Thursday, October 19, 2017

More Room for Life by Living with Less

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More Room, Less Stuff

Life has become increasingly dependent on material things…

As we move farther into the future, technology advances more quickly than we can keep up with. Cars are becoming things people have only imagined in movies and fashion trends change every season. In addition, social media has people focusing on how others are living their lives more than ever. We live in a world of comparison and competition, in a world run by the next best thing and everyone’s desire to have it. Advertisements are staring us in the face more than ever. They’ve even begun to be customized through algorithms based off of your computer search history and mobile activity. Technology has evolved into something that knows us and knows exactly how to persuade us to give in to the temptations of consumerism… and oftentimes, we do.

But what if we’re focusing on the wrong parts of life? With a deepening focus on material things, when do we make room for the physical and emotional needs of ourselves as well as others around us?

Think about how hard you work at your job and how many hours of your life revolve around that work. It doesn’t leave much time for anything else. However, society tends to fill the void with unnecessary purchases in order to get one step closer to happiness and validation. The time you spend at work turns into countless dollars worth of spending on big homes, fancy cars, the most popular gadgets, toys and an intense desire to fit in with all of the fashion trends.

But, we know, that deep down happiness is not something that can simply be purchased.

No matter how many things you have in your life, it doesn’t equate directly to your happiness and it’s likely that deep down we all know this. Think about all of the free time, energy, space and money we’d have if we stopped trying to fill our lives with things instead of moments. We’d be free to experience life in a whole new way!

However, we understand that it can be difficult to go full on minimalist in the course of a few months, or even a few years. If you’ve ever read Marie Kondo’s, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, you’ve seen one extreme of getting rid of things, but we have an alternative solution that will help you take some baby steps.

We recommend going through your possessions and, as an experiment, putting aside a majority of things that you feel are unnecessary or that don’t bring you absolute joy when you see them or interact with them. However, rather than purging them immediately, try renting out a storage unit! This way, if you find that you are missing some things or that you really did need that BreadMaker5000, you can still access it.

By renting a storage unit to de-clutter your home, you can test out the minimalistic lifestyle to see if it’s something that works for you, risk free! Try starting with some of the following areas.

  1. Décor

The amount of home décor that we accumulate is tremendous! We hoard mass amounts of decorations for every season in addition to every holiday. We spend hours taking things out of storage, decorating our homes, only to change them out one month later. Unless they hold some sort of sentimental value, chances are these decorations don’t bring us anything other than a reminder of the time of year that it is. This can actually be distracting to the things that do hold value in your homes.

We recommend walking around your home and taking a close look at all of the decorations that you have. You can even go as far as pulling out all of the additional things you have in the back of closets or basements. Go through everything. Try and find the decorations that are meaningful and also attract your eye. If you want to keep them simply because they are breathtaking, that’s fine! Don’t stress about downsizing, it will come naturally.

Everything that you decide to put back into a box you should put in storage instead of the back of your closet. This will free up space for the things that your closet is meant to hold! If in a year you don’t miss anything in storage, consider donating it or holding a garage sale. Try doing the same for your holiday decorations.

  1. Clothes

This one is big. For many people, it is hard to let go of an item of clothing, especially if it’s one of your favorites. One of the first things you should do is to go through your closet and put aside anything with holes or that is worn out. If you can’t fix it, toss it.

Surprisingly, we only wear about 20% of our clothes 80% of the time1. This means that most of the clothes in our closets are hanging around “just in case.” They are cluttering your closet, which can lead to a cluttered mind. When your closet is filled with distractions, it can be harder to find an item of clothing that you already know you are going to wear for the day. It can also cause your clothes to wear out more quickly. Try going through and removing any clothes that you haven’t worn in the last 6 months. Put them in storage. If you haven’t thought about them 6 months later, get rid of them!

To take things a step further, after you’ve put your first batch of clothes in storage, try reversing all of your hangers in your closet. Every time you wear something, put it back on the rack with the hanger facing the correct way. After 6 more months, when you’re going to get rid of your clothes in storage, take a look at what outfits are still on reversed hangers. Repeat the same process by putting them in storage and you won’t believe how much less stressful picking out an outfit becomes! It will also bring about a sense of calm every time you look into your neatly organized closet.

  1. Shoes

For the ladies that love shoes, this can be a tough one. If you religiously wear every pair of shoes in your closet, we understand. However, if you have a few pairs (or 20) that you only wear once a year, consider testing out the same process as you did with your clothes. If you don’t miss them, then you don’t need to hoard them on your closet floor. Shoes take up a lot of space!

  1. Electronics

The average home today has a TV in almost every room. There’s one in the family room, the basement, the living room, every single bedroom and maybe even one in the kitchen. I even know of some people that have a TV in their garage! This is unnecessary and, if you have more than one person in your household, can cause separation between family members. Consider putting your TVs into storage and testing out having the only TV reside in the family room. This will lead to your family watching less television as a whole. It will also perpetuate more family time, as when someone wants to watch TV they will need to navigate to the shared room rather than lock themselves up in their bedrooms.

If it is working after a few months, sell the old TVs and take the family out to dinner or even on a weekend getaway (depending on how many TV’s you had!). If you absolutely can’t live without more than one TV, try limiting yourself to two rather than one for every room.

  1. Kitchen Items

Kitchen items are one of the most unused accessories we buy. Today, they have everything from banana slicers to herb grinders. But guess what else cuts a banana or grinds herbs? Knives! Kitchen gadgets have evolved so that each thing has one specific purpose rather than utilizing what we already have. But it is possible to – gasp – do things the way our grandmothers have been doing them for years. Is it not possible to cut an apple without a slicer designed specifically for apples? The answer is obvious… it’s quite possible.

Go through all of your kitchen cabinets as well as countertops and try getting rid of those unnecessary gadgets. Put them in a plastic bin in storage and proceed with the same process as we’ve discussed. If you don’t miss them, toss them. Also, try living with your countertops completely clear for a week! We guarantee you won’t be returning every single accessory back when you’re done.

