Empty Your Storage Unit


“Organization isn’t about perfection, it’s about efficiency, reducing stress and clutter, saving time and money, and improving your overall quality of life.” – Christina Scalise

Do you have a storage unit? Do you know what’s in it? Do you know what it’s costing you?

According to the Self Storage Association,

  • The asking rent for a 10’x10′ unit in the U.S. (Q3-2013) was: non-climate controlled $115/month; climate-controlled $146/month.
  • About 13% of all self storage renters say they will rent for less than 3 months; 18% for 3-6 months; 18% for 7-12 months; 22% for 1-2 years; and 30% for more than 2 years
  • Some 65% of all self storage renters have a garage but still rent a unit; 47% have an attic in their home; and 33% have a basement
  • Some 47% of all self storage renters have an annual household income of less than $50,000 per year; 63% have an annual household income of less than $75,000 per year

You could buy all the stuff that’s in most storage units for the price of the annual rental fee or much less—and that doesn’t include the cost of the moving truck! Think about what you could be spending that money on right now – paying off debt, a vacation, down payments, etc. Plus, the longer your stuff sits in a storage unit:

  • The more value you lose on items
  • Risk of damage increases from precariously stacked boxes
  • Bugs or rodents can infest cardboard boxes

Storage units are meant to be transitional: places to keep belongings while moving, marrying, divorcing or dealing with a death in the family. However, many who have them are now simply using them as a place to store extra stuff, even though the home sizes continue to grow.

Our OAL team would be happy to help clear out your storage unit. We will guide you in selling some of your valuable items and donate the rest to great local causes. Currently we are supporting Relay for Life and Habitat for Humanity. Which would you rather have, an expensive storage full of unused and unwanted items, or a full heart as you help support great causes in our community?

Summertime is the perfect season for lightening your load!

How can we help you?

Building Community

Block Party

“Some people think they are in community, but they are only in proximity. True community requires commitment and openness. It is a willingness to extend yourself to encounter and know the other.” – David Spangler

Now that we have covered the ins and outs of real estate, from an organizational perspective, I’m going to wrap it up with this weeks post. Whether you’ve just moved, or lived in your home for awhile, I want to encourage each and every one of you to go out and build a community in your neighborhood. Get to know your new or current neighbors and forge those relationships! Organization isn’t just about our homes and offices, but true intentional living.

Here are some ideas on how to build relationships in your community:

  • Turn off the TV, computer and smart phone
  • Get outside to ride bikes and go for walks
  • Plan a neighborhood or block party
  • Plan an annual holiday party: Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day or Halloween
  • Host a potluck, BBQ or progressive dinner
  • Hire neighborhood kids for small jobs around the house
  • Bake extra cookies and share
  • Participate in neighborhood activities
  • Go with your children when they play outside
  • Sit on your front porch and greet others as they walk by
  • Offer tools or a helping hand
  • Shop local and frequent neighborhood coffee shops and restaurants
  • Have a neighborhood garage sale
  • Support children’s fundraisers
  • Offer to water plants and pick up the mail for neighbors out of town
  • Ride bikes around the neighborhood with your kids
  • Open your front door, a screen might be helpful if you feel exposed
  • Attend your neighborhood association meeting
  • Help kids organize a lemonade stand
  • Introduce yourself to new neighbors
  • Ask others to join you for a weekly walk, run or bike ride
  • Carpool
  • Host a neighborhood book club
  • Start a community garden

Tiffany Larson, guest blogger on Simple Mom, had a great post last week on this topic. Check it out for more ideas.

I would love you to share your ideas or experience on building a community within your neighborhood!

Organizing A Smooth Move

Moving InLast week I gave you some tips on what to look for when buying a home, from an organizational perspective. Hopefully those tips were invaluable to you in your search for your new home. So what’s the next step? You get to pack up and move to your new home! This is often a stressful time no matter if you’re doing the move yourselves or hiring people to do it for you. Here are my budget-friendly, low stress ideas on how to prepare, pack and execute a smooth move!


