Shipping Container Farm: The Pros and Cons

Shipping Container Farm: The Pros and Cons

If you go into the industrial area of any major city these days, you are sure to see a few shipping container farms. They are placed anywhere from backyards to parking lots to roofs. But how exactly do they work? Let’s go over the pros and cons of shipping container farms, so you can learn a bit more about these innovative structures.

The Good

You may have seen shipping container farms online, on TV, or in newspapers. Seeing these success stories has created an interest from people who are dreaming of transforming these discarded shipping containers into something useful. How does this work when it comes to the business of growing and selling food?

The top reasons for using shipping containers as greenhouses are:

  • They are modular and easy to ship.
  • They are compact and self-contained.
  • Used shipping containers are cheap and available.
  • Prices will continue to be driven down as the competition increases.

Easy to Transport

The primary benefit of easy shipping for these farms is that it allows manufacturers to set up shop where it is least expensive and then be able to ship them directly to a farm site loaded and ready to grow. This has great potential for the farmer who needs to be able to set up his or her farm quickly and start growing without having to worry about building a greenhouse or finding warehouse space.

Shipping container farm manufacturers can easily get their products to the farmers quickly and efficiently. They can also be sent anywhere in the world and set up in areas that were previously difficult to farm in. Hopefully over time this will help fight hunger around the world.

Leaves a Compact Footprint

Another benefit of a shipping container farm is that you need minimal space to start one and no need for a dedicated building. This means that a modern farmer or company can easily drop one of these container farms behind their restaurant or even in a parking lot. Using a container farm opens up many doors for producing food closer to where it is going to be consumed. If you want to do this, you do need to keep in mind that the container needs to sit on a flat surface to function and can sometimes require a cement pad.

Readily Available

You can find a used shipping container just about anywhere, as they have been used for decades to ship goods overseas. Millions of them have been made and are sitting empty now, just waiting for industrious recyclers to snatch them up. Some types of containers are easier to retire than to fix, such as refrigeration containers. This does represent a loss to the company, so they will be eager to sell any retired containers they can. This makes many types of used containers inexpensive.

Value-Based Competition

With the cost of getting a used shipping container being so low, there are more and more companies getting into the business of boxed farms. The more companies jump on board with this, the more the price will decrease over time as it becomes easier to acquire pre-made farms. Having a lower price point means there will be more aspiring farmers launching new businesses, and this will in turn help the supply of locally grown food in many locations.

The Bad

The core problem with used shipping containers is that they were not designed to grow food. This can put growers at a disadvantage. The biggest drawbacks of container farms are:

  • Difficulty in controlling the growth environment.
  • Structural integrity.
  • Problems with light, heat, and layout.
  • People and workflow issues.

Difficulty Controlling the Environment

If it can be managed well, there are many benefits to a controlled environment. While the benefits of the controlled environment can be good, the small area can also be a curse if the farmer finds the environment impossible to control.

At any given time in an indoor farm, the lights are generating heat and water is evaporating. This means that plants are transpiring and gasses are accumulating and being exchanged. That’s great, because it means the plants are growing! However, with all the heat and humidity, the results are amplified in a denser growing environment. To make sure your controlled environment is a blessing and not a curse, you must understand environmental control, and it must be prioritized in the design of the container farm.

Integrity Issues in Repurposed Shipping Containers

There is an often-overlooked danger of a repurposed shipping container in their limited structural lifespan. These containers have been around the world a few times and have been subjected to salt water and high winds before being discarded. This means they were well worn before they were even made into the farming business.

This will limit the life of the farm. In some cases, the quality of the container is so low that some famers have had their container condemned by the city. If you do go this route of starting a shipping container farm, be sure to carefully inspect the structure and make sure it can sustain your farm.

Appropriate Balance

This goes hand in hand with the controlled environment. Light and heat have an antagonist relationship, so the need for supplying the quality and balance needed for plants to grow to their full potential is a very important one in a shipping container farm.

