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Here’s how much it costs to install a deck or patio for the summer

By Kiersten Willis, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Troy Warren #homegarden-all

The backyard’s colorful and modern makeover replaced a brick patio with a deck that offered room for dining and gathering.

You’ve been thinking about it for some time and you’ve finally decided to take the plunge — you’re going to build a patio or deck this summer.

Luckily, the official start to the season isn’t until June 20, but if you want to have a space to socialize and entertain outdoors, the cost is going to be one of the main components to think about.

In general, it costs less to build a patio than a deck, according to Bob Vila.


“Building a patio is often the more cost-effective option due to a variety of factors. Patios consist of more affordable materials like stamped concrete or stone as opposed to wood or bricks which are common for decks. Patios also require less labor and maintenance, which can help keep the costs down. Since patios generally don’t require permits or inspections, they can save you money as well. For the most affordable solution, build your own patio as a weekend DIY project.”

Still, pricing can be flexible on patios and decks.

Better Homes and Gardens reported it can cost $5,000 to install a simple, small concrete patio. A complex, stone or more unique patio can range from $10,000 to $35,000. A DIY project could cost less, according to Fixr. You can spend $700 on a 16×12-foot one using heavy concrete pavers.

Meanwhile, a 16×20-foot deck can cost as little as $6,720 or as much as $22,720. On average, it’ll cost $10,560.

When you set a budget for the deck or patio you want to install, size is also going to be a factor. And even if you want a large outdoor hangout space, you need to consider the size of your yard.

“If your patio is overly large it could lose its intimacy,” Southern Exposure Landscape Management said on its blog. “This shows the importance of planning and determining the size of your patio before creating a patio. Planning ahead of time results in a well-designed outdoor living area that you can utilize to suit your lifestyle.”

For your deck, take the size of your home into account, according to the Armadillo Composite Decking blog.

“Most builders suggest that your deck should be no larger than 20 percent of the house’s square footage. This is so that the deck does not overwhelm a home visually. This, of course, is up to you. If you feel you need a larger deck that takes up more of your yard space, feel free! This may give you less lawn to mow and more yard to enjoy.”



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Pet-friendly designs to incorporate into your home

By Kiersten Willis, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Troy Warren #homegarden-all #woofpost-all

Animal lovers know that your pet is truly your family.

One way to integrate the furry companion into your life is to make your home seamlessly incorporate their needs.

From easy-to-clean sofas to wash stations, the steps you take to create your perfect oasis will also help make your house a home for your pet.

“Just as great design seamlessly melds fashion and function, the best pet-friendly kitchens create stylish, integrated spaces that allow your pets to be part of the family, without adding clutter or creating safety hazards for paws and tails,” HouseBeautiful noted.


Of course, you’ll want to take flooring into account, especially if you have a puppy or kitten. Flooring Inc. counts cork, bamboo, laminate, tile and vinyl among the best flooring for pets. These surfaces provide easy cleanup and are mostly scratch-resistant, or they hide nail marks more easily.

But your four-legged friend likely won’t always be on the floor. For those ever-special cuddle sessions, you’ll likely want them to snuggle up next to you on the couch.

In that case, Apartment Therapy advises you skip the velvet, chenille or silk. Instead, stick to fabrics with a tight weave.

“In terms of other fabrics, you can’t go wrong with microfiber or canvas. These materials are made to withstand all sorts of use, and are typically easy to clean and take care of,” the website said.

All those belly rubs are bound to work up an appetite, however. When that happens, you’ll want your pet to have a place where they can eat comfortably while not taking away from the aesthetics of your home. Feeding stations such as a build-out in the hallway or a buffet-style feeding station tucked into the kitchen island, as shown on Houzz, make for functional designs.

And how about bath time?

One of the most challenging moments for pet owners comes when you have to give them a good cleaning after a romp in the park.

Wash stations in the mudroom or laundry area can provide an easy spot for pet owners to freshen up their furry friends.

“A deep tub that is easy for your pet to access will allow you to keep your dog clean, no matter what it discovers in the backyard. You can even create a built-in crate in this room for your dog, giving it a safe and comfortable space to dry after a nice bath,” South Carolina-based Donald A. Gardner Architects said on its blog.



