Monthly Archives: October 2016

Learning to Reduce Clutter

Do you remember what it was like to be young? You wanted to own everything! If you saw a toy, you wanted it. If your neighbor had a toy, you wanted it even more. If you saw a commercial for a toy, you HAD to have it. There was no negotiating. And of course, the moment you had a toy, you forgot about it. It became clutter. Toys pilled with other toys while you grew up and went about your life. More clutter gathered. Eventually… it took over. Today we are going to talk about reduce clutter in your home.

Memorabilia

Memorabilia often makes up a large percentage of the clutter that starts following us around throughout our lives. Memorabilia may include crafts made when we were children, photos of early birthday parties, gifts given to us by a wacky aunt, stuffed animals, sea shells, old toys, the list goes on. What all of these items have in common, is that they are now useless, but we keep them around anyway. Why do we do this? Because we have emotional attachments to things. One of the best ways to start decluttering your life, is to move memorabilia to storage, where it can stay safe, but you don’t have to see it.

The Infrequently Used

We all have items like this around our home. Things we only use once or twice a year. Declutter your home by putting seldom used items in storage. If you own several boxes of camping gear, but only make it out a couple of times a year, why not place them in storage? Seasonal items like snowboards and skis are excellent candidates for storage as well. You only need access to them for a few months out of the year. For the other months, keep them somewhere they will be safe, but out of site. Holiday decorations are only used for a few days. When it isn’t holiday time, keep them in a convenient self-storage unit.

Creative Ways and Places to Hide Things

Everyone has a few items at home that are particularly valuable. For some it may be pieces of jewelry, or a high quality watch. Others may have important documents, such as wills or deeds that they need to keep safe. Family heirlooms also possess a good deal of value. Where do you keep these items in your home? Hopefully not under the mattress, everyone knows about that hiding spot. If you are out of ideas for hiding spots, don’t worry, we are here to help.

Wh-Air Are You Looking?

Our first piece of advice is to always hide everything behind the secret bookcase. Unfortunately, secret bookcases don’t come standard in most modern homes, so we may need to get a little more creative. One thing every home has, is air vents. They are usually high up and out of the way, or low down and out of site. Use a screwdriver to open the vent, and put your valuable inside so that it can’t be seen. Now every time the air conditioning turns on, you can smile and think about your secure valuables.

Hope You Trust The Maid

Not into the air vent trick? Don’t worry, we have more for you. An old vacuum cleaner makes for a perfect hiding spot. Buy a new vacuum bag, and put your valuables inside. Now put the vacuum bag into the old vacuum cleaner, and put it in the closet. Unless a prospective burglar is overcome with a sudden urge to tidy your house, he will never find your valuables!

Lettuce See Where You Are Hiding

If you are interested in investing a little money into the protection of your valuables, a few companies make lines of hollow faux-fruit, for just such an occasion. For $99 you can buy a fake, follow head of lettuce in which you can stash small but valuable items. It is rare for burglars to check inside the refrigerator, and even more rare for them to stop and make a sandwich.

So, You are Moving to a New Climate? Here Are Some Tips!

For the last decade or so, Phoenix has been one of the fastest growing cities in the nation. Currently, Phoenix is ranked 6th in terms of overall population, and that population is just growing and growing. In large part, many people move to Phoenix from the East Coast and the Midwest, two places that have dramatically different climates than our beautiful desert town. Making the adjustment to living in the desert can be quite shocking and difficult for some. Today, we are going to discuss a few tips for moving to a new climate.

Ask the Locals What to Expect

No one is going to be more familiar with the climate than the people who have been living in it for years and years. When you are moving to a new climate, be it here in Phoenix or somewhere else, strike up a conversation with a local. Ask them how they deal with the weather conditions. Ask them what you can expect as the seasons change. Ask them if they have any tips. For example, a Phoenix local might tell a newcomer how important it is to have an HVAC tune-up scheduled before the summer begins, because the last thing they want is to have their air conditioning breakdown on a 115-degree day!

Change Your Mindset

How you adjust to your new climate will largely depend on your mindset. Be prepared to be uncomfortable! But also be prepared to be pleasantly surprised! Every climate has its own special surprises. Yes, you may miss playing in the snow on the first day of winter, but you probably won’t miss freezing your face off when you walk to your car at 6:30 A.M. when it is 12 degrees out. Pluses and minuses! Choose to look on the positive side.

Making it Easy on the Kids – The Frustration of Moving

We all know that moving is one of the most stressful events you will experience in your life. Experts routinely rank moving as an event that is as stressful as getting fired from your job or going throw a divorce. And unlike those events, moving is something that you often experience several time in your life. In fact, the average American moves 9 times during their life! So, learning to minimize that stress can pay off for years and years. As a parent, the stress of moving is amplified even further by an additional, chaotic, nearly uncontrollable factor – kids. Today, we are going to talk about minimize the stress of moving by making it easier on your kids.

