[This post was originally published in May 2016 and has been updated and revised.]
Every home (and business) has to deal with the issue of storing things. But storage often ends up as clutter, disorganization and junk removal.
So, the challenge for many of these homes and businesses is how to best organize their storage areas.
Tips for Organizing, Storage, Clutter and Junk Removal
Having a structured approach and a plan will make the process far easier whether you are a business owner, manager, or home owner facing an intimidating storage space organization task. Before you dive in and simply start moving things around, it’s best to start with some preliminary steps.
Start With Junk Removal
Go through everything being stored and remove anything that isn't needed. Evaluate what you actually need to store and get rid of the rest. Always donate if possible.
Create an Organization Plan
If you have more than one storage space area, or a large amount of shelving, assign specific locations for different items. Using clear storage allows you to see your valuables. Also, using large labels can also help you both find items and put them back in the same place.
Evaluate the Environment
Basements, for example, tend to be cold and wet, so make sure you use appropriate storage options to protect your valuables. Use plastic bins or specialty plastic bags to help keep the moisture out, or even a dehumidifier to ward off moisture damage, if needed.
A Five-Step Plan to Effective Organization
Storage space areas are prone to becoming cluttered. And if the spaces are not accessed frequently they can become unwieldy and even hazardous!
These five steps from Styleathome.com form a simple plan to organize your storage areas as a focused project:
- Break the task into manageable bits.
- If the area hasn't been organized in over a year, you'll need more than one weekend.
- Four hours every weekend for a couple of weeks should suffice (a block of less than two hours will yield little apparent progress and you may get discouraged).
2. Empty and Clean
- Remove everything and do a thorough cleanup -- unfinished or cluttered areas are magnets for pests. If you can't empty the whole room at once, clear and clean half of it, then do the rest.
- Consider painting the space white to brighten it, since you're less likely to neglect a room that feels like a finished part of your home.
3. Sort and Edit
- As you remove items from storage, put them in categories (including "give away" and "toss" piles) and think about how those categories will translate into zones.
- Save only things in good condition or with significant sentimental value.
- Aim to keep the space no more than three-quarters full, so you can move around safely and easily.
4. Assess and Equip
- Take measurements of the room, including height, and rough out where zones will be.
- Locate frequently used items near the door; other things can go in less accessible areas.
- Examine sorted belongings (counting and measuring, if necessary) and choose systems and containers.
- Browse organizing stores and home centers for shelving systems and bins.
As you move sorted materials into new containers within assigned zones, keep these tips in mind:
- Store only clean items; clothes must be clean to prevent insect infestations.
- Label everything; if you have time, prepare a printed inventory to tape to containers you can't see into.
- Don't cover floor drains with bins or boxes.
- Don't leave anything, especially flammable items, within 1-1/2 feet of a furnace.
- Install a fire extinguisher, smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector.
- Store hazardous materials in a locked cabinet.
- If the room has pipes, a hot water heater or is in a basement, keep everything that isn't in a waterproof container at least one foot off the ground.
- Don't put clothes in airtight plastic containers; use fabric bags instead. Protect clothes from direct contact with cedar, mothballs and any other pest deterrents.
- Enforce a "one in, one out" rule to avoid clutter and overcrowding in future.
6 Tools for Maximizing Storage Space
Like any other area of your business or home, having the right storage space equipment is critical for ensuring efficiency and productivity.
Here are six organizing tools that can enable you to maximize the available space in your storage areas:
- Utility shelving, preferably adjustable
- Lockable cabinets or lockers
- Step-stools and/or ladders
- Plastic bins for long-term storage of papers
- Good, old-fashioned file cabinets
- Racks, mounts or pegboard hangers for tools and equipment
There are many other tools that can be utilized depending on the scope and scale of your needs. The key, however, is to focus on efficiency and economy.
Storage Space Help With Professional Junk Removal
Junk King provides an efficient, safe and eco-friendly junk removal service so you don’t need to worry about the pick up or disposal of the debris after your storage organization project is complete.
Whether you need our services several times during a decluttering and cleaning project, or just once after it is complete, our hauling professionals will ensure that the furniture and debris is quickly out of your way so that you can get on with your life.
Our team specializes in trash and junk removal. We can be at your home in mere minutes, so call us today! Our crew is fully insured and well-trained, so you can trust them to get rid of your unwanted items in a professional and courteous fashion.
One of the best things about hiring Junk King is that we recycle as much of the material we pick-up. This is proof of our commitment to being an eco-friendly removal service. If you have questions about what we do or what we believe, give us a call at 1.888.888.JUNK (5865).