How to Downsize Your Life

Downsize Your Life

smaller houseAt one point in just about everyone’s life there comes a time when one is faced with the task of downsizing and simplifying their living situation.  Whether you’re joining the tiny house movement, reducing maintenance requirements by moving into a city condo, or simply no longer needing all that extra space that kids and life filled up, you will have quite a storage task at hand that’s for sure.

How does one go about this endeavor?

You know you can’t take everything with you, so how does one downsize anyway?


First, consider what you absolutely need to live day to day.  The key word here is “need” and not want.  Items like a bed, sofa, clothes are examples of need.  Of these items, how many do you have that are multiples that won’t be necessary in a smaller space?  Also, of these items, which could be downsized in just their size alone.  Do you need that full sized sectional sofa or could a loveseat work just fine?  What about your California king sized mattress?  Is that really necessary?  Go through your list of needs and start an inventory of stuff that isn’t a need.  You can put this list into categories like:  sell on Craigslist, donate to Goodwill,  place in a self-storage facility, discard using a service or put in the garbage.

Now that you have a better idea of what stuff goes where, you can start working through the necessary steps.


The first step is to clear the playing field if you will.  Self-storage units can help you do this task.  Use your inventory list of items to be put in storage to gage how much space you need.  Choosing the right sized self-storage unit is key.  Don’t be afraid to ask the manager of the storage facility for advice.  Use your inventory list to help them help you visualize the space you will need.

By moving all of these items into a storage space, you will now have room to move through the remaining items in your downsizing project.  It will also help you determine if there are extra items that you had originally marked for storage that you actually can just eliminate instead.


Anything that you think has value but you’re not taking with you or placing in storage should be sold.  There are a multitude of ways to approach this task.  A popular avenue is eBay.  With the smartphone app, listing and selling on eBay has never been easier!  Create an account, snap a photo and list it for sale.  Once sold, you’ll have to package up the item and ship to the buyer but eBay has made that a simple process as well with the buyer paying the shipping and you being able to print the label right from home.

If online auctions are not your thing, consider using Craigslist to sell the items you aren’t going to place in storage.  Think of this site as an online classifieds ad section.  You can photograph and list your items for sale, adding a brief description, and then listing options for prospective buyers to contact you.  A word of caution though.  These are strangers you are speaking with and many email scammers troll the listings to spam you with unsolicited materials.  Also, think about meeting the person at a public place such as a Starbucks or other coffee house so that they don’t know where you live nor see that you are moving out with other items just laying around for the taking.


Last but not least, why not hold a good old fashioned yard sale?  Easy and free, pick a good weekend and post some signs on busy streets guiding people to your location.  Don’t have enough stuff yourself?  Tell a few friends and make it a yard sale party at your place.  People always have stuff to sell and get rid of so the fact that you’re holding a sale makes it that much easier for them.  Make sure they price all of their items and put their initials so there isn’t any confusion as the sales start rolling in.


Don’t have time to sell all those items that aren’t going with you or into your storage unit?  Donation is a great option to consider.simplify  Not only will you be helping the charity with your donations you can take tax deductions for the items you donate.  Well known places like Goodwill or St. Vincent de Paul have convenient drop off locations but don’t forget there are many charities in your area.  You might take the time to look them up and donate to one that makes a difference in areas that are important to you.


The final step in the process is probably my favorite.  Discard, trash, throw out, and eliminate anything that is left over.  It feels so good to get to this point and simplify your life by removing all of the items that you don’t need, use or will miss once they are gone.  If it wasn’t worth storing, selling or donating, then why on earth do you need it anymore?  Throw it away and be free of it!  You will find the process exhilarating, trust me.  Keep in mind the vision of you living your simple, stress and clutter free life and you’ll tear right through this project like nobody’s business.

By Steve Reed

Store Your Vinyl Records with Ease

Vinyl Record Storage


Audiophiles love vinyl. To most, it is still the best way to listen to music. There are die hard fanatics that collect them to your average consumer who is old enough to have a few vinyl records around somewhere. Often times they are reminders of one’s youthful days and hard to part with even if not played very often.

Regardless of your motive, vinyl records are a sensitive product that require special handling and storage to ensure they hold up over time. Here are a few helpful hints on how to store and protect that collection of yours:


Keep it Clean: Your friend is a record cleaning kit. It includes a record cleaning brush and a liquid cleaner that will help you keep the surface of the vinyl free of excess debris and dust. Follow the record cleaning kit instructions on how to properly keep your vinyl clean and do so before putting the records back into storage.Vinyl Records

Keep it Temperate: Climate controlled storage should be a big consideration when deciding how to and where to place your vinyl records in storage. Humidity and heat are your worst enemies. The more controlled the temperature and storage environment is the longer your records will last.

