Are You Ready for Some Football?

It’s football season!  And finally, with the return of the Rams, those of us in the Conejo Valley have a “home team” to root for. That means more gathering with friends and family to enjoy each other’s company, grill and hang out around the big screen TV. Below, our storage consultant, Bobby, shares his outdoor entertaining tips for at-home get togethers.

 

If you know me, you know I love the outdoors and can most often be found hiking in the hills surrounding Thousand Oaks or taking in the beauty of our California coastline. So, getting stuck inside for hours is just not my thing. Luckily for Californians, a day of at-home football doesn’t mean you’re trapped indoors. Today our outdoor living spaces are an extension of our homes and meant to serve as an additional living space.

How can you build out your backyard into an extension of your living room? Here are a few of the latest trends making their way into our homes.

Going Beyond the Grill
A grill is standard, as is some sort of eating area, but those who really love outdoor living are taking their outdoor spaces to a new level. The focus is around creating an outdoor kitchen designed for how you like to cook and eat. Love pizza? A wood-fire grill would be a good option for you. Fan of Japanese cuisine? Installing a hibachi grill might be on your wish list. There are plenty of options, from smokers to rotisseries and beyond that open up your culinary options.

Covered patio with fireplace, tv, and couch, with view of lush green grass and landscaping

Covered patio with fireplace, tv, and couch, with view of lush green grass and landscaping

Getting Techie
Many more homes these days are being outfitted with cutting-edge technology, and our outdoor living spaces are no exception. When it comes to watching the game outside, today’s sports fans have more options than ever before. Outdoor TVs are designed to keep the elements of nature out, but at the same time allow heat to escape, allowing them to survive the wilds of your backyard. Sound systems have come a long way as well, designed to withstand temperature variations and a wide range of weather conditions – not that we really have to be concerned with extreme weather!

Furniture That Feels Like Furniture
The rod-iron or plastic outdoor furniture options of yesteryear are, let’s face it, ugly. Luckily, today’s outdoor furnishings are not only attractive, but also extremely comfortable. There are chairs you can sink into, places to prop up your feet and couches comfortable enough for an afternoon nap. It’s no wonder we’re spending more time outdoors than ever before.

Comfort is king for today's outdoor furniture.

Comfort is king for today’s outdoor furniture.

Ready to upgrade your backyard living area, but need to store some of the other items taking up your outdoor space? Renting a temporary storage unit at Hollywood Storage Center has a space that will perfectly suit your needs.

Wondering what you might serve at your next backyard barbecue? The team at Hollywood Storage Center of Thousand Oaks has some ideas. Check back for my next blog and I’ll share some of my and my co-worker’s favorite at-home tailgating recipes.

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PHOTO_HSCTO_Bobby-Brink_1587_2016-3-22This 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 football season, Bobby!

Readers: Do you have a favorite outdoor entertaining tip? Share it below!

Closet Organization Ideas for Busy Families

Organizing the ClosetThe morning rush is always a chaotic time. The clock is ticking and you have to get to work and the kids to school. There always seem to be those little things that set you back, like not finding that matching sock or the shirt that goes with those pants. Wouldn’t it be easier if your closest was organized so you could find everything quickly – and then put it away easily so you don’t always have a mess on the bottom of the closet floor?

If you’re like me, there is some serious closet organizing to do. But I just can’t figure out how to tackle it. That’s why I consulted with Judy Einbund, director of the professional organizing service Judy’s Hands in Thousands Oaks. She has some great tips for getting your closets organized.

How to Start a Closet Cleanout

The hardest part of cleaning out a closet is just getting started. Judy suggests taking a look at everything in there and determining what can be taken out because an overstuffed closet is pretty much impossible to organize.

You can make the sorting process a little easier with a trick Judy suggests, Reverse all of the hangers on everything. Then every time you wear something, put the hanger back the regular way. After a few months, you can see what clothes you wear the most. The others can be put in storage or donated.”

Organizing Kid’s Closets

Your kid’s closet can pose a particular challenge with clothes, toys, and school supplies. Judy, who is also a mom with experience, suggests making organizing a fun project for family time. “I let my kids pick out a movie to rent and while we watch the movie, we organize something, like all of their shirts. At the end of it, their room is clean, they feel a sense of pride, and want to keep it that way.”

Gadgets that Help Organize Your Closet

There are lots of gadgets to help you get your closet organized. Some of Judy’s favorites include:

  • Multiple tier hangers – let you hang several items on one to maximize closet rod space.
  • Bins and more bins – especially if your closet doesn’t have built-in shelves or drawers. They are stackable and make it easy to pull things out and put away.
  • Plastic shoeboxes – they are all the same size, stackable, and clear so you can see what’s in them. Keeps the shoes with their mates.

Utilizing Storage for Closet Overflow

Judy also recommends a storage space for closet overflow, such as hand-me-down clothes to save for younger kids. “Put them in plastic bins, label what size and/or age they are,” she says.

Storage is also a great way to manage toys. “Kids get bored with things so quickly then they get new things and it just starts to stockpile,” says Judy. “A great solution is to take half of it away and put it in storage. Then rotate the toys in and out.”

Rotating items in storage is also great for those who hate getting rid of things (I swear I’ll fit back in those jeans!) When you store excess clothes, home décor and supplies, your closets and your home will feel much less crowded and chaotic. Then when you rotate things back in, it feels like you got something new without spending the money!

Do Regular Closet Updates

Just like you have to do updates to your computers, your closet needs regular updates too. Do a sweep every few months of what’s not being worn anymore, doesn’t fit or is out of season, and put it in storage.

“People tend to get the cleaning bug for spring cleaning or back to school but it doesn’t have to be on a set schedule,” says Judy. “If the mood strikes you, do it! ”

We hope these tips inspire you to organize your closets.  And if you find yourself clearing out extra items, remember, you can store them 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 closet organization tip? Post about it below!

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.

Ants

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!