  1. Children’s Toys

Finally, we can make more room for our life by getting rid of those outdated and unplayed with children’s toys. While parents may hold sentimental value to the toys (like my mother does) we don’t need to store them under our beds or in our closets. Put them in a bin and place them in a storage unit. That way, they will remain pristine and undamaged so that you can pass them down to your grandchildren when the time comes. We aren’t promising that they’ll play with them the way your kids did, but it’s worth a shot!

After you try living with less for a while, we’re sure that you’ll start living a more fulfilled and meaningful life. Your lack of stuff will give more space to spend time with your loved ones and pursue passions that you have. The Lockup Self Storage offers great services to store all of your items while testing out your minimalistic lifestyle. Try renting a self storage unit at www.thelockup.com today.

 

 

 

 

 

Source:

1https://www.becomingminimalist.com/sample-living-with-less/

Temporary Housing Survival Guide

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How Self Storage Can Help You Manage the Stress of Temporary Housing

Moving is Hectic

It’s time consuming and many people absolutely loathe the process. Having to sort through every room and meticulously pack up all of your personal belongings only to haul them off to another place to be unpacked seems monotonous. It is stressful, but it must be done. This is especially true when you start to move in your later years of life – after you’ve started a family and accumulated more possessions than you know what to do with. Life changes from moving yourself to moving an entire herd of people, and while it is straightforward, it’s still a pain.

Most people believe that the moving process is easy. You go from point A to point B, packing and unpacking. Unfortunately, it’s not always that easy.

Sometimes, we get stuck in temporary housing in between moves. This leaves us feeling a little helpless (and homeless) while we try to adjust to life outside of our homes we had come to know so well. It can be frustrating, but also inevitable. You may face yourself needing temporary housing for a variety of different reasons. Some of them being relocation, relationships coming to an end, building your dream home or even internships in new cities. Regardless of what your situation is, just remember that you will survive temporary housing!

If you happen to find yourself getting stuck in the undefined limbo that is temporary housing, we’ve put together a few tips to help you through it.

Finding the Right Temporary Home

Finding the right temporary home can be difficult. It all depends on how many people are involved, if there are family pets joining the party and the length of time that you’re going to need temporary housing. In addition, budget will obviously come into play. Regardless of your needs, there is something that will work for you. In fact, there are a surprising amount of options in the short-term housing world, more than you probably would have thought!

Some options are as follows:

Vacation Rentals

We don’t mean packing up all of your things and moving to the tropics while you wait, but some vacation rentals can double as temporary housing options. Specifically, look at websites like Airbnb and HomeAway. Both of these options allow users to browse through an extensive collection of listings that include numerous different types of housing. You aren’t stuck in a lease and make all of your payments through a secure website – so no dealing with impossible landlords or pesky leasing agencies. When you are browsing, be sure to find one that offers rentals that could be extended or that can be booked for months at a time. This will save you the hassle of having to move from one property to the next.

If you are single, renting a room can also be an option that could save you money and open you up to meeting some new people in a potentially unfamiliar area! Check out the listings on the popular sites above.

Another option that is gaining popularity in the online rental world is Sublet.com. This is essentially the same as Airbnb and HomeAway, but provides an option for securing a short-term lease or even an open lease. This helps provide flexibility without the anxiety of potentially having to leave before you move into your forever home. Again, it depends on your personal situation, but these are great resources to use when browsing your options.

Extended Stay Hotels

Another popular option is utilizing extended stay hotels. It’s easy, convenient and provides a ton of additional amenities. It’s practically the same as staying in a hotel room, however the rates are usually cheaper for longer periods of time and the rooms come equipped with the essentials you need for long periods away from home. In addition, most of these hotels are pet friendly since they know that you would never think of leaving your four legged children behind.

Extended stay hotels are also a fun option if you have children. It’s like a mini-vacation!

Apartments

In addition to newer online renting options, we can also fall back on trusty apartment guides to find temporary housing. You can search places based off of how long you plan on staying and move into an apartment that is perfect for everything you need. Both fully furnished and non-furnished options are available. The bonus here (in comparison to vacation rentals) is that you’ll be moving into a vacant apartment rather than someone else’s home.

Temporary Houses

The same idea goes for temporary houses. In fact, there is a website, Short Term Housing, that takes all of the guesswork out of everything. If you are tired of searching, planning, packing, moving and negotiating this is the perfect website for you. They specialize in handling the entire process of getting you into your temporary home. From leases, deposits and moving dates a professional consultant works with you to secure everything with the third parties involved. They work within your preferences as well as your budget, so you can pass some of the stress onto someone else’s plate for once!

Pack Strategically

Regardless of what your situation is that moves you to temporary housing, chances are you’re still going to be moving out of your previous home. That means that you’ll still need to pack everything up and get it organized for storage. Depending on the type of temporary housing that you will be moving into, we recommend that you only bring the essentials along.

If you will be renting a fully furnished apartment/home or staying at a hotel with reasonable extended stay prices, then you will have all of the essentials in your kitchen, living room and bedroom. Some places may even have a bathroom that is stocked with towels and appliances. Take some time to look through your options and when you decide on a place, do a walk through. Does it have everything you’ll need? If so, only pack the essentials for your temporary home. It will reduce the stress of packing, unpacking, repeat. Trust us, it gets old fast!

If you happen to move into a non-furnished temporary home, try out the minimalistic approach. Only pack furniture that you will need – think bed, sofa, kitchen table, etc. Think of what you use daily and bring that rather than moving in every single piece of furniture you own. It will make a world of difference when it’s time to move into your forever home.

Everything else that you have packed that won’t be accompanying you to your short-term rental can go into storage. When you pack things strategically, by room or by use, it is easy to get if the need arises. It will also make moving into your new home a breeze. Find a great storage unit at The Lock Up Self Storage for all of your needs.

