Moving Made Easy: How to Inventory Your Belongings

by Patrick Galvan featured on Storage.com

Whether you’re moving directly into your new home or temporarily using a storage unit to store everything you own, creating a home inventory when moving is a good idea. Not only does this help you keep track of your stuff, but it also makes unpacking easier because you’ll know what goes where.

Why You Need a Home Inventory for Moving

images (1)If you’re hiring a moving company or keeping everything you own in self storage until you can move into your new home, a home inventory is a good backup plan should anything happen to your belongings.

Moving companies are usually cautious when moving items, and most self storage facilities have security features like video surveillance, gated access, and alarmed units to protect your items. That said, accidents can happen, and a security system is never a 100% guarantee that your belongings are safe.

Keeping a record of everything that’s being moved or stored is a good way to protect yourself. Should any of your items get damaged or stolen, having an itemized list (or photos) of each belonging can help you file an insurance claim and work faster with your insurance company to recover what was lost.

Label All of Your Boxes and Keep an Itemized Record

When moving, write or attach labels to all of your boxes and storage containers. There are a few different ways you can organize your stuff with labels, but the best ways are by item and room.

  • By Item: Labeling boxes and storage containers by item is good when you have lots of similar items. For example, a bunch of photo albums can be put in one box labeled “Photo Albums,” which keeps them together and makes it easier for you to find all of them when unpacking.
  • By Room: Let’s say you have several kitchen appliances and utensils in one box. It’d be hard to categorize them by item. In this situation, it’s better to label them by room. That way, when you’re moving the box into your new home, you’ll know it needs to go into the kitchen because it’s marked “Kitchen.”

Once you’ve packed and labeled everything, make an itemized record of what’s inside your boxes and containers. The more detailed and itemized the list, the better.

For example, an itemized list for a box marked “Electronics” could look like this:

moving inventory example

If you anticipate the need to retrieve something from the box before you unpack, tape the list to the outside of the container rather than putting it inside. This will help you avoid rummaging through all of your boxes to find what you need. Also, taking photos of everything inside the box and taping them outside can be useful.

There’s an App for That!

mobile-apps-1Of course, electronic records are much more convenient—and easier to produce—than writing an inventory out by hand. That’s why there are apps for smartphones and tablets specifically designed to help! In fact, some apps include features for storing pictures and video clips to help you document your items.

Here are three examples of moving and home inventory apps available through Apple’s app store:

  • Moving Day: With this free app, you can catalog items while you pack, track the value of items and store photos for insurance claims, create bar codes and labels for your boxes that can be printed, and more.
  • Moving Van: While this app does cost $1.99, you can keep track of each box and item you’ve packed and assign them to rooms. If you need to find an item, you can search on the app for the item and the box it’s in. Data can also be exported into a PDF or email if you need to file an insurance claim.
  • Sortly: This app allows you to take photos and organize items with the option to even keep track of product part or serial numbers. You can export items into a PDF and use QR codes to keep track of boxes and where each item is. (This app does have in-app purchases, otherwise it’s free.)

An inventory may not seem like it’s worth the work while you’re packing up your belongings, but it’s helpful to have when moving and storing belongings. With a good spreadsheet or inventory-related app, you can keep everything organized and make more efficient insurance claims should anything happen.

The Complete Guide to Downsizing

Article by Logan Livers on Storage.com

downsizeEvery year, people around the country move into smaller living spaces for a wide variety of reasons. Whether it’s downsizing to a rental property or selling a home to move into a smaller one, downsizing can offer a lot of benefits. Most people downsize as part of a financial decision, since a smaller space often means lower costs. Many of the other reasons for downsizing can also be directly or indirectly related to finances. Use this guide to find out the common reasons for downsizing, determine whether or not you need to downsize, and ways to make downsizing simpler.

