Category: Lifestyle

How To Effectively Downsize and Move Into A Smaller Home


Photo Credit: baslow

Are you considering moving to a smaller place? If you are then taking the time to effectively downsize will ease a lot of the stress about your upcoming move. Over time we tend to accumulate a lot of stuff in our homes. This can make moving quite difficult, especially if we’re moving into a smaller place.

Below you’ll find a process that will help you effectively downsize into a smaller place.

1. Take Stock Of Your Current Items

Before you begin the downsizing process you’ll need to take stock of what items and furniture you currently have in your home. Make sure to check all of your typical storage areas, as well as hidden closets and cabinets.

This part can be very overwhelming as you’ll come face-to-face with items you’ve been storing and holding onto for years. However, keep in mind the stress won’t last long as you’ll be moving into a smaller place very soon.

It can be helpful to sort your new items and group them by category. 

2. Measure All Furniture You’re Keeping

Once you can visually see everything you own it’s time to start sorting the items you’re going to keep, and the items you’re going to give away or sell.

Make sure you measure the dimensions of the items you’re going to keep, so you can be sure they’re going to fit into your new place. Anything that’s too large will have to move into the donation pile.

3. Assess Your New Space

Do you know the dimensions of your new space? If you don’t know the exact dimensions of your new place, or Woodbridge storage unit, you can make an approximation based upon how much space you wish to have.

This will help you pare down your goods to only the essentials. After all, there’s no reason to hold onto items forever if you don’t actually enjoy them, or use them frequently.

4. Donate or Sell Old Items

Now that you have your items sorted, and know which items you’re going to keep you can begin the process of selling or donating your goods.

Common methods of getting rid of old goods include listing them on eBay, or Craigslist. Or hosting a garage sale.

After you’ve attempted to sell all of your items you can take your remaining goods to a thrift store, or consignment shop.

5. Get Organized

Once you’ve successfully unloaded all of the items you no longer want to keep you can then begin the process of organizing your goods for your move.

Box up all of your items and use the necessary packing materials to ensure their safety. It can also be helpful to label everything by room, so you know exactly where to take each box.

By applying the strategy above to your downsizing process you’ll find it will be much less stressful overall.

If you need a self-storage solution throughout the duration of your move we hope you consider Gateway Storage.We love serving our clients and customers across the Alexandria, Woodbridge, Springfield, and Northern Virginia areas.

How To Effectively Store Home Appliances

appliance storage

Image Via: KLGreenNYC

Storing your home appliances in a safe and efficient manner can be quite the challenge. If you’re about to move, or are trying to downsize, yet don’t want to part with your home appliances, then self-storage might be a great option for you.

However, home appliances require a lot of additional prep work to ensure they’re ready to be stored and won’t incur any added damage. The last thing you want is to remove your appliances from storage only to realize they’re no longer functional.

Below you’ll find a few tips that will ensure your items are effectively prepped and ready to be stored in your Woodbridge self storage unit.

1. Storing Your Refrigerator

Before you begin the packing process you’ll want to take the necessary precautions to ensure your fridge is ready for long-term storage.

To get started empty out your refrigerator and start the defrost process. If you’re trying to speed up the defrost process you can put a hot bowl of water inside the freezer. After the defrost process is complete remove all the shelving units, and clean the interior of the fridge.

After cleaning thoroughly dry the refrigerator and freezer, and tape the door shut, so it won’t swing open during the moving process. Lastly, your fridge should be stored upright and stay upright throughout the duration of the move.

2. Carefully Pack Your Electronic Devices

Your electronics are going to be stored most effectively in their original boxes. If you don’t have access to the original box, then make sure you use a box that is very study and can hold you electronics without too much extra space.

It can also be helpful to label all of your cords and store them in the same box as the device. This will save you a lot of trouble when the time comes to unpack all of your boxes.

3. Safely Storing Your Washer and Dryer

Washer and dryer units do very well in storage. However, if you want to keep them in good condition you’ll need to ensure they’ve been sufficiently dried and cleaned before moving them.

Placing them into a storage unit while they’re still moist can cause mildew or mold to form. Also, ensure all of the pipes and tubes are taped to the back of the washer and dryer, otherwise they run of risk of getting trampled or lost.

Lastly, before you move forward with transporting your items into your storage unit you’ll want to make sure your unit is actually large enough to hold your items. There’s always a chance you can upgrade, but it’s much easier to ensure your unit is ready to go from the start.

If you’re interested in storing your home appliances for the short or long-term we hope you consider Gateway Storage. We love assisting our customers across the Alexandria, Woodbridge, Springfield, and Northern Virginia areas.

