Reclaim Your Garage!

PHOTO_HSCTO_Blog-Post_Garage-Door-Open-with-Copy_04-01-2015

Here at Hollywood Storage Center of Thousand Oaks, we know firsthand how a garage can become overwhelmed with too much stuff, and how quickly you can run out of space.  That’s why we always appreciate Mike’s expert advice.

Well, with all the wonderful weather we’ve had lately, I decided to start my spring cleaning with the garage.  Here are my best tips to help you when you decide to clean and reorganize your own garage.

  • Clear Out & Sort Stuff – The real trick here is sorting items into the right groups. As I pulled my stuff out of my garage, I piled them together like tools, yard & pool toys, sports equipment, holiday decorations, auto care, keepsakes & family heirlooms, recyclable electronics, items to donate, and stuff to throw out.

Cleaning garage floor

  • Clean – As a member of The Clean Team™ here at the Hollywood Storage Center, I found cleaning the garage to be very satisfying.
    • First, I started with the vacuum cleaner going after dust bunnies, cobwebs, dead insects, and the dust that outlined where the boxes sat.
    • Next, I turned my attention towards some stubborn stains. To clean the oil marks, I used a laundry detergent mixed with warm water (one-third cup detergent for each gallon of water) for the small stains.  For the larger stains, I used the detergent mix first, but then added a thin layer of kitty litter (which helps draw the oil out of the floor) and let it sit overnight.  This worked well, but you may want to use a concrete degreaser if the stain persists.
    • Finally, I got the hose and sprayed down the whole garage floor, starting in the back and working my way up front. To help the garage dry out more quickly, I used an old broom to sweep the excess water out.

Peg board with tools and hard hat

  • “Store Smart” – Before I started putting everything back in the garage, I made a plan of where everything would go.
    • First, I chose areas for different types of items so that I could make the garage fit my needs. I outlined the floor space but also included the wall and ceiling space, using every space so that I “stored smart”.
    • Next, I created functional spaces for different types of items. I used heavy steel hooks to hang the bikes from the central post in the garage.  I created a Tool Wall by using a peg board for my tools (which you can also outline with a black marker the location of each tool).  I added a rack to hang the larger tools on the wall.  I used bins for the different types of outdoor toys for the kids.  And, I marked the boxes for the different holidays and brought them over to my Thousand Oaks Self Storage unit.

Neat garage tool hanging storage

  • Celebrate – A job well done deserves a moment of satisfaction, so I celebrated by rolling out my BBQ and cooking a meal for my family. The feeling was fantastic, knowing that once the evening was done, I could put everything back into my garage and in its right place.

I hope these tips help you when you decide to clear out your own garage and organize the space for your needs.  You’ll be glad you did.

PHOTO_HSCTO_Mike-Torres-1564_2015-01-29This was a guest post from Mike, a member of The Clean Team™ here at Hollywood Storage Center of Thousand Oaks.  Mike is an expert on “all things storage” and he prides himself on providing the best customer service.  Thanks, Mike!

Readers: Post your own favorite garage cleaning tips below, or on Facebook.

Clutter Busting Tips

Man facing a cluttered kitchen

Here at Hollywood Storage Center of Thousand Oaks, we don’t like clutter!  That’s why we always appreciate Dion’s expert advice.

So, you know by now that I’m the clean one in my house. But, it’s still a constant battle to keep things from piling up and messing up our rather limited living space. Sometimes the stuff seems like it’s living there more than we are!

So, I did some research and tested out some ways to de-clutter, free up space in the house, and feel a lot better. Even my girlfriend and roommates got on board with it.

Here are the top seven clutter busting tips I use, and I hope you can put them into action too:

  1. Find a place for every item – One reason things pile up on counters, tables, and floors is that they have no “home”.  Make sure everything lives somewhere.  Do you have a lot of important files you need to keep, but don’t have room? Then, you might want to consider a safe off-site location.
  2. Play Clutter Cop – Scan your home for clutter hot spots and spend some time figuring out why stuff accumulates there.  The better you are about keeping things out of these hot spots, the less likely things will pile up.  (Hint: If you’re a collector and are running out of room to keep or display your stuff, you might want to consider storing some of it in a climate controlled storage facility and rotating the items you want to show).

 Messy closet in bedroom overstuffed with clothes, hats, woman's apperal.

  1. Hold off on container shopping – Clutter victims often think the first thing they need is organizing products. STOP and do some de-cluttering first. Get rid of the things you absolutely hate or will never use. Then get some good storage containers for sentimental items you want to keep but don’t have a lot of room for and things you only use periodically. These are perfect to keep in a Newbury Park storage unit.
  2. Dump duplicates – Why have two power saws when one is enough?  Why have six flashlights or 17 coffee mugs?  Throwing out or donating duplicates is one of the easiest ways to get rid of clutter.

 Couple in cluttered living room

  1. Look for simple clutter control solutions – Do you run a home business and keep a lot of samples, supplies, equipment, or inventory?  Storing these items outside of your home will be a lot easier and make your business more manageable.

 Family helping to clear a garage

  1. Weed out your wardrobe – Odds are your closet is filled with stuff you rarely wear. Sort through your clothes, decide what you want to keep and donate the rest.  If you have seasonal clothes or things you’ll fit into again soon, you might want to use wardrobe boxes and other types of specialty storage boxes to hold onto them.

