Category Archives: DIY

Storing Baby Clothes – 6 Easy Tips

From baby booties to flower dresses, there are so many outfits that must be saved for all eternity. Special garments are saved for a multitude of reasons – a valued memento,  special hand-me-down, or even for your future grandchildren. It can be challenging to choose what baby clothes to keep, given the emotional attachment these pieces have, and even harder to store the safely. Here are some helpful tips, for experts who once stood in your shoes.

Desert Island Scenario

Oftentimes when you keep too much, you forget why you kept an item in the first place or why it was so important. “Choose only the clothes that have strong sentimental value and are in good condition,” Susan Manning of Streeterville says. There’s plenty of outfits to choose from, but save the ones that preserve a meaningful memory. The perfect question to ask yourself is, “If I was on a Desert Island, what one item would I keep.” Something handmade from a lost relative or a baby blanket are important to save.

clean-baby-booties

Wash, Dry, Repeat

Wash or dry clean any clothes that you wish to put into storage. Often times clothes may house unseen stains that may come to the surface with time, if they are not properly treated and prepared correctly. Once thoroughly cleaned, wrap each piece in archival, acid free tissue.

Note: do not store any clothing or garments in plastic bags. Mildew can develop from the trapping of moisture within plastic bags – inevitably causing your clothing to smell.

Wash Baby Clothes

Keep Baby Clothes Separate

Frequently we do not just keep baby clothes. Toys, books, and other baby keepsakes are also great mementos of your time as a new parent. Do keep these items, but avoid storing them in the same storage container as the clothing you wish to keep. With age, battery operated toys, crayons, and even books may stain your garments or eventually create an undesirable odor.

Polypropy-What?!?

Choosing the correct storage container for clothing is important to ensure that the material remains in the condition you left it in for future use. Jessica Lindt of Wheaton, IL explains that “bunching multiple sizes together can create problems, develop a system.” Keep each clothing size to a different size box, otherwise you will create a new mess when it comes time to find the special onesie that you brought home from the hospital.

Other ways to organize your boxes can include color coordination. Red for 3T, Blue for 5T, and so on. Stick with plastic bins if you can. Other materials may stain clothing over time.

Whichever boxes you choose make sure they are acid-free or plastics, made of polypropylene.

Note: These plastics will show a PP or #5 to indicate that they are in fact polypropylene.

baby storage box

Location, Location, Location

Lindt of Wheaton also recommends to avoid any and all damp areas, including attics, basements, garages, sheds. All of these areas can experience drastic temperature changes, especially in the Chicagoland areas, that can affect the materials stored. Look into a suitable climate-controlled solution – such as an area under the bed, an interior closet, or even a storage unit.

It is best to do an annual check on items like these to make sure they remain in the condition you left them in. If the condition has otherwise changed, make alterations to the location you have stored them in.

Save Space & Get Creative

Given any circumstances, maybe you are not able to save all of the clothing from your son or daughter’s early years – but you still want to keep a memento to document the memories. Although this may seem hard, some moms say – Resist! Carol J. of River North in Chicago says that for years she had kept little things, which continued building and building, eventually “overwhelming her living space.”

Here are a few ideas to keep the memory and avoid the mess.

    • Take photos of the garments, outfits, and fashions. For starters, those overalls will never look as cute as they did when your son was wearing them on the local tire swing. Take lots of pictures of your children in action. They’ll make the clothes look even better and help you better remember the moment.
    • Scrapbooking is oftentimes a therapeutic way to archive your past. Cut a pocket, logo, or graphic image off of your child’s favorite shirt (once they’ve grown out of course) and keep it for a page in your scrapbook. If a scrapbook is not your style, try a shirt quilt or a shadow box.

  • Maybe letting go is more difficult for you. Think about donating to a worthy cause that you’d like to support. Hand-me-downs are excellent for social services or foster care organizations. Jenny Parsons, from the Beverly area of Chicago, went above and beyond collecting “unwanted clothes from friends, families, and neighbors during the holidays.” Instead of donating to any organization, she went directly to people in need of clothing in downtown Chicago – allowing them to pick and choose the sizes they need for their children. The added bonus was buying additional food and supplies (water, tooth brushes, hand sanitizer) so people did not leave empty handed. “It allowed us to free up extra space and give our children an opportunity to make a difference.”
  • Tight on a budget? You may be able to make a few dollars by selling or putting your extra baby clothes up for consignment. In going this route to could be able to buy new garments for new memories.

