Using Self-Storage When Traveling

You’ve long thought about taking a few months to see Europe or South America. Now, you have the time and money to do it. Your lease is ending and you have no commitments in New York for a few months. The only problem is you’re not sure what to do about all your stuff. Luckily, for less than $100 a month, you can rent a small self-storage unit to house your stuff while you’re off sightseeing. Here are some factors to consider when picking self-storage:
 

pexels-photo-126313.jpg

 

Find a Contract that Works for You

When you decide how long you will be away, you’ll know what contract length works for you. Make sure you don’t end up in a one-year lease if you only plan on being away for three months.  Read the terms carefully and only sign if everything makes sense to you.

Pick the Right Size

Storage units come in different sizes. If you have say a one-bedroom apartment you can ask the facility pros what size unit they recommend. You can also estimate how many boxes you’ll have and the total volume of your stuff before a site visit.

Think about Climate Controlled Units

If you have any musical instruments, wine, or other items that are prone to damage in extreme heat or cold or sensitive to humidity, you might want to consider a unit that has climate controls. Otherwise, arrange to store your sensitive items with a friend or relative.

 

 

Valuables

While it’s always better to house valuables with those you trust, always ensure the facility is safe and that you have sufficient insurance should you choose to store them in the unit.

Get a Solid Lock

In addition to picking a secure and well-attended facility, you should always get a solid lock for your storage unit to deter anyone who might be looking to break in.  Ask the facility or a locksmith what your options are.
 

moishesinterior6.jpg

What to do with College Textbooks? A Guide

If you are graduating from college this year, it’s likely you will soon have a few extra things around the apartment. Textbooks are often among those items. They are heavy, large and as a group take up a lot of space. Here are some things you can do with old textbooks:
 

pexels-photo-26393.jpg

 

Sell

Be it to the college bookstore or via online retailers like Amazon or auction sites like ebay, selling is what students have done forever. This is a good way to get back some of the money you’ve spent on these expensive texts and to make room in your home.

Donate

There are people who can put these books to good use and who otherwise might not be able to afford them. If you can forgo the money you’d otherwise make, consider donating these sought after educational resources. From libraries to donation centers like Goodwill and programs that send books to those in need like Books for Africa you won’t have any trouble finding organizations that will take your texts.

Keep

If you decide to pursue a profession in the field studied, the textbooks might be useful in the future. Consider putting up some wall shelves or devising a storage nook around the apartment to keep these around as reference material. A future work office might also be able to accommodate these texts.
 

pexels-photo-110252.jpg

 

Store

If you rent a self-storage unit, you can always store textbooks until you decide to pull them out and use again. Make sure you box these well and that your unit is not humid as to destroy the books.
 

 

Recycle

In the unlikely event that you can’t find anyone interested in taking the textbooks or you absolutely have no way to store them, you might want to think about recycling them. Check with your town or local recycling programs to find out how to best handle this option. 
 

book-855708_1920.jpg

Picnic Time in New York

New York weather is super pleasant: The sun is shining, the trees have just given birth to bright yellow green leaves and the blossoms are abundant. In short, it’s picnic time in the city.  So grab your basket and other picnic supplies out of self-storage and head on over to a green patch of goodness dotted within the Big Apple. Here are some of our favorites:
 

pexels-photo-213444.jpeg

 

Prospect Park

Brooklyn’s Prospect Park is ginormous, which translates to lots of options for a picnic. You can sit on vast expanses of grass, eat goodies that you brought, then go for a little hike and then stop by the boathouse to look at your reflection and watch the swans swim.

Brooklyn Bridge Park

Sit at one of many picnic tables and look out onto the skyline of lower Manhattan, while eating the goodies from your basket. You can also bring your burgers and hotdogs and whatnot and cook your meat and veggies on one of the hibachi style grills available. If you plan on doing that, however, get there early to snag a grill as there’s a lot of competition.
 

pexels-photo-337198.jpeg

 

Brooklyn Botanical Gardens

This Brooklyn gem is one of the magical slices of New York. The 52-acre space houses specialty gardens such as a Japanese garden and the Cherry Esplanade, featuring more than 200 cherry trees. Pink blossoms on the trees and the grass below make for a spectacular site. Bring a basket or dine at one of their onsite establishments.

