Another year gone.

I really don’t know what to say about this year. It’s been a year. It’s almost over.

This year, my daughter discovered KPop. And then turned me into a fan. #BTSArmy

This year, my youngest son found Fortnite, expanded his list of YouTubers that he’s been in streams with, and found new ways to cope with his anxiety and depression.

This year, my oldest son started college. I’m still kinda shocked that I have a kid old enough to be in college.

This year, the husband and I got both upstairs bathrooms renovated. I forgot to post that because I really didn’t take many photos. I should dig out those photos and post them, huh?

I’m doing a bit better now that Christmas is over. Two weeks on a double dose, and I’m back to a normal dose. I’m not 100% yet, but I’m also not completely numb anymore either. It’s like seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I know I’m coming out of this latest battle with the Depression monster in my head, and I can see the end, but I’m not there yet.

I started a Photoblog. Really, I just moved all my flickr content to my personal website because of flickr’s latest changes to their TOS. Flickr got bought by SmugMug, and the new owners decided to limit all free accounts to 1,000 photos and charge an arm and a leg for access if you had more than that in your account.  I did.  I did take the opportunity to purge some photos, but most are now available at Photographic Overload.

Anyway. I really don’t know how to end this. So here’s a photo of my Christmas tree.


Welp. It’s been a while. But since I’ve always said that blogging is cheaper than therapy, here I am. Back again.

I can feel the downward spiral stating. Starting. Who am I kidding? I’m a good way down that spiral already. Only thing keeping me from hitting rock bottom again is the meds. The last few weeks have been just a blur of . . . I don’t even know, just blah & empty emotionless zombie-mode. Hubby tried telling me for weeks that Thanksgiving was almost here & I needed to plan. I just kept thinking, I got time. Then suddenly I no longer had time. I should have felt pressured & stressed, but honestly. I just didn’t give a damn

I forgot to do so much that I normally do for Thanksgiving. But oh well. Then the next day, while most people in this country are out shopping trying to bag a great deal, my family has the annual Tree Day tradition. We drag out all the Christmas stuff & decorate the house. This year, while setting up the tree, I finally feIt something, for the first time in weeks. One of the songs in the Muppet Family Christmas triggered all the feels all at once. There was sadness because I miss my Dad & this was his favorite time of year. Then the realization that this year is the 20th anniversary of the loss of my first baby. All of that was quickly followed by an over whelming sense of guilt. Guilt because I hadn’t realized that sooner. Guilt over all the traditional things I’d forgotten to do for my family this year. Then it was like my brain decided, “Oh, you like emotion? Have some more, in fact, have all of the sadness & guilt you can handle.”

Then, as quickly as it came on, it all went away. I was left with a feeling of depression. This morning, I could feel myself spiraling downward. I’m allowed to double-up on my meds when I feel like this, so that’s what I’ve done. I’ve also talked things out withe my husband. He’s amazing.

Anyway I know this is a bad time of year for me. All the angel days combined with the holidays has always been a trigger. Throw in the gloomy weather activating my arthritis & SAD (seasonal affective disorder), & I’m just a hot mess of depression & numbness. But you know what they say, knowing is half the battle. Hopefully, with a lot of prayer, medications, & support from my family & friends, I’ll get through this sooner rather than later.

Because this is a home improvements blog now….

So, after we mostly-finished the huge project that was the living room and bedroom in the basement we took a break. A several months long break. Sickness and life meant that it took us a while to get around to the bathroom downstairs. But once we decided to start, the project was done relatively quickly. It helped that hubby took a week of vacation to work on this.

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Where to start? Well, we essentially gutted the room, with the exception of the Bathfitter tub Mom had put in some years back. The cabinet was barely attached to the wall – I’m actually amazed it hadn’t fallen down. Over the course of a couple of weeks, we, and by we I mean hubby because I was really sick for a while there, pulled the toilet, got rid of the vanity & sink, ripped up the old flooring, took down the old, flat mirror, the towel bars and stuff, bleached the room, and painted the ceiling. We had Bathfitters come in and take down the trim around the tub so we could paint the wall (their caulking was not paintable, so it had to come down.) Then I painted the room. Hubby took his vacation time to lay the new vinyl flooring, his first time doing flooring like this. We replaced the ginormous flat mirror with a large mirrored medicine cabinet, which meant that wall cabinet was no longer needed. Then Hubby installed the new sink, new fixtures, and reinstalled the toilet. We ran into a hiccup when he found a leak in the pipes under the sink. So the plumber had to come out and fix that. After that, I caulked everything down. Then we had Bathfitters back out to replace the trim on the tub. The technician went ahead and redid the caulking around the whole tub, even though we had just had that done last year. He was impressed with the job we’d done, and wanted to help us make the whole thing look completely fresh and new.

