Keeping Holiday Gifts a Surprise: 7 Secret Storage Tips

A man wrapping a sweater folded inside a box surrounded by many wrapped presents.

Well, it’s official. The hustle and bustle of the holiday season is here. If you’ve already completed—or at least begun—your holiday shopping, you can count yourself ahead of the curve. A survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers by Market Track found that as many as 49% hoped to complete their shopping by Thanksgiving. No matter if you’re an early bird or a procrastinator, though, once you’ve purchased all of those gifts, you’ve got to find somewhere to hide them.

As the number of family members in the home goes up, so does the chance that a sneaking son, curious daughter, or mischievous sweetheart will stumble upon—or outright search and discover—your stash of holiday gifts. So this year, take matters into your own hands and don’t leave anything up to chance. Start scoping out the best hiding places for Christmas presents right now. Here are a few tips to get you started.

A woman takes a coffee break from online gift shopping surrounded by wrapped presents.

Where to Hide Presents (and Where Not to Hide Them)

Where do parents hide Christmas presents, you might ask yourself. We can all only guess where our own parents hid the holiday gifts back in the day. Every home is different, boasting its own set of super-secret hiding places to keep presents out of the view of wandering eyes and inquiring minds. Here are some tips on and good places to hide things.

The Attic – If you have an attic, count your blessings. Not only do you have a blissful amount of built-in storage, you have an instant place to hide your family’s holiday presents. You have a very obvious instant place to hide their presents, that is. Of course, if your children and spouse are not of the snooping variety, the attic can still be a very good present hiding place.

Suitcases & Containers – Consider taking things a step further and hiding presents inside of seemingly innocent containers. A suitcase can serve as a brilliant gift hiding spot, as can oversized duffle bags, original boxes from small kitchen appliances, and other creative containers.
Many wrapped Christmas gifts hidden inside a suitcase.

The Closet – What child hasn’t dreamed of opening the closet and seeing all of his or her Christmas presents beautifully wrapped and neatly stacked on the top shelf? Let’s be real for a moment, you are probably not hiding anything in a closet unless you get a little more creative… Consider investing in a few plastic, canvas, or cardboard boxes that you can use to organize smaller gifts and stocking stuffers, keeping them cleverly concealed from their recipients.

The Garage – With all of the things already stowed away in your garage, will your family even notice a few more boxes? Probably not. Consider picking up a few moving boxes and filling them with wrapped presents, taping them up and setting them off to the side to blend in with the rest of your outdoor tools and accessories.

Under the Bed – Time to declutter the space under your bed so you can hide the presents. Once you’ve wrapped and carefully stashed the gifts under your bed, be sure to line up your shoes or shoeboxes around the edges to hide your handiwork.

Personal Storage Unit – If you still want to know how to hide Christmas presents that are 100% safe from sneaking, look into the ultimate seasonal storage option—a personal storage unit. Wrap everything up and sort the presents into big moving boxes labeled by name. Drive your gifts over to your storage unit as often as needed to keep them safely out of view and out of reach from your entire family. Your holiday gifts will remain completely safe and your home can look perfectly uncluttered for the holidays.

Start thinking about where to hide Christmas presents before you even finish your shopping. Leaving a pile of shopping bags or a stack of delivery boxes anywhere in your home is just asking for trouble. Even a few large Christmas boxes with lids can take on the guise of storage for ornaments and decorations, leaving your family’s presents cleverly out of view.

A man and woman walk through the mall with their holiday purchases.

How to Disguise Presents

Knowing how to disguise a present is another trick that will take you far. Some gifts have such a unique shape that wrapping them in their current state will clearly give it away. Instead, take advantage of shaped holiday boxes or use cylinders, cones, or even balloons and other household items to help change the shape of the gift for a trickier look. You can wrap gifts to look like a little holiday house, an animal, or the ever-popular nested boxes gag.

At this point you should be all set to test your prowess on how to hide a gift. Now close out this article, clear it from your history, and say a little prayer that your family members don’t go about searching “how to snoop for Christmas presents!”

14 DIY Pantry Organization Ideas

Modern kitchen featuring stainless steel appliances and a walk-in pantry

Contemporary kitchen with a walk-in pantry.

Ah, the pantry. That secret room that holds all your overflow food and cooking ingredients… the one where food continually reaches its expiration date before you are able to use it, and you have to fight with cans, cartons, bags, and boxes to get the latest shopping trip’s items inside. The one where sometimes you’re afraid to open the door… Yes, that one.