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3 unique lighting styles you can add to your home

By Kiersten Willis, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Troy Warren #homegarden-all

Textured details include the basket-shaped light fixture in the sunroom.

When it comes to lighting your home, you don’t always have to stick to tried-and-true methods.

While floor lamps and recessed lighting are good stand-bys, why not shake things up with some non-traditional lights?

LoveProperty lists over 50 ways you can stylishly add lighting to the rooms in your home. Here are three ideas to help get you started.


Himalayan salt lamp

These lamps give a warm glow to a space.

“Himalayan pink salt lamps can still have an artistic look even when they aren’t on!” Wayfair said. “While the glow of Himalayan salt lamps might be a nice addition to your home’s overall lighting scheme in the evenings, pink Himalayan salt lamps make for great decorations throughout the day as well. When you don’t need a lamp option, a Himalayan salt rock will look like a natural stone decoration adorning your home.”


LED strip lights

There are many benefits to LED strip lights. In addition to the colorful glow they offer, they’re flexible. You can cut them down to the desired size and they’re easy to install. Just use durable tape and they’ll remain attached to a variety of surfaces, according to Luxx Light Technology.


Chicken-wire lamps

Lighting doesn’t just add brightness to your home — it can also add texture. For a rustic, farmhouse touch, a chicken wire lampshade can be a good option. Readers of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution can get two Country Chicken Wire Touch Lamps from The Lakeside Collection on sale for $39.99.



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Kris Jenner, Khloe Kardashian Paid $37M for Side-by-Side Hidden Hills Mansions


Troy Warren #homegarden-all

The two adjacent residences, which are still under construction, together total more than 26,000 square feet of living space.

By now, most avid real estate watchers already know that Khloé Kardashian and Kris Jenner recently acquired side-by-side homes in the longtime Kardashian family seat of Hidden Hills, a guard-gated community deep out in L.A.’s San Fernando Valley. What has remained unclear, however, is how much the mother-daughter duo paid for their new mansions, both of which are still under construction.

But records have finally updated, revealing the purchase price of both properties — and it’s a lot. Khloe’s new estate ran her $17 million, while Kris Jenner’s somewhat larger home cost exactly $20 million, for a palpitation-inducing grand total of $37 million.

While those aren’t quite the most expensive Hidden Hills estates ever sold — another compound in the community transferred for $22.2 million a couple years ago — the pair still rank high among the priciest homes ever sold in the entire Valley.

Per X17 Online, the momager’s mansion is larger than her daughter’s, weighing in at somewhere just north of 16,000 square feet of living space. Khloé’s smaller place, while closer to 10,000 square feet, is still huge by most any standard. Most amenities remain unclear, but both lavish properties will have oversized swimming pools with cabanas, naturally, and both are designed in the ever-trendy modern farmhouse architectural style.

It’s also certainly worth noting that neither property appears to carry a mortgage, at least for the moment. But the Kardashians are making more money than ever before — Khloé, whose Good American apparel brand has performed well since its 2019 launch, recently sold her “starter” mansion for $15 million, more than double her 2014 purchase price and the most ever paid for a Calabasas home.

And Kris, who according to Forbes personally raked in $60 million when Kylie Jenner sold a majority stake in her cosmetics company, also recently dumped her old Hidden Hills home, once featured in Architectural Digest, for $15 million — significantly above the $10 million she initially paid for the place.

The new properties are in a particular neighborhood pocket often considered to be the most exclusive section of Hidden Hills. Some of their nearest neighbors include financial heavy hitters like Jeffree Star, Vin Scully, French Montana, Lori Loughlin and Howie Mandel.



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5 ways you can add color to your home that don’t involve paint

By Kiersten Willis, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Troy Warren #homegarden-all

A renovated sunroom, designed by cg interiors group and featuring Paolo Lenti furnishings available at Switch Modern in Midtown Atlanta. 

Let’s face it: most people don’t enjoy painting their home. And if you ask your friends to help you, they won’t exactly be eager to do so.

