Mistakes That Make Your Small Space Feel Even Tinier

Mistakes That Make Your Small Space Feel Even Tinier

It’s one thing to live in a small space. It’s another to live comfortably in a small space. If you haven’t yet mastered the art of apartment or loft living, you’re not alone. If you want to do it better than you imagined you could, you’ve got to avoid making big mistakes.

Here are four things that occur regularly that make small spaces feel even tinier:

Not keeping things in scale. That overstuffed sofa that you bought secondhand does not work the way it did in your new space. Rather than toss it to the curb, sell it and use the money to buy something more compact. It fits the space better and still provides extra seating for guests. It doesn’t dwarf the rest of your belongings which gives your residence the appearance that it’s roomier than it really is.

Failing to use what storage you do have. Even the tiniest space has storage opportunities. You just need to rethink the layout you currently have. For example, are you using the space underneath your bed? What about the living room walls? Could you install a magnetic spice bar in the kitchen and a pot rack above the stove? How can you get more out of the space you currently have?

Having too much of the space broken up. Room dividers and paint are a great way to break up small spaces. They do, however, have to be used in moderation or they just don’t work. Too many small areas make your space look extra tiny and uninhabitable. Think carefully about your current layout and living arrangements. If you have several roommates, it makes sense to have several clearly defined spaces to meet the needs of each occupant. It does not, however, make sense to divide up spaces into micro-sized areas if you only have one or two other people living in the apartment or loft with you.

Owning entirely too many things. When you move into a small space, you have to make sacrifices to get it to work. That’s why it’s important to take what you need to live comfortably and place the rest of your items in storage. Although it may be a new concept for you to live without all of your stuff or an added expense for your household budget, one thing’s certain. You’ll feel freer than you did before because you made the decision to live large with less stuff. Best of all, you can retrieve what you need without any fuss.

There is an art to small space living. In fact, dozens of blogs, like ours, are dedicated to the subject. Real Simple magazine notes that treating a space as one giant room is one big mistake that many apartment and loft dwellers make. They also note that dramatic patterned wallpaper helps create depth and interest in a space so considering adding some to an area of your loft or apartment right away.

If you’re afraid to use color and pattern, your space will look smaller. These interior designer tricks help make the smallest dwelling look larger and feel more spacious than it is. Remember, however, use color and pattern sparingly so that it doesn’t close in the space more.

Don’t box yourself into a small apartment or loft. You can keep clutter controlled easily with the help of urBin Storage. Request a free price quote for your large storage item needs right away. If you need something smaller and more cost-effective for your belongings, ask about our climate-controlled and monitored storage bins.


Design Highlight: A Modern Twist

Our Favorite Modern Pieces for a Small Space

Want to update your apartment décor? Get with the times, and make it modern. Modern décor is a perfect option for a small apartment: it’s subtle and simplistic, so the style won’t overwhelm your space. Plus, it’s a pretty easy look to create. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite modern pieces that will work in any space. We hope you’ll get inspired!

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Exciting News

Today marks the beginning of the next exciting chapter in our journey as urBin. The short and sweet of it – we are joining the Dumbo Moving & Storage family!



What does this mean for our customers? If you’re currently using urBin, your storage service and experience will continue as before and there is no reason to worry. In the coming weeks and months you can expect business as usual from urBin, now with the added power of Dumbo Moving & Storage behind everything we do. For assistance or to add more storage, continue to reach out to us in the same way you always have done.


Over the past two years, urBin has grown from an idea on a whiteboard to a company with amazing employees and supportive customers. To date, we have stored an amount equal to the size of the Statue of Liberty, driven enough miles to have completed thousands of NASCAR races, and learned millions of lessons throughout the process.


Every day we ask ourselves how we can improve our customers’ experience, and continue to set higher standards to provide the best service possible. With this mentality, we have come a long way, and none of this would have been possible without all of our customers’ support and feedback.


As the storage market grows and demand for on-demand storage increases, joining Dumbo Moving & Storage allows us to scale our services and expand our sales and marketing efforts, which will enable us to make more storage services available to more customers. Dumbo Moving & Storage’s passion for affordability without sacrificing quality and their commitment to excellence aligns well with our team and our ambitions, and we couldn’t be more excited to combine our efforts to create the best possible storage provider in the New York metro area.


