8 Tips For Managing Paper Clutter

Paperwork can be a nightmare! Monthly bills and account statements, junk mail, insurance, warranties, receipts, your kids’ school papers, and so much more! It is very easy to become overwhelmed by all your papers and end up stuffing them in a drawer or letting them overwhelm counter space, thinking you will deal with them later. Unfortunately, we often don’t deal with it later as we intend to and we end up having an overwhelming pile of documents to sort through. Luckily, there are some easy tricks so that you can avoid having an overwhelming pile of papers laying around. Check out the following tips to help keep your papers organized! 

Go paperless – Switching to paperless options can save you a ton of time sorting through documents. Most banks, credit card companies, and most larger companies have the option to go with online statements. Lots of schools have the option to communicate online as well so that you don’t receive paper copies. 

Personalized Mail Organizer – There are tons of DIY projects on Pinterest that allow you to make a mail organizer that fits in your space and accent your decor beautifully. If you don’t have the time or the ability to make a DIY organizer, there are some options on Amazon that will work well too. Just make sure it has customizable labels so that it fits exactly what you need. You can customize it however you want with the labels; coupons, statements, mail that needs to be mailed, etc.

Receipt Organizer – This is only for tax-deductible receipts. Do not hold onto receipts that you don’t need! Hang onto tax-deductible receipts and receipts that you may need for returns or warranty purposes; you will have to use your own judgement for this. You can buy small accordion-style folders that work perfectly for receipts. They have labels on top which allows you to keep your receipts organized however works best for you.

Tabbed Files Organization – You may think you don’t have enough papers to require a filing cabinet, but I would strongly suggest reconsidering. It’s amazing how fast we acquire a ton of documents; Bill of sales, finance papers, insurance, manuals, etc. It can become overwhelming fast and if your papers aren’t organized, the process of finding a document can seem impossible. With tabbed files you know exactly where to look to find what you need. Save yourself time and less chance of losing important documents by using this system. 

Color-Coded Tab System – An alternative to the original Tabbed Files Organization idea is to do a colour-coded system. Sometimes looking through the names of tons of files can be exhausting and narrowing it down by colour is helpful!

School Papers Storage System – If you have kids in school then you may know the large variety of papers that can be sent home on a regular basis. Some of it can be read and placed in the recycling shortly after, but there are many papers that you may want to hold onto like report cards, important documents, milestones, etc. Create a bin for exactly this. Labelled from Kindergarten-Grade 12 with your child’s name. Hang onto some of that art, I have heard far too many people regretting throwing it all out and having nothing from their children’s childhood because they defined it as clutter at the time. I’m not saying keep everything, but definitely keep something to look back at.

Make an Essentials Binder – Hopefully, you will never have to use this binder, however, if you do, you will be glad you created it. In your essentials binder, you will include any paperwork that you would want to be able to quickly grab and take with you in case of an emergency.  

Binder System: Some people may prefer to use binders as a way of sorting their papers. This system works just as well as any other! Instead of labelling the file folder, you will label the binder and then sort them with the label facing up so you can easily find any documents you are looking for. 

Hopefully, these tips will help you get your paper clutter under control! For any documents that you need to store, make sure you give us a call at Crate It Storage! I’d love to hear from you guys, what are your go-to paper organization tips? Leave it in the comments!

Getting Your Home Ready For Fall

It would be wonderful if getting your home ready for fall were as simple as raking some leaves and hanging a wreath. Unfortunately, as a homeowner, getting your home ready for fall does require some other preparations should be done to prepare for a new season. Follow along in this month’s blog for quick tips on other things you should address inside and outside of the house before the snow flies.

Check Windows and Doors

Before winter hits make sure to check for any drafts. Make sure that you don’t have any holes or broken wood around your doors or windows. If you do notice a draft or come across some wood that needs to be replaced, you should make sure to fix it before you have to turn the thermostat on. You may just need to reseal the weather stripping around the door if it’s a small draft. Check all the windows and sliding doors as well. Leaky windows can lead to chilly drafts and elevated utility bills in the cold winter months. There are lots of different options for sealing the windows, such as specialized foam tape or door sweeps. It is important not to forget the garage when you are checking doors as well.

