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Thursday, February 18

Storage advice- spring cleaning

I think most of us out there (espically those of use who live in large cities in apartments with limited closet space) suffer from how to store things and the issue of spending money on expensive storage units. What are we filling these storage units with? Do we even know what is in our storage units? I was interviewed in this recent article that appeared in the Chicago Tribune a few weeks back about storage and cleaning and this whole topic. Miles Redd was also interviewed for this article and I am honored to be in the same article with one my favorite design stars!

One of our best clients that we have been working with for a few years now had a storage unit filled with items that they didn't even know where stored. They were paying close to $1000 a month for this. My office worked for weeks on sorting and organizing and donating all of the contents of the storage unit. It was a long process and lots of "work day clothing" as it was dusty and dirty. When we turned over the keys to the storage unit- my client jumped for joy at saving around $12,000 a year in just storage fees!

So what's in peoples storage units? What's tucked up in your own house closets and basements and garages?

Spring is just around the corner and it's a great time to sort and clean things up.
(I am actually having an office spring cleaning day today and am so excited to return samples, recycle old out of date paperwork and put out of date paperwork in our storage archives).
I guess that I could also take some of my own advice and go to my own storage unit and clear out things that I just don't need anymore (that great couple of yards of fabric that I have been saving, that lamp that I shipped from the flea market in Paris, that old table that I keep meaning to polish and fix up).

Why do we hold on to these things? Do we really think that we will end up using these things someday? Is there guilt with hanging on to family pieces?

I totally believe in pieces in your house being functional. I often look around at my own place and ask myself - When was the last time that I used that? I do this with clothing and kitchen gear all of the time.

I find it SO rewarding at the end of a big clean up to see everything organized and it always feels fresh and new.

What are your own spring cleaning stories? What do you do? Have fun!


Acanthus and Acorn said...

Organization, a favorite word! I am a purger. Give it away, throw it away...just move it out! I am sentimental about certain things, but they have to be very important for me to keep. I think all of us in design get bogged down from time to time about things we may want to incorporate into our own home or that of a client. My rule is once my basement storage area is even a little cramped, something has to go. I tend to address things in the spring and again in the fall. I'm also one of those people who can't function well with clutter and a lot of stuff. Some great tips here.

Rene' said...

Great article! I too purge twice a year. If I haven't worn or used it in the last six months it goes. I used to feel guilty for "donating" things that people gave me especially family but you know you just have to step back and say, "Thanks but I just don't have the space." I especially liked the DO about making sure your homeowners/rental insurance covers storage units I don't think many people know about this.

Kathysue said...

I tend to be a neat freak or at least on the outside but I must admit, don't go in my garage, I call it No Man's land. I joke when I go out there, If I am not back in 5 min. you had better come and look for me. Shameful, I know!! This weekend is purging the kiddos play room. I bought new bedding and bright Kelly Green pillows(new color crush) so now I have to have it all clean and pretty. New pillows will do it everytime for me, Great post, thought provoking and also makes me feel a little guilty,Kathysue

Carol Ann said...

Storage unit... could not live without ours, our condo is 609 sq ft... we have perged 4 times in 11 years and still have to much stuff, hehe
What is in our storage unit...well I could list off a few things but not all, I love your idea of pictures and a list... that would take hours... maybe another day... lifes just to busy these days... but wonderful ideas in this post, thank you

Regards, Carol Ann

Kate said...

I've got so much to say on this subject, but i'm going to limit myself: Lived in the city for 20 years, up till 2 years ago. If half the residents in SF would empty out those garages that they have stuffed to the gills, and actually park their cars in the garage, half of the parking headaches in the city would stop.
I'm just sayin.

Anonymous said...

I've got half of a large china service, my Wedgwood tea and coffee service, some statuary and console tables that I don't have room for, old skis, vacuums, fans and heaters, some artwork, my grandmother's rock crystal, some other china and objets all in storage. I keep it all not only because most of it I grew up with and cherish, and because when I get a bigger house, I'll be able to finally get it all out and live with it again.

I also have things like old tax returns and documentation there.

Laura Casey Interiors said...

great post! I did a post a year ago about spring cleaning after I read Margaret Russell's letter saying "ruthlessly edit your possessions". I think of that all the time and am not afraid to toss or give away. Have been cleaning out all weekend. love it.

red ticking said...

i am helping a client clear out 4 storage units... it is unreal.. whew... i thought i had alot of stuff... why cant we just let go!!!! i am trying... x pam

Vanessa said...

This is my year to get rid of/sell/donate/recycle stuff! We moved across the country (Toronto to Vancouver) and then back again and I still have unpacked boxes from the first move 10 years ago - yikes! Obviously, it's items I don't use/need - so I need to go through everything. Also, still have my daughter's crib, high chair etc. and she is almost 8! Time to let go...


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