Moving Out for the First Time

Moving Out for the First Time

No matter what the reason is for your move into a new home, there are always so many factors to consider and so many tasks to be done. But what if this is your very first move? Moving out of your childhood home and into your very first place of your own is a unique experience that can seem extremely daunting. There is so much more to consider than just purging through the years of accumulated stuff and getting your address changed. Chances are that you will need to purchase more than you will be getting rid of, as well as learning the ins and outs of moving and being more self-reliant.

If you are moving out for the first time, here are a few things to consider as you make that first big step into the world on your own:

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

Anyone who has ever successfully moved knows that the more you prepare for the process, the better the experience will be. Once you know that you are moving, the first things that you want to do is make a good old-fashioned to-do list. This may sound boring and unnecessary, but you will be so glad that you took the time to do it. Making a simple to-do list will ease the moving process and break it down into more manageable steps for you. It will also help keep you from forgetting important parts along the way!

Checking things off of your to-do list will allow you to work through the process of moving one step at a time and will also give you a better idea of what you still need to get done and when. As you work through your list, you will also want to make sure that you know just how much your move will cost you. Make sure you stock up on moving supplies like boxes and tape, hire a moving company if you need to, and begin your packing right away.

Do Not Procrastinate

Moving is overwhelming, especially if it is your first move, but you need to get started as soon as possible. You may think you can get your entire home packed in 2 days, but that is not ideal. You can start packing some things as soon as you know that you are moving to make it go smoother and create less stress for you in the long run. Focus on items that you won’t use anytime soon, such as out-of-season clothing and books, DVDs, and other stuff that you’re not currently using.

As the moving date approaches, focus on getting one room packed each day until you can finally say that your entire house is packed and ready to go. If you do this, you will want to save the kitchen and bathrooms for last, since you will still be eating meals in your home and using those items and appliances. Focusing on one room a day will allow for other tasks that need to be done during this time as well, like making sure that the house is clean.

Take the Time to Pack Right

It may seem tempting to just cram all of your belongings into bags and boxes haphazardly. However, doing this can lead to chaos when you arrive at your new home and start unpacking. You can end up with damaged belongings and disorganized things that need to be moved from room to room until they are finally in the right spot. After a disorganized move, many people end up leaving boxes of stuff packed and thrown into a corner for months or even years. Don’t fall into this trap!

Take the time to pack correctly. Using different sized boxes can help greatly. Use smaller boxes to pack your heavier items like books and larger boxes to pack your lighter items. Make sure you pack fragile items with bubble wrap or other padding to prevent damage. Here is some more information on how to safely pack breakables so that nothing happens to them. You will also want to label all of your boxes so they can be placed in the correct room of your new home to make your unpacking process easier. Porta-Stor also has a blog on organizing the unpacking process here!

Taking the time to pack correctly will help you stay organized, speed up the unpacking process, and also prevent your belongings from breaking or otherwise getting damaged in the move.

Make Sure You Use the Right Moving Company

If you decide you want to hire a professional moving company, make sure to do your research. Ask friends and family for recommendations and narrow your search to your top 2 companies. Once you do this, you can call and have them each do an estimate of cost to help you pack up and move. You should also check out their insurance and make sure your belongings will be covered during the packing and moving process. If you do decide to hire a moving company, you need to do it well in advance of your move so you can ensure that they are available on the date you need them.

Moving out for the first time is stressful and exhausting, especially if you are not prepared for everything that may come your way. While there is more to do than what is listed above, these steps can get you get ready and focused for your move and keep you headed in the right direction for a low-stress experience!

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Shipping Container House Floor Plans

Shipping Container House Floor Plans

With the cost of homes rising, the drive to use more recycled materials, as well as the surge to be more self-sufficient and off the grid, there has come a wave of homes being built out of old shipping containers. These are not only cost effective but also a great way to recycle these old containers and give them new life.

Using some creativity along with paneling, flooring, and siding, it becomes hard to tell from the street that your home is made from a large, steel shipping container. If it’s designed properly, a container home is almost completely earthquake and nature proof. These homes are energy efficient in most environments and come with the ability to use some creative and inexpensive designs.

Below is a list of some of the best shipping container house floor plans to give you some ideas for your new container home!

Ranch Style Shipping Container Home

The ranch style home is 1280 square feet and can cost you less than $10,000 in materials. This style uses a minimalist but stylish approach to living, allowing you to maximize livable floor space. It uses only two ISO shipping containers that are spaced 16 feet apart, forming a grand entrance and living/dining room space. This space is 640 square feet with a 12 foot vaulted ceiling.

