Decluttering – Keep or Toss?

Decluttering – Keep or Toss?

Are you moving or doing some spring cleaning? As you start going through your piles of stuff, do you suddenly feel like it’s all way too much? Who really wants to pack and move all of this? Why does this stuff keep moving around the house from place to place without being used? Whether it’s for moving or cleaning, it’s time for some decluttering, and you need to know where to start and how. Let’s set up a game plan to help you through this tiring process.

Plan Ahead

If you know you are moving in a month or two or cleaning for the upcoming holidays, go ahead and go through some of your belongings early. Keep out what you know your home will need in the mean time, and store the rest of the belongings separately. Doing this will get your home ready one area at a time, so you can later go through the stuff that you are not sure what to do with.

If you know you will be storing things for an extended time, go ahead and look into storage units and pick one that will accommodate whatever you are storing. Check out Porta-Stor’s containers to help you see your options.

Storage Space

If you are cleaning house and storing things because you are moving, think about the size of the home you are relocating to. Will there be adequate space to store holiday décor, sports equipment, seasonal clothing, etc.? This is also the time to think about how many of those items you want to keep and will actually use once you have relocated. If you remove stuff that you don’t ever use, it will free up space in your home as well as in the storage unit you may rent to store your extra belongings. Maybe those hockey sticks got great use at your current location, but will they get much use at your new location?

Sort Your Belongings

To begin the sorting and decluttering process, create a good amount of space somewhere in your home. Make yourself 4 locations to sort your belongings into:

Keep It: These are the items you know without a doubt that you need to keep for whatever reason. If you use it daily or relatively frequently, it needs to stay. This could also include items that have a sentimental value to you and your family, but be careful with that concept, since it may make you hang on to too much stuff.

Toss It: Is it old and worn, broken, or just never used at all? Where did that even come from? Am I only keeping this because someone gave it to me, and I feel obligated to hang onto it? Ask yourself these questions, and if you answer any of them with yes, then the item probably needs to be tossed! Do not question yourself too much, just go with your gut. It’s hard for people to stop questioning themselves and just throw away things they honestly do not use or need. Try to be especially willing to toss items that you haven’t used in over a year.

Donate It: Looking at your toss pile, not everything may need to go into the actual dumpster. If there is great wear left in those sweaters you are tossing, those stuffed animals can still get some love, or that coffee table still has some use left in it, consider donating the items to your local GoodwillSalvation Army, or other charity of choice.

Store It: If there are items that you know you will use, but you may not have the space in your new location or won’t need them for a long time, long-term storage is a great option. Just make sure you are honest with yourself and know why you are storing each item in the first place. Holiday décor and seasonal sporting gear are great examples of things you may need to get out of the way for a time. If you are looking at something and you really are torn about what to do with it, store it and place it out of sight. It may be a decision to come back to at a different time and a different state of mind.

Sell It: If you have the time, you could also make a sell pile and have a yard sale to make some extra cash. If you do not have the time for a yard sale, you could also post the items to social sale sites like Craigslist and sell them as you go.

The best thing to do once you decide on the fate of an item in your home is to follow through. Get that trash pile into the dumpster as soon as you can. Get that box of donations in your car and up to Goodwill this weekend. Out of sight, out of mind, and you will feel better with all that clutter out of your way.

The Future of Your Stuff

When you are doing all of the above things, think about where you will be in the future, and what your situation may look like. Are you simplifying, downsizing, or adding to your family? These questions will alter what you keep and what you toss. Sure you will have remorse that you are getting rid of something you bought and will no longer need or use, and that is okay. Just use this emotion as a reminder to not acquire something like that in the future. If your current self does not need that item, there is a good chance your future self will not need that item either. Also keep in mind how neat, tidy, and decluttered your home will be without all the extra stuff!

As you work on decluttering, most of your stuff will hold some kind of value to you. Make sure the value it holds is actually right for you and your current situation. Know that it is okay to store things until you are more certain of what you want to do with it, but try to be decisive when it comes to deciding between keeping and throwing away.

If you want more tips for moving, storage, and more, keep an eye on Porta-Stor’s blog here!

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Moving Checklist

Moving Checklist

Just the idea of moving can get your heart racing from stress. It feels like there are hundreds of things to do, and you don’t even know where to start. Below is a list of things to do to help you prepare for a move. This moving checklist starts a month before the move and continues to the day of the move.

One Month Before the Move

So you know you are moving in a month. Here are some things you can do now to start the ball rolling.

