Has your guest bedroom become a junk room? Unless you put a concentrated effort into preventing it, it is very easy to accumulate a lot of items over the years that create excessive clutter. The bedrooms of the house are easy targets for things to pile up in. Gatherings and parties usually happen downstairs in the living room and kitchen, not upstairs. So naturally, these rooms are kept neat and clean while the random stuff is thrown in an unused bedroom when company arrives.
Sure, placing a few items here and there in the spare bedroom won’t do any harm. If the room is unused the majority of the time, why not keep some things in it that you don’t have a place anywhere else? The problem comes when all that stuff keeps accumulating and the room ends up looking more like a self storage unit than a place to sleep. Or when someone arrives to actually stay overnight and you just end up shuffling the stuff into another room. If you need to reclaim your spare room as a functional bedroom, here are some tips:
Sort Through the Clutter
Plan to take a few hours and really focus on sorting through the stuff in that room. Put on an upbeat, fast paced playlist for motivation to get the job done. Decide what can remain in the room, what can be kept elsewhere in the house, and what can be moved to self storage. It may also be a good time to donate, sell, or recycle unwanted items.
If you are having a difficult time figuring out which items to let go of, follow these guidelines:
- Anything you use or plan to use on a fairly regular basis should be kept in the house
- Anything you use only a few times a year or during a certain season (clothing, for example) should be kept in self storage
- Anything you haven’t used in over a year should be given away.
- Sentimental items (photos, books, wedding dress) should be kept in the house if you have the room, and put in self storage if you do not
Limit the Amount of Stuff
Ideally, the room will resemble a typical bedroom and feature only a bed, nightstand, dresser, chair ect., with limited clutter. However, your guests will probably understand this is not a hotel and a few boxes or random items kept in the corner is completely acceptable. The important part is to remember to stop at just a few items. Too much clutter can make it a stressful place to sleep!
Use Furniture as Strategic Storage
A good way to make sure your guests experience very little visible clutter is to strategically store things in the room. For example, always take advantage of the space under the bed. Use long and flat rolling storage containers designed specifically to fit in that space. It’s also a great place to store wrapping paper for birthdays or leftover from Christmas. You can even purchase bed risers at any home goods store if you need more room. Just make sure you have a bed skirt long enough to hide your secret storage space!
Some other furniture storage ideas:
- Find a headboard that includes a bookcase to keep your old books or photo albums
- Use a chest that can double as a seat
- If you have a closet and a dresser in the room, choose one for storage and leave the other empty for guests to utilize
Use a Room Divider
Still need more storage space in that room after using furniture strategically? Consider a tall room divider for a bedroom that is fairly large. Designate half the room as a clean and neat place for guests and the other half for storage. This is the best of both worlds: You have a functional place for guests to stay in without compromising your spare room storage. Make a promise to always keep the clutter behind the divider.
Follow this advice and you can turn your junk room back into a guest bedroom in no time! Have any other tips for tidying up a spare room or ideas for strategic storage? Share it with us in the comments.
So you’ve recently made the decision to rent a self storage unit. Now you just need to choose a self storage center. We’ve compiled the most frequently asked questions from first-time renters here at DAK Self Storage for you to ask when choosing your self storage center.
If you are local, we’ve included the answers for prospective DAK renters. DAK is located in Leesport, PA, great for residents of Berks County, Reading, Fleetwood, and surrounding towns. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any more questions!
How Accessible is the unit?
Most self storage centers are not open 24 hours a day, so make sure you find out when your unit will be accessible.
For example, DAK is open 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week.
Find out if the facility is locally-owned and how helpful staff are. One way to find out is to call your facility and find out if the customer service representative is on premises or answering from a call center in another time zone.
How are customer reviews?
Take the time to google the self storage center and find out how customers feel about it. Check Angie’s List, Yelp, and social media pages to get a feel for the place.
How secure are the units?
No self storage facility can guarantee perfect security, but there are multiple measures they can take to deter potential foul play. A quality self storage center will have security cameras, 24/7 surveillance, perimeter fencing, and a well-lit facility.
Our security efforts include:
- Fence enclosed facility
- Units accessible by keypad gate only, during operating hours
- 24/7 video surveillance system that uses over 20 cameras
- Every storage unit protected by a tamper resistant lock
- Additional keypad access on indoor units
Rental agreements are generally on a month-to-month basis without a long-term commitment. Make sure to confirm this with your self storage center and read your contract carefully.
What will fit in each storage unit?
Choose your unit size based on the type and amount of items you will be storing. Keep in mind that price goes up with size and not all unit sizes may be available at any given time.
Here are the breakdowns of four popular storage sizes, so you can get an idea of how much each will fit:
- 5′ x 5′ (25 sq. ft.): Approximately the size of a small sofa. Great for boxes, small items, lamps, garden tools, and seasonal decorative items.
- 5′ x 10′ (50 sq. ft.):Approximately the size of two sofas. Great for boxes and small furniture.
- 10′ x 15′ (150 sq. ft.): Approximately the size of three bedroom sets. Great for large items such as pianos and workout equipment.
- 10′ x 20′ (200 sq. ft.):Approximately the size of five very large bedroom sets. Great for bulky items such as washers, dryers, and living room furniture.
How much does storage cost?
