How to Organize Your Apartment Without the Help of a Professional

pexels-photo-238267

You don’t need to hire a professional organizer to help you make better use of your small apartment or loft. In fact, there are some things you can do right now to take care of clutter once and for all. If you need help getting things in order, start applying these five tips right away for a cleaner and clearer living environment.

Stop Attaching Sentimental Value to Objects

Although certain items evoke emotions from you by reminding you of the past, they are not of value. What is valuable is your memories of the time you spent somewhere and the people you spent time with. The items themselves do not represent the experience or the emotion behind the relationships you’ve developed over the years.

Own things that make you happy and serve a purpose in your life. Do not hang onto trinkets because you think they’re worth something to someone else. Only keep what you know you’ll use, appreciate, and display.

Start Seeing Items with More Than One Use as Being Valuable

If an item can be used in more than one way, it’s more valuable than single use items. Start investing in items that are convertible, adaptable, and can be used to get more than one job done. This will help eliminate the need for multiple items and keep clutter minimal.

Business Insider notes that common household items can be used in many different ways. For example, vinegar can be used to cook with, clean with, and even makes your dog’s coat shine. Find products that give you the most bang for your buck so you don’t have to keep multiple items on hand.

Don’t Waste Precious Real Estate with a Poor Layout

Think of how you can make the best use of every square inch of your apartment or loft. See the floor, walls, and ceiling as opportunities to display items. Be unconventional in your thought process and see how much space you create for yourself by creatively using what you have in new ways.

Think of items that are compact and collapsible as being valuable. Invest in items that hang so you can make the most of the space you have. Slide things under beds and sofas so that you can retrieve them easily in the future.

Put Things Away Immediately to Avoid Clutter

The way to make small space living work is to make sure that everything has its place. Then, when you use it, you put it away right away. This keeps big piles of clutter from creating chaos in your life.

The Santa Barbara Independent says making a game out of organizing helps. This applies to children and adults. Give yourself a time limit for putting things away, crank up the music, and get busy sorting and organizing.

Go on a Spending Freeze for One Month

Stop buying things you don’t need. Start finding other ways to acquire things without owning them. Borrow whenever you can and invest your money in items that last a long time, have dual purposes, and are things that you love and need.

Take a break from spending. Only buy necessities for a month and see how it changes your perspective about stuff. Research big ticket purchases before making them so you can get the best deal. Invest in quality over quantity.

If these tips don’t help you gain order in your apartment without the help of a professional, look into storage options for the items you want to keep. Urbin Storage offers affordable solutions for your belongings. Best of all, we bring your storage bins to you whenever you request them so that you don’t have to travel to retrieve them.

 

Signs You Have Too Much Stuff and Not Enough Storage

 

If you’ve lived in the city long, you know how expensive it is to rent an apartment or loft on your own. If you share your current residence with other people, you have even less space to work with. That doesn’t mean that you can’t display what you love, though. It does mean that you’ll have to be more selective in what you keep in your space and what you choose to put in storage.

Too Many Things to Hold Onto

Here are five signs that you have too much stuff and not enough storage:

You can’t enter or exit your area of the apartment or loft without knocking something over. There is a difference between convenience and clutter. If you knew that you could retrieve the storage bin you rented day and night, would you feel more comfortable renting one? What if you didn’t have to retrieve your belongings yourself and instead had them delivered to your residence? Could you justify paying $25 a month for storage?

You got boxes stacked on top of boxes of things. You’re not sure what’s in them but you know you have no room to store the contents unpacked. That’s why they remain where they are. You can’t part with them but you can’t display them, either.

You don’t remember the last thing your friend borrowed from you. Whatever it was, it can’t be too important. After all, wouldn’t you want it back right away? If your friend tells you that they have something of yours but you can’t recall the object, you’re likely lacking in the storage department and need an offsite bin to help you get organized.