Explore

Once you’ve moved into your new temporary home, it might feel a little bit weird. You know that you’re not going to be staying here forever, so you feel stuck. Not quite at home but also not quite without one. We recommend using this time to get up and get outside. Do some exploring and spend some quality time with your family outside of the house.

Getting outside and exploring is a great way to not only relieve some of the stress that comes with moving, but it is also a perfect way to get to know your new surroundings. This is especially true if you are moving to a new city! Find your new favorite coffee shop and learn how to navigate the streets around your house. Maybe there is a great new health club or beautiful parks close by, go and find them. Whatever will make you the happiest, don’t be afraid to give it a try. Anything is better than cooping yourself up and waiting for your forever home.

Make it Your Own

Moving into a temporary home can feel… well… weird. You’re no longer surrounded by all of your favorite mementos or comforts and you won’t be living there all that long. While most of your things will likely be in your self storage unit, you can still add a touch of “home” to your temporary housing. Try packing a few pictures or your favorite scented candles. Add a few flowers to some of the rooms and you’ll notice a huge difference! These small details can help you feel more at ease during your transition.

Whatever you decide to do, just remember that it is only temporary. Whether you find yourself in a short-term leased apartment or renting out a vacation home, try and enjoy this time and don’t stress too much. You don’t have to absolutely love it, but make sure it’s something you’re comfortable with for at least a few months.

Regardless of your situation – if you’re traveling for an extended period of time for work, in the process of creating your dream home or going through a major transition in life, The Lock Up Self Storage is here to help. Find one of our conveniently located self storage facilities near you by visiting www.thelockup.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Get Your Home Ready for Fall

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Getting House Ready for Fall

Things to Think About – Getting Your Home Ready for Fall

Everybody loves fall. It’s that time of the year where the air begins to change and colors burst throughout the neighborhoods. It brings about a certain feel in your home and reminds you that the holidays are inching closer every day. It’s a time for family, friends and celebrations. It’s hard not to smile as you watch your family enjoying the brisk air and falling leaves and even though it gets colder outside, it always feels warmer inside. While these feelings can lead you to put some responsibilities aside, it’s important to remember to take care of things around your home. That’s why we recommend getting your home ready for fall while it’s still nice out.

Everybody knows that during fall, temperatures begin to drop and days get shorter and shorter. It is a reminder that winter is just around the corner. This is why it is important to take advantage of the last days of summer in order to get your home ready for fall and the harsh winter months that follow. We encourage you to take care of a few little things while you can in order to save yourself some hassle (and discomfort) down the road. Preparing for fall can make a huge difference for you, your family and even your home.

While most of the things you can do to prepare are easy to handle on your own, if you feel like you need some help never be afraid to call a professional. Regardless of whether you decide to DIY or hire someone, here are a few steps that we recommend you take in order to get your home ready for fall.

1. Protect Your Summer Furniture

One of the best things about summer is the chance to spend time outdoors with your friends and family. We spend hours barbequing outside with friends and family, trying to soak up all of the sun and warmth that we can. We invest in patio furniture, yard games and expensive grills. We love our outdoor patio accessories, which is why we need to protect them when the weather gets harsh.

We recommend moving everything to a weatherproof storage unit, especially if you don’t have enough space in your home. It’s a small investment considering the price of furniture, grills and all of your favorite summer gear. Storing your things properly is the perfect way to make everything last for years to come. You can check out some of our storage units at The Lockup in order for fast and easy solutions to all of your storage needs.

2. Check Your Roof

Your roof is your home’s first line of defense and should never be neglected. Doing a visual inspection is an easy way to avoid costly repairs or uncomfortable nights during the fall and winter. If you don’t, you risk having to deal with leaky roofs and high-energy bills until the weather is warm enough to have them safely fixed.

Check the shingles to make sure that they are not damaged, loose or missing. If you see signs of mold, make sure to get it taken care of before the rain and cold sneak up on you. You should also check inside your attic for any holes or visible damage. If you need help with your inspection, or if you find anything that needs attention, don’t be afraid to call a professional.

3. Pay Attention to Your Yard

Your yard is one of the first things that people see. It helps set the stage for your home, inside and out. When spring comes, and it’s time to start landscaping again, it’s important to have prepared properly to save time, money and your sanity.

The first thing to do is make sure you remove any chance for pipes to freeze. Drain your hoses and disconnect them from the main water source, then shut the water source off. You should also shut off any faucets that are housed outside and drain your sprinkler system.

This time of the year is also a great time to give your trees, bushes and shrubs one last trimming before the leaves fall and the snow comes. It will help you decrease the amount of maintenance you need to do once fall hits and make it easier to pick back up when spring comes. Fertilizing your lawn before fall and winter using a special fall fertilizer can help minimize the damage that winter causes. Simply ask your local gardening center for their recommendations.

One other thing that you can do to help make things easier is to put your yard equipment that you won’t be using into storage. Any flowerpots, gardening supplies or hoses can be transferred to a storage unit in order to keep clutter to a minimum. Putting these things into storage helps make more space for things that matter during the holidays. We recommend emptying and cleaning any gardening supplies before storing them for the easiest transitions in the spring.

4. Give Your Gutters Some Attention

As you inch towards colder weather, it’s important to remember the damage that water can have on your home. This is especially important as the weather begins to change and the leaves begin to fall.

When leaves start falling, your gutters and downspouts can get clogged. This can cause water to collect in your gutters and will lead to a much higher likelihood of damage. When water can’t make it away from your home, it will start to seep through any small holes or cracks. This means that the more water that collects around your home or on your roof, the more likely that it will end up finding a way inside.

