It’s a busy, cluttered world – and space is at a premium. The way we organise the world around us not only makes life more ordered and enjoyable, it can also help with our finances too. Below are 22 top storage tips that will help you make best use of your space (and bank balance!)
1. Don’t pay for software
Why spend money on Office Word and Excel, when Google offers a free suite of online documents that allows real-time collaboration and comes with free storage?
2. Create a home office
Most start-up businesses begin at home, but now many professionals are relocating to a home office to cut down on travel and rent costs. Clear a room by selling items on eBay or putting your possessions in storage – a professional cleaning service can help too. (We also have tips for how to make money on eBay).
3. Storing electronics
Wrap electronic equipment as if you were wrapping glass or crystal (with extra layers of foam and then placed into a larger box). Never wrap computers or electronic devices in plastic for long term storage as it traps moisture in and fosters mildew growth.
4. Storing wood
Before placing any kind of wooden furniture into storage, wax well with varnish. This prevents moisture from affecting the wood.
5. Use storage to prepare your house for a sale
Making your home inviting to a potential buyer can really help the sale and almost every home shows better with less furniture. Harness attic and basement storage – potential buyers will check cupboards and you don’t want to overcrowd them – or use short term self storage: you only need to give a days notice. Also see our article on how to sell your home.
6. Rent out a spare room
A great way to earn extra money is to get a lodger in. Getting the junk out and a long term tenant in can really help with mortgage payments and household costs. Sell items on eBay or use a storage facility to help declutter a room. See our article to find out more about renting out a room.
7. Storing clothing
Don’t store fabrics against wood and bear in mind that certain fabrics need specific care (use muslin or acid free tissue between delicate fabrics for added protection).
8. Overcome label chaos
When you disassemble electronics, such as computers, stereos or anything that has numerous cords, place small coloured stickers on the cable and the same coloured sticker on the socket it plugs into on the device.
9. Consider short term lets around events
Not all of us want to share our home with a stranger long term – so short lets can be a great compromise and prove highly lucrative. The first step is to investigate local events that bring in out-of-town visitors. There are many specialist websites that offer free accommodation listings for events so check in your location. Hosting foreign students is another good option – as they are often only looking to rent a room for a few weeks (6 months at most).
10. Storing wine
To ensure your bottles are kept safe, store them lying on their sides so that the cork can be kept moist – this is what keeps air away from the liquid. Once the cork is dry, the wine will be oxidised and lose its quality.
11. Storing books
Stack smaller books over larger books and make sure that they’re arranged horizontally (never vertically) because it can damage the spine.
12. Storing glasses, bowls, cups
All glass items should be individually wrapped and stacked, whereas cups and bowls should be nested on top of each others. Stand plates, saucers, and platters on their edges.
13. Avoid rust on stored metal
If you are planning on storing any metal objects like lawnmowers or filing cabinets, it is a good idea to treat them with rust protector first, or at least wipe them down with an oily rag.
14. Storing DVDs
Do away with DVD cases altogether and store your discs in a CD wallet which you can arrange by genre.
15. Upload your documents
Buy a scanner to help upload any paper documents to “cloud” services (Like Google Documents or Gmail) and save space. If you have a Smartphone, there are several scanner appsl you can use.
16. Declutter your hallway
Sort through your collection of scarves, hats, coats and other items of clothing that take up space. You can keep the items that are used daily or weekly as any of the excess items can be moved into a nearby cupboard, donated to charity or put in storage.
17. Kids’ room
Teaching children the concept of ‘one in, one out’ can stop toys from becoming jumbled and cluttered on the floor (and save money too…)
18. Rent out unused office space
In the current economic climate, shared offices are becoming much more popular. To take advantage of the ‘rent a desk’ movement, look at unused or poorly used space in your business premises and remove the extra furniture, re-structure, and lease out the space to a small company or freelancer to keep your overheads down.
19. Storing handbags
One of the best ways to store handbags is to put them in plastic boxes which allow air to circulate.
20. Papers / magazines
The biggest problem when storing paper keepsakes are pests. Store and stack papers tight together, folded in half (as they are delivered). Then use a pest trap nearby, but not touching the papers. Monitor your papers occasionally, checking for both pests and mold.
21. Sell items online
Our household storage areas are often full to overflowing with things we never use anymore (61% of people in a recent survey admitted to hoarding useless items around the house) and selling them online can free this up. (Again, eBay is a good place to start). Take a little time to make your photographs look professional and be sure to accurately calculate postage costs.
22. Storing photographs
Do not place old photographs (or any photographs for that matter) in albums which are magnetic or of the ‘stick and peel’ variety. Over time, the plastic, cardboard, paper and glue found in such albums will only damage your photos. Instead, invest in albums that are guaranteed and labelled as free of acids.
Don’t have enough storage space at home?
You can keep your belongings safe and secure by putting them into storage. Right now The Big Yellow Self Storage Company are offering 50% off for up to eight weeks of storage – and if you can find a cheaper storage quote, they’ll promise to match it.