The two containers on each side will form the outer walls and contain the bedrooms and bathroom. With this design, you could also cut out half of the inside wall from one of the containers to form a larger kitchen that would open into the living/dining space. Adding a large glass wall to the back of the home helps to give it a more open feel.

One Bed One Bath Container Home

This design is the smallest on the list and uses a single 40′ shipping container, making just 320 square feet of living space. Cutting a door into the side as your entrance, you would walk into your living space with the kitchen just off to the right. The single bath lies at the end of the home, past the kitchen.

Walking just left of your living area, you could place a wall that would separate your bedroom space. Make sure to cut in and place windows in each room as well as cutting space to place in an A/C unit. This design resembles a small apartment for a single person.

Two Bed One Bath Container Home

This shipping container home gives you 640 total square feet of living space using two 40′ containers. A porch greets you with the front door that opens at the far end of the container into the living, dining, and kitchen areas.

With the containers sitting next to each other and the sides opened up in the interior, this design gives you a wider space to live and puts the bedrooms cornered to each other to the left of the living area. Connecting the bedrooms is the full bath with a door into each room. This design puts a closet in each bedroom as well, and the second bedroom opens out onto a porch at the far end of the home.

Three Bed One Bath Container Home

This is a variation of the previous 2-bedroom home, with the same amount of square footage using two 40′ containers. With the containers sitting next to each other, the two interior sides are taken out. You have the living, dining, and kitchen areas in the center of the home with the bathroom being accessible from this area and located behind the kitchen.

To the left of the living area, you have two bedrooms that share a 16-square-foot-across space, making each bedroom 8 feet across with a glass sliding door between the two rooms. To the right of your living area, you have your third bedroom that is the same size as the other two rooms. You could make the third room a storage area if you need it!

Two Bed Two Bath Container Home Duplex

There are several variations of this design, giving a total square footage of 800 square feet using two 40′ containers.

These homes are basically a duplex, meaning that there are two separate living spaces within this single unit. Both areas have their own entrance complete with their own living/dining space, kitchen, bedroom, and bath.

Commercial Office Container Plan

Again, this design uses two 40′ containers and gives you 640 square feet of usable space. However, this one is designed as a workspace instead of a residential home. This design places the containers next to each other with the interior walls cut out to make a large open square. There are 2 cubicles with 2 desks each on either side. On one side, the cubicles are smaller to allow for an area between the two cubbies to allow the space for a printer and storage.

In the main area right in the center of the space, there is room for 2 long conference tables. While this may seem a small space for a company, it can be just the perfect size for a small yet growing business and can save you money over time as it is an efficient and inexpensive way to build.

If you want to see other unique ways of using shipping containers as a building material, check out Porta-Stor’s other blogs. This one goes over the pros and cons of shipping container farms!

How to Pack for a Move Quickly

How to Pack for a Move Quickly

So you have just purchased a house or leased a new apartment. Just in the nick of time, because your other home sold already or your current lease is up next week! How can you pack in an organized way and pack everything that soon? It may seem impossible, but there are ways to get the job done and not lose your cool. Here are a few helpful tips on how to pack for a move quickly from Porta-Stor:

Gather All of Your Supplies

Before you start going crazy pulling everything out and throwing things around, take the time to gather all of your packing supplies first. Get a bunch of boxes, packing paper, and tape together and store them in an area that’s out of the way, like a spare bedroom or garage.

If you take the time to get these supplies sorted out first, you will find that it’s much easier to pack your belongings if you do not have to stop constantly to go out and get more packing materials. This saves you time and keeps you on a good schedule, so you can get moved when you need to and not get too stressed out.

Your Garage

As you start packing, you need to designate an area in your home to place the filled boxes as you pack them. That way they are not sitting in high traffic areas like your kitchen or hallway. A great place to stack the packed boxes is in the garage. From here, it will be easy to move them out to the moving truck or storage container.

If you are using the garage to stage your move, it means that the garage is the first area of your home that you need to pack. That way you have plenty of space to work with and are not packing up around all the other boxes. This tends to be an area that collects a lot of stuff anyway, so it would also be a good motivator to get it packed first and help you feel like you are really getting somewhere with the process.

What’s Up in the Attic?

For many people, the attic might be the last place you want to think about going through and packing up. As annoying as it may be, this should be the next area of your home that you tackle.

If you leave the attic for the end, you will be tired and worn out already, leaving you to just toss it all in a box and say you can go through it later. Think about it though: isn’t that what you’ve done every time you moved? The attic often holds the stuff you said you would go through next time. Well, the next time is here now, and if you go through that stuff early and only keep what you really want, it will make packing up the rest of your home that much easier. A weight will be lifted from your shoulders, and the unpacking process (and all subsequent moves) will be much easier!

