How does using a storage unit help you have a stress-free holiday season?
People typically do not associate storage units and storage containers with having a smooth and simple holiday but let me explain how this might work to give you some peace of mind this year. Usually, when we think of holidays we think of guests, food, and the accompanying stress to meet the deadlines of having guests and making the food. We also worry that our home is too cluttered, not decorated “enough”, and if there are comfortable amenities for our visitors. It also means breaking out appliances (“Hey Hun, when you go over to the storage unit, grab the pizzelle maker!”), cookware, and bakeware that you don't normally use throughout the rest of the year.
A storage unit is a great place to put away seasonal decor and to give you a chance to evaluate how much of those decorations you are actually using each season. A small unit will help you stay honest and accountable for the amount of decorations that you are using and rotating throughout your home every year.
When I moved and downsized my home into an apartment I had to make some tough decisions about how many door wreaths I really needed, and how many linens I needed for each holiday. I like a good spooky ghost candle as much as the next gal, but having 5 in varying sizes might have been “too much”: too much to store, and too much to put out on my now limited surfaces. Often, we don't realize that we are putting the same decorative items back into the same storage bins and not decorating them with them “this year” because they just don't fit into our idea of what the house should look like “right now” or that for sentimental reasons are not ready to throw it away or donate it just yet (“that old faded garland wreath was my Aunt’s I just feel so guilty getting rid of it…”).
Here are some tips to keep your holiday storage unit easily organized and actually fun to visit for you (or whoever you are sending over):
Buy clear bins (at least 18 gallon-size), and labeling the sides and tops with white labels, and black or dark ink colored words is key.
Shelving units with wheels are best, so that you can sweep and clean from time to time, or retrieve a small item that has fallen behind the shelves.
Divide your unit by season, and keep it that way. For example, Easter is always to the left, Christmas is always on the back and right walls, etc.
Always leave room to maneuver, and to walk in and out of your unit. This way you won’t have to pull everything out to get to something else each time you come. If you truly have no ability to do this, then put EVERYTHING you store on rolling shelves, so that it is easy to pull each category or theme out.
Create an inventory on your computer of everything in the unit. Yep, everything. You can use a free home inventory software we absolutely love, called FairSplit to make this happen. It has options to include where the item is located (i.e. home, storage unit 2, etc.)
Before storing and transporting your small appliances, seasonal bakeware, and cookware, wrap them in packing paper so that they don't get damaged in transit.
Jill Yesko, CPO, CPPO
Discover Organizing Inc.