Anyway. That’s one more major project done. We still have several rooms on our list that need renovation. But, as it is summer time, there are several outdoor projects that need to get done while the weather permits.

Mostly Finished!! … Sorta

The big living room and the bedroom area are done! The fireplace will eventually get a new face and a fancy mantle built around it, and the window will get a window treatment.  But everything else in the big living area has been finished. To recap, we took down the faux 70’s paneling and the textured ceiling. Redid the lode-bearing column. Put some insulation in the bottom half of the walls, and put up new drywall.  Then we repainted the ceiling and the walls, pulled up the old carpet, and scraped up the old tile. Hubby put up new baseboards, and made some custom trim for the fireplace, stairs, and column. We got the sliding glass door replaced, mostly because the dog broke it, and the new french doors from Thompson Creek look amazing! The carpet came in this morning, finishing off the look for now.  I’ve got plans for art work and furniture, but some of that will have to wait.  Anyway, here are some before and after shots of the living area:

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Because we wanted the carpet to flow through the living area into the bedroom, we also had to do that room before today.  So we patched the walls – we are slowly removing the old, defunct intercom system in the entire house – and repainted. Then we put up fresh baseboards and trim around the doors.  Here are some before and after shots:

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We still have some work to do, a few finishing touches, the bathroom, closet and laundry area. But for now it’s good.

This entry was posted in Mi Casa.


While it is not going as fast as I’d hoped, there has been a lot of progress! The ugly, faux, 1970’s paneling is gone! Upon tearing it out, we discovered their was no insulation behind it! So we put some insulation boards under the new drywall.  The house is built into a hill (it looks like a one story from the front, but a two story from the back), so I don’t know if it’s just all in my head or what, but it feels warmer than it has ever been down there.  I’ve even gotten most of the mudding done.  I only have two more joints to mud and sand, then we can start prepping for paint!

Besides the drywall going up, DH scraped down the ugly textured ceiling. The boys helped with the demo, scraping/washing the ceiling, mud a few joints, and learned how to replace outlets. Diva opted to help out with household chores upstairs instead, which freed me up to work more downstairs. We also had the back door replaced. If you follow me on social media, you saw that Peanut Butter managed to crash through the existing sliding glass door.  The dog is fine. She went through the glass so fast, she did not even get cut up, just a little bump on her head. The door, however, was shattered. So, Thompson Creek to the rescue! Now we have a beautiful French door that opens to the sun room.

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DH also spent a lot of time fixing up the workroom area in the back, getting things organized so it’s easier to find what we need when need it. We still have plenty of work to do. I need to finish mudding & taping the drywall joints. We need to patch the wall and a few spots on the ceiling. Wash everything down, and clean up the brick. Do a few things in the bedroom in the back, the paint, and finally replace the carpet. Then we can work on the bathroom, mini-kitchen/laundry room, and sun room. We still have some reno projects that need to be done upstairs as well, plus the general maintenance around the house. So there is plenty to keep us going!

My lastest YUGE project

So…. We’ve got a large renovation project up ahead of us.  The last two years since we’ve been here, we’ve been working on the upstairs.  Some recent changes in the lives of a couple of our home’s now-former tenants mean that areas previously occupied by said former tenants are now empty and ready to be renovated.  And yes.  I’m being vague on purpose. Please, no one who knows anything about the “former tenants” say anything here.  They’ve requested we keep their lives off the ‘net.  If you know them, you know why.   ANYWAY!!!!


So here are the before shots of the big living area downstairs.  I’ll post the after shots when we are done.  Well, when we’re mostly done anyway.