~

We know it’s tough, but you’ve got a long road ahead full of torn jeans, busted Converse, and poodle skirts – so pick your favorites and live in the moment, because it only lasts now.

Minimalist Living: How To Get Started

Whether you have a big move on the horizon, are sick of constantly fighting through clutter in your house, or just want to make a change, adopting a minimalist lifestyle could benefit you greatly. By opening up your physical space you will also open up your mental space, and from there the possibilities are endless. Here are some tips to get you started.

Make a minimalist plan.

Before you do anything at all, imagine what you want your space to look like. Perhaps look for minimalist living inspiration online, in magazines, blogs, or other places. Write it down if you want, but definitely spend some time planning your attack before you dive in.

Start small.

Since you’re new to this lifestyle, start with something small and easy to handle before you tear apart your entire house. The desk in your office, the kitchen counter, the nightstand by your bed – something easy to get your feet wet.

Identify what “essential” really means.

Depending on the degree of minimalism you want to be, decide what you really need and what you don’t. Perhaps you really only need a lamp on your nightstand, and a notebook and pen on your desk. Everything not in the essential category is in the nonessential category, and minimalists eliminate nonessentials.

Decide how to eliminate the nonessentials.

Now that you’ve started to clear your space, you have to decide whether to get rid of or keep the nonessentials. Some of the stuff you can either toss, donate, or sell, and some you may want to hang on to. Most of us aren’t ready to get rid of our precious belongings but still want a clean and tidy space, which is why self storage is a minimalist’s best friend. Take the nonessentials that you want to keep and organize them into clearly labeled boxes or bins, and put them in a space where they are still there if you need them, but aren’t cluttering your space.

Pursuing a minimalist lifestyle and using space more efficiently can open up your home, office, or yard while at the same time relieving anxiety, stress, and mental clutter.

Tips for your Summer Garage Sale

Wheaton Self Storage:
The summer season is about to hit full stride. With the improved weather comes the chance to attract locals to a garage sale. It is important to shed a few possessions every once and a while, and the extra cash is always a benefit as well. Here are tips from our Carol Stream and Wheaton U-Stor-It storage team.

Attract Attention

Marketing is key—don’t underestimate your natural advertising abilities! What is the purpose of a garage sale if you can’t get customers to the property to buy your stuff? There are many steps that should be taken leading up to the sale.

Craigslist is your first step. Post an ad early to get those planning on looking around onboard fast. This is your initial customer base, so it is crucial to make sure they hear about and can plan on attending the event. Craigslist posts your ad to the garage sale treasure map of the day which is another awesome feature.

Signs are your best chance at spreading the word and attracting those drive-by/impulse customers on a broad scale. Don’t underdo your signs. Make them unique and eye catching with an extremely legible font and size. Post your signs the night before your sale. This guarantees you’ll be visible for even the earliest early-birds, and it decreases the stress of getting all the signs up the day of the busy event.

Glendale Heights storage
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Consider a sign spinner. This is not a joke. Sign Spinning is a proven guerrilla marketing technique, there is a reason so many companies invest in it. It is comical, eye catching, original, and if you have a kid you can pay them a relatively small percent of earnings.

The Sale Itself

You just hyped up your garage sale, now you can’t allow the showing to be a letdown! You need to be prepared with a nice setup and offering to convert your incredible attendance into sales.

Group and display items nicely. There is no set way of going about this, but just try to make the offering look as much like a retail experience as you possibly can. Items that are hung, folded, or stacked are much more likely to sell than items thrown in a pile or sitting in a box.

Keep the business mindset throughout the process and your next garage sale will undoubtedly be a success. Good Luck!

Top 3 Tips for Bathroom Organization

Carol Stream & Wheaton, Illinois Storage:
Bathrooms range in shape and size, but a common challenge among all of them is instilling well organized storage of all your toiletries.  Whether you are in a house, apartment, or condo you can benefit from these bathroom organization tips.

Create Artificial Space

If you are really lacking in cabinet, shelf, or counter space consider artificially creating some. If you have a small shower purchase a cheap corner shelf that easily attaches to the walls by suction power. These shelves are very strong if attached well, but they are easily and seamlessly removed when you no longer need it. Non-corner shaped shelves can also be applied to bathroom mirrors.