Plants like light but are sensitive to heat, and this is a delicate balance in a compact metal container. Because of the tight space in shipping container farms, the farmers face an interesting problem. They need high-intensity lighting to grow the plants but often do not have enough space to install enough cooling units to deal with the heat created by the lights.

Human Workflow

The environment of farms is not just designed for the plants, it also needs to be designed for people. The big issue with shipping container farms is that they are not designed for people to work in, and this can pose a real issue for the famers.

There are two reasons why you want to keep your farm labor-friendly. The first is that labor is money, and second is that there is nothing worse than working in a hot, confined space for dozens of hours each week. This can drive workers crazy and make them dread going to work.

How efficiently your workplace is set up for workers is important and sometimes overlooked. Do not neglect this as you are shopping for a shipping container farm. The most practical way to feel out the workflow of your farm is to visit several set-up shipping container farms before you buy one yourself. Talk to other farmers and see what works best for them.

Regardless of the good or the bad of the farming, people are interested in the quality of their food. If you do your due diligence and set up a successful shipping container farm, you are bound to have some success and help play a significant role in solving the supply problem of locally grown food. Not all container farms are created equally, so be sure before you make your purchase.

If you want to check out some more Porta-Stor blogs about shipping container farms, check out The Future of Shipping Container Farms and an overview of the company Farm From A Box.

Storage Ideas: How to Make the Most of Your Space

Storage Ideas: How to Make the Most of Your Space

You have all of this stuff in your home. It’s everywhere, and it’s everything from jewelry to extra power cords. How do you organize it all, and what is the best way to store it? Here are some great, easy storage ideas to help you get all of your stuff stored and organized so you can get the most out of your space.

Shower Hooks and Shower Curtain Rods

There are several ways that you can use these simple and inexpensive items for storage. If space allows for it, you can hang shower hooks in your closet on the clothing rod and hang your purses and belts from them. This is a great way to get rid of all of those accessories lying around on your closet floor.

You can also take an extra shower curtain rod and hang it along the inside of your shower. This allows you to hang more hooks to store things like luffas and a bucket of bath toys. This will keep these things off the back of your tub and give them a place to hang up and dry. You can also hang a plastic fruit basket to hold all of your soaps and shampoos. These ideas will keep your tub and shower clean and clear of things just sitting and collecting mildew and water.

Doors

You can use doors for storage? Yep! You can use the back of just about any door in your home to create more storage. The inside of a closet door is great for housing hats, scarves, and even long necklaces. You can make your own door storage with hooks or get an attachment that is made specifically for this purpose.

The inside of a pantry door is great for storing canned goods, herbs and seasonings, or those mountains of water bottles that your family seems to collect. Just stick up some metal shelves or use an over-the-door shoe rack.

The inside of a linen closet or coat closet is a great place to store cleaning supplies or extra toiletries. Again, an over-the-door shoe rack works wonders here!

Storage Cubes

Just adding a couple of storage cubes to the corner of a room can give you some much needed space to store clutter. These canvas cubes will hold items you may want out of sight, like extra charging cords or that stack of old magazines. These can be great in a kitchen to hold your cookbooks and bigger items you don’t want taking up cupboard space.

You can also use these storage cubes and boxes in a child’s room. These are great to sort and organize all those toys that come with small pieces. They really help keep the clutter to a minimum. They have the added benefit of being easy for children to use and helping them know where their toys go and where they can find them.

In keeping with a child’s room, another quick storage idea is to use a dish drying rack to hold crayons and coloring books. This keeps them in reach for your child while having a place of their own. Your child can always see what they have available for coloring fun!

Storage cubes and the baskets that go in them have many other possible uses. Try using different colored bins for each family member to organize backpacks, purses, and other on-the-go necessities. This keeps the clutter off that coat closet floor and away from the entryway. Each family member can have a different color to make it easy to organize. Metal cubes are available as well that are more durable for all the bags and shoes getting tossed into them.

