These are the apps you need when moving to Boston

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When you’re new to a city it can be hard to get acclimated. In Boston you can find a lot of information on the city’s web site, but do you want to wade through an entire web site every time you need some information? How long will that take, and while the City of Boston’s web site is mobile friendly I prefer to use it sparingly and only on a laptop or tablet. For instant information and information on the go I prefer to use apps. These are the ones I find most useful:

Trash Day: if you won’t be living in a high rise you’ll need to know when to put your trash out for pick up. Trash days vary from neighborhood to neighborhood and even within a neighborhood. You’ll need to know if you can put out both trash and recycling on the same day. There are also designated days for leaf and yard waste pickup as well as paint and motor oil drop off dates/locations. This app also tells you if trash will be picked up when your regular day falls on a holiday. Not sure you’ll remember to put out your trash on the right days? No problem. The app can notify you the day before or the day of at a time you specify. Find the app here: Android version of Boston Trash Day, iPhone version: Boston Trash Day

MBTA: If you will be travelling by public transportation in the Greater Boston Area you’ll want an app that will help you get to your bus stop or train station at the right time. There are apps that focus on the bus system, apps for the commuter rail, apps for the “subway”. There are even apps that only give information for a specific train line i.e. the MBTA Red Line. The app you choose will depend on your personal transportation needs. I mainly travel by bus and so use the YourBus MBTA Tracker app. Here are a selection of MBTA apps for android in the Playstore. Here are a group of MBTA apps for iOS. The MBTA website also has an app showcase with apps for Windows, iOS and Android.

Parking: In Boston you’ll find two different types of parking meters. The most common type is the single space meter; one meter for each parking space. The second type is the Pay and Display meter. These meters cover multiple spaces. There is usually more than one on each block. You can pay at any of the meters in the vicinity of your space. These meters take quarters, debit or credit cards from Mastercard and Visa. The Pay and Display meter will dispense a printed receipt that you put in the curbside window of your car. Don’t have quarters and don’t want to use a credit or debit card? You can also pay by phone at most meters with the ParkBoston app: Android version, iOS version

311: 311 is an for reporting problems to the City of Boston. You can report litter/trash problems, health hazards, street and park damage, broken lights, graffiti, tree issues and other general issues you’d like the city to address. In addition to seeing the status of your report, you can also see recent reports made by residents. Android version, iOS version.

Hands of Time Concierge

Decluttering your financial records

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According to industry statistics, in 2015 9.5% of US households rented a storage unit. People rent storage units to keep all types of items when they don’t live in a home with adequate storage. Some of the items are seasonal like holiday decorations, seasonal linens, or ski equipment. Some of the items are used sporadically like suitcases or camping paraphernalia.

And then there are things that end up in storage never to be looked at again. That was the case with the storage unit pictured here. A few years ago, my client, a newly widowed elderly woman moved from her apartment into assisted living. She and her husband had a small storage unit while he was alive. When the time came to move she wasn’t able to think about sorting through their possessions and discarding things that she wouldn’t have room for or didn’t need in her new location. She took with her anything that was of value and rented a larger storage unit for everything else refusing to discard anything at all.

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Planning a group dining event

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file0001940768145Whether you’re planning a wedding, a corporate dining event or a dining event for friends and family, its never as simple as picking up the phone and making a reservation. Do you know if any of your guests have a food allergy? Do you know if any of your guests are lactose or gluten intolerant? Do you know if any of your guests are vegetarians? Do you know if your guests have religious dietary restrictions?

When your dining event is small and you know who will be attending, the answers to these questions are easily determined. When you’re planning an event for a large group and/or you don’t know who will actually be attending your event, the answers to these questions will be unknown.

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Downsizing the bathroom vanity

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Medicine CabinetBathroom vanities come in many configurations. Some have double sinks and lots of storage space, others are small with either double doors or many draws. In many bathrooms there’s a mirror over the sink but no medicine cabinet. If you own your home and need more storage space its possible to remove the mirror and replace it with a medicine cabinet. I have a client left the mirror over her vanity and had a medicine cabinet put in the opposite wall. In one apartment I lived in I replaced the vanity with a pedestal sink and hung a rather large cabinet on the opposite wall. Continue reading

Personal Concierge or concierge apps?

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With increased work loads seen by many professionals along with an increasing desire for more play time, many are looking for faster ways to get their everyday personal tasks done. This means “outsourcing” everything from grocery shopping to resolving insurance claim issues, to planning a baby shower. A lot of services and apps have sprung up to provide concierge type services, but how do they compare to hiring a personal concierge?

Let’s go back to the original concept of a concierge. In the Middle Ages, concierges were the “keepers of the keys” at castles. The comte des cierges was the person in charge of catering to every whim and desire of a palace’s visiting nobility. Noted government buildings also employed comte des cierges during this time.

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When decluttering doesn’t necessarily mean getting rid of.

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Original dining room table

English Gathering table in its previous location.

Traditionally when we think of organizing or reorganizing our living space we think about discarding things that don’t work and purchasing new things that work better for our current situation. However depending on why you are decluttering or re-organizing, you may have the option of re-purposing some of your belongings.

Last year I downsized from an 1100 sq ft apartment to an apartment that was only 768 sq feet. When I moved into my former apartment my dining room table was a tad to big for the width of my dining area, and then to long after I inherited by mother’s china cabinet. The table was a pine English gathering table that seated 8 people, and filled most of the allotted dining space in the apartment. When I knew I was moving I tried to sell the table but had no takers. It pained me to put it out as trash, and as I didn’t have a replacement for it yet, I moved it to my new apartment where it was a tight fit.

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The hidden cost of moving without decluttering

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Cluttered LivingroomIts April, and here in Boston we’re coming into the start of prime moving season. Moving is something most people dread, and with good reason. If you’ve lived in your current home for a few years, chances are you’ve collected things that you no longer use or need. They could be in your basement, garage or attic, or they could be in closets, under beds, or out in the open taking up floor space. You may even be renting external storage. Continue reading

Moving, Downsizing, Getting Organized

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RollinsThis spring I was totally thrown for a loop when I suddenly found out I was going to have to move. I had been renting a lovely 2 bedroom condo in downtown Boston for the past 4.5 years and now the owner was coming back. Conventional wisdom has it that spring/summer May – Aug are the best time to find new digs in Boston because people tend to move based on the school year. Continue reading

Gift Shopping in Somerville Massachusetts

SomervilleDid a little shopping today and if you haven’t finished yours and are in driving distance of Somerville I’ve got some suggestions for you.

I got a couple of things at Magpie in Davis Square. This is a charming gift shop that specializes in handmade items from local vendors. You’re bound to find something delightful for the child, pet or adult on your gift list.

I also stopped in at Davis Squared. They have a lot of nice gift items including candles from Sympatico that come in lovely hobnailed glass containers and smell wonderful. They also have an outpost in Arlington Center called Arlington Centered.

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