Why is it that a pantry is so tricky to organize and keep neat? Is it because we are always in a rush to get to the next task on our to-do list rather than organizing and giving careful attention to the supplies at hand? Well, the good news is that a little careful planning and a few pantry organization ideas can go a long way to a neater food storage system in the long run. Consider these suggestions to help you make the most of your pantry space.

A kitchen pantry shelf with jars of dry beans, pasta and flour.

Store your dry ingredients in jars for easy access when cooking.

Small Pantry Organization Ideas

The small pantry leaves a lot to be desired in terms of practical organization. The good news is that you can easily maximize on the small space with a few creative organizing tips for the pantry.

  1. Place baskets on shelves. You can place the baskets directly on the shelves or make use of hanging baskets that attach to the shelf above and hang down. Opt for wire baskets that allow you to see exactly what’s inside at a glance.
  2. Organize the baskets by each food type. Label different pantry organization categories for each basket, keeping together like foods, such as baking ingredients, pasta and sauce, dressings and condiments, candy and treats, and so forth. (This helps you to know whether you really need to buy that box of macaroni and cheese that’s on sale or if you already have five at home.)
  3. Consider adding storage shelving to the pantry door. If you have a door that swings open, you can install a set of door shelves so your pantry door offers a similarly convenient storage setup as your fridge door.
  4. Create a snack basket for your kids. Place it at child level with a selection of granola bars, crackers, and other munchies your kids will grab for when they’re hungry. Bonus! They’ll be more independent, able to help themselves to snacks as needed.
  5. Group together smaller items like spices and seasoning packets. Place these items inside plastic containers with lids, labeling the outside and keeping them from scattering all over your pantry. Stack plastic containers as necessary.
  6. Use a small wastebasket as a convenient holder for wraps and foils. Forget having that roll of aluminum foil falling on your head as you wrestle out a box of cereal from your top shelf. Instead, place all the food storage wraps upright into a small wastebasket much like you would store gift wrap.
  7. Always put your items in the same part of the pantry. This will be a huge win in terms of keeping from overbuying or forgetting what you already have.
A wire pantry basket containing a bunch of yellow onions.

Store onions and potatoes in wire baskets.

Walk-in Pantry Organization

The contemporary kitchen pantry may no longer be an undersized, hidden closet with little room for creativity. If you are fortunate enough to have a remarkably enviable walk-in pantry in your home, count yourself lucky. Walk-in pantry organization may not even be an issue for you, depending on the size of your space and the size of your family. Still, here are a few tips for organizing a larger pantry.

  1. Go wild with built-ins. If your home boasts a large pantry, consider building it out with special shelving and cubbies to keep your food ultra organized.
  2. Aim for floor-to-ceiling storage. Take advantage of the space you have by stretching your storage possibilities from the tippy top to the very bottom.
  3. Ditch the packaging. Bottle up your ingredients in mason jars or airtight containers for quick and easy access when cooking. Affix a round yard sale sticker to the bottom with the expiration date or apply a label with any cooking instructions as necessary.
  4. Use a Lazy Susan in the corner spaces. The spinning action makes it easier to reach each item and make use of the available space.
  5. Place your lesser used items in the harder-to-reach spaces. Keep the items you use on a regular basis where you can easily reach them.
  6. Store potatoes and onions in wire baskets. Toss the plastic bags or netting and leave your onions and potatoes where you can grab them at a moment’s notice.
  7. Store small kitchen appliances in large spaces. If possible, store your large kitchen accessories like your trusty food processor, your fair-weather crock pot, and your massive juicer beneath the bottom shelf in the walk-in pantry. This keeps them easily accessible without cluttering up your kitchen.
View of a person using a smart phone shopping list app to make a list for replenishing the pantry.

Take note of what you need to buy at the store using a smart phone shopping list app.

Remember, organization is a big piece of the battle, but sometimes changing process can go a long way to improvement. Take note of what you still need as you organize your pantry and start using a magnetic memo pad or an app on your smartphone to keep a running list of what you actually need to buy at the grocery store. Resist the urge to buy something just because it’s on sale unless you fully believe you need it or will use it in the near future.

Do you have any helpful pantry organization tips? Be sure to share them in our comments below. We hope these tips bring neatness to your pantry and ease to your cooking adventures!

18 Tips For a Safe and Fun Halloween

Three young children dressed in spooky Halloween costumes and face makeup.

