Tips for Unpacking and Organizing Your New Home

If you’ve just moved into a new home (or if you’ve ever experienced moving into a new home, apartment or dorm room), you know the feeling of being surrounded by boxes and furniture just not in the right place. It can seem overwhelming and stressful to get a new place set up and feeling like a home. However, it doesn’t have to be! Here are a few tips for unpacking and organizing a new home so you don’t feel like it’s going to take forever to be comfortable in your new space.

Have an essentials box.

This should be one of the last on-first off the moving truck, and set in a place where it won’t get buried or lost in the moving mess. In the box, you can include anything you’ll need pretty immediately and anything you’ll need or want within the first few days. This box should have:

  • Medications
  • Toiletries (don’t forget the toilet paper in this box!)
  • Granola bars and other easy snacks
  • Coffee (instant or a coffee pot, filter and grounds)
  • Pet food
  • Some bandaids in case of emergencies
  • Trash bags
  • Phone chargers
  • Any important paperwork you may need

Prioritize your rooms.

Priorities may vary, and can change over the course of your life. The first priority if you have small children may be setting up the nursery or kid’s room. By setting up a crib or bed, changing table, rocking chair and other necessities, you can know that you have that space ready to go in the first few weeks in a new home.

This can also help slightly older children feel a sense of normalcy when their room has their bed, clothes, books and toys set up. It also gives them a space to call their own in a new house, where they may be a little uncomfortable or scared.

Tip: The wall decor can wait, if it needs to! As long as the room has the necessities for the kids, it's good to go.

Other priorities may be the kitchen so you can start cooking in the next few days, or a home office if you will be working from home at all during the transition. For the kitchen, just the essential pots and pans, as well as a few plates, bowls and silverware will suffice for now. In the office, the desk, computer, chair and any of the need-to-haves can be set up early on, with everything else waiting until later.

The garage can wait.

The garage unpacking and organizing can wait until last. You’ll probably end up putting boxes in the garage anyways in the meantime while you unpack the necessities. Just make sure you have the tools you need to assemble furniture handy so you aren’t frantically digging through the garage when bedtime comes.

If you’re planning on buying or selling a home in Florida, let The Edge Group at Keller Williams help. The Edge Group has offices in Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Ft. Lauderdale, and our friendly agents have the knowledge and experience needed to make your experience quick and convenient.

Why You Should Add Fresh Flowers to Your Home

Fresh flowers are always a lovely treat to get from someone you love – but they can also be fun to just get for yourself. Most grocery stores have fresh flowers and plants you can add to your cart when doing your weekly shopping, and they don’t have to cost you a ton of money (you can save those more expensive, fancier bouquets for the special occasions you typically think of flowers for).

But why should you start adding in a few extra dollars a week or month to purchase fresh flowers for yourself? Aside from adding some beauty, life and color to your home, here are some benefits you can find from fresh flowers:

Flowers boost moods: It’s not just you – flowers make people happier. That’s the reason they are given to people who need a pick-me-up (like those in the hospital) and to say thank you or I love you on holidays like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. Studies have shown that flowers and plants reduce stress and anxiety and increase happiness. Many people see them as a sign of happiness, so boost your mood by adding a fresh bouquet to your home.

Flowers improve work: Flowers can improve your work life. If you work from home, place fresh flowers in your work area; if not, consider bringing some into your office. They can decrease stress, as well as increase your creativity. Flowers may also even boost your concentration. Sounds like a great way to get through a challenging project!

Flowers serve as decoration: You can even use flowers to decorate your living room, kitchen, office or bedroom. Seasonal flowers can add some varying color to a space, with different flowers rotating through each month. You can also add color to more monotone rooms, and brighten up darker spaces where natural light doesn’t always reach. One of the best things is that they make for quick and easy (and temporary) decorations, so you don’t need to spend hours creating a well-decorated space. Grab a vase, pitcher, jar or basket to hold your flowers, and you have a new decoration for the room!