Thank you for your continued support and being part of our journey.


With storage love,


The urBin Storage Team


P.S. Reach out to us at hello@urbin-storage.com or (888) 339-5271 with any concerns, comments or questions.

Wall Street Journal: Self Storage, Without the Schlepping

Bins and Boxes Are Picked Up and Delivered

New York-based startups MakeSpace and Urbin offer an alternative self-storage model, with workers who make pickups and deliveries on-demand. Photo: Jennifer Weiss for The Wall Street Journal



Updated Jan. 8, 2015 5:05 p.m. ET

In a city where living space is tight and almost anything can be delivered, a few entrepreneurs are betting on a new self-storage model: empty bins and boxes that can be dropped off for packing, whisked away to a warehouse and then delivered on demand.

In the last 18 months, a handful of new firms, including urBin and MakeSpace, have begun offering space- and time-starved New Yorkers valet storage with a digital twist: Pickups and deliveries can be scheduled online, and clients can view online inventories and photos of their stuff.

Rather than renting out whole storage units, urBin offers 40-by-20-by-20-inch lockable heavy plastic crates, which it will store for $20 a month each. MakeSpace will keep up to four smaller, lightweight bins for $25 a month, and $6.25 per additional box. Large or loose items run more and retrieval fees (in the $20-to-$25 range) are extra. Both companies have storage buildings in New Jersey.

UrBin and MakeSpace aren’t the first valet-storage service in New York. Box Butler, which opened to the New York City market in 2008, stores both bins and customers’ own boxes.

Scott Sinclair, Box Butler’s chief executive, said he welcomes the competitors because he sees them drawing more attention to the new model.

“They are educating the consumer,” he said.

UrBin storage employee Raheem Williams loads bins in Brooklyn.

UrBin storage employee Raheem Williams loads bins in Brooklyn. RAMSAY DE GIVE FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

For those who aren’t keen on renting a storage unit—and schlepping unused furniture, sports equipment and off-season clothes there—the new option is a welcome one.

Jason McMann, a doctoral student in political science at Princeton University, has lived in five different apartments in as many months while he looks for a more permanent base. Until recently, he had been storing his things, including a dresser and flat-screen TV, in a friend’s basement in Queens. But shortly after moving his items there, he said, the fire department inspected the building and declared the makeshift storage space a hazard.

Now, he said, he uses urBin. “I didn’t have a truck or anything to transport my stuff. So having my stuff picked up, that was a big attraction.”

Leaders in the traditional self-storage world say they have other advantages.

Archie Gottesman, co-owner of Manhattan Mini Storage, which has 17 locations throughout the borough and is known for its ubiquitous quirky ads (“Liposuck your closets”), argues that the bin business offers customers less space for their money. Small units measuring 4-by-4-by-3 feet rent for about $29 a month at Manhattan Mini Storage.

And Ms. Gottesman said a storage unit can be more than just a place to dump stuff. Clients, she said, can customize their space with rolling racks and shelving units. Locations have Wi-Fi and accept package deliveries.

“We’re important to people in these ways; it’s not just a storage room,” she said. “They feel like it’s an extension of their home.”

UrBin storage owner Josh Ernst does a pick-up/drop-off in Lefferts Gardens, Brookly.

UrBin storage owner Josh Ernst does a pick-up/drop-off in Lefferts Gardens, Brookly.RAMSAY DE GIVE FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Ms. Gottesman said she is aware of her new competitors and isn’t ruling out some expansion into the bin business. Already, she said, her company offers a free “storage taxi” van to help customers move stuff to and from their units.

Meanwhile, the new players in the storage-space trade continue to grow. Boxbee, a California-based company, recently raised $5 million and expanded its business to New York.

With its own recent $10 million venture-capital infusion, MakeSpace has begun a service shipping cardboard boxes to customers anywhere in the contiguous U.S., who send them back at a flat fee for storage. The option, said Sam Rosen, MakeSpace CEO, is particularly popular with people in the military.

MakeSpace’s services also include a bird’s-eye view photo, available online, of customers’ boxes to jog their memory of what they packed. Both MakeSpace and urBin allow customers to keep an inventory online.