Baskets

This seems to be an obvious a storage idea, right? They’ve been used all over the world for thousands of years! Well, baskets can be super useful today in a lot of ways all over the house. They are great for holding items that you want to be able to get to easily but do not always want to be seen. A basket by your couch is great for holding blankets. A basket in your bathroom is a great storage idea for your extra toilet paper. Baskets can also be hung on the wall by the door to hold keys and mail. There are countless ways to use any size basket, and the storage ideas for baskets are endless!

Desk Organizers

These little trays are no longer just for your office. A desk organizer is a great way to store jewelry like bracelets and earrings. You can also place one in that pesky kitchen junk drawer and have a way to organize all those batteries and extra rubber bands that make their way there.

You can also use a desk organizer for your craft items, like stamps and ribbons. Another storage idea for craft items is using a paper towel holder for those extra spools of ribbon.

Pegboards

No matter what your family’s hobbies, there is sure to be stuff for them lying around in your garage or coat closet somewhere. Why not hang a pegboard in your garage? Get some hooks and shelves for the board and you have quick vertical storage for all your active gear that is easy to get to and makes more room for your car to get into the garage. These are especially great because they are so versatile and can be changed around whenever you want.

While there are so many more ways to use everyday household items to get your home and family organized, these are just a few storage ideas to get you on your way. Start small with one area at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed. The more areas you get organized, the easier and faster the rest of your home maintenance will become. And keep in mind that renting a portable storage unit is a great way to get extra clutter out of your house, for those items that you want to keep around but don’t need on-hand all the time. Happy Organizing!

If you want more storage tips from Porta-Stor, check out our other blogs, such as this one about making the most out of a small space.

Moving Tips 

Moving Tips

You have found a new place, and now it’s time for the packing. Where do you start, and how do you get through it all without going crazy? The closets, the cabinets, and all those drawers are full of stuff that needs to get packed. Let’s go over some moving tips and tricks that might help you out.

Do You Really Need All This Stuff?

The short answer is no, you do not need to keep all of your stuff when moving. There are sure to be things you are hanging onto for sentimental reasons, things you are keeping for the DIY project you’ve wanted to work on for years now, and all those holiday decorations that you plan to use when you have more space. Every home has some clutter stored that the family doesn’t really need.

The best first step to take is to clear out this clutter. All of those things that have been shoved into closets or stored in drawers with no real chance of being used are wasting space. Now is the time to get all that out in the open and decide what to keep, toss, or donate. Go through your entire home with this in mind. It will make packing and organizing your new home so much easier if you have less clutter.

Set Up Three Piles

As you go through your things, it is best to set up separate piles. These piles should be: keep, donate, and toss.

If you have time to have a yard-sale as you get ready to move, go ahead and make a fourth pile of stuff to sell. It may be easier for you to sell online as you go. If you go this route, make sure you have the box clearly marked that is full of items to sell.

Your toss pile should be taken out of your house as soon as you have it full, so you are not tempted to go back through it and change your mind. Plus this will help clear your space, which will help clear your mind and make it easier to organize as you get ready to move.

When your donation pile is ready, the same rule applies. Make sure you get it to your charity of choice within the next day, so you do not give yourself time to change your mind.

Now with this step done, you are ready to organize and pack all the belongings you are keeping! If you want more tips on decluttering, check out Porta-Stor’s blog on that topic here.

Sort Your Things By Category

Notice that this section is not labeled “sort your things by room.” This is the first step in an organized move and an organized home. What it means is that you will sort through your things before you pack them, so it is more organized when it gets packed, and you will know where everything is located. For example, go through all of your clothes or all of your books at the same time so you know what you have and if you really need it. You might find duplicates of something or realize that you have an unnecessary amount of one type of thing.

How Will You Move?

It’s always important to research any company you plan to use online. Look up moving companies to see what option is best for you. You might end up wanting to use a storage container that you can pack yourself as you go, or you may prefer a moving truck with workers doing the heavy lifting. Just make sure you look into the options and have one ready before the time comes to actually move.

