The Renter's Bent New to self storage and looking for solutions? Curious about this relatively modern trend in American life? Want to know what motivates the StorageFront team? StorageFront's blog is a helpful mix of tips and tales for renters, conjured up by our own diverse team of writers. Fri, 25 Apr 2014 16:54:32 +0000 en hourly 1 Lessons Learned with College-Level Organization Thu, 03 Apr 2014 16:55:30 +0000 GuestBlogger Today’s guest post was written by Keith Gillogly from DormCo!

Learning the importance of staying organized is one of the most valuable lessons that college can teach. Anyone who’s gone to school and lived in a dorm has realized just how much stuff you’ll need for school. You’ll have to efficiently pack, organize, and keep track of all those things, from school supplies to clothes to everyday bathroom supplies. While properly storing all that stuff—especially if you use a storage unit!—requires organization too, your day-to-day management of all those college supplies and of college life itself provides a great lesson in organization.

If you live in a dorm room, it won’t be the first time you’ll have your own living space, as you probably had or perhaps shared a room back home. Yet even if you lived in a small apartment, that little dorm room will likely be the smallest living space you’ve yet inhabited. Let’s be honest, this is probably the result of your school maximizing on space by minimizing room size, but either way, it’s a great first test of organization. Any student who lets his or her clothes, folders, books, and other school and college supplies pile up all over the place quickly learns just how inefficient it is to live in such clutter. You’ll be late for class due to lost time looking for missing items! Plus, even if you shared a room with an equally sloppy sibling, your new roommate probably won’t appreciate the mess. Therefore, organization becomes an indicator of responsibility.

Yet organization in college extends beyond the walls of your dorm room. Managing your class schedule is itself an exercise in organization. Merely scheduling your classes takes some rather extensive planning. You’ll have to try and squeeze in all sorts of required classes and take them at all different times throughout the day. Taken as a whole, your everyday schedule can feel like a chaotic conundrum at first. Yet it teaches another great lesson on organization: with a little practice, it’s not so bad! You’ll be checking a printout of your schedule daily, and next thing you’ll know, you’ll have it memorized. It also shows that even such mundane tasks as following a set schedule can seem intimidating at first, but aren’t so bad after taking some time to learn.

The examples of how college life teaches and calls for organization are infinite. Remember, even when organization feels unattainable, sometimes it’s best to take a step back and appreciate the Zen-like quality that organization provides. With a little work, planning, and practice, organization results in more convenience and peacefulness later on. This idea, of course, can be applied to all that end-of-the-school-year dorm stuff. Keep it all safely and neatly stored, and you’ll save future hassle and headache by keeping organization at the forefront.

About DormCo:

DormCo is an online college dorm supplies store that carries anything and everything needed for college dorm life. From bedding to dorm furniture to cool dorm items you won’t find in stores, check out DormCo’s more than 4,500 college supplies and $2.95 shipping on orders. Read more of Keith’s posts on Dormco’s blog.

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Organize Your Finances by Organizing Your Space Tue, 01 Apr 2014 21:45:56 +0000 Tim Schlee What’s your number one reason for cleaning your house this spring? I’ll tell you what it should be:


That’s right. Cleaning your house and staying organized can save you money in ways you might never have suspected. There are other good reasons to avoid clutter – you want to set a good example for your kids or you’re tired of being embarrassed when you have friends over – but money is something everyone needs and most don’t have enough of. Yet it’s not always the first thing that comes to mind when you whip out the broom and dustpan.

Well, it should be. Here are six ways that organizing your space can help you organize your finances.

1. Organizing Your Bills Will Help You Avoid Late Fees

Seems simple, right? There’s no reason to pay interest on your credit card just because you forgot to pay your bill before the month was up. It’s a complete waste of money. Similarly, there’s no reason I should have paid for a tow truck when the timing belt on my car finally went out. It had been whistling for months! If I had kept my priorities straight and taken care of my car’s scheduled maintenance, I could have saved that money.

To get you started, here are a few ways to organize your bills and appointments:

  • If possible, set up autopay so you don’t have to worry about forgetting a payment.
  • Keep folders for your various bills and statements and immediately file them when they come in the mail. Leaving them all in one big stack is a recipe for disaster.
  • Write down important bills or expenses on a calendar, in your planner, or even in your phone.