Is Retirement Right Around The Corner? Consider Self-Storage To Help The Transition

springfield retirement storage

If you’re considering retirement and looking to downsize your home, then self-storage might be a great option for you. If retirement is coming up soon for you, then you may want to consider downsizing and storing certain goods while your begin your new home search. Or, if you’re planning on traveling for a while, but don’t want to part with certain goods you can rent a Springfield storage unit to store your items while you’re gone.

Below you’ll find how self-storage can be beneficial for those planning on retiring in the near future.

The Benefits of Downsizing For Retirees

Once your kids have left the nest, and you’re planning for retirement, it can be difficult to justify staying in your large home. Thus, downsizing can become a necessity for you to start enjoying your newfound freedom.

1. Lowered Cost Of Living

By having a smaller home it can be much easier to lower your costs. Smaller homes will not only cost less, but so will the utilities and other bills. By lowering your costs you’ll be able to make your retirement fund last much longer.

2. Space For A New Chapter

Retirement is a new chapter in your life. It’s a time in your life when you have ultimate freedom to make your own decisions again. By choosing a new smaller home you’ll be able to start fresh at this new juncture in your life.

3. Less Work Around The Home

Smaller homes require less overall maintenance and upkeep to keep them looking nice. Maintaining the appearance of a larger home takes a lot of work. You’d hate to spend your precious years of retirement dedicated towards home maintenance.

By downsizing you’ll give yourself more time to do things you truly enjoy.

Tips For Downsizing and Storage

Downsizing can take much longer than expected. After all, if you’re downsizing a family home it can be hard to part with older items that hold a lot of memories.

1. Take Stock and Sort Your Goods

Begin your sorting by going through old storage areas in your home, such as, your closets, garage, and storage shed. Once you’ve gone through items that are easy to part with it’s time to move onto more sentimental items throughout your home.

2. Find A Self-Storage Facility Close By

When deciding which storage unit facility to use for your valuables it’s important to think about the location. You’ll want the facility to be near your new residence if you’re planning on using your unit during the moving process. Luckily for you Gateway Storage has a very easy-to-access location right off I-95.

3. Pack and Organize Your Unit

When packing your unit you’ll want to keep organizational principles in mind. Sort your boxes by different rooms in your home, and make sure all of your items have the necessary padding and protection.

Also, if you’re planning on removing items out of the unit rather quickly, place the items you’re planning on moving near the front, so you don’t have to re-arrange the entire unit.

If you’re looking for the perfect storage facility for your downsizing process we hope you consider Gateway Storage, the premier storage facility across the Alexandria, Woodbridge, Springfield, and Northern Virginia areas.

5 Easy-To-Implement Home Organization Tips

alexandria home organization

If you have a cluttered and disorganized home then chances are this is adding to your daily stress levels. However, organization doesn’t have to be difficult. By implementing a few simple tips and shortcuts you can be on your way towards an organized and clutter free home.

Below you’ll find five tips that will simplify the home organization process and allow you to easily keep your home organized into the future.

1. Clear Out Your Bedroom Drawers

Most of our bedroom drawers are filled to the brim with clothes and other bedroom goods. It’s important to start here, as having a clean bedroom can bring motivation to organize other parts of your home.

Your bedroom should be a sacred space. A place where you can unwind and relax.

Start by emptying out all of your bedroom drawers and organizing your clothes into piles of items to keep and items to donate. Once you’ve separated them into piles make sure to fold your clothes and store them in your drawers, with the items you wear the most on top. 

2. Think About Placement Before You Buy

Whenever you’re considering buying a new item for your home you should think about where it’s going to go. It’s easy to fill up your home with items you don’t need simply by buying things on impulse.

Before you buy anything for your home make sure you consider getting rid of any older items to make room for the new piece. If you want to keep older items, yet keep your home organized, you could consider storing them in an Alexandria self-storage unit

3. Group Like Items Together

If you have items scattered all over your home, it can be hard to find things you’re looking for. By storing like items with each other you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for every time. You’ll also be able to tell when it’s time to re-stock certain items in your home, like toiletries and other household goods.

For instance, you could store all of your craft items in the same bin, instead of having them spread throughout your home.

4. Keep Your Workspace Simple

If you have an at-home office it’s easy for items and papers to pile up. This is why it’s important to have an organizational system in place. If you work from home, but don’t have a dedicated workspace it can be helpful to have a small desk or area of the house you use solely for work.

This will help keep your work documents from spilling into other areas of your home.

