Discard or donate items you don’t use, and put seasonal items and keepsakes in storage to free up space
Soon you’ll be packing up your holiday decorations, tossing your tree, and raising a glass to welcome the year 2017.
If you’ve stored some items to make more room for the holidays, you’ve already gotten a start on decluttering your surroundings. Clearing out clutter is a perfect endeavor to start off the New Year. If you don’t have any items in storage, consider whether you might benefit from doing so.
Is your spare room a dumping ground for unused items? Are you afraid to open closet doors because their contents will fall on you? And what about those items you don’t use every day, but can’t bear to part with – old family photos, financial documents, and your grandmother’s old dresser, which you’ve stored in the garage to pass on to your daughter one day?
Renting a self-storage unit will free up space you can use for other things. It’s also a good place to store your holiday decorations, so they won’t get damaged or destroyed.
How do you decide what goes into storage? One good way is to separate your items into categories: Records, keepsakes, seasonal items and things to toss or donate.
These are documents you need to keep. They include taxes, investments, credit card statements and loans. You’ve also got home or vehicle documents, such as mortgage files, insurance policies and appliance manuals. Tax records should be kept for seven years, but bank statements can be tossed after a year. Shred or toss the documents you no longer need. You can store the rest.
Mementos include photo albums, family heirlooms, collectibles, antiques and furniture – items you don’t use every day, but that have sentimental value.
Seasonal items include a wide range of items: winter and summer clothing, holiday decorations, lawn equipment, boats and ATVs, and sporting gear. They general take up space in closets, garages, attics, or basements when they’re not being used. With a storage unit, when summer is over, for example, you can pull out your winter supplies and equipment and replace them with your summer supplies.
Things to throw out
This includes broken items; belongings you never use; clothes you don’t wear; old and unused office or kitchen equipment; and stacks of unread magazines, newspapers and books. Discard, sell, or donate these items.
Once you have decided what to do with various items — do it now. Don’t keep bags for charity or boxes for friends in your home to deliver later. Finish the process.
The start of a new year is a good time to take stock of your possessions and consider what you need to keep — and what you can store.
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