Don’t Store Your Clutter
If you are thinking about renting a self-storage unit you are probably a bit of a hoarder; that’s fine, so am I, and I like to keep all those things that I might have a use for one day. I see it as my own personal recycling effort. Why spend money on something new when I could re-use something I already have? Many of us also like to keep things we have inherited or been given as a present but we might not necessarily want them on show in our home. So self-storage is a great idea for people like us, but if you want to keep your costs to a minimum then just make sure you are storing items that you genuinely want to keep and not clutter or rubbish. In fact, what is the difference between clutter and rubbish? Very little…
Large self-storage units are, obviously more expensive than smaller ones so it makes sense to clear out as much clutter as you can first. After all, what’s the point of paying to store rubbish? So sort through all your belongings first and try to sell what you can either through free ads in your local paper or on Ebay. If you have enough stuff you could even do a car boot sale. Anything you can’t sell can be given to charity or recycled or, as a last resort, thrown away.
So remember, a great money saving tip for your self-storage costs is to only store the things you really want to keep so that you can rent the smallest unit possible. Simple really…
One of the most important aspects of packing valuable or fragile belongings is using the right sort of packing boxes; no amount of careful packing will protect your items if the boxes are too flimsy so make sure you use sturdy boxes. Also get plenty of bubble wrap, paper, packing tape and marker pens to label the boxes. Now you are set to follow our top tips on how to pack your stuff so that it arrives at your new home in good condition.
1. Seal the bottom of the packing box before your start.
2. Wrap breakable items like crockery and glassware individually with paper and place on a crumpled paper base, in the bottom of a box with a further layer of crumpled paper above them.
3. Stack plates and other flat breakable items on their side with plenty of card or crumpled paper around them to provide cushioning.
4. Do not stack cups, glasses or bowls inside each other as they are more likely to break.
5. Do not overfill boxes but leave room for plenty of padding on the top and around the sides.
6. Awkward shaped items such as lamps and small electrical equipment should be wrapped in plenty of bubble wrap and padding placed around it to fill the box – you can use towels or linen for this purpose.
7. Glass-framed pictures should be protected with card and bubble wrap and kept away from the sides of the packing box with additional padding such as bubble wrap or towels/linen.
8. Seal each box with packing tape and label it with which room it belongs in with a marker pen. Also write a brief description of the contents.
9. Books and magazines can be extremely heavy when packed in even quite small boxes so make sure boxes of books/magazines do not become too heavy to lift.
Spring is well and truly here at last so it is the perfect time to spring clean you home but that is often harder than it sounds because we all have so much junk cluttering up our space. In an ideal world we would all have enough storage space to store everything we have ever owned but the reality is different and many of us struggle to maintain a clutter-free home. The downside of not having organised storage is that we can never find what we want with cupboards overflowing with clothes, children’s toys, books and just junk that we no longer want or need. But de-cluttering is ironically made harder by all the clutter around us; we can’t see where to start so we just don’t bother. Well, follow these 5 easy steps to help you get started and before you know it you will be well on your way to a tidy, organised home.
If you are brimming with energy and have a relatively small home you might be able to tackle the task in a week-end but realistically it will be easier to spread the task over a number of days – why not set aside a day or just half-a-day per week to do as much as you can until all the clutter has gone.
You will need to be absolutely ruthless when clearing out your wardrobes – if a garment doesn’t fit, or you no longer like it, or you haven’t worn it in the past couple of years then it has to go. Anything in good condition can be donated to charity, otherwise use a clothes recycling bank or just bin it. Special or evening wear that you only wear occasionally are the only exceptions. Make sure every member of the family (children included) go through the same process. If there really are special children’s outfits that you wish to hold on to as a keepsake then put it in a “treasure” box that can be stored in the attic or in a self-storage unit if you don’t have any attic space.
Start by taking everything out of the kitchen cupboards and sorting through each item throwing out the rubbish – you know those tins, jars and packets that are well past their sell-by date. And the cracked, chipped or broken crockery, or the saucepans with broken handles or plastic tubs with no lids – again be ruthless and just bin it.
Once the cupboards are sorted and everything put back in its place start on the worktops – you should hopefully have made some room in the cupboards by now so some of the items usually left on the worktop can now be stored away. Wherever possible store away any item unless it is used every day; the less there is on the kitchen surfaces the easier it will be to keep it clean and tidy.
In the same way that kitchen cupboards accumulate clutter so do bathroom cabinets so start by taking everything out and check the use-by dates. Medicines, sunscreen and cosmetics all have use-by dates so just throw out anything past that date, and the same goes for any hair care or beauty products that you no longer use. Again this should help you to make some space in your bathroom cabinet or cupboard where you can store out of sight the items you do need to keep. And don’t forget to sort through the daily items that you keep on display – are there any old toothbrushes in that mug or used disposable razors? You know what you need to do with them…
4: Magazines, Toys and Stuff
You might need to set aside a whole day to de-clutter general stuff, which could be children’s old school books, old magazines, old or broken toys. Again there may be some treasured children’s items that you will want to store in a “keepsake” box but anything with no real sentimental value needs to go. Persuade your children to help and they can be involved in taking donations of old toys to a charity shop.