Governors Island

This 172-acre island 15 minutes off of Manhattan is open to the public May 1 to October 1st and accessible via a ferry from Manhattan or Brooklyn. Bring a blanket and pick a spot from one of many of the green and shaded spaces to chow down your munchies. Or head over to the food court in the middle of the island to buy food from a variety of vendors and bring back to your picnic station.
 

Credit : Iwan Baan/Courtesy West8

Credit : Iwan Baan/Courtesy West8


Central Park

There’s more space in this park than you’ll know what to do with. You can head on to the popular spots like Sheep’s Meadow or the Great Lawn or be more adventurous and carve your own spot somewhere within the park’s 840 plus acres. 
 

new-york-748618_1920 (1).jpg

Living in a Small Apartment or Studio

New York City real estate is famously expensive. Renters pay an approximate $55 per square foot per year in Manhattan. That means that a 450 square foot studio could run you more than $2,000 each month. But that’s the price you pay for living in one of the most exciting cities.  What this all translates to, in practical terms, is that many of us live in small spaces into which we must fit all of our stuff. Here are some tips on maximizing a tiny living situation:
 

pexels-photo-94934.jpeg

 

Utilize Multitasking Furniture

The key to having any large piece in a small space is that, the pieces must serve double or triple duty. Meaning, they’ve got to work hard to earn their domestic keep. Examples of hard working furniture are pull out sofas, coffee tables that serve as storage, ottomans that open up to become a bed, chests that could work as benches and so on.

 

Embrace Shelving

The beauty of shelves is that you are not sacrificing floor space. You’re utilizing wall space, which would otherwise be left unused. By putting up shelves in the kitchen, bedroom, hallway, bathroom and many other little nooks, you can increase storage space throughout your home.
 

pexels-photo-201278.jpeg

 

Go Vertical

Although many of New Yorks’ apartments are tiny, a lot of them have tall ceilings, especially ones in older, pre-war buildings. Tall ceilings mean you can go vertical in terms of storage. So consider installing cabinets, shelves, or housing large wardrobes and bookcases. You can also stack items—like carts or books—on top of each other. 

 

Rent Storage

Self-storage units are abundant in New York City. For a small monthly fee you can rent a unit where you can safely store seasonal and bulky items and therefore maximize your living space. When looking to rent storage, always make sure the facility is well regarded and safe and the contract terms meet your needs. Finally, you might want to look into a space that’s close by if you plan on making frequent runs.  
 

bicycle-405883_1920.jpg

Self-Storage for Home Staging

If you’re looking to sell your home you know that in today’s market staging is very important, if not necessary. It might be that you have to put in entirely new furniture, or you might just need to declutter your home to make it look its best for open houses and showings. The problem most New York sellers face is finding a place to put their stuff while their house is on the market. The solution is often self-storage. Here are some tips on how to go through the process:

 

List Items that Must Go

After talking to your real estate agent and getting tips, go through the home and list what items you need to put away in storage. Make sure to go through rooms, cabinets, closets and bookshelves. The idea is you want everything to be sparse and clean and for potential buyers to see themselves, not you, living there.  And remember, this is a temporary situation so it’s okay to put away your favorite things for a little while.
 

 

Decide How Much Space You Need

Once you have a list of items you need to temporarily get rid of, find out how many boxes of which size you’ll need. Then find the volume of space you’ll need for storage—you can always ask facility professionals to help you. Then you can decide on the storage unit size.

 

Find the Right Self-Storage Facility

Research facilities nearby and find several that hit your checklist. Then go visit to make sure the units are clean and safe. Finally, make sure they offer contracts that match up with how long you’ll need to rent for. Compare the final contenders to pick the best one that suits your needs.
 

 

Box ‘em Up and Put Away

You can purchase boxes from many self–storage facilities or gather them from local grocery or liquor stores. Once you pack your stuff, clearly label each box. If you’re putting away furniture you might want to consider covers.  You can either rent a truck yourself, if needed, or ask movers to transport your items to the unit.
 

iStock-504344447.jpg

 

Stage Away

Once you’re done decluttering your home, you want to make sure everything is clean and pleasant—a fruit basket or some flowers can help. At this point, you’ve done your share and can hope that the market is kind enough so that you can sell your home in a timely manner.
 