Give them a Job

The last thing you want is to have your kids underfoot, getting in the way of you and the movers. The best thing to do is to give them a job to focus on. Ask them to pack a boxes or to move small objects. Try to turn it into a game to get them more invested. You can even offer a reward if they do the job really well!

Keep a Smile on your Face

Children are remarkable perceptive and they can be easily influenced by your mood. If you seem upbeat and happy, that mood will spread to them. Let them see how much fun you are having, and they will have fun. If you start feeling the stress of the day, take a moment to recenter yourself. It will all be okay!

Take Breaks

It is important to take breaks. This will help you both mentally and physical. Physically, moving can is exhausting, and breaks can help you really your strength. Mentally, breaking a large job up into smaller increments can be hugely beneficial.

Pest Control for Your Storage Unit (Part 2)

This will be the final part in our two part series of “pest control for your storage unit.” In part one, we touched upon some of the preventative measures that you can take in order to stop pests and rodents from making your unit their new home. We also began to mention some of the ways in which you can handle the situation if pests and rodents are already present in your unit. Here are some more ways in which you can handle a pest and rodent situation:

• If you’ve found evidence of pests and rodents, follow the signs to the source. Only then will you be able to handle the problem. For instance, if you find spots that would lead you to believe you have bed bugs in an old mattress, you will be better equipped to come up with a plan to rid your unit of the infestation. The same applies to other types of bugs. If you follow a trail to the source, you can then get rid of what’s causing the infestation and clean everything in your unit, including the unit itself.
• If you have problems with ants in particular, be sure to know which types of ant-eliminating products on the market work best for your budget and purposes. In order to eliminate an ant problem, you need to be able to kill off the entire colony, down to every last ant. One of the better products on the market is Terro Liquid Ant Bait, which appears as a type of food to ants, which they bring back to the colony and eventually kills them off.
• Take advantage and buy some boric acid. To most, if not all pests, boric acid is extremely toxic and fatal. Luckily, the acid is non-toxic to humans, but you should be careful using the chemical, nonetheless.
• If you have a serious problem that you don’t think you can take care of on your own, consult with a professional exterminating company. They will know how to handle the situation to get you and your unit back on track!

Pest Control for Your Storage Unit (Part 1)

While all storage units should be routinely cleaned to keep your belongings protected and to stop them from accumulating dust, what happens when you find little pests crawling around? Pests in your storage unit can cause serious problems. Not only is at an issue that they might have started a home in your unit, they also multiply in great numbers in a short period of time. Also- if you have pests in your unit, what’s stopping them from hopping into your neighbors unit, and vice versa?

Well, there are some preventative measures you can take, so be aware of the following:

• Never keep any food or perishable items, such as plants, in your unit. These will attract bugs no matter how well you’ve packed them up.
• Clean your items before you store them. This also entails making sure your large items, like dressers, etc. don’t have anything hidden in the drawers which would attract bugs and animals.
• Be sure that you clean your unit at least once or twice a year. Not only will this help to protect your items, but it will also help to keep pests away from your unit.
• If you’re going to store gardening supplies, make sure they are clean and have no remaining plant residue. Not only will the residue begin to rot, it will attract bugs.
• If possible, make sure that your unit is airtight and sealed. This will make it difficult for pests and rodents to make their way into your unit.
With those preventative measures out of the way, here is what you can do if you find pests in your unit:
• Spray pesticide and rodenticide in your unit regularly. When we say regularly, we mean anywhere from one a month to three to four times per year. You’ll have to do this more than you spray your own home because storage units, in their nature, aren’t used as frequently, which is why you should be aware of how often you visit and spray your unit.

Storing Craft Supplies with Items in Your Home

Believe it or not, you don’t have to store all of your items in large boxes and professionally manufactured bags. While this doesn’t work for larger items, you can store a lot of your smaller items in things you probably have lying around the house! Here are some fun and creative ways that you can maximize your storage space and stay extremely organized.

Make use of old jars.

In order to store small items, like buttons or even coins, you can avoid a giant mess by storing them in old jars! You can do this with any type of jars that you have – like old jam jars and cookie jars. For the very creative type, you can also make jars out of old wine and beer bottles. Just be sure that you watch some tutorials online and that you have all of the appropriate safety gear before doing so!

Don’t get your ribbons and yarn all bundled up!

For most people, leaving ribbon and yarn unattended means that it’s bound to become knotted and even ruined. To avoid this unfortunate situation, you can turn old CD containers into single yarn or ribbon holders! What you’ll have to do is find that old CD container (when we used to burn CDs and DVDs), put the yarn where the discs would go, and leave yourself some string to pull after you’ve put the top back on!