So how can you bring a splash of color to your house without paint? has a few ideas. The website gathered nine methods for bringing color into your space. Best of all, these ideas don’t involve covering your furniture in plastic and waiting hours for your walls to dry.

Check out five of the ideas below.

Get a bright-colored sofa

According to Apartment Therapy, having a colored sofa can offer versatility.

“It can blend into a room full of color, stand out against an equally fabulous contrasting wall, or be the star of an otherwise neutral room,” the website said.

Exchange plain textiles for vibrant ones

What’s easier than purchasing a new throw blanket or pillow for the couch? Interior decorator Pattie Kelly of Inspired Home Interiors told that you can “add an energizing pattern or floral that highlights a different color than before.” Once you pick your new textiles, take some tips from Driven by Decor on how to arrange them.

Buy a colorful area rug

Once you’ve swapped out your pillows you can easily give the floor a new look. Area rugs are a simple and mess-free way to brighten your carpeted or hardwood floors.

“If you can match the color of the rug to any other decor accessory in the room, go for it,” expert-curated visual product search engine VisualHunt said. “Try to also complement the rug with the colors on the wall.”

Use peel-and-stick wallpaper with bold hues

You may be familiar with peel-and-stick backsplash, but the wallpaper version can work wonders for your walls, too. Elle Decor says “removable wallpaper can transform your home in unique and vibrant ways, and once you’re ready to switch things up, they peel off as easily as they stick on.” The website has dozens of examples to choose from.

Change your lighting

Who says adding color to your home has to involve new hues? A drab room could be given a facelift with the right lighting.

“Changing the light fixture itself can add a dramatic new color into your space, and truly change the entire look of your home,” Samantha Bird, designer of Shiloh Home told


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A Look at Malibu Beach Home Alternatives, From Palos Verdes to Santa Barbara

by Hadley Meares | HollywoodReporter.Com

Troy Warren #homegarden-all

Three Hawks Ranch, a 106-acre ranch in Santa Barbara County listed by The Agency’s Billy Rose.

Agents have noticed an increased interest in other beach areas with standout high-end listings for buyers “looking for a much more quiet way of life.”

Malibu real estate recorded another record year in 2020, with a 104 percent jump in single-family home sales and a 36 percent increase in condo sales from 2019, with a median listing price of $3.2 million, according to As inventory remains low and prices high, agents have noticed an increased interest in other beach areas, including these alternatives:

UNDERSTATED IN PALOS VERDES The Palos Verdes peninsula sits an hour south of Malibu, on the southern coast of Los Angeles County. The community is known for its, peacocks, romantic lighthouse and lack of residential streetlights. Far from the bustle of Malibu, elegant, understated Palos Verdes offers bigger lots at a more affordable price, top-rated public schools and a slower way of life to low-key residents like George Takei.

“Approximately 25 percent of the city is designated parkland or open space,” says Chris Adlam of Sotheby’s International Reality. “It has a really cool sort of rural feel to it — it’s green and luscious.”

Buyers, says Adlam, “are looking for a much more quiet way of life. It’s sort of the billionaire next door that drives around in his pickup truck. People come here and they think, oh my gosh, I’m in Los Angeles? I can’t even believe it.”

Long considered too far from the studios for the entertainment crowd, the area has seen increased Hollywood interest, says Adlam, as COVID-19 has transformed the way people work. According to Redfin, in March, the median sale price in the city of Palos Verdes Estates was $2.29 million, a staggering 35.5 percent increase year over year.

Currently for sale is the 3.1-acre Roessler Estate, a Spanish-style 1920s stunner built by the town’s first mayor, Fred Roessler. Boasting a movie theater, putting green, spa, secret gardens and a veranda with views of the area’s craggy, sloping coastline, it’s listed by Adlam at $18.95 million.


LAID-BACK IN THE SOUTH BAY With its unpretentious vibe and bustling beaches, the South Bay has long been the haunt of pro athletes, including most of the Los Angeles Kings. This collection of chill beach towns also is home to stars like Vince Vaughn and Jimmy Kimmel. “It’s definitely got a laid-back lifestyle. I would say Malibu is a little bit more of the L.A. crowd,” says Michael Grady of The Agency.