Some old magazines are useful to keep and will be read again but many will not so sort them into 2 piles – either re-cycle the ones you don’t want to keep or see if local hospitals or doctor’s surgeries would like them.
Anything else such as old ornaments, pictures, vases, board games etc that you no longer use can similarly be donated to a charity or other institution. Don’t forget to be ruthless or you will find you have done all this hard work for nothing and simply re-arranged your clutter.
5: Loft, Garage & Garden Shed
Finally now that you have cleared your living spaces you will need to tackle the hardest jobs of all – your loft, garage and garden shed. These places are havens for clutter so don’t be tempted to put anything you have cleared out of your living space there as this will only add to the chaos.
Start with the regularly used items such as tools, bikes and car accessories and place that all to one side. Next sort out the seasonal items that you want to keep: Christmas decorations, winter sports gear, suitcases, garden furniture, garden tools etc. If you have storage shelves then organise these items on the shelves; if not, then consider buying some inexpensive shelves to help organise your stuff.
If you don’t have any such storage space at all in your home (any many UK apartments don’t) then consider renting an inexpensive self-storage unit – they can be invaluable in helping you to maintain an organised, clutter-free home.
You might think that self-storage is pretty much the same whatever company you choose and the only differentiator is price. After all every self-storage container, unit or room is fairly standard and they all offer the same amount and type of space. Surely that is all that a facility needs to provide – standard storage space at a good price. To a certain extent this is true but if you have ever had to store your belongings before you will know that there are extras that can make the whole process quicker, easier, more pleasant and, of course, more secure.
There are the basic items you would expect at any facility such as packing boxes, bubble wrap, tape etc. and maybe a padlock if you don’t have your own but what else could make a difference?
Some companies offer to collect you belongings (sometimes for free depending on how long you are renting a unit for), many transporting the storage container to your home if you prefer to load it up yourself, whether that is just to save money or because you simply believe you will take more care with your own stuff.
Depending on what you are storing you can also rent a climate-controlled unit that will protect delicate furniture and fabrics for long-term storage. There’s nothing worse than a damp smelling rug or sofa that has been stored in a standard shipping container located outdoors for a long time – and this isn’t necessarily because damp has entered the container but simply because of the moisture in the air within the container.
If you are considering a facility with several floors of storage rooms then do ensure there are trolleys available, that there is an adequate lift and that your storage room is not too far from a lift.
On the security side the best self-storage in London and other major cities offer 24-hour patrolled sites and keycard entry to prevent theft.
Other extras that some companies offer do not strictly affect there self-storage service but they are just nice to have; for instance, free tea & coffee and a snack machine – carrying boxes is hungry, thirsty work! And even free Wi-Fi in some places if you get withdrawal symptoms from your mobile device or need to check in with work.
Clutter is a consequence of the modern, consumerist lifestyle that we lead. Impulse purchases, a feeling of emotion towards our belongings and a general sense of “need” can lead to hoarding on all sorts of scales, making us uncomfortable in our own homes. Getting rid of our clutter, or at the very least storing it away, can help to balance our minds and refresh our living space, as well as making our homes a lot easier to keep clean and tidy.
If you are planning to begin on a quest to rid your home of unnecessary clutter, there are a few common mistakes to avoid which can see you stumbling at the first hurdle:
- Buying boxes straight away
It can be very tempting to invest in some pretty storage boxes, vintage suitcases and other containers straight away, but until you’ve started the decluttering process, are you not just bringing more ‘stuff’ into your home? Before you decide on what storage you need, you need to go through your house and minimise the amount of ‘stuff’ you have to store, so that these storage pieces are able to do their job. If they don’t fit in the place you need them to go, if they don’t hold what you need them to hold, they will quickly become clutter in their own right!
- Doing it all in a day
There are very few people in the world with the energy, enthusiasm and focus to really spend a whole day organising their home. It’s much better to spend an hour or two on one specific project so you feel motivated to continue rather than burnt out by the process.
- Not finishing what you’ve started
A successful decluttering project will involve making piles of stuff. A pile to throw away, a pile to donate, a pile to go into storage etc. However, once you’ve made these piles, don’t then bag up the stuff and put it somewhere to take to its final destination later on. Take them right away to the charity shop, tip or to the storage unit. You’ll be rewarded with a clear space and the sense that you have really achieved something with this activity.