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We’re going to be getting rid of the ugly 1970’s era paneling. It’s a big job. It’s going to take a while. I’ve got BIG plans for the sun room off the back of the house, but that will have to wait until we get enough progress in the main living area and the bedroom to lay down new flooring. And we can’t do the flooring in either room until we fix the walls in the main room. So there is a domino effect that needs to happen, and the main room paneling seems to be the first domino.

We’ll also be using this as a homeschooling experience, and teaching the kids how to do some routine maintenance on the house, and some renovation projects. The youngest has already discovered a love for demolition. He’s helped us tear down one of the sheets of paneling already and is loving getting to work with his hands. The Diva is really more of a supervisor than anything else, but we’ll make sure she gets involved somehow. My oldest isn’t so sure about all this, but I plan to have him help me with some of the electrical work (replacing outlets and switches, nothing major!). It will give him a taste of the job, and maybe help him figure out what he wants to do after high school.

So that’s it for now. It’s alot of work… Not going to lie, I’m feeling overwhelmed and stressed out… but it will all be worth it in the end.

New Server!

In the on-going struggle to keep my site off of EIG’s crappy servers, I recently had to move my whole site to a new host. Usually, moving servers is a huge hassle of backing things up, uploading to a new site, unpacking, and weeks of tweaking to make sure things are still working right. This time was different tho. Luckily, I had a friend on the inside (Shout out to SD-Dubs!) at my last host who helped me get out, and get my site moved to a new host so quickly, so efficiently… I’m really surprised at how easy this move went. It went so smooth, nobody even noticed. We didn’t even have any email downtime! Amazing! And this all went down while I was busy with the kitchen renovation, so that tells you just how much my friend helped.

Anyway, now that the kitchen is done, and my site is moved, I’ll probably tweak a few things here and there anyway, because that what all site admins do. Nothing drastic, just a few subtle changes I had planned to do a long time back, but never found the time or energy.

In the meantime, have a look over at the Genealogy section, especially if you are a Yuriar!  I’ve done a lot of work over there.  I still have more to do, but that’s the story of every genealogist’s life.  There is always more research and documentation to be done.   I’m still hoping to get some more work done on my book about the Hardenburgs.  But first, I’ve got to get ready for the next year of Aprendemos Academy.  My oldest is starting 11th grade this year!  Yikes! How time has flown.  Homeschooling through High School has been easier in some ways, and harder in others.  But that’s a post for another day.

Kitchen Renovation

So… The fridge died. It’s was a slow, painful, agonizing death. It started on Mother’s Day, when we noticed that things in the fridge just didn’t seem cool. Se we picked out a new fridge, but on delivery day 3 days later, the new one was damaged. We’d have to wait another week.  Since the kitchen was essentially shut down due to a lack of refrigeration, I figured it would be a good time to repaint the kitchen.  I stink at taking “before” shots, but here’s a pic of the work in progress:

A photo posted by Lorraine Yuriar (@thekytikat) on

Just in case you weren’t sure, the kitchen was a very bright yellow before. With yellow countertops and yellowish-brown cabinets. The purple is actually a Behr Marquee color called Wisteria Blue. It was a longer process than a normal paint job, because of the need to prep and paint various sections of the room in different stages. Normally I can repaint a room in 3-4 days. Prep, ceiling, walls, trim, done. This one took me just over a week.

First to be done was the area behind the old fridge quickly, so the paint would dry & cure before the new one was delivered. Under the cabinets/above the counters was done in between waiting for the fridge corner to dry. Then the ceiling and upper portion of the wall over the cabinets and around the room. Then behind the baker’s rack, since it’s too large to be moved out of the kitchen, and needed to be back in it’s corner before the new delivery date. Finally the rest of the room was done, and the trim completed.

A photo posted by Lorraine Yuriar (@thekytikat) on

Once the paint was done and dry, a fresh bead of caulking had to be put down over the countertops and around the trim. I got a nifty tool that worked wonders, and the result was a caulk line that would make my Dad and Uncle Lyle proud. (The family joke was always don’t stand too still when Uncle Lyle had his caulk gun out, or you’d get caulked to the floor!)

A photo posted by Lorraine Yuriar (@thekytikat) on

In the end, it’s a pretty new shade, that gives the kitchen a completely different vibe. Which is good, since this is where all the magic happens. By magic I mean this is where I geek, I homeschool the kids, the cooking, most of the meals. Honestly, I live more in the kitchen than in any other room in the house. So it was great to be able to give it a make over, but I’m really glad the job is done. Now back to lesson planning and prep for the next homeschool year.