Flowers are welcoming: One of the most common reasons people purchase fresh flowers is to create a welcoming space for guests. If you are hosting a party or having guests come stay for a few nights, flowers can create a warm, welcome environment Do you have a favorite kind of flower that you display regularly in your home? If not, these four reasons may help you find one to add to your space!

If you’re planning on buying or selling a home in Florida, let The Edge Group at Keller Williams help. The Edge Group has offices in Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Ft. Lauderdale, and our friendly agents have the knowledge and experience needed to make your experience quick and convenient.

Create Your Own Backyard Oasis

Your home is your refuge from the stresses of the world. You relax, spend time with loved ones, plan your weekends and your vacations, host parties and holiday get-togethers and maybe even work in your home. But have you ever realized that your backyard is an extension of your home? You can create an outdoor living space for you to continue relaxing in, or one to participate in your favorite (or maybe even new) hobbies.

Brainstorm

What do you and your family like to do? If you like to host gatherings, maybe consider a lot of seating available for all your guests. If your child is the next soccer star, maybe you should put a goal in the corner for some additional at-home practice or family pick-up games. If you’re a grill master, a built-in outdoor kitchen might make sense for you. If you’re a gardener, some raised planter beds could be the center piece. If you have furry family members, consider some open spaces for them to run and play.

Everyone’s backyard is unique because their needs, wants and hobbies vary. While you brainstorm and scour Pinterest for backyard ideas, keep your list of wants and needs in mind (much like you did when house-shopping!).

Design

After you have an idea of what types of items you may like, it’s time to design! There’s a couple ways to go about this step. You can completely do it yourself, or you can hire a professional to design (and build) your backyard oasis. Or you may want to consider a combination of the two.

As you design it, sketch out what you may want where. Make a list of plants you can use and start looking at patio furniture that fits your desired look. Design your yard around a few key elements so you don’t overwhelm the space (think about that kitchen or mini soccer field you brainstormed earlier, or maybe a fire pit). If you need space to store all your outdoor toys, then consider a shed along the side yard.

Build

You’re ready to start purchasing and building your space! Create the kitchen, or just a simple grilling space, you want. Build the planter beds, or purchase some that you love. Buy and set up your patio furniture to relax in on the weekends and during evenings. Plant your garden or shrubs and flowers. Don’t forget the lighting, birdhouses, bird feeders and any other finishing touches you want!

Create a space that is yours for you and your family to enjoy.

If you’re planning on buying or selling a home in Florida, let The Edge Group at Keller Williams help. A beautiful backyard may be just what the next buyer is looking for — and if you are searching for a new home, a backyard can help make your decision so don’t forget to add it to your list of desired features! The Edge Group has offices in Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Ft. Lauderdale, and our friendly agents have the knowledge and experience needed to make your experience quick and convenient.

4 Benefits of Getting Outdoors

Fresh air. Sunshine. Exercise. There are so many reasons to spend time in the outdoors. Whether it is passive activities like picnicking or laying on a beach, or active ones like running or hiking, you can find things to do and reasons to do them outdoors.

What exactly are some of these benefits you can gain from participating in outdoor recreation? Research says that people who live near natural environments – and take advantage of that proximity through spending time outdoors – are often healthier and happier overall.

1. Physical: Whether you work out alone or in a group, by taking your workout outside the gym or home, you can find new or different fitness activities. Build different muscles, get your heart rate up and breathe in that fresh air.

2. Health: Spending time outside can help you get better sleep, according to some studies. You will sleep deeper and longer, and wake up more energetic and alert, ready to take on the day. Being outside has also been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, and improve your immune system so you don’t get sick as often (or stay sick as long).

3. Mental: Increase your creativity and decrease your stress. By being outdoors you may find yourself more inspired to take on a new creative hobby or project — like photography, painting, poetry, writing, or sketching.

4. Social: When you start doing some outdoor activities, you may find they are more fun with friends and family – and you may even make some new friends along the way! Hiking, kayaking and participating in sports can be fun for children and adults alike, so find something the whole family can do together.

Whatever your outdoor activity of choice is, make sure you find somewhere close to home to enjoy it. From walking to running to biking to meditating, there are so many choices to enjoy the outdoors at parks, beaches, mountains, and even your own backyard.