This leads to the next moving tip: make sure you set up the right moving day for you and your family. If you are hiring a moving company, make sure you hire them about a month out from your move date. If you are able to have some flexibility in the date you move, search for the least expensive option and remember that most moving companies are busiest on Saturdays. It may be to your benefit to try and schedule your moving day in the middle of the week. You can find more information on the best times of the year to move here.

Create a Moving To-Do List and Calendar

Get out that notebook and start making a list. This moving tip will help you put what you need to do first into top priority and plan when each task needs to be done. Go ahead and use your family calendar to write important things down too. That way your entire family knows and can help you get things done. This takes the stress off of you and allows for your family to do their part and get involved in the move.

Packing Tips

Now that you are organized and have gone through all the clutter, it is time to start really packing up your belongings. Here are a few moving tips that will help you make it easier:

Kitchen:

When you pack your plates, you can stack them vertically, like records, and they will be less likely to break. You can find more information on backing breakables here.

When you pack your casserole dishes and other breakables, you can use your clothes or towels to pack around them like bubble wrap. This does two things at once – you get your dishes packed, plus some of your clothes as well!

Use your socks to pack your drink ware. Again, you are packing your dishes and some of your clothes at the same time.

Electronics:

Before you unplug and take apart your TV or any other electronics in your home, make sure you take a quick picture of how everything is hooked up, so it is easier to put together at your new home.

Closets:

In your clothes closets, leave the clothes hanging, and pull a large trash bag around sections of them. Make sure you then secure the trash bag around the hangers. This way you can keep all clothes on the hangers and move them from one closet to the new closet a lot easier.

Drawers:

As you go through all the drawers in your home, from the kitchen to the bedroom, keep Ziploc bags handy for the little things. You can keep it all together and move it while still in the drawer without worrying about losing something tiny.

Simply place plastic wrap over the top of the clothes in your drawers and press it down. This holds your clothes in place and keeps them sealed for the move.

Use any and all baskets and suitcases you have around your home. These are great ‘boxes’ for packing things in, and it gives you fewer boxes to move, since you are taking these baskets and suitcases with you anyway. Use them!

With just these few basic moving tips, you can make your packing and moving process much easier and more organized. Take it all one day at a time, and try to enjoy the process. Moving into a fresh new home can be exciting!

How To Change Your Address

How To Change Your Address

When it comes to moving, there are so many things on that to-do list. From going through your closets and storage, to having a yard sale or throwing out extra stuff and then packing, it is possible that actually changing your address is at the very bottom of your list. This may seem like a very minor step in the process of moving, but it is an important one if you want to keep your daily life running smoothly as you start the process transitioning into your new location. Here we’ll go over the places you need to change your address, so you don’t forget anything next time you have to move.

Verify Your Address

This seems like a simple enough step, but you are not the only person that is moving and changing their address. It is important that before you start changing your address on everything, that you verify again with your landlord or realtor your exact address. Mistakes can happen, so you really want to make sure you have it all correct the first time. Having to redo the whole process because of a mistake is incredibly annoying.

Change Your Address With the Post Office

The first place to start with changing your address is with the US Postal Service (USPS). You can get the official change of address form here. If you do this change online, the post office will charge you a $1 fee to verify your identity. They will also charge the $1 fee if you change your address over the phone at 1-800-ASK-USPS. Make sure if you are using either of these options, that you have a debit or credit card ready. If you go in and change your address in-person at your local post office, the USPS will waive the verification fee altogether.

As you change your address with the post office, you will need to decide if this is a temporary change or a permanent change of address. This is important for a couple of reasons. If this is a permanent change, the USPS holds a mailing address history for 6 months, so any mail sent to your old address after the change will be forwarded to you for 6 months. The permanent change will cover all first-class mail and periodicals like your magazine subscriptions, but will generally not include standard mail like circulars and catalogs. With the permanent COA, your new address is made available to all companies who subscribe to the National Change of Address Service. After this 6-month period, the USPS expects you to have changed your address with the individual companies.