There are many factors that contribute to the price of self storage, including storage unit size, facility location, and unit availability. Costs can vary greatly at different self storage centers.
We strive to keep costs affordable at DAK. Current outdoor units rates range from $38 to $95 per month, depending on size. Climate-controlled indoor unit rates range from $49 to $151 per month, depending on size.
Is storage insurance required?
Find out if the facility requires you have insurance for your items and if they offer an affordable option. Even if insurance is not required, it is generally a good idea to purchase it just in case, especially if you plan to store valuable items.
When and how do I pay my bill?
Make sure you know when and how you are expected to pay your bill. Most self storage facilities charge rent monthly, as is the case at DAK.
We accept payment in-person (cash, check, and credit card), through the mail (cash and check), or online (credit card only).
Packing storage containers can take practice. It can be tempting to throw everything into the nearest box and be done with it. But you will save on storage containers, stress, and backaches with just a little planning and organization. Here are our tips to help you pack the perfect storage container:
1. Organize Items and Pack Similar Together
The first rule of organization is to always place similar items together in storage. Throwing a bunch of random items together in a box will only leave you very confused when you unpack your items later.
Group similar items in piles before you pack, so they all get put in the same box together. Figure out the best way for your items to be categorized depending on what type and how much stuff you have to store.
Some organization ideas:
- Categorize by room: All kitchen items together for example
- Categorize by function: All coats together for example
- Categorize by owner: All of your daughter’s stuff together for example
2. Place Items Strategically
After you separate items into categories, your organization work is not done. From there you need to decide how you will organize items inside the box. Throwing items randomly into a box and sealing it shut will just not cut it. A good rule of thumb no matter what you are packing: Place heavier items in the bottom and lighter items towards the top.
Some questions to ask as you pack:
- Will a box or plastic bin be a better fit for this items?
- Can I fit any items inside other items to maximize storage space?
- How can I strategically store the most items in this container?
- How can I pack these items for ease of unpacking?
Always give fragile items special consideration. To save money and time, you can gather old newspapers as packing material instead of going out to buy bubble wrap or packing peanuts. Or, if you happen to be moving towels or blankets along with other items, you can try using these as padding.
You’ll want to place a layer of packing material in the bottom of the container as a cushion as well as wrap each item individually. Also, make sure to carefully fill all extra space with packing material to avoid your items shifting in transit.
4. Watch the Weight Of the Container
Although your items might seem to weigh little individually, together the weight can add up! Be aware of this as you pack and occasionally lift your container to check that the weight isn’t too much. You don’t want to pull out your back from lift and moving a heavy container.
Be especially aware of this when packing boxes (vs. plastic bins) because these can easily tear or become damaged from too much weight.
Books are an example of items that quickly advance the weight of a container. If you are packing books or other items that can become very heavy, be sure to choose smaller containers to pack them in.
5. Label the Container
Always remember to label the outside of the container with a marker or sticky note. This will make things incredibly easier later when you are looking for a specific item. This is another reason to categorize items before you pack. If you separate your belongings into similar groups, choosing a label for each containers will be easy. As suggested earlier, you can label by room (kitchen stuff), by function (coats), or by owner (daughter’s stuff).
At DAK Self Storage, we provide easy-access to your unit, but it’s up to you to organize it. Whether you’ve had your storage unit for years or it’s brand new, an organization plan is alway beneficial. Consideration of how you organize items can ensure you efficiently manage and navigate your unit. Otherwise, you might just end up with a big, stressful pile of random stuff. We want it to be simple for you unpack and store belongings and a storage plan will help you maximize space and easily access items whenever you need them. Here are some tips on organizing your storage unit so you you can reach your items hassle-free.
Maximize Storage Space
- Gather boxes and plastic containers
- Take advantage of drawers and shelves
- Stack boxes and containers
- Create a center aisle
Use boxes and plastic storage containers in your unit, but also take advantage of unexpected storage space. For example, are you storing shelves, dressers, or desks? These can double as storage space. Drawers can be using for clothing and smaller items.
Don’t have any furniture to store for extra space? No problem: Stacking boxes and containers will also help maximize space. Always remember to place heavier boxes at the bottom.
Also, you can create a center aisle in your unit when placing boxes to easily maneuver inside it. Remember to keep any boxes you will access regularly towards the front of the unit.
- Group similar items together in boxes
- Keep a general description of what’s in each box
- Update list when adding or removing items
- List approximate value of expensive items
Keep a list of items in your storage unit. It may be tedious to list every single item, so categorize items and list a general description of what’s in each box. You can store items together in a range of categories: item function, owner, location, time of year, ect. Some examples include: college, holiday, outdoor, cooking, or baby. Storing similar items together will make it much easy to accurately label and find things. In addition, make it a habit to mark anything added to or taken out of the unit each time you leave.
An added benefit of developing a list of items you store is insurance purposes. You will have a detailed list of items just in case anything were to happen to your unit. If storing valuable items, such as electronics or sports equipments, always list the price you paid and the year purchased.
Use a Labeling System
Using the inventory list of items in your storage unit, you can create a labeling system. Number every box on your list. Write corresponding numbers on the boxes, or use sticky notes to number plastic containers. You can also create a numbered floor plan to hang on the wall if your unit is especially large.