Category Archives: Life Hacks

3 Steps To Refresh Your Closet and Wardrobe

Every few months, we all should look to refresh our closets. This doesn’t necessarily mean throwing everything out and starting fresh, but there are definitely some steps every fashion-forward person takes to make sure their closet and wardrobe is fresh and updated.

1. Categorize That Closet

The most obvious step should be to take everything out of that closet. Don’t worry, we’re not getting rid of all your stuff. But… we are getting rid of some of it. Face it, that dress from 10 years ago isn’t going to be worn again. Make three piles: Things you absolutely have to keep, your in-betweeners, and things you can live without. The “in-betweeners” pile should include pieces you like but just don’t have an outfit for, or just don’t fit correctly, etc.

closet and wardrobe
http://freshome.com/closet-organization-ideas/
2. Purge That Closet

Now that you have your “in-betweeners” pile, let’s dig into it. Break that pile into two more piles: one for things that you don’t have an outfit for, one for things that don’t fit right. For the outfit-less pile, begin to make a shopping list. These are pieces that can potentially stay in the closet, so find some supporting pieces online that can be put together to create an outfit. Focusing on one clothing item at a time can make this process easier. If it doesn’t work out, move it to the “can live without” pile.

For the ill-fitting pile, consider taking these pieces to get altered so that they fit properly or just selling them or giving them away. There are plenty of mobile phone apps out there to make selling your closet easy and efficient. Anything that you’re getting rid of, move to the “can live without pile”

Golden rule: If it takes you longer than 2 minutes to decide on keeping or getting rid of a piece: Get rid of it.

For things you just can’t decide on, storage is a great option. For fairly cheap, you can hold on to your stuff in case you decide to keep it later.

3. Re-Assemble That Closet

Now that you have your piles squared away, get rid of everything in your “can live without” pile and keep the pieces you made arrangements for. Now, stare at your empty closet. Imagine how you’d like it to look. Some people like to color code, others like to code by clothing type. Some people like to get new shelving, or lighting, or a dresser to vamp it up. Whatever your organization system or decorating scheme, make sure you have one. Keeping this consistent will help your outfit selection in the morning and enable you to look your best each and every day!

closet and wardrobe
http://freshome.com/closet-organization-ideas/

With these simple steps, you can take back control of your closet and feel good about opening up that door in the morning. Your arsenal is refreshed and ready to go every week!

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.

River East Lofts: The Pros and Cons of Loft Living

Lofts can be one of the most luxurious and sought-after apartment types out there. They are especially popular in the River East, Chicago neighborhood and offer their residents many benefits — however, like most things, they have some drawbacks. Here are some of the biggest pros and cons of living in a loft.

Pro: High Ceilings

As remodeled commercial buildings, loft apartments typically have vaulted ceilings – often in the 10’ to 15’ range.  High ceilings make the place feel open and spacious—something you won’t necessarily find in a traditional apartment layout. Often times loft-style apartments have more windows, so if you don’t like feeling closed in, a loft-style apartment gives you the light and airy surroundings you desire.

Con: Expensive Utilities

Huge windows and old construction can mean major heating and cooling costs if the temperatures in your city fluctuate with the seasons. And in Chicago as we all know, they do quite a bit.

River East
http://www.homedit.com/living-in-a-loft/
Pro: Open Layout

Lofts are inherently wide open, with very little walls or barriers. This makes even the smallest lofts feel spacious and provides plenty of decorating opportunities. Artists and other creatives often prefer this layout so that they can make the space their own and feed their creativity.

Con: Limited Storage

Because lofts are so open, this often means they lack closets, cupboards, or other storage areas that require walls. This gives many loft owners headaches when they try to store away their possessions in a way that they’re not cluttered in plain sight. That is why self-storage is a loft owner’s best friend. U-Stor-It South Loop is conveniently located at 615 S Wabash Ave, Chicago IL 60605 and has everything you need to keep your loft uncluttered and luxurious.

Pro: Industrial Style Details

One of the charming characteristics of a typical loft apartment is the inherent industrial-type details in the architecture. Exposed brick walls or air ducts are not uncommon in loft apartment. These details are often embraced as these help to create an chic, relaxed vibe within the space.

Lofts certainly aren’t for everyone — but if you prefer a wide-open, airy creative space, they’re just what you need.

5 Easy Tips for a Dog Friendly Home

Thinking of bringing home a cuddly, four-legged, wet nosed, ball of joy (dog) – think first of how your the rooms in your house are organized to accommodate a new addition to your home. Kitchen, bathroom, backyard, living room, all of it. Here are a few easy tip to making sure your house is extra comfortable for your new fur friend.

