Changing it Up: Inexpensive Ways to Freshen Your Decor

decorAs we put away the Christmas decorations and face the New Year, it can be a great time to look around and think about how we want our living spaces to look. Are you one of those people who likes to change up the look of your home on a regular basis? Do you go for beach cottage in the summer and cozy ski lodge in the winter? It’s fun and surprisingly easy to do, and doesn’t require moving a lot of furniture (unless you like that sort of thing.) This article on Apartment Therapy talks about how little changes can make a big difference in updating the look of your living room, and this page at Better Homes & Gardens has links to dozens of seasonal decorating craft projects and ideas. Here are some of the best inexpensive ways to freshen your décor: Continue reading

5 Tips on Getting Ready for Holiday Guests

holidaySeeing beloved friends and family who have come from out of town is one of the very best things about the holidays. Hosting them in your home can be one of the most stressful. But it is definitely worth it. Cousins playing with cousins, sisters and brothers, grandma and grandpa, catching up and remembering the love. Lots of laughter, favorite traditions, and good food. The memories you make will last a lifetime, and some day your children will want to be gracious hosts just like their mom and dad were. So here are some tips for surviving and thriving with house guests during the holidays.

  1. A comfortable place to sleep. This doesn’t have to be an elegantly appointed, en suite guest room with a high-end memory foam mattress. (I mean, you do want them to leave eventually, right?) It can be an inflatable mattress on the floor. The way to make that a restful option for your guests is to go big on the pillows and blankets. Buy some new pillows and give them a choice of warm, cozy blankets, and of course, make sure the sheets and pillow cases are impeccably clean.
  2. Space for their stuff. Again, you may not be able to give them their own walk-in closet, or even their own room, but clearing a space and furnishing it with a place to put their suitcase, and even a small table and/or chair will help them feel more at home. You might also find space in a closet or room where they can put some of their belongings completely out of sight, which will protect their privacy and help them feel less in the way.
  3. Extra towels. Giving them their own private stash of towels, washcloths, and mini toiletries (the basics, toothpaste and shampoo, just in case they forgot) will make them feel extra welcome
  4. Show them where the snacks are. Travelling can lead to late nights, missed meals and limited food choices — make sure your guests have access to bottled water, show them how to use the coffee maker, put some chilled beers in the fridge, and maybe even leave some individually wrapped snacks and candy in a basket near their sleeping area. They will love you for it.
  5. Techie conveniences. A temporary “charging station” near their bed (even if it’s an outlet strip) and your WiFi password will help them settle in digitally.

For more tips on how to be a good host to house guests, check out this post on Houzz. And don’t forget to clear out space for your guests by taking a few things to your storage unit when you go to pick up your Christmas decorations!

From all of us at Dollar Self Storage, Happy Holidays!

 

Rent a Storage Unit, Help a Friend

help-a-friendHere’s an interesting thought: did you ever consider that renting a storage unit could save someone’s life? Well, OK, that might be a little exaggerated, but consider this scenario: you have a friend who has lost their job. You commiserate, give them helpful advice, and encourage them to keep looking because something good will turn up. But a couple of months go by, and they still haven’t found a job. Now their savings account is running low, and they probably can’t make next month’s rent. You could loan them some money (always a dicey proposition between friends) or … you could rent a storage unit for them.

What good is a storage unit going to do them, you ask. Well, they can give notice on that apartment before they get kicked out, move all their stuff into the storage unit, then move in with a relative or friend (maybe you, maybe not) while they regroup. Once they find that new job, they can save up for a new apartment, joyfully get their stuff out of storage, and make a fresh start. All because you rented a storage unit.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, a day to reflect on the many blessings in your life. But today could be a day when you could make a real difference in the life of a friend.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Dollar Self Storage family.

‘Tis the Season for Savings

seasonal-salesEveryone knows the best time to buy turkey-shaped place mats is the day after Thanksgiving, and the best time to buy Christmas decorations is the day after Christmas. Retailers just can’t keep those seasonal items in stock, and slash the prices to clear the shelves. But it’s not just consumers who benefit from these end-of-the-season sales. Small business owners and retailers can take advantage of this opportunity to add items to their inventory that they can use or sell during the next holiday selling cycle, at a savings of as much as 75-80%. Continue reading

Tiny Houses

KODA, the movable concrete house by Kodasema

KODA, the movable concrete house by Kodasema

Sometimes we’re asked if you can store the contents of your entire house in one of our units.  In the case of a KODA house, you could store the whole house.

