Storage Space When Downsizing, Rightsizing and Organizing Your Home in Ottawa
Whether you’re a Millennial moving into a condominium or apartment, or a Baby Boomer or Gen X’er downsizing, storage space is probably something you’re finding hard to come by. As cities increase their population density, average living space is on the decrease. One of the things that city dwellers can do to mitigate this situation is to rent storage space. But it’s not only about that. Yes, we’re glad to be in this business. But we don’t just want to make a sale. We want to be your partner in living a happier, healthier life. Here we’ll give you some tips on how to make the most of the space you have or are moving into, along with some knowhow from moving and storage experts.
No Basement? No Attic? No Problem!
A common challenge that city dwellers face is a lack of storage space at home. Newer condos and row townhomes are so often tight, and space is at a premium. It seems some people are constantly on the hunt for more compact and functional furniture to maximize precious square footage. That’s fine. But that’s solving a scarcity problem by addition. Huh? Wouldn’t subtraction make more sense? Okay, so how do we do that? How do we subtract from the stuff we currently have in our active living environment?
Gone are the days when practically everyone had a basement and an attic. What, then, are we to do with all those boxes and bags of miscellaneous items that clutter our living space, hiding under beds and crammed in closets? Condo dwellers may or may not have lockers in which to store things and your townhome may or may not have a basement with storage space. So what’s the solution? It’s three-pronged:
- Purge (ruthlessly)
- Make the most of the space that’s in your home
- Rent storage space to suit your needs
Up ahead, we’ll tackle all three of these solution pieces. Why should you read on? What’s in this for you? A cleaner, tidier, more organized life. A life of joy where you can enjoy your home and take joy in your living environment.
Making the Most of the Space in Your Home
When it comes to possessions – furniture, clothing, kitchen items, knick-knacks, etc. – you essentially have four choices:
- Keep it, and maintain it right where it is
- Keep it, but organize it in a better way
- Keep it, put it into storage
- Give it away, sell it, etc.
The last one is often the most painful for many folks. It’s also your best course of action a lot of the time. Purge ruthlessly. While many people are hesitant to come to this decision, the process is eased when you break it down into three stages:
- If you haven’t used it in a year, it might be time to part ways
- When in doubt, throw it out
- Ask yourself, “Do I need this? Will I use this? Is it worth paying rent/mortgage on?”
1. If You Haven’t Used It in a Year, It’s Time to Part Ways
Got something sitting in a box or on a shelf, and you haven’t used it in a good, long while? It’s probably time to part ways. We tend to hold onto items for one of two reasons: Either it has sentimental value to us; or we feel like we’ve spent money on this thing, therefore we should keep it. There’s nothing wrong with sentiment, not at all. But everything has a price and a consequence. The more “stuff” we gather, the more space it takes up. That space has a price in the form of rent or mortgage payment. If it’s something you haven’t used in a long time but just can’t bear to see it gone, consider putting it into your storage space (more on that later). And if you have any doubts whether you should keep it or let it go…
… If you have any doubt, it’s always better to lean in the direction of discarding – or putting it into storage. Aside from sentiment, there’s the “sunk cost fallacy.” Regardless of what you might have paid for something once upon a time, that ‘cost’ is in the past. What is it costing you now, however? What will it cost you going forward? You’re much better off focusing on the present and future. The doubt in your mind can easily be quelled by using this logical approach to find a simple solution. Now when we say ‘throw it out,’ we’re not saying in the garbage. No, on the contrary, we highly encourage you to help alleviate the “Crisis of Stuff” by selling that item (money in your pocket, cha-ching!) or donating it to a local charity, thrift store, etc.
3. Ask Yourself, “Do I need this? Does It Bring Me Joy? Is it worth paying rent/mortgage on?”
Aside from the financial costs, there’s also the mental / emotional / psychological cost of clutter. What benefit is this bringing you, whilst taking up space on a shelf, on the floor, etc.? What ‘harm’ is it doing by causing clutter and mess in your day-to-day living environment? Popular “de-clutter coach” Marie Kondo encourages people to keep clean, tidy, well-organized spaces for their own well-being. “Discarding is not the point; what matters is keeping those things that bring you joy,” says Kondo. “You could say that tidying orders the mind while cleaning purifies it. Tidying is the act of confronting yourself; cleaning is the act of confronting nature.” If something you own doesn’t bring you joy, according to this school of thought, why do you continue to possess it? If you’re going to use that item in the near future, and that use has either a practical or joyful application, then by all means hang onto it. If it brings you joy but you don’t use it often, consider either letting it go or putting it into storage.
Creating Better Systems of Organization
Once you’ve tackled those three steps, you’ve probably freed up a lot of space already. Your next task is to find and implement systems and structure to get your space at its maximum organized level. With the spread of mid-rise and high-rise condos in North American cities, the average living space is getting smaller and smaller. Organizing and storage systems for the home, therefore, are increasingly popular. You can find all sorts of organizing ideas across the web these days, from ‘life hack” type websites that aim to provide tools to better our lives. Here’s a list of ideas from Bored Panda, and another from Apartment Therapy. Pinterest is also a great source of ideas and inspiration on this topic. The growing trend is to get creative with the space you have. Got stairs? That empty space underneath is just crying out to be utilized! Closets are another great way to maximize space with effective organization. And yes, furniture like beds, sofas and entertainments centres are being designed more and more with storage in mind.
Renting Storage Space to Complete the Process
Okay, great. You’ve purged ruthlessly, and given away a ton of stuff. You’ve also developed systems of organizing that are working well for you. If that did the trick, great! But chances are, you’ve still got some space that can be freed up. Maybe you’ve recently downsized from a house to a townhome or condo. Or maybe you’ve always lived in an apartment or condo, but are accumulating things as the years go by. That’s okay. You’ve still got a great solution at your service. When it comes to things that you want to hang onto (items you will definitely or likely use again but not regularly, like seasonal clothing or accessories, etc.), storage solutions from Acceptable Storage in Ottawa can help you put together the final pieces of the organization puzzle.
What will you have accomplished by doing all of this? What’s the benefit to you by placing those remaining items into storage?
- No clutter in the home
- You feel better about your home – and about yourself
- With the additional space, you can do more grocery shopping and buy items in bulk or large quantities, saving you money (you’ll probably more than make up for the expense of storage by these savings, and your home will look better in the meanwhile!)
- Your valued items will be stored safely in a clean, dry, pest-controlled environment at Acceptable Storage
- You can combine storage space with those items along with seasonal equipment and gear (canoes/kayaks, skis, snowshoes, tents, etc.)
Never thought renting a storage space could make such a difference in your life? Many people don’t, until they come in and finally pull the trigger. That’s when we hear the customer testimonials, when folks are so happy to be rid of those things that they didn’t really need to pay to keep, and meanwhile have the flexibility to keep the things they want and have reliable storage and access to it.
Make the most of your storage and organization needs. Stop by Acceptable Storage or give us a call today. We’ll be glad to help you begin the journey to clean, tidy, organized living – a life of joy with Acceptable Storage in Ottawa.