1. The Last Temptation of Chewbarka

Phones, remote controls, glasses, books – all excellent and surprisingly tasty appetizers  and chew toys for a dog. Tammy Jensen of Wheaton, Illinois keeps all of her shoes, socks, and more safe by placing them far above her Boston terrier’s reach. “Try above the kennel or dog house first,” she explains. Do what you can to avoid an accident. Or don’t. Give yourself and excuse to buy that new Kate Spade bag.

dog-kitchen

2. Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares

Think of your dog as you child. I’m sure you already do. (Hopefully you don’t think of Slippers as your enemy). A lot of what you are going to do in preparing your house is like child-proofing for a toddler. Jill Plummer of Mt Greenwood urges to “never leave chocolate on the counter.” Keep anything toxic to pooches far from reach. They do not know any better – they’re just looking for a snack. Think of it as an opportunity to cut chocolate out of your diet.

chocolate-dog

3. 2 Queen Beds – Nonsmoking

The thought of getting a new dog is great, until you can’t get Buster off the couch. Think about placing doggy beds in two or three rooms in your house. Even if you can create a makeshift bed from old comforters or folded blankets, most dogs will be ecstatic with their new bed. Not only will your pup feel like a King with multiple nap pads, but your couch will thank you.

4. Safeguard Your Backyard

The backyard is like a 2nd home to your dog. (Well, maybe like a third or fourth considering how many doggy beds you just set up). You are going to want to doggy-proof everything, similar to your kitchen, so little Skippy avoids any and all harm. Roll up hoses and put away any sharp gardening equipment. Remember to block any escape routes (gaps where a dog can dig or even a holes in the fence) and never leave your dog outside while you’re out. Boredom leads to barking which leads to mad neighbors which leads to torches and pitchforks and your eventual moving to nowheresville.

dog-backyard

5. The ReX Files

This should be on everyone’s to do list if you have not already. Keep a file on everything related to your dog. Adoption papers, veterinary records, Tinkle’s birthday! Keep these files at home and not your storage unit, because you’ll want this information nearby. These will all come in handy when you’re rushing out the door during an emergency with a pained pooch. It will save you headaches a million times over and definitely avoid any more stress in a time of urgency. Once you create a doggy file, go ahead and make one for your kids too.

file-storage

Book Storage Ideas for Small Apartments – Printer’s Row

Printer’s Row is known for its rich history in books and literature, and whether you’re a big reader or just a student with books piling up, it’s always a struggle to get that book collection under control in your small Chicago apartment. Rather than cramming them into the corner of your room or under the bed, try some of these creative storage solutions to make great use of that small space.

Wall-Mounted Shelves

If your landlord allows it, wall-mounted shelves are a great option as they save the space that a large bookcase would take away. You can get very creative with these, arranging them in any which way and whatever best suits your space. To maximize storage, install shelving all the way up to the ceiling and all the way across the wall.

Printer's Row
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/326722147941076210/
Printer's Row
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/144255994284151956/

If you can’t use an entire wall for storage, consider installing shelving along the top of the wall, or in corners like these examples above.

Get Book-Friendly Furniture

Whether you’re looking to pick up a couple pieces of furniture for a new apartment or just trying to switch up the old stuff you already have, opting for book-friendly furniture can be both stylish and practical. If you’re in the market for a coffee table, get one that has storage underneath it or inside it, perhaps a crate or shelving style. Need a new nightstand? Grab one that allows you to store books with sleek and stylish shelving. There are even some reading chairs available that offer book storage underneath seat or in the sides alone the arms. Whatever type of furniture you’re looking for, you can find pieces that serve your book storage needs.

Printer's Row
http://www.readywearturkey.com/gallery/space-coffee-table-books.html
No Furniture, No Problem

Don’t want to spend a lot on furniture or shelves? No problem. The greatest thing about books is that they’re stylish all on their own. Stack them proudly along the hallway, on a table, or in the living room and they will become a nice addition to any space.

Printer's Row
https://domino.com/galleries/image/51a868e09ea870222df2149e

Too many books for your small apartment? Self-storage is a great option as well; For fairly cheap, you can rent a small, secure storage unit to free up space at home and hold on to that precious book collection. U-Stor-It South Loop is conveniently located at 615 S Wabash Ave, Chicago IL 60605 and serves Printer’s Row as well as the South Loop area.

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.