A temporary change can be made for a period of 15 days to 6 months. This could be used if you are taking a long vacation or going out of town for a long period of time due to work. Using the temporary COA service allows you to have first-class mail and subscriptions forwarded piece by piece to the specific address for that period of time. Unlike with the permanent COA, the temporary option does not give your address out to business mailers.

Once you have changed your address, you will be mailed a validation letter to your old address. Within 7 to 10 days, a confirmation letter will arrive at your new address along with a welcome kit complete with helpful information, coupons, and special offers, as well as a community guide.

Revise Billing Address

Now you have made your address change with the post office, but you also need to change your address with your bank, credit card companies, and other important places that use billing addresses. It is a good idea to keep note of which bills you receive at your new location and follow up with the companies you have not yet heard from. It is likely that a credit card company will not care if you tell them that the bill never came. Many companies will let you update your information online to save you some time.

Magazine and Other Subscriptions

This step can usually be done online simply by going to the website and entering your customer number. There is an online change of address form with most subscriptions, or you can also call the publication that you want to change your address with and do it over the phone.

Banking

If you use online banking, there is an option to update your address through your online account. Your bank may also send you statements that verify your billing address when you shop online. If neither of these are good options for you, you can visit the bank in person to do a change of address, or call your bank’s customer service line.

Online Billing Address

If you frequently shop online, it would be best to update your profiles with your new address immediately. This will save you the future headache of having something you order shipped to your old address. Many online shopping sites have a one-click checkout, so make sure you verify that you have changed your address before you complete that next order.

Organizations and Other Clubs

If you subscribe to any monthly organizations, make sure and get your address changed there as well. You may be able to change your information online with these types of companies, but if the organization is smaller, you may need to call or write in your address change.

Driver’s License

Finally, it’s very important to remember to order a new driver’s license or state ID that has your new address on it. With most states, you have 30 days after you move to update your ID. Along with this, many states also allow you to order your new ID online. If your state is one of the ones that do not allow for online ordering, you will have to make a trip to your local Department of Motor Vehicles office.

This list just for changing your address may seem daunting. But if you make a quick list of everywhere you need to change your address, it can all be done very quickly. Make this a task on your long to-do list, and you can easily get most of it done as you have your morning coffee. While you are changing your address, it is also a good idea to send out a large group email to all your friends and family members letting them know your new address.

If you want more moving tips from Porta-Stor, check out this blog that goes over tips for decluttering before packing or this one that helps you organize after a move!

Make Moving Fun for Kids

Make Moving Fun for Kids

Chances are that if you are moving, you are a little stressed about everything that needs to be done. Throw some kids into that mix, with everything they are feeling and going through during the process of moving, and you have gone into a whole new level of stress. Most kids just want to have fun, so when you start this moving process, try and think of ways to help your child relax and have fun with the process. If you make moving fun for your kids, the whole family will benefit.

Prepare Your Child

Moving may be harder on your kids than you realize. If they are in school and moving to a new district, they will be entering a place full of new teachers and classmates. They may have good friends in the neighborhood and are sad about not getting to see these friends as much. They also probably feel a strong connection with your current residence and the nearby area. Moving will be hard, and you need to take the time to sit down and make sure you understand what your child is going through. Let them know that you are anxious too, but that the family will get through this together. Give them room to go through the mixed emotions they may have about moving. Having this discussion help you and the rest of your family as well.

Involve Your Kids

You are not just sorting through your own things, you also need to go through your kid’s stuff. When you are deciding what to keep, toss, or donate, let your children in on the process. They know what they want to keep or not. If you take this opportunity to teach them that there are other kids out there who are not as fortunate as they are, you will be surprised at what your children will put into the donate pile. This also teaches them a great lesson of giving back and only keeping what they need or really use.