While ever-popular Manhattan Beach is a relatively quick 35-minute drive into L.A., Redondo Beach trades a slightly longer commute for more affordable homes. Despite its carefree ethos, the South Bay offers up some pretty impressive real estate. Ex-Wizard World Entertainment CEO John Macaluso and his wife Dr. Nadine Macaluso (former wife of Jordan Belfort, the real “Wolf of Wall Street”) recently sold a contemporary four-bedroom Manhattan Beach home for $4.8 million. The Agency’s Courtney Lingle held the listing on the house, which features a rooftop with panoramic coastal views.


COUNTRY CLUB COOL IN DANA POINT While Orange County often has been dismissed for its cookie-cutter mansions, the family-friendly OC coastal town of Dana Point is loved for its private golf clubs, hiking trails and picturesque ruins of the old Dana Point Inn. Called “the only romantic spot in California” by author and namesake Richard Henry Dana, the town of 34,000 boasts a median home value of $1.13 million, according to Zillow.

One oceanfront standout on the market is 57 Monarch Bay Drive, listed by Mark Sweeney and Phil Immel of Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty for $21.5 million. Designed by architect Richard Landry, the five-bedroom home is a short golf cart ride to the Monarch Bay Club.


BEACHFRONT CHILL IN VENTURA AND SANTA BARBARA COUNTIES In Ventura — known for its beachside culture of surfing, fishing and pier carousing — “prices are more attainable,” says Serena Handley of Tonya Peralta Real Estate. “For the price of a vacant lot in Malibu, you can get a beachfront house in Ventura. That said, the inventory has been super low in recent months, and beachfront houses are selling very quickly.” While many homes go for less than $700,000, there are also estates like 3716 Pacific Coast Highway, a four-bedroom Cape Cod with 70 feet of ocean frontage. It’s listed with Tonya Peralta Real Estate for $3.995 million.


Further north in tony Santa Barbara County, standout listings include Three Hawks Ranch, a 106-acre coastal property (listed by The Agency’s Billy Rose for $15.9 million) on the Gaviota Coast that includes a three-bedroom main house and two luxury yurts. In Montecito, home to Oprah Winfrey and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, a 3,813-square-foot, four-bedroom estate — located at 1150 Channel Drive, just steps from the Four Seasons Biltmore — is on the market for $23.8 million. The listing is held by Branden and Rayni Williams of Williams & Williams at The Beverly Hills Estates. 

Says Handley of the current demand, “We have seen a trend of buyers looking to move out of the city to have more space and freedom during the COVID-related shutdowns [and] an uptick in buyers looking for beach houses as second homes. Especially with large beach houses such as 3716 PCH, you have ample room for work from home offices, a separate guest area and the beach is your backyard, what more could you want?” 




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Meet America’s Biggest Trees and Prepare to Feel Awed by These Amazing Giants

By Rita Pelczar | BHG.Com

Troy Warren #homegarden-all


Ever wonder if that giant maple or towering oak in your neighborhood is the largest of its kind? Thanks to American Forests, a tree conservation non-profit, it’s easy to find out. The organization keeps the National Register of Champion Trees, which lists the largest recorded specimens of native and naturalized trees that grow in the United States. And the winners are… 

Well, there are actually 654 trees that qualified as national champions or co-champions in the 2020 National Register of Champion Trees published last October. They represent nearly 600 different species. Winners are determined using a formula based on the tree’s height, circumference, and crown span (the spread of its branches). That means their status is based on more than just how tall they are. And because trees continue to grow or may get limbs broken off in a storm, the list is updated each year.

The Largest Trees in America 

The most massive tree on the register (and actually the largest known tree in the world) is “General Sherman,” a giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) estimated to be about 2,000 years old and located in California. First nominated in 1940, it wasn’t crowned champion until 2019. And it’s truly humongous: 274 feet tall with a trunk circumference of 85 feet, and a crown spread of 107 feet. To put those numbers in perspective, this tree is about half the height of the Washington Monument, it’s a bit bigger around than the cabin of a Boeing 747 jet, and the spread of its branches would completely shade a basketball court.

