Packing Tips No One Tells You!

Whether you are packing for a vacation, camping trip, or moving across the country, these tips can help save space and lessen headaches. Once you know these you will wonder how you ever packed before!

#1 Master the Art of the Russian Doll Technique. The dolls are actually called Matryoshka dolls and they are essentially a set of brightly painted hollow wooden dolls of varying sizes, designed to nest inside one another. The idea can be the same for packing. by combining similar items and nesting them inside one another. Even as little as simply putting things inside of other things when packing will make a big difference – you’ll be actually packing your belongings, not empty air.
So, next time you’re packing for moving, try to stack as many of your household items inside one another as possible – like nesting dolls – and you’ll save not only space, but also time and money.

#2 Trash Bags Aren’t Just For Trash. If you need to move your entire closet, just keep them on the hangers and bundle them together in a trash bags. It not only keeps them clean, and wrinkle free but makes it easy to move from one place to another. We suggest using white ones an marking them so no one confuses them for actual trash. If you want another option we sell wardrobe boxes. Stop by the office and get a few to help with your move.

#3 Home-made Bubble Wrap. You got that right. Although it’s not as fun as popping those bubbles you can use your towels and clothes, especially socks to wrap up glasses, cups, plates, and other breakable items. If you want to buy bubble wrap, packing paper, or boxes you can still come check us out for those too.

#4 Never Get Stuck Naked – Okay, that title is an attention seeking, but have you ever gone on vacation and the airline lost your luggage? Make sure you have a change of clothes in your carry-on bag. If it’s a beach vacation, pack an extra swimsuit so you can at least enjoy part of your vacation until your bags show up. Same goes for jewelry, cash, etc. You never want to have all your “eggs” in one basket. Trust us – We speak from experience on this one for sure. No one wants to be in the Caribbean with only what they wore on the plane (jeans, sweatshirt and winter coat)

De-Cluttering before The Big Move

Decluttering for a move is different than just decluttering for general purposes. Many people use a storage unit for excess furniture and sentimental items they want to keep but temporarily need a place to store them. Here is a list of helpful tips that we found online at artofhappymoving dot com.

  1. Think about how much money is at stake – It’s a costly decision to wait to declutter until after your move. For one thing you are moving things that you don’t need or want anymore. It’s a waste of time, energy, and ultimately money. When you declutter, you can make money by selling items, or donating them to charity. You will save money by using less packing supplies and maybe even renting a smaller truck . Your budget and your wallet will thank you for decluttering before moving.
  1. Start with the heavy stuff and the easiest to pack – Books are a great place to start. Even if you are drowning in books, it’s a fairly easy category to get through. You don’t need to try them on and your not getting sucked into a project you have been putting off like scrap-booking or organizing your pictures from 30 years ago. Now is not the time to be taking a trip down memory lane.
  1. Tackle by category – not by room. This means if you are starting with books, gather every single book you own from all corners of the house before moving on. Go to the attic, basement, office, closet and find them all. Then lay out each book and decide which one you want to keep. There are many places to donate locally. Find one you like and bless someone else.
  1. Set up five piles – Pack (keep), display, sell, donate, and trash. Keeping garbage bags handy for your trash and donate piles is essential to a smooth project. The boy scouts have different color trash bags to help differentiate donate vs trash. If you are donating, write each item down for tax purposes. If you are selling, go ahead and take a picture right away so you can list it online later. There will be some “keep” items you can store for now, and some that you will want to use to stage your house for sale. Get with your local real estate agent for staging tips and tricks.

5.Rephrase the question in your head – Don’t ask yourself “Should I get rid of this?” Instead ask “Do I want to pack, move, and then unpack this in my new home?” You need to decide if these items in question bring you joy. Is it worth the money and hassle to move it? Will it make you happy? If the answer is Yes, then by all means, place it in your keep pile for saving.

  1. If you are a “Keeper” ask for help – Invite a friend, your mom, or an expert organizer (yes that really is a thing). Sometimes having another set of eyes to help you through the process and motivate you to declutter things that you won’t really want in your new place.

Good luck with your move and happy decluttering – You will feel so much better once it’s all over and you are unpacked in your new space. For more tips and tricks on organizing your home, check out other blogs on abudgetselfstorage.com/blog

Cleaning Smelly Shoes

No matter how clean you may be, your feet will still produce an unpleasant odor, especially if you wear the same pair of shoes day every day. It doesn’t matter if you’re running, walking, or merely sitting all day long, your feet will naturally sweat — some people’s more than others. Some activities, such as working out may increase the smelliness. My son has the nastiest smelling feet I’ve ever encountered. During baseball season in the summer is the absolute worst.