A photo posted by Lorraine Yuriar (@thekytikat) on

2015 Year End Reflections

I found this idea from Annapolis Mayor Mike Pantelides on his twitter account today. So here goes.

10 Highlights and Accomplishments in 2015

1. — In January 2015, I was brought on at Red Maryland as a citizen journalist.  Even though I didn’t write much this year, two of my articles made it into Red Maryland’s top 30 stories of 2015! Numbers 15 and 19 are all mine. Pretty awesome, especially since I only wrote 6 articles this year.  That means one-third of my total contribution to the site made it to the most popular list!  I’m impressed.

2. — The kids needed new laptops for school work. So Tony found a great deal, picked up 3 laptops, and I got them all up and running.  There were some hiccups, some calls to tech support, and one of the machines had to get replaced (under warranty!) due to a bad hard drive.  But I got it all figured out.  Then 9 months later, I updated all three of their systems plus my own to Windows 10, and helped Tony with his.  Updating my computer involved researching my programs, updating some stuff, and making sure everything would run smoothly.  Tony had a hiccup with the update that I helped him research and find the fix for, and the kids all had to get updated, setup, and running again.  This doesn’t even count all the times I’ve helped mom fix her various issues with electronics.  So yea, my mad skills with computers (primarily on the software side of things) and my google-fu routinely combine to be a source of accomplishment.

3. — Joined the board of the Marlton Swim Club for a month, and helped expose the mismanagement that had driven the organization into a point of bankruptcy.  I loved my time on the board, even if it drove me and everyone around me batty.  I had to resign because I was not comfortable either tying my name to the massive amount of debt the club was in, or chasing government funds, funds that the government does not have, to keep the pool afloat.  In the end, the management of the club was changed, and the government supplied them with enough money to keep afloat.  They are planning to open again next year. We shall see.

Dime Bank Montage4. — I brought home another piece of family history in April. I found a dime bank made by my great-great-grandfather back in the early 1910’s. This neat little gem was added to my small collection of pocket calendars, a product catalog, and the one match holder I’ve been able to get my hands on.  Great-great-grandpa H.B. had his own novelties business. He went from selling magazine subscriptions to support his family, to owning a very successful advertising business, to Mayor of Linden, to bank president.  It’s been fun learning more about his life from the archived newspapers and articles in trade magazines, but it’s even more awesome to get my hands on things that he and his company made.

5. — Became the permanent co-host of The Swamp podcast.  Unfortunately, BigGator’s tablet crapped out during the holiday break, and he needs that to record the show.  So until we find an alternate method of recording the show, or get picked up by Red State Radio – which would be amazing! – we are on indefinite hiatus.  If you want to help us get back on air quicker, you could always donate to BigGator’s Patreon.

6. — Took a trip to my uncle’s beach house this summer.  Took my mom and the kids up there to hang out with mom’s side of the family, who we rarely get to see due to distance.  I was also to both show off some of my family history collection, as well as gather new information, and talk to people.  The trip didn’t go as planned, but it still ranks as a major accomplishment for the year, because driving that far is darn near impossible for me these days.

7. — Got an article published on Dana Loesch’s website. Considering how big Dana is getting, it’s a pretty big deal to me that she picked up my article.  I was also a caller on her show, discussing autism and the second amendment.  She’s mentioned me often, and I’ve called in before, but this time it was more like an interview, and she spent a good long time talking to me about the issue.

8. — I was way ahead in my homeschool planning this year.  I felt like for the first time since we started this crazy homeschool adventure, I was prepared for the start of school!  It was an amazing feeling.  I followed that up by getting all my Christmas shopping and gift wrapping done early this year.  Go me!

9. — I reached out to my mother’s Uncle George in the course of my family genealogy research and discovered he lives about 45 minutes away!  I took mom on a little road trip and got to meet with him in person.  Awesome.

10. — I made it through the holiday season yet again.  Unless you’re new here, you know that’s a huge accomplishment for me.  If you’re new here and wondering what the heck I’m talking about, the TL;DR version is that all four of my miscarriages, my father’s birthday, the anniversary of his death, and all three of my children’s birthdays are sandwiched between Thanksgiving and the 2nd week of March, with most of it coming before New’s Years Day.  So yea, the holidays are a rough time emotionally.  But I survived.  We all survived. That’s all that counts.