Clean Your Windows and Screens

If you plan it appropriately, you will be able to check the window seals when you are cleaning your windows. Having dirty windows blocks the sun’s rays and hurts the energy efficiency of your home. If you want to clean your screens, now is a good time to do it while you’re already washing the windows and while the weather is still warm.

Clean Your Gutters

One of the first things on your end-of-summer list should be to clean your rain gutters. Rain gutters can get filled with dirt, leaves, sticks and other debris that may have piled up over the season. You want to make sure you keep your gutters clean so that they don’t get clogged. Clogged gutters can’t let rainwater flow where it is supposed to go and so it runs over the edge and could potentially run over the side and erode the siding or seep into the windows.

Store Your Flower Pots

As your potted annuals come to the end of their season, throw the plant and dirt in your compost and clean out your pots for winter storage so that they will be ready for the next season.

Clean Outdoor Surfaces

Give your walkway, driveway, sidewalks and patio area a good sweep to get rid of all the dirt and debris. Then spray the surfaces down with your pressure washer and some soap, and you can make your outdoor surfaces sparkle again.

Wipe Down Your Outdoor Furniture

Over the course of the summer, your outdoor furniture can get quite dirty from rain, dust and general use. Hopefully, you will be able to use it for a while longer, but before you pack it up for the winter, make sure to scrub it with some warm soapy water and a cloth to get it clean.

Clean Your Outdoor Furniture Cushions

Don’t forget to give your cushions a wash before you store them for the winter. Mix some dish detergent, Borax, and warm water in a bucket and scrub with a hard bristle brush. Then rinse the cushions and allow them to dry in the sun.

Clean Your Grill

After months of summer BBQs, your grill can end up pretty dirty and in need of a good clean. Before you store your grill for the winter, give it a good scrub so that you don’t attract any unwanted critters while it’s out of use.

Clean and Organize Your Garage

If at the beginning of every season you take a little bit of time to clean up and organize your garage, then it becomes a small task that prepares you for all the activities in the coming season.

Service Summer Equipment

Before storing spring and summer equipment, clean and service it or take it to a small engine repair shop for maintenance. If you choose to do it yourself, drain and change engine oil and safely dispose of the old oil. Unused fuel left in gas tanks over the winter can go stale and even damage the equipment. Before storing equipment, add a fuel stabilizer to the gas tank, then run the equipment to distribute it. Turn the engine off, allow the machine to cool, then restart and run until the gas tank is empty. Make sure that you have made space to store all summer equipment so that you aren’t tripping over it all weekend.

Prepare Winter Equipment

If you plan on using a snow blower this winter, make sure to do the appropriate maintenance and have it ready to go before the snow flies. Make sure you have salt on hand and a snow shovel if needed as well.

Summer Vehicles Storage

If you are a motorcyclist or an ATV enthusiast parking your machines for the winter, you should make sure you have a space ready to store them, and if you have the option to cover them for the winter, I would suggest doing that.

Prepare your Mudroom

As summer comes to an end and we need to trade flip flops and shorts for winter boots and coats, it is important to remember that you will need a space for these boots and coats so that they don’t end up taking over your mudroom. Make sure you’re prepared for this season change.

Clean Heat Registers and Vents

You can choose to do this yourself or hire a professional to clean them out, which I recommend if it has been a while since they have been cleaned. If you want to clean your vents yourself, take your vacuum and vacuum over each heat register to clear out any dirt, dust or debris that has settled in over the summer months. Keeping your vents clean helps your furnace run more efficiently.

Inspect Your Furnace

This one doesn’t generally take long, but it should be something you do on a yearly basis. Do a basic check of your furnace and if anything looks abnormal to you, you should call in a professional to take a look. Save yourself the added cost and be proactive. Now would be a good time to put in a new filter too if you haven’t recently. Replacing your furnace’s filter is a key to keeping your system running smoothly. Make sure you know what type of filter you need before buying a new one, as there are lots of different options available.

Clean Your Humidifiers

If you actively use a humidifier, especially during the dry winter months, you should make sure to clean it periodically. Clean the nozzles and change the water filter.

