Self Storage and the One-Hour Decluttering Challenge

A cluttered home isn’t good for you or your family. It can affect your mental and physical health, causing overwhelming stress. If you want a quick and easy method to get motivated to clean up your home, read the following article to learn about the one-hour decluttering challenge.

We all know that uncontrolled clutter can affect your mental and physical health. When you have to wade through toys, books, unopened mail, and dirty dishes to navigate your home, you have a problem. It’s time to clean up the mess before your stress levels cause you to destroy relationships, overeat, and lose your job. A good way to get started on this task is The One-Hour Decluttering Challenge.

In case you weren’t aware, there are an abundance of decluttering challenges to choose from: The Thirty-One Day Home Detox Decluttering Challenge, A Year of 15-Minute Decluttering Missions, and 40 Bags in 40 Days, to name a few. They all have their advantages, but this quick decluttering process gets you started and motivates you to continue with your cleaning project. 

If you’re all in for the slow and steady approach, this blog probably isn’t for you. This is not the KonMari method where you spend hours sorting and organizing, only to spend even more time thanking your possessions for a job well done. This is a fast and furious one-hour burst of decluttering.

Self Storage and The One-Hour Declutter Challenge

If you’re going to attempt any decluttering, you need a safe, convenient self storage unit. No matter how well-intentioned your motives, there will always be something that you are not sure you want to surrender. For some crazy reason (we don’t want to know) even that half-empty bottle of nail polish may be meaningful to you. 

While blasting through your rooms in one hour, be sure to delegate some extra boxes for those precious possessions that you aren’t ready to let go. When you decide to move on to your next decluttering project, you’ll be so relieved that you have that unit waiting to give your belongings a new home. With 365-day access, you can visit them daily.

The Challenge

Time to begin. Grab three boxes – one for trash, one for donations, and one for self storage (or the “I’m not quite ready to say good-bye” box). OK, it’s time to get started.  Next, choose the recommended areas and enough items to equal 100 (or more). 

To avoid wasting cleaning time, write down the areas you want to attack and the items you want to declutter from each area. Once you’ve completed these tasks, set your timer and GO!! 

Below is an example of an already completed list. This is only a guideline designed to motivate you. You can use this list or create your own.

(1) 10 Items From Your Bathroom

Suggestions:

  • Expired cosmetics
  • Unopened boxes or samples of toothpaste, soap, shampoo, or toothbrushes that you won’t use
  • Worn towels and washcloths
  • Nail polish that is no longer usable
  • Overused emery boards 
  • Hairbrushes and other hair accessories that you no longer want

You can donate your unopened samples to homeless shelters and your old towels to animal shelters.

(2) 10 Items From Your Junk Drawer

Suggestions:

  • Broken meat thermometer
  • Pens that no longer write and pencils that are too short to hold
  • Empty scotch tape dispenser
  • Random plastic utensils
  • Batteries that haven’t worked since 1980
  • Mapquest directions to your obstetrician’s office (your youngest child is 40)

(3) 10 Items From Your Kitchen

  • Expired food
  • The food you bought on sale that your family will never eat
  • Extra dishes and utensils
  • Small appliances that are collecting dust because they’re too old or you’re too lazy to grind your coffee beans. That’s what Starbucks is for.
  • Tea towels and dishcloths that aren’t even nice enough for the animal shelter
  • The teakettle with the broken spout
  • Fancy jello molds because you don’t do “fancy jello” anymore

If you do have any non-perishable food that you don’t want, donate it to a local food bank.

(4) 10 Items From Your Laundry Room/Linen Closet

Suggestions:

  • Sheet and towels that are marked for the rag basket but still sitting on top of the dryer
  • Outdated clothing that never made it back to the bedrooms.
  • Extra blankets and quilts
  • Empty laundry soap and cleaning containers that you thought you might use someday

Don’t forget that those extra blankets, sheets, and towels can be donated to homeless or animal shelters.

(5) 20 Items From Your Crafts/Hobby Room

Suggestions:

  • Items in this room are too numerous to mention. Let’s just say anything that you no longer use or need to be creative. 

If you have unused yarn, beads, thread, felt, or any other craft materials in good condition, a local nursing home or preschool would enjoy using them.

(6) 10 Items From Your Bedroom

Suggestions:

  • Nightstand clutter, including extra books and papers
  • Decorative items that you no longer enjoy
  • Extra pieces of furniture than found a home in your bedroom because you lacked space elsewhere

(7) 20 Items From Your closet

Suggestions:

  • Clothing that no longer fits (including those 10-year old skinny jeans that you think you’ll wear again someday)
  • Anything that you haven’t worn in the last year
  • Any items of clothing that you don’t enjoy wearing
  • Shoes that aren’t worth the blisters and discomfort they cause
  • Clothes with the price tags still attached
  • Handbags and accessories that you no longer use

(8) 20 Items From Your Kids Rooms

Suggestions:

  • Clothes they don’t wear or have outgrown
  • Toys they no longer play with
  • Games and puzzles with missing pieces
  • Classwork, announcements, and any other school materials that are no longer needed

Give your children an empty box and suggest that they donate their outgrown toys to children in need.