When you allow leaves to gather, you are also creating a perfect nesting ground for potentially damaging pests. Once the weather gets colder, they will try and find a way into your attic and can cause a lot of internal damage. This is why we recommend taking the time (even though we know how time consuming it can be) to clean your gutters regularly before and throughout fall. You can also find some different products online or at your local hardware store that can be installed to prevent the backup of leaves while still allowing water to pass through.

5. Change Up Your Décor

One of the best things about fall is the decorating that comes with it. Warm colors and holiday décor begin to emerge and makes your home feel welcoming and full of love. With all of the new decorations you’ll need to make room for, you’ll want to store your summer and spring belongings.

In order to organize everything and keep it out of the way, you can always rent a storage unit! This is especially important if you don’t have as much storage space in your home as you’d like. Removing any non-seasonal clutter helps your fall décor stand out and gives everything else a little bit more room to make an impact.

Renting a storage unit also allows you to put away your summer clothes to make more room for the warm sweaters and winter coats.

6. Interior Maintenance

One thing that can completely ruin the feeling of fall is having a cold home or a high-energy bill. Make sure that your home is well insulated before the weather hits to avoid expensive repairs and uncomfortable nights. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, gaps in caulk and weather-stripping can account for a 10% rise in your energy bills1.

All you need to do is check the caulking around any windows or doors to make sure there are no cracks or gaps that could allow air to get in or out. An easy trick to do this is to take a candle and slowly move it around the edges of windows and doors. If you see a flicker in the flame, then it is most likely due to a draft from a gap somewhere. You can also check vents that lead to your exterior as well as any outdoor piping.

Another thing that will save you time and frustration is to make sure that if you have central air conditioning, that you winterize it. You might have to cover the unit for winter in order to avoid any long-term damage or store any units that are removable. If you need help, or are unsure of how to do this, stop by your local hardware store and ask a professional.

However you decide to prepare your home for fall, remember that The Lockup offers great services to store your out-of-season things. Remember, you can always rent a self storage unit at www.thelockup.com.

Source:
1 http://www.bhg.com/home-improvement/advice/your-homes-fall-checklist/

Small Space Living: How to Adjust to City Living

City Living

Are you planning on making the move to a metropolitan area? Well, life in the big city is very different from suburban or country life in many ways. The accessibility and convenience of city living can’t be beat. You don’t have to drive for miles to pick up a gallon of milk, you can often walk a block and get most of whatever you need. But in exchange for such convenience, there is a tradeoff with regards to your living space. With so many people concentrated in a small area, living spaces are often more compact than what you may be used to. Living and thriving in a city requires a different mindset that emphasizes purposeful living. Since there’s not much room for clutter in a city apartment or loft, everything must have a purpose and a place. This makes life more orderly and that’s what you need when dealing with a small space so that you don’t get overwhelmed. But not to fret, with a little planning and creative thinking, you can create the ultimate city dwelling to call home sweet home.

Small spaces, while limited in some ways, have a lot of benefits. For example, utilities like power and gas will be much lower than larger spaces, small homes are easier to maintain, and they prevent you from collecting too much clutter, therefore making you a more conscientious shopper because you’ll tend to only buy what you need. Plus, they can be made to be a cozy place that serves as a sanctuary and escape from the busy pace of a city.

The Hunt

Finding the perfect place to nest in can take some time, but if you have a clear idea of what you want, you can make quick work of it. An apartment or loft that has the right “bones” as they say, will provide the perfect backdrop to your new city life. Look for spaces that have a few key elements and the rest will come easy.

High ceilings create a sense of more space and the extra wall space can be used creatively to create storage for items that you don’t need on a daily basis. Lots of windows will also open up a space. Try to find a place with windows that have a view of the outdoors…if you can’t have extra space, you can at least have a pretty view to gaze upon. South facing windows are a plus as you’ll get tons of natural light which will boost your mood.

Many buildings have a communal laundry room, but an even better option is to try to find a place that has compact stackable laundry machines in the unit. They can fit into tiny spaces and then you’ll have one of the most important creature comforts right in your own home.

If you luck out and find an apartment with a balcony, it can serve as a seasonal extra room for you to stretch out, catch some rays and fresh air, and even grow an urban garden. Not able to find a place with a balcony? You can still keep a little bit of nature close by securing a window box for flowers or herbs on the outside or even inside sill of one of your windows.

Choosing an apartment that is close to public transportation will make navigating your new city a breeze. Proximity to good restaurants, coffee spots, grocery and shopping will help to create your sense of new community.

The Right Stuff

There’s no need to be daunted by trying to acclimate to living in a small space because there are lots of design ideas that already exist. Let’s start with furniture. Many furniture designers and stores have entire collections dedicated to small space living. Such furniture is often a little smaller in design, does double duty, provides extra storage space, or collapses to save space. Examples would be a smaller bistro table set for an eat in kitchen, or you might opt for a loveseat instead of a seven foot long sofa. Choosing a convertible sofa that can serve as a bed for a houseguest or a buffet that serves as a bar for entertaining can save a lot of space and provide extra functionality for you. Ottomans with lids can serve as a coffee table with extra storage inside, decorative folding wall screens can provide privacy or define a space, while nesting coffee tables save space when not in use. There are even beds called Murphy beds, that fold up into a wall so that you can convert your bedroom into an open space that you can use for your yoga practice.

The way you decorate can also have a big impact on a small space. Stay away from using dark colors on walls as they can make a space feel small and suffocating. Instead, opt for bright neutral colors on walls that will keep the space feeling light & airy. Large mirrors placed on walls will create the illusion that your space is larger than it is. Plus, they bounce extra light around, so they’re great for small places that don’t get a lot of natural light.

Some simple ideas that help organize small spaces include using behind the door hooks. Place them in bathrooms for towels, use them in bedrooms for robes, belts, or the jeans you want to wear again. Putting garbage cans inside the cabinet under the kitchen sink is helpful too, as it’s convenient when cooking, doesn’t’ take up any floor space and can help keep odors under control.