Odor eliminators help, but getting to the root of the problem and preventative measures are the best way to combat this stinky situation. Keep your shoes and feet as dry as possible. Try to rotate your shoes and not wear the same ones day in and day out, even though they are so comfortable. I’ll admit to having 2 pairs of the same exact shoes because I love them so much. Unless you are wearing sandals, your should ALWAYS wear socks. They will absorb the dampness and keep that off your shoes.

Sometimes the inevitable strikes and the smell is stuck. Thanks to Good Housekeeping, I found some instructions to aid in cleaning your shoes and ultimately eliminate the foul stench.

1St – Before you start, make sure your shoes are completely dry. If they are damp or wet from daily wear, exercise, or poor weather conditions, stuff them with crumpled newspaper and let them air dry away from direct heat.

2Nd – Fill two socks with baking soda, tie them off at the top, and slip one sock in each shoe. Let them sit overnight.

Some shoes are machine washable – Follow care instructions. Most shoes can be washed on gentle cycle with cold water and mild detergent. Shoes should be air dried to prevent shrinkage. No one likes shrinkage. If you’re afraid to use the machine, you can always try spraying Lysol, or sprinkle baking soda inside.

If you have done all of the above options and the odor still persists, it may be time to invest in a new pair of shoes.

Check out abudgetselfstorage.com/blog for more tips and tricks around the house.

6 Quick Tips To Stop Paper Clutter

Do you ever feel like you’re drowning in paper?

Is your husband’s wallet is overflowing with receipts? Are your desk drawers crammed with wedding invitations and old Christmas cards? Or maybe you have piles of kids’ school artwork and math homework shoved in the far corner of your kitchen counter.

Let’s face it: Paper clutter is one of the worst offenders to make a messy home. It accumulates quickly and can be totally overwhelming if you don’t deal with it on a daily basis.

Here are some tips I got from a website called makespace to help banish paper clutter from your home.

1.Go Paperless – Bills and bank statements are common offenders for paper buildup. If you stop them from coming in the mail at all you are cutting the paper off at the helm. Most banks and utility companies now offer email statements. Cloud storage is free or cheap these days. You can even take it a step further and pay bills online too, skipping the need for checks, envelopes, and stamps.

2. Purge your paper – Gather it all up in one area such as your kitchen table. Then sort them – recycle, scan or save. Scan any important documents like tax returns, lease agreements, insurance information. You can also scan those Christmas Cards or sentimental papers and keep them on your computer or external hard drive for safekeeping. Recycle everything else.

3. Recycle Magazines and Newspapers – Let’s Be Honest – those magazines you kept because you were going to try that recipe or future craft project isn’t going to happen. If you really want to keep it. Scan the article and recycle the magazine. While your at it, cancel those subscriptions and save money too.

4. Designate a “Take Action” Spot – Put papers like RSVP cards or forms that need filled out in a high traffic area of your house. I use my refrigerator in the kitchen. Those papers are at eye level so I see them multiple times a day and it prompts me to complete the task and clear that space. It’s also useful to not let it grow too much, so make sure you take action on at least a weekly basis.

5. Shred personal documents – Anything that has your address, social security number, phone number, or bank account number should be shredded to protect yourself from identity theft. If the shred pile is too big to do yourself there are companies out there that offer paper shredding. If you are in the Kansas City area, I recommend Access Records Management. They are a locally owned family business that offer drop off paper shredding for a small fee.

6. Use Binders – Binders aren’t just for middle schoolers any more. Use binders to keep your receipts, coupons, or papers you still want to keep a hard copy of. You can use labels or tabs to organize them and make it easier to locate what you need faster.

For other useful tips and tricks head to abudgetselfstorage.com/blog

7 Easy Tips to Organize The Bathroom

I’ve never been a morning person, so I’m all in when it comes to anything that will help make our morning routines run smoother. Having 2 kids making messes along the way, an organized bathroom can really help speed things up when it comes to getting ready. My favorite saying is “A place for everything, and everything in it’s place”. These days there are so many products to organize in every room in your house. I hope you find something in this list that can help. Feel free to comment any ideas that you have as well. Enjoy!