 Woman looking through closet

  1. Stick to a schedule – Some spaces need daily de-cluttering (refer to Tip 2). But, others can be tackled weekly or monthly. Put your periodic de-cluttering tasks on your calendar just like other appointments.

Remember, it’s all about the attitude. It’s OK to be the “Clutter Cop” around your house. Everyone will be happier-really. See you soon!

Dion-Coleman-Hollywood Storage CenterThis was a guest post from Dion, a member of The Clean Team™ here at Hollywood Storage Center.  Dion is an expert on “all things storage” and he prides himself on learning the best home cleaning tips.  Thanks, Dion!  Readers: Post you own favorite de-cluttering tips below, or on Facebook!

HSC Expert Tips: Easy Winter Cleaning

Man cleaning the gutter

I can’t imagine a better place for winter than the Conejo Valley.  A little bit of rain, and a lot of 70 degree temps!  However, it is still cold & flu season, so it’s a great time to avoid germs by doing some winter cleaning.  We were talking about this here at the Hollywood Storage Center of Thousand Oaks with The Clean Team™, so I thought I’d pass along my top five tips.

+ Check your rain gutters and clear them of leaves, twigs, and debris.  It’s important to keep gutters clean so they won’t clog and drive water under the house eaves… and into your walls.  That’s a recipe for unhealthy mold and yuck!

+ Dust the heating vents and even unused fans around the house.  This will help make sure the air in your home is nice and clean.  Oh, and don’t forget to replace the furnace filter while you’re at it!  Air filters for furnaces are rated by level of efficiency.  The higher the rating, the better the filter is at removing dirt, mold spores, and pet dander.

+ Clean your mattresses to get rid of the sweat, mildew, dirt, oils, trace chemicals, and even pollen that collects in there when we don’t even realize it.  Start by vacuuming the top and then sprinkling it well with baking soda.  Rub it in with a stiff-bristled brush, let it sit for 10 minutes, and then vacuum it up.  Next, flip the mattress and do the same on the other side.  When you’re done, I suggest getting washable mattress covers.  It makes cleaning much easier and prevents icky substances from absorbing into the mattress in the first place!

BLOG-FEBRUARY-2015-Cleaning-Couch-02-03-2015

+ Wash the blankets that everyone likes to throw on the couch and take a vacuum to the couch itself (a HEPA-filter one, if possible).  Remember to vacuum underneath the couch, where lots of dust typically collects.


man disinfecting phone

+ Wipe your cell phone with an antibacterial wipe that has alcohol and benzethonium chloride — a combo that works super-well against nasty stuff like staph and salmonella. And wipe down those TV remotes too.

Oh, and don’t forget: Keeping your home free of clutter keeps everything cleaner and is healthy for your state of mind too! So, if you need some breathing room to rotate belongings or hold onto items that you don’t use every day, come by and take a look at one of our clean, affordable storage units. We’ll help you pick the best space for your needs, and beat all storage deals everyday. Have a happy, healthy year!

This was a guest post from Dion, a member of The Clean Team™ here at Hollywood Storage Center. Dion an expert on “all things storage” and he prides himself on learning the best home cleaning tips. Thanks, Dion! Readers: Post your own favorite seasonal cleaning ideas below, or on Facebook!

HSC Expert Tips: Fun Personalized Storage Labels!

Hey guys! Amanda here! Even though I spend my days at Hollywood Storage Center, I often find myself tackling storage projects at home on the weekend — and this last weekend was no exception.

Fun Personalized Storage LabelsIf you’re anything like me, you like to add a bit of flare and style to everything in your home — even your storage! So I thought it would be fun to kick off the new year by sharing these super-stylish Free Printable Storage Labels. They’re perfect for helping you organize things in your house or office, maybe some of them could even work in your storage unit space. There are 23 different types of labels (!) that can be customized and used for just about everything. Thankfully, there are some that are sized to fit right into those clear luggage tags you can find at Target. What an easy way to help prevent wear and tear. I also recommend printing them out on card stock to make ‘em extra durable.

I ended up using some cool matching ribbons to tie the labels to my various storage containers for a little extra “oomph,” but you can also use some twine (very “shabby chic”) or just some plain ol’ string (but make sure it’s relatively strong).

I also asked some friends — including a few moms — how they’d use these labels, and together we came up with these awesome suggestions:

+ I love the idea of using the labels for candy, cookie, and dog treat containers. There’s no end to how cute and funky you can make ‘em! (Bonus: You’ll never mistake a cookie tin for a doggie treat tin again.)

+ The labels come in three different colors, which is a great way to help separate and organize items. Last year, I found that separating holiday decorations by color is super helpful when packing and unpacking from storage…

+ Have kids that all play the same sport and constantly mix up their equipment? Use the labels to set up personalized bins for each kid and eliminate the guessing game!

Seriously, there’s no end to what these labels can be used for … I’m kinda bummed I only found them recently… I could’ve been labeling things before 2015! LOL! Hope these helped you as much as they’ve already helped me…

This was a guest post from Amanda, a Storage Consultant here at Hollywood Storage Center – Newbury Park where we’ll beat any deal. She’s one of the friendly folks you might meet when you look into one of our self-storage units. Thanks, Amanda!

Readers: Do you have a unique way of labeling your storage? Share with us on Facebook, or post about it below!