Keep it Covered: Vinyl records come with an inner sleeve that is made of paper for a reason. They help keep the record dry and clean so make sure to put your vinyl back in this sleeve before storing. Also, each record comes in an album cover. Another great way to keep it clean and dry for self-storage. If the record cover still has the shrink wrap, remove it immediately.

Keep it Vertical: Store exactly vertically to prevent warping. Spacers are recommended and never use bookends. Avoid mixing sizes too, keeping everything the same uniform size and shape as much as possible. Ideally store them on metal shelves. Wood is not recommended as it expands and contracts over time. The main thing is to keep them exactly vertical so they don’t warp over time.

For more information on the proper storing, cleaning and preservation of your vinyl collection, click here.

By Steve Reed

Staging by Storing Vehicles

Car Storage

When putting your home on the market to sell, a bit of staging and decluttering can be that extra aide to the fast sale of the house. Any realtor can tell you that having too much stuff can really work against you with buyers. It will make rooms appear smaller and many buyers will get distracted by your clutter and not see the house as a place they can live in.

In an effort to clear the spaces in the home, many sellers will rent storage units and move the extra stuff to a space outside of the home. What they frequently neglect, however, is the garage and driveway space. Many never consider how much space their extra vehicles, boats, RV’s and toys take up.

Some of the reasons to consider storing your vehicles during the sale process:

  1. Buyers want as much space as they can get in their price point. Having your house, driveway and garage cleared of any excess helps buyers imagine how much space they have to work with in the house. Cars and RV’s take up large amounts of visual space and give the impression of less room then there actually is when left behind.
  2. Alternatively, if you just move them into the street then it blocks the front of your home from potential buyers and gives the impression that your neighborhood has a street parking problem.
  3. Lastly, if your cars are in less than perfect shape or are a work in progress, it gives a terrible first impression of you home making it appear less valuable and in need of work before the buyer has even stepped foot inside the home.

If you’re like me, you care about your vehicles, classic cars, RV’s and trailers. You want to make sure if they aren’t going to be at your house that they are stored properly and securely. Depending on what facility you choose nearby, there are a few options to consider.

Classic Cars and Vintage Trailer
  • Climate controlled drive-in storage units are the most expensive and yet highest caliber of storage for your auto, RV or toy hauler. I would consider this option for a restore classic car or vintage trailer that you want to protect from the elements. The price is considerably higher but for an investment piece of equipment, it’s worth considering.
  • Non-climate controlled drive in storage spaces would be the next tier down as far as price. Depending on the time of year you are storing the equipment, and the climate of where the facility is located in, this can also be a very nice option. Similar to a garage, it will protect your vehicle from the elements and, just like the option above, gives you extra space to place other items in the garage-like storage space.
  • The next price point down would be a parking garage space. While not as private as your own drive-in storage unit, it still protects from the elements while providing security.
  • Covered outdoor parking spaces. I like this option if you are only parking a car or RV for a short time and it just needs to be protected from excessive sun and/or rain. Similar to a carport, this option keeps your equipment covered and protected while not costing as much as the other options mentioned above.
  • Last but not least there are outdoor parking spaces that you can use to store your vehicles. Consider these options like a large outdoor parking lot where you rent a space to park. This is by far the most cost effective option. Things to consider with this type of storage are length of stay, local climate and what type of security is in place around the lot.

While everyone has heard about staging your home and decluttering it before putting it on the market, not many people have thought about the vehicles, autos, RV’s and similar equipment that can clog the visual space of a driveway or a garage in just the same manner. If you have extra vehicles that are in the way, consider renting a space to put them so buyers see your home as their new home and not a vacant car lot.

Photo and article by Steve Reed

Choosing the Right Sized Self Storage Unit

Storage Space Needs

At Bargain Storage, we want your self-storage experience to be easy, friendly and affordable. With that in mind, we know it’s not always easy to figure out what size self-storage unit you’ll need to rent. That’s why we’ve come up with our convenient self-storage sizing chart to help you size up your self-storage needs.

We’ve provided a visual key of what fits in each size unit we have available:

5′ x 5′ Storage Unit

  • Comparison: Small walk-in closet
  • What Fits: Small furniture, a few boxes and small miscellaneous items
5′ x 10′ Storage Unit

  • Comparison: Large walk-in closet
  • What Fits: Couch, chair, bedroom set and small boxes
10′ x 10′ Storage Unit

  • Comparison: Small bedroom
  • What Fits: Contents from a 1 bedroom home
10′ x 15′ Storage Unit

  • Comparison: Medium to Large bedroom
  • What Fits: Contents from a 1-2 bedroom home – including boxes, etc.
10′ x 20′ Storage Unit

  • Comparison: 1 car garage
  • What Fits: Contents from a 2 bedroom home – including boxes, etc.

