7 simple tools to declutter your garage

Your garage doesn’t have a lot of free floor space, especially if you have a vehicle parked there. Think about what’s currently there and what can be placed on the walls and ceiling.

Hooks

Hooks can be used to suspend bikes, hang coats, hold chainsaws and hedge trimmers, even to keep rakes and shovels off the ground. Be creative, you’ll be surprised at what you can do with such a simple item.

Peg boards

Peg boards are great for small tools like wrenches and screw drivers. You can utilize quite a bit of space on a wall with a handy item like this. It keeps your tools accessible which will save you time the exact tool you’re looking for. Most peg boards come with small, suspendable boxes where you can keep nuts and bolts, screws and washers and other small items.

Baskets

Baskets can be used to store everyday items. They can be fastened with hooks on the wall to utilize even more space. Consider using them for holding sports gear, smaller power tools and cleaning products.

Shelves

Whether you’re storing sports equipment like baseballs and bats, paint cans or smaller items, shelves come in a variety of lengths and depths. Don’t forget this all purpose solution for virtually anything.

Storage systems

If you need more than just a few shelves, consider purchasing a proper storage system. This could range from a closet or wardrobe, to large tool storage systems, to a multi-purpose outdoor cabinet system. Depending on what you’re using your garage for and the size of the space, these systems, although costly, can be incredibly handy.

Wheeled storage

Most garages are changed seasonally to keep functional items close by depending on the season. Keep that in mind when you’re purchasing storage tools, and invest in wheeled cabinets or trolleys. That way, you can easily wheel things around your garage or outdoors as required.

Scrap lumber

Last month, you finished rebuilding your deck, but you’re left with a stack of different pieces of wood. Instead of throwing them away, consider building your own small storage unit or use individual pieces as shelves. That way, you’ll save some money by not needing to buy a separate item… and you’re recycling!

7 tips for storage auction bidding

You’ve all seen the shows about storage auction wars. It’s competitive, it’s rough, it’s disappointing and yet rewarding at times. Before getting into the game, here are a few tips.

Know the rules

Storage facilities have general rules that need to be applied. For liability reasons, they don’t usually enter the units they’re selling. However, when that door rolls up for bidding, back off if you see a couple of things:

  • odors, such as mold which can come from old food in appliances,
  • critters or insects like rats and cockroaches,
  • storage drums, which could contain anything, even hazardous waste.

Most storage facility owners can’t sell units like these, so know the rules and make sure you don’t get caught with an unsafe unit.

Keep quiet

The last thing you want to do is announce to the world that you’ve found a signed letter from George Washington or an unopened collection of original Star Wars figures. Keep your findings to yourself, identify buyers quickly and liquidate your haul… quietly.

Get in shape

Most professionals look to turn around units quickly, but it’s not as easy as it looks. Sifting through unit upon unit is physically demanding, so make sure you can handle the job.

Don’t get caught up in the excitement

There’s no need to buy a unit every time you attend a storage auction. Take your time and weigh your options. Have a goal in mind and bid on the units that make sense for you. Set a limit for yourself to ensure you can make a profit later. If you’re just getting into the business, don’t bring any money with you. Instead, have a look at what it’s all about.

Identify buyers

As mentioned, most professionals try to go through units quickly. You may need to bring items home or keep them in your own self storage unit for some time. To streamline the process, find buyers ahead of time like pawn shops, specialty buyers and online classified advertising services like Kijiji or Craigslist.

Go through everything

Some units may seem like they include a pile of junk, but you may find some hidden gems. Be meticulous and sort through all items. You never know what you’ll find!

Be safe

Not from the bidders, but from the hazards of an old storage unit. It’s a dirty business so invest in a mask and heavy duty gloves.

17 tools you need in your toolkit

Things need to get done around the house. That frame needs to go up on the wall, blinds need to be put up, you need that new railing along the stairs, and the bathroom needs a complete gut job. Whatever the size of your project, there are basic tools that you’ll need for your toolkit. For pretty much any tool, padded or cushioned grips go a long way.

Hammer. This basic tool comes in different shapes and sizes, but you’ll need it to drive nails or break apart objects.

Pliers. They’re used to hold objects securely. Try 8 inch needle-nose pliers and 10 inch groove-joint pliers.

Screwdrivers. Make sure you get a large and small set of each flat head, Phillips and Robertson. You can find basic sets for a reasonable price, but if you’re looking to save space, try a multi-head screwdriver.

Saw. The manual version is always handy for cutting pieces of wood. Go basic and grab a general purpose saw with a 15 inch steel blade.

Safety glasses and quality work gloves. Safety is always important, so invest in some safety equipment.