Common Reasons for Downsizing Your Home

  • Lower monthly costs— The main reason that most people downsize is to increase the spendable income every month by lowering their rent or mortgage payments. A smaller home is a great way to decrease the biggest part of your budget so that you can save money in other areas, such as:
  • Taxes: In a smaller house, you’ll pay significantly less in real estate taxes. Not only will you decrease your mortgage payments, but you’ll also be able to decrease other major costs as well.
  • Utilities: Going from two water heaters down to one can be a great money saver. Even if your downsize isn’t that drastic, heating and cooling a smaller space is far more efficient and costs a lot less.
  • Maintenance: A smaller home will be a lot more affordable to maintain, especially in the long run. For example, if you ever need to install a new roof or paint the exterior, having a smaller home will reduce the total cost of replacement.
  • Move to a better location— Many people will sacrifice square footage to live in their ideal neighborhood or in a downtown space. While the need to downsize can be related to higher costs in that area, these people are mainly driven by their love for a specific location.
  • Don’t need that much space— Empty nesters will often be left with more house than they need once all of their children have grown up and moved out. Moving into a smaller home can be much more convenient for maintenance and a new lifestyle.
  • Newer but smaller — Larger isn’t always better. Some people will sacrifice some space to move into a better or more modern home because they value amenities over space.
  • Smaller footprint— As people are becoming more interested in preserving the environment, many have chosen to minimize their ecological footprint by living in a smaller home. In that case, downsizing is not only a housing choice, but a lifestyle choice.
  • Sometimes it isn’t an option— Unfortunately, downsizing isn’t always an option. A recent divorce or sudden unemployment scenario can force people to downsize their living arrangements in order to afford rent or mortgage payments.

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Should You Downsize Your Home?

Moving into a smaller home is a very big decision, so it requires a lot of planning and foresight to make sure it’s the right move. Just because there are a lot of benefits to downsizing, that doesn’t mean that it’s right for everyone. While many instances of downsizing are based on necessity, some decisions are made based on future goals and the willingness to sacrifice square footage for the ability to invest more money elsewhere.

If you are debating whether or not downsizing is right for you, here are some things to consider:

  • Does size matter to you?— This is a simple question that you should ask yourself before you consider anything else on this list. If the size of your home doesn’t matter to you, then you should reconsider downsizing. If you value a high square footage layout, explore other options to decrease your monthly expenditures before making the decision to downsize your living space.
  • Will it ease your financial situation?— Another simple question that will help you decide if downsizing will actually be beneficial for you. If you can help your financial situation by moving to a smaller place, then it is definitely a worthwhile decision.
  • Overall cost of downsizing —This is an important aspect to consider in the total cost of moving, even when you’re going to a smaller place. You may have to buy entirely new furniture that fits your new space better, and getting rid of belongings can be considered a “cost” as well, albeit not monetarily.
  • Do you like the neighborhood/area?— Any time you move, you have the opportunity to live in a neighborhood you really enjoy. When downsizing, your list of options increases significantly. Neighborhoods that were once out of your price range, like downtown condos or apartments, are much more affordable when you’re looking for a smaller size.
  • Is it the right house for you?— You want to make sure that you’re making a decision that you’ll love. That means the criteria for your new home has to be much more complicated than just being smaller. You don’t want to sacrifice happiness, just space.

new house

How to Make Downsizing Easier

Now that you’ve decided that downsizing is the appropriate step for your life, it’s time to start focusing on how you can make it easier on yourself. In most cases, it’s fairly difficult to make the transition from a larger living space to a smaller one. It’s a lot like trying to pack too much into your carry-on suitcase. It can leave you with making big decisions on what should be kept and what won’t be making the move with you.

  • Take inventory of your belongings— The first step of downsizing is to take a thorough inventory of everything that you own so you can figure out what you really need and what you can part with. Categorize your belongings to figure out must-have items and items you can replace with smaller sized counterparts.
  • Don’t duplicate items— When downsizing, you probably won’t be entertaining any large groups of people, so you can stand to lose a few chairs or beer glasses. Don’t weigh yourself down with duplicate items that you may only need in unique situations, and limit yourself to what will be used frequently.
  • Explore storage options— One thing is certain when downsizing; you’ll need to become a storage fiend. That means you’ll need to look into shelving units, ottomans with built-in storage, and other storage solutions. By using these great storage options in your smaller living space, you’ll be better organized and can avoid feeling cramped in your new home.
  • Stay organized— One of the keys to happiness when living in a smaller home is to stay organized so you don’t end up with a cluttered living space. Take the time to consider where something will be stored before you bring it into your home so you don’t ever end up with more than you have room for.

All in all, downsizing your home can be a worthwhile decision for all sorts of people. It can cut down on your carbon footprint, simplify your life, and most importantly— save you a lot of money. Take the time to really think about what downsizing means before making the decision to move and you’re sure to enjoy your smaller home.