But while many traditional storage-rental units are open 24 hours, stuff stored with a concierge firm is accessible only by appointment, making it harder to, say, grab skis for a spur-of-the-moment getaway after work hours. Prime-time slots for deliveries fill up fast, and both companies require one to two days notice for retrieval.

Companies say they have expanded delivery windows and added staff. Mr. Rosen said MakeSpace has grown from five to 50 employees within the past year or so and is working to improve its process by purchasing more vans.

But considering the limited options New Yorkers have for managing their belongings, concierge storage makes a lot of sense, said Mr. Rosen: “It’s really, really expensive to get another closet in New York.”

This Week’s Featured User: Emma Sklar

Emma Sklar pic

Just because she’s featured user número dos, don’t think for a minute that Emma Sklar plays second fiddle to anyone.  Emma moved to Brooklyn in the summer of 2012 and in her first month, Emma slept on four different bed!  Emma moved to Queens and back to Brooklyn and is starting to develop roots.  A decision that has paid off for her.  In her own words “By summer I was confident, happy, and secure in my situation in life.”  Well Emma, our lids are off to you.

Emma enjoys blogging, sharing her thoughts ranging from dating to her love of Harry Connick Jr.  Check it out.


This Week’s Featured User: Jenna Torres

  Jenna Torres

How much do we love our first feature user Jenna Torres? So much we’d need 2 bins! A talented NYC native, Jenna is usually described as a cross between Sheryl Crow, Dolly Parton, and a female version of Bruce Springsteen. For a city girl, she get’s her country chops from the simple idea that a city packed with over 8 million people is the real heartland.

In her own words she says that, “everyday I am surrounded by 8 million hearts and 8 million stories. It’s an inspiring place to write songs.” Check out her latest music.


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Before you pack your winter clothes… Top 5 snowy activities for New Yorkers

You’ve been complaining all winter. Don’t worry. The end is in sight. The sun is shining and temperatures will soon be rising. But in these final few weeks of winter, lets take advantage of the snow – and those $100 designer boots you’ll be packing up soon.

Here’s a list our of favorite snowy activities for New Yorkers:

    1. Go for a hike. Strap on some snowshoes and hit the trails. You’ve probably seen New York State’s “GET OUTTA TOWN” tourism campaign posted inside of subways. Have to admit, we were pretty shocked to learn that New York has over 1000 miles of scenic trails. And many are accessible from the city via public transportation. Here’s a few of New York Post’s favorite trails:

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    WSJ describes the blights of Storage

    WSJ describes the blights of Storage

    The Wall Street Journal reports that consumers don’t like looking at storage facilities nearby, although they do want to use them! urBin to the rescue.

    From the article:

    “Self-storage facilities are springing up around the country amid a supply shortage and strong demand from families, cramped city-dwellers and college students.”

    “Local zoning boards and town councils don’t like self-storage warehouses because they pay little in property taxes, don’t hire many workers and typically are bulky, windowless eyesores.”

    Continue reading “WSJ describes the blights of Storage”

    Finding the perfect gift can be stressful, don’t spoil the surprise!

    christmas logo

    Are you worried about your spouse, children, or roommate finding their gifts in your apartment before Christmas?

    Don’t worry about your nosey spouse or your snooping children…

    Have your online packages delivered to urBin this year – we’ll store them right up to Christmas Eve – and then deliver them to you! Just like Santa (minus the chimney).

    Continue reading “Finding the perfect gift can be stressful, don’t spoil the surprise!”

    Thank you for making the Hoboken Donation Drive a Huge Success!

    In July 2013, urBin partnered with the Hoboken Homeless Shelter to give back to the local community. We organized a donation drive to benefit the less fortunate members of Hoboken.

    The drive was a HUGE success thanks to the generosity shown by hundreds of Hoboken residents!

    Here is a tweet that the Hoboken Shelter made after receiving a full-truck-load worth of donated clothing and supplies.

    Twitter - hobokenshelter - THANKS

    Here is a photo showing just how successful the event really was! You can see more photos from the event in this gallery.

    Donated Items

    Continue reading “Thank you for making the Hoboken Donation Drive a Huge Success!”