Adjustable wrench. A great multi-purpose tool. Eventually, look to splurge on a set of combination wrenches.

Utility knife with extra blades. Whether you’re cutting sheets of drywall or removing caulking, you’ll need a good blade to cut through a variety of things.

Carpenter pencil. Contrary to a regular pencil, a carpenter pencil is usually rectangular or elliptical so that it doesn’t roll away. This may seem trivial, but you’ll know exactly where you left it when you set it done to do another task. Overall, they’re stronger than regular pencils to withstand the construction environment.

Flashlight. Useful for plumbing or fixing a washer, flashlights will help you illuminate dark areas that have low visibility.

Super glue. Used as a strong adhesive for most job fixes.

Pry bar. Before getting a job started, you may need to tear something up. Do yourself a favor and invest in a decent pry bar, somewhere between 7 and 15 inches.

Duct tape. Need I say more? The ultimate utility tool.

Putty knife. A two inch wide blade is sufficient to handle most jobs, from applying drywall mud to scraping away extra paint.

Allen key set. When a screwdriver can’t be used, it’s usually because you need an Allen key. Grab a set so you have a variety of sizes.

Tape measure. Most jobs require measurements. Depending on what you’re doing, those measurements could be quite long, so look for a tape measure that is at least 25 feet long.

Level. A handy tool when you’re putting up shelves or building a structure. You’ll need to ensure things are level so that your structure doesn’t topple over and things don’t roll off your shelf. You can buy small levels, but a foot long can be used for most jobs.

Drill. A cordless drill that is at least 18 volts can handle pretty much anything. If you don’t use a drill often, try a corded drill with a heavy duty, long extension cord. And don’t forget to grab a drill bit set.

4 uses for your garage

Your garage is maybe the largest room in your house when it comes to square footage. For many families, it becomes a place to dump junk: sports gear, lawn equipment, garbage, etc. Regardless of whether you have a single or double garage, it’s an ideal area to turn into a functional space. Here are three of the most common uses for garages.

Car parking
Perhaps the most obvious, you can use your garage to park your car or even two! There’s a number of reasons to focus on car storage.

 
If you live in an area where the weather fluctuates, you might want to park your car indoors. The snow and salt that comes along with clearing snow are some of the worst things for vehicles as they can cause rust – a car’s worst nightmare. Constant rain or occasional hail can also damage your vehicle. Not having to worry about scraping away ice on your windshield every morning before work in the winter is reason enough.

 
Security may be another. If you have an expensive car, an old muscle car or a hot rod, you’ll want to keep that vehicle indoors for safety. You’ll sleep easier at night knowing your ride is tucked away safely.

 
If you plan on using your garage primarily for parking your car, pull it in, open all the doors and mark off the area. Organize everything else around that area.

 
Workshop
Whether you’re an amateur woodworker that takes on weekend challenges or a professional carpenter, you may wish to turn your garage into a workshop. If you’re a jack of all trades, you may need all the basics like a miter saw or table saw. You may even have more specialized tools like tile or ceramic saws. Regardless, you’ll need a space large enough to store everything safely.

If you enjoy working on your car, you’ll need all the required tools and equipment to help you maintain your vehicle. Maybe you’re an avid landscaper that enjoys tackling any outdoor project. Pick your poison, but you’ll need space to keep all your tools.

 
There are a few basic things to consider for every workshop or work area. Regardless of the project, you’ll benefit from having a flat surface you can use to lay things down, do small projects or just to lay out your plans. It’s a great idea to keep all your tools close by rather than around the garage, so pick a zone in your garage for the work area and consider purchasing adequate storage solutions.

 
Storage
Most people just want to use the garage for storage and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a great place to keep all the odds and ends that don’t belong elsewhere: sports equipment, lawnmower, appliances, among other things. Whether you have too much stuff in your home, or your home is just too small, the garage may be the ideal place to store things.

 
No matter what’s there, keep it organized! Save yourself time and ensure you know what’s actually in there. Create zones to keep common items together and invest in some basic storage solutions to keep everything tidy, like shelves, plastic boxes or storage systems. Remember to only keep things there that can survive the environment – not all garages are insulated and you may find rodents and insects.

 
Studio
Depending on the layout and size of your house, your garage can be utilized as an extra room – a big one at that! It can be insulated and transformed into an office space. Maybe you’ve always dreamed of having a man cave, but your basement has been overtaken by Barbies, action figures and other kids toys. Did you ever consider renovating the garage and turning it into your own space… maybe even with a wet bar?

On top of that, many people work from home on a part time or full time basis. Yogis, fitness instructors, piano teachers… they all need a large and separate space from the rest of the house. The garage is a perfect place to turn into a studio for various things.