Cleaning Out the Fridge, A Guide

Spring is finally here and at the beginning of each season it’s good to clean out, and open up some storage space in, the refrigerator. We know that the abundance of condiments and containers can look scary to tackle. But fear not, here’s a little guide you can use to break down the tasks and give your fridge a little bit of a makeover inside:
 


Condiments

Remove all the condiments from the fridge and place them on the counter. Go through each one and check the dates—if expired, it’s time to toss. If not ask yourself if you ever use the item, if not you’re better off making room in the fridge you really will use. Wipe down the space where your condiments are and place what you intend to keep back in.

Containers

You know how you stored that pineapple a month ago and forgot about it? Or the meatloaf your sister made? Well, go through every container and get rid of any leftovers that are too old to eat—typically cooked food more than three to four days old.  Make sure to wipe any spills when you clear out each shelf.
 

AdobeStock_68027824.jpeg


Freezer

You likely don’t need to do a defrost, but you should look through the meats, veggies and frozen meals and treats you’ve stored there. Look at the dates and toss anything that is too old to safely consume. It’s good practice to label and date meats and what not you keep in storage bags so you know when you placed them in the icebox.


Drawers

Here’s another place in the fridge we can stick food in and forget about. Open up the drawers and toss any old fruit or veggie that looks suspect or that you won’t eat. Then pull out the drawer, wipe or even hand wash and dry and place back.
 

AdobeStock_70462739.jpeg

Storing Luggage

Ahhh, luggage, necessary items but hard to find room for in our tiny New York City apartments. They are often big and bulky and hard to hide away. But here are some ways you can store your luggage:

Self-storage Unit

If you rent a storage unit, you have an easy solution for putting away your suitcases and bags post travel. If not, and if you have other stuff taking up space, you might want to consider getting yourself a small unit. Though you might think you don’t need it, you’ll be surprised at how much more breathing room you’ll have around the home.

 

Above the Kitchen Cabinets

You know that space between the top of the cabinets and the ceiling? The one you never use? Well, you can put your suitcase up there and if it’s an attractive suitcase it could even look like a decorative item.

 

Under the Bed

It’s easy to slip a suitcase or a bag under the bed. If you have room, this is an obvious solution. If your bed is too low you might consider bed risers.

 

As a Side table

Stack several hard suitcases, especially pretty ones, and you got yourself a nightstand, or a side table. You can also use them as storage when not traveling.

 

Inside a Closet

Another obvious place to store luggage is inside the closet. Once again, you can fill the contents of the bags with items already in the closet, essentially freeing up room for your bags. You can also pack smaller suitcases inside your large ones.

 

Behind a Sofa

If possible we like having our large furniture pieces, like couches, a little bit away from the wall. If you’re like us, use that space to slide in a suitcase or two.

Teaching Your Kids to De-clutter

We often place on ourselves the responsibility of de-cluttering and purging. But our kids have a lot of stuff too, which take up valuable storage space. It’d be nice if we could include them in the process, which can be a learning experience for them and helpful to us. Here are some tips to help you de-clutter with kids:

 

Make it Fun

Let’s face it, de-cluttering is not a fun task but the kids don’t know that. So why not turn the dreaded job into something the little ones can enjoy? Maybe turn it into a game or activity or give them a prize after a de-cluttering stint.  For example, you can see which of your kids can clear their closet faster. The winner can then get a small prize or snack.

 

Teach Them Why it Matters

Take a few moments to explain to your kids why getting rid of something they no longer play with or wear might make their space both roomier and neater. Also talk about how someone else can benefit by playing with the toys or wearing the clothes.

 

Don’t Do Too Much At Once

Kids have short attention spans and won’t want to spend hours cleaning and purging. Maybe split the job into several days worth of work and have them do a little each day. Gauge what your child is willing to do. For most, 10 to 15 minutes is likely their limit.

 

Take them With When Donating

It will make your kids feel good to know their toys and clothes are going to a worthy cause. If donating to a specific person or an organization, take them with you so they can see where their stuff is ending up. Then maybe go out for ice cream or pizza or some fun activity so they associate what they’ve done with a positive feeling.