Let Them Create

In the trash pile sit all kinds of lotions and other beauty items that are half used that you do not want to take with you. What if instead of just throwing them out, you let your kids mix them all together and create a few little potions? They could also play dress-up with old makeup. You will toss this stuff later anyways, and letting your kids do this will occupy them and allow you to go through and get some other things done. Just make sure they are ingredients that are safe and easy for your children to handle. Only let your kids do this if you’re sure they won’t try to eat their concoctions!

All Those Boxes

Those piles of boxes can be overwhelming for you and your kids. Think about letting them help you tape them up. Then take it one step further and instead of just writing what is in the box and what room it belongs to, let your children decorate them. This will make it more fun to see them all piled up in the room with all their belongings inside. Make sure to set out the markers and decorative tape along with packing tape. You may go through some extra supplies, but it will be worth it to know that your kids were happily involved in getting things ready to move. Just think about how amazing those boxes will look when the door rolls up on that moving truck!

Playtime During Work Time

All those boxes are sitting there empty and ready to be packed. You can’t get them all packed at once, and this will take some time. Let your kids sit in them, make a fort, and slide around the floor. The boxes will get banged up anyway moving from one house to the other. Once the boxes are packed, you can make targets for where you want your kids to move those boxes. Let them slide them across the floor into the target area. Making the work part of moving fun will make it easier on your kids and on you.

Empty House

Most of your things are packed up, and the furniture is moved to the side. Now it is time to take those beds apart. The mattresses are just sitting there while you are busy taking the bed frame apart. Would it really hurt to let those little monkeys jump on the bed for a few minutes? They can get out some energy and have fun doing something they are probably not usually allowed to do. Just make sure that the mattresses are not anywhere near any breakables, hard corners, or windows.

It’s the last night in your house, and everything is ready to go. Keep some blankets and pillows handy and have your tent ready. If it is nice enough outside, think about putting that tent up and having a family campout in your backyard one last time. If there is room inside, you could also put the tent up in there. Throw those pillows and blankets inside and have a night of family fun.

Another fun option at the end of the packing process is to have your kids write a note and hide it somewhere in the house for the next family to find. You could even bury something special in the garden. Letting your kids leave a little memory of them in the house before they leave may help them be more relaxed and excited about moving.

New House

Take your kids by the new house a few days before you move. Explore the area with them. Are there any parks close by? Do they see any potential new friends outside that they could play with? Are there any cool-looking restaurants or stores nearby?

Create something new as family to place in your new home. It could be a painting you work on together, or you could take a new family picture to hang up. Also let your kids pick out something new for their new space. It could be curtains, bedding, or something to hang on the wall.

Your entire family is moving into a new place. Taking the time to make sure your kids are feeling okay about it and including them in every aspect of moving not only helps them, but it helps create some great family memories that you will have forever. Make moving fun for your kids and yourself! If you want more information on moving with a small child, check out Porta-Stor’s guide to moving with a toddler.

 

Tips for Organizing After Moving

Tips for Organizing After Moving

You’ve finally moved all of your stuff into your new home. No small task! But now that the initial battle round is over, you are standing around and looking at mountains of boxes, wondering where to start after moving. If you organized your belongings while you packedand labeled the boxes well, you’re off to a good start. Those boxes should be sorted into the rooms where they will be unpacked. But how exactly do you start unpacking and organizing all of this stuff? Your things will fit differently in your new home, and you may find that you do not need some items that you did in your previous one.

It’s helpful to tackle one area at a time. Which places you unpack first depend on what’s most important to you and your family.

Children’s Bedroom

If you have small children, it’s good to start unpacking their rooms first. The most obvious reason is there are toys and belongings that will help keep your child occupied as you organize the rest of your home. It will also help the child adjust easier if they have their familiar belongings with them from the start. By setting up your child’s bedroom or nursery first, you are creating a safe place for your child to go if things get overwhelming or confusing after moving.

This is also a great time to do another purge of toys and clothes that your child has outgrown or no longer plays with. Start fresh in your new home with only what your child needs and uses. If you want, you can find more tips for moving with small children here.