Of course, it wouldn’t be fair to pit naturally smaller trees such as a dogwood or redbud against a sequoia in this contest of giants. Each contender only competes with trees of the same species. Often they are much, much larger than is typical for that species of tree. Nominees are submitted by anyone (more on how to nominate a tree below) and reviewed by experts each year. If the top contenders of each species differ less than 3%, they are recognized as co-champions. 

With 101 champions and co-champions, Virginia has the most winners in the 2020 Register. Next is Florida with 92, Texas boasts 75, and Arizona has 57. But no champs at all were found in several states. Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming will have to wait for next year’s registry for any bragging rights.

Related: Living Near Green Space Can Improve Your Health and Wealth

The list of trees eligible for the registry is about to grow to include over 100 more species, such as Hawai’i dogweed (Bobea sandwicensis), a vulnerable species found on the islands of Hawaii. The somewhat rare seaside juniper (Juniperus maritima), which is found on the rocky hillsides mostly along the coast of Washington, is another new species for the registry.


Nominate a Champion Tree 

You don’t have to be a scientist or arborist to take part in the National Champion Tree Program. Anyone can submit a nomination. The challenge is to locate and nominate trees that are larger than the current champions, but several eligible species don’t yet have any champion in the registry. A good place to hunt for giant trees is a cemetery. Because they are usually allowed to grow undisturbed for hundreds of years (and cemetery soils tend to be deep), those trees often grow quite large.

“During the pandemic, people have been looking for ways to get outsideand the National Register of Champion Trees gives them another reason to do just that,” says Rose Tileston, senior manager of urban forestry and the National Champion Tree Program at American Forests. “I encourage people to take a closer look at the trees around them. Doing so might reveal a Champion Tree in their community.”

People have been looking for ways to get outside and the National Register of Champion Trees gives them another reason to do just that.


Besides getting us outside and paying attention to nature, the National Champion Trees Program also raises awareness of the rich arboreal diversity across the country. It promotes the preservation of giant trees, which truly are irreplaceable living monuments. And scientifically, the information collected helps monitor tree size over time, to see if it is varying in response to climate change or other environmental factors.

American Forests is accepting nominations now through May 31. The 2021 register will be published online in September. So, get out there and see if you can spot some giant trees in your area (don’t forget your measuring tape). Maybe you’ll be the one to find the next champion!



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5 budget-friendly ways to mold your backyard into an outdoor retreat

By Kiersten Willis, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Troy Warren #homegarden-all

There’s no reason to spend lots of money to transform your backyard into an at-home getaway spot.

Better Homes and Gardens has two-dozen inexpensive ideas for how to make your backyard the perfect summer oasis. Even better, you can enjoy these ideas beyond the season. Check out the five DIY and easy-on-the-wallet options below.

DIY a campground fire pit

If you can’t make it to the campground this summer or would like to have that feeling year-round, you can build your own fire pit in the backyard.

Before you do, though, check the laws and regulations about open burning, including obtaining a permit.

Once you get the all-clear, read these tips from Lowe’s on how to DIY a fire pit.

Make your own outdoor seating

Another DIY option is to make your own seating. Store-bought outdoor furniture can look great, but it can be expensive. When making your own, you can create exactly the kind of item you want. The Garden Glove has several examples you can choose from, including a rustic log lounger, a unique coffee table and seating for under $100.

Light up the backyard

Who says stringing lights on a tree has to be limited to Christmastime? You can wrap string lights around a tree, which CountryLiving says will give a romantic feel.

“Not only will this create an enchanting place to sit in the evenings, but it will be charming to look at from inside your home,” the website said.

Or ditch the shrub altogether and place lights along a table or the patio.

Go vertical with your garden

Vertical gardens are ideal for backyards that don’t have a lot of space. Popular Mechanics has a list of many options at different price ranges. You can also go the DIY route with these ideas on From Use to Home.

Incorporate hardscaping elements

Visit local flea markets or yard sales to track down vintage hardscaping materials. They can include trellises or arbors, according to Better Homes and Gardens.

“These outdoor items can add height, define traffic flow, or indicate movement from front to back,” it noted.