If you’re planning on buying or selling a home in Florida, let The Edge Group at Keller Williams help. The Edge Group has offices in Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Ft. Lauderdale, and our friendly agents have the knowledge and experience needed to make your experience quick and convenient.

How to Start Volunteering in the Local Community

World Humanitarian Day is August 19, and it’s a day the United Nations dedicates to celebrating all humanitarian workers around the world who have put their lives in danger – and even lost their lives – fighting for humanitarian causes. This is a noble line of work, and very important in many places around the world. However, don’t feel you have to become a humanitarian worker to help others. In fact, many humanitarians got their start much smaller, and closer to home.

You can get involved in your local community, too, as a one-time or ongoing volunteer at a cause you care about. Many busy people don’t have time to commit to a large, long-term project, but there are other ways to make a difference in your local area. If you feel strongly about anything, there is bound to be a nonprofit organization or charity you can get involved with, whether it is by fundraising, volunteering your time or donating items. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

If Your Cause is…

Children:

  • Volunteer at the children’s hospital, spending time with kids or families as they deal with illnesses
  • Get involved in scouting, as a leader or volunteer
  • See if there are opportunities at local clubs or groups that work with children as a mentor, volunteer or sponsor

Animals:

  • Walk animals at the local animal shelter
  • See if you have a local rescue or sanctuary that needs any help
  • Host a pet food drive to donate to a shelter (check with them first to see if there are any immediate needs for a specific type of food)

Homeless:

  • Volunteer at the homeless shelter, chatting or playing board games with people staying there
  • Serve food at the shelter or a soup kitchen
  • Carry water, granola bars and small toiletry items you can hand out to homeless people you may see on your commute

Environment:

  • Take a walk or hike and bring a trash bag with you to pick up litter along the way (you may even be able to find a local group cleanup to participate in!)
  • Help educate people on the issues related to the local environment in your area, like pollution, litter or other things
  • See if there is a community garden or community tree planting event – or organize your own

If you have a favorite volunteer activity you’ve been involved with in the past, whether that is through school or church or even on your own, you can get back involved. Once you have, share with your friends and family to inspire them to volunteer in their communities as well.

If you’re planning on buying or selling a home in Florida, let The Edge Group at Keller Williams help. The Edge Group has offices in Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Ft. Lauderdale, and our friendly agents have the knowledge and experience needed to make your experience quick and convenient.

5 Fun Tips to Stick with a Workout Routine

If you have never really gotten into working out – or you’ve just never been able to be consistent and stick with it – you aren’t alone. You’ve read all about the benefits of working out, and all the tips to get started. But sometimes, that just isn’t working for you. Even if you know how to start and why you should, getting up early or stopping on the way home from a long day at work is just not appealing. With a busy life, fitting in a solid, consistent workout schedule can be tricky. That’s why we have these five tips that can make working out more fun, so you will want to stick to your routine. 

1. Try everything.The problem may be that you’ve never found the right workout, the one you love to get out and do. Try everything from swimming to running to jazzercise to kayaking. You’re bound to like something that can help you get started on a healthier lifestyle. 

2. Sign up for something.Whether that’s a class or a race, having something on the schedule will give you dedicated time to do it, and something to work towards. Paying money for something is often a big motivator for people to actually follow through on their workout. 

3. Grab a friend.Just like many things in life, workouts are just more fun with a friend. Sometimes a friend is even necessary, like for a quick tennis match or 1-v-1 basketball game at the park. Join a gym with friends, or meet up for a walk once a week. 

4. Listen to something.Download some new music. Make a new playlist. Get a new audiobook. Find a new podcast to binge. Having something to listen to can make you more excited to work out, and it can make the time go by faster. Before you know it, an hour will be over – and maybe that audiobook will be, too. 

5. Set some goals.They don’t have to be related to weight loss or even lifting weights. You could decide you want to run for five minutes straight, without walking. You could decide you want to do five pull-ups, unassisted. You could decide you want to plan a huge hiking trip to the Grand Canyon. You could decide you want to do a kayak camping trip. Set some fun, realistic goals that you can work toward – because your workouts should be fun.

