Category Archives: House and Home

How to Prepare for the First Night in a New House

After you have settled all the paperwork at Halton Real Estate to get your keys, you are now ready to move into your new house. It is the most exciting feeling in the world after years of renting.

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However, do not let the arduous packing and unpacking of boxes dampen your spirit. It is not going to be easy. But let me share some tips to lighten up your burden and enjoy your first night in the new house.  

If you have moving experience, you are likely familiar with the checklist. But for those moving in to their new house for the first time, this one’s for you.

Clothes

Do not put everything in moving boxes. Pack a day worth of clothes, undies, and sleepwear. This lessens the hassle of searching through the boxes, looking for mismatched items.

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If you have young kids, better pack a separate bag for them. Do not forget their favorite toys and jammies to make them comfortable for the night.

Food and Snacks Stash

Pack easy to prepare food, canned goods, and non-perishable snacks and place them in insulated containers. Prepare sandwiches ahead of time. You can do this the night before or in the morning. You do not have to inconvenience yourself cooking when you are too tired the whole day.

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Carefully pack food, formula, vitamins and snacks for you little ones.

Do not forget to bring bottled water as well.

Toiletries and Other Home Essentials

Next to your bag of clothes is an essential box for your toiletries. This contains your toothbrush, toothpaste, toilet paper, soap, shampoo, conditioner, comb, lotion, mouthwash, and razor. Bring a towel for each family member.

Bring sheets and pillow for the beds. If the bedroom is not ready yet, a folding bed or foldable mattress will do for the night.

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Keep separate containers for kitchen utensils (paper plates, utensils, cups, can opener) and cleaning supplies like trash bags, laundry detergents.

Pack toys for the young ones and food for your pets if you have one.

First Aid Kit

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No matter how careful you are, minor accidents or bumps from lifting boxes or maneuvering furniture is unavoidable. Place your first aid kit within reach. Have some bandages and disinfectants. It would be a tiresome day, do not forget to include a pain reliever for head and muscle ache in your bag. Place them along with other medicines and vitamins that you are taking.  

Important Documents

This one should come in handy. Important documents such as birth certificates, Social Security cards, passports, checkbooks, life insurance, and employment records should be in separate folders within a file box.   

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Label all your bags, boxes, and luggage with markers so you can easily find them when you need to check on something.

Load the essentials last, so they come off first in the moving van. You can load them in your car if there’s space so it won’t mix with other big boxes.

Your handheld bag can easily fit in phone chargers, pen and paper, markers, and cash.

Enjoy the Night

Moving is so stressful and tiresome. Why not enjoy the night with your loved ones and celebrate.  

This is your time to relax and recharge. Forget about the boxes scattered everywhere in the meantime. Let the unpacking starts the next day.

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Have some food delivered to your house or eat out. Prepare your favorite drinks to share with everyone. If you do not have cable yet, play a game with your family.

Enjoy me-time by reading books.

If you are adventurous enough, go for a walk in the neighborhood to familiarize yourself in the area. Maybe you can meet and introduce yourself to new neighbors.

After unloading your necessities and settled in, it is time to enjoy your new house. Cheers!

Activities that Help Me Get Through Lockdown

Many people have discovered they have hidden talent or skills during the lockdown. Some learned they have wanted to bake, cook, play musical instruments, or sing. Others develop hobbies like gardening, painting, reading, and writing. And some pass away the time binging on movie series or playing games to entertain themselves. All these activities have helped us get through this time.

I have my personal lists of favorite activities that cheer me up through the lockdown. 

Online games

Playing online games keeps my sanity from the daily stresses. When I get tired from doing the household chores, I rest a bit and grab my mobile phone to play block puzzles. It is like a mental exercise to me when I need to focus on something important.

When I am sitting in front of the laptop, I would be playing a fight virus game. The interesting part of this hospital simulation game is you get to destroy the nasty COVID-19 virtually. Even if it is just a game, it feels like you are doing your share protecting hospital workers and patients eliminate the virus.  

To play this, tap or click on the virus to disinfect the hospital environment. By destroying the virus, you keep the hospital staff and patients safe from the virus infection; tap patients (with heart signs) to help them recover more quickly. A meter in the lower-left corner illustrates the percentage of how infected the hospital is. The game is over if it reaches more than 70 percent.