**Bonus Awesome thing — I met Ms. Kestenbaum online via, and she has helped me track down so much information about my grandmother’s life just before and during WW2. It’s been amazing! I can’t thank her enough.


10 Disappointments or Utter Fails

1. — I fell down an escalator, because I am nothing if not a grade A klutz.  Still having trouble with my left big toe because of it too.

2. — I broke the truck. Still not sure how I did it, but I did. It rolled away from me in the driveway, and bent the door back completely.  Thankfully the insurance adjuster decided that since it was so close to Christmas, and obviously a well-cared for vehicle, that he’d eat some of the cost on it so that it wouldn’t be considered “totaled”.  So that aspect of the situation was another undeserved blessing.  It’s all fixed now, but still… what an epic fail.

3. — I crapped out on my Photo 365 challenge before the end of January. In fact, I barely took any photos at all this year.  That’s just odd for me.

4. — I tried to get involved in my homeowner’s association and the local civic league. Sigh. But neither hold regular meetings. Honestly, there is a whole lot of “I don’t care” and apathy towards both organizations.  It’s pretty frustrating, but considering the politics of most people in the area, and the ideas of the folks in charge, it’s probably for the best.

5. — The beach trip didn’t turn out like I’d hoped.  Let’s just say there was some family drama, and leave it at that.

6. — I’m still struggling to wrap my head around the local governments here.  There are so many layers of complexity and corruption, I’m just not nearly as involved as I’d hoped I’d be by now.

7. — I didn’t get nearly as far as I’d hoped with writing my book. I think the biggest problem I have is that I love the research too much!

8. — I gained weight.

9. — I didn’t get my room painted & fixed up, or get nearly as far through the list of home improvements as I’d hoped. At least the kids rooms got done.

10. — I didn’t blog nearly as much as I wanted to.  Seriously, I can’t tell you the hundreds of posts I wrote in my head, that just never made it to the keyboard.

** Bonus frustration — I got totally frustrated with my homeschool group coordinator and her constantly shifting goal posts.  Wound up calling HSLDA for clarification, and they became a mediator to sort out an agreement of what’s expected from me, at least for the rest of this year.


3 Game Changers

1. — My hubby had a health scare. That will change your perspective on life in ways you can’t imagine until it happens to you.

2. — My oldest son started 10th grade at age 14.  That means he’s only 2 years away from graduation.  That’s a scary thought.  Even scarier – In about a year, he’ll be old enough to drive.

3. — Family Drama.  ’nuff said.


3 Things You Focused On

1. — My children’s education.

2. — My book research, both into the genealogy and the history.

3. — Politics.


3 Thing You Forgot/Didn’t Get Around Too

1. — Keeping track of my weight and food.  Doing this always helps me lose weight, or at least maintain the status quo.  I forgot to do this on a consistent basis this year.

2. — Starting my own homeschool group. I’ve been contemplating starting my own group, getting the church to back me up, and getting it approved as an umbrella school, just so I don’t have to jump through the ridiculous hoops I do now.  But I just haven’t found the time or energy to figure out how to go about this.

3. — Photo 365 & scrabooking, or even blogging.  Pretty much did nothing this year in terms of recording memories.  Sigh.


So that’s it from me.  All in all, it was a good year.  Crazy, but good.  Can’t wait to see what next year holds.

Moving Tips From a Former Military Wife

movingtruckMoving is never easy.  Most people think of the word “move” as a four letter curse word on par with the F-bomb.  Moving with the military, while still no fun, is easier than moving on your own.  Unless you are doing a DITY (Do IT Yourself) move in the military, they will send a crew out to box up your life, load it on the truck, transport it, and unload the boxes on the other end. You just have to clean the old place for your check-out inspection, handle all the paperwork involved, and unpack in your new place.  The military movers even make an inventory list of everything in each box, so you can easily find the can opener on your first night in the new place.

Moving without the military is a whole other animal.  Suddenly you are responsible for packing, loading, transporting, and unloading all on your own.  None of that includes the paperwork, arrangements for utilities, and everything else involved. However, there are somethings you can do to make it easier on yourself.

