February 18, 2016

Master The Art of Home Storage with these Simple Ideas

Learn how to master the art of home storage with these ideas so you can live a clutter-free life without parting with things you really love but rarely use

People have a lot of stuff. Between holidays, birthdays and shopping trips it is not that hard to acquire a large collection of things. Whether you struggle with keeping your home organized or you simply lack adequate space, mastering the art of home storage will help you declutter and breathe easier.

Freshome says that one of the easiest ways you can get your home ready to sell is to declutter. Why? Because space and storage space are some of the biggest selling points for buyers. They also add that a simple way to increase the value of your home is to add storage.

Even if you are planning to stay in your home for years, maximizing your storage space will make your time there much less stressful. Here a few tips and tricks to getting more bang for your buck with your storage solutions.

Special Storage Considerations

Everyone knows the cliché joke about pulling Christmas lights out of storage only to find the lights tangled in a giant ball. Unfortunately, it is only a cliché because it happens. A lot. Storing items improperly could damage or ruin items, so keep a few of these tips in mind to prevent the loss of some of personal items:

Storing photos: Digital technology has made keeping track of new photos a lot easier. If possible, keep a digital copy of all photos somewhere safe, that way you will have a copy of them if disaster strikes. Older photos are a bit more difficult. You could scan old photos (and you should since they will fade with time), but you may want to keep the original copies safe too.

  • The best place to store photos for a long time is a climate controlled storage unit. Otherwise, choose a location in your home that maintains a steady temperature and is mostly free from moisture.  An interior closet or under a bed usually works well. Avoid storing these items in a garage or attic.
  • Photos should be stored in an archival box, available at nearly any storage shop. Make sure the box you choose is free from acid and lignin. Look for a label that says the box has passed the PAT (photographic activity test).

Storing books: If you are an avid reader, getting rid of books can feel like getting rid of a child. So, if you must store books, make sure you take a few extra steps so you can continue enjoying them.

Books, like photographs react to light, heat and moisture. Keep them away from excessive exposure to daylight and fluorescent lights. When shelving books, they should be stable but not packed too tightly to allow for good air circulation. When storing books for a long time, avoid storing them in attics, garages or basements. Keep boxes of books away from the wall and try to pack them in sturdier boxes to protect them from pests and animals.

Special clothing: A rule of thumb in a clutter-free house is to avoid storing clothes, unless they are seasonal. You can usually just fold seasonal clothes into an airtight container and toss them in the closet or down the basement. You will need to wash them to get rid of any odors.

If you have a few items of clothing (like a wedding dress, baptism dress etc.) that require longer storage, follow these steps before shutting them away:

  • Have clothing professionally dry cleaned
  • Wrap clothing in acid-free tissue paper. Make sure to cover the entire garment.
  • Store in an archival garment box.

You can use a similar method to store tablecloths, cloth napkins, blankets and curtains.

*As a bonus note: To store Christmas lights without the tangles, cut a piece of cardboard into a large rectangle (about 12 inches by 6 inches). Cut a notch into one end, hook the lights and start wrapping. When you reach the end, add another notch to secure the end of the string. Wrap in tissue paper to protect the bulbs.

Home Storage Options

Storing items in your home has benefits, primarily convenience. You can easily access your items without making a special trip. Additionally, storing items at home is free and you may feel a bit more secure that your items are safe.

If you choose to store most (or all) of your extra items at home, here are a few tips to maximize your storage space:

Look Up: Walk into your closet and look up. If you do not have anything stored on the ceiling, you are wasting space. Consider adding firm wire between the walls and storing boxes of keepsakes or wrapping paper up top.

Your garage is a haven of extra storage space. You can build extra storage by putting beams across the top of your garage or installing a storage system you can raise and lower. This is an excellent option because you can keep items away from the ground (and safe from floods).

Use the doors: Another area that is often over-looked is behind doors. Add rods to the inside of closet doors for a bit of extra storage.

Go under: College dorms are notorious for lacking in storage space. One simple trick most college students know: cinder blocks. Buy four cinder blocks from a local hardware store and place one under each corner of your bed frame. This should give you between 6 to 8-inches to store more stuff under your bed. Use drawers with wheels for easy access to sweaters, extra blankets or books.

Maximize wall space: Walls are often underutilized. Consider built-in storage or purchase stand-alone shelves to keep clutter/extra items out of sight.

Under the stairs: If you have any space under your stairs, this is an excellent place to keep items out of sight without taking up any of your living area.

Other Storage Options:

Sometimes you have too much stuff to store it at home, or you need special storage options (i.e., temperature controlled). Consider using a self-storage location for your items. These units are ideal if you have larger items to store (furniture or appliances).

Here are a few spots around San Francisco that are convenient and offer different options to meet your needs:

Storage Pro:  Located at 429 Beale Street in San Francisco, their website offers details about different unit sizes. If you need help choosing a size, their online guide will give you a few tips. Office hours are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. You can access your units until 15 minutes before closing time.

Clutter Storage: If you are looking for a bit more convenience, Clutter storage offers a wide range of services including helping you pack your items, picking up storage items from your home and taking them to the location for you. You can even have them bring your items back when you need them. Get a few price quote on their website. Their hours are from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.

Caremore Moving and Storage: Caremore offers moving, storage and packing services. They can pick items up from your home and deliver them when you need your items back. You can get a free quote on their website or call 415.822.8547.

While shopping around for a storage location, make sure to ask a few questions:

  • What hours can you access your storage unit?
  • What type of security does the company use to protect your items?
  • Are the units safe from rain, moisture and pests?
  • Can I tour the facility?
  • Does my rate include insurance?

No matter how you choose to store your items, this option allows you to keep items you love or cannot bare to part with, while reducing clutter in your home. Take the time to pack and store your items well and you can live a clutter-free life without parting with things you really love, but rarely use.