Korean Dramas

South Korean dramas are popular among their Filipino audience. I started binge-watching Korean dramas in 2016 around the time I was recuperating from a medical procedure. Watching KDramas has kept me company from boredom, and I am still hooked until now. I was thankful for this streamlined series because I have learned so many things about Korean culture and fashion.

What is good about KDramas is that the seasons are shorter, and soundtracks are appropriate to the theme and unforgettable, too, even if I do not understand the lyrics. The funny part is I get the hang of reading subtitles fast while catching on to the scenes.

I actually watched almost all KDrama genres: drama, romantic comedy, melodrama, action, thriller, horror comedy. I have tons of still unwatched KDramas on my list.

Decluttering

This is actually the least of my favorite activities. However, decluttering has helped me lessen my anxiety and focus on other things. It is actually therapeutic.

I have started putting away old clothes, a stack of newspapers, old receipts, old school books, and paper books. I am planning to sell the newspapers and schoolbooks to the junkshop. I have a bit of a problem with old clothes. I hope I could find a recycling shop that would accept the clothes.

Next project will be decluttering the kitchen.

Gardening

Planting is one of the activities that hubby and I share. We do not have many plants, but we are content to see them grow every day. Gardening helps ease our worries from day-to-day activities. We are not getting any younger, and simple activity like this is good for our mental and emotional health.

The activities may be simple but they help me get through the lockdown.

How about you, what are your coping mechanisms all this time? What activities you think have helped you refocus your priorities, how it helps your mental state? 

A Permanent Home Structure with Rooftop in Mind

Our 24-year old bungalow house has weathered numerous typhoons and some unintended distractions (house repairs by neighbors) over the years. Repairs here and there made it livable up to this time. We have plans to build a more sustainable home comfortable enough for a family of four and a pet dog in the future, but a good kind of problem is holding us back. Our children’s education is always a priority, so any amount left after paying the monthly bills goes to the college fund.

My daughter’s rendition of our future house. Front view.

In 2019, we were left with one student to support and were openly discussing the possibility of saving up for our permanent home structure until Covid19 happens. We were so excited about the idea that finally, we can start building our financial plan using a mortgage calculator to help us plot the expenses once we get our (future) Pag-ibig housing loan approved. As for the loan payment, we plan to use Pag-ibig’s housing loan affordability calculator. Sadly, all that loan and mortgage discussions are set aside for the meantime.

Second floor plan.

Work from Home

We don’t know for sure how long this pandemic will force most people to work from home. In our case, our graphic designer daughter works from home since last year. With the future house plan, the lady will have ample space to accommodate all her gadgets and design equipment. Even if she transitions back to the office, the room will remain as her working area for her sideline. Same with our son who is still studying, he also needs extra space in his bedroom to do his design tasks for school.

The good thing about working from home is that our daughter was able to save her paycheck. We also save money by keeping the allowance intended for our son. He is attending online classes thus we don’t have to worry about transportation and meal allowances.

Effect of Pandemic in Real Estate

Covid19 has disrupted the construction of condominiums and business buildings last year. The hardest affected were buyers who are mostly Overseas Filipino Workers. They have already paid for their units in advance but were dismayed to find out the construction was stopped. This issue between concerned developers and buyers is yet to be resolved.

An increase in the number of property foreclosures was noted since last year due to non-payment of the mortgage. Some property owners who lost their day job were forced to sell their residential or condominium units to start their own businesses. Real estate websites such as Lamudi showed 593 foreclosed properties up for sale in Quezon City.

If you are keen enough to check on the foreclosed list, you may discover a house at an insanely low price. A business-minded person will consider this an opportunity to try to dabble in buy and sell.  

Resiliency

Ironically, some areas are depicting a different atmosphere despite the pandemic. In our neighborhood alone, several household owners are into repairing, beautifying their houses, building flowerbeds, and carport. The food business is likewise thriving in our area. One would think it’s a “usual” market day if not for the facemask-wearing customers queuing for their orders. Resiliency perhaps is one of the “good things” these uncertain times have given us.

Carry on

Covid19 has affected everyone but life continues to move forward. A year after the lockdown, we have yet to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Perhaps we can safely move when the (Covid19) vaccine rollout reaches its intended beneficiaries. By then, we have achieved herd immunity.

As for our dream house construction, it will have to wait for a while until the pandemic is over and our youngest graduated from college. We will diligently work until we reach our goal.