  1. Pick your moving day. You’ll find cheaper rental truck rates if you move during the week. 
  2. If you can, create a task list 6-8 weeks before your move.
  3. Do your research and pick a reliable moving company and get the right size rental truck. My husband and I made that mistake and our Uhual was way too small!
  4. Book with movers and your rental truck as soon as you pick your moving day. Rates will be lowest in spring and fall months. Also, reserve furniture covers and a dolly for heavy lifting.
  5. Keep a brightly colored file/binder with all contracts and documents related to your move.


via A Bowl Full of Lemons


  1. Lowes and Uhual have like sized boxes that make for easy stacking and allow you to get more in the truck. Try to avoid using randomly sized boxes just because they are free.
  2. Measure each room in your new home to know if your furniture will fit. If not, have a garage sale, sell it on Craigslist, or donate it. There is no point in hauling it to your new home.
  3. Keep like with like and pack one room at a time to avoid any miscellaneous unlabeled boxes.
  4. Don’t overpack boxes especially your dishes and books. One person should easily be able to lift a box.
  5. Keep valuables close to you during the move and use proper packing material. Using old newspapers and your own linens saves money and they are great for packing.
  6. Keep a basic excel inventory sheet with the number of boxes and a short description of what’s inside each numbered box. Keep this with your binder.
  7. Create a simple color coded moving legend for all of your boxes. Each room gets a different colored dot (see photo above). This makes for easier unpacking. Make copies of this legend so your movers and family know how to properly unload.
  8. Load the boxes of things you will need right away at the very end. Label these boxes “Open First”.
  9. Throughout the packing process make sure to weed through your belongings and donate the items you no longer need.


via A Bowl Full of Lemons

Moving Day

  1. Make sure to pack overnight bags for your entire family for the first night at your new place. Think about clothing, toiletries, a shower curtain and hooks, and bedding. If you have kids make sure to have a few things to keep them entertained before, during, and after the move.
  2. Rest the night before and take some down time with your family.
  3. Pack a cooler for the day of with snacks, lunch, and plenty of bottled water. If you have friends and family coming to help make sure to feed them too.

Happy Moving!

Thanks to A Bowl Full of Lemons for letting us use their beautiful photos from their post “How to Organize Your Move“! Check out their website for more great organizing ideas.

10 Things To Look For When Buying A Home

Welcome Mat

1. Create a Dream Wish List.

When I made my list, it had 22 items on it. My current house had the potential to meet all of the items on my list with a little creativity, vision and hard work.

2. Separate the ‘Essentials’ and ‘Non-Essentials’.

After creating your dream home wish list, separate your ‘must haves’ from the things you’re willing to compromise on. No house is going to be perfect.

3. Location, Location, Location.

Remember, you can always change things in your house, but you can’t change the home’s location. Find a map of your city and highlight your ideal neighborhoods. This will help you narrow your home search. Is it important to you to have a view? Be close to schools or shopping? Find a location that fits your lifestyle.

4. Layout.

Think about the flow from the moment you walk in the door. Is the laundry room in a convenient location? Are you wanting that open concept so you can watch the kids while you cook? Many homes also have a formal living space that rarely gets used, so keep an open mind when viewing that space. They have a lot of potential to become something that fits your family – a game room, playroom, craft room or home office. ” Your home should be a reflection of the life you want to live.” – Peter Walsh

5. Storage.

As an organizer, I can’t stress enough how important proper storage space is in a home. Make sure your home has adequate closets or at least the potential to create additional storage space.  Coat closets, linen closets and a pantry may not seem like a big deal in an empty house but they are essential for establishing and maintaining organization in a home that is being lived in.  A garage is wonderful to have but is intended to store the car and not excess clutter.  Pay close attention to any built-ins a home may have and be wary of homes that have cheap wire shelving in every closet, something you certainly will want to change.