Pack Up One Room Each Day

After you have tackled the garage and the attic, packing up the rest of your house will seem like a breeze. If you are planning this with a good schedule, you should give yourself a couple of weeks to get packed up. If this is the case, you can pack a little bit each day.

If you have less time than that its okay, don’t panic! Think about your home and all of the rooms you need to pack up. Make a list of importance for the rooms and start packing one room a day. If you set your goal on a single room packed up each day instead of a certain number of boxes packed, it allows you to stay focused on that one area until it’s done. This also keeps you organized as you unload those boxes into your new home, because it was all packed together depending on where the items need to be located.

You will also have a great sense of accomplishment when you wake up to tackle the next room and see several rooms already empty. Think of it as motivation to tackle that next room on your list.

If you have even less time, the same organizational rule applies, but you might need to pack a couple of rooms each day. Hopefully you have some friends or family members willing to help you out. Offering the reward of pizza and drinks at the end is always a great motivator!

Wrap It Up

Even if it’s not the gift-wrapping season now, it’ll sure feel like it as you pack. When you pack up each room, go ahead and set aside those breakable items that need to be wrapped up for safe traveling. You can come back to those later so you won’t break you rhythm of getting everything packed up in a particular room quickly.

Take a day after all of the rooms are packed and just go through your home and wrap up all those delicate items. Take the time to wrap the dishes, picture frames, lamps, and other fragile items. This may seem like a time waster, but you will be glad you took the time to do it properly when all of your items arrive at your new home in good condition.

If you want more information on packing breakables, check out Porta-Stor’s previous blog here. Also, no matter how carefully you pack, accidents may occur. This blog goes over what to do in the case of breakage.

The Kitchen – Your Final Frontier

Your kitchen is filled with all those gadgets, cabinets, and drawers. However, that’s not the only reason why it’s best to save it for last. The kitchen should be one of the last areas to pack because it is most likely an area you will still need to use most as you pack up your home. You will be using the cups and dishes, making dinner, and gathering there to talk about your day. It also probably contains the most fragile items that will need to be taken care of at the end of the process.

When you get down to the last couple of days before the big move, go ahead and pack up the kitchen. Swap out your plates and utensils for disposable ones. It would be a good idea though to keep out a few cooking basics with a couple of utensils just in case you want to cook one more meal in your old home.

Packing isn’t very fun, and there is bound to be some type of stress no matter how much you plan ahead and organize. Just go with the flow and try not to wait until the last minute to get it all done. Follow any or all of these tips that can help you stay on track and make your move as enjoyable as it can be. Now that you know how to pack for a move quickly, you can check out these tips from Porta-Stor that go over how to organize the unpacking process on the other side!

Moving from House to Apartment

Moving from House to Apartment

There are many situations that cause a person or family to want to downsize their home. Maybe all of the children have grown up and moved out, or maybe the daily maintenance of a large house is just too much. No matter the reason, there are a lot of factors that come with moving from house to apartment. The first thing that will probably come to mind is “What am I going to do with all of this stuff?” Let’s go over some key issues to keep in mind as you go through the process of downsizing your home.

Consider the Size of Your Furniture

Most likely, not all of the furniture in your home is going to fit into the new apartment. You need to go through your whole house and decide exactly what you want to take with you. Some of these items will be easy for you to see that they will not work in the new place. For example, if you are moving from a larger home to a much smaller apartment, you will for sure see that your large sectional couch will not fit into your smaller living area.

Go ahead and measure the pieces of furniture that you are unsure about or you know for a fact you want to take. This way you can see what will actually fit into the new place and what will not. You might have to replace some items with smaller pieces, like a more compact dining room table or a smaller couch, based on the size of your apartment.

When measuring your furniture and new home, don’t forget to take doors, stairs, and hallways into account. It’s all well and good to have enough space for your old couch in your new living room, but can you actually get it in there? Some furniture can come apart into pieces for moving, but not all of it works this way.

Not Everything You Own is Going to Fit

The longer you live in a home, the more stuff you inevitably accumulate. The items that go unused get shoved in closets, the garage, or the attic. If you are moving into an apartment, you are going to have much less of this storage space.

This is the time to really go through all of these storage areas in your home and all the nooks and crannies. Start getting rid of anything and everything you know you will not need or use. Porta-Stor’s previous blog on decluttering can help your organize this process and goes over how to deal with sorting your belongings into things you want to keep, donate, or throw away.