Converting closets into living space is a popular tactic as well. It may seem counterintuitive to not use closets as storage at first. But remember that small space living requires a different mindset where every inch, every space has a specific purpose. No space is considered wasted. Many people opt to use a small closet as a home office. Place a small desk inside and shelving on the walls to replicate a mini cubicle. The bonus is that when you finish your work, you can close the door so that your home is a home again. Other creative uses of closets are to make cozy reading nook, or transform it into a baby changing station. As baby grows, the closet can then return to its original purpose.

Another creative solution is to place a tall console table behind your sofa with chairs tucked in. This can serve as makeshift dining room table where lots of activities usually happen such as crafting, coffee talk, homework, or eating meals while watching tv.

Make It Your Own

If you’re buying your new apartment, condo or loft, you might be more willing to make some bigger changes to it than if you are renting. There are some easy home modifications that will help your new home feel more organized and livable.

Simple DIY changes such as mounting floating shelves can really change a space. Use shelves in bathrooms and kitchens for organizing items, or in living rooms to display knick knacks and books. Corners are often ignored and walked by. But with a few floating shelves, they can serve as a curio collection display. A corner shelf mounted on the wall can also serve as a bedside table if your room is tight on space.

Curtains are for more than just windows…they can work as walls too. Curtains add an element of color to any decor that can be easily changed, plus, when used correctly, they provide the functionality of creating a separate space. Mount decorative curtain rods across a room or doorway and use curtains with grommet tops so that they’ll slide open and closed easily. This design element can separate living from sleeping areas, work from living areas, or divide a kid’s room. It can also help to keep a space warmer or cooler if you use thermally insulated curtain panels.

A larger job such as removing overhead kitchen cabinets in favor of shelving for your pantry items, dishes and glasses can create a more open feeling and cut down on space wasting cabinet doors. All your items are visible, so you’ll be more inclined to keep them tidy and using matching sets for your dish and glassware can make for a pleasing visual aesthetic.  

A dishwasher that’s hidden with custom cabinetry is a way to have a modern luxury while maintaining a clean look which makes a small kitchen feel more unified, less disjointed.

Another helpful change to your space would be to build a small storage closet into an existing wall in between the studs. This is a perfect place to store unsightly items like brooms, mops and cleaning supplies. You must use an interior wall as exterior walls are meant for insulation, and be sure the wall is clear of any air ducts or electrical wires. Space between studs typically measures 14.5 inches wide and 3.5 -4.25 inches deep, not a huge storage area, but every inch counts in a small living space.

Self Storage To The Rescue

Of course, you probably have items that simply cannot fit into your small city apartment or loft no matter how crafty you get. Seasonal playthings like beach toys (boogie boards, paddle boards, picnic baskets or coolers), or holiday decorations take up a lot of space and are not needed very often, so you certainly don’t want them cluttering up your limited living area. Check to see if the building has additional storage available in the basement. Some buildings have small storage units for tenants. If that’s not an option, you can always visit www.thelockup.com and easily secure an affordable self storage unit.

Step By Step Self Storage Tips

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Woman Packing Boxes for Self Storage Unit
Woman Packing Boxes for Self Storage Unit

If you’re new to the self storage realm, it’s important to know the tried and true ways to make the most of your self storage experience before you get started. We’ve been in the game for a long while (The Lock Up started in 1976), and we’ve learned a thing or two in that time that we’d like to impart to any of you just starting on your self storage journey. Let’s start with how to choose the self storage solution that’s best for you.

SELECTING YOUR SELF STORAGE UNIT

Location, location, location

This is a key choice in your self storage experience. You don’t want to have to drive out into the middle of nowhere for your stored items when you need them. The Lock Up has strategically placed facilities in centrally located hubs of metropolitan activity. This allows our tenants to be able to include accessing their stored belongings into their daily routine. Drop kids off at school, pick up dry cleaning, drop off the box of summer clothes at The Lock Up, go to the market. This is how we contribute to an easy daily errand life flow. Visit the Locations section of our website to find The Lock Up’s facility that’s nearest to you.

Choose Wisely

Once you’ve found the right facility for you, the next decisions are what type of unit you need and what size should it be.

Depending on the facility, The Lock Up has a few choices when it comes to the type of unit you can select. There are drive up units, units inside the facilities and some locations have mezzanine units or even wine storage. What you need to store will dictate this choice.

You must also consider what size unit will suit your needs. We offer a handy online guide to show you how much stuff can fit into our available sizes. You will see all these options and easily be able to secure your storage unit directly on our website, simply select the location you’re interested in and it’s all laid out for you.

One of the biggest concerns a new tenant may have is whether or not to secure a climate controlled unit. We say yes! For that reason, all Lock Up Self Storage facilities have expertly tuned climate controlled units that provide the perfect storage environment free of fluctuating temperatures and humidity levels. Yes, there are some facilities that have options that are not fully climate controlled, but often even those have, at the bare minimum, enough heat throughout a winter to provide protection to your belongings.

When making these choices, we highly recommend that you think into the future. Consider what might be going on in your life 6 months, a year, two years down the line. If you are planning on growing your family, if you are planning on downsizing, you might end up needing more space than you currently do, or needing a fully climate controlled unit to protect your sensitive belongings in the future. It’s best to secure a unit that will suit your needs now and into the future. Remember, with such affordable rental rates, you can save yourself the hassle of having to move all of your belongings from one unit to another in the midst of a big life change.

MOVING INTO YOUR SELF STORAGE UNIT

Box It Up

When prepping all your belongings that you want to move into your unit, we cannot stress enough how important it is to pack items properly.

Boxes are the best method for containing your belongings. It doesn’t matter whether you use cardboard boxes or plastic bins, you just want to be sure that you have boxes that can be carried easily and are sturdy enough to be stacked on top of each other. This will keep your unit organized and accessible. Clear plastic bins are helpful because they allow you to see what’s inside, however you should never rely on that alone. Be sure to clearly label any and all boxes that you intend on storing. Use some masking tape and a permanent marker on the outside of every box and write the contents on it.