  1. Declutter First – With any organizing project, you should always start with Decluttering. There is no point wasting time organizing stuff that you don’t use or need. Purge first – then organize.
  1. Keep the Counters Clutter Free – Keep as few items out on the counters as possible and use a tray to corral any products that you do want out. This creates a tidier look and makes it easier to clear off your counter for cleaning. A good rule of thumb is to only use 1/3rd of the counter space so you have more room to get ready.
  1. Use The Inside of Cabinet Doors For Storage – You can gain a TON of extra storage in your bathroom by using the inside of your cabinet doors. I saw a study about the germs that get on your toothbrush from flushing the toilet.(Click For Article) Trust me, you want to start storing your toothbrush behind a closed door. You can use over the door organizers or clear organizers stuck to the door with command hooks work great.
  1. Hang Towels From Hooks – It’s much easier to hang up bath towels on a hook than it is to hang them on a towel bar. Plus it allows the towel to dry better. As a family of 4, you can hang up 4 towels at once and take up much less space than a bar. Depending on the bathroom size, every inch can count. This is a great space saver suggestion. If you don’t want to install or make holes in the wall, or perhaps you don’t have the wall space, a great option is over the door hooks.

5. Use Drawer Dividers – There are so many little items that can get lost in those cluttered bathroom drawers. Using a divider to give everything a “home” will make it much quicker and easier to find what you are looking for. If you are extra fancy and crafty you can add a drawer liner.

  1. Use Clear Containers – Another great idea to store medicine, sunscreen, deodorant, q-tips, etc is to use a clear container to be able to see what’s inside. I have a few with drawers and they are stack-able. It makes things so much easier to find and looks much cleaner.
  1. Label, Label, Label – Labels make it easier to find what you are looking for and, even more importantly, where to put it back. Now your kids (and husband) can’t tell you they didn’t know where to look for something. A label maker is a cheap and easy way to not only find items but to personalize them as well.

For more ideas, head to www.abudgetselfstorage.com/blog

8 New Rules for De-Cluttering a Kid’s Room

And Keeping It That Way

If there’s one room you wish you could just keep the door closed and never look at again, it’s probably your kid’s room (Or maybe your basement, or your closet……OK, there are lots of rooms) But thanks to toys, books, clothes, and crafts, children’s rooms can feel particularly disastrous – especially since a certain little guy or gal never seems to be keen on keeping it tidy. Here are some great tips from GoodHousekeeping.com to help navigate these problem areas.

  1. Involve your kids from the beginning – It’s important to work WITH them, and not around them. Even kids as young a 3 years old really want to participate, and they’re really exited to be involved in the decision making. You might think your kid would get too bored or frustrated – but if you consider it from their point of view: You’re talking about their toys and paying lots of attention to them! Plus they will feel more inclined to keep things tidy if they fell like they are part of the project and they will, at the very least, know where everything should go.
  1. Have the kids give you a “tour” of the room before you start. – This gives you a good sense of what is important to them. Pay attention to their tone and sense of their language. Things that are their ‘favorite’ says that it’s meaningful to them. Repeat it back to them so they know you are listening and they will trust you know what is important to keep.
  1. Talk about how stuff has “a home” – One thing we all heard growing up was to ‘put that away’ which fees so negative. Instead, try ‘Can we put that where it lives?’ It’s a clever language tweak that re-frames the task in a positive light.
  1. Give your kid permission to let go of stuff they really don’t want – Volume can be very overwhelming for children, but most kids don’t know that it’s OK to say no to stuff they don’t want. Try to set up situations in which you can donate items to charity – it continues the idea of using positive language when it comes to de-cluttering. We’re giving the item a new home, instead of just getting rid of it.
  1. Start from the bottom up, literally – With little ones especially. It’s just nice to start on the ground because that’s where they are and where they spend a lot of their time. This strategy takes the process down to their level and keeps them grounded in the task. Plus, if they can see where their items’ new homes are, they’ll make a habit of placing them there.
  1. Reinforce their routine with cubbies – They are a great organization tool for kids because it recreates what they’re experiencing at school. You can place them in the entryway or their room creating a ‘drop zone’ area they’ll naturally maintain. With a cubby they can drip their stuff and not even have to think about it.
  1. Define boundaries with décor – Parents like to put tables against a wall to maximize space, however pulling the table away from the wall allows kids to move more freely and fully around it, and welcome friends. Adding a rug underneath the table anchors the room and their stuff. It creates a mini room within the room. You can get creative with a distinct boundary to make it easier to identify and honor the space (like say glitter crafts) that should only take place in certain spots.
  1. Lead by example – This should come as no surprise but its a HUGE deal. Kids mirror what their parents are doing. Sometime syou need to look at yourself and really see if your kids are modeling your behavior. Even something as small as putting your shoes away can be a mini-lesson in actions.