6 tips to get any organization project started

If you’re obsessed with cleanliness and order, tackling an organization project can be easy, but most people dread it. Reorganizing your kitchen, going through your storage unit, decluttering your garage – whatever the project, here are a few guidelines to help you get started.

 

Take the necessary time
Above anything else, dedicate some time to the task at hand. If you’re chipping away at a room little by little, it may seem like it’s taking an eternity. If you’re going to tackle an organization project, make sure you come at it with the right attitude. Don’t be afraid to take the time to do it right, and don’t be afraid to toss the junk or put it aside to donate.

Before starting, make sure you grab all the items you need: boxes for storage, garbage bags, and cleaning products. Don’t let yourself be distracted later on when you need to run out to grab something you need. Bring everything you’ll require to that space and get going!

 
Pick a place to start
Maybe you should start with the pantry. No, the island. Even better, the cutlery drawer. There’s no right place to start – just pick a place and start moving left to right, top to bottom. Focus on that one area and begin. Don’t skip a space because it may take too long or it’s too messy. You’ll have to do it regardless, so move through the area in an orderly and systematic fashion.

 
Junk is junk
The process of throwing things out can be difficult or can be very straightforward – depending on the person. If you’re going through a loved one’s house who has just passed away, this process can be emotional and take time. If you’re past the baby stage and need to get rid of cribs, playpens and toys, it can be pretty easy.

Regardless of the room or project, figure out what you need, what you want to keep and what you know you don’t need. Establishing this criteria will save you time when you’re sorting through items.

 
Also consider what you’re doing with your junk: throwing it out, giving it to someone you know or donating it. If you’re throwing out large items, you may need to rent a truck. If you’re donating to a specific charity, you may need to contact them in advance.

 
Creating staging areas
There’s no use making piles of things that need to be sorted again later. Clear one space to stage or sort through items. Bring everything there, determine what you’re keeping and what you’re getting rid of. Don’t allow this area to get messy or else you’re just moving piles of junk from one place to the next.

 
Take breaks
Don’t burn out or get overwhelmed. Take breaks to remain patient and objective. You can chip away at certain projects or even walk away for an hour to come back it refreshed. Regardless of how long or often you take breaks, make sure you complete the specific task at hand first.

 
Take a second pass
So you’ve gone through every area. Think you’re done? HA! Repeat the process once again. It’ll take you much less time and it allows you to be more objective than the first round. Then, you’ll only be left with the things you really need.

5 decluttering tips for your garage

Most garages are a catch-all space for anything related to the outdoors like tools, sports gear, lawn equipment. Some people dump indoor items as well: boxes, garbage, appliances. Life happens and suddenly you can’t even fit a car in your garage. In most cases, garages get unorganized and can be dangerous for kids.

Here’s the thing – it’s a huge space with great square footage that can be better organized for maximum efficiency. Here are some tips.

Chuck the junk
Most garages become a dump for all things, but what kind of treasures could you find once you take the time to look? Appliances, a computer still running Windows 98, a sweet Tron poster. You may have placed those items there because at the time, you didn’t want to make the decision to keep them or throw them away.

The first thing you’ll need to do is chuck the junk. You may only need a garbage bag, or maybe a truck. Take a deep breath and go at it. Start anywhere and create a staging area to sort your junk – so you’re not sorting what you’ve already sorted later on.

Also, consider what you’ll do with that junk. Maybe you’ll just throw it away, but consider donating it.

Have an end goal
What do you want this space to be used for? If it’s to park your car (or cars), pull it in and work around that space. That way, you’ll know the exact dimensions you require.

Garages are a great place for workshops regardless of if you like to putter, take on weekend projects or are a professional carpenter. Plan out what you need, like an area to keep your tools and a flat surface to work. You may even have power tools professionally installed to give you that extra edge.

Your garage can be turned into your sports locker room too. Keep that toxic waste out of your home and in your own personal space with hooks and a bench. Consider putting up shelves for baseball bats, cleats, golf clubs, or tennis rackets.

Maybe you just want a storage area. There’s nothing wrong with that, but make sure your storage is organized. If you’re using your garage as a general storage area, consider heat fluctuations, rodents and insects. Only keep things that can withstand these elements.

Assign spaces
If you’ve decided to use your garage for multiple items, assign spaces for each category. Camping gear to the right, sports equipment to the left, tools hung on the wall, lawn and garden equipment near the door and seasonal items tucked away in boxes. Categorization will save you time trying to figure out where everything is later on.