(9) 10 Items From Your Car

Suggestions:

  • Shoes, jackets, and extra clothing that you stashed in the car in case they were needed
  • Travel cups, snacks, and paper clutter
  • Toys and any other scraps that you kids left in the car
  • Don’t forget to check the glove box, and get rid of last year’s insurance information, flashlights that don’t work, dirty tissues, and miscellaneous debris.

(10) 10 Items From Your Computer (digital disorder counts as clutter, too)

Suggestions:

  • Junk email
  • Spam
  • Documents you’ve never opened
  • Empty you trash
  • Blurry photos or duplicates

(11)  20 Items From Your Garage, Attic or Shed

Suggestions:

  • Holiday decorations that are past their prime
  • Burned out Christmas lights
  • Broken lawnmowers and gardening tools
  • Damaged furniture that you were going to fix, but never had the time or the inclination

Windup

You’re finished and, if you used this plan, you have 150 items to discard, donate or store. Furthermore, if you lease a self storage unit, you’ll have a safe, secure place for those “I just can let this go yet” items. You know you had fun – admit it. And you just can’t wait to get started on your next one-hour decluttering challenge!!

Protect Your Antique or Classic Car in Self Storage

As a devoted collector of antique or classic cars, you’ve dedicated a lot of time and money to your hobby. Either you’ve saved and searched for the perfect car or you’ve been lucky enough to be able to pay cash for a high-quality model.

Whether you consider your car a hobby, an investment, or both, it’s your passion. You’ve painstakingly restored it, drive it rarely, and keep it safely stored away for long periods of time.

The right long-term or winter storage for your car is critical because you want it to appreciate in value and maintain its vintage appeal. Additionally, you need to consider that the way you store your vehicle can affect your insurance rates and your ability to be insured. Universal Storage Group has locations that are perfect for protecting your treasured vehicle.

Locate the Right Self Storage Facility for Your Classic or Antique Car

Storage units that have been designed for vehicles are typically “drive-up.” This means that you drive your vehicle directly up to the unit, pull inside, and close and lock the door when you leave. Your car will be protected from sun damage, wind, and precipitation. Sounds simple, right? Not so fast – there’s more to it if you want to keep your car in mint condition.

  • Climate Control: You don’t want temperature fluctuations and humidity to affect the paint, upholstery, tires, engine, and more. Climate-controlled storage keeps a unit’s indoor temperature between 55° and 85° F and maintains a humidity level of 55%. As a comparison, the average air-conditioned home stays between 35%-45% humidity. Think of climate control as an air-conditioner, humidifier, and dehumidifier combination to sustain the proper temperature and humidity levels for your vehicle. When you find the ideal self storage unit for your car, cover the floor with a sheet of plastic. This will serve as a vapor barrier to prevent moisture from reaching the underside of the car.
  • Security: Technology has come a long way in enhancing self storage security. Many facilities are offering keyless entry that allows easy access to your self storage facility and your unit from a mobile device. Look for access gates equipped with electronic keypads, as well as twenty-four-hour video surveillance. If there is a rare security breach, it will be easier to identify and apprehend the intruder. On-site and resident managers add another layer of security; a physical presence can deter potential illicit activity. 
  • Insurance: Prior to storing your car, it must be insured. Talk with your insurance agent, and get the specifics on collectible car insurance. There are options available, and you want to make sure that you have the right insurance to suit your unique vehicle. If collectible vehicles are restored and well maintained, they will typically increase in value. Keep in mind that laws differ from state to state. If you store an uninsured vehicle, you may be subject to a citation or suspension of your license.

Prep Your Classic Car for Long-Term or Winter Storage

Because these are vintage vehicles, they require extra protection and maintenance to preserve their condition and avoid corrosion. Here are some tips to keep your car looking as pristine when it is retrieved as it did when it was stored.

  • Wash and Wax the Car

Wash the car thoroughly and apply a coat of protective wax. Dust and dirt can cause long-term damage. Lubricate door and hood hinges so that they don’t jam. If you happen to own a convertible, store it with the top up to prevent shrinking.

  • Clean the Interior

Be sure there are no crumbs or food scraps left on the seats unless you want to attract rodents and insects. Vacuum your car carefully, cleaning all surface areas with a microfiber towel, and shaking out the floor mats. To preserve vinyl, plastic, and leather surfaces, wipe them with a conditioner. Finally, leave a box of baking soda inside to absorb odors.