Most of the time kids are inside by nightfall. The end of this month offers a fun change of pace for everyone. All Hallows’ Eve is upon us, and kids are scrambling to put the finishing touches on their Halloween costumes while parents are putting plans in place for the annual Halloween trek across the neighborhood. Staying safe on Halloween seems to be a no-brainer, but a few Halloween safety tips can go a long way to ensuring everyone has a fun and safe holiday. Here are a few safety tips for Halloween, from trick-or-treating to candy eating and everything in between.

Halloween decorated gingerbread, cookies and baked treats.

Halloween Costume Safety

Is this the year of the DIY costume or will you be buying one from the store for your kids? Consider these costume safety tips:

  1. Remember to safeguard against choking and strangulation hazards on costumes, particularly for babies and young children. Avoid putting anything around the neck or leaving loose strings and ties dangling.
  2. Keep Halloween fire safety in mind. Use caution around open fires and flames of any kind, especially jack-o-lanterns and paper lanterns along your walk.
  3. Choose sturdy and comfortable footwear over anything likely to cause a stumble.
  4. Consider the length of your child’s costume to prevent trip-or-treating.
  5. Consider face paint and makeup over masks for better visibility.
  6. Delight each child in the group with a glow stick necklace or bracelet as the finishing touch to the costume. This makes it even easier to keep track of little ones in the dark!

Young boy dressed as a skeleton taking candy at a woman's door for Halloween trick-or-treating.

Trick-or-Treating Safety

Keep these Halloween safety tips in mind during trick-or-treating time.

  1. Keep young kids close on Halloween night, holding hands when possible.
  2. Always keep babies in your arms, in a carrier, a wagon, or a stroller for an added layer of safety. Avoid letting people you don’t know hold your baby.
  3. Stay on well-lit streets, sidewalks, and paths. Discourage walking across the grass when possible.
  4. Remind your children not to go inside the homes of people you don’t know.
  5. Teach your kids to look both ways—left, right, left—before crossing the street. Also teach them to make eye contact with drivers before ever walking in front of a car.
  6. Consider going up one side of the street and down the other instead of zigzagging back and forth.
  7. Walk with your children or hang back a bit at the curb.
  8. Older children may prefer to trick-or-treat without you. If this is the case, consider following along slowly in your car so you can still keep track of their location and safety.
  9. Make Halloween candy safety a priority! Remind your children that you need to check their candy before they can eat it. Always look for open wrappers or anything that shows possible signs of tampering.
  10. If you find any Halloween candy that appears unsafe, remove it from your child’s stash and contact authorities so they can investigate and alert the public if necessary.
  11. Remember to drive slowly and carefully as you follow your kids or move to the next trick-or-treating spot. Many small children and some dogs may even be out for the trick-or-treating fun and they can both dart out unpredictably.
  12. One last reminder for parents – take as many photos as you like, but avoid getting lost inside your cell phone while out and about.

When Halloween is over, don’t forget to pack up your costumes, trick-or-treat baskets, and decorations and stow the boxes in your attic or personal storage unit until next time!

Felt fabric, scissors and thread laid out to make a cutout Halloween pumpkin craft.

Bonus! More Fun Halloween Activities

Keep the Halloween fun going all week long! Even if trick-or-treating isn’t your thing, here are several other fun Halloween ideas you can consider.

  1. Go on a Halloween date. Get a babysitter and go out for a thrill at a haunted house tour or other spooky Halloween attractions in your area. You can even opt for dinner and a (spooky) movie!
  2. Do Halloween crafts with the kids. Make a jack-o-lantern or paint a pumpkin. You can find plenty of Halloween craft inspiration online to keep your little ones busy all week long.
  3. Make a few delicious and festive Halloween recipes. Roast up those pumpkin seeds you scooped out of your jack-o-lantern and mix up some fancy Halloween trail mix. Make spooky cookies and plenty of other fun and delicious Halloween goodies.
  4. Watch Halloween movies and television specials as a family. Make a yummy snack and watch the classics like “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” These are memories in the making!

What are your favorite Halloween traditions? Be sure to share them in our comments below, and happy haunting!

26 Sneaky Storage Solutions for the Home

Family room library with secret door built into the bookshelf.

Photo via homestoriesatoz.com

In reality, some homes are blessed with spacious storage options—walk-in closets, attics, bountiful pantries—and others are not. The lack of storage space may only seem a small nuisance at first, but eventually starts to take its toll with clutter manifesting when items no longer fit where they should. When household items and possessions don’t have a set storage location, it’s much more likely that they’ll become lost, broken, or damaged over time. Rather than sit back and watch as your home clutters up around you, take charge, change processes, and keep your home tidy on your own terms.