5. Make To-Do Lists and Set Goals

Starting the habit of creating a to-do list will help keep you much more organized. By taking the time to write down your goals, even if they’re simple household goals, you’ll be able to track your progress and are much more likely to get things done.

Organizing your home doesn’t have to be a difficult and overwhelming task. By starting small with the tops above you’ll be on your way towards a more organized home.

If you’re looking for a self storage solution as you organize or downsize your home, we hope you consider Gateway Storage. We love serving our customers across the Alexandria, Woodbridge, Springfield, and Northern Virginia areas.

The Best Packing Materials For Keeping Your Valuables Safe

springfield storage tips

When the time comes to pack up your belongings you’ll need to ensure their safety. A lot of people end up feeling rushed during their move and throw their belongings into boxes. Sometimes, your fragile belongings may make it home safe, but chances are higher they’re going to end up damaged or broken.

The more effective course of action is to take the time to properly wrap and store your goods before you even think about loading up your car, or moving truck. In this post we’re going to cover the essential materials you’ll need to consider buying in order to ensure the safety of your valuables.

1. Sturdy Boxes

It can be beneficial to purchase a wide variety of box sizes. This will ensure you don’t end up storing fragile items with more heavy duty items. If you have the original boxes for any of your fragile goods, these can be the best bet to ensure the safety of your items.

When trying to decide which boxes to purchase it can be helpful to buy boxes with sturdier walls, as these are less likely to be crushed or damaged in the move.

2. Padding

If your boxes are mostly empty there’s a good chance the items are going to shift during the move, and can possibly break. The best forms of extra padding include, styrofoam, bubble wrap, and polystyrene filler. You can find these at your local hardware shop.

3. Extra Cardboard

If you’re transporting fragile china or other glassware it can be beneficial to purchase extra cardboard dividers. This will prevent any glass items from rubbing together. If you can’t find any cardboard dividers try visiting a local liquor store, as their bottles often come shipped with these dividers.

4. Newspaper or Other Lightweight Paper

The more padding you use the better.

It’s always to have extra paper, soft tissue, rags, newspaper and other forms of extra padding.  You can use these to stuff into the gaps of your boxes. When you pick up your boxes you shouldn’t be able to feel the items shift at all. If they do, then you’ll want to add more padding.

5. Markers

It’s important to label your fragile boxes from those that can handle more of a beating. This will ensure you load your moving truck, or vehicle, with a focus on placing your fragile boxes into an area they won’t become damaged.

This can also be valuable if you’re taking your items to a Springfield self storage unit, as the labelling will make it much easier to load and unload the right boxes.

If you’re interested in reserving a self-storage unit for your next move, we hope you consider Gateway Storage, the premier self-storage facility across the Alexandria, Woodbridge, Springfield, and Northern Virginia areas.

3 Ways To Sell Your Goods Before A Big Move

woodbridge storage

When the time comes to make a big move it can be a hassle moving the items you’ve accumulated over the years. Moving can be a simpler process once you pare down the items to ones you truly need. You can always invest in a storage unit to ensure you have ample space to store any leftover items you can’t part with.

Below you’ll find three methods that will help you sell or giveaway your goods, in order to make your move much easier and stress free.

1. Consider Donating To Local Consignment Shops

There are a variety of consignment shops and thrift stores that will take your used items. Most thrift stores won’t end up paying you for your donations, but you can receive a tax credit, and the knowledge that your goods will go to a good home.

On the other hand, consignment shops will give you a certain commission for your goods. It’s not always the highest price, but it’s better than nothing. Some consignment shops are better than others, so make sure you shop around before choosing a place to donate your goods.

2. Host A Garage Sale

Garage sales are a great way to profit from your used goods. However, in order to run a successful garage sale you have to think in a different manner. When most people arrange their goods for garage sales they simply bring everything out of their garage and scatter it around their driveway.

When arranging your goods for sale you need to think like a storefront. You also need to think like a salesperson, don’t be afraid to sell your goods and interact with your customers.

The following tips will help boost the sales at your garage sale:

  • Make sure you have a price on everything, even the smaller items.
  • Consider partnering with a charity where you donate a portion of your revenue to a cause.
  • Group your items that are frequently bought together.

Also, make sure you advertise in advance and put up flyers all around town the days leading up to your garage sale.

3. Use Online Websites

The internet is a great way to get more money for your goods, and reach a more targeted market. When you’re selling your goods locally you only have the customer base of people that live in your town or neighborhood.

