7 Packing Tips for a Smooth Move

7 Packing Tips for a Smooth Move - that's pretty ace

Our move to Austin is only a few short weeks away, so I'm doing my best to prepare. In my research, I found some genius packing tips... (because let's be real, the faster you're done moving, the faster you are to eating a slice of pizza!). 

  1. Find free boxes. Boxes can be an unexpected moving cost, so finding them for free will bring you plenty of peace of mind! Try checking your local grocery or liquor stores, or even the "free" section on Craigslist. Listen up for friends and family who may be moving around the same time as you and team up on boxes. 
  2. Pack boxes by room. Label them accordingly, and this will help you (or your movers) get everything where it needs to be – and keeps you from searching endlessly later!
  3. Place books in rolling suitcases. They easily weigh down boxes and cause them to break, and a suitcase will hold up much better than cardboard. A bonus element is that those wheels will come in handy on your way to and from the moving truck. 
  4. Get your rugs professionally cleaned before you move. When they come back from the cleaners, they'll be rolled and wrapped – ready to be packed.
  5. Leave your clothes on the hangers. You can either hang them in a wardrobe box, or lay them in suitcases. When you get to your new home, all you'll have to do is take them out and hang them in the closet.
  6. Use sandwich bags for small important items – like screws. When disassembling a bed frame or other piece of furniture, assign the tiny pieces that come with it a labeled sandwich bag. 
  7. Pack a bag or one box for your "first night" items. Place toilet paper, a change of clothes, basic toiletries and anything else you might need right away in this bag. An extra tip? Go ahead and include a couple of things to help you feel "at home" and relax – like a candle, a movie, and a bottle of wine. 

Psst... the July newsletter goes out today and it has a special treat in it for you! Not signed up? Just fill out the form in the sidebar. You'll get the newsletter in your inbox at 1:00 today!

Learning to love what you have

learning to love what you have - that's pretty ace

If anyone asked Chris what one thing I could pick in our home to replace, he would know the answer right away: the Big Brown Couch. Don't get me wrong: it's the most comfortable piece of furniture I've ever had the pleasure of knowing, and it has more than served us well. Many moons ago, it was a denim-covered couch that came into our lives when my little brother was a newborn. He's now 16. Couch, you're looking good for your age. But every time I walk into our living room, it feels like a giant dark hole to me. Since buying a new couch is out of our budget (and I'd rather buy a couch that fits perfectly in the space of our house someday), here's how I've learned to love it...

  the BBC in our apartment now

the BBC in our apartment now

  the BBC in our first apartment

the BBC in our first apartment


Lighten it up.

There's not a ton you can do to make a huge piece of furniture feel lighter, but throw pillows certainly help. We've continued to keep light colored pillows and blankets on the couch at all times. We could also recover it, but that's a pretty big expense – this style of couch isn't made my the manufacturer anymore, so it would be a fully custom job ($$$!). She's been recovered once before when she changed from denim, so the brown is fine for now. But for some, the price of recovering a couch can be a better deal than buying a new one! 

Make it disappear.

Not literally, but by painting the wall behind the couch a darker color, we're helping it to blend into the room a little better. In both of our apartments we've had so far, we've had one living room wall painted a nice navy with some warm grey undertones. If that wall was white, the BBC would be getting the spotlight in a way that I don't think Chris or I would love too much. 

Make memories.

Thankfully, the couch is the center of our home – when we have friends over, when people come to spend the night, when we're watching GoT in the evenings after work, or reading on weekend mornings. The BBC is constantly in use. While I may wish she wasn't so dark or her age wouldn't show so much, I'm truly thankful for the gift this couch is to our lives. Plus, she's pretty darn comfortable ;) 

What about you? Is there anything in your home that you've learned to love?

A simple closet trick

a simple closet trick - that's pretty ace

I'm in the middle of purging our apartment and trying to decide what will come with us to Austin – and a lot of this means evaluating our closet. Since traveling abroad in 2010, I realized how little I truly needed and my wardrobe has gotten increasingly smaller. When I pulled out my spring and summer clothes this year though, I had a lot of trouble evaluating what I was hanging up. Half of it I couldn't remember wearing last year, but I wasn't quite ready to part with it. Enter a grand idea...

a simple closet trick - that's pretty ace

Place your hangers backwards. Each time you wear something, hang it back in the correct way. Then, at the end of the season, you can see what you actually wore. I had read this in a few articles, but had never tried it for myself, thinking it honestly seemed like a hassle We will see how it goes! So far, it's been satisfying seeing what my go-to items are, and realizing the things I wish fit differently (thus, causing me to never actually wear them). I'm thinking by the end of summer, I'll have a pretty good idea of what items are truly important to me and be able to more confidently build my wardrobe from there. Isn't it funny how the simplest things can become your biggest break-throughs? 