Packing your self-storage unit can be a total nightmare or an organized beauty. Once you’ve picked the right size self-storage unit, you’ll want to organize your belongings with “easy access” in mind. We wrote a recent post all about packing and storing tips for self-storage units with the following advice:

With a little bit of forethought and planning ahead, a self-storage unit can be well organized and your stored belongings easily accessible.

Packing Smart

The trick is to pack smart and store your belongings in an organized manner, so you don’t have to climb through a mountain of boxes or unload your entire unit to access your things. Stack your boxes along the wall from floor to ceiling with the heaviest boxes on the bottom to make a sturdy base. Create a clear path down the center of your unit, so you can easily access items stored in the back of your unit when needed.

If you’re still not sure what size storage unit to rent for your self-storage needs, our friendly managers are self-storage experts and are happy to assist you with any questions you may have. To get started today, simply find the location nearest you and give us a call.



Choosing How to Move Your Stuff

How to Move

You need to move your stuff to a mini storage unit, but how will you get it there?

Option One: Do It Yourself

Moving Boxes Yourself

Take a good look at your stuff.  If you don’t have too much, your best and least expensive option may be the borrow-a-buddy approach (or maybe the cute donkey in the photo). Moving the heavier items will be easier if you plan ahead and borrow or rent a hand-truck. Your friends will love you when the furniture, appliances and heavy boxes are wheeled to your unit instead of hand carried. Having the right tool for the job is a life saver! If you have access to a pickup truck or SUV, you’re almost there. If not, check out your local DIY store. They rent trucks by the hour. Then you just need to line up your fierce-less friends and you can start moving your beloved stuff to mini storage.

The essential elements of this approach:

  • Do you have (or can you borrow) a truck or SUV?
  • Can you and your friends physically manage the move?
  • Estimate the number of trips back and forth you will need.
  • Have you assembled all the supplies you need to make this move go as smooth as possible, e.g. the right sized boxes, a hand-truck to save your back, old blankets to prevent scratching and tie-downs to secure your stuff while in route to your self-storage unit?
  • Plan a “Post-move” party to show your appreciation and to say thank you: budget for pizza and beverages for afterwards!


Option Two: Do It Yourself, But Rent a Moving Truck

Loading Truck

Reserve this ahead of time and plan around peak days and months. Look online for coupons and specials and remember that truck rentals come in all sizes so shop around for the cheapest. You need a truck that is big enough to move your stuff in as few trips as possible. Be careful not to get too large of truck, otherwise your stuff might shift in transport to your self-storage unit which could cause damage. When you’re ready, decide what gets packed in the truck first and remember that will be the last item out when you arrive.

The essential elements to consider in Option Two:

  • Can you and your faithful friends physically manage the move?
  • Have you determined how many trips the move will take?
  • Have you (or any of your friends) driven a moving truck before?
  • You will need the necessary moving supplies: boxes, tie-downs, hand-trucks and blankets. The hand-trucks and blankets can typically be rented from moving truck vendors.
  • Don’t forget the pizza!


Option Three: Call a Moving Company

Professional Movers

Maybe DIY isn’t quite for you. The last option is to shop around and interview a moving company. You can also read online reviews about the company so you can get a feel for their reputation and what to expect.  While this can be costly, it is the most stress-free and all you need to do it coordinate a few details. The movers will come and pick up your stuff from your home or office, relocate, and unload it at your self-storage unit.  Your buddies will certainly appreciate this option and you can still have that party at the end of the day!

The essential elements in when using a Moving Company:

  • Can you afford to hire a moving company?  Call several to make sure you’re getting a good deal. Ask your friends for a referral and read online reviews.
  • Is this a short or long distance move?  The shorter the move, the cheaper.
  • Call your mini-storage facility manager ahead of time so they know when to expect the movers.
  • Pizza not necessary.



Move Your Kitchen to Storage, No Problem

Move Your Kitchen Storage

Packing up your kitchen is probably one of the most tedious rooms to pack up, but no need to panic!  With a little planning and a few helpful tips, you’ll be on your way to moving your stuff to storage in no time flat.