 

How to Score Self-storage Deals

You’ve decided to rent a self-storage unit. We get it: Our apartments are too small and no matter how careful we are with our purchases and constant purging, there just isn’t enough space in the apartment. In addition to making sure a facility is clean, secure and convenient for you, you also want to score the best deal, one that’s affordable and reasonable. So how do you go about getting a good deal for a unit? Here are some tips:
 

 

Compare Prices

Compare the deals your top three facility picks offer. See how they stack up against each other. Make sure you compare apples with apples—meaning your contract length, room size and likes should be the same. If one deal seems better than the rest, you can ask the other facilities to match or beat those prices.

 

Modify Contract Length

Sometimes you can score a better monthly rate if you increase your contract length. Ask the storage facility what they can offer if you sign up for a longer rental commitment. It’s likely you’ll need the space longer than you think anyway, so why not pay less?
 

 

Mention Affiliations and Special Circumstances

Students, senior citizens, AAA members, army vets and those affiliated with various organizations are often eligible for discounts. Ask your facility if they have any such deals and take advantage of it if they do.

 

Change Move in Date

Some months, storage companies offer promotions—because during those seasons they have fewer tenants or they want to attract more renters. Ask the facility if they have such deals and think about starting your contract then to take advantage of promotions.
 

 

Negotiate

Never be afraid to negotiate for a price or package that you think is fair. The worst that can happen is they will say no, in which case you can decide if the deal is for you. But if they say yes, you just scored a better deal by simply using your bargaining skills. 

Spring Cleaning Checklist

Spring is here and it’s time to give your apartment a fresh start by organizing and deep cleaning. How much you want to get done depends on your needs and how well you’ve kept your home all winter. But for most hitting the items on this checklist should get your place ready for the new season:
 

spring-leaves.jpg

 

Purge Unwanted Items

Go through your closets and storage furniture and get rid of anything you might not need. Donate or sell these items. If you plan on keeping something but don’t need it right away, you can put it away in your self-storage unit if you have one.

 

Clean Window Coverings

Window coverings are prime dust collectors. Wash or dry clean your curtains. You can vacuum or wipe most blinds and shades. When in doubt check for labels of manufacturer recommendations on how to clean.
 

 

Dust the Moldings

Moldings are another neglected area of the home. Dust baseboards, doorframes and any other moldings in the apartment.

 

Change Air Filters

Though you should be changing furnace air filters every quarter, spring is a good reminder to do this in case you’ve neglected to do so.

 

Clean the Fridge

Organize and clean the inside of your fridge. Then, wipe down the outside and top of the appliance.  
 

 

Give your Oven a Cleaning

Wipe down the inside of the oven according to the manufacturer’s directions and if needed use the self-cleaning option.

 

Wash Windows

With all the dust, rain and snow, your windows have been through a lot. Give them a cleaning from the inside and then if needed, hire a company to wash the outside for you.
 

pexels-photo-29908.jpg

 

Dust Light and Ceiling Fixtures   

Ideally, you’ll want to first vacuum and then wipe down lights and fixtures like fans. But either method will tackle some of the accumulated dust.

 

Spring Storage Switcheroo

Spring is just around the corner. On March 20th right after the 6:28 am equinox our hemisphere will start to see longer and warmer days. What that means in terms of self storage is that we can safely start to put away much of our winter gear and tools and start to take out of storage our gardening and warmer weather goods. Here’s a list of items you might want to switch out at your unit this spring:

 

Snow Removal Tools for Gardening Gear

Though possible, it’s not likely to get a heavy snowstorm in the tri-state once the end of March hits. Put away your shovels, snow blowers and bags of salt. Instead, this would be a good time to get out your gardening tools, pots and planters, soil and the likes.

 

Skis for Surfboards

The time for winter sports has passed, at least in much of the East Coast. Stow away your skis, snowboards, snow tubes and the bulky attire of the cold weather. But don’t be sad because you can now take out your bicycles, skateboards, surfboards, boogie boards, kayaks and bathing suits as preparation for the summer months or late spring for the brave ones out there.