Here are some of the Price Self Storage team’s favorite sneaky storage tips to keep your home in tip-top shape.

A kitchen cupboard with wooden magazine rack installed to hold cutting boards on the inside of the door.

Photo via lifehacker.com

Kitchen Storage Tricks

Ah, the kitchen. With so many great gadgets, utensils, small cooking appliances, and food, it’s tricky to get everything organized the way you want it. Even when you do, inevitably, you’ll need to organize all over again three to six months later. Unless you fix the process, inspiring better results. Here are some ideas on how:

• Repurpose a magazine rack as ideal cabinet storage for your cutting boards.
• Take a similar approach by tucking away plastic wrap and aluminum foil.
• Keep pesky lids from pots and pans at bay inside a drawer outfitted with a tension rod.
• Make better use of the inside door of your kitchen cabinets with chalkboard paint and tiny hooks.
• Build a canned food slide-out cabinet organizer.
• Stop wishing you had more kitchen storage space and make some with under-cabinet drawers.

Small dresser drawers painted and fitted with small wheels for DIY under the bed storage boxes.

Photo via lowes.com/creative-ideas

Bedroom Organization Basics

Whether it’s a pile of clean clothes that no longer fit in your drawers or messy shoes all over the place, a little discipline and a few sneaky storage tricks can help tidy up your room.

• Rethink the way you store your t-shirts and tank tops.
• Consider adding floating corner shelves for decorative storage possibilities.
Organize shoes with the simple addition of tension rods to your closet.
• Give your jewelry a secret-chic place to live.
• Change a bookshelf into a sophisticated storage bench.
• Create a reading nook for the baby’s bedroom.
• Upcycle old drawers into under-bed storage.
• Really get real about under-the-bed storage.

A magnetic strip affixed to the inside of a medicine cabinet door with tweezers, clippers, and other tools neatly stored.

Photo by Diply via improvenet.com

Bathroom Space Savers

When it comes to all of that makeup, medicine, and bath and body stuff, there’s got to be a better way! Consider these tips on bathroom storage and space savers to keep it clutter-free.

• Add a magnetic strip to your medicine cabinet so you’re never left looking for tweezers or nail clippers again.
• Use magnetic containers for super-smart storage.
• Install a wall cabinet over the potty.
• Create a mirror storage case for twice the benefits.
• Install petite wall shelves for must-have beauty products.
• Add over-the-door shelving for the sneakiest storage of all.

A skinny table set behind a sofa with photos and decor to save space.

Photo via alwaysneverdone.com

Other Storage Tips for the Home

You can find smarter storage solutions for just about any place in the house. Even smaller homes and apartments can benefit from sneaky storage tips, perhaps even more so. Keep these ideas in mind to help you tackle tidiness in any setting. Here are a few other helpful tips we loved.

• Create storage spaces where once there was none, like under the landing of your steps.
• A slender sofa table adds a subtle strip of usable space.
• Take gift wrap storage to the max by stowing it all nicely and neatly in a set of plastic drawers.
• Add stairwell storage for another sneaky option.
• Don’t forget your pets—set up a cabinet to keep all the food, treats and medicine organized.
• Who doesn’t want cool storage reminiscent of a secret passageway in their home?

We hope you like these sneaky storage tips! Feel free to share your own organization hacks in our comments below.

6 RV Storage Tips for Protecting and Storing Your Recreational Vehicles

A car pulling a camper trailer into the sunset.

Recreational vehicles like motorhomes, travel trailers, and campers set you free to experience vacation in a whole new way. The open road is like a blank page before you, just waiting for you to sketch out your family’s adventures. But when you’re not traveling, neither is your RV, and in most neighborhoods, there simply isn’t enough driveway space to park your vehicle until your next road trip. Some communities even have strict regulations against parking oversized vehicles in the street or in your driveway.

Rather than parking your vehicle where you shouldn’t, or in the grass next to your house, or in some other inconvenient location, consider a pair of creative alternatives. Outdoor RV storage gives you another RV parking option besides storing your camper, trailer, or motorhome on your own property. A secure RV lot should offer 24-hour monitored video security as well as a computerized gate access system to ensure only customers parking their vehicles gain access to the storage area. Just as conveinient but with even more benefits, indoor RV storage in California offers you a safe and secure place to park your RV with a roof overhead, keeping your vehicle in “garage-kept” condition.

A family on vacation inside their RV driving.