You can use sites like Craigslist to sell to people in your local community, while sties like eBay and Gumtree can reach customers around the world. When creating your ads make sure you write them from the buyer’s perspective. Also, be creative, a dash of humor can’t hurt.

If you have any goods you can’t imagine parting with you can also store them in one of our Woodbridge storage units. We love serving our customers across the Alexandria, Woodbridge, Springfield, and Northern Virginia areas. Get in touch with Gateway Storage today.

How To Effectively Store Your Musical Instruments

musical instrument storage

Photo Credit: frankieleon

Maybe your musical career is a thing of the past, but you can’t bear the thought of parting with your instruments or you have instruments lying around that you want to pass along to your children someday. Whatever your reason, renting a Springfield self-storage unit can help keep your instruments in good condition.

You have to take extra caution when packing and storing your musical instruments, because it’s easy for them to become damaged. Below you’ll find a series of steps that will help you ensure the safety of your precious musical instruments.

1. Be Wary Of Weather

Heat, cold, and moisture are all enemies of your musical instruments. No matter where you’re storing your items all three will pose a threat.

Moisture can potentially warp the wood and extreme fluctuations in heat or cold will cause the wooden instruments to expand or contract. You have to be aware of this, especially if you have any old instruments, as they’re more vulnerable.

The best way to protect against these temperature and humidity fluctuations is to rent a climate controlled storage unit, if available, or use a humidifier in order to maintain a consistent humidity level.

2. Know Thy Instrument

Wooden instruments require more care than electric or brass instruments. As we mentioned above, wood instruments are much more susceptible to hot and humid conditions, as well as cold and dry conditions. Know what your instrument is made out of and adjust accordingly.

Pianos are a very vulnerable instrument, as they are made of a blend wood, metal, and ceramic. So, these components could shrink or expand depending on temperature and end up leaving the instrument unusable.

3. Store And Unpack Correctly

If you have the original cases for your instruments this will help to keep them in the best condition possible. When placing them in the storage unit store them off the ground and away from any doors or drafty areas.

If you have any stringed instruments consider releasing the string tension, this will help to stop the strings from breaking or warping the instrument.

If you’re storing a piano for a prolonged period of time wrap every component in padded material. If you have a baby grand piano they stay in best condition when stored on their sides.

Of course, the longer you store your instrument the more careful you should be when unpacking and removing it from your storage unit. Take your time and be careful. If you already put a lot of time and effort into storing them, then being patient with the unpacking process will ensure you don’t accidentally damage them.

If you’re looking for a Springfield storage unit in the Alexandria, Woodbridge, Springfield, and Northern Virginia areas, consider Gateway Storage. We love serving our local customers, small business owners, and veterans. 

Organize Your Garage Before Summer Hits

organize garage

Photo Credit: elliottcable

Taking time to organize your garage before summer starts will save you a ton of stress and time. By taking the little bit of extra time now you’ll be able to jump into summer full swing.

The sooner you organize your garage the easier it’ll be to locate and use all of your fun summer toys, gear and anything else you might need. Below you’ll find a series of steps that will get the garage organization process heading in the right direction.

1. Set Designated Zones

Partitioning your garage into designated zones will help you stay organized. When laying out which equipment will go where make sure the items you’ll be using most are the easiest to access.

This will help you keep the garage organized in the long-run. No more guessing where those pool toys, or yard equipment has to go.

If you have a large family, or a lot of people coming and going it can be helpful to actually label these specific areas in the beginning.

2. Invest In Hooks And Bike Racks

You can purchase simple screw in hooks that can hold a lot of weight. This will help you to store any tools, lawn equipment, or summer toys up and out of sight.

Vertical bike racks can also help you conserve a lot of space. You can attach these vertical racks to the walls of your garage, so you have more floor space.

3. Use Storage Bins

If you have a lot of miscellaneous goods lying around it can be helpful to load them into boxes. Make sure you invest in high quality boxes with snap on lids, as this will keep all of your goods safe from damage.

This will also allow you to stack your boxes, which frees up even more space.

4. Dispose Of Old Items

Usually, our garages end up morphing into the dumping ground for all of our extra household items. This can include items like old paint and re-modeling goods, outdated appliances, or old boxes.

Take the time to go through these goods and dispose of what you can. If you notice you have too many older goods you can’t bear to part with it can be helpful to rent an Alexandria self-storage unit.

This will allow you to store anything you won’t be using during the summer months and give you a ton of extra space.

If you’re looking for a storage unit we hope you consider Gateway Storage. We love serving our customers across the Alexandria, Woodbridge, and Springfield areas, as well as most of Northern Virginia.

