Making the most of our space at home is one of the skills that almost all of us had to cultivate during the pandemic-dominated past year. However, regardless of how efficiently you are using your home, sometimes there’s just not enough room for you and your family to really thrive.
Fortunately, there are simple ways to squeeze a bit more space from your home, from rearranging furniture to sorting through your belongings and deciding what stays and what goes. Renting a self storage unit will help you declutter your home while also allowing you to hold onto stuff that’s important and useful to you. Here’s how to declutter your home using self storage in five easy steps:
1. Start with a thorough sorting out of your stuff
From clothing and books to furniture, appliances, sport equipment and tools, you should sort through all the main categories of belongings in your home. The task might seem intimidating and overwhelming at first, but you can make it more manageable by splitting it into smaller segments — go through one category of belongings per day.
Get rid of the items you have not used in a while. Donate or sell everything that’s in good shape and recycle or throw away the damaged stuff. Here are some basic rules to make the process easier:
- Clothing and footwear — everything that’s damaged, stained, no longer fits or you simply haven’t worn in over a year should go.
- Kitchen appliances, small electronics, tools — if you have more than one of each (two blenders, or two drills, for example), keep the one that you prefer using and ditch the other. Also, give up on items you don’t use. We all own that one juicer or bread-making machine we bought years ago but it’s still in its original packaging taking space in your pantry, so just let it go.
- Papers, documents, photos, drawings, magazines — these items tend to pile up without you even noticing, and they end up creating a lot of clutter in your home. Go through everything and put aside documents and photos that are important or meaningful to you. As for the rest, drop them in the recycling bin. If you have a hard time parting ways with certain items, try some fun upcycling projects — for example, a scrapbook or wall art made from your favorite postcards, magazine cutouts or of your children’s drawings.
- Furniture — reevaluate the furniture you’re keeping around the house. Do you have a sofa that no one sits on or a table that your family rarely uses? Maybe you should replace them with something more practical, or simply take them out to create more space.
2. Decide what should go into storage
Once you finish sorting out your belongings, it will become clearer what items simply take space in your home without bringing any benefits (and thus must go) and what you are using on a daily basis around the house. However, there’s a third large category of belongings — items you use only occasionally, or seasonally, but you definitely need. Putting them in self storage creates extra space at home, while also allowing you to hold onto them. Here are the main categories of household items and personal belongings that it pays off to keep in storage:
- Sport equipment — whether you’re passionate about skiing, golfing, mountain biking, etc., you probably don’t get the chance to practice your favorite sport every day. In fact, as many of these sports are seasonal, there might be months on end when you can’t use your sport equipment, so a storage unit is a good solution.
- Outdoor furniture, gardening tools, grilling equipment — depending on how winters are in your area, there’s a very good chance that you don’t use these belongings for a few months each year. Leaving them outside at the mercy of the elements will definitely shorten their lifespan while putting them in your garage or basement might prevent you from using that space properly.
- Baby toys, clothing and accessories — good quality baby items are really expensive, and you want to keep them if you’re planning to expand your family. However, it could be a really challenging task to deal with your child’s current stuff, plus all the items they’ve outgrown, so you should consider self storage.
- Furniture — maybe you need to switch things around the house temporarily, like replacing the bed in your guest bedroom with a desk, for example. Pack what you’re not using and put it in storage for now. You’ll gain flexibility in setting up your interior for different functions, such as working and studying from home, exercising, entertaining and so on.
- Collectibles and antiques — these items not only take a lot of space at your home, but they’re also quite fragile and might require special conditions. Climate-controlled storage units are the perfect environment for such belongings.
Storage units are available in a huge variety of sizes, from small lockers to units large enough for an RV, so you can pick just the right size for your needs. Here’s how to decide what size to rent:
- A 5×5 storage unit is about as big as your average home closet (not a walk-in closet, but a regular one). It’s the perfect size if you’re planning to store a few boxes with stuff, plus some sport equipment (skis, golf courses, snowboard), or small furniture (a desk, a crib, pliable table and chairs, a disassembled shelving unit, for example).
- A 5×10 storage unit allows you to store larger pieces of furniture, such as a queen-sized bed with mattress, nightstands, and a drawer chest, if you stack them carefully. You could also fit in a few boxes with miscellaneous items. It’s also the right size for storing your barbecue grill, gardening tools and some outdoor furniture.
- Medium storage units, such as 10×10 and 10×15, are most commonly used while moving, but also for the long-term storage of extra furniture, larger tools and equipment, home appliances and more. To help you get a better idea, the 10×10 unit is about as big as half of a garage and can hold the furniture you would use in a studio apartment. The slightly larger 10×15 can accommodate the content of two to three bedrooms, or of a large living room. You could also use it for keeping snowboards, motorcycles, four-wheelers and other light utility vehicles.
- Large units (10×20 and up) are big enough for storing all the stuff from a big house (3+ bedrooms), cars, boats or RVs.
4. Improve the flow of your home
Make sure that you use your newly found extra space at home as efficiently as possible. Rearrange larger pieces of furniture (sofas, tables, armchairs) to make it easy to navigate around your house. The path from one room to another should be unobstructed.
As you managed to get rid of quite a lot of unnecessary stuff and put in storage the belongings you’re not using on a daily basis, you should have significantly more free storage space in your home. Use it to deposit the bits and pieces in your home out of sight for an inviting, airy interior.
Create areas dedicated to different activities, such as studying, working or exercising. This will help you keep the clutter around the house at a minimum and ensure that everyone in your family will be able to do their own thing without disturbing the others.
5. Keep things under control by regularly sorting out through your stuff
Once you reached your home decluttering goal, it’s important to maintain it. Take time periodically to assess your belongings and promptly let go of those items that are not useful. Being more mindful of your buying habits and foregoing impulse shopping also helps when it comes to maintaining an airy, neat and comfortable interior.