Consider All of Your Storage Options

You’re already going through and cleaning your house. All of it. You’re already getting rid of the unnecessary items and extra furniture. Doing this does not mean you have to get rid of every little thing that won’t fit in the new place. If there is extra furniture you want to keep, sports gear you still use seasonally, or bulky family heirlooms you just can’t get rid of, by all means keep it! You will just need to find a good storage solution for all of that extra stuff. This is where it can be a good idea to consider renting a portable storage container close to your new home. Rented storage space can keep those bigger and more bulky items safe and secure while allowing you to store the smaller items at your new place. Porta-Stor allows for both long-term and short-term storage to suit your needs!

Get Creative with Your Space

Apartments can feel cramped, especially if you are used to living in a house. The space you have to live in, let alone store your extra belongings, can feel limiting. There are plenty of ways to get the most out of your small living space, and you can really maximize that space in every area from the kitchen to your patio area.

Remember to look up. There may be space to place shelves or hang baskets above normal eye level. This gives you vertical space while giving you room to move.

Remember to look down. There is often extra storage space at your feet, such as under a bed or on the closet or pantry floors.

Use the doors. You can often place racks on doors that offer more space to hang clothing, accessories, and other belongings.

Check out Porta-Stor’s blog here for more information on making the most out of a small space!

Remember Your Pets

As you get ready to downsize, one of the first things you should ask before you seriously consider a location is if they will allow your pets. It would be the worst feeling to get all ready to move in only to find that your furry, feathery, or scaly little companions are not allowed to move in with you!

As you are setting up your new place, remember to make sure that your pet has a secure and cozy spot of their own. The downsizing may not be easy on them either, and you want them to feel safe and comfortable.

Moving can be fun and exciting. It’s a great way to get a fresh start! If you are downsizing by moving from house to apartment, just remember to take it one step at a time and maximize your space the best you can. Some organization, measuring, and sorting will take a lot of the stress away from trying to shove too many belongings into too small of a space.

Shipping Containers for Farm Storage

Shipping Containers for Farm Storage

If you have ever worked on a farm, lived on one, or even just visited, you know that there is a lot of important equipment that needs to be stored. Unfortunately, not all farms have the necessary storage buildings on their property to hold all of this farm equipment, leaving the farmers to figure out how to store these things to keep them safe from theft and weather. Most farms are in need of more farm equipment storage, and many have turned to using shipping containers for their farm storage needs.

Shipping Containers by Numbers

In most cases, there is a high profit potential in the farming industry, and if these farms do not have adequate storage for both equipment and goods, they stand to suffer losses. Farmers have been on the hunt for better storage, as well as better transport. Many farmers have since found that shipping containers can do those things for them.

Proper storage is crucial on a farm. For example, if hay is stored in a barn, there is only about a 6% loss. If this same hay supply is stored on the ground with no cover, there is a staggering 37% loss average. Shipping containers come at a lesser cost than building a barn, but serve the same purpose while also being portable!

How Can Shipping Containers Help?

If farmers who lack storage space turn to commercial storage, it can be costly. As a result, many have found that shipping containers can be purchased at a lower rate and can be used for a multitude of purposes around the property. They can store everything from crops and machinery to even livestock if the proper preparations are made.

Using a shipping container alleviates the financial hardship with affordable rental costs and even cheaper purchasing options. These containers, with their steel structures, are durable and weather resistant. They can also be easily transported and customized to suit just about any need.

Shipping Containers for Your Farm Storage Needs

Using a shipping container for storage on your property has many perks. These containers give you complete and total control over the storage process. From maximizing your space to saving you money, there is not much that these shipping containers can’t do to help you out.

Modular and Scalable – You can create vertical farm storage with multiple containers as well as add or remove them as your demand changes.

Stable Foundation – These containers can stand on a variety of soil conditions and can be easily moved if needed.

Climate Controlled – There are many climate options available, depending on the storage container.

Wind, Water, Fire, and Pest Resistant – These containers are durable and resist all kinds of natural elements.

Easily Accessible and Easily Transported – They can be positioned in the ideal position from the road and the fields. They can also minimize transportation between buildings by being easy to move.

Many Farm Storage Uses

The possibilities are limitless with these storage containers and can be a huge help in many areas of your farm. From crop storage to using them as buildings for machinery, tools, and supplies, to even for altering them into livestock barns, shipping containers are great assets on any farmland. These containers are the perfect cool, dry place that can save you money and help you with all of your farm storage needs. They are great for large-scale fields and ranches as well as small family farms.

For more ideas on how to use portable storage containers to help on your land, check out Porta-Stor’s blog on how to use shipping containers while building a house!