If you’re planning on buying or selling a home in Florida, let The Edge Group at Keller Williams help. The Edge Group has offices in Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Ft. Lauderdale, and our friendly agents have the knowledge and experience needed to make your experience quick and convenient.

Back to School: Get Your Kids Ready for the Transition

With back to school season fast approaching, it’s time to start getting the kids ready to transition back to the school mindset. For most kids, this means getting up early, eating breakfast, less TV or video game time and maybe even getting some exercise. Other kids will need other prep, like getting ready for sports seasons. No matter what your kid is involved in during the school year, there isn’t much time left of summer for them to enjoy. It’s also important to let them enjoy the last few moments before this new school year begins, so they can start off feeling rested and excited.

Tips for kids going back to school

Back to school can be an exciting time, or a scary time. Especially for kids going to a new school, or ones starting school for the first time, there can be a sense of fear or nervousness. Here are a few tips to help everyone get the year off right:

  • Once you have the list of necessary supplies for their new class, head to the store together. Of course, it’s important to shop smart and save money; but it can help kids get excited if they can pick out one or two special items. Maybe a fun folder or new lunchbox can help them feel more ready.
  • Start getting them up a bit earlier each day, so that alarm on the first day of school isn’t so shocking.
  • Let them choose a breakfast cereal or other favorite food. Get them into the idea that breakfast is an important meal.
  • Hopefully your kids have had some time to read, or maybe do some math problems. But if not, now would be a great time to pull out a beloved book and get them back into the mindset of school by reading for fun.

Tips for adults at the start of a new school year

Back to school isn’t just a transition time for kids; it can also be a transition for the adults! Here are some tips for adults, who may be parents or may just be neighbors to some kids heading back to class:

  • Slow down as you drive to and from work. Now that school is almost back in session, there may be more kids out and about – and those school zones may have slower speed limits than summertime.
  • If you are a parent, be ready to talk to your child when they come to you about fears, nerves, excitement or any other emotion they’re feeling. Let them know that it’s okay – whatever they feel is perfectly normal. You can also ease their fears by reminding them that you are there for them.
  • Talk to the children in your life (your kids, nieces, nephews, neighbors you may babysit, etc.) about the afterschool plan, if you are involved in that. Be sure everyone knows the school drop-off and pick-up plans, locations and times, as well as any afterschool afternoon activities, like sports, clubs or homework.

If you have a favorite back to school tip that’s worked for your family, share it on social media so others may be able to make this transition go smoothly!

Looking for a new house in a neighborhood with good schools? Get in touch with us, and we can help walk you find your new home. The Edge Group has offices in Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Ft. Lauderdale, and our friendly agents have the knowledge and experience needed to make your experience quick and convenient.

Episode 2: Historic Rehab (Part 1)

In this episode, one of our customers takes on a historic mutli-use building as his primary home with the added benefit of rental income. Did we mention he’s a first time home buyer? Zoning allows the multi-usage and we discuss his plans for the property along with financial projections.

Houseplants Can Brighten Your Home

Houseplants are extremely popular. From the rise in social media posts, Instagram accounts and blogs on the topic, you could even think they are growing in popularity. There are many different types of houseplants, which vary in care, light and water requirements. However, many people have decided that despite time and care needs, their houseplants are worth it.

Indoor plants can boost mood and concentration, according to some studies. They also reduce stress and small, irritating illnesses like sore throats and colds. They can also help clean your indoor air by absorbing toxins, increasing humidity and producing oxygen (remember elementary school science class?). All of these benefits have made houseplants very popular.

Easy-care houseplants for beginners and busy people

Everyone has something going on, from school and work to kids and activities. Whether you’re a total newbie to caring for plants (indoor or outdoor) or you just don’t have time every day to dedicate to it, here are some plants to start your houseplant collection.

Snake Plant

Considered a great plant for people who can’t keep anything alive, snake plants are very easy to care for. They may even do best when forgotten about! Let the soil dry completely between watering, and they can tolerate a variety of light availability, so a corner or a windowsill should be fine. Go ahead and go on that three week European vacation! Your snake plant will be waiting to greet you when you get back.