Wheaton
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Add small racks or hooks without drilling into the wall with adhesive brands such as Command. The formulas behind the adhesive create a strong bond with the wall that can withstand many pounds of force, but also are easy to remove. The adhesives are made to easily peel off once stretched, and won’t damage the wall while releasing.

Grouping

Grouping allows you to take advantage of as much space as possible. A cup or mug can be placed on the counter and can easily store all toothbrush accessories and toothpaste. Drawer dividers give your items a special place to always return to when you are done with them.

Extras

If you are really pushing for space consider a shower caddie. You can store all of the items in the caddie and keep the caddie in the abundance of space you have somewhere else in your residence. This allows you to use the valuable bathroom space for only large toiletries such as lotions or mouthwash.

If all else fails consider remodeling the bathroom or moving to a place with a layout that more suits you. After all, a little change is never a bad thing.

Carol Stream Storage
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How to Build a Bed Frame

San Diego Storage:
Our Lincoln Park U-Stor-It team is back with another home project for those out there trying to save a little money on furniture. This simple bed frame design is made to last, but also provides a modern sleek look for any bedroom. While the overall price is low, the quality is to the standard of any mid-price option, and far greater than the particle board used by IKEA or South Shore furniture for a similar price.

What you’ll need

Wood: 324” (27 feet) of 2×4 boards, 270” (22.5 feet) of 1×4 boards, 96” (8 feet) of 4×4 boards.

Supplies: 28 2” wood screws, drill with drilling and screwing bits, latex paint of your color preference, a large paint brush, sand paper, and 35” of Velcro.

Assembly

Have the boards cut so that you have two 74” 2x4s, one 71” 2×4, two 51” 2x4s, and five 51” 1x4s. Sand all boards so they are smooth and splinter free.

The two 74” boards, and the 51” boards make up the base of the frame. Screw them together so that the corners form butt joints with the 51” boards in-between the two 74” boards. Each joint should have two screws.

San Diego
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Next the 71” board will be placed snugly into the middle of the frame and screwed in.

Take the 4×4 boards and screw them in on the inside of each corner of the main base. These act as the legs. A minimum of 4 screws in total should be used on each leg so that it remains very secure and easily bears the weight.

Paint

Apply two coats of the latex paint to the bed frame; make sure to get it into all cracks and crevices that might show. Paint only the first 3 inches of each side on the spare 1×4 boards.

The Latex in the paint helps protect the color from chipping and creates a nice texture on the wood that is more familiar to furniture than a standard paint.

Support

The last boards will lay across the frame short ways. Lay them out starting in the very middle and placing one down every 14 inches; this will space them out well and create the best support.

Once you’ve figured out where they go, cut up the Velcro to the length of the boards. Apply one side to the frame where the board will go, and the other to the board. Place them down, and the bed is complete! All it needs is a full mattress for the top, however these plans can easily be expanded or shrunken to adjust for other sizes of beds.

Mattress-Size-Chart-1

All of these items can be picked up at a local home improvement store. Just across the freeway from our Lincoln Park U-Stor-It facility in the Imperial Marketplace is a Home Depot. It can be conveniently accessed by crossing the 805 freeway to Ocean View Blvd and Marketplace Ave. The Home Depot can also make all of the main wood cuts necessary on the project.

Tips for moving into your first apartment

South Loop, Chicago Storage:
Downtown Chicago involves life with a lot of people. Unless you are insanely rich, you are likely one of the many in or on your way to renting an apartment. If it is your first time the inexperience can drastically affect the outcome of your moving experience—anyone who has rented before can tell you that. Our South Loop team has the knowledge for you, and they know a thing or two about the high-rise renting life; the South Loop storage facility is 21 stories tall!

Limit what you bring

It is so easy to think everything you currently own is absolutely a necessity, but a lot of the time you’re only deceiving yourself. Save a few boxes from being lifted by leaving behind your insignificant trinkets and furniture that get no/rare use.

Take advantage of delivery

While moving out of a place is never fun, moving in can be a breeze especially if you are obtaining all new furniture. The power of FedEx and UPS is strong, almost anything can be delivered right to your door step regardless of if your apartment is on the 1st or the 21st floor. As long as you are ok with taking a little time to build the furniture, having your stuff delivered takes away so much hassle of getting a fully assembled piece up the stairs or in the elevator.