 

Sweaters for Tank tops

Goodbye cashmere and wool, hello linen and rayon. This is an easy one. Most of us are happy shedding winter layers—like down coats (aren’t you sick of yours already?) and knit hats—and going for lighter jackets and attire.

 

Boots for Shoes and Sandals

Those Sorels sure are cute. But you know what’s cuter? Canvas sneakers and bright colorful sandals. Lucky for you, it’s time to put away the bulk and let your feet breathe.

 

Zinfandel for Rosé 

If you keep your wines in self storage spring is a great time to switch out the full bodied jammy wines for the lighter warm weather wines to drink poolside, or at a barbecue. Rosé, Sauvignon blanc and bubblies are always good to retrieve from the cellar come spring.

Headboards with Storage

In our often-tight New York City apartments, many pieces of furniture must work double duty. Headboards are no exception. Sure they are decorative features that give your bed and bedrooms a finished look, but they can also be a storage compartment for holding books, reading glasses and other items. Here are some examples of headboards with storage:
 

super-size-your-closet-space-with-this-extra-roomy-brimnes-full-brimnes-full-bed-brimnes-full-bed.jpg

 

IKEA’s BRIMNES Headboard with Storage Compartment

At a reasonable $130.00, this number from our favorite Swedish retailer can hold books, magazines, plants and a whole host of other items.  It also has pre-drilled holes for cables so you can charge your phones, plug in an alarm and hook up lights.  The piece coordinates with a BRIMNES bed, though you can probably use it with other beds—just make sure the size and style works out.
 

 

Andes white bed

The storage on this hi-gloss headboard that’s part of the bed comes in the form of integrated nightstands. Each side of this CB2 bed features two shelves that can hold books, electronics and lights. The price ranges between $699 and $899 for a complete bed, sans mattress of course.

Queen Bookcase Headboard

If you live in New York, you’re likely to have come upon a Gothic Furniture store at some point. This family operated retailer makes all their furniture with real wood and often sells them unfinished, which means that you can finish it to your own taste or have it stained or painted with one of the offered options. This bookcase headboard is constructed with unfinished pine and features a bookcase shelf and a top shelf for $249 to fit a Queen sized bed.

Manhattan Bookcase Headboard by Prepac

Available on Wayfair, this laminated composite wood headboard features six shelves—one of which is adjustable—to hold your books, electronics and other knick-knacks and comes in an espresso finish. At under $200, it’s a reasonable bet.
 

 

 

Becoming a Minimalist: A Guide

Not everyone likes the idea of being a minimalist. But for many of us living in tiny New York City apartments, the choice is either living with lots of items or mostly just with essentials.  If you prefer to have less things—and hopefully spend less money on buying goods—here are some pointers to get you started:
 

pexels-photo-269252.jpg

 

Decide What Your Goals Are

The first step to becoming a minimalist is to decide how simple you want to live. Do you want to only have absolute essentials or do you want some knickknacks and memory invoking pieces around your home? Is your goal to get rid of some of the items you own or is it to purchase less moving forward? There are no right answers here and the only thing that matters is a goal that makes sense to you.

De-clutter Your Home

Once you know how it is you want to live, you can start to get rid of the items you no longer want. Place any unwanted items in designated boxes to be taken to a self-storage unit, donation center or to be sold.  You can begin by purging the items you know for sure you don’t need and work your way to de-cluttering more as you get the hang of it.
 

 

Make Rules For Purchases

Decide how you want to handle future purchases. You might opt to only purchase an item if you purge a similar item, which will mean you are not adding more things to the home and merely replacing. Or you might opt for a different system that would better work for you. Either way, having a plan in place will allow you to think twice prior to making a purchase.

 

It’s Okay to Fail

There will come a time when you will purchase an item you won’t need or when you decide to keep an item even though you know you won’t have use for it. Don’t beat yourself up for it. Forgive yourself and move on. The point of being a minimalist is to reduce stress and clutter not to further stress yourself out. 