Just because this blog is about de-cluttering and organizing a kids room, doesn’t mean you can’t take some of these ideas and run when them in other areas of the house.

10 Tips for Organizing Your Kitchen

If you are anything like me, you can’t cook in a messy kitchen. I can’t tell you how many times I have had to do the dishes and clean the counter tops before I can start dinner. I also have 2 kids that like to help, but don’t put things away where I would like them, but hey, they are helping right, so who am I to complain. People have different size kitchens and not the same amount of space, so I looked online for some organization tips and found these good ones from HGTV. I’m passing them on to you, just in case you need help too.

  1. Curb your Plastic Container Obsession – I could show you a picture of my unorganized mess of a container cabinet. My husband likes to keep the lid and container together. I like to nest all the same size containers together…… Marriage=compromise… Guess who won? The one that does most of the cooking? The answer is neither. They end up getting tossed in there to and fro with no rhyme or reason. The best way to organize this is to throw away non matching containers and lids. Also go ahead and toss anything that is stained or cracked. The best tip HGTV gave was to throw away ALL the plastic containers and opt in on glass. Great idea that not only helps the environment, but also will lessen the amount of mix and match containers and lids.
  1. Bag it Up – Hands up if you have a plastic bag full of plastic bags? Is your hand raised? Mine is, for sure. A really cool idea that I’m sure any crafty person could pull off is to re-purpose an old coffee container. Cut an x in the lid to pull the bags out of. Now the trick would be to roll the bags up together, so they only come out one at a time. If you are really crafty, you can even decorate the outside with card-stock, paper, felt, stick on letters. The possibilities are endless.

  1. Clean out the Fridge – This is one project you won’t want to put off. Discourage unappetizing fridge smells by tossing last week’s lasagna before it develops a moldy surprise. Make sure you check expiration dates on milk, juice and canned goods. You may need to adjust the temperature levels to keep lettuce from wilting too quickly. You can organize foods by type with the most frequently used items in the front. A box of baking soda can “soak” up some of those yucky smells.
  1. Maximize Cabinet Space – A great idea for space saving for stemware is to place every other one upside down. By alternating up and down you can get more in the cabinet. This is another location that nesting can be a great space saver. More frequently used items should go on the bottom shelves for easier reach. Leaving the top shelves for the special occasion items. If your shelves are adjustable make sure to change levels to make the most maximum space available for your items.
  1. Keep your Coffee Tidy – Stack tea bags, sweeteners and single-use coffee pods in a clear plastic tray for visibility and quick access. Hang coffee mugs nearby to keep within easy reach.
  1. Wrangle Your Utensils – Silverware is organized best if compartmentalized. An investment in a drawer organizer (also called cutlery trays) are well worth it. For serving utensils and such I love my Rotating Utensil Holder from Pampered Chef.
  1. Find Creative Solutions – Water bottles always waiver and fall when stood upright in cabinets. Storing them on their sides, as pictured, makes it easier to grab your favorite without knocking over others. .
  2. Organize by Use – Create zones for food storage containers, cleaning supplies, pots and pans, and cooking utensils. For example, devote counter space or a cabinet to baking. Stock it with cookie sheets, loaf pans, a kitchen mitt, flour, sugar and other baking necessities. If your mixer is stylish, leave it out on the counter with attachments inside the bowl; otherwise, stash it with the mixing bowls.
  1. Purge the Pantry – Take about 30 minutes to assess your storage for dry goods. Starting with the obvious – throw out anything that is expired. Next, check out the boxes and canned goods. Donate any extra foods that you won’t eat, or have too many of. Food pantries are always in need of donations. Depending on how much space you have, a lazy Susan can be a good idea to organize your spices. Extra points if you alphabetize your spices ( Extra points for me) to make them easier to find.
  1. Hook it up – Most people have an empty space above your stove. Utilize that space to hang up some of your more frequently used utensils like spoons, spatulas, or whisks.