Another great idea is making use of old shower caddies. Because they all have holes on the side large enough to fit the ends of yarn and ribbon, line your strings against each other, and make sure to put the ends of your string through the holes. This will make pulling yarn and ribbon, as well as keeping all of these various strings, will in-tact and ready to use!

Deciding What to Keep, Throw Away, or Donate

Unless you’re an adamant minimalist, you’ve probably accumulated a lot of “stuff” over the years. While some of it might be sitting around your home, attic, garage, or storage unit, keeping everything you’ve bought or received over the years can easily and quickly leave you without any free space!

Sometimes, getting rid of certain items can be a drag. Not only do they hold some special meanings, but some people generally have issues letting go! But it’s important to get rid of useless items that are taking up too much space. To help you make these big decisions in deciding what to get rid of, take one weekend, or even one day, and dedicate it to a certain area of your home or storage unit. You’ll most likely want to separate your items into three piles: a donation pile, a throw away pile, and a keep pile.

Once you’ve decided to take on this feat and free up some space in your life, ask yourself the following questions…

• How often do I use this item and when was the last time I used this item?
• Is this item still working properly?
• Could it be used by someone else or no?
• Can I upgrade this item?
• Will this item match the color scheme of my new home?
• Is there any room to put this into my house or storage unit?
• Why am I actually keeping this item?

Once you have asked yourself and answered these questions for each item they apply to, it is then up to you to decide which pile to put them in. This model is most useful for clothes, but is easily applied to any objects you might have.

For any and all storing needs, Allstate Self Storage has a perfectly sized unit for you! Free up some clutter by storing with us today.

How to Properly Store Your Items Before a Move (Part 2)

Welcome back to how to properly store your items before a move! In the previous post, we stressed the importance of prepping your items before you store them. Now, we will go into the various boxes and packaging materials that will help you make a smooth transition.

Boxes

Coming in a wide variety of sizes for an equally wide variety of purposes, cardboard boxes will be key in packing up many of your items. Things that you can pack in boxes include video game consoles, paper items such as books, magazines, etc. kitchen supplies such as pots and pans, televisions, entire wardrobes, and even mirrors. Depending on the boxes that are available to you, you can also use plastic bins to pack these items. Some people prefer to use plastic over cardboard because plastic tends to be more durable, and generally lasts longer than the latter. With that in mind, using cardboard means that you’ll have to be extra careful when storing your items. For the best results, ensure that your unit, as well as the items you put in cardboard boxes, are dry. Any moisture or remaining water residue will surely ruin the box, as well as the other items inside.

Packing Supplies

For larger items, such as couches mattresses, you will need to purchase a few covers. These covers protect your furniture items from becoming dirty from things like dust, rain, or mud, while you’re either storing or moving items into your home. In effect, covers act as tarps for various furniture items. When you’re covering your items, be sure to cover the entire piece, including the bottom. Leaving parts of the cover open and your furniture exposed subjects it to various outside elements that might damage the material. Luckily, these covers are reusable!

Tape

You’ll be using lots of tape on your boxes and covers, so make sure that you’ve purchased an adequate amount. Clear tape can be a better option than duct tape for a few reasons. The most important is that unlike clear tape, duct tape tends to melt onto your items when the weather is consistently warm. Not only does this make it difficult to open your boxes at a later time, but it also created a sticky mess!

How to Properly Store Your Items Before a Move (Part 1)

Are you ready to move? Or are you in the process of moving? No matter what stage you’re in, moving can be difficult for more than one reason. One of the ways in which you can help yourself the most throughout this process is renting a storage unit. Mentioned in some of our previous articles, self-storage is a great option for people looking to move because it allows them the flexibility to store various furniture or other objects you’ll be arranging later to avoid clutter and ruining your items. However, while renting a storage unit is particularly helpful in your move, you also have to know how to pack different items. The way in which you pack your items can determine whether or not your belongings will stay safe and protected, or damaged and ruined. Here are the various ways in which you can pack up your items to store in a unit before a big move…

Before you even begin packing your items, we strongly advise that you clean them, first. You should even wipe down certain items more than once, just to give them an extra layer of protection.

Second, it’s easier to store large items if they are separated into different parts. Therefore, disassemble any large items that you can, without ruining the piece. It’s also helpful to keep all-like parts, or parts belonging to the same item, together in your storage unit. For example, if you’re going to pack a bedframe, be sure to keep all of the legs, board, and headboard together. You’ll also want to keep any nuts and bolts in a separate, plastic bag that’s clearly labeled. This will make it easier to assemble your items when you’re ready to move them into your new home.

Now to packing…

In order to package your things correctly, you need to have the proper packing materials for each of your items. These will be explained in the next part of the series. For now, focus on the first few tips and get all of your items in order!