You’ve filled every basket, bin, and tote that you own. There is not another place to store a thing. You’ve hidden away nearly everything you own and you just can’t squeeze another inch of space out of your living area. You’ve even rearranged things in an attempt to put another tote somewhere but you’re out of luck.

You’ve got the largest area of the apartment or loft to call your own but you still have no room to work out, study or entertain friends. It’s time to prioritize. If having your stuff at hand is more important than having space to move around, that’s your choice. If you rather be clutter-free, renting a storage bin is the option for you.

You don’t have to get rid of what you own to make more room in your small apartment. City dwellers know just how convenient it is to rent a bin from urBin Storage. For one low monthly fee, they can stow away half a closet’s worth of items safely and conveniently. If you’re looking to increase the space inside your shared apartment or loft, this is the way to go.

 

Donate What You Don’t Want to Keep

Family Circle suggests donating things that you’d rather not put in storage. It’s about blessing others with your abundance. You can give things away to a friend or opt to donate accepted items to a non-profit organization or thrift store.

The point is to only store items that mean something to you. If you’re holding onto something because you think it might help someone else, now is the time to give it to them. You don’t know how appreciative people are to be given an item they truly need.

U.S. News and World Report notes that certain items are tax deductible when donated to charity. This includes things as large as a sofa and as small as a pair of shoes. Keep in mind that donations must be itemized for them to count on your tax return.

 

 

 

Things to Do Before Moving Into Another Country

Things to Do Before Moving Into Another Country

Moving into another country temporarily takes planning. Knowing what to bring with you and what to leave behind is a matter of need and preference. You know what it takes to remain comfortable wherever you go. That knowledge helps you make the difficult decision of what to pack and what to put in storage.

There are some things to do before moving into another country. They are:

  • Get rid of items that you no longer need or use.

    Why pack up your apartment or house with things that you want to get rid of? Take a few extra moments of your time to consider the usefulness of the items that you already own. If it’s something that you haven’t worn, read or used in the past six months, consider donating it to charity or selling it to make more cash for your move.

  • Pack what you want to keep but don’t want to bring with you in urBin storage bins.

    Decide how many you’ll need to keep your items safe while you’re out of the country. The bins are large enough to fit half a closet’s worth of belongings in them. Best of all, you have access to them whenever you want it so if you come back to the States, you can get what you need out of storage before returning to the country that you temporarily reside in.

  • Create a source of income before you go.

    Lifehack emphasizes how important it is to have some form of paid work before leaving your homeland. Even if your partner has employment of some sort, you’re going to want to have money for emergencies. Even if you freelance from a corner café, keep in mind that it’s not only something for you to do, it’s also adding to your financial security.

  • Obtain a major credit card that is well-recognized by the country you plan to live in.

    You may have difficulty opening a bank account overseas. Even if you’re able to, it could be a problem to make deposits if they’re under or over a specific amount. That’s where having a major credit card on hand helps. Not only does it serve as backup in the event you don’t have access to money, it also prevents you from making a big legal mistake if you don’t quite understand the business culture of the place you’re temporarily living.

  • Get customs forms for your household goods. com

    states the importance of clearing things with customs when you move things from your home in the States to your new residence abroad. You’ll need entrance and exit forms to provide to customs. If you have questions as to what to bring with you and what to leave behind in storage bins, contact the consulate and ask what is permitted.

  • Insure your valuables.

    Before heading to your new home, you’ll want to take the time to buy an insurance policy that covers your valuables. By doing so, you’re taking the necessary precautions needed to protect your investments. Research insurance companies that cover belongings internationally and keep copies of the policy with you for safe keeping.

 

 

One of the easiest ways to protect your belongings while out of the country, is to rent a storage bin to contain the items that are the most precious to you. Starting as low as $20 a month, it’s an affordable solution that gives you options. Not only are you able to monitor your belongings 24 hours a day, you can retrieve them any time you want. That means that once you’re back in the United States, you’ll have full access to your storage bin’s contents with absolutely no issue.