De-Clutter to Sell

by Paul Reynolds on SelfStorAll

1608911Clutter can kill a real estate sale quicker than a corpse in the entry.  It sends the wrong message in every way, conscious and unconscious.  Clutter says: “I’m a mess. My home for sale is a mess.  It’s also small and depressing.  Your dreams have no place here.”  So if we want to sell the house we have to de-clutter.  You will remove, recycle, store, or eliminate personal things (keepsakes, heirlooms, and the like), things you no longer use (for donation or storage or the dust heap), and junk.  Clutter is a particular risk when a home is for sale by owner, as there is no real estate agent there to make you clean up your act.  Remember – it’s not cozy – it’s clutter.

Bathroom – Expired medication, hand lotion we don’t use, and hotel soap should be the first to go.  Be brutal.

Living room – Nick-nacks, sports trophies, family photos – pack it now for the move.

Hallway Closets – Closet space is a big selling point so maximize it by keeping belongings neat and organized.

Bedroom Closets – If you haven’t worn something or used something in the last year – or three – get rid of it!  You probably never will.  If you can’t bear to part, then store it off-site.

Bookcases – Books we have read or received as gifts should be the first to go.  If you ever want to read it again, or need it to cite in that PhD thesis, you can always hit the library.

Cupboards – Kitchen cupboards especially are a gold mine of seldom used junk.  Old dishes, spices, appliances missing pieces, can all be tossed or donated.

Kids Room – Lucky children have lots of things they don’t use.  The process of going through their toys, books, and clothes, and picking out things to donate can teach your children valuable lessons.

Kitchen Counters – get things off the counter and into the trash (or the cupboards!).

Linen Closet – Most people have decades’ worth of faded and frayed towels and dishes.

Under Your Bed – Watch out for killer dust bunnies!

Organize – One word, are you ready?  “Plastic.”  Use clear plastic storage devices so you can easily see what’s inside.  Get some devices in a variety of shapes and sizes.  Start with zip lock bags and then buy cheap plastic boxes at Rona or Wal-Mart.

Top Tips for Closing the Cabin

By Paul Reynolds on SelfStorAll

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As autumn makes its grand arrival, the time has also come to close your summer getaway. Following some practical tips can help to protect your investment and ensure your return in the spring is a pleasant one.

“In the off season, our summer homes are often left to fend for themselves,” says Carla Bouchard, a broker with Royal LePage Metro in Moncton, New Brunswick. “By following a regimen of indoor tasks to prepare your cabin for the winter months, will help prevent damage from water, weather and pests.”  Bouchard recommends the following:

1. Drain the plumbing. Turn off your water system and drain your hot water tank, toilet, sink traps and appliances. If excess water remains, siphon it into a bucket. In areas where water cannot be siphoned, use a non-toxic anti-freeze.

2. Place mothballs in strategic locations. Mothballs can help prevent animal and insect infestations. Place them with linens, bedding and under seat cushions.

3. Cover your windows with shutters and apply weather stripping. Shutters deter intruders and protect your upholstery from fading by blocking out sunlight. Add weather stripping on the inside of windows and door frames to protect against moisture and the outside elements.

4. Pack up all food and bring it home. Canned and packaged goods can break open under freezing temperatures and attract pests. It’s best not to leave things to chance. Like your perishables, all food items should be packed up and brought home.

5. Turn off and unplug electrical appliances. Unplug all fixtures and appliances to avoid damage from power surges. This includes your baseboard heaters, which are responsible for many fires when summer homes are unattended during the winter.

Halloween is approaching….

As September starts to turn into fall, the weather gets cooler, leaves turn gorgeous shades of copper and suddenly, Halloween is upon us. If you’re festive like I am, you love to turn your house into a graveyard with pop up corpses and pumpkins everywhere……for one night. That’s where self storage comes in.

Let’s be honest here, are you really going to keep up your Halloween decorations until Christmas comes knocking on your door? There is a fine line between keeping the spirit of Halloween and refusing to let go of your graveyard front lawn you worked a little too hard on….

Keeping all of your Halloween decorations is great because it saves you money for next year, but where are you going to keep them? Think about it. Your garage is probably filled with folded up BBQ equipment, lawn chairs, Christmas decorations, boxes…etc.