2. Cleaning Your Kitchen Makes Eating Cheaper and Healthier

A messy kitchen is hard to cook in. When it’s hard to cook, it’s easy to eat out. The problem is that you’re wasting tons of money every time you go to a restaurant. Even a dollar cheeseburger at McDonald’s is cheaper to make at home.

An added benefit to staying in is that you’ll likely make healthier food choices as well, since you can control the amount of fat, salt, sugar, and other ingredients in everything you make. This in turn will reduce and prevent health problems and give you more energy throughout the day to be more productive, so the savings reach far beyond the immediate reduction in your grocery bill!

How do I clean my kitchen, you ask?

  • Clear off all clutter. (This is where organizing your bills comes into play.)
  • Regularly clean out all spaces with perishable foods, e.g. your refrigerator, pantry, etc.
  • Wash your dishes as soon as they’re dirty. If you have a dishwasher, run it regularly.

3. Staying Organized Prevents Duplicate Purchases

Another benefit of cleaning your kitchen is that you won’t rush to the store thinking you’re out of popcorn only to find a full box of it buried deep at the back of the pantry. You know what you have, so you only buy what you need. This is true of the entire house, of course. Unorganized clothes, toiletries, tools, cleaning supplies, etc. are routinely the cause of duplicate purchases, which are a complete waste of money!

Some tips for avoiding unnecessary spending on items you already have:

  • Get rid of your junk drawer.
  • Organize your closet by color-coding clothes and making use of shoe storage containers.

4. You Can Save Money by Cutting Down on Trips to the Store

Have you ever found yourself racing to the grocery store before dinner because you realized you were out of flour after poring through the cupboard for fifteen minutes? Get organized! Not only would you be a lot less stressed and get dinner finished on time, but you’d save the gas you just burned up making an extraneous trip out of the house.

If you’re clean and organized, you know what you have at home and what you need. This allows you to tackle all of your shopping at once instead of racing around town every time you realize something’s missing. The key is writing things down:

  • Plan what you want to cook each week before you go to the grocery store.
  • Keep a list of items you’re out of or low on so you don’t forget them next time you go shopping.
  • Take an afternoon or evening and knock out all your shopping at once.

5. Clutter at Work Could Cost You a Raise

It’s not fair, of course, but workers with messy desks are routinely perceived in a negative light.  Even if you know where everything is in that mountain of papers around you, your boss doesn’t and might assume the worst. It might be an extra nuisance to keep your desk clean and get all your work done, but come performance review season, you want to be the one walking away with a bigger paycheck.

Here are some tips to keep your desk or office neat:

  • Assign work zones within your office so each type of task can have its own space.
  • Make sure you have adequate storage for all your paper documents and office supplies.
  • Keep cords out of sight.

6. Being Organized Increases Your Intentionality

Perhaps the biggest benefit of all is the change you’ll see in your mindset. The more aware you become of what’s in your home and why, the less likely you’ll be to make impulsive purchases. Spending mental and physical energy on organization will save you time and money later on when you stop to think whether you really need another pair of Sperry Top-siders when you rarely wear the ones you have. You’ll become a more intentional shopper with an intimate awareness of what you truly need and what’s merely impulse spending.

There are some small steps you can take to becoming more intentional, in addition to staying organized at home:

  • Don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry. Let your brain determine how much you spend on food, not your stomach.
  • Take a list with you when you shop, even if you’re just running to the drugstore for some tissues.
  • Go shopping before work (or some other engagement), not after. This way you won’t have time to dilly-dally and buy things you don’t need.

Cleaning and organizing are great for your health and mental well-being, but they’re also great for your wallet! By keeping your household organized, you can avoid late fees and pointless trips to the store. In the process, you’ll morph into a better, smarter, more intentional shopper who wastes less time wandering department stores and more time counting the money in his or her bank account. Doesn’t that sound great?

Of course it does! So do yourself and your budget a favor and get organized!

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Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon: Self Storage Edition Wed, 26 Mar 2014 17:06:38 +0000 Tim Schlee Ben Franklin famously said that only two things in life are certain: death and taxes. But there’s one thing the Founding Father and polymath forgot, the third grand truth of reality: Everyone is just six degrees from Kevin Bacon.

Even in the storage industry.

To prove it, I’ve compiled a list of storage facilities that are all within six degrees of Kevin Bacon. Special thanks to the Oracle of Bacon for making my research a lot easier.