I hope you can use these tips to have your home ready for fall and winter. I’d like to hear from you; What are some things that you make sure to do to prepare for fall? Leave it in the comments!

40 Things That Can Go Now For a More Organized Life

Decluttering can seem like a daunting task to complete. You may know that you need to declutter and get rid of excess stuff, but figuring out where to start can be challenging. Hopefully, you can use this list to help you start working on creating a more organized home with less clutter!

  1. Clothes – If they are too small or you don’t wear them anymore, it’s an excellent time to donate. 

  1. Unmatched socks – Unless you only like wearing one sock, then to each their own! 

  1. Old purses & wallets Let me reassure you that even though a spare can be nice, you will most likely not be reaching for that old bag that you decided to replace. 

  1. Shoes – If they don’t fit correctly or are replaced with new shoes, they no longer serve a purpose.

  1. Worn out pillows or sheets – Flat pillows and holey sheets are a no-go!

  1. Broken cords or cords that hang around for months, possibly even years, and serve no known purpose. 

  1. Books – Keep your favourites, but rehome the rest.

  1. Movies – If you have watched them but know you won’t watch them again, you can donate or sell them. 

  1. VHS Tapes – Sadly, some of you won’t even know what these are. But for those of you that do and don’t have access to a VHS player, it is time to let them go! Even the most special memories saved on VHS can now be converted to digital files! 

  1. Magazines that you have read and will just collect dust on the shelf.

  1. Medals and Trophies – As rewarding as that trophy may have been to win back in junior high, it probably doesn’t hold the same value anymore as it used to, and it may be time to let it go. (It is always a good idea to ask if the organization refurbishes trophies and reuses them before throwing them out.)

  1. Gaming systems you don’t use – Don’t let your old PS4 collect dust just because you had to have the PS5. Get it up for sale on your local swap and buy.

  1. Old Phones and Electronics – Many people replace their phone at the end of a 2-year contract for a new one and throw their old ones in a drawer. If they have lots of life left, put them up for sale, don’t hang onto them until they have no value! 

  1. Old photos – Times have changed, and new technology means that you don’t have to hang onto hundreds/thousands of photos. You can spend some time scanning them and maintaining a digital copy. Switching to a digital version can help save some space and keep the pictures safe for many years to come. 

  1. Toys – Throw out broken toys & donate toys that your child(ren) has outgrown. 

  1. Cheap Knick-Knacks – This one may seem never-ending if you have kids! 

  1. Board games or card games – Games that you don’t play anymore or that are missing pieces.

  1. Plates/Bowls – Most households do not require 30 sets of dishes, so maybe it’s time to donate if you have too many extras. 

  1. Excess water bottles – A person can only use so many!

  1. Expired Food – This is something we should be checking regularly, no one wants to get sick! 

  1. Mismatched Tupperware – If it doesn’t have a mate, toss it. 

  1. Plastic grocery bags & produce bags – It can be handy to have a few, but there is no need to have a whole cupboard full of them in most circumstances.

  1. Carry-out extras – Whether it’s chopsticks, salt & pepper packets, ketchup & mustard packets, or flimsy napkins, it’s time for them to go!

  1. Empty body wash/shampoo containers or ones that you don’t use. 

  1. Expired cosmetics – Expired make-up is terrible for your skin, and expired fingernail polish can be clumpy and not usable. 

  1. Expired Medication – It can be very dangerous to consume expired Medication, so make sure you check the expiry dates!

  1. Hair tools and hair accessories that you don’t use – technology and fashion are constantly changing, so if you no longer use them, then it’s time for them to go. 

  1. Lotions or perfumes – If you are not fond of the scent or quality of them, donate.

  1. Extra decor – If you have decor that sits in storage because you don’t have space for it, then it’s time for it to go. 

  1. Halloween costumes – Hang onto these and closer to Halloween, post them on your local swap and buy!

  1. Bridesmaid dresses – that you will never ever, I repeat EVER wear again, donate!

  1. Outdated prescription glasses – If you can’t use them, please donate them! There are multiple donation options, but they all serve the same purpose of trying to help people that need prescription glasses but can’t afford them otherwise.