After the kids’ bedrooms are set up, make sure you also set up your own before it’s time to crash for the evening.

Kitchen

If you do not have a child’s room or nursery to set up, the kitchen should be your first priority. As you start to unpack, get the things put away that you will most likely reach for first, like plates, glasses, utensils, cutlery, and dish towels. These items should be stored in areas that you can easily access.

Your pots and pans should be stored in a cabinet right by the stove so they are easy to access when needed. As you unpack your dinnerware, be sure to place the most used items (plates, cereal bowls, coffee mugs, etc.) on the lowest, most easily accessible shelves.

Think about how you want to organize your countertops. All of those small appliances take up so much space! Check and see if you have an extra cabinet that you can store some of these in while still having easy access. If you are a big coffee drinker, you might want to set up a separate little area in your kitchen as a coffee bar. If you don’t have enough space on the counter, get a rolling or stationary cart just for your caffeine. Hold all things coffee in the designated spot: the coffee pot, French press, creamer, sugar, mugs, and more. This will open up cabinet space for other things, and will help make your mornings go smoother as you grab your coffee and start the day.

As you stock up your pantry, think about using a lazy Susan to hold all of your extra condiments. This takes up less space, and you can just turn and grab for whatever you need. Use baskets for bread and other fast breakfast foods.

If you put these ideas into motion when you first move in, it will make the flow of the kitchen much easier as you settle into your new home.

Electronics

For many people, their electronics are one of the first things that need to be unpacked and set up in a good location. Computers, televisions, tablets, phones, iPods, cords, cables…for many families, the list of crucial gadgets is endless, and if you do not set up a good spot as soon as you can, your home will become a tangled, confusing mess of cords and chargers. Find a drawer or basket in which to store extra cables and cords. You might find it helpful to set up a charging center so all the gadgets are easily located in one spot.

So now your cords are in one area, but they are still a tangled mess. This is a great time to take some toilet paper tubes and place the wrapped cords inside those before you forget about them. This makes them easy to find, plus they are less likely to get all tangled up, and you can label them.

Linen Closet and Medicinal Space

In the crazy days of those first weeks after moving, you will be grateful for the ability to clean up in a shower, sleep in a freshly made bed, and find your medication if you get a headache. (If towels, sheets, and aspirin are not easy to locate, you will for sure get a headache!) As you unpack the towels and sheets, go ahead and wash them before placing them in the closet to remove any dust and debris from moving.

As you go through and put all your medications away in your medicine cabinet, check the expiration dates and throw out anything that is expired. To add more space, consider adding stick-on clear organizers to the inside of the cabinet door. These can hold bandages and other small items, leaving shelf space for other things. If you do not have a medicine cabinet in your bathroom and need to store these items in your linen closet as well, think about using a spice rack, or you can use some plastic bins from the dollar store to keep similar medications organized and together.

Laundry Room

As you are washing up those linens you unpacked, it is a good time to get your laundry area set up. Along with the laundry soap and stain remover, this is a great place to store other cleaning products too. If you are tight on space to store those things, think about setting up a narrow rolling cart to hold all these items and slide it in between or nearby your washer and dryer. By doing this, you will corral all the items you need, and they will always be just a short reach away when you do laundry.

Entryway

A small table with a bowl to toss your keys into along with one or two baskets to corral all the shoes at your front door will help organize your home from the minute you walk in. Add a couple hooks or a coatrack to hold jackets, purses, and backpacks, and you are good to go. It’s also a good idea to set up an area for dirty shoes, especially if people are trudging in and out of the house while moving in wet weather.

Think of these ideas as you unpack and settle in to your new house. They will help you fall into the great habit of keeping an organized home. Setting up the bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, and electronic areas first maximizes the spaces you will spend the most time in, and will help you feel relaxed and ready to tackle all the other boxes sitting in front of you after moving.

If you want more moving tips from Porta-Stor, check out this moving checklist!

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!