If you are in need of specialized boxes for items such as mirrors or glassware, you can visit your Lock Up facility and find all your packing needs. Boxes, bubble wrap, tape, you need it…we have it.

When packing your boxes, you want to place heavier items on the bottom, lighter items on top. Fill boxes fairly snugly so that items don’t jostle about during transportation. And be sure to add padding to the top before sealing up a box, especially when it comes to cardboard boxes. This will prevent boxes from caving in when you stack them. If you have lots of books, be sure to pack them flat in smaller boxes so that the boxes aren’t too heavy to lift.

As with most things, there are exceptions to the rule: sometimes boxes aren’t the perfect solution. For example, if you’re storing fluffy winter bedding, you’d be wasting space if you put that into a box. Instead, opt for a vacuum sealed storage bag. These will compress items such as pillows, comforters, and winter sweaters into flat, compact units that you can stack on top of one another.

Take Stock

Before you load everything into your storage unit, it’s a wise idea to make a list of every single thing that you’ll be storing. While although all of our facilities boast top notch security systems with 24 hour video monitoring and electronic coded access, nobody can prevent natural disasters from occurring. And if a disaster should hit the facility where your belongings are stored, you will need some documentation of what was in your storage unit for insurance reasons.

This is where The Lock Up Self Storage app shines. Our app that’s available on iTunes and Google Play for free, has a unique feature that allows you to use your phone to snap a photo of an item and take notes about it as well. This is an incredibly easy and efficient way to keep all of the documentation of your stored items in one location that’s literally at your fingertips. Other perks of our app are that it allows you to manage your bills, and even store your access codes to the facilities where your items live…which sure beats trying to find that little slip of paper that you wrote them on! If you want to learn more about the app, read this post.

Pack Right

Now that you’ve got all the logistics of your unit figured out and your stuff is boxed up and documented, it’s time to move it into your climate controlled storage unit. This is where the real fun begins…well, that’s what we think anyway…moving and storage is kind of our thing.

Just like the proper technique of packing up a moving truck, packing a self storage unit requires a plan that promises to make things easier and safer for you.

There’s an easy system to remember: large in back, small in front; heavy on bottom, light on top. You’ll want to move the largest and tallest items like mattresses, sofas, or dressers into your unit first and place them at the back. Furniture sliders placed underneath heavy items can really help you move things around in your unit.

If you have tables or other furniture that can be disassembled, take them apart and store them together (be sure to bag up screws and tape them to the item so you can reassemble them later). This will help maximize your storage area.  Another good idea is to use all available storage areas like drawers in dressers. Just be sure to note where things are in your storage documentation. Place all your small items like lamps and boxes at the front of your unit.

Leave a Walkway

As you move items into your storage unit, you’ll want to be sure to leave an aisle down the center. No, this walkway is not wasted space…it’s invaluable. You’ll find it so much easier to be able to walk right into your unit and access the items in the back. Also, it provides a way for you to be able to see what’s in your unit on either side. If you placed an aisle on the side of your unit, you’d be wasting valuable storage space against a stable wall, not to mention that you’d have limited access to the items that are stored within the width of your unit. Providing a clear path in the center of your storage area will prevent a dangerous situation of having to climb over objects to get what you want, or worse, having to remove the contents of half your storage unit to get to them.

We at The Lock Up hope that these tips and tricks help those of you who are just starting to investigate what it takes to have a positive self storage experience. We know that it can be daunting to face all of the options available, so we wanted to break the process down into bite sized pieces that demystify the process. And we know that everyone relies heavily on technology these days, so we’ve made sure that both our website and our mobile app are designed to help you at every step of the way.

Whether you’re just starting to search for a good storage solution, or if you’ve already secured your Lock Up lease, don’t forget that we have incredible teams of people at each of our facilities that are there to help with any questions or concerns you may have.

See you soon!

Staging Your Home to Sell for Top Dollar

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Staging Home for Top Dollar

Stage and Sell Your Home for Top Dollar

Moving can be stressful. From packing and transporting your entire life to the process of selling and buying a new house, there’s a lot to be done. However, there’s one thing that you should prioritize in this process – staging your home. Staging your home simply means using creativity and mindfulness in order to transform your home into something that is attractive to a wide variety of different buyers. It helps houses sell faster and often for more money than when homeowners choose not to stage.

In fact, almost all realtors admit that home staging has an impact on prospective buyers and even buyers say that it helps them visualize themselves living there in the future.

Whether or not you want to hire a professional is up to you, but it is absolutely a strong investment. This is due to the fact that it is hard for homeowners to look at their space objectively after living there for so many years. Professionals provide a fresh pair of eyes and are well trained in knowing how to view things from the buyer’s perspective. Professional home stagers are also commonly well versed in marketing as well as interior photography, so they provide a complete package for optimal results.

Regardless of whether or not you decide to hire a professional to stage your home, the following tips for selling your home for top dollar can help you get a better understanding of what you need to do. Here is our list on how to stage your home to sell for top dollar:

1. First Impressions
The first thing to consider is working on a strong first impression. After you stage your home, take pictures and create a strong listing, people will begin showing interest. Oftentimes, listings lead to buyers wanting to know more about the community and wanting to get a quick feel of the home.

That’s why many families usually follow up their interest after viewing the listing by driving past the house to get a better feel for it. This is their first impression of the house in person, so you want to make sure that it is well taken care of.

Some ways to do this are by planting flowers, keeping your lawn mowed and your shrubbery trimmed, as well as weeding and making sure your yard is leaf-free. You should also consider repainting your front door and replacing any tarnished finishing. If your mailbox has seen better days, replace that as well.

Since you want to make your prospective buyers feel at home the second they walk in the door, you need to make each and every room count. If you are moving forward and staging your home without a professional, consider attending a few different model homes or open houses in order to get a good feel about what a professionally staged home looks like.