  1. Old Christmas and Birthday cards – As wonderful as receiving a card on any occasion can be, we can appreciate the card without keeping it forever. 

  1. Broken Zippers – Most of the time items with a broken zipper no longer serve the purpose they were intended for, and lay around collecting dust.  

  1. Cleaning products – Some cleaning products don’t work as well as we hope they will in our home, so they sit in the cupboard unused. Don’t hang onto them until they expire and no one can use them anymore. Pass them along to someone in need. 

  1. Old Documents that are now irrelevant and you don’t need to keep.

  1. Paid off bills & Old Statements – Shred them and move on. 

  1. Old receipts – As long as you don’t need them for warranty or tax returns.

  1. Corporate “Swag” – A person can only use so many fridge magnets, pens and tote bags! 

  1. Old paint or stain – While keeping the left-over paint in storage for touch-ups can be smart initially, it doesn’t last forever. 

This list doesn’t come close to covering everything you could get rid of in your home. However, hopefully, it will give you an excellent start to a more organized life! 

I’d love to hear from you, what items do you think are the best to get rid of first? Be sure to leave it in the comments!

Secrets to Getting Your Child to Clean

Secrets to Getting Your Child to Clean
Make Cleaning Fun!

A child’s brain subconsciously loves structure, routine, and stability. So the best way to get your child to help with cleaning is to be consistent, make it a part of your routine, and have fun with it! Follow along to learn some easy secrets to getting your child to clean and have fun all at the same time. 

Keep the Expected Job Within their Capability

It is essential to create a consistent routine for our children and teach them to clean up after themselves, but we need to make sure our expectations are realistic. Cleaning up after your child when they can do it themselves tells them that they don’t have to do it because someone else will. And truthfully, this will only create more work for you now and in the long run. On the other hand, if your expectations are too high and they cannot complete the task you’re asking them to do, they will feel frustrated, hurt, and discouraged when you have to redo their hard work.

Keep it Short and Sweet

I know very few people who enjoy cleaning for hours on end, and I have never met a child who would be capable of cleaning for hours, let alone enjoy it. So ensure not to overload your child with too much at once. Create a routine that includes cleaning daily or every other day. By doing this, you will keep the cleaning intervals shorter, and you will find much less resistance from your children.

Organize The Space Where Children Will be Expected to Help

Children will become overwhelmed quickly when you ask them to tidy up a room if they don’t know where to put everything (even if you have told them 500 times where something goes). This reminder brings our conversation back to the importance of organization and decluttering your home! Make sure that everything in your home has a place; this includes toys. You can label bins accordingly to accommodate the child(ren) that will be cleaning up. Make sure to include pictures on your labels for children that can’t read yet. Keeping everything organized and labeled will help ensure their toys make it back to where they belong and leave your child feeling independent, confident, and competent.

A Little Friendly Competition

If you have two or more kids, then this will be something you probably see them often do all on their own. Now, it’s time to use it to your advantage! Set a timer and see who can pick up the most toys in said time or split the room in half and see who can get their side put away first. Sometimes adding competition into cleaning will add a new element that makes it a bit more exciting. 

Add Some Music to Your Cleaning Time

Make cleaning a little more enjoyable for everyone and add some music! Listening to upbeat music that your child enjoys can make cleaning more pleasurable, but it also helps us complete the task quicker. Let your child sing and dance to their favorite tunes while cleaning, and it will decrease cleaning time and leave them in a better mood than when they started.

Don’t Be Scared to Offer a Little Help

We know as adults how daunting a huge list of to-dos can be. We shouldn’t be surprised that a child will also feel overwhelmed by a long list of tasks or a mess that spreads from one end of the living room to another. Sharing the job and helping guide them can make it feel less overwhelming to all people involved. I am not suggesting that you clean the mess for your child, but there is a lot of benefit to you offering to help them. I think you may be pleasantly surprised by the result. Soon enough, they will reach out and ask to help with your tasks, such as drying the dishes after you have washed them, or join in and help you fold and put away the laundry. Most children tend to mock the behaviours they see, so if you’re often offering to lend a hand, they will likely repeat this behaviour in the future. You will also get to spend valuable time with your child and them with you. Quality time seems to be hard to find in a world moving so fast all the time; take advantage of it.