How to Create a Self-Storage Inventory

We often recommend self-storage users to create an inventory of their items so they know where they put specific things. Having an organized system will allow you to quickly find those ski pants for your next trip to Hunter Mountain. But how do you create an inventory that’s easy and efficient to use? Here are some tips:
 

 

Label Boxes

The first step to creating an inventory is having all your belongings clearly marked. What this means is you need to categorize your items and box them accordingly. Then, you need to have a clear labeling system—such as numbers or group names on each box. Keep items that are the same category—for example, china—in the same box or boxes that will be grouped together. Then make sure you have a way to indicate what’s in each box. For example, in the case of china, you can have sub categories such as plates or cups.
 

 

Create Inventory List

To create a list you can use a spreadsheet program, like MS Excel or Google Sheets, or make a table in your word processor or even on paper. You inventory list should include item name, description, quantity, box number or group name, date placed in storage and date removed. If you want to get fancy, you can take photos of items and include them as part of the description. Create this list before placing your boxes in storage.
 

pexels-photo-209137.jpg

 

Keep Data Updated

One of the reasons it’s handy to create this list electronically is that you can easily change as needed. Each time you make a visit to your self-storage unit and add or remove an item, you need to update your inventory. Having a duplicate of this list at home could save you a trip to the storage unit when you’re looking for that pair of winter gloves that have been in your closet drawer since your visit last winter.
 

 

 

What You Should Deep Clean This Spring

The official start of spring—March 20 this year—is fast approaching. Many like to mark this season of renewal with an annual cleaning, which goes beyond the weekly vacuuming and dusting.  Though satisfying, spring cleaning can be a daunting task and many wonder what exactly we should be cleaning. Here’s a partial list of areas you can tackle and mark off as you clean house:

 

Kitchen Cabinets

Over the course of the year, the cabinets collect dust. And lots of it! Additionally cooking steam and grease often accumulate on the surface of kitchen cabinets. Grab a ladder, some paper towels and a good spray cleaner and make sure to thoroughly wipe these often ignored surfaces.

 

Exhaust Intake

Like your cabinets, kitchen exhaust intakes attract dust, dust bunnies, grease and other airborne particles. You can take these covers off and wash them in the kitchen sink. Once dry, you can re-install them.

 

Top of the Fridge

The surface on top of the fridge is a neglected space. Make sure you take the opportunity to wipe down this area. You’ll be shocked at how dirty it gets.

 

Oven

If your oven gets a lot of use, it might be a good idea to give it a thorough cleaning.

You can either wipe the inside of the oven or use the self-cleaning option.

 

Windows

Sometimes we forgot to pay attention to our windows and how dirty they are until we clean them and realize how much more light gets in. Spring is a good time to clean the windows (though you should probably do this several times a year).  

 

Window Coverings

Curtains can often be washed and hung up again when wet. If you have cellular blinds you can vacuum them to get the dust out. If you have plastic blinds you can wipe or even wash them.

 

Dishwasher

Your dishwasher’s worked hard for you all year. Now it’s time for you to make sure the appliance is clean and ready to go another year. Find out how to properly clean your dishwasher—whether it’s cleaning out a special filter or running it through a cleansing cycle.

 

Dryer Vent

Lint and bits of fabric can get stuck in the dryer vent leading to poor performance of your clothes dryer and even a fire. Contact a dryer vent cleaning professional to come out and clean out the system. 

Digitize Your Paperwork

It’s amazing how much paper and documents we have to keep in order to keep our lives and businesses running. Sometimes, we can store these in our homes, if space allows and sometimes we need to use self-storage to safely house our paperwork. No matter which option you go for, there are ways to minimize the pieces of paper you have by digitizing them. Here are some tips:
 

 

Get Your Hardware Together

You’ll need a scanner and a shredder. There are many options for finding an appropriate scanner—some people prefer a large size scanner that they can feed documents to, and some might opt to use their smartphones. Either way, a little online search can help you find the best option. A shredder can be useful for destroying the document after it’s been scanned so that your important personal data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. There are plenty of these on the market and you shouldn’t have trouble finding one that suits you. Alternatively, some retailers offer shredding services, if you choose to wait and outsource this task.
 

 

Think about Organizing your Files

Once you’ve scanned your papers, you need a logical way to set up and store them digitally. You can either do this on your own or find software that will automate the task for you. If you choose to manually take on the job, you likely want to set up folders and sub-folders much like the way you had the documents organized when they were in paper form. For example, you can have a folder named “Taxes,” with subfolders containing year names, such as “2016.” Each subfolder can once again contain subfolders, such as “Expenses.” Software programs, like Hazel, can take care of the organizing for you. Do a bit of research to see which software will work with your platform.