- Aiming for showhome status
When you’re decluttering, you need to realise that no house is really like the ones you see in catalogues and magazines. Nobody has perfectly organised cupboards or drawers with only the Bible in it. In real life, there will always be pools of untidiness in our otherwise tidy lives. What you should be aiming for is a space that works well, has plenty of storage, a clear system of managing incoming and outgoing items and one which works for you. If you are trying to achieve a look that rivals those created by a team of stylists and marketers for a magazine, then you will always be bitterly disappointed.
Read more about decluttering and moving home …
Clutter has a way of sneaking up on us. The decluttering process is based on five classic organizing principles. Understand these principles and you can declutter your house, your apartment, your office, or even your garage.
Probably the most difficult part of decluttering. Remove what you don’t need. This can mean throw it in the trash, give it away or sell it. You need to be brutal with this, or otherwise you will only be rearranging the clutter. The old rule of thumb is that if you haven’t used an item for two years you can safely let it go. The very brave can cut that down to one year.
Take the survivors of the removal process and group similar items together. This is the very basis of organization itself. It helps you locate everything you need for a particular task in one place. Mail items should be together, working out equipment in the same area, etc. Imagine if your cookware was all over the house, how much do you think that would slow down your cooking?
You need to have easy access to the things you use in your house. This means thinking about the workflow of the space and where you want things to be placed. If you use something often, then it will need to be in the space that you use it and be as close to at hand as possible. If something is hardly used, then it can be placed further away; on a high shelf, in the back of a cabinet or even in the garage.
This is the basic unit of organization; they contain the chaos by keeping your stuff grouped together. You cannot organize without appropriate containers; bookshelves for books, closets for clothes, drawers for underwear.
You can declutter house and home armed with these principles, though it may take a while to get your clutter completely under control without some guidance. Professional organizers have developed decluttering systems that allow you to declutter quickly. Using these professional decluttering methods can cut the time you spend organizing in half or more.
About the Author
Don’t put up with clutter for another second! To find out how you can put an end to clutter by tomorrow => click here.
Joesph Merton is a champion of decluttering and the river of goodness that can be released into your life when you finally make space for it.
Whether you are buying your first home, buying a bigger or smaller property or renting a new place, the fact of the matter (and one of the tallest hurdles to jump) is that we need to get all our belongings from where they are now to somewhere else entirely.
This can be an expensive process, and with the cost of vehicle fuel always on the rise, the price isn’t going to come down in the near future. If you are on a tight budget and need to bring the cost of moving down as low as possible, here are some questions you should be asking yourself to make sure you’re not wasting your cash.
1. What is all this?
Often, when people think about moving, they worry most about the big things that need to go, such as wardrobes, sofas and appliances. However, by far the biggest space guzzler in removal vans is all the boxes and boxes of ‘things’ that we haul around with ourselves. Take a good look around your home and see what you can get rid of now, in order to save some money later. You might even be able to raise some cash by selling items online, or hold a good old fashioned garage sale and try to clear out the clutter.
2. How big is the van?
Getting a cheap quote from a man and van service is fine, but what if you can’t fit all your things in? Similarly, if you decide to hire a van on a self-drive basis and do the move by yourself, you could end up paying much more if you need to keep it for extra days or do the run twice
3. How far am I going?
Moving a few miles away to a neighbouring town will make a self-drive move a fairly appealing prospect financially. However, if you are moving a couple of counties away or further, then you really should look at doing the move all in one go. Extra diesel costs of multiple long journeys in a van as well as the amount of your time that will be sucked up will soon bring the cost of a self move close to the cost of having a big removal firm do it for you.
4. Do you have any…?
Ask around for packing materials and boxes rather than buying them in, as the cost of brand new boxes and sheets of bubble wrap can soon have a significant impact on the cost of your move overall. Do check with your removal company what their standard requirements are, as some will refuse to take boxes that are not up to a certain standard.
5. Can you do any better?
Whatever you are buying, don’t be afraid to ask for a discount. Removal firms, cheap self storage and packaging suppliers are all worth posing the question to, as some do have the flexibility to offer you a better price.
When you’ve moved house, arriving at your new home and turning the key for the first time is a moment of pure excitement. As you step over the threshold, your first instinct will undoubtedly be to run round the house, checking out all the rooms and generally revelling in your new family abode. But before you get too over excited, there are a few things you really should do to make sure you and your family are safe, protected and ready to start off on the right foot.
- Check the condition – Have a quick scout around the house to check for any damage that might have been caused as the previous occupants left. If you are renting then you’ll have a more thorough inventory to do, but at this stage it is easier to spot and record any issues as well as to verify it was not you who caused it. If you find anything concerning, photograph and make a note of it before you move any furniture in.
- Check for what has been left behind – If you agreed to curtains or white goods being left, make sure they are still there. If you find anything you had not expected to be there, contact your estate agent to confirm if they were left by mistake or not.
