. Cover faucets and exposed piping with insulating foam covers to keep pipes from freezing.
  • Drain and winterize in-ground sprinkler system.
  • Trim all trees and bushes back to a minimum distance of 3”-6” from your house.
  • Drain fuel from mowers and other gas-powered lawn equipment before storing for the winter.
  • Cover and store outdoor furniture and barbecues in a protected area.

Patio Furn

Child proofing should be at the top of your list when you have little ones at home. “Unintentional injury” is the leading cause of death among 0 to 17-year-olds and nearly “9 million children are treated for their injuries in hospital emergency departments each year” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


To get you started, here is a room-by-room checklist for making sure your new home is safe for the entire family.


  • Store soaps and cleaning products up high.
  • Lock cupboards and drawers that contain anything you don’t want your little one getting his or her hands on, like if the garbage is in a cupboard under the sink or knives are stowed in a drawer.
  • Tuck away appliance chords to prevent a reaching two-year-old from pulling the toaster down on his head.
  • Keep the knife block as far back on the countertop as possible.
  • Cover exposed outlets. Even if they aren’t reachable from the floor, they could become easily accessible when you have a mini sous chef helping to prepare dinner.
  • Install an oven lock.
  • Be vigilant when using the oven, stove, blender or garbage disposal.
  • Cover burners and knobs on the stove.

Living Room:

  • Cover exposed outlets and don’t forget to encase surge protectors.
  • Mount bookshelves to the wall. You might hesitate to do this until you’ve finalized the room’s layout, but that could be dangerous if your child is a climber.
  • Tack or tape lamp chords against end tables and walls.
  • Check for any wobbly furniture, like plant stands or entry tables, and keep them in storage until your child is older. Same goes with floor lamps.
  • Anchor the television to the entertainment center or wall.
  • Cut or tie window-blind chords so they are out of reach.
  • Install window locks.
  • Purchase a fireplace cover.
  • Add corner guards to furniture with sharp edges.


  • Keep cleansers, medications and anything with a chord, like a curling iron or power razor, out of reach or in a locked cupboard.
  • If the garbage is not locked in a cupboard, be aware of what you discard. That razor blade that wasn’t accessible from a shelf in the shower could easily be plucked from the trash.
  • Install a toilet seat lid lock.
  • Develop the habit of keeping the bathroom door closed.


  • Set the water temperature no higher than 120 F.
  • Designate a place for guests to hang their coats and purses. Pocket knives, medication, change and other small items are kept in handbags and pockets, so keep them out of reach.
  • Install locks on doors that lead out of your hom
  • Add doorstops to keep fingers from getting pinched.
  • Make safety gates your new best friend, especially near stairs.
  • Block any openings that are wider than four inches with plastic shields.
  • Put new batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.

The Portland Hollywood District is no “Hollywood” but it is glamorous in its own way. The only real connection to anything Hollywood in the district is the historic theater, ran by a non-profit and popular for showing art house films. The heart of the district is Sandy Blvd. This street has changed and grown a lot over the years, improving in all sorts of ways. Historically it hasn’t had a lot of charm, but in recent years there are tons of new shops and restaurants that pull all different types of crowds in. The Max line helps bring a variety of people through the neighborhood as well.


The weekly Farmers Market has been a favorite to many for a few years now. Located in the parking lot of Grocery Outlet as well as the surrounding streets, it is a vibrant market for the community! A brand new, New Seasons grocery store has opened  in the neighborhood along with Whole Foods. The large 24 hour Fitness is also located right in the heart of this district across from the Trader Joes, a building you can’t miss.


Real Estate is strong in this neighborhood due to its accessibility to public transportation (max line has a stop) the airport, and freeways heading all directions. Schools are strong and walkability to the library, grocery stores and good restaurants is very convenient. Hollywood /Grant Park has a variety of architecture in well-established single family homes. Prices range from 400,000 up to as high as 900,000 for the fully restored Craftsman the neighborhood is known for. Recently more apartment and condo style living have been built. Hollywood District is not a neighborhood to leave off  your list if you want great access to downtown, the airport, and a walkable path to your everyday needs as well as strong public schools!!


Susie and Duffy the Real Estate Dog

Susie and Duffy the Real Estate Dog

Susie Hunt Moran is a Real Estate Broker with Windermere Stellar and has called PDX home for over 35 years. She is a Portland home expert and can be found working all over town with her Westie, Duffy the Real Estate Dog, always loyal by her side.

  1. Ask your friends and family

Get referrals, but take them with a grain of salt. Do your due diligence researching potential agents, no matter who recommends them. The right agent for one person might not be a good fit for you.

  1. Check out our Househappy Trusted Agents

We’ve done all the legwork and have a curated selection of local experts interested in earning your business and helping you find a home you love.


  1. Attend Open Houses

Realtors are always in attendance here, so this can be a great opportunity to meet them face-to-face. Many real estate agents who work open houses are not the listing agent, they are most likely holding the open house to meet buyers like you. However, in many states one agent may work with both buyers and sellers in a transaction, but they’re under contract to watch out for the seller’s best interest. You want an agent who can take your side fully in any negotiations. If you want to work with the agent holding the open, be sure to ask who they represent.

  1. Look for ads

Successful Real Estate Agents will often put ads out in local publications. These ads can tell you a lot about who their team is and what their marketing materials may look like.

  1. Google them

Take a look at their website, check-out their LinkedIn and their Facebook. You are interviewing them to handle one of the most important transactions in your life, be picky.

  1. Interview a few potential candidates

Do they seem like someone you’d get along with? Are they open and honest? Is their personality and energy level compatible with yours? Are they focused on your needs?

Go with your gut here. They should make you feel at ease and you should feel comfortable disclosing personal details, if the need arises. If you don’t like the person or don’t trust them, their many acronyms on their business card won’t make the experience any better. Go with someone you actually like!

  1. Ask Some Key Questions: 
  • Do you have an active real estate license?
  • Is real estate your full-time career?
  • How much of your business comes from referrals?
  • How long have you been working in the area?
  • What neighborhoods do you specialize in?
  • What type of network do you have to help find the right house for us outside of an online search we can do ourselves?
  • How are you going to help us win a listing?

Having the right real estate agent has a huge impact on your home purchase. You need to feel confident in your decision when the time comes for any kind of negotiations. Someone who doesn’t really know what they’re doing can end up costing you – keep in mind they are paid a commission when you buy a house whether or not you are satisfied with their service (or your experience). Take the time and effort to find someone whose personality, experience, dedication and skill level fit your needs.