The first thing to do – declutter your home. Anything that you do not NEED or WANT to take with you needs to go NOW. One of the things I learned years ago from FLYLady – if you don’t need it, if it doesn’t make you smile, get rid of it. Decide what you need to live, decide what you want to keep, and toss the rest. You can take things to the local Goodwill or Salvation Army if you have time & the desire.  If you don’t, just throw it all out.  This serves two purposes:

  1. You don’t have to move all that crap you didn’t really want anyway.
  2. Studies show that a decluttered home will be easier for potential buyers to visualize their own stuff in the house. The more cluttered up with knick-knacks and whoziwhatzits, the harder it is for potential buyers to look past all that and see the home.

Decluttering is not a process you need to complete before you start packing. You can declutter while you pack. For instance, as you pack your movies go through them, weed out the movies you didn’t like, don’t watch, and don’t really want to hang on to, then throw them out or donate them somewhere.  Presto! You’ve just decluttered and packed all at the same time.

Second thing to do is to number your boxes & create an inventory.  I did this in a spiral bound notebook, which my husband then put into Excel. I took this a step further as well by listing where we had stashed each box.  I also went beyond that with our books. Being a family of readers, we have a lot of books.  We use LibraryThing to catalog our books. I created a “collection” for each box I packed.  That way, if my kids wanted to read a specific book, I knew exactly which box it was in.  Then I could consult my inventory list SmashedBurritoto find out where that box was located.  When we moved, I changed the location notation to the new location – attic, storage room, closet #1, etc.  While I unpacked each box, I changed the name of the collection on LibraryThing to reflect the new location of the books in the new home.  So now, if my son wants to read My Life as a Smashed Burrito With Extra Hot Sauce, I can tell him that it is supposed to be in the living room.  If he’s moved it, that’s his problem.

Another thing – don’t mix rooms when packing. Living room stuff goes into a living room box. Kitchen stuff stays in a kitchen box.  2Men&ATruck have a good list of other packing tips here.

When it comes to packing, I highly recommend getting your boxes from your moving company – we used Uhaul.  At the very least, get a whole bunch of the same sizes from the same location.  It will help when packing your truck if your box size is mostly uniform.

One thing to keep in mind while packing – whenever possible, never leave your boxes out in a main area while showing a home.  Always hide them in the basement, attic, or closets.  Potential buyers don’t want to see your boxes, and you don’t want them to feel like you are about to abandon the home before they decide.  I packed all my figurines and books early on in the process, hiding the boxes in the attic & master bedroom closet. It helped to make the home seem larger and less cluttered, but at the same time, it was still a warm, inviting space.

So now you’ve started the decluttering process, and you’re making your inventory of numbered boxes while packing.  But you still need to keep track of everything – your conversations with your realtor, your mortgage company, and every thing else.  Remember that spiral bound notebook I kept my inventory in?  Yup.  Everything was in there.  My list of things I needed to do, my records of phone calls & conversations with my realtor, credit counselor, mortgage company, everything.  I made lists of the utilities, and notes about when to cut off things.  I researched truck rentals, and kept track of prices.  Receipts and business cards were stapled to pages in the notebook so they would be easily found when needed.  Phone numbers of people I needed to call, play date schedules so the kids could say good bye to their friends, you name it, it was in the notebook.  It became a BIG help because whenever I needed to refer to anything, it was in the notebook.  DH wanted to know what still needed to be done – check the notebook.  Where was that rental agreement? check the notebook.  Whenever we researched something like the procedure for licensing the dog in the new state, it would get written in the notebook so we could refer back to it.  Gun laws for safe transportation and storage in the new home – in the notebook.  That notebook became invaluable.

So the notebook is a great help.  But still – when are you supposed to do stuff like notify the post office, etc?  Well, I used the Moving Checklist at for help with alot of that.  There’s another good moving checklist at also has a great list of things to do when packing your truck. Honestly, I left that aspect to DH.  His years of military experience packing helicopters & air craft helped him maximize space and pack the truck like it was a giant game of Tetris.

So there you have it.  My biggest tips for making moving easier. The biggest takeaway from this though should be the inventory.  That right there saved my bacon and made life and unpacking so much easier.

What’s your best moving tip?  Let me know!