First, figure out if you will be moving by yourself or getting some assistance. Are you hiring a moving company, renting a portable storage container, or simply getting a truck and loading it yourself? Make this decision early. If you do go with the portable moving container, be sure and check out Porta-Stor’s options for renting a container for your move. Once you have hired the moving company, bribed some friends, or rented a portable container or moving truck, it is time to get serious.

Prepare to change your address by getting all of the necessary paperwork. Go to your child’s school and request records if they will be moving to a new district, or do a change of address if you are staying in the same district. You will also need to put in an official change of address with the post office, which you can do online or in-person. Since you will be in the frame of mind to get an address change done, you should also contact your bank and get it changed there, as well as any other places that frequently send you mail.

Next, it’s time to start preparing your house for the move. Cleaning out closets, the garage, and the attic. Any area used mostly for storage is a great place to start packing and purging the things you don’t need and don’t want to move. Clear out holiday décor, and keep your new space in mind as you go through everything. Will you use this in your new house?

As you are cleaning out, keep separate piles for trash, donation, and sale. Depending on the time of year, this is a great chance to have a quick garage sale so that you can clear out the clutter and make a few extra dollars before your move.

Go ahead and start packing items that you don’t use very often. This includes those seasonal items and the kitchen appliances that you use the least. This will make the packing process more organized, since you have some time to really go through everything. It also makes it so you don’t have to rush to pack everything all at once.

Make sure you label the boxes so that the move into the new home goes as smooth as possible.

Two Weeks Before the Move

Call and confirm with the moving or storage container company, if you are using one.

Make sure any valuable items are packed separately and well labeled. You will want to move these yourself in your car. It’s a good idea to move any important paperwork yourself as well.

As you pack, again make sure all boxes are labeled well. Write clearly on the box, indicating the room location in the new home and even what is stored inside. This makes less work for you once all the boxes have been moved in, and lets the movers know where things go. Also clearly label any boxes containing fragile items.

Arrange to have the day you move off from work, if applicable.

Schedule disconnects from your current utilities (gas, water, electricity, etc.), and land-line phone service. While you do that, go ahead and make any payments due andschedule the turn on date for utilities at your new home.

Cancel your other services that you use at this location, like Internet connection, cable TV, cleaning help, and lawn care. If you are going to use these services at your new home, you can get that set up for there at this time too.

One Week Before the Move

Set up a box of necessary items for the day of the move, like cleaning supplies, paperwork related to the move, and some snacks for moving day. Keeping these things labeled and in a separate bag or box will make them easier to find when you really need them.

Refill any prescriptions you need. You do not want to worry about running out of your medications while you are sorting through and putting away your things in your new home.

Pack a suitcase. This might not sound necessary, but while you are busy packing up all your clothes, make sure you put enough in everyone’s suitcase to last a few days. This will make it much easier to transition into your new home after a long, tiring day of moving. This step is especially important if you have a long distance to cover and it will take more than one day.

Start eating up and using anything from your pantry, fridge, or freezer that you don’t want to move. This is also a good time to use up any low-running cleaning supplies. Start fresh with the move.

Week of the Move

If you are choosing to mail in a change of address form to the post office, do that this week.

Clean all appliances, and make sure they are ready for the move. This includes defrosting the freezer and making sure it is dry.

Have your payment ready to go for the moving company if you are using one.

You can pack the majority of your household items at this point, making sure to leave anything that it necessary to survive the next few days. Check out Porta-Stor’s other blogs for help with the packing process, such as how to safely pack your fragile dishes, and how to move your clothes.

Double check that everything is packed and labeled well for when the movers and or truck arrive.

Day Before the Move

Remember that suitcase you packed with extra clothes? This is a good time to pack your other daily essentials like toiletries in case you don’t get around to unpacking everything you need right away. Move the suitcases into your car.

Get enough cash to hold you over. Cash might come in handy to ensure that you can pay for necessities that come up, and in case you order pizza or take-out the first night you are in your new home.

Day of the Move

If you decided to hire movers, verify that the moving company that shows up is the company that you hired. Be present when the movers arrive, so you can do a walkthrough of the home and let them know what items you want packed first and how you would like them to be packed.

Once the truck or storage container is packed, glance through the truck and take a final inventory of your belongings before the movers or container pulls away.

Do one final walkthrough of the home with nothing in it. Make sure all doors and windows are locked, the thermostat is off, and no lights have been left on.

There are other things you may need to do that are specific to your situation, but we hope that this list gives you a good place to start and helps you get ready for an exciting new adventure in your new home! If you want to read more moving tips, check out Porta-Stor’s blogs on how to avoid the most common moving injuries and mistakes.

