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Friday, July 26 2013

Do you rent a self-storage unit (or two) to store your "stuff"?  Some of my clients do. 

 

I have a theory about off-site self-storage.  Basically, I believe they are great if used short term.  They are very useful when you need additional space to store items that you are transitioning from one place to another, for example, after the passing of a parent.  There are other examples as well.

However, I do not believe they should be used over the long term as they can become expensive to maintain.  Calculate the monthly fee by 12 and see what you are spending over the course of a year.  It is worth it or can that money be put to better use?

If you are going to rent an off-site self-storage unit, you should at least know what to look for.

With literally hundreds of local self-storage facilities in any given area, how do you choose one of another?   Do you choose one closest to home, one your Aunt Jane's friend rented last year, the one you keep seeing advertised on television?  You need to find one that best suits your needs.

DON'T GET CAUGHT UP IN ALL THE HYPE - When it comes to making a choice, hindsight is 20/20.  Don't get caught up in the bright and snazzy colors on the bulletin board ads, local newspaper ads or elsewhere.  Don't take your eye off the ball.  The bottom line is service. 

DO YOUR HOMEWORK - Seek out a knowledgeable customer service associate to help you.  Make several phone calls and visit several locations.  Ask lots of questions so you can make an informed decision.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION - Where are the various facilities located?  Is it located in a congested area?  You want to be able to get to your unit when you need to without hassle.

SAFETY AND SECURITY -  Is the facility located in a safe location in case you need to go there at night?  Is there 24-hour surveillance?  Are there separate alarms for each unit?  What kind of fire protection or sprinkler system is available?  Is there climate controls such as air conditioning or de-humidified units available?  Is there heat for colder months when your items might freeze? 

ACCESSIBILITY - You want to be able to get to your unit and access your items at times that work best for you.  What are their hours of operation and are there any restrictions on the times of day or days of the week you can load or unload your unit.  If 24-hour, seven day admittance is important to you, make sure you find a company that can accommodate you.

TRANSPORTATION - Are there dollies or carts available on the premises or do you need to supply your own.  Is there sufficient space to bring a U-Haul or trailer on the back of your vehicle to load or unload items? 

OTHER THINGS TO THINK ABOUT - What size units are available?  What are the various prices?  Are there any discounts available?  (Some offer the first month for a $1).  What is the cancellation/refund policy?  Is the facility insured for break-ins, theft, fire damage, water damage or natural disasters?  What insurance are you required to carry?   How do they handle non-payment (just in case you forget to pay your bill) and how long do you have to retrieve your items? 

 

Renting a storage unit at a storage facility requires that you take the time to get the facts.  Be sure that you are "Self-Storage Savvy" when it comes time to renting a unit.

My hope is that you eliminate the clutter in order to avoid having to incur this additional expense, but just in case, I hope this helps.

Until next time, I wish you an organized day.    

   

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 02:16 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, July 13 2013

Clutter is not just clutter.  There are more deep-seated reasons why we can be plagued with it.

 

Most reasons fall into one of three categories:

1.  External - Living with a cluttered parent/roommate/spouse or inherited clutter.  

Clutter rooted in external causes can be tricky to overcome.  You might not be able to

transform someone else completely, which means you may be continually plagued with clutter to

some degree as long as you live in the same space with them. 

If you are struggling with inherited clutter, the situation can be stressful as you are required to take

the time to sort through the items you have acquired. The good news is that this type of clutter

will most likely be short-term.  A professional organizer can identify the external reasons and provide

solutions that work for everyone involved.

 

2. Behavioral - Mediocre decision-making skills, lack of energy, poor categorization and                   

                        classifications skills

Clutter resulting from behavioral causes or lack of skill can be more manageable than other

categories of clutter.   You can learn and/or improve skill sets, change habits and discover ways to

increase energy levels.  It can take some time to overcome these behaviors, but it is possible to do

so within a reasonable amount of time with practice.  A professional organizer can help you to identify

and improve your skills and habits more efficiently.

 

3. Internal - Grief, depression, anxiety, lack of trust, overly sentimental

Internal clutter is similar to external clutter in that its solutions vary greatly from situation to

situation.  In most cases, working with a licensed mental health practitioner or doctor in conjunction

with a professional organizer is a positive step in the right direction.  For those that are overly

sentimental, uncluttering assistance from a professional organizer might be all that is needed. 

Sometimes it can be more difficult or a slower process, but there are tools that you can learn to

better manage the situation or solve it altogether.  Seeking help from an outside source is generally a

good idea.