  • Check the Tires

Use warm, soapy water to clean your car’s tires, and let them dry completely. If your tires are left dirty for a lengthy period, they can crack and rot. Check your tire pressure and fill all the tires to the recommended pounds per square inch (PSI).

  • Change the Oil

The contaminants and residue in oil that is left for long periods can be especially detrimental to classic and antique cars that have their original engines. Change the oil, and go for a short drive to allow the oil to circulate. This helps to prevent corrosion. Additionally, this is a good time to think about changing the oil filter.

  • Fill the Tank

The ethanol in gas attracts moisture, increasing the risk of rust and corrosion. Drive your classic car until the tank is nearly empty, then fill it completely. Consider adding a fuel stabilizer to prevent the fuel from hardening.  If you’re storing for the winter, top off the coolant to ensure the engine doesn’t freeze.

  • Cover or Stuff the Tailpipe

Small animals enjoy making nests in tailpipes. Let them know there is no vacancy by covering your tailpipe or stuffing it with steel wool. Remind yourself to remove it when you take your car out of storage by leaving a post-it note on the steering wheel. 

  • Disconnect or Remove the Battery

If you’re storing your car for the long term, consider removing the battery. Battery acid leaks can potentially cause massive damage to car engines. This can be catastrophic to an older car. If the battery terminals are left connected, the car will continue to use energy, depleting the battery. At the very least, disconnect the battery and hook it up to a battery tender

  • Protect With a High-Quality Cover

Regardless of where you’re storing your vehicle, you need a quality custom cover. The lining of the cover should be soft so that your car’s surface remains damage-free. The cover should be made from a breathable fabric that won’t trap moisture and create condensation that can damage the paint. 

Wrap Up

To protect your vehicle from deterioration, damage, and the elements during long-term or winter storage, you first need to locate a convenient, safe, and secure self storage facility. After you’ve settled on the right facility for your car, you need to prep your car for a lengthy stay in storage. The suggestions in this article should start you moving in the right direction to keep your investment in top condition

Self Storage Keeps Renovation from Becoming Relocation

You’ve chosen the cabinets, selected the flooring, and found the perfect backsplash for your kitchen renovation. On top of that, you’ve decided to expand your project by adding a powder room update along with new windows and doors for the entire house. Why not? You’ll get a houseful of remodeling projects over within about six to eight weeks. Right?

Hmmm…do you have any idea what you’re facing? Without going into detail, you can most assuredly assume that you should be thinking in terms of months – not weeks. Renovation is no day at the beach – unless you’re thinking of Omaha Beach.

Should I Stay or Should I Go

Deciding whether to stay put or temporarily relocate during a difficult renovation can be a weighty decision. Should you decide to move out during the renovation, you’ll avoid the dust, drilling, noise, and strangers all over your house. The downside is the inconvenience and expense, coupled with considerable disruption, especially if you’re dealing with kids and pets.

The option of staying in your home during this project does come with one huge advantage. You can monitor the progress of the work and be sure that everything is done according to the contract. Of course, this means you will be dealing with some inconveniences along the way. 

There is, however, an almost perfect solution. You can stay in your home and alleviate the mess by using safe, affordable self storage. You can protect your belongings from damage and dust, and protect yourself from insanity. Self storage is your renovation solution.

How Self Storage Controls the Renovation Mess

Items that are taking up precious space in the construction zone, as well as items that you want to keep safe, should be moved to self storage. Even the most conscientious work crew is going to create dust and cause an occasional accident.

Protect Your Belongings From Damage and Dust

During a remodeling project dust is created and accidents happen. Dust will not only coat your valuable furniture, draperies, and appliances but can cause irreversible damage to electronics. Yes, you can cover everything with tarps and old sheets to avoid the dust, but other mishaps may occur. Crowded rooms are an accident waiting to happen. Lamps and collectible items are easily broken or damaged. You could find some spare space for all of these things, but then they’re in the way and vulnerable to harm. Self storage gives you the option of keeping your items safe as well as out of the way.

Reduce Clutter

As mentioned earlier, you can move your belongings from the renovation area to another part of your home, but this will create even more disorder. Unless, of course, you don’t mind using your large appliances to create an obstacle course for your kids. You’ll enjoy making memories for months while you watch them climb all over the refrigerator and take turns pushing each other into the dryer and holding the door shut. I know you can’t wait.

Free Up Space for the Workers to Store Materials

In case you didn’t know, your house will be overrun with construction materials and equipment. The more room you can free up for the crew, the less time the renovation will take. Instead of 17 months, they might be finished in a year. Try to give them an empty room for their supplies. It can only help.