Manhattan Mini Storage

Located, as you might have guessed, in New York City, Manhattan Mini Storage had the misfortune of renting to one Jonathan Shaw, a tattoo artist employed by many celebrities, including Johnny Depp. In 2011, Shaw was arrested for illegally amassing a stash of guns, knives, and ammunition in his storage unit. Here’s how it relates to Kevin Bacon:

  1. Manhattan Mini Storage rented a unit to Jonathan Shaw
  2. Jonathan Shaw tattooed Johnny Depp
  3. Johnny Depp was in Ed Wood (1994) with Don Hood
  4. Don Hood was in End of the Line (1987) with Kevin Bacon

Uncle Bob’s Self Storage

Uncle Bob’s Self Storage regularly hosts signings and other events for famous athletes at their various facilities. Their location in North Richland Hills, Texas recently brought in Dallas Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee to sign autographs. Here’s the breakdown:

  1. Uncle Bob’s Self Storage hosted Sean Lee
  2. Sean Lee went to Pennsylvania State University, the alma mater of John Aniston (father of Jennifer Aniston)
  3. John Aniston was in Order Up (2007) with Illeana Douglas
  4. Illeana Douglas was in Stir of Echoes (1999) with Kevin Bacon

Self Storage Center

Self Storage Center could have been a movie star. As the setting of the comedy-horror film Self Storage (2013), the East Greenwich, Rhode Island facility was on the fast track to fame and celebrity. Unfortunately, the film was universally panned and scarcely attended. Maybe if Kevin Bacon was in it…

  1. Self Storage Center was the setting of Self Storage, starring Eric Roberts as the lead villain
  2. Eric Roberts was in The Hot Flashes (2013) with Emily D. Haley
  3. Emily D. Haley was in My Dog Skip (2000) with Kevin Bacon

Your Self Storage

In contrast to Self Storage Center, Your Self Storage starred in a classic: The Silence of the Lambs (1991). Unfortunately, the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania facility recently went up for auction, so its days of fame may soon be gone.

  1. Your Self Storage was used in filming The Silence of the Lambs, starring Anthony Hopkins
  2. Anthony Hopkins was in Meet Joe Black (1998) with Eric Bruno Borgman
  3. Eric Bruno Borgman was in Mystic River (2003) with Kevin Bacon

Budget Storage

Keeping in the cinematic vein, a couple of Budget Storage facilities in North Carolina were the setting of indie film Esposito (2011), a light-hearted romance about a man who buys a woman’s storage unit at auction and then uses what he finds to woo her. Even the indie circuit is never far from Kevin Bacon:

  1. Budget Storage is the setting of Esposito, starring Stephan Monteserin
  2. Stephan Monteserin was in The Last Passport (2009) with Toochukwu T.C. Anyachonkeya
  3. Toochukwu T.C. Anyachonkeya was in Iron Man Three (2013) with Nate Bynum
  4. Nate Bynum was in My Dog Skip (2000) with Kevin Bacon

Switzer’s Locker Room

When Barry Switzer retired from coaching professional football with the Dallas Cowboys, he made the obvious move any head coach would make: He started a chain of storage facilities. Switzer’s Locker Room operates 12 locations in Oklahoma, and, you guessed it, they’re less than six degrees from Kevin Bacon:

  1. Switzer’s Locker Room was founded by Barry Switzer
  2. Barry Switzer coached at the University of Oklahoma for 16 years
  3. Ed Harris attended the University of Oklahoma
  4. Ed Harris was in Apollo 13 (1995) with Kevin Bacon

Linkletter Self Storage

Another celebrity storage owner is late television host Art Linkletter, whose credits include CBS’s House Party and NBC’s People Are Funny. His storage facilities spread throughout the Los Angeles, California area. Unfortunately, Kevin Bacon was only ten when House Party ended, so he never had the chance to appear on Linkletter’s show.

  1. Linkletter Self Storage was founded by television host Art Linkletter
  2. Art Linkletter was in the documentary When the World Breaks (2010) with Paul Dooley
  3. Paul Dooley was in Telling Lies in America (1997) with Kevin Bacon

Ironbound Road Mini Storage

NFL quarterback Michael Vick is famous – and infamous – for a number of things, but his storage unit that went up for auction at Ironbound Road Mini Storage seems to have slipped under the radar. The Williamsburg, Virginia facility sold the unit back in 2008, after Vick declared bankruptcy while serving a 23-month prison sentence on dog fighting charges. Kevin Bacon, of course, would not approve.