6. Kitchen/Bathrooms.

These rooms are the selling points of homes. They are also some of the more costly in terms of renovation. Those costs can be lowered if the rooms have good bones, flow and function. Make sure there is a pantry and enough drawers and cupboards to fit your needs.

7. Lighting. 

When we go to open houses, we are seeing the homes during daylight hours. We miss seeing the what the overhead lighting is like. I’ve been in so many homes that have poor lighting or none at all in the living rooms, dining rooms, and closets! Make sure there are overhead light fixtures in ALL the rooms and closets.

8. Children.

If you’re thinking about children, then look at a home as a long term investment. Find a home that has a nice backyard, a fence, and close to schools. Also, think about if you want the bedrooms all on the same floor or room to spread out when they get older? Is there a nice drop-zone area near the front door to organize keys, backpacks, coats, mail, etc?

9. Simplify.

Do you really need 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms for two people? If you have the tendency to collect clutter to fill those extra rooms, then maybe a smaller and more streamlined home is the best option for you. It means you have less to clean and maintain – therefore less stress.

10. Cosmetic Changes.

Look past the current homeowners taste to see the true potential of the space. We would be happy to help you unpack, organize and decorate the space for you! Contact Us today to learn more!

10 Tips For Selling Your Home


I thought this month would be a great time to talk real estate. I have ten great tips that I want to share with you on how to sell your house faster – even if you’re just listing or already on the market! These tips are all about de-cluttering and staging to help you maximize the value of your house in a buyers market. My husband and I have been passionate about real estate since early on in our marriage. We have bought and sold homes, currently own rental property, and have sons in real estate – so we have learned a thing or two! Let’s get started.

1. Make a good first impression.

Spruce up the curb appeal by getting rid of lawn and yard toys, hoses and tools. Mow the grass and trim the overgrown bushes, flowers, weeds and trees.

2. Look inviting.

Create an inviting entryway. Clean and perhaps re-paint your front door. De-clutter your entryway of any shoes, bags, coats, etc. Empty the closets as much as possible. This makes the home’s  closets seem more spacious so buyers see the storage potential, not your stuff. To increase your storage a hall bench, table, or coatrack work great.

3. De-personalize.

Remove all family photos, awards, and trophies from around your home. These are dust collectors and also look cluttered. By removing them, a potential buyer will have an easier time imagining themselves in the space.

4. Go vertical.

If you have tall ceilings or limited square footage, don’t be afraid to go vertical. Tall bookshelves, armoires, and floating shelves create extra storage without taking up valuable floor space. Armoires are great because the doors close to hide a television or home office.

5. Storage.

Evaluate and pre-pack anything that you can live without until you move. Be sure to get anything that is on an open shelf, counters and tabletops. If you can, store these things off-site until you move.

6. Deep clean.

Do a deep cleaning before listing your home. You may not notice that pesky cob-web on the light fixture, but a buyer will! Maintain the cleaning so the house is ready to show.

7. Garage.

Get rid of those old paint cans, potting mixes, sporting goods, broken furniture and anything else that may have wandered out there. Then organize your stuff. Costco has great metal shelving on wheels at an affordable price to organize your things. Don’t skip the cleaning out here either!

8. Minor maintenance.

Have you been meaning to caulk around that trim? Fix a cupboard door? Touch up the paint? Don’t wait! Make a list of minor repairs and get them done. Don’t have time? Hire a professional to do it for you.

9. Home-staging.

Two things to think about – flow and function. First, how do people move around in the space? Is your furniture in odd places or too big? Pare down your furniture and re-arrange to make it more inviting. Second, what is the space meant to be use for? Remove anything that doesn’t serve that function. To complete the staging, you want well rounded decor. Start from the ground up: carpet/rug, main pieces, accent decor, wall hangings and lighting. Now a buyer can easily move around and get a feel for the space.

10. Get away.

Go do something fun with your family while a realtor is showing your home. Take the time to relax and play!

We do offer our services for clients and realtors. We would be happy to consult with you on how to stage your home and plan your next move! Contact us today to learn more.

Happy Selling!