Philodendron

Another great plant for busy people. The philodendron is a beautiful green color and easily adapts to your home’s conditions. Let the top of the soil dry out before you water again, and make sure it has some indirect sunlight to help it thrive. Another fun thing about these plants is they can easily move from indoors to out on the porch if you want to bring it out to greet your guests from time to time.

Spider Plant

Spider plants are a fun plant that you can put on a shelf, a table or hang in a hanging basket! A great thing is they rarely have any issues other than brown tips of the leaves. Let the soil dry out between waterings so the roots don’t begin to rot. Give them some nice sunlight each day.

When you see the offshoots, let them grow and soon you’ll have “babies” or “spiderettes” you can replant and have more spider plants! Find some tips from The Old Farmer’s Almanac here.

Peperomia

There are many types of peperomia, so check out the varieties available at your garden center. These plants are great for spaces where you don’t always have the best sunlight (like a corner, a bathroom, a room with just a small window). Let the soil dry out between waterings and your plant will remain happy.

Succulents

There are so many kinds of succulents than you are sure to find one in the size, style and color you want! Some stay small while others can grow pretty large or spread out.

The exact care will depend on the succulent you select (a quick search of the name on the tag will help you find specifics), but in general they do best in well draining soil and get some sunlight.

3 things to keep in mind

  • If you have pets or small children, be sure to put toxic or poisonous plants up high out of their reach (or just stick to the non-toxic plants).
  • If you don’t have a lot of light, that’s okay. Keep that in mind when selecting houseplants, because there are some that can handle low light.
  • Remember, if you don’t know how to care for something, all you need to do is turn to Google. You can find out how often you need to water it, how much sun it likes and if you cat can nibble on it.

Getting ready to sell? Houseplants can add some special touches when showing your home. Then get in touch with us, and we can help walk you through all the steps. The Edge Group has offices in Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Ft. Lauderdale, and our friendly agents have the knowledge and experience needed to make your experience quick and convenient.

Top Beach Games for Lazy Summer Afternoons

Whether the beach you spend your summers at is at the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean or some river or lake in between, it can be a great way to laze away an afternoon. Especially when the weather is warm and sunny, with a slight breeze off the water, the beach is often a favorite spot for many families. Be competitive, make up your own rules and set a “winner buys snacks” prize as you get ready to spend summertime days on the beach. Here are some top games and activities you can do when you take breaks in your swimming, reading, napping beach day routines.

Sandcastle competition: Get a few buckets, or just use your hands. No matter how your group decides to build a sandcastle, it’s sure to be a fun time with friendly competition. Make the biggest or tallest castle, or go for the most elaborate. If you can’t decide on the winner, a nearby beachgoer may be willing to help make that final judgement.

Volleyball: Whether or not you have a volleyball net, you can still play a game as long as you have a ball. Draw some boundaries in the sand and divide up your teams on two halves of the “court.” Set a time limit, a score limit or play by the traditional rules.

Relay race: There are so many ways you can do a relay race at the beach. Use a bucket to race back and forth to the water; run and gather seashells; race through or around your sandcastles you created during the competition. Set your own rules here to make it fun for your group!

Treasure hunts and scavenger hunts: Create a list of things everyone needs to find (certain shells, sand dollars, etc. – but leave the critters and creatures alone. If you want to include them, take photos of them as part of the competition). Then race to see who can collect them the fastest. Large group? Create teams!

Sand drawings: Using your hands or sticks, see who can create the most artistic sand drawing. These can make for fun Instagram posts later too, as you take photos of everyone with their creation.

Spikeball: A surge in popularity has made it so you can get Spikeball at many stores. This game is great for people with a ton of energy to burn and a competitive spirit. Teams battle with the ball and trampoline net as people dive back and forth to keep the ball in play.

If you’re planning on buying or selling a home in Florida, let The Edge Group at Keller Williams help. The Edge Group has offices in Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Ft. Lauderdale, and our friendly agents have the knowledge and experience needed to make your experience quick and convenient.

Top