 

 

You might find that your clutter is stemming from more than one of these three categories at the

same time or perhaps by another cause.  Clutter can be a complex issue, but knowing why it is in

your life can go a long way in helping your find a solution that works for you.  

 

If you find that you are overwhelmed with your clutter, no matter what the cause, I can help you to

identify the why and find solutions that work specifically for you.  I am here to help.

 

Contact me to schedule a phone consultation if you would like to discuss your particular situation in

more detail.

 

       

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 08:31 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, July 07 2013

We are currently in the midst of the Summer season which prompts a lot of people to take vacations.  Vacations can come in many forms but one thing tends to be true.  When you travel, you stay at a hotel.

Those travel-size shampoos, lotions and soaps found in many hotel rooms can easily accumulate when traveling and even easier to become clutter in your home when you return home. 

I am not saying that you should not take them with you when you go home but over time, an overflowing stash of these freebies can outgrow your space or take up room that other important items should be occupying.  

So, in order to avoid this conundrum, I recommend that you repurpose them.  

Here are six suggestions:

1.  Keep them in your purse or handbag. Whether you walk, bike, drive or take public transportation, you tend to have a bag with you.  This is a perfect solution for storing your mini-sized toiletries and having them easily accessible. 

2.  Keep them in your desk at work.  For easy access while on the job, keep a stash in your drawer of your desk and simply grab what you need when heading to the rest room to freshen up.   

3.  Keep them in your car.   Do you spend a lot of time traveling in your car?  Put some lotions, mouthwash or even a sewing kit in your car's glove compartment.

4.  Use them at the gym.  If you regularly shower at the gym after a workout, travel-size toiletries can be very useful and don't take up a lot of room in your gym bag.

5.   Use them on your next trip.  Are you staying at a vacation spot that does not involve a hotel?  Keep a bag in your suitcase or backpack for camping with the other items you use most.  Use a few of those shower caps to pack your shoes next time to keep them away from your clean clothes. 

6.  Donate them.  If you find that you do not have a need for the amount you have collected, donate them to a shelter.  Clean The World accepts unopened or unused bars of soap and shampoo for distribution domestically and internationally.  The Global Soap Project also collects and reprocesses soaps into new bars. 

Of course, you can avoid having to make a decision about what to do with them by leaving them behind during your next hotel stay.  However, just in case you need to know what to do with all of those hotel toiletries, I hope this helps.

 

Safe travels!

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 04:02 pm   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
Monday, July 01 2013

Is there such a thing as a fake de-clutterer?  Yes, there is!

As crazy as it might sound, it's true.

Do you find that you are telling people you are organized, but instead you are just moving the clutter from one room to another?  This is not de-cluttering.  De-cluttering involves the elimination of items that are no longer needed or wanted, not just moving them around.  You still end up with the same amount of things, they are just located elsewhere.  

Does your home appear neat and organized until you open up a closet door and it is crammed with stuff?  This is not de-cluttering.  It's hiding.  Even your closets, drawers and cabinets should be clutter-free.  How many sets of linens or towels do you have?  How much clothing is crammed into your closet that you don't wear?  Is your pantry filled with expired food? 

Is the first floor and second floor of your home in good shape clutter-wise but your basement is another story?  Is your garage a dumping ground for the items you just don't know what to do with?

Even if you have items categorized and neatly organized in plastic containers or boxes, you can still have clutter. 

Do you just have too much "stuff"?  Perhaps you have a container with hundreds of twist ties.  There is no problem keeping a certain amount, but you need to pay attention to the quantity of like-items you are keeping.

For example, do you have a lifetime supply of pens, pencils, notepads, grocery bags, hotel shampoos and soaps? (Just to name a few.)  Anything in abundance can be considered clutter. 

Keep in mind that you are not ridding yourself of clutter if you simply move things around to different locations, hide it or make everything look neater. It's still clutter.  If items are useful but not being used by you, that's clutter too.  

Here's what you can do:

1. Figure out why you are keeping certain items.  

2. Think about the purpose of each item. 

3. Create a plan and take action. 

 

This doesn't have to be a difficult process.  If it seems overwhelming to you, that's okay.  With the help of a professional organizer like myself, you can eliminate that clutter and get organized once and for all.  Don't be a fake!

Enjoy the upcoming 4th of July holiday and declare your independence from clutter! If you need my assistance, don't hesitate to contact me.  I am here to help.   

Posted by: Audrey Cupo AT 09:22 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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