  1. Ironbound Road Mini Storage auctioned storage unit rented by Michael Vick
  2. Michael Vick plays for the New York Jets, an NFL franchise owned by Woody Johnson
  3. In 2009, Woody Johnson married former actress Suzanne Ircha
  4. Suzanne Ircha was in Pontiac Moon (1994) with Keith MacKechnie
  5. Keith MacKechnie was in Frost/Nixon (2008) with Kevin Bacon

Eighteenth Street Self Storage

In another tale of scandal and intrigue, Eighteenth Street Self Storage received a shock in 2009 when police raided one of their units rented by the doctor of then recently deceased Michael Jackson. Dr. Conrad Murray was suspected of manslaughter, so police searched his Houston, Texas storage unit and office. He was eventually convicted and served two years in prison. Somewhere in all the mess, we inevitably come to Kevin Bacon.

  1. Eighteenth Street Self Storage rented a unit to Dr. Conrad Murray
  2. Dr. Murray was employed by Michael Jackson
  3. Michael Jackson was in Moonwalker (1988) with Joe Pesci
  4. Joe Pesci was in JFK (1991) with Kevin Bacon

There you have it, folks. People have said that Kevin Bacon is the center of the entertainment universe, but I’d wager he’s the center of the self storage universe as well. No matter who you are or where you’re located, it’s likely you can count on one hand the number of steps between yourself and the famous actor.

How is your storage facility linked to Kevin Bacon?

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The Psychology behind Spring Cleaning Thu, 20 Mar 2014 20:22:57 +0000 Andrea Hewitt I think we can all agree that there are two different kinds of people in the world: messy and clean. You can look around your office or home and it’s probably easy to group everyone into these two categories. If you’re a clean person, it’s probably much easier for you to identify those of us that enjoy clutter.

With spring cleaning sneaking up, this is probably a point of contention in your life. Your coworkers or roommates might have a different idea of which of your collectibles from the year should be kept, thrown away or moved into a storage unit.

That’s because everyone reacts to clutter differently. Some people function better in a messy home or office. For others, clutter can lead to depression and anxiety. Keep this in mind and try to respect others’ feelings during spring cleaning season.

Spring Cleaning at the Homestead

Feng shui consultant Kathryn Weber says living in a cluttered space can have a very negative impact on your mental health but can also impact your physical health.

“Dirty, cluttered houses can make you fatigued, constipated, have back pain, and congested. Not just because there’s stuff everywhere, but because there is dust on all that stuff — and dust is nothing but negative energy.” – Kathryn Weber

So not only could your clutter be mentally exhausting for your roommates, but you could all be inhaling each other’s dead skin cells. Still need more reasons to move your excess belongings to storage?

The perks of a clean, de-cluttered home:

  1. You’ll get active. Researchers have known for years that exercise can curb depression and anxiety, but you don’t have to do it on the treadmill. A recent study found that 20 straight minutes of intense cleaning once a week could cut your likeliness to suffer from anxiety by 20 percent.
  2. You’ll de-stress. According to an article in Psychology Today, “Clutter bombards our minds with excessive stimuli (visual, olfactory, tactile), causing our senses to work overtime on stimuli that aren’t necessary or important.” Not only that but it leads to feelings of guilt and embarrassment when others stop by. You can cut out these feelings by taking a couple minutes a day to make sure everything is picked up.
  3. You’ll feel less tired. Looking around at all your clutter is a visual and psychological drain on your brain. Living in a clean home can give you more energy.

Spring Cleaning at the Office

Although it’s proven to be better for your mental health to have a clean home, that’s not exactly the case with your office or desk. In fact, Albert Einstein might be your biggest advocate if you hold the title of the messiest coworker:

If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?

He’s not our only ally. Two big wigs in the tech industry, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, have also been spotted sporting a cluttered workspace.

Mark Zuckerberg's dirty, cluttered, messy desk.

Steve Job's dirty, cluttered, messy desk.

But the question still remains: Is it better to have a clean or cluttered desk? University of Minnesota conducted a study that found employees with messy desks are more likely to be creative and take risks. Their clean counterparts are rule followers that are less likely to try new things.