Give Them Options

Doing the same chore over and over can become redundant quickly and feel more like a punishment than a chore. Give your child the ability to choose which chore(s) they would like to do. Unfortunately, you may need to gently remind them that “none” is not an option on the list. You can allow them to choose between jobs that you have already predetermined they are capable of doing. Most kids love to help, and they love feeling like they are contributing to the household.

Beat the Clock Challenge

Set a timer and challenge your child to beat the clock. Suggest a specific task and set the timer for a predetermined amount of time. For example, “Can you pick up all the dinosaurs in one minute?” or “Can you clean your room in under one hour?” You get the idea; Make it fun! If you want, you could even offer a reward if they can manage to accomplish the task in said amount of time.

Cleaning does not have to be the daunting task that we sometimes make it out to be. Make it a family affair where you can engage with each other and have fun. Having your child do chores consistently will also teach them critical skills that will be valuable to them now and for the rest of their lives. Remember that sometimes even with help, you can still feel overwhelmed by your space. If you lack space due to clutter and find it hard to function in your home, let us help! Check out our website to see our storage solutions available and see which options can help you have the space you deserve! At Crate It Storage, we provide our customers with affordable small storage services with the most value.

How To: Spring Cleaning Tasks in 30 Minutes or Less

Man vacuuming steps with leaves. Spring cleaning tasks from Crate it Storage. Calgary, Alberta.

Spring is when all things become fresh again — including your home! But the thought of a big cleanup can be intimidating, especially if you’ve got a larger home. 

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12 Ways to Make Your Large House Feel Cozy

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Is there a way to make a big home into a cozy one? 

According to one statistic, Canadians fall third behind the US and Australia as holding the highest average size of residential homes throughout the world. With that in mind, its citizens are the least desirous of larger homes. 

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How to Keep Clutter at Bay This Christmas

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Christmas is the season of gifts galore, which means your home could easily turn into a cave of clutter instead of an unburdened, snowy abode. 

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8 Tips to Prepare Your Home for the Holiday Season

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The holidays might have you happily buried in gifts and decorations, but it might also leave you with a mess. As the end of the year falls upon you, here’s how you can prepare your home for the last couple of months. 

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Must-Have Items for Your Fall Cleaning Checklist

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14 Innovative Storage Ideas for Small Spaces

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A smaller space often means a smaller carbon footprint, but there are challenges to this unique lifestyle. You might also find yourself renting or living in a home where some of the rooms were space-deprived. 

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9 Decluttering Projects to Tackle Before Summer Ends

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How to Stay Motivated While Working From Home

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Working from home might have been exciting at first, but like everything else, the novelty of the experience can soon wear off. None of us expected to be in the situation we’re in today. 

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10 Things That Are Making Your House Look Cheap

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Home design is a ticklish task when you’re on a budget. While you’re eager to make your house look and feel like you, sometimes it’s just not possible due to finances. 

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10 Easy Ways to Organize your Office when Working From Home

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For many of us, the lines between work and home have been blurred due to COVID-19. It’s not just about balance anymore. Those of us new to remote work now have to adjust to a completely different lifestyle. 

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How to Declutter Your Home while You Self-Quarantine during Coronavirus

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As you self-isolate during the coronavirus pandemic, a Netflix binge can only go on for so long until your brains turn to mush and you need something else to occupy it. 

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Top 20 Bathroom Organization Tips to Accelerate Your Get-Ready Routine

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Large or small, your bathroom is the place to be at least three times a day (most likely, more). So the more organized it is, the better for you to get in and out as quickly as possible — if you’re not lounging in the bath, that is.

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5 Secrets to Packing your Christmas Décor, Properly

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Ten Tips for Downsizing Your Space

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How to Get Rid of The Holiday Clutter

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Storage Units Can Help You During the Holidays-Here’s How!

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Storage Solutions for Businesses Large and Small

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