This new addition to the world of tiny houses is a movable concrete house that takes just seven hours to set up, and packs an amazing amount of comfort and innovation into less than 270 square feet. Designed and built by an Estonian company called Kodasema, the houses are easy on the environment and on your wallet.  Some of the features that set KODA apart: Continue reading

Fall Organizing

pumpkin-bread

Tea and Pumpkin Bread

Spring cleaning is a great way to clear out the cobwebs of winter, but Fall cleaning, to my mind is more purpose driven. It’s kind of a crazy, but fun, time of year: the kids are back in school, schedules get filled up, and everyone is on the big countdown to the holidays. A clean, well-organized home helps us stay focused and calm during the hectic times. But true organization goes beyond an uncluttered kitchen counter. Streamlining routines like meal planning, grocery shopping, and keeping track of appointments and activities, can really help you carve some down time out of your busy schedule. This will give you more space to be creative and, well, just relax once in a while – with a cup of tea and some pumpkin bread! This article on 7 Fall Organizing Tips is really an excellent overview on how to bring order to busy lives during this busy time of year.

Fall is also a time when we may be preparing our homes for guests and visiting family members. Sprucing up the guest room may be on your to-do list, and this will be a lot easier if you have already de-cluttered and organized the rest of your home. If there are big items in your guest room, like exercise equipment or crafting materials, your storage unit can come to the rescue again. If you live in Southern California, Arizona, or Nevada, your local Dollar Self Storage facility is a clean, safe, and secure place to store your things, during the holidays and beyond.

Is Telecommuting Right for You?

telecommuteWe can build a better remote workforce. We have the technology. Seriously, we have Skype and Go to Meeting and online productivity tools. Telecommuting is gaining popularity with both employees and employers, as it can offer benefits to both. It is not just about getting rid of the terrible commute for employees or reducing office space for employers (although those are both legitimate benefits), it can also:

  • Increase productivity. Although there can be a mindset among employers that if they can’t see you, you’re not working, a study at the University of Texas, Austin showed that telecommuters actually work 5-7 more hours a week than in-office workers. They are also more likely to return to their desk after a doctor’s appointment instead of taking the rest of the day off. Not to mention that eating lunch at your desk isn’t that onerous when you work at home. Continue reading

Moving Back to the City

For baby boomers, moving to the suburbs when they got married and had children was part and parcel of the American Dream. It seemed to be the natural order of things that you would leave behind the strife and stress of the city for a greener, safer place where you could raise your children.

Recently, though, I stood at the kitchen window watching an industrious gopher unearth a truly gopheramazing amount of dirt into the middle of my back yard. As the excavation of his ever-expanding underground empire began to pile up, I began to think. That back yard is little used now, (except by the gopher), and the swing set is long abandoned by children who have gone off to make lives and families of their own.

I began to remember the care-free days of apartment living. No weeds to pull, no lawns to mow, no roof tiles to replace. Is it time to move back to the city?

The fact of the matter is, according to U.S. census data, large city centers are growing faster than their suburban counterparts for the first time in more than 90 years. As we discussed in a previous post, both baby boomers and the adult children they raised are looking for “urban villages”, where they are not tied to their automobiles as tightly and can walk and bike to the places they need to go. Continue reading

Food Truck Culture in Mesa, Arizona

tacosIt is a 21st century fact that food from a truck has been elevated to high culinary art. It used to be something you would only eat if there were absolutely no other options. Now it is something people will drive miles and stand in long lines for. How did this happen? Well, some people point to the economic recession as a factor; others talk about the high cost of building out a brick and mortar restaurant. Continue reading

Helping Your Aging Parents Make the Move to Assisted Living

sailboat-sunsetSometimes it becomes clear that our aging parents need to chart a new course for their remaining years. Sometimes we see that before they do.

We talked in an earlier post about the advantages of the multi-generation household. When you move your aging parents into your home, there can be surprising benefits – financial, practical and emotional. It can be a time to give back, and a time for your children to bond with their grandparents.

But for some families this scenario is just not a practical one. Perhaps your parents require daily caregiving that is beyond what you can offer. If they have Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia, they might require constant supervision. Your home may not be set up to accommodate them, if, for instance, all the bedrooms and bathrooms are on the second floor and they can no longer handle stairs. It is a difficult and emotional decision for the whole family, but sometimes a move to an assisted living facility is the best choice for everyone. Continue reading