Downsizing has become a popular move to make for many in recent years, but even more so today, in a post-pandemic world. Individuals and businesses alike have come across a new found value for the space in which they live and work, and maximizing the use of their space has become a top priority.
Faced with a pandemic, working from home has become a common reality. Spending more time at home has led many to re-evaluate their space, discovering a need to open it and minimize the unnecessary items they live amongst.
This common reality is one that may continue long after shutdowns, lockdowns, and the threat of the covid-19 virus is neutralized. Businesses have been downsizing their office space in conjunction with ‘stay-at-home’ orders. As the world adapts to the pandemic, space and our use of it has been changing dramatically.
To accommodate our shifting relationship with the space around us, residents and businesses alike have been turning to self-storage to provide the solutions. As leaders in the mobile storage industry in Eastern Ontario, we at Box Me Up have compiled some of the best solutions for utilizing self-storage for any downsizing project – and for any project that wants to make smaller spaces feel bigger.
Relative spaces and the real question
Preparing to move into a smaller space needs to begin by assessing the amount of space your current home or business has relative to the amount the new one will have. Considering, say, the main room or rooms is obvious, but the bigger question really is about the amount of storage space the two spaces provide. So don’t forget to consider carefully spaces like closets, storage lockers, garages, filing areas, etc., and how much all that will hold relative to the old space.
Considering spaces in their entirety and in terms of how much they can hold (i.e., in terms of storage space), puts focus on the often overlooked items that have been hidden away and can be the difference-makers when you move into the new space. That focus will provide a more accurate determination of what items the new, smaller space will truly not have the room for.
If you are downsizing your home or business, then self-storage is the clear solution to retain items you need to keep while moving into a smaller space. Comparing the two in their entirety, and asking the right question, therefore allow you to also start to consider the size of storage unit you are likely to require for the transition.
Be as organized in advance as possible
Downsizing your home or office means that organization is going to be the key to your success. After determining the relative space you are likely to lose at the new location, you then need to determine how much space you likely require.
Always begin by creating an inventory of your belongings. Create a spreadsheet or a list with the following groupings: “New Place,” “Donation/Recycling,” “Storage,” and “Garbage.” Be honest with the new space. You’ve already determined the sorts of (relative) spaces you are losing, so now it’s really about determining what can and cannot go in the new space, and what is necessary to keep.
Your intent is to know how many storage items you will be left with once you fill the new space and discard of unnecessary items. This will allow you to plan and budget your move accordingly. An inventory is an indispensable tool for organizing yourself in advance. It will provide insight into how your space is used, whether you will truly require additional storage for your new space, and how much storage space that might be.
The mobile solution
Moving into a smaller space means you’ve likely concluded that storage space will be required to accommodate your move without losing important items. Accomplishing this is a daunting task, but utilizing mobile storage is a solution that can have a large impact on the ease of any downsizing move.
Creating an inventory is incredibly useful, but being able to shuffle storage items out of the way immediately is a huge benefit to the entire process. Renting a mobile container allows you to do this. Arrange to have the container brought to your home or business ahead of time, and then take as much time as you like slowly going through and making decisions in a manageable manner.
In the end, you’ll have loaded your storage unit without really noticing. And you also won’t notice that you never had to load and unload a truck to bring your items to your storage unit – until, of course, you realize that you don’t have to do it. Mobile storage cuts that entirely from the equation, allowing you to concentrate properly on making the tough decisions: what items should stay, and where the remaining items should go.
What should stay?
A large number of your items are quite obviously coming with you to the space. Perhaps something like a rug from the main room will not fit in the new, downsized space, and you will need to decide on whether you are going to be purchasing a new rug and storing the old one, or whether you are going to resell or donate it. That too though should be fairly easy to determine in advance.
Is there any storage space at the new place? Maximizing your use of the storage space there is a priority, and is very useful for seasonal items or files that you do not need regular access to. That said, be wary of common areas in some buildings, especially if you intend to store anything particularly valuable. Theft can be prevalent in some buildings, so be sure the building is equipped with a professional security system and ask around to other tenants about any history the building has had with theft.
The most difficult decisions will likely be with luxury and/or sentimental belongings. These are the items that are perfect for storage, but are also the sorts of items you are inclined to want in the new space. Of course, compromises will be necessary, so be realistic with the relative space you are working with, and weigh the benefits and problems those items bring with them into the smaller space.
What should go in storage?
Thankfully, renting a storage unit will ensure you can keep all of those luxury and sentimental items that will not fit in the new space. You still have them for whenever you can find the room for them.
Storage houses items for their future use, and in your current situation this is certainly what you need. Plan to keep those items you no longer need currently – extra desks and chairs or additional beds or cabinets – but can prove fruitful in the future when you expand your business or welcome back your staff or send your children off to university.
Keep significant furniture items that can be of use to you or someone you know in the future, along with the luxury and sentimental belongings. Others are likely to be clutter, so dispose of those in appropriate ways, by donating or recycling where possible.
The less you have in a space, the larger the space becomes. Maximizing your use of space, and, in particular, your storage space, is the best way to achieve a smooth and successful downsizing. Mobile storage, moreover, allows you to achieve that in the easiest and least time-consuming way possible.
Box Me Up is Eastern Ontario’s expert in mobile storage. We work with spaces every day, and we can help you with your space. Learn more about Box me Up’s mobile storage program here, or contact us directly with your storage needs.