Expect the Unexpected

Plans change. Projects that were supposed to take 3 months may take 6, 9, or even 24 months (just kidding). Self storage can offer you what you need to make these surprises work: month-to-month leasing. You never have to worry about a long-term commitment, and you can always increase or reduce the size of your unit. Our professional staff is always ready to help with a creative solution.

Storage Tips

Since you’re using self storage for a short time, you don’t have to be as detailed as a long-term tenant, but you should try to be organized. Here are a few tips to help you keep it manageable.

Cover the Floor  

Before storing your boxes, place pallets on the floor. This will prevent pests and insects from gathering under your boxes.

Organize for Easy Access

Create a general plan of how you’re going to organize furniture and boxes in your unit. Put some thought into how you’ll place these items. Ideally, furniture and large appliances should be against a wall opposite the boxes. Leave space in the middle of the unit for easy access. Boxes that you’ll need to access frequently should be stored last.

Place Small Boxes/Items on Shelves

Shelves are a great option for smaller boxes and items that you may not be packing like lamps and small electrical appliances. If you place the shelves toward the front of your unit, you can easily grab things that you may need regularly.

Use Climate-Controlled Self Storage

You’ll want your belongings in a dry, dust-free environment, so look for a facility that offers climate-controlled storage. This type of storage maintains a consistent temperature throughout the seasons and will protect your temperature-sensitive items from damage or deterioration.

Look for Security

Most facilities are equipped with security systems that deter crime and protect your possessions. Look for a facility in a safe, convenient location, that is well-lit, well maintained, and features electronic gates and video surveillance. You can discuss this with the facility manager.

Conclusion

Remodeling is exciting as well as full of headaches. Give yourself one less thing to worry about by storing your possessions in a secure, affordable, convenient location. You’ll be able to live in your home, keep an eye on your project, and walk through rooms without having to maneuver through an obstacle course.

How to Prevent Flood Damage in Your Storage Unit

Did you know that flooding doesn’t happen only after a massive rainstorm? It can occur at any time due to poor drainage systems, summer storms, melting snow, a large construction project, or a broken water main. It’s hard to believe, but according to FEMA, even one inch of water can cause thousands of dollars in damage.  

Flooding can be a concern for some people that keep belongings in self storage. Others are either unaware of the damage that can be caused by flooding or don’t realize that they can take measures now to prevent flood damage later.

If you currently have items in a self storage unit or you’re thinking about leasing a unit, read the tips below to help keep your belongings safe during a flooding event.

Water or Flood Damage Prevention Measures

Store Items in Plastic Bins

Plastic containers will keep your items safe from moisture and the resulting mold and mildew. Try to purchase bins of identical size, and take the time to label your items for easy retrieval. Store important documents and valuable items in watertight containers.

Use Pallet Boards and Tarps

Pallets are a great way to keep your items off of the floor. They are the perfect solution for small businesses that use self storage for inventory, important documents, and office equipment and supplies. 

Place pallets on the floor and cover them with plastic tarps before stacking your items. This will protect your bins and containers from sitting on a potentially wet floor. If you’re storing heavy items, check to be certain that the pallets can safely withstand the weight. 

Use Shelving for Your Smaller Items

An alternative for storing your smaller items is shelving. There are lots of great options available that will provide you with a safe, convenient way to keep your belongings above the floor. Your storage unit can easily accommodate rack and wall mounted shelving as well as standing and hanging shelving. 

Organize Strategically

When you organize your unit, stack valuable or sentimental items on your highest shelf or on top of items that are less expensive or meaningful to you. This will lessen the risk of damage from moisture to your more important items.

Cover Your Belongings with Nylon

You may not have heard this before, but covering your items with nylon can help prevent water damage that comes from above. You never know when a broken pipe or heavy rains can cause a leaking ceiling. If you wrap or cover your belongings with nylon, your stored possessions will have basic protection. A sheet of nylon is inexpensive and also a great barrier against dust.

Consider Flood Insurance

If you live in an area of the country where natural disasters are common, you might want to consider flood insurance. Standard homeowner’s insurance doesn’t include coverage for damages due to flooding, and federal disaster assistance kicks in only when there is a Presidential disaster declaration. Discuss your flood insurance options and your off-premises coverage with your insurance agent. It’s worth the peace of mind to know that you’re protected.

Does Your Self Storage Facility Have a Tenant Protection Plan

Find out if your self storage facility has a tenant protection plan. If so, discuss coverage options with the manager of your facility. This can be an additional level of protection as many of these plans cover some water damage. 

Conclusion

Don’t assume that flooding is something you never need to worry about. It can happen anytime due to unpredictable events. Store your items in plastic, watertight containers. Use pallet boards, shelving, and nylon coverings. Organize your items for safety, and discuss flood insurance options with your insurance agent. Simple, basic prevention strategies are more than worth the disappointment of losing valuable or sentimental items.