Auburn Gresham Living: Moving from Apartment to House

Moving to your first house after living in apartment complexes for your whole life is an exciting new chapter to begin. More space, privacy, and your own parking spot is a lot to be excited about. Unfortunately with all of this excitement, also comes overwhelming pressure on how to make it work. Here’s a few tips that will help you settle into that new dream home of yours in Auburn Gresham with ease.

1) Furnishing the New Space

While it may be exciting to see how much more space you have, it will definitely take some work to fill up all that extra space that you didn’t have in your old apartment. If the furniture you had in your last apartment all shared a consistent style and theme, be sure to stay consistent with that look in your new home when looking for new furniture to add. This will ensure that the overall finished interior design of your home looks crisp. Here’s a few ideas for how to find furniture at a favorable price:
Ikea is always an option. The quality of the products may not be the best and they may deteriorate over time, but you can count on finding some modern designs that may just suit the style of your new home in Auburn Gresham. You can always count on package sets and other deals that make a trip to Ikea a great idea when shopping on a budget.
Craigslist. With this option, you are guaranteed to find the cheapest prices out there from second hand sellers, all in your local area.
Check with friends and family if they have furniture they no longer need. There’s no better price than free!

2) Hire Movers

Auburn Gresham, Self-Storage, Movers, Storage, Chicago

This is almost a necessity. It takes a lot of hard, physical work to move your belongings into a home, especially if there are multiple floors. By hiring movers, it will make the moving process much faster, while also probably saving you from pulling a muscle at some point.

3) Prepare for Yardwork

A major perk of moving into a house is having that lawn space you’ve always dreamed about. Whether it’s used for outdoor games, gardening, or relaxing, it’s important to know that it requires constant upkeep. A trip to Lowe’s or Home Depot might be a good idea so you can stock up on lawn mowers, lawn care products, and outdoor furniture. Also, be sure to have a general idea of what kind of insects populate your area so you know what insect repellants to buy. The last thing you want are ants invading your new home!

4) Meet your Neighbors

Socialize! Another great thing about moving into a residential neighborhood is the opportunity it provides you with meeting new people and making new friends who live around you. This will make you feel more comfortable adjusting to living there, knowing who is a part of your community. Who knows, some of them may even offer to help with your move.

You’re now ready to move into your new home in Auburn Gresham! Enjoy that new dream home of yours and don’t forget to check back here for more blogs to come. To learn more about our availability with storage units at our Auburn Gresham location, click here.

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
https://household-tips.thefuntimesguide.com/files/yard-sale-sign-googly-eyes.jpg

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!

Reorganizing Your Refrigerator

Beverly, Chicago Self Storage:
Here at U-Stor-It we know a thing or two about storage. Specifically we know a lot of you need help when it comes to organization and overall storage. These tips will help you with reorganizing your refrigerator to stay more organized, and stop finding expired leftovers on the bottom of the back shelf.

Get a Fresh Start

The first step is clearing out what you currently have in there. Try to wait to reorganize when the fridge is low on food. If you just made a shopping trip you might want to hold off for a week or two until the items will be more manageable and less of a hassle.

When you are ready to start, grab a trash bag. Everything that is not going to be eaten in the next three or four days should be trashed (or donated if applicable). Get the fridge to a bare minimum. From here clean the shelves and inside as this is maybe one of the only easy opportunities you will get.

Move the Shelves

You don’t have to live with the hand you’re dealt. Move the shelves around to whatever works best for the type of items you purchase.

Better yet, change it up completely. Place a turntable on the bottom rack. You’ll never have to dig in the back of the fridge again; simply turn the table to access whatever you need easily. This may decrease the amount of food you can keep inside, but for anyone with a limited assortment this is ideal for simplification.

Beverly Storage
https://www.cubesmart.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/turntable-fridge-300×199.jpg

Grouping

Being organized starts with pure organization. Foods should be grouped accordingly in the fridge. Dedicate an entire shelf only to drinks, strategically place heavier items on the bottom, and actually use the drawers dedicated to fruits and vegetables.

Most importantly, especially if you cook often, is to dedicate a space to leftover foods. Leftovers are often times the factor that crowds your fridge and creates chaos. By having a designated spot for leftover containers, you will always have a grasp of just how much food is in there. It will also minimize the number of times food gets forgotten about and pushed to a back corner.

Follow-Up

Lastly, it is critical you remain on top of your new found organization. It is easy to fall back into old habits, but if you just give it a little time you will create a new healthy habit. By making an effort to stay organized eventually it will become easy and the way of life.

Enjoy how pretty and efficient you’re new fridge will be!

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
https://dtatist.wikispaces.com/file/view/butt_joint.gif/156408089/butt_joint.gif

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.