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3 simple methods for updating your home entryway on a budget

By Kiersten Willis, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Troy Warren #homegarden-all

When you step into your foyer, how does it make you feel?

The entryway to your home should be inviting to you and any guest who may visit. If it’s not, it could be time for an update.

“What says, ‘Welcome to my home and make yourself comfortable,’ to you less than arriving at someone’s home and not knowing where to put your shoes and jacket?” Hyrel Mathias, senior associate and residential interiors studio lead at Seattle-based design firm Board & Vellum said on the company blog. “So you stand there awkwardly in the entry waiting, and ultimately have your belongings thrown in a corner on the floor with the other shoes you tripped over on your way in? It can be a simple fix!”

The foyer can require not only a functional overhaul but an image makeover, too. Outdated railings and drab walls can be the difference between a wow-worthy space or a dud.

Recently, Apartment Therapy spoke to designer and HGTV star Tiffany Brooks, who hosts the network’s new show “$50K Three Ways.” She offered two fixes for giving your entryway a facelift.

One method is to replace spindles on the railing — older ones can easily appear outdated.

“Railings are used every day, yet easily get overlooked when thinking about design updates in the foyer, but Brooks proved that refreshing them instantly make a huge impact,” Apartment Therapy said.

Using dark metal instead of wood spindles offers a contemporary appearance. According to Family Handyman, iron versions can make a basic staircase luxurious.

Another way you can makeover the foyer is by adding wallpaper, Brooks suggested.

Depending on the look you’re going for, you can use florals, mirrors or a grid pattern for a farmhouse feel, according to Elle Decor. It has 24 wallpapered entryways for inspiration.

But as great as aesthetics are, you may consider making the entryway an easy place for storage, too.

An easy solution is to create a cubby space that also offers seating for guests to remove their shoes. Overstock has several options in a variety of sizes and price points. You can also go the DIY route and build your own. My, My DIY has a list of at least a dozen options, including some for beginners.



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Moving into a new place? Some safety tips to keep in mind right now

By Courtney Kueppers, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Troy Warren #homegarden-all


Is it OK to move right now? What are the best practices for moving during the coronavirus pandemic? Here’s what to keep in mind.

According to national data, May is one of the most common months for people to move. Of course, this year that may look a little different amid the coronavirus pandemic.

If you are slated to move into a new place on May 1, you don’t have to worry about not having access to a moving truck. Moving.comreported that major truck rental companies continue to be in service, as they are considered “essential businesses.”

While many lease start dates are not flexible, suggests delaying your move-in date if possible.

However, if you do have to move amid the coronavirus outbreak, there are some safety measures to keep in mind.

“We talk often about how important it is to have a plan for your move, and that goes double for a move during the coronavirus,” according to “You have to remain one step ahead to ensure that you have the right supplies (since you can’t be running back and forth to the store), and to ensure that you leave yourself enough time to pack and get ready for your movers.”

To prepare for your move, recommends the following steps:

Contact your movers to confirm your plans and check in on best practices for the day of.

Make a list of the supplies you will need and get them in one trip to the store, or order online in advance.

Sanitize and disinfect your items as you are packing (and unpacking).

Complete your packing at least 24 hours before movers arrive since the virus can live on surfaces that long.

Let your movers know right away if anyone in your household, or who you have been in contact with is showing symptoms of coronavirus.

If you are moving yourself (without professional help), the process largely looks the same as it did before coronavirus. However, coordinate with landlords or management companies on both ends about the safest way to drop off/pick up keys. “Putting in a blueprint of steps ahead of time will help you maintain social distancing during your DIY move and answer any questions you might have about the process,” experts note.

Here are a few additional tips on moving safely right now, according to Forbes:

Don’t use recycled moving boxes, like ones from a grocery store where the virus could live on the surface. Opt for new boxes, if you can.

Check-in with any moving companies you plan to use to inquire about their safety practices. For example, U-Haul has listed its additional safety measures on its website.

Try to be strategic about your move so it involves as few people as possible.

If you don’t have access to running water and soap at both ends of your move, make sure to stock up on hand sanitizer if you can.