Painting Envy: The Best Paint Colors for Small Spaces

Painting Envy The Best Paint Colors for Small Spaces

A lot depends upon color: your mood, the lighting, and yes, the illusion of space. It is true that certain colors can make a space look larger and more open, but is there a truly perfect shade for small spaces? Many would argue that white walls are the only way to go in a small apartment, but that’s up for debate (although a crisp white color does do a lot to open up a room and awaken the senses.)

You don’t have to limit yourself because of square footage. In fact, you can make practically anything work somehow. Opening up your small space is more about strategic furniture placement and accent pieces than the color of the walls. That being said, there are colors that are more difficult to use in a small space, and there are certainly colors that are easier to work with.

Shades of Blue

Blue is a great color for small spaces. Not only will it create the perception of depth in a room, it also has the added bonus of boosting your mood and creating a sense of calm. A lot of smaller spaces lack an abundance of natural lighting. Pale shades are a go-to for boosting the lighting in a darker room. But don’t shy away from darker shades, if that’s what you’re looking for. A darker, sharper shade of blue can create depth. Darker colors are perfect for rooms for unwinding. Just make sure you have plenty of artificial light in the room for when you need to brighten things up a bit.

Brighten Your Bathroom

Pastel shades are great for the bathroom, but you can really step things up in there with a brighter shade, like orange or bright yellow. The bathroom is a great place to go bold. If you’re really feeling courageous, you could even paint a pattern or used patterned wall paper in there. On the other hand, if you’re a little hesitant, keep the walls neutral and instead paint the accents, like the cabinets and mirror frames for a pop of bright color. This bathroom looks crisp and clean, and the bright blue bath mat makes for a great color combination with the green cabinets.

Paint the Ceiling

One great way to add depth to any room is to paint the ceiling a different color than the walls. The best strategy here is to keep the walls a neutral color, like white, and paint the ceiling a crisp, dark color. This is another place to go bold: dark blue, dark gray, even turquoise or orange work here. And no one ever said you couldn’t put a pattern on your ceiling. Stripes are a fun pattern to play around with, and on the ceiling they won’t make the room feel too busy.

Go Crazy in the Kitchen

The kitchen is a great room to experiment in—and I don’t mean with your baking skills. There’s usually plenty of lighting in the kitchen, so you don’t have to worry too much about painting the room too dark. Bold colors like red, orange, or yellow might not work well everywhere, but they do liven up a kitchen. Experts suggest hanging lots of artwork and dishes on the walls in the kitchen to reflect light and add color.

As you can see, there’s no one way to paint a small space; the options are endless. We hope these tips give you some inspiration! Before you get painting, it might be a good idea to move some things into storage. Check out UrBin Storage for fast, convenient service—they’ll come to you!

How to Store your Winter Stuff like a Pro

It’s about that time of year that we all must face the task of swapping out our winter jackets and scarves for the flip flops and t-shirts we have tucked away in storage (or maybe crammed under our beds?) The “out of sight, out of mind” mentality only really works until you have to pull everything out and sort through it. If you didn’t make an attempt to organize back when fall came around, it could take all day to transition your closet for spring.

Lucky for you, we are storage professionals. We know the best ways to store your unused items until next season, and we are ready to share our secrets with you. We have devised multiple ways to approach spring cleaning, depending on the amount of space you have available.

Continue reading “How to Store your Winter Stuff like a Pro”

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

By

GLORIA DAWSON

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.”

Tips for Driving in New Yawk from urBin

You didn’t see this one coming from us, did you?  Since we drive all over the city to pick up and drop off your precious cargo whenever you want it, we know a thing or two about driving with purpose in the Big Apple.  We’re a logistics company just as much as we are a storage one,  and so here  are a few tips on how to navigate New York, with or without your breakables in the back.

Continue reading “Tips for Driving in New Yawk from urBin”

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:

    Continue reading “Before you pack your winter clothes… Top 5 snowy activities for New Yorkers”

    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”