Storage bins with seasonal decorations, paint cans, yard work equipment, bikes, toolboxes, trashcans—all of these things are often thrown into the corner of the garage. In fact, sometimes, that corner gets so full that it’s difficult to fit the car inside, too. If this sounds like your garage, it’s time to get organized.
Northern and Midwestern winters can be tough, so many folks in these areas fly south during the colder months. These “snowbirds” typically spend anywhere from 2-5 months each year away from home, basking in the sunny confines of Florida, Arizona or another warm state until spring’s arrival. These folks often rent their homes to short-term tenants, hire a caretaker or ask a friend or family member to house sit until the snowbirds fly back home again. Continue reading
Not everyone is lucky enough to have one of those spacious bathrooms you see so often on television. The reality is, for most of us at least, our bathrooms are pretty tiny. And yet, at the same time, we need our bathrooms to hold a lot of important things like toiletries, towels, cleaning supplies, and even linens.
So, if you can find some ways to make your bathroom hold a lot more space without feeling stuffed and disorganized, you are going to be far ahead of the game. Here are a few tips to help get you started. Continue reading
Let’s face it: Americans have a whole lot of stuff.
We have been known to buy bigger houses simply to have more room for our gear. And we are very likely to rent spaces specifically to keep stuff that won’t fit in our homes.
The self-storage industry has been growing rapidly for decades and is so strong that it is considered “recession resistant” by Wall Street analysts. According to the Self-Storage Association, the industry generated more than $22 billion in annual U.S. revenues in 2011.
That’s a lot of stuff in storage.
The increasing popularity of big box stores like Walmart and Target that offer one-stop shopping and bargain prices encourage a “why not?” buying mindset. And the rise of bulk-sales retailers like Costco trigger a tendency toward stockpiling. An amped-up culture of consumption doesn’t help either.
Despite our eager shopping habits, though, all our stuff isn’t making us any happier. A 2012 study by UCLA-affiliated anthropologists and archeologists concluded that “American families are overwhelmed by clutter,” reports the Boston Globe.
The study, titled “Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century,” found that the volume of stuff raises stress levels at home, especially among mothers who find themselves managing mountains of children’s toys.
There are many reasons, of course. Our desire to be prepared for any eventuality, to keep up with the Joneses, or to gain a sense of security from our possessions. Our desire not to throw out anything that cost us money, that we might use someday, or that has sentimental value.
We think it is simply a matter of having somewhere to store all the stuff. But, writes Carl Richards on the NY Times Bucks blog, keeping so many things costs us in other ways as well. “When we hold on to stuff we no longer want or use, it does indeed cost us something more, if only in the time spent organizing and contemplating them.”
We might feel a twinge of guilt when looking at the clothes we never wear. Or have a flash of annoyance when we see the boxes of toys our children only played with once but still have pride of place on the shelf. When we move, we drag these unused items with us and spend time putting them in order.
What if we were to redefine our relationship to our stuff by only keeping those things we actually use? It’s easier said than done, but if we were to consider unused stuff damaging to us instead of simply idle, we might get some good motivation.
As J.D. Roth writes, “The value is in the using, not in the having.”
Do you have stuff you don’t use? Do you have to spend time and money to store it? What advice do you have for those looking to purge their garages?
When most people plan on celebrating Earth Day, they are not looking at their self storage facilities for inspiration. This is a time when we look to the skies and to nature, when we come together with entire communities to show support for environmental protection to preserve our world for future generations.
But self storage and Earth Day might not be so far removed as you think. Smart storage—whether in a rented facility or at home—is a great way to avoid throwing things away for future use. When we work and live with limited storage options, it becomes easy to buy disposable items, or give things away only to buy a new item. It might also seem like a good idea to buy shelves or other storage ideas.
However, instead of going to the store to buy more plastic, more materials, more everything, why not try a few innovative, eco-friendly storage solutions? Not only will you help work toward saving the planet, but you might save a few bucks, as well. Here are a few ideas collected from Pinterest and our creative teams at Storage.com. Continue reading