Create a Command Center to Get Organized for Back to School

Hi everyone, Amanda here! Are you feeling the school year creeping up on you? I know every year, once school starts up again, it feels like a mad rush. Everyone is busy trying to keep track of people’s schedules, all of the devices we’re hooked on now, and all those papers that need to be taken care of. I asked some busy moms I know how they keep it all together. The secret? An in-home command center so you can find everything and everyone in one place! Here are some tips to create one for yourself:

Command CenterFind a Space

Set up your command center in a place where everyone in the household will see it. An ideal spot is near the door everyone leaves from, a corner in the kitchen where everyone tends to congregate or an unused nook in a hallway. The point of the command center is to put everything to be remembered, so make sure it’s a place that will be seen!

Keep Track of Everyone

Some basics items of your command center should include a wall-mounted calendar, a dry erase board and a bulletin board. This will make use of your vertical space without creating clutter to keep track of everything. You can put everyone’s schedule here. Plus, you can leave notes for other members of the house and pin important documents such as invites or permission slips so they aren’t forgotten.

Charge Those Gadgets

How many times have you looked at your phone to find the battery is in the red zone? I know I have! Get everyone in the habit of charging their phones and other gadgets overnight with a charging station. There are plenty of styles to choose from for multiple devices – and the best part is they keep all of the cords in one place! It’s also a good way to keep the kids from taking their devices to bed and keeping them up past bedtime!

Keep Paper Under Control

If you’re like me, no matter how electronic I seem to be, I still have papers piled up everywhere. Mail, sticky notes and now with school starting, homework can create a mess all over countertops. Take it from unsightly to organized with labeled baskets, hanging clipboards and wall pockets to tuck them into.  Add some style by picking them in pretty, coordinating colors.

I hope your command center helps you feel more organized through the school year. And if you find yourself clearing some clutter to get more organized, remember, you can store it with us right here in our self storage units! Visit us at 3425 Old Conejo Road in Newbury Park today!

PHOTO_HSCTO_Amanda-Castro-1636_2015-01-29This was a guest post from Amanda, a Storage Consultant here at Hollywood Storage Center of Thousand Oaks. She’s one of the friendly folks you might meet when you look into one of our lowest cost storage units.Thanks for the info, Amanda! Readers: Do you have a favorite back-to-school organization tip? Post about it below!

7 Natural DIY Bug-Busting Tips

Here in the Conejo Valley, the birds are chirping, the days are getting longer, and… the pests are starting to arrive! And man, do they know how to put a damper on our lovely Southern California weather. Here are some of my favorite natural DIY remedies DIY bug-busting tips to keep those warm spring days bug-free.


There’s really nothing worse than finding these little buggers in the nooks and crannies of your home. In my house, they like to travel in the walls and often come out of the most random places, like light fixtures and shower handles. Ew! Here’s how I fight them:

spray-cap-15413341) Deter-Ant

For an easy way to keep ants at bay, try a simple spray consisting of apple cider vinegar, dish liquid, baking soda, and water. This is especially useful if ants tend to invade your plants, trash areas, kitchen, etc. Step-By-Step Directions

2) Antonyms and Cinnamons

Another good tip for keeping ants away is sprinkling ground cinnamon around the perimeter of your house (windows, doors, etc.). The cinnamon stops them in their tracks.

3) Protein-Packed Poison

For really severe ant problems, you can bait and poison them with a mixture of borax, sugar, and peanut butter. (This is a great tip, but make sure to hide it in places where kids and pets can’t get at it, as it is poisonous if eaten!) Step-By-Step Directions.

If the peanut butter method doesn’t work, try this cornmeal baiting method instead.

4) Ant-Tea

If you can locate ant hills outside, pouring a kettle of boiling water over the nest. It’s quick and effective way to kill the colony, stopping the ants at the source.

Mosquitos, Flies & Moths

Ants are one thing, but our little, winged friends really know how to ruin a nice evening out on the porch and leave us scratching our heads (or arms… and ankles…). Here are a few suggestions:

lavender-13891885) Lavender’s blue, dilly, dilly…

Basil and lavender act as natural insect repellents. You can keep bunches of these lovely-smelling plants near doors where bugs usually get in. And lavender buds in a closet work really well to repel sweater-munching moths. Bonus Tip: Here’s a yummy basil-and-lavender lemonade recipe if you have extras!

6) Shut Your (fly) trap

For a no-hassle, chemical- and plant-free fly-buster, why not build a reusable fly trap out of repurposed trash! I’ve made some pretty rough versions of this to combat house flies or fruit flies, and this seriously works. Plus this solution has the added benefit of keeping the flies alive, just in case any of your kids (or you!) have a fascination with 6-legged creatures. Step-By-Step Directions

basil-leaves-11961087) Herb Cocktail

The oils from rosemary, mint, and basil can all be extracted and combined with cheap vodka to use as a bug-spray. Step-By-Step Directions




I hope these 7 tips come in handy as you begin your battle against the bugs during the rest of the spring months. And if you find yourself in need of a storage unit to store your sporting gear, holiday decorations, or other seasonal items you want to get out of the way for summer, give your friendly Hollywood Storage Center storage consultant a call.
PHOTO_HSCTO_Amanda-Castro-1636_2015-01-29This was a guest post from Amanda, a Storage Consultant here. She’s one of the friendly folks you might meet when you look into one of our self-storage units. Thanks, Amanda!

If you try any of these remedies, let us know how they worked for you!

Earth Day Tip: Enjoy Nature at These Top 5 Ventura County Spots

Here at Hollywood Storage Center of Thousand Oaks, we love Earth Day, and we’re eagerly anticipating the many events around town this month to bolster Earth appreciation.