 

Decide on Storage and Backup

Do you want to store your folders on your computer? Or would you prefer to have them stored on a cloud—like dropbox or carbonite—where you can access them from anywhere? No matter the option, think of security. If on your computer, find ways to add appropriate protection, such as adding a passcode to your documents. You might want to think of a backup system as well—this can be another online server or a hard drive. This way, should something go wrong in one place, you’ll have a retrieval option elsewhere.

 

Shred Hard Copies

Once your documents are digitized and backed up, you can safely start shredding them. Make sure your shredder is set to cross cutting, which is a better in terms of security. Then enjoy the extra space in your cabinets and drawers! 
 

Decluttering Cosmetics and Skincare: A guide

We all have makeup and skincare that we’ve hung on to for way too long, hoping that we’d once again use a bygone lip color or eye shadow. But the truth is, we likely won’t, and probably shouldn’t (beauty products have suggested lifespans), use most of our old cosmetics. In reality, all these items are doing is taking up precious storage space in our New York City apartments.  Here’s a guide on when to discard some popular beauty items:
 


Mascara

Experts recommend getting rid of mascara after three months. Because the tube is wet and enclosed, it’s a good breeding ground for bacteria and the longer you keep this item, the higher the chances of contracting an infection like an eye sty.

Eyeliner

Similar to mascara, liquid eyeliners are best tossed after about three months, whereas pencil liners can be kept for up to two years. That’s because liquid liners encourage bacterial growth and pencils can be sharpened to reveal a new and clean surface.  

Creams and Lotions

Some creams and lotions have expiration dates—such as ones containing acne medication. Pay attention to the dates to know when to toss. Products that don’t have expiration dates last six months to a year. Those in pumps can last up to a year and those containing vitamin C and retinol can degrade faster and should be kept away from sunlight and not exposed to air too much.
 

pexels-photo-286951.jpg


Eye Shadow

Cream shadows can last about six months. After that point, the chance of bacterial growth goes up. Powder shadows have a shelf life of about two years.

Lipstick and Lip Liners

Lipsticks contain moisture and by now we know that moisture is optimal ground for bacterial growth. So at around two years, it’d best to toss these items. You can keep pencils longer than two years, however. 

Blush

You can keep most blushes anywhere between one to two years. Again, cream blushes will need to be tossed closer to the one-year mark, whereas the powders can be kept longer.


Fragrances

These guys tend to last more than two years. You might want to toss these if the scent has changed.
 

 

Five Ways to Add Storage to a Small Bathroom

Bathrooms in New York City apartments can be small. Some are barely large enough to fit a person and many don’t have common storage spaces like medicine cabinets, drawers or other such spaces for your toiletries, toothbrush and various personal items. Lucky for those of us living in such spaces, there are storage solutions. Here are some you can utilize to organize your bathroom:
 

Add Storage to a Small Bathroom

 

The Door

Over the door hooks, hanging bars and shoe organizers can all be used to arrange towels, toiletries, toilet paper, and other goods. There are many options to look for online and in retailers—one good place to check out is The Container Store.

 

Over the Toilet

The space above a toilet is hardly ever used and often goes to waste, which is why you should take advantage of it. Shelves, ladders and specifically designed over the toilet storage, such as this one from Pottery barn, could give you a place to store bathroom necessities.
 

Add Storage to a Small Bathroom

 

Walls

Bathroom walls can easily be turned into storage with shelves and cabinets. If there’s no good wall space to install wall storage, maybe consider the space above the door and use that space for items that you might not need on a day-to-day basis.
 

Add Storage to a Small Bathroom

 

The Shower

Shower caddies are amazing and could turn the space you use once a day into one that also holds necessities. Be it hanging or a corner one, you can use these handy organizers for your shampoo, conditioners, soaps and all your other bathing knick-knacks.

 

Floor Space

If you have some floor space to spare, you can bring in a small cart for toiletries, towels and reading material like magazines. You can also use the floor space for a basket or box to store toilet paper and towels in.
 