The authors of the study told The New York Times magazine, “Disorderly environments seem to inspire breaking free of tradition, which can produce fresh insights.”

So if you want to boost your creativity, try to let the clutter be and see how it affects your work. But this theory doesn’t work for everyone. For example, if you are OCD, you’ll function better with a clean desk and everything in the right place.

Social Perception

One thing to remember about having a messy desk is that it can affect how people view your level of professionalism. The International Association of Administrative Professionals did a study that found 83 percent of professionals judge others on the state of their desks.

“A tidy desk won’t necessarily boost your career, but a messy one can leave a bad impression on colleagues,” said Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam.

"By taking simple steps to organize your workspace, you also will be able to find materials more easily and increase your productivity."

So you might find yourself in a more creative headspace, but at what cost?

Overcoming the Barriers

A recent Yale study found that it is literally painful for some people to get rid of their excess belongings. Researchers tracked the brain patterns of self-described hoarders and non-hoarders going through a pile of mail and deciding what to throw out. Two areas of the brain showed increased activity for the hoarders: the same two that create cravings for smokers and drug addicts trying to quit.

“When I read this very specific finding, I had an instant feeling of recognition. I know that neural signature.”

“Both of these regions of the brain are associated with conflict and pain—and you see the same pattern of brain activation in other forms of psychological pain.” – Dr. Kelly McGonigal wrote in Psychology Today.

McGonigal says that the best way to overcome this physical urge to not clean or de-clutter is to be aware of your brain activities. She says that mindfulness gives you more control over your actions. Once you recognize what the problem is, it’s much easier to overcome.

Getting Started

If you’ve decided to make the change to a de-cluttered lifestyle, use these tips to get started and keep things from getting too cluttered again.

  1. Ask yourself these three simple questions about everything you come across: Is this necessary to keep in the house? Can this be moved to my storage unit? Should this get thrown away?
  2. Don’t tackle that huge mess by yourself. Instead, make it a family event. Give everyone specific spaces to clear out and work on the project together at the same time.
  3. Make cleaning fun. Plug in your iPod and blast your favorite songs. It will make the time fly by.
  4. Create several designated spaces for things that you use often, like scissors or a hammer. Get in the habit of putting everything back in it’s space right after you use it so the clutter doesn’t start forming again.
  5. Every night when you leave work, give your workspace a quick clean. Put papers and pens back where they belong. This way, you won’t have days of clutter stacked up around your cube and you can come in to a clean space the next morning.

Whether clutter bothers you or not, talk to your roommates and coworkers about their needs. Everyone should keep in mind that what works for them won’t always work for others. If you’re a clean freak, remember that spring cleaning is much harder for a hoarder. And if you’re a hoarder, you could be physically and mentally harming yourself and your peers.

Most people won’t be one of these extremes but somewhere toward the middle of the spectrum. Take the right steps this spring to find a balance that fits every personality in your home and office.

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10 Incredible Storage Facilities Throughout the U.S. Thu, 13 Mar 2014 20:09:54 +0000 Tim Schlee What do you think of when you think of a storage facility? Do you see endless rows of identical units with the same doors, all tucked away behind the same tall security fence? It’s true – storage facilities typically aren’t the most eye-catching buildings on the block.

That’s not always the case, however. There are indeed some eye-catching storage facilities out there, from converted military bases to stunning island retreats. Here are ten of them throughout the United States.

1. City Center Self Storage

City Center Self Storage's historic building

The building that now houses City Center Self Storage was once the largest commercial warehouse between New York and Chicago. Built in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1906, its proximity to the city’s railways, its ample space, and the ease of navigation afforded by 48 freight elevators made the structure a popular place for industrial storage.

Its security features made it one of the safest places for storage in Pittsburgh, with the sixth floor being used during World War II to store military ammunition. The building experienced a resurgence in 1963. According to the City Center Self Storage website, “Renovations transformed the historic complex into a cutting-edge office space for architects, photographers, and entrepreneurs, and established it as a strong stable of local, family-owned businesses.”

City Center Self Storage is now the latest in a long line of businesses to occupy the historic building, transforming the space into a large, secure self storage facility.