Use proper storage
Not everything needs to sit on the concrete floor. Think about how to better utilize the space by installing hooks on the wall to suspend bikes, wood shelves for paint cans, and plastic boxes for Christmas decorations and to protect against bugs and rodents. You’ll be able to utilize those other flat surfaces in the garage and gain extra square footage.

Take the required time
If you’re going to tackle this job, make sure you come at it with the right attitude. Don’t be afraid to take the time to do it right, and don’t be afraid to toss the junk or put it aside to donate. A change of season is a great time to tackle this job.

Decluttering doesn’t just involve a few boxes or shelves. You need to take everything out and reassess where each item needs to go. Get all the things you need such as boxes for storage, garbage bags for junk and cleaning products. Pick a starting point and have at it!

3 things people look for when it comes to storage

Searching for storage can take a long time. You need to check different websites, figure out the size of unit you need, compare prices, find the right location, etc. If you haven’t rented a storage unit before, there may be a lot of questions that need answers before you even start your search.

Whether you’re a veteran of the game, or a newbie renting for the first time, here are three things to focus on before booking a self storage unit.

Price
Undoubtedly the most important thing that everyone thinks about first (and right before booking) is the price of the unit. No one wants to overpay or find out later that they could have saved a few bucks with another unit down the road.

Make sure you first determine how much you want to spend. Many self storage facilities offer discounted rates at the beginning, if you guarantee that you’ll commit for a few months. It’s great to get a deal initially, but don’t break the bank once those deals are gone. Figure out the monthly price that works for you and base your price search around that.

Once you’ve figured that out, keep an eye out for deals! Most facilities offer initial booking discounts: the first month free, three months at 50%, $1 for the first month, 10% off if you commit for several months, etc. Many facilities also offer discounts to students, seniors and veterans. Make sure you mention this when you’re booking. Regardless of how long you’re looking for storage, it’s always great to get a deal at the onset!

Convenience
Ok, so you’ve found the perfect self storage unit based on price… but it’s 30 miles away and offers no drive-up access. Not so good. During your search, consider convenience.

Location is important. Let’s say you find two great units at a similar price, but one is 10 miles closer to home. You’ve just saved yourself 30 to 40 minutes of commute both ways, and what’s more precious than time?!

Other amenities like drive-up access, 24 hour access, or the availability of moving equipment are bonuses. These types of perks can save you time, hassle and energy.

Security
Last thing you’ll need when you’re driving away from your antiques, vintage vinyl collection and keepsakes that you’ve just stored in a facility away from home is the peace of mind that everything is secure.

If you’re looking for Fort Knox, keep an eye out for video surveillance, security systems, a fully fenced property, a well lit property, and a legion of commandos… ok, maybe you won’t find that last one.

Remember that self storage facilities have various security features. If this is important to you, make sure you check what’s available.

Are one of these things more important than another? Maybe paying a little less to drive further to a less secure facility works. Maybe security is the most important aspect and you’re willing to pay a little more.

With these three things in mind – price, convenience, security – you’re ready to do some research and find the storage unit that is right for you.

7 decluttering tips for your kitchen

It’s supposed to be the cleanest place in your home, considering you prepare every meal there, but your kitchen ends up gathering the most stuff on a daily basis. Mail on the island, a drawer of endless tupperware, baking items piled on one another that spill whenever you grab something… how can a chef work in such conditions?

Decluttering your entire kitchen can be a daunting task, but doing it right can save you time every day. Here are a few ideas to help.

Take the required time
If you’re going to tackle this job, make sure you come at it with the right attitude. Don’t be afraid to take the time to do it right, and don’t be afraid to toss the junk or put it aside to donate. Decluttering doesn’t just involve one cabinet or drawer. You need to take everything out and reassess where each item needs to go. Get all the things you need such as boxes for storage, garbage bags for junk and cleaning products. Pick a starting point and have at it!

Zone your kitchen
Divide your kitchen into logical sections. Your prep zone should have cutting boards, measuring cups, mixing bowls, etc. The cooking area (stove and oven) should have pots, pans and bakeware nearby. Cleaning products and trash bags should be close to the dishwasher and sink. Food storage items like tupperware, foil and plastic wrap can be near the fridge.

Think about the way you move through your kitchen for each task. Whatever doesn’t belong in its zone should be removed.

Group similar items together
Within those zones, stash similar items together. Plastic bags and wrapping items can go in the same drawer. Pots and pans remain together. More importantly, categorize your pantry. Baking products in one area, spices in another as well as canned food.

Cabinets
You know that space between your counter and your ceiling that has that beautiful mosaic backsplash? It could also be used for storage. Cabinets are the most obvious way to declutter your kitchen. Make sure they go all the way up to the ceiling to take advantage of that extra space.