Lucky for us, our nature expert (and Storage Consultant) Bobby put together a list of some of his favorite outdoor places around Ventura County. Why not take 5 and get outside this month? It’s a great way to celebrate Earth Day!


Borchard Park Labyrinth – Newbury Park

Sometimes it’s nice to get outside and just clear your head, right? Take a mesmerizing ½-mile walk down a winding path in this great family-friendly park! The labyrinth helps focus your thoughts and reduces stress with a series of turns and curves moving toward its center. You’ll find it a fun and soothing way to appreciate the outdoors.



Camino Real Park – Ventura

If you want to bring your pooch along to enjoy nature, this is the place. It’s got a dog park for both big and small breeds plus a ton of open space. It also has picnic tables, jungle gyms, and fields/courts for sports like baseball, volleyball, and soccer. Bonus: The park is full of beautiful and fragrant eucalyptus trees.


Channel Islands National Park –  Channel Islands

For more intense adventure, you can take a boat from Oxnard or a plane from Camarillo and enjoy one of the coolest nature preserves in California, which was just named #6 of the top 10 “Best Places to See Aquatic Life” (USA Today). You’ll find back- country camping, kayaking, fishing, whale watching, and hiking. And, this year is the 100th birthday of our National Parks Service, so make sure to thank the ranger when you’re out there!

Channel Islands National Park

Gardens of the World – Thousand Oaks

If you’d rather stick close to home but want to “take time to smell the roses,” plan a picnic at Gardens of the World. It’s located right off Thousand Oaks Boulevard across from The Lakes. These gardens contain flowers, trees, arches, and fountains that reflect the culture of different parts of the world. Take in the different gardens at your own pace, or join a free 45-minute docent-led tour.



Marina Park – Ventura

For a fun day at a low-key beach, this is definitely the place to go. There’s a big open grass area for playing Frisbee, a super cool concrete pirate ship climber, and, if that wasn’t fun enough, this park has a zip line! Up the road, where San Buenaventura State Beach begins, you can also fish and take sailing lessons. I love this place for getting together with friends and family.


There’s so much to see and do right outside our front door!

And remember, when you want a great place to stow all that outdoor sports equipment and picnic gear, store it at Hollywood Storage Center in one of our self-storage units!



This was a guest post from Bobby, a Storage Consultant who loves all kinds of hobbies. You might’ve seen him the last time you stopped by the storage center. Thanks for helping us get ready for Earth Day, Bobby!

Readers: Do you have a favorite outdoor activity here in Ventura County? Share it below! 

No Time for Spring Cleaning? 10 Cleaning Hacks to Tidy Up Your Home

Today, we have a guest post from Will, one of our friendly self-storage consultants here in Newbury Park:

Spring is almost here! But if you’re anything like me and my friends in Thousand Oaks, you’re juggling a full plate, and Spring Cleaning is just one of those things that never seems to get done. Rest assured, you can still do some deep cleaning, but the trick is to work smart, not hard. Take a look at these 10 easy cleaning hacks:

1) Dirty Toys, Light Fixtures, and Gas Burners 
Oh my!

Your dishwasher can be used to quickly wash dirty light fixtures, gas burners, and children’s toys (just not electronic ones!). For small toys like legos, use a mesh bag to make sure they don’t get scattered.

2) Sock Puppets = Clean Blinds!

Spray a cleaning product or a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water on dusty blinds, then wipe down with an old sock.


3) Let the Kids Jump on the Bed

This is a fun way to clean the dust and dirt from your mattress. Have your kids jump on the bed for a few minutes to bring up dust from the inside. Then vacuum the mattress top with your vacuum’s hose attachment.


4) Show Faucet Stains Who’s Boss

Halve a lemon and rub the inside on faucet stains. The acid will dissolve any build-up quickly and leave you with a lovely lemon scent! This would be a cool learning opportunity for kids, too.

5) Zap Germs From Your Dish Sponge

I use this all the time because I’m paranoid there’s gross stuff growing in my soggy dish sponges. Just wet down the sponge and microwave it for 2 minutes on high. Wait for it to cool down (it gets HOT!) and then use as normal.


6) Vacuum Your Cabinets

Use the attachment part of your vacuum to suck up crumbs and dust from underneath your cabinets. Works great with drawers too! Just make sure to remove or secure any small items.


7) Sea Salt Scrub… for Cast Iron

Cast iron can be hard to get clean, especially baked-on scraps. But you can scrub away the grime (without hurting the pan) with a teaspoon of sea salt and a cloth.


8) Easy-Clean Lamp Shades

Use one of those sticky lint rollers to clean up those dusty old lampshades.

9) It’s Like a Spa, for Your Microwave

Easily steam-clean your microwave! Boil a glass of water, with half a lemon in it, inside the microwave. Let sit for a couple minutes, then wipe clean.


10) Clean Your Coffee Maker with Vinegar

Fill up your coffee maker’s water reservoir with half water and half vinegar, then turn it on and let the water run through. You’ll be amazed at how dirty that clear liquid becomes! I got a new coffee maker a couple of months ago and decided to clean my old one before giving it away. I used this trick and was pretty disgusted by how much gunk came out… I wished I would’ve tried this earlier while I was still drinking from that thing!

And once you’re in cleaning mode, you might want to clear some space by storing furniture and other items in at an affordable storage facility in Newbury Park. If so, we’d love for you to give us a call.

PHOTO_HSCTO_Will-Schwartz-1690_2015-01-29This was a guest post from Will, a storage consultant here. Not only is Will an expert on “all things storage,” he prides himself on knowing all the best cleaning hacks. Thanks for these Spring Cleaning tips, Will!

Readers: Don’t forget to post your favorite cleaning ideas below, or on Facebook.