2. De-clutter
The next aspect in staging your home is de-cluttering. As a rule of thumb, try to eliminate 50% of the clutter that you have throughout the house. It makes your home seem smaller and more unorganized, which can have negative effects on prospective buyers. Remove your knickknacks, area rugs, throw blankets, personal toiletries, and refrigerator magnets/pictures. The one benefit of this is that you are able to break up the packing process!

You’ll also want to remove enough clothing from your closet so that when you hang a garment it does not touch another one. It will make your closet space look larger, more sophisticated and way more appealing. The same idea goes for your kitchen counters and cabinets. Remove all appliances and only keep appealing designer décor visible. Pack up all of your dishes except for one matching set. Again, the less cluttered, the more spacious and inviting things look.

3. Clean
This step cannot be stressed enough. Your home needs to be cleaner than it’s ever been in order for the best possible reactions. If you’ve never hired a professional cleaning service, this is the one time to splurge. It is a strong investment, as they are professionals in getting out stains and cleaning those overlooked areas. It is also a strong idea to consider getting your windows, inside and outside, professional cleaned. If a buyer feels like your home is not clean, chances are they won’t make an offer. No one wants to purchase a home that they will have to deep clean before moving their stuff in! Believe us when we tell you that a clean home sells faster and for more money than a dirty one.

Another thing to consider is your carpet. If it’s beyond the point of no return and is full of stains, then you might want to consider replacing it before putting your home on the market. People have a hard time picturing what a room would look like if something were different. That’s why it is much more successful to replace stained carpets than offering a “re-carpeting fee.”

Also, avoid cooking anything that will leave a strong lingering odor in your home before staging. Baking cookies, however, is a great way to create that “homey” smell that welcomes everyone.

4. Repairs
Another important aspect of staging your home to sell for top dollar is to actually repair things that are broken. Getting things fixed prior to putting your house on the market is the best way to convey a positive message to buyers. If buyers come in during staging and notice that there is a long list of repairs that need to be made, they will focus on what needs to be fixed and how much it would cost rather than picturing a future there.

If a buyer does move forward on making an offer and there is a long list of repairs, they are going to try and lower the asking price considerably. Other buyers might communicate that they will only make an offer once the repairs are done, which means you’ll need to do them anyway. It’s best to get them taken care of ahead of time so that everyone can focus on the positive aspects of your home.

5. De-personalize
This is another crucial aspect of staging your home. You need to completely de-personalize everything so that the buyer can look at the blank canvas and visualize what their life will look like in the open space. As contradicting as it sounds, when you de-personalize your home, it actually fosters a stronger “at home” feeling for the buyer.

Remove anything that potential buyers might not identify with, which means do not keep anything religious, political or overly personal in your home. You need to create an emotional connection with the buyers and if you display your opinions it will eliminate a large group of people who might not identify with you.

6. Modernize
Make sure that your home’s style isn’t stuck in the 80’s. Reflecting the current market trends is a great way to appeal to buyers. Focus on clean lines, scale, rhythm and form in order to create a wow factor that has people yearning to move in1.

An easy way to do this is to go for symmetry in your home. It is pleasing to the eye and, for some reason, calms people down and makes them feel more at home.

7. Pay Attention to Lighting
The lighting of a home can be a huge selling point. In fact, it has been known that brighter rooms tend to have a higher response rate from prospective buyers1. It makes a room feel warmer and more inviting than a room that is dark and dreary. Professional home stagers recommend keeping all of the lights in your house on during staging. It helps to give people an uplifting feel, which is why all professional open houses and models are always so bright.

8. Neutrality
Finally, focus on neutral colors. If you have any crazy colors painted on the walls, people might not be able to visualize living there. Neutral colors, on the other hand, are inviting and are shown to help houses sell faster.

Staging your home is an important part of the selling process. It allows buyers to visualize themselves and their futures in your home, thus increasing the price and speed of the sale. In addition to more money with faster selling times, homeowners who stage their homes tend to feel more relaxed, as the amount of interested buyers is usually much higher!

When you’re in the process of de-cluttering, consider using The Lockup’s services to store your extra stuff. You can always rent a self storage unit at www.thelockup.com.

Sources:

 

1http://www.homestagingresource.com/pdf/Public_Staging_and_Selling_for_Top_Dollar_Guide.pdf

The Lock Up: Remodeler’s Assistant

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12433521 - painter working at door with white paint

When the weather is nice, it’s time to make home renovations that you simply cannot do during winter. For example, nobody wants to open all the windows to let a freshly painted room air out…and many remodeling jobs require use of adhesives or caulking that cannot cure in cold temperatures. Due to the possibility of damage to furniture, wall hangings, and clothing from activities like scraping, sanding and painting, the best option is to move everything out so that you don’t have to worry about workers wreaking havoc on your belongings. But then you suffer the headache of dealing with a constant game of juggling items throughout the home when one room is being worked on. And what if you have a number of rooms you want to fix? Well, we have the solution: a Lock Up Self Storage unit.

The Lock Up is the perfect assistant to your remodeling jobs. We have storage units that are climate controlled, which means that your belongings will be stored in the perfect conditions (even for delicate items or electronics!). Our facilities are secure and use 24 hour security monitoring to ensure that your items are safe while staying with us.

If you are having items sent to you, such as new window dressings or custom built pieces, you can arrange to have them shipped to your Lock Up location instead of your home. This will bring peace of mind that your new items are not sitting unattended on your porch all day while you’re at work. Just be sure to let the manager of your location know to expect a delivery and you’re good to go.

No matter how large or small your project is, we have a storage unit that will fit your belongings. Also, no matter how long you plan on your remodeling job taking, we can accommodate your stay. New leases are month to month, so start with a unit that’s big enough to store all the items in the room you want to work on first. If you decide to go ahead and re-do another room, simply extend your Lock Up lease! We are here to help you!