Move Your Kitchen to Storage

Just like any job you’ll need the right tools.  Here’s our suggestion for a regular sized kitchen:

  • 6 to 8 large storage boxes (for added strength, be sure to double tape the bottom of the box) – Use this sized box for small appliances, plastic-ware, mixing bowls, etc.
  • 10 or so medium sized storage boxes – food from the cupboards, cookbooks, etc.
  • 5 or 6 small storage boxes – flatware, cooking tools, canned goods, etc.
  • Specialty boxes like cell kits are also available at a little higher price, but are terrific for fragile items like stemware.
  • Newspaper, non-print paper, bubble-wrap and tissue paper (I personally like using plain white tissue paper for packing because it’s clean, easy to work with and eco-friendly)
  • Packing tape
  • Sharpie marker pens

 Make a Plan

First off, it’s very easy to underestimate how much time it will take to pack up your kitchen.  Be sure to give yourself ample time so you don’t end up rushing and not packing properly. As a good rule, add 4 hours to however much time you think it will take.  For example, if you think it will take you 6 hours, add 4 more for a total of 10 hours.  Besides, it’s better to overestimate and possibly be pleasantly surprised if it takes less time.

Packing is a great time to get rid of stuff you no longer use or need. Have a couple of boxes ready and keep close by while you’re packing, one for charity and one for trash.  And you’ll end up packing less!

If you’re not moving the entire contents of your kitchen to storage, be sure to label a few boxes for those particular items.

Begin with stuff that you don’t use as often, you’re “good” china, fancy glassware, bread-maker, etc.  Wrap them with your choice of wrap, but be careful not to use newspaper on items where the ink could transfer. If you’re not sure, don’t risk it and use non-printed paper.

Once you start filling a box, fill the voids with bubble-wrap, various kitchen towels/washcloths (bathroom towels work well too).  This will help stuff from shifting and potentially causing damage during transport.

Be careful not to overload the storage boxes making them difficult to move.

Once you’ve filled up a box, properly tape it closed and label it. Move it to a location in your home where it’s not in the way.  Working your way through the kitchen in this manner will have you packed up in no time at all!

Here are the top 5 best kitchen packing tips we’ve gathered over the years:

  1. Leading up to the day of packing, try to limit how much groceries you buy. Instead, eat your way through what you already have in the cupboards. Eating more means packing less.
  2. Wrap your silverware tray in plastic wrap. This will keep it fully intact.
  3. If you’re not taking the fridge and stove, be sure to pull them out. You’ll be surprised what you might find!
  4. If you’re like most people, there’s a junk drawer somewhere in your kitchen. This is a great opportunity to clean it out, but don’t wait until the day your packing to do it. For stuff that’s ended up in the drawer that has a proper home like tools and office supplies, put them away where they belong.  Minimize the “junk” and get organized!
  5. You’re a big kid now, buy “good” sturdy boxes and supplies.  Cheap supplies will only risk your stuff getting damaged or broken when transporting to storage.


Storage Tips for Business Owners

Business Owner Storage

Business Storage

A cluttered workspace can be a huge distraction to running your business. If your workspace is overrun with excess inventory and supplies or you’re drowning in piles of paperwork, consider renting a self storage unit as a cost effective and efficient solution to your clutter conundrum. Whether you work from a retail space, commercial space or a home-based office, we encourage business owners to make use of self storage for both long-term and short-term solutions for:

  • Relocating, remodeling or redecorating your business
  • Storing important business documents
  • Storing excess inventory and supplies
  • Storing sensitive equipment or supplies which require climate control

At Bargain Storage, we like to think of your storage unit functioning like an extra office space. Take advantage of the following tips to get the most of your self-storage investment:

Tip #1: Create an Inventory List

Before choosing what size unit you’ll need, make a list of all of the items you’ll be storing. Based on the list, you can determine the amount of space you will need. With proper packing and organization you can fit a lot more in a self-storage unit than may appear. Our friendly self-storage managers are also at your disposal to help you pick the right size unit, without selling you more space than you need.

Tip #2: Consider Fire-Proof Storage

Not all storage units are created equal – especially when it comes to fire safety.  Most of our self-storage facilities are all-concrete and/or metal.  This all design provides added protection for your personal valuables and business documents while in.

Tip #3: Pack Smart – Store Smart

Organizing you unit in the beginning with easy access in mind will help you later on. Put pen to paper and create a floor plan for your personal storage unit. Tape a copy of your map on the wall of your self-storage unit for easy reference to all of your belongings. Store items you’ll need to access more frequently up-front. Stack your boxes along the wall from floor to ceiling with the heaviest boxes on the bottom to make a sturdy base. Create a clear path down the center of your unit, so you can easily access items stored in the back of your unit when needed.

Our friendly Bargain Storage managers are waiting to answer all of your business storage questions. Let us help identify the best way to help you focus on what matters most – running your business. Give us a call today!