Vehicle self storage provides quite a few benefits, including:

• Convenient offsite storage, keeping your property clutter-free
• Locked and monitored security against theft and vandalism
• Protection from the elements, particularly rain, which can cause rust
• Protection against bird droppings, rodents, and other critters
• Locations accessible to major highways for your next road trip

Large motor home parked in the outdoors.

Here are a few RV storage tips to ensure your recreational vehicle is protected and stored properly:

  1. Know your RV’s dimensions. If you are seeking trailer storage, camper storage, or a place to park your motorhome, make sure you know the vehicle’s measurements so you can reserve the right spot.

  2. Ask about specialty offerings at the RV storage location. You may wish to park in an end spot or a pull-through spot, or you may have another special request. Simply inquire with the main office before your reserve your storage space to make sure your needs can be accommodated.

  3. Look into all the available security features. Before choosing your RV storage facility, make sure the RV parking lot or storage center offers video surveillance, locked and gated access, and passcode requirements.

  4. Avoid storing anything of value in your RV. Even with the added layers of security, it is still prudent to keep important documents and valuables in a safe or other protected location at your residence.

  5. Choose a month-to-month lease if you like to be spontaneous. You never know when your next road trip opportunity may appear! Give yourself an easier time with planning and logistics by selecting RV storage with a flexible monthly lease period. You can also reserve long term vehicle storage if any new vacations are currently off the table.

  6. Protect all of your recreational investments. If you find that you need a safe place for your other toys, consider indoor boat storage or a motorcycle storage unit for safety and convenience.

Keep your RV safe, clean, and ready to roll out for your next adventure by choosing a secure RV storage facility. For more information on vehicle storage, be sure to check out our state-of-the-art secure RV storage location and options.

8 Tips to Soothe Storage Concerns for a Growing Family

Happy family and their Labrador Retriever dog in the foreground.

Hand-me-down furniture and boxes of items amassed over the years unfold into the landscape of a couple’s first house together. Once moved in, you buy the rest of the furnishings you need, along with things reflecting your personal flavor in décor, and maybe even welcome a pet to make your house a home. As holidays and birthdays come and go, the possessions in the home continue to grow. And once a baby is on the way, your possessions seem to double in a mere matter of months.

From nursery furniture to baby clothes, a baby seat, highchair, swing, and countless baby-entertaining contraptions, plus countless other baby items, the initial storage concerns are set in motion. Add another child or two to the mix, and needing to move to a new house—or at the very least, buy a new car—becomes a very real possibility for many families.

A little girl holds her toys in a bin.

The good news is that some smart organization tips can help assuage storage concerns for a growing family. The sooner you tackle your family home storage projects, the sooner you’ll feel more comfortably at home in your own house. Here are eight family storage tips to get clutter under control for more organized living spaces.

  1. Make use of a toy box or a few attractive baskets. Store like toys in a basket for quick and easy cleanup. As one example, you can place all the baby toys in a canvas basket so they are always accessible for your little one, but also a snap to pick up when your son or daughter is ready for bedtime.

  2. Place baskets under end tables to store books. Keeping books in reach of little hands at all times can inspire kids to learn to love reading. Keeping a basket nested under an end table or other piece of furniture makes extra-smart use of the table’s footprint.

  3. Try the five-minute scramble. When you don’t have time to deep-clean your whole home, go from room to room and set a timer for five minutes. Quickly pick up, put away, straighten, and organize as much as you can before the timer goes off, and then move on to the next room. Have baskets and a toy box or two at the ready to make your cleanup process even quicker. Bonus points if you can get your kids to help you!

  4. Round and square wicker baskets for organizing in the home.

  5. Place attractive baskets on your steps for easier cleanup. Label the baskets, one for each person’s bedroom. As you clean the downstairs, fill the baskets with items that belong in those respective rooms. Then, once per day, take the baskets upstairs when you are already on your way up and put all the items away in the appropriate rooms. This technique works especially well when your family members don’t always pick up after themselves. You can easily train young kids to use the baskets on a daily basis with a little positive reinforcement.

  6. Look into organizer systems. Whether you plan to slide them under the bed, hang them in the closet, or place them in drawers, organizer units can make life a lot neater. Smarter storage options can often get to the root of clutter, preventing it from becoming a recurring problem.

  7. Give children responsibility from a young age. Even toddlers can learn to put their dirty clothes in a hamper or to help pick up their toys. Preschoolers can take on even more responsibilities, and the chore list grows as children get older. Teach your little ones what is expected of them and it can make your home less of a hassle to keep clean. Once everyone learns to put their own things away, any true storage concerns become easier to address.