Have you ever tried anything like this? What do you do to evaluate your wardrobe?

Top image via Schoolhouse Electric, bottom image via Becoming Minimalist

Making a decorating game plan

an easy way to decorate - that's pretty ace

I was talking with a friend recently about decorating styles – he and his wife had just moved into their first home, and were ready to make some more permanent furniture purchases. But what if they picked something too trendy? What if it ended up not looking good together? Should they settle on a specific style? I remembered something Chris and I did when we registered for our wedding that helped us a lot... 

Together, we picked out three words to describe our home – welcoming, coastal, and simple. That's how we wanted to feel there, and the mood we wanted to convey for our guests. All items that came in our house didn't necessarily have to be "scandinavian" or "country" or "modern" or any other "theme" – they just needed to fit those words in some way. It didn't always have to be all three, but if it did cover all three words, it was a for-sure winner. Here are a few examples of how this worked out (all of these are actual items in our home!):

an easy way to decorate - that's pretty ace

1. Rug – coastal in pattern (reminds me of Hawaii or someplace exotic!) and welcoming in color and weave. Very cozy. 2. Pillows – coastal in color, simple and soft = welcoming. 3. Floor lamp – simple, simple, simple. Plus, I could see this in a cool beach town. 4. Dresser – coastal in hue, simple in stature. No frills here. 5. Candles – always welcoming, simple (just plain pillars), and just imagine candles in the sand! Instant relaxation vibes. 6. Our bed – reminds us of driftwood, simple in structure, and welcoming in that it's very casual and low to the ground. 

What do you think? Is this helpful? What are your "three words" for your home style?

Our gallery wall


Hi, friends! I'm excited to begin sharing a new column with you – Home Work. I've always enjoyed personalizing my space, and in the past few years, have had the joy of helping several friends with their home decor as well. Home is so incredibly personal. Finding contentment in your space is somewhat similar to finding contentment with your body shape or your appearance – not only is it a confidence boost, but it also opens up doors (often literally) to serve others well. I'm so excited to share this new series with you. 

One the easiest and most authentic ways to personalize a space is through photos. So it's only natural that our gallery wall is my personal favorite part of our home :) Gallery walls can look incredibly varied – some people add lots of color, for some it's more artwork, for others it's a mix of all of their favorite things. Our gallery wall is one that mostly holds memories. 


We had a few extra Pottery Barn gifts cards from our wedding a few years ago, and during their Christmas sale I purchased a boxed set of 10 frames. I especially love that these look like they have a paper mat, but it's actually wood. It's a very clean look and reminds me of one of our favorite towns – Seaside, Florida. 

I had gathered a lot of fun family photos to prepare for our wedding's rehearsal dinner slideshow, so I started looking for images there. There were so many great options, both sweet and funny, and they're perfect conversation starters when we have friends and family over. I love imagining showing our kids these someday. Some of these photos include me, at about age five, holding a lion cub, a strip from a photo booth of my dad and I, and a picture of Chris's dad holding his sister and Chris in a baby carrier on his back – somewhere in Germany. People always point to that one and think it's Chris when it's really his dad! 


I added a few pictures of our families from our wedding day, then a couple of photos from our time studying abroad in college, a photo of my favorite ocean from our engagement photo session, and a Bible verse I made into an art print. I also turned a set of Rifle Paper notecards into more artwork by framing them together! Picking out what to use was hard (there's only so much room!), but so much fun. I love being able to look up at that wall and be reminded of where we've come from. It feels like such a special tribute to our families and to the life Chris and I have begun to build together. 

What about you? Do you have a gallery wall in your home? What memories and artwork do you like to have on display?

The April Newsletter goes out this afternoon, so be sure to sign up for it in the left-hand column if you haven't already! You might even see the art print from our gallery wall in there... ;) Happy Wednesday!