Taking An Extended Trip? Consider Storing Your Goods

Sometimes your life might require you to leave your belongings behind for an extended period of time. This could be due to a long-vacation, a temporary move, or something else altogether. Whatever the reason, it requires you to store items while you are away.

When you’re someplace else the last thing you want to be thinking about is your belongings back home. How do you know they’ll be safe? How do you ensure they’ll be free from damage?

Benefits Of A Storage Unit

A Woodbridge storage unit can ease a lot of stress and strain during your travels. You’ll know exactly where your goods are, you know that they’ll be protected and safe, and you won’t have to put the burden of your items on family or friends.

Most storage unit facilities offer a flexible storage structure which allows you to either extend or cut short the amount of time you’re storing your goods.

If you need to store larger items, such as, a vehicle or home furniture you can store those goods along with your regular household items.

Renting a Woodbridge storage unit will give you peace of mind that otherwise might be hard to find while you’re off living or visiting some place else.

Important Items To Consider Storing

When you’re taking an extended trip there are certain items you’ll definitely want to keep safe in a storage unit.

These items include: home furniture, large electronics, appliances, books, vehicles and seasonal clothing. Basically, anything you won’t be bringing with you.

Tips For Packing And Storing

When you have a multitude of items to store away you’ll want to pack these items effectively, so they won’t become damaged in storage. The tips below will help to keep your items safe:

  • Use bubble wrap for all fragile items, including kitchenware and glassware.
  • Use sturdy boxes, or plastic bins for all your items. Weaker boxes will lose their integrity over time and won’t hold a lot of weight.
  • Use plastics stretch wrap or sheeting to cover all your furniture, including wooden furniture. This will protect it during the move and while in storage.
  • Don’t overstuff boxes.
  • For any mechanical items or outdoor equipment make sure to drain the fuel tanks so there won’t be any leaks.
  • Label everything. This will make the unpacking process much easier and stress free.

By renting a Woodbridge self-storage unit you can ensure your goods are safe while you’re gone.

We hope you consider Gateway Storage, the premier self-storage facility across Northern Virginia. We love serving our customers across the Alexandria, Woodbridge, Springfield, and Northern Virginia areas.

5 Ways To Make The Unpacking Process Simple And Easy

unpacking doesn't have to be stressful

Photo Credit: GillmanInsurance

Most people think the moving process is over once they’ve loaded everything into boxes. However, for most of us we’re only halfway finished. Whether you’re transporting your goods to a Woodbridge storage unit, or moving the boxes into your new home there are steps you can take to simplify the process.

If you’re tired of getting stressed and overwhelmed when it comes time to unpack, the steps below will get you moving in the right direction.

1. Pack To Unpack

Many of us are so excited to move into our new place that we end up packing haphazardly. Instead of putting everything into boxes in an efficient manner we end up randomly throwing items into boxes and taping them shut.

When you start the packing process remember that each of these boxes is going to have to be unpacked at a certain point as well. Start the process with the end in mind and you’ll make it easier on yourself in the future.

2. Keep Related Items Together

No one wants to unpack the television only to spend hours looking for the power cord or remote. Make sure you group all similar items together in the same box. Moving can be hectic and it’s easy to lose track of small electronic items.

Take extra care in keeping similar items together and you won’t be pulling your hair out later looking for single screw or set of batteries.

3. First Box In Is The Last To Leave

The same idea goes with loading boxes into your moving truck or personal vehicle. Load the boxes in a conscious manner. So, if you need to drop off a round of boxes at your local Woodbridge self-storage unit, then make sure you load these boxes last.

After all, you’d hate to have to unpack your entire car just to reach a small box you accidentally packed away first. A little strategic thinking will save you a lot of future stress.

4. Unpack By Room

Once you’ve made your storage unit stop and are ready to unpack at your new home it can be tempting to want to get everything done at once. However, this will lead to overwhelm very quickly.

The simplest strategy is to take it one room at a time. That way you’ll leave a series of smaller finished projects in your wake and it will be easier to sustain momentum.

5. It’s Not A Race

Lastly, remember it’s up to you to make the process fun. Why don’t you order a pizza and a bottle of wine so you can truly enjoy the process? As much stress as their is during a move it can help to throw some relaxation time into the mix.

We hope the steps above will help you have an enjoyable unpacking and moving experience. If you’re considering using a self-storage service throughout your move consider Gateway Storage. We love serving our customers across the Alexandria, Woodbridge, and Springfield, as well as most of Northern Virginia.