Storing Holiday Decorations

Storing Holiday Decorations

With the holidays peeking around the corner, now is a great time to think about how you pack and store your decorations away each year. When you take all of your decorations down, are you in a rush to get your house back in order? Do you just start throwing things in boxes and hope for the best as you unpack them next year? Here are a few tips to help you make the best of your holiday storage and help keep your decorations neat, organized, unbroken, and ready to display next time.

Containers for Your Decorations

The first step to packing up decorations is to decide what kind of containers you will use. If you are storing them in a basement or a storage unit, one of the best options is to keep your holiday décor in plastic totes and bins. This will keep them free of moisture as well dust, dirt, and pests. They are also easy to stack, giving you more room in your storage area. Cardboard boxes work in a pinch, but do not offer much protection from moisture and pests.

Using a storage unit to house your holiday decorations may be a less stressful option for you, as it will free up space in your home to store other things or use that space for other purposes. It will also give you peace of mind knowing that all of your items are safe, secure, and easily accessible when you need them.

All Those Strings of Lights

Whether they’re for Halloween, Christmas, or another holiday, strings of lights are a pain to store. For many people, it’s a given that every year when you go to brighten your home, you will come across that dreaded knot of lights. Some will not work, others will be broken, and you will end up with a mess.

To save the time and stress, as you take down all the lights and get ready to store them, grab a few paper towel tubes or even empty (clean) tin cans. Simply wrap your lights around the tube or can and plug the ends into each other to hold them on there. This way, the lights can be stored standing up or stacked on top of each other, and you will simply have to unwind and hang them up next year. This also creates less of a chance that bulbs will get broken or that the wires will get stretched out or bent.

Wrap Those Ornaments

As you unwrap your delicate ornaments, there always seem to be a few that are chipped, broken, or dusty. If possible, you should try to keep the packaging that the ornaments came in, since these tend to be form-fitting and protective. That is not always possible, so there are some other things you can try:

Paper towels or holiday linens that also need to be stored work great for wrapping fragile ornaments before you store them away. This not only keep your ornaments safe, it also helps you store away your holiday hand towels.

You can also use empty egg cartons to store the smaller delicate ornaments. These keep the ornaments protected and can easily stack on top of each other.

Taking Down the Tree

Oh Christmas Tree! Artificial trees sure are pretty, but they are also a pain to take down, dismantle, and store. Here is a simple solution – don’t take it down. Really! After you take off the loose decorations, you can simply fold the branches in and zip-tie them to the stem of the tree. Once it is all tied up, simply place some plastic bags or a large garment or tree bag around it and tie it off. Storing your tree this way will take up less space in your storage area, as you can easily store your tree standing upright, and it will be much easier to cut some zip ties next year and just fluff out those branches instead of putting it back together completely.

Wrap Everything Up

You have already wrapped and unwrapped all of those presents, and we already discussed the fragile ornaments, so what is possibly left? Your extra wrapping paper, of course! What are you going to do with all of that used paper? If you know you will not use it next year, it will just sit and get damp in a garage or basement, or you are about to throw it away, why not instead put it through the paper shredder? Shredding your extra wrapping paper makes great packing filler for all of your breakable holiday decorations. It will act like Styrofoam filler and you won’t be wasting the paper, all while keeping your holiday decorations safe from breakage. You can also use it instead of tissue paper for packing bagged gifts!

Packing It Up Like a Pro

There are a few general tips you can follow as you pack up your holiday decorations that really go a long way towards making the decorating and packing much less stressful.

First, you need to do a basic purge of your decorations each year. It’s especially easy to want to hang on to any and all holiday décor, since the season is so meaningful. You need to allow yourself the freedom to toss any decorations that are broken beyond repair or simply get placed back into the box every year without being set out. This will make decorating more fun and easier next year, as you won’t have to deal with decorations that you don’t love while unpacking. Let the guilt go and get rid of what you do not use.

Next, you should set up a first out, last in type of storage structure. Pack and label the boxes in such a way that you can tell which ones hold decorations that need to come out first to start your decorating. After everything is packed, place those first-out boxes in the stack last. That way when you go to decorate the next year, you are not digging for what you need.

Another great organizing tip is to color code the plastic storage bins you use. Maybe get orange ones for your Fall and Halloween decorations and grab some green and red ones for the Winter and Christmas décor!

With these tips and tricks, you can get in good habits for going through and organizing all of those holiday decorations. As easy as it would be to just toss it all in boxes after the season is over, take a minute and think about the holiday season next year. Take the extra bit of time to set yourself up for success. Your future self will thank you!

If you want more storage tips, check out other Porta-Stor’s blogs, such as this one that goes over how to store lawn and other outdoor equipment!