- Read your meters – You don’t want to be charged for someone elses energy use, so take a reading as you enter the property that you can call in to your energy company (as soon as you find the phone, that is).
- Watch out for hazards – This step is particularly important if you have children or pets in the household, as exposed wires and loose carpet can cause an accident when you least need it.
- Get everyone in a safe place – Put the kids and the animals in a room away from the action, and if you have a ‘spare’ adult on hand, leave them to entertain the confined individuals whilst you get on with the unpacking. If your new home is on a busy road, take extra care to keep vulnerable individuals away from the traffic.
- Identify the rooms – Make certain you know which rooms will be which so your boxes and furniture can quickly make their way to the appropriate area. Allocate a ‘dumping’ space for anything you don’t need straight away and that can be unpacked over the coming days or weeks. Focus on getting beds and sofas set up early on, so you can all crash out when you’re finished unloading the van.
- Introduce yourself – Meeting the neighbours may not be high on your list of priorities when you move to a new home, but it will be easier to do today than at any other time. Let them know if you’ll be blocking their access or view and for how long, as this can help diffuse potential confrontations further down the line.
There are plenty of guides out there describing what you should do when you are involved in a home move, but what about the things you should never do? There are plenty of things that can lead to a minor (or even major) disaster, so have a look at our top 6 things you should never do when moving house.
- Forget where you put the wet washing from the washing machine
When you pack those boxes from the kitchen, try to put something more revealing than just ‘kitchen’ on the outside. If you are stuck moving wet washing, try to have it with your priority box, or at least to have a vague idea where it went. Undoubtedly you’ll be able to find it in a few days, or at least your nose will, but it really isn’t ideal.
- Pack your phone charger
Your mobile phone will be your lifeline in the new house, as invariably the landline provider will have some unavoidable delay in getting your line up and running. Keep the charger in your handbag or glove box of your car, and not at the bottom of a large box, helpfully labelled ‘bedroom’.
- Forget your cat
Cats have a funny way of knowing when something’s going on. They might not be sure if you’re off on holiday, buying new furniture or moving, but they’ll know something is afoot alright. You can count on Kitty to do a disappearing act the very morning of the move, so do your best to shut them in a sealed room from the moment you get up, unless you fancy sitting on the doorstep of your empty house rattling a box of biscuits until the wee small hours.
- Book a van that’s too small
If possible, get your removal company to come and survey your home. It is very difficult for any normal human being to visualise the size of van they need for their move, but for the seasoned professional, they’ll be able to do it.
- Get lost on the way
Your removal company will be less than impressed if they are waiting outside your new home while you are taking the ‘scenic route’. Invest in a sat nav, or as a minimum print out a route finder to the new address.
- Overcrowd your new home
Nothing is worse than tripping over boxes and boxes of stuff you didn’t know you had and probably don’t even want for weeks after a house move. If you aren’t sure what will fit and where it will go, focus on taking your essentials with you in the van, and put some boxes of stuff you won’t need for a while into a cheap self storage unit to give you the breathing space you need.
Moving house yourself, or with a bunch of your friends, is certainly budget friendly, and kind of cute in a student sort of way. But when you’ve graduated from a single room in a student house to a three bed semi complete with kids and cats, it can sometimes be advisable to bite the bullet and get the professionals in.
Professional movers will have you out of your old home and into your new one in a jiffy, and the investment can be well worth the extra spend when you consider the amount of time and stress you will save. However, don’t think that just because you are paying for their service you can just rest on your laurels and let them do the hard work. If you want to minimise extra expenses and ensure your move goes smoothly, there are still some jobs to be done.
- Unplug all your appliances
Because some electrical equipment can be damaged through sudden shut down, your movers will need to ask your permission before they unplug each and every one of your appliances. This will slow down the moving process and mean more expense, so take the time to do this yourself. It will also give you the opportunity to cable tie or bundle wires together to avoid any damage or losses in the move.
- Pack yourself
Professional movers will pack for you, for a price. But do you really want this? Packers will be going through every single item in your possession, and this can feel like a bit of an invasion of privacy, not to mention the high cost associated with having them do it for you. Do your own packing and not only will it give you the opportunity to throw away or give away some of the clutter you no longer need, it will also mean you can pack things the way you want to. Make sure you label boxes clearly for each and every room, and it helps sometimes to briefly list key contents, such as ‘mugs’, ‘TV remote’ and ‘toilet roll’ so you can quickly find your essentials at the other end. If you have boxes and boxes of things you won’t need for a while, consider running a few of them down to a cheap self storage unit so you’ll have less to worry about on the big day.
- Clean up
Your movers will be able to do a safer and more efficient job if they can get around the whole house safely. This doesn’t mean you have to mop and vacuum every room, but at least make sure there is a clear pathway from one room to the next and no toys, shoes or leads trailing around that might be the cause of an accident.