Organization tools
There are many tools that are designed to declutter and save space in the kitchen. A Lazy Susan can be used to stack similar items together and provide easy access on counters or in cabinets. Shelf and drawer organizers can partition items easily. Boxes or baskets can also be used, but consider transparent storage to easily identify the products inside. Also, if your cabinet or pantry door has the space, use a door organizer with pockets to store small and light objects.

Look to your walls
Many kitchens have walls that can be used for storage as well. Install a shelf for cookbooks, or pegs to hang aprons and cloths.

Move counter items to storage
If you’re short on counter space, try storing some of your smaller appliances and items in cabinets. Think about what is on the countertop that’s taking up space or isn’t often used. Toasters, coffee tins, rice cookers, a standmixer – those can all be placed in cabinets, if you have the space. Remember that an item doesn’t have to stay where it is simply because it’s always been there.

The three D’s of storage

 

There are three main reasons why people choose storage: divorce, death and downsizing. They are all difficult times and you’ll likely feel overwhelmed. One of your concerns will likely be what do with your stuff.

Divorce
Going through a divorce can be one of the hardest times of your life. It affects you, but it can also involve kids. Determining assets and figuring out what you’re going to keep can be a complicated process, but in the end, you’re going to part with many possessions.

There may also be a long transition going from your old home to a new lifestyle. You may need to find a new place or move to a new city altogether. Your new house is probably smaller than your last, or maybe you’ll rent for a bit. Either way, you need some time to get back on your feet.

With all these changes, many people choose self storage units to keep their stuff in while they figure out their next step. That way you can deal with the more important things while knowing that your possessions are stored away safely in a convenient location.

Death
Losing a loved one can be one of the most painful things in life. The time immediately following is stressful and emotional. Eventually, you’ll need to go through the belongings of your loved one and determine what you want to keep, give to someone else, donate, or throw away.

You’ll likely end up with a whole new bedroom set, clothes, collections and other keepsakes. You may not have the space in your own home, but these items are important to you. That’s where a storage unit may come in handy.

Downsizing
People downsize their homes for different reasons, but ultimately that means getting rid of stuff. Perhaps you recently retired and want to move into that neighbourhood you always dreamed of, the kids moved out and you’re looking for a condo, or you’re moving from the country to the city and can’t afford a big place.

Whatever the reason, you’ve gone from a large home to a smaller one. You’ll get rid of some stuff, give items to others, but there are probably some things you want to keep. You may want to hold onto useful items that you may still need like tools, or keep sentimental pieces like family heirlooms that you want to pass onto your kids.

Make sure that you enjoy your new lifestyle without clutter in your new home and grab a storage unit nearby.

4 reasons why people keep things

We’ve all heard the saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” It’s all too true when it comes to our possessions. An old t-shirt, a collection of vinyls, a One Direction poster… Why do we keep things? What makes these things so important to us when they are seemingly unimportant to someone else?

Sentimental
One of the main reasons people keep objects is the sentimental value they have – the personal link they hold. There’s an association with a particular object that is important to us. Perhaps someone we admire values it and you may feel guilty if you throw it away. Old china from your grandmother or your someone’s trophies for example.

Sometimes objects are connected to memories. Old movie tickets from your first date, a tie from a loved one or a yearbook. Possessions are tied to important moments in our lives, whether they be positive or negative. These items help us remember specific times and losing them makes us feel like we’re losing a memory.

While these may not be of practical value, they are important nonetheless.

Market value
Objects hold value because, well… they’re valuable! They’re worth something, such as collectibles. Do you have some old Star Wars figurines? Bonus! In mint condition and still in their original packaging? Now we’re talking.

Gold and jewelry maintain and sometimes increase in value. Autographed memorabilia or a book that is no longer in print. You may want to keep these types of objects aside to cash in later.

Maybe these objects are not worth something now, but they could some day. One word: vintage. Something that is out of style today could come back later and is suddenly very valuable.

Utility
People also keep objects because they’re useful. Tools are a good example. How often do you use your mitre saw? Your chainsaw? They may not be needed now… or next year… or the following year, but they’re still useful. You’re not going to throw them away because they could come in handy later.

To keep for later
Similar to utility, we often keep objects for later use for other reasons. We’re saving them for a special occasion, a special moment. Or maybe you’re saving them for someone else.

Keepsakes for future generations, something you want your kids to have. Like an instrument you played that you want your kids to play, your mother’s wedding dress or even war medals. These may not be items that you necessarily need or want, but you may hold onto them for others.

 

Whatever the reason you’re holding on to those items, you may not have the space to keep them in your home. A storage unit may just be the right place to keep them.