Even mattresses can be shipped; they arrive at your door as a tightly packed box with a shrink wrapped mattress. You simply remove the shrink wrap and the mattress starts to expand to the normal size.

South Loop
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Understand your cable

There will only be a limited number of cable outlets within the apartment, so be sure to know where they are when designing the look of your living room. Also important to keep in mind is that in apartments not all cable outlets can support any company you choose. The way things are wired may make it so that, for instance, one outlet can only support Cox where another can only do Spectrum. This can definitely complicate things, so be sure to get whatever provider you select to check it out early in the moving process.

Mount Items Correctly

One of the most important mistakes to look out for is wall damage. This becomes even more important when the wall has already been damaged by a previous tenant, but cheaply patched. Regardless of the quality of the wall you will always be the one responsible for new damage.

Use a stud finder to find the safest places to drill. Consider watching a tutorial as nothing here should be overlooked. Overall, just be smart about what you’re putting up—items with weight will require even more support.

Money Saving Tips for Moving on a Budget

Streamwood / Bartlett, Illinois:
Moving to a new place can be extremely exciting, but many people dread the process. Not only is it hard, but it can cost a lot of money as well. Thankfully there are ways to manage the amount you spend, and our Streamwood & Bartlett U-Stor-It storage team is here to assist you.

Find Cheap Boxes

Boxes can come at a hefty price. There are lots of options on places like Craigslist for cheap or free boxes, but that road can be a major hassle due to unreliable sources. Boxes can be found for a great price at your local U-Stor-It or from various suppliers in the area.

Bartlett
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Garage Sale

You will be surprised how much stuff you don’t need yet let sit around in your residency. Dispose of them by selling them, giving them to friends or charity, or just throwing them in the trash or recycle bin. These items could include books, clothing, and excess furniture/décor. This will make the move lighter, and it may save a decent amount of space.

Irving Rd
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DIY

If you can afford the time and effort, moving without a moving company is ideal. For many the amount of time necessary as well as the stress of the labor makes the value of a moving company significantly higher than doing it yourself. The saved time and effort of a moving company can have you feeling better in the long haul even though it puts more of a hole in your wallet.

If you do choose the DIY path you will need to plan extra time than you thought initially—the last thing you want to happen is to run out of time because the process took longer than expected.

 

If you need a storage facility during your move be sure to look at our local facilities. In the Streamwood and Bartlett area our facility is located at 145 W Irving Rd, Streamwood, IL 60107 near Bartlett road and Park Avenue. Whether you live in Schaumburg, Hanover Park, Elgin, or Streamwood, we’re eager to help you find the space you need.

How to Make a Corn Hole Set

San Diego Storage:
In honor of our U-Stor-It Lincoln Park storage location near Logan Avenue and Imperial Avenue, we have put together a fun project to enjoy the San Diego weather. Everyone loves the tailgating atmosphere whether it be at a local sports facility or a simple beach day. Corn Hole is a great game that anyone can play, and the process of making your own boards is easier than it may seem.

What you’ll need:

Base:

4×2 Plywood Board, 2×4 boards that add up to at least 16 feet in length.

Supplies: 320 and 60 grit sand paper, drill with drilling bits in addition to screwing bits, wood glue, 2” wood screws, jigsaw.

Paint: Clear coat gloss, colors of your choice for design.

Optional: 3/8”x4” screws to make the legs retractable, wood putty, to hide holes made from drilling on top of boards, handles to make transportation easy.

All of these items can be picked up at a local home improvement store. Just across the freeway from our Lincoln Park U-Stor-It facility in the Imperial Marketplace is a Home Depot. It can be conveniently accessed by crossing the 805 freeway to Ocean View Blvd and Marketplace Ave. The Home Depot can also make all of the main wood cuts necessary on the project.

Construction:

Base:

Imperial Avenue
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The base is 48”x24”. Start with your 4×2 plywood face down and measure the wood so it perfectly measures to the edges of the plywood. Have the short ends measure all the way across the plywood and adjust the long ends to account for the wood of the short ends. The short boards will measure approximately the full 24” but the long ends will be somewhere around 44” rather than the full 48”.

Glue the boards to each other in simple butt joints, and also glue them to the plywood. This will need to dry for about a full day before continuing. Once dry screw in the butt joints, and screw the plywood into the base.