  8. A closet organizing system with shelves and hangers.

  9. Take inventory of your possessions and find things to purge. Donate, give away, or sell those items that you don’t mind letting go. For things you want to keep but don’t need on a regular basis, put them away in your attic or look into self storage units for safe-keeping convenience. Storage units make it especially easy to clear up any home’s clutter problems without facing difficult decisions about what do to with your possessions.

  10. Move infant items to a storage unit in between babies. Pack up all of the baby necessities and box up all of the baby clothes with clear labels defining sizes or other key details. Save all of these nursery items, toys, and baby belongings for the next little one without stressing over where to put everything.

In some parts of the world, Family Day is September 26. Mark your calendar so you remember to spend some extra special time with your brood. In the meantime, try to tackle as many of your family home storage issues as possible so you can enjoy the day free of stress.

The Closet Cleanse: 5 Tips for Organizing Your Seasonal Clothing

Young woman looking confused pondering clothes in her closet.

Autumn is upon us, which, for many people, means it’s time for boots and booties with dresses and skirts, tunics and leggings, beloved football jerseys, and dozens of other fall fashion favorites. Even if the weather doesn’t get cold enough to warrant completely cleaning out your closet, you may still want to switch clothing colors or styles when the seasons change.

Of course, clearing out your closet and drawers does have its perks. Just organizing clothes you wear all the time and making extra room by putting away those you don’t can make a big difference in your day. Keep tabs on all of your outfits and accessories by boxing up anything that is no longer seasonally appropriate and saving it for next year. Getting your closet and drawers organized makes it quicker and easier to get dressed for any occasion at a moment’s notice.

Young woman taking clothes from closet, packing into boxes.

How to Organize Clothes

Soon it may be time to say goodbye to some of our summer clothes until next year or vacation, whichever comes first. It’s just about time to break out the fall fashions, and winter style is only a few months away. Consider these clothes storage ideas to help keep your wardrobe polished and fitting for the season.

  1. Go through all of your clothes and assess. All of them. Decide if some no longer fit or have fallen off-trend. Those would be good bets to donate or give away. Even the clothes that you love—like the outfit that you met your spouse in or the one you got engaged in—but still don’t wear—may be clothes to let go. Make peace with how good these clothes were to you and either thank them for their faithful service before donating them, or set them aside for storage and sentimental safekeeping.

  2. Organize each storage area with like clothing. If you have the space, consider a closet organizer to make all of your favorite clothes easily reachable. Under-the-bed storage can be great for folded clothing as well as shoes or other accessories. Keep your tees together in the dresser with tanks and other similar clothes.

  3. Set out your week’s outfits on a garment rack.If you have the space to display it, a decorative garment rack can be a lovely way to organize your clothes. Knowing what you plan to wear ahead of time also cuts down on the frantic flurry of outfits in the morning when absolutely nothing you own seems to be the right choice for the occasion.

  4. Invest in a few clothes storage containers. Pack your can’t-part-with pile in one clothes storage box and fill the others with seasonal clothing that you plan to wear again next year. Label each box clearly as to what is inside, even if the boxes are transparent.

  5. Consider offsite storage to keep your house neater. Even if you have an attic or a garage with rafters, storage space fills up quickly. A personal storage unit affords ample space to safely stow your possessions until you need them next. Clothing tends to clutter up the house rather quickly when dressers and closets get full, making it more difficult to put away clean clothes and trickier to put together outfits. Move your seasonal clothing into storage for a stress-free experience. When you want to change clothes, your boxes for the next season are just a short drive away.

The changing seasons inspire fun and attractive fashion changes as well as new activities and adventures. Even if you still wear some off-season clothing from time to time, it just makes sense to keep the current season’s must-haves most accessible. Tackle the clothing clutter now for a fun and carefree season ahead!

A modern his and hers walk-in closet complete with shoe racks.

7 Things to Do Before the End of Summer

Looking down at a young couple's bare feet standing in the sand at the edge of the ocean.

Is that the new school year already in sight? How is it possible that the summer is winding down so quickly? It’s hard to believe in two short weeks it will already be September. The change of the seasons certainly isn’t taking its time this year. So with the end of the summer upon us, it’s time to enjoy the last of the longest days of the year in the best way we know how… packing in as much fun and productivity as possible!

Here is an end of summer to do list featuring some must-do day trips and activities as well as a few around-the-house projects that really should be out of the way by the time autumn arrives.