Add Storage to a Small Bathroom

Furniture Donation Organizations: A Guide

Furniture Donation Organizations: A Guide


If you’ve been storing old or extra furniture and are now looking to get rid of it, you might consider selling or donating your pieces. Donating could mean someone else in the New York area could benefit from an otherwise unused piece, and if sold the proceeds from the sales often go to a good cause. Here are five organizations that you can contact for furniture donation:

 

Housing Works Thrift Shops

If you have at least two or three pieces of furniture and they are in decent shape, Housing Works offers free furniture pickup. This New York based organization’s mission is to aid those affected by HIV/AIDS and homelessness. Use their online form to request a pickup.

 

ReStore

Habitat for Humanity builds affordable homes in an effort to address poverty. Habitat for Humanity ReStores are non-profit stores and donation centers that will take furniture, appliances, flooring, doors, automobiles and much more to sell to the public at a fraction of retail prices. Each donation category has its own criteria for being accepted—more information can be found on their website.
 

Furniture Donation Organizations: A Guide

 

The Salvation Army

This charitable organization has several locations dotted throughout the city. You can either stop by and drop off furniture (but call ahead to make sure the center near you will take your items) or schedule pickup via their website.

 

Goodwill Industries

Though this organization no longer offers free home furniture pickup, you can have your large items picked up for a fee or drop them off at one of their New York or New Jersey locations.  Call any of their locations in Manhattan, Queens or Brooklyn to find out what items they accept.
 

Furniture Donation Organizations: A Guide

 

City Opera Thrift Shop

Not only does City Opera Thrift Shop offer free pickup throughout the week but also if you’re in a hurry and need to drop off items with a rental car or a car service, they’ll reimburse you up to $12. Peruse their website for more info or contact this fundraising initiative to learn what items they accept and their terms. Proceeds from your donations help create costumes for the New York City opera.

 

Starting the New Year with a Clean Slate: A Purge Guide

Starting the New Year with a Clean Slate: A Purge Guide


We all set out goals at the beginning of a new calendar year. Some of us want to hit the gym more frequently, some want to be kinder to others, and others want to become more organized. For those of you who want to keep your apartment tidier, it’s critical, especially in New York homes, which are on the small side, to have less things. And the best way to achieve this is to purge unwanted items—hopefully at least once a year. Here are some tips to help you get and stay organized for the new year:

 

Unworn or Outdated Clothing

Yes, we all feel guilty for having bought that shirt at Century 21 last year and never wearing it. And yes, we keep it in the closet with the tags on hoping that one day we will take it off the hanger. But the truth is we won’t and the shirt will keep hanging there, taking up precious storage space. And more importantly, someone who needs the shirt can actually put it to good use. So if you have clothing that you’ve never worn, or haven’t worn in years, or is so outdated you’re waiting for fashion to do a 360, it’s time to purge.
 

Starting the New Year with a Clean Slate: A Purge Guide

 

Broken or Ruined Things

Be it a dish you love that now bears a crack, a book that fell into a tub or a pen whose ink has run out, items that are broken or damaged beyond repair should be recycled so they can become newer, better versions of themselves.

 

Letters, Bills, Cards

Any paperwork that is no longer useful can be shredded and recycled. This includes that electric bill you already paid, the three-year-old Ikea catalogue and the holiday card your dentist sent you.

 

Old Toys

If your children have grown out of certain toys, why keep them in storage bins? You’ll feel a lot better when you donate those playthings and some child who might need it will get to play with an otherwise unused toy.
 

Starting the New Year with a Clean Slate: A Purge Guide

 

Shoes

We’re all guilty of keeping old shoes. They become a part of us—molded to our feet, having walked many miles together. But if you’ve got a few pairs whose soles have thinned or that are no longer in style, it’s time to purge those babies.
 

Starting the New Year with a Clean Slate: A Purge Guide

 

Books

Written words are meant to be read, treasured and re-read. Some aren’t a good fit for you and will sit there on the shelf collecting dust. There’s probably someone out there who wants what you’re not interested in reading. Either donate or sell your books. You’re not going to get much for them, but at least you know they’re being appreciated.