Visit www.thelockup.com today to find and secure your perfect remodeling assistant self storage unit. We often have great deals available only online, and you can even complete the whole transaction online!

Spotlight: The Lock Up Self Storage, Bonita Springs, Florida

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The Lock Up Self Storage is proud of the growing family of locations in Florida. With seven facilities, and one more on the horizon, we strive to serve the residents and businesses of Florida with clean, safe, and secure self storage units. Today, let’s take a closer look at the facility located at 27661 South Tamiami Trail, in Bonita Springs.

This facility was constructed with the true Floridian and snowbirds in mind. Basically, anyone who loves the beach and RV lifestyle will be thrilled to know that this facility provides a unique solution for tenants that enjoy the water. The Bonita Springs facility is located next to the Imperial River and there is a public boat launch right next door, so all tenants have to do is stop into their unit, grab their gear and head out for a great day on the river. With ceilings that are 10’ high, tenants can store fishing gear, canoes, kayaks and paddles with ease.

And of course, you can expect all the other benefits of a Lock Up Self Storage such as great security, climate controlled units, and helpful, friendly staff.

Features:

  • Special building that can house RV’s and boats
  • Carpeted Hallways and Secure Self Storage Units
  • Climate Controlled Storage Units
  • Electronic Coded Access
  • Full Size Passenger Elevator
  • Motion Sensitive Lighting
  • Security Camera Monitoring

Areas Served:

  • Fort Meyers Beach
  • San Carlos Park
  • Estero
  • Vineyards

Reviews:

  • 5 Stars: “We’ve been with Lock Up Self Storage in Bonita Springs for three years now. They have been fantastic. We chose them because of their new, clean, well run facility and their competitive pricing — especially for a climate controlled unit.” Joan Vander, Google reviewer
  • 5 Stars: “This facility surpassed our expectations.  Carpeting throughout the storage areas, climate controlled, very clean. Carts for moving things moved easily.  Staff very accomodating and pleasant both on the phone and in person.  We were quite pleased.” Sally Mobley, Google reviewer
  • 5 Stars: “Fantastic, clean and the people working there are very professional….” Ronald S., Yelp reviewer

Virtual Tour

To “look” around within the tour: click and drag on images below; on mobile devices, use your finger. To “walk” through the space, double click on the white arrows.

Front Desk
Notice all of the helpful moving accoutrement available to you!

Freight Elevators and Handcarts
We are set up for an easy move!

Covered Loading Area
You’re protected from rain and sun while you move!

Special Storage for RVs & Boats
Ten foot high ceilings for your fun toys!

Visit the Bonita Springs, FL page on our site to secure your self storage unit today!

A “Shout Out” to Bob Soudan, Lock Up Co-Founder

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The Lock Up Self Storage is a family owned business that was founded in 1976 in Glenview, Illinois. We are proud to serve the residents and businesses of Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, and thrilled that we have grown to be able to provide our services to several additional states as well.

The Chicago Tribune recently featured our co-founder, Bob Soudan, in a segment called “Shout Out” that introduces their readers to their fellow community members. Soudan, a long time resident of Glencoe, talked about the moment that led him to begin developing self storage facilities for those in need of extra space here in Illinois, what people store in their units, and what a pleasure it has been to grow the business into the 40 Lock Up locations now operating across the country.

You can read the full interview here.

We at The Lock Up are very proud of what Bob Soudan’s efforts have created and we strive to continue to grow in ways that help and support the communities that we have the honor of serving. Whether it’s helping a small business grow by housing extra inventory, a family in the midst of a big move, or by hosting a events such as the “Safe Communities” events in Florida that introduce the local community to the law enforcement that serves them, The Lock Up is dedicated to having a positive impact. Each Lock Up location is a member of our larger family and together we hope to make a difference in people’s lives.

If you are in need of a self storage unit, be sure to visit our website, www.thelockup.com  to find the perfect location and storage unit for your needs.

Lock Up Self Storage Spotlight: Naples, Florida

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The Lock Up Self Storage has seven facilities in Florida. Today, we’re going to focus on one of the locations in Naples, Florida. This location is conveniently situated near the Waterside Shops on arguably one of the busiest streets in Naples. The address is 1200 Pine Ridge Road. Easily accessible for nearly any car or truck, this state-of-the-art facility is fully air conditioned, carpeted and climate control. Not only does it boast climate controlled and drive up units, it truly caters to Naples’ residents by providing wine storage as well. Plus…free move in truck with every new lease!

Features:

  • Carpeted Hallways and Secure Self Storage Units
  • Climate Controlled Storage Units
  • Electronic Coded Access
  • Full Size Passenger Elevator
  • Motion Sensitive Lighting
  • Security Camera Monitoring
  • Wine Storage – learn more about our wine storage methods here.

Areas Served:

  • Pine Ridge
  • Pelican Bay
  • Park Shore
  • Vineyards

Reviews:

  • 5 Stars: “This location has great customer service! Super clean!!! I feel really safe here when I need access after hours. The manager and office team  is extremely attentive and answer my questions promptly. I highly recommend to anyone seeking storage in Naples area, plus they offer wine storage (just in case)!” – Jennifer A., Yelp reviewer
  • 5 Stars: “I have had the BEST experience at pine ridge road lock up!  Ryan and Les have been most accommodating and answered any and all questions that I had. I have two storage units at the lock up and never had a problem using my code after hours. Les and Ryan keep the facility in top shape (carpets clean, carts lined up, dollys available).  I really appreciate the care and effort they put into their jobs. I will be a long term customer!” – M Couret, Google reviewer
  • 5 Stars: “I have been a customer for five years. This is an exemplary facility. Very clean, safe, climate controlled, well maintained. Friendly, competent management.” – Paul Johansen, Google reviewer

Virtual Tour

Front Desk

Wine Storage Area

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