Storage Container Organization

Storage Container Organization

Moving your stuff into storage might seem like a daunting task. But with some planning and preparation, you can easily get everything you want into your storage unit without too much fuss. Plus, you’ll be able to retrieve any items you need without digging through the entire container! Check out these tips for storage container organization to help you decide the best way for you to use your storage space.

Have a Plan

As you get ready to go through your belongings, the first step is to make sure you have a good plan. Are you storing loose appliances or just boxes? Think about what you will need access to the most and what you are storing long-term. If there are appliances or boxes that you know you won’t need, put them towards the back. Put things like seasonal clothes and decorations in a more accessible area, since you’ll need to reach them and switch them out often.

Also make sure that you have all the packing materials you need before you start. Some items will need boxes and others will not. Some boxes will need filling materials like bubble wrap to prevent movement. Are you storing mattresses or furniture? Make sure you have blankets or drop cloths to cover them. This will help protect them from dirt and dust until you need them again. It may seem easiest to just pack and go, but having a plan will make getting to your stuff back out of storage easier. Your future self will thank you!

Size of the Unit

As you get ready to move or downsize, an important step is to look at your available space. How much space will you need to store all of your belongings? There are several sizes of storage containers. While you are deciding what you will need, be sure to remember all those hiding places in your home that you will be cleaning out. From closets to the basement and attic, you need to make sure to account for everything. If you are unsure of what size will be best, you can always ask the storage company you use. They are full of advice that can help simplify the process of choosing a storage container.

If you choose to use Porta-Stor for your storage solutions, you can find several sizes available to you. Check out this blog that gives suggestions for determining the container size you need. From on-site storage to portable moving containers, there is sure to be a unit that fits your needs.

Packing your Belongings

Now that you have created a plan and decided on the best storage unit size, it’s time to get packing. Label all boxes as you pack. This makes it easier while you are packing, and it also makes it much easier to access your stuff later while it’s in storage. Use bubble wrap or other packing materials on the things you want protected from breakage and dust. You can check out Porta-Stor’s blog on how to pack fragile items for more information. As you pack, make sure you do not make the boxes too heavy. They will be much easier to move and store if they don’t weigh a ton!

Moving your Belongings into the Container

Now that you have all of your belongings packed and labeled, what is the next step? Get those big items into the back of the container or along the side walls. These are the things you will probably need the least access to, and they need to be out of the way. If you do have heavier and bigger boxes, they must to go on the bottom of the stack as you fill in the unit. This makes it more stable for the lighter boxes you stack on top and less likely to tumble down or crush your belongings later.

When you are loading the storage container, try and create an aisle down the middle of the unit if possible. Doing this will help you get to items you need and give you more access to items in the back or along the sides. If you happen to have a really large unit, you may even be able to create two aisles of access. If there is no way for you to create an aisle within the container, make sure you place the items you will need most access to at the front of the unit. These may include things like holiday decorations, seasonal clothing items, and important documents.

As you move you stuff into the container, remember to make sure all labels are facing out towards where you can see them easily. You also should double check that every box is labeled.

Maximizing the Space

If you are planning to store large appliances, there are a few things to consider. Always make sure that appliances are clean before you put them into storage, especially if you’re storing something messy like a refrigerator. If you do store a fridge, you can use its shelves to store smaller boxes and items. Storing a bookshelf along the wall? Use those shelves as well! This makes a great space saver and keeps items up off the ground. Dressers are also great because you can not only stack things on top, but also inside the drawers.

It’s best to pack lighter items into your furniture so you do not damage anything. Again, put the heaviest items on the bottom. Make sure you can get into the shelves or refrigerator if you need to. You should also make a label of what is stored inside these closed containers to help you remember without digging them out. By using these pieces of furniture, you are maximizing space and will fit more into your storage container.

The Final Step to Storage Container Organization

It may seem like an unnecessary extra step, but making a diagram of where you have items will help you later. Depending on how long you will be using the unit, it will become harder to remember where you placed things over the months and years. Right after the unit is packed is the best time to create this quick diagram, since the item locations are fresh in your mind. A great place to keep the diagram is taped into the inside of the container door. You don’t want to regret ignoring this idea later! The more organized you are with your storage, the easier it will be to find what you need later.

Now that you have these simple tips for storage container organization, get those boxes out and start cleaning the house! If you need more storage or moving ideas, check out Porta-Stor’s other blogs here.