Logan Avenue
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The legs of the boards will need to be measured so that, once they are fit in, the board stands 12” tall from the back.

The hole is 6” in diameter, with the very center being 9” from the top and “12 from each side. Measure it out and trace it using a compass. Use a drill to puncture a hole, then use your jigsaw to cut along the circle. After this you can sand the entire board with the 60 grit sandpaper.

Paint:

The design of your paint can be done however you would like. Common designs include a triangle coming down from the hole with a logo or design in the center. When you’re satisfied with the paint design you have created it becomes time for clear coat.

Clear coat protects your project while also providing the slipperiness on top of the board that makes the bean bags slide. After each coat, except the last coat, you want to lightly sand it down with 320 grit sand paper to ensure it comes out evenly and smooth.

You’ve now created your very own Corn Hole boards to enjoy and play with at your next gathering. The only downside is they take up space—not to worry, we have plenty of units available in a U-Stor-It facility near you!

Whether you are in Lincoln Park or Chicago, there is no way not to have fun with these boards!

Wheaton / Carol Stream Storage: Building the Ultimate Man Cave

Wheaton / Carol Stream: Every guy’s dream is a room where they rule all—where they are surrounded by the possessions that matter most to them, and relaxation is the only obligation. Whether the goal of your man cave is a more traditional sports theme, a gamer’s paradise, or whatever hobby or special feel you’re going for, there are basic steps that will generally have to be taken regardless.

Clearing Clutter

First and foremost, man caves are often built in the garage or a room not often used. Unless you are newly moved into a home and starting fresh, it is likely the proposed room is full of unused furniture, boxes, and random belongings.

Carol Stream
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These items are going to need to find a new home, but there is likely no other room in the house seeing that they were piled there in the first place. A storage unit may be necessary to hold these items, but thankfully it makes the transition immensely easier.

Planning Around Key Features

Man caves require some specific planning for features that are limited or unique to the room. Electricity is an important aspect as it is likely there will be many various electronics in the room. Outlets can come at a premium, and you don’t want to over plug.

Shared walls are also something to keep at the top of mind. If a wall of the cave backs up to a bedroom it is probably best to avoid putting a TV or sound system against it.

Attending Garage Sales

Garage sales are your best friend when looking for things to add to the cave. They are perfect for finding signs to hang, various decorations, or furniture. It’s always possible to hit the jackpot when searching around, but you’ll never know if you don’t look.

 

These tips were provided by our Wheaton & Carol Stream U-Stor-It staff. Located at 120 Tubeway Dr, Carol Stream, IL 60188 near North Avenue and Gary Avenue.

Wheaton / Carol Stream Storage Tips – Reorganizing Your Bedroom

Wheaton / Carol Stream – Whether you want to save valuable space or improve the feng shui of your bedroom, reorganizing is never a bad idea. Our Wheaton and Carol Stream U-Stor-It self storage staff is here with the best tips for moving around your furniture and ultimately creating a new bedroom and living experience!

Utilize Corners

Not every room is perfectly square with 90 degree corners. It is important to know which corners of the room are available for square furniture. The best option for saving room is to place your bed with the head against one wall and either the left or right side against the other wall of a corner. There will only be one entrance and exit from the bed, however those few extra square feet saved from pushing it against the wall add up and make a big difference.

Exercise Simple Shelving

Adding light shelves to a wall not only looks great, but creates a new place for books, baskets, or trinkets. Placing baskets on these shelves, let alone other places like under your bed and in your closet, is a great space saver. Belongings can easily be grouped and put in the appropriate basket and shelf which vastly improves organization.

Work Around Odd Spaces

Similarly to non-square corners, there are sometimes strange features of rooms you must plan around. These may include built in cubbies, wall extensions, or window ledges to name a few. Every room is different, so for this aspect you have to get creative.

Wheaton
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In a past room of mine there was an odd brick ledging that protruded about 2 feet from the wall and was 2 feet tall; the ledge ran all the way across an 8 foot wall. What I ended up doing was building a bed frame that could rest along the ledge so that it was no longer wasted space. I built the bed frame following a guide online, but then didn’t attach two of the legs. This resulted in two legs of the frame rested on the ground like normal, but the portion of the frame where the legs had been omitted rested comfortably on the brick ledging. This saved an incredible amount of space especially since the ledge took up so much room on its own.