Three kids laying on the grass with their dog enjoying the last days of summer.

1. Take Your Little Ones (or Your Love) on a Picnic.

Throwing together a picnic lunch can be as simple as leftovers and fruit or sandwiches and a bag of chips. Grab a blanket, toss everything in a basket, and head off to your favorite serene spot for a relaxing and soothing meal amid nature.

2. Plan a Day Trip.

With the last few weekends about to pass in the blink of an eye, try to schedule your final shore trip or daytime excursion before you miss your chance. Whether your family prefers an amusement park or you and your friends want to hit the wine trail, the last days of summer can be the perfect time to really soak up some fun and relaxation.

3. Enjoy an Outdoor Adventure.

Be it rafting, hiking, biking, or exploring in some other fashion, take some time to breathe in the fresh air and really enjoy it. Find a new place you’ve never been and snap some pictures to capture the memories.

Three young women riding their bikes along the shore.

4. Clean and Organize Your Garage and/or Shed.

When summer is over, you’ll be faced with new activities and plenty of chores for the fall season. In the meantime, split your time between fun things to do in the summer, and a couple of chores to help you get ahead of schedule. As much as you’d probably prefer to party all the time, try to save a few hours here and there for the housework that’s been piling up. Take some time to inventory your tools and supplies in the garage or shed. Set aside anything you’d like to get rid of and try to organize the rest with shelving, wall hooks, or boards on the rafters above to give you even more space. You may find some things you forgot you even had!

5. Assess Your House for Needed Repairs and Upgrades

The end of the summer could be just the right time to clean out your gutters, schedule a roof repair, replace windows, or tackle a host of other projects. Make a list of your home projects and gradually start checking them off one by one. Take some time to go through your spare rooms and clear out any clutter that’s accumulated. If you don’t have enough space at home, you can box up your items and store them safely in a personal storage unit. By the time the holidays arrive, your clutter will be gone, your house will be fixed, and you’ll be all ready for guests.

A group of young people and a curious dog enjoy barbecue food and drinks in the backyard.

6. Host a Barbecue.

Before the summer draws to a close, hosting a barbecue is one of the things most people think of doing. Even though you can grill any time of year, there’s just something special about those summer barbecues and the fun they inspire. Tip: Ask your friends to bring a side dish, appetizer, or dessert for a more eclectic menu.

7. Relax at a Bonfire.

Perhaps one of the most memorable and exciting end of summer activities to enjoy with friends and family, a bonfire can be the perfect way to end the summer. Gather your favorite people, grab your favorite food and drinks, and hold on tight to the last lingering moments of the season.

If you can’t fit in all of the exciting items on your wish list, don’t fret. Most fun summer activities can still be enjoyed into the fall season as well, and sometimes beyond. Make your end of summer to do list now so you can get your plans on the calendar. Encourage your family and friends to do some last-minute summer activities as well, making the most of the long daylight hours and the lighter schedules.

Send Them Off to College: Helping Your Student Prepare and Pack

Young student makes the leap from high school to college superimposed in front of a school blackboard.

Going off to college is one of the most exciting and memorable experiences of a young adult’s life. This long-awaited goal of saving and studying for the past 18-ish years finally comes to fruition. College orientation arrives with bated breath as students get a brief glimpse into what life will be like without Mom and Dad right there in the room next door. Soon after orientation, coeds will embark on their own journey living as adults.

How to Prepare for College

The college planning process begins way before move-in weekend. To get your son or daughter started off on the right foot, create a college packing list as well as a moving checklist. Sure, your student is going to need plenty of clothes, a computer, school supplies, a microwave, mini fridge, and other college necessities, but college shopping won’t be the only item on your to-do list.

Young woman and her parents carrying her things as she heads off to college

Consider these vital college prep steps:

  • Verify that any financial aid is approved and locked in place. Complete any other steps to ensure tuition bills are covered.
  • Encourage your child to work and save up some spending money. College comes with known expenses, but also plenty of impromptu ones, like ski trips and 10 o’clock pizza orders. Encourage your student to work here and there over the summer to save a few bucks for these occasions.
  • Encourage your child to connect with his or her roommate. Breaking the ice before a face-to-face meeting can make things more comfortable for both students. Consider video chat, an in-person meeting, or even emails and texting.
  • Research moving companies and packing services. Depending on the university’s location, you may wish to rent a moving van or hire movers to do the job.
  • Purchase or obtain boxes, bubble wrap, and other packing supplies. Label the boxes clearly and wrap anything that’s breakable.
  • Register for classes and double-check that everything is set in stone. Also buy required text books and other required supplies before classes start. Look online for used editions to save some money if desired.
  • Look into job opportunities with your current connections. If your child works at a retail store or chain/franchise business, look for local affiliates near the college campus.
  • Decide whether or not your college kid will be taking a car to school. Ensure the car is up-to-date on maintenance and service, inspections, and registration. Work out the particulars on securing a parking pass and following any campus parking requirements.
  • Open a bank account at a branch within walking distance of campus. Order checks and a debit card to help your son or daughter manage money properly.
  • Fill any prescriptions (inhalers, etc.) and purchase any needed health and dental items. Having these on hand before moving time can dramatically reduce stress.
  • Make a dorm room checklist and start shopping. You can find plenty of online guides listing what to bring to college. Don’t forget an Ethernet cable! Get started with the shopping process early so you can find—and pack—everything your student needs ahead of time.

Two young women heading to college as roommates.

Other Tips for First-Time College Students

Whether excited, nervous, or a bit of both, your student can benefit from a little extra reassurance before the drop-off date. Take the family out to lunch or dinner and make a big point to offer heartfelt encouragement and a reminder that you are only a phone call away. Keep the lines of communication as open as possible so your child feels confident and supported.

Young man in his college dorm doing homework.

Planning a family campus visit before move-in weekend can be helpful so you can scope out the area, discovering where the grocery stores, restaurants, and other hotspots are located. Help your child fill out and drop off job applications if desired or ask around about campus employment opportunities to allow for a little spending money.

After you encourage studying and good behavior, be sure to remind your freshman to enjoy his or her first year in college as it will go by very fast. Before you know it, you’ll be talking about what to do with all those college necessities over summer break!

Tips on Clearing out the Clutter before Finishing Your Home Addition

Home improvement sketch visualized

Adding a new living space to your home can be a pretty big decision. First you must decide if the home improvement you’re looking at involves a patio, porch, sunroom, second story addition, or an extra room somewhere else. You’ll also have to consider your budget and what furnishings you’ll need to complete the room—some you might already have and others you’ll need to purchase. Finally, you will need to prepare your home for the renovation process, which can take quite some time, particularly depending on the extent of your project.

Some thoughtful planning can help to keep your renovation project on track. Here are a few tips to get you started:

Clear Away the Clutter First

Before the remodeling crew even sets foot in your home, tackle any cluttered areas to set yourself up for a more successful upgrade. Being as organized as possible from the start makes it easier to get your house back into shape once the construction is complete. Box up and label anything you specifically want to save for the new space. Decide what else you’d like to keep, toss, donate, and sell, and get started on the purging process. Getting rid of older items makes room for new items—and shopping for new furniture and décor is half the fun of creating a home addition!

Keep Your Floor Plan in Mind

As you await your home addition, take some time to consider your current belongings and home furnishings. Determine which ones will be a good fit for the new space and which you’d like to unload before the new area is complete. Draw floor plans so you can see what layout works best for your family’s needs.

Take inventory of what you have and cross-reference it with what you’d like to have in that sunroom, patio, or extra room. Perhaps you would prefer some brand new furnishings to accentuate the exciting new setting. Maybe you have a few heirloom style pieces you simply can’t let go. Whatever the case, give some careful thought to how you will design and decorate the room, what furniture you need, and how you’d like to tie it all together, whether by color, theme, or mood.

A couple looking at floor plans in their new home

Protect Your Possessions

A custom home addition often creates dust and debris that can go airborne, raising the risk of dirtying or damaging your adjacent furniture and belongings. Depending on the layout of the area being expanded, your house may or may not be protected by compression-fit temporary walls or other dust barrier systems designed to minimize the mess.

When possible, you should move important possessions and keepsakes out of the home to keep them safe during the renovation process. If you don’t have an attic, shed, or other separate area to store your things, consider renting a personal storage unit. Remote storage keeps your things clean and protected from breakage for the duration of the renovations or until you have a chance to redecorate your home.

Expect the Chaos

Remember that construction and remodeling can turn your home upside-down in a big way. You’ll have people working in your house for quite some time, not to mention the dust, the mess, and the need to avoid certain spaces where work is being done. You may find that everyday items get lost more easily in the shuffle and everyday tasks become more of a hassle. You’ll be glad when the home addition project is finished and you can relax in your new space, but until then, you’ll have to make do. The less you have to worry about, the better off you will be. So get started on organizing and decluttering now so you can just enjoy your new home addition once it’s finally complete.