Mountain Storage provides the solution to your storage! Located in gorgeous Crestline, California in the 92325 zip code, with Mountain Storage, you have over 400 units to choose from, varying in size for the amount of space you need and varying in price, for those on a budget.

Visit us online for all of your self storage needs!

Back to School!

It’s that time of the year again, the leaves are turning crisp, the temperature is dying down….and we are going into School season again. Once again, parents, you will struggle in traffic for 30 minutes to get your child to school, even though you’re just around the block…but there is some positive news:  Need to dispose of those extra books and materials your child made last year? Want to put that gigantic science project your daughter made, somewhere it won’t get crushed?
Look no further than Mountain Storage! With a variety of unit sizes and excellent customer service, Mountain Storage is your solution to a cramped space.
Located in gorgeous Crestline, California (92325), Mountain Storage has over 400 units available for rental, whether you need to store a few notebooks or the contents of an entire teenager’s room.

Labor Day Parties

Labor Day is just around the corner, which means barbecues, no more white and parties!

It’s always nice to have extra space in the house for your guests (the more, the merrier!) and with Mountain Self storage, it’s possible and cheap.

Self Storage is an easy, convenient and useful way to store excess furniture that might get in the way or extra tables and chairs you don’t need.

If you’re located in the Crestline area and need a reliable and affordable self storage facility, look no further than Mountain Storage!

Visit us at Mountain Storage to see your self storage options!

The arrival of college opens up a wonderful world of opportunities for your newly empty space

Parents reclaim your space! 18 years and you are finally free! Free at last to convert your son or daughter’s room into your ideal exercise room, a meditation room, or a guest room perhaps? Either way, while your child (ren) will only be packing the necessities for college (clothing), you’re going to be buying most of their stuff to take away to college (including a new bed, desk…etc), which means you’re going to be left with an unoccupied – but filled to the brim –  room with old clothing, an old bed, an old desk, posters of rock gods and rap icons…. What are you going to do with all of this? That’s where self storage comes in! Self storage is always a great way of storing extra items you don’t have space for within your own house.

If you’re looking for self storage in the local 92325 Crestline area, look no further than Mountain Storage! Mountain Storage has over 400 units, ranging in size, to choose from and is located in the gorgeous Valley of Enchantment.  Mountain Storage has the best prices on the mountain, starting at only $21 a month, including your own key and access code!

Take advantage of your new freedom and space! Convert that old room and treat yourself! 

Fall is approaching…

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It’s almost the end of summertime, as we approach August, which leads into the new school year.  No more pool parties, no more family barbeques…which begs the question, what are you going to do with your summer patio furniture and pool supplies?

Self Storage can be extremely useful for storing seasonal items such as summer patio furniture, pool accessories (noodles, toys), summer dishware and even a summer wardrobe!

If you’re going to be storing simply patio furniture and pool accessories, there’s no need for a climate controlled environment, however, if you are storing a wardrobe, it is always better to have a climate controlled unit to preserve your clothing.

If you’re looking for self storage in the Crestline area, within the 92325 zip code, don’t look any further then Mountain Storage. Located in the gorgeous Valley of Enchantment, Mountain Storage has over 400 units ranging in size for all of your self storage needs!

Remember, summer is coming to an end fast… Make sure you’ve planned ahead! Visit us at Mountain Storage.

Wedding season brings up the need for Self Storage units!

It’s summertime in the beautiful Valley of Enchantment in California which means wedding season. Wait, what does wedding season and storage units have to do with each other? Well, let’s say these two people getting married own separate homes. They’re trying to find a house together or perhaps build one, but at the same time, still have their own separate homes, which means several items of furniture, electronics..etc. It also means that once you two actually do combine your items, you’ll need to decide on a décor scheme, which can get tricky (I can only refer you to the scene in When Harry Met Sally where the couple is fighting over an ugly wagon wheel coffee table).

Having a self storage unit in the Crestline area would be convenient during the whole process of trying to find a house together or perhaps even finding one temporarily until you find “the one” you want to settle down in. A storage unit would be great for your extra furniture, beds, mattresses, extra electronic, books and anything else that you can’t fit into your temporary housing! It’s also going to be extremely helpful when your wife decides that almost everything you own isn’t suitable for the house as well.

So if you’re in need of a self storage in the 92325 area code, visit us at Mountain Storage!