City Center Self Storage hallway

2. Hangar 2

Hanger 2 Storage outline

Hangar 2 was once called Lowry Air Force Base, housing two massive hangars. In its modern incarnation, the large space has become a dining and office district right in the heart of Denver with a solar-powered storage facility at its center. The facility itself is huge, with hallways large enough to drive a vehicle right up to your unit.

Surrounding the large storage building are a number of restaurants and offices, with plenty of room for future growth. There’s even a beer garden!

Hangar 2 Storage beer garden

3. West Theater Storage

West Theater Storage

West Theater Storage looks more like a movie theater than a storage facility. That’s because, once upon a time, it was one. The owner, Mark Anderson, bought it in 2012 in a state of disrepair. The old Barberton, Ohio theater had no electricity or heat, and the roof and walls leaked. He got to work restoring the building, and now it houses indoor storage on its basement level.

4. Citadel Caverns

Citadel Caverns storage

Of all the places to convert to self storage, a secret underground cavern system used for clandestine storage by the U.S. military is not at the top of the list. Until 2013, when Citadel Caverns was created, the Atchison, Kansas caves housed reserve farm product, specialized military tools, medical supplies, and classified documents.

Now the underground space is used for a myriad of reasons. While the new business’s focus is on commercial storage, there are also above-ground RV parking spaces, a plethora of rentable offices, and even a laser tag arena. That’s right – a laser tag arena!

5. Gotham Mini Storage

Gotham Mini Storage

Not all cool storage facilities are converted from interesting historical sites. Gotham Mini Storage is a new facility in downtown New York that catches the eye not only with its striking appearance but also with its modern technological innovations.

Going a step further than most other green storage facilities, Gotham Mini Storage has installed a “cogeneration” power plant that captures surplus heat for re-use. Instead of wasting the energy, it is instead harnessed to heat water and create a more efficient system that leaves less of an environmental footprint.

It also offers some stunning views of the Manhattan skyline.

Gotham Mini Storage hallway

6. Garage Plus Storage

Garage Plus Storage

Vehicle storage is one thing, but what Garage Plus Storage does is something else entirely. From year-round heated concrete floors to a car wash large enough for semi-trucks and RVs, their facility in Spanaway, Washington is a car nut’s dream come true.

The owners have built a strong community with their facility clubhouse and frequent car shows. It’s not a place where people go to drop their cars off for several months. It’s a 24/7 workshop and hang-out spot. They even have showers, so you don’t have to go home smelly and covered in grease!

A lift inside a Garage Plus unit

7. All Aboard Storage

All Aboard Storage

Go big or go home, right? All Aboard Storage doesn’t just offer vehicle storage – they offer airplane storage. Situated just down the street from the Daytona Beach International Airport, All Aboard Storage is the perfect place for keeping personal aircraft or even running a small flight school.

That’s not the only innovative feature they offer. They also have traditional storage units with a roll-up door in the back and a storefront at the other end, so a business can set up shop and sell their inventory right where they store.

Plus it’s in sunny Daytona Beach. Who wouldn’t want to keep their stuff in such a pretty place?

All Aboard Storage landscaping

8. Bridge Storage and Art Space

Bridge Storage and Art Space gallery

Even in this day and age of modern technology, you don’t need to be on the cutting edge to be a great storage facility. Bridge Storage and Art Space found their niche in another market – the arts.

By embracing local bands and artists, they’ve solidified their place in the Richmond, California community. Their self storage spaces double as art studios and music rehearsal rooms. They even host art shows in their large gallery.

9. Storage Village Self Storage

Storage Village Self Storage

In another merging of art and storage, Storage Village took a different approach. Instead of displaying their paintings inside the facility, they painted them right onto the walls!

In an event last April, their Bethesda, Maryland location invited local artists to decorate their previously uniform roll-up doors. The result is a colorful display of community pride and creativity.

Painters at Storage Village Self Storage

10. Island Park Storage

Island Park Storage

If I had to choose just one, however, it would be Island Park Storage. Located on Treasure Island in the San Francisco Bay, the large facility specializes in personal and commercial vehicle storage, though they offer smaller indoor units as well. Perhaps their most alluring feature is the free boat launch. You can sail away directly from your storage unit!

“We thought we wouldn’t get a lot of household renters because of the location,” said owner Alex Rozkin when I spoke with him. It’s a great location for businesses, he explained, because it’s cheaper than storage locations downtown and distributors from the east side of the bay can avoid the toll to cross the bridge. “Then we started marketing it as ‘storage with a view,’” he said. “Now it’s about 50-50.”

Between the cool Mediterranean-like climate, the location – surprisingly convenient to access despite being on an island – and the verdant property, it’s surely one of the most magnificent storage experiences in the nation. Not to mention they’re completely off the power grid, functioning entirely off of solar and wind energy. And just look at that nighttime view of San Francisco!

View of downtown San Francisco

It’s not always apparent from the outside – not all facilities are as colorful as Storage Village – but the world of self storage can be quite exciting. From incredible facilities to amazing storage auction finds, there’s always something to keep us entertained over here at StorageFront!

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Need Self Storage? There’s an App for That Fri, 07 Mar 2014 17:11:03 +0000 Tim Schlee In the age of smartphones and tablets, when the entire world seems as if it can be tucked away in your pocket, the traditional self storage business model might seem a little dated. Wait, I actually have to drive to a storage facility?

Recently, however, we’ve seen a number of businesses approaching storage from a different angle. By taking control of all the steps of the storage process, from transport to the facility to retrieval from the facility, businesses such as Boxbee have presented a streamlined service that’s perfect for the hectic, urban lifestyle of America’s major cities.


It’s been called storage-by-the-bin to reflect the pricing model of most of the new companies. You order a number of bins, priced by their size, fill them at your leisure, and then watch as the storage company picks them up and takes them to their facility for you. When you need a box back, you simply pick up your phone, get on their app, and request it. Before you know it, the bin is back at your doorstep.

These types of businesses have popped up in several major U.S. cities, as well as some abroad. Here’s a brief rundown of the most notable storage-by-the-bin startups:

While not all of these employ identical logistics – for example, in addition to boxes, Clutter offers multiple sizes of vans as units of measure – the same basic idea applies to all. By eliminating the need for transportation, these apps free up time and money for busy city-dwellers, many of whom might not even own vehicles.

While the advantages are obvious, storage-by-the-bin cannot meet all the needs of traditional self storage customers. Let’s look now at the pros and cons of this new storage model.


Storage-by-the-bin bypasses a number of hindrances that might stop some people from using traditional storage, such as transportation or the large size of many storage units. Even in urban areas where storage facilities often occupy ordinary buildings that are easily accessed, the time and effort of moving in can be prohibitive. Here are the three primary benefits that many city dwellers can find in these new storage apps.

  1. You can store smaller amounts. What’s the smallest unit size at most storage facilities? You’d be hard-pressed to find a unit smaller than 5’x5’, and many don’t go below 5’x10’. What if you only need a couple of boxes’ worth of stuff in storage? Enter storage-by-the-bin. By paying for the box instead of the entire storage space, you can store smaller amounts without wasting money on space you don’t even need.
  2. You don’t need any transportation. This can be a big hindrance to traditional self storage. Many residents of major cities can rely on public transportation to get around. Many have all the things they need within walking distance. Without a car, you have to rely either on friends or a rental truck to get your belongings into storage. If a company is willing to come pick up your belongings for you, that could save you a lot of headache!
  3. You can let other people borrow your things. Boxbee in particular is pushing this idea. When you store with them, you can let friends and family request boxes and items. Boxbee will then send them the requested items so that your stuff is actually being used and not just wasting away. It’s like cloud storage, but for physical objects.


It’s not all perfect, though. For many people, especially those without the restraints that might push one toward storage-by-the-bin, traditional self storage is simply easier.

  1. It can get expensive. So you can store just a couple bins if you want, but what if you really do need a 10’x20’ unit? That’s a lot of boxes! By paying a flat monthly rate for each box you use, you might end up paying quite a bit more than if you were to use traditional storage.
  2. You can’t get things immediately. Since the storage-by-the-bin company must deliver your items back to you, you won’t be able to get the things you want immediately. Many conventional storage facilities offer 24-hour access, which allows you to stop by and grab your belongings whenever you want.
  3. You might not trust the security. When your storage company also takes care of transport and retrieval, it can create a rather long chain of possession for your belongings. A benefit of traditional storage is that you know nobody besides yourself has access to your belongings at any time.

There’s a lot to consider. If you don’t live in a city with one of these new companies, you might have to wait a while for one to pop up or expand. If you do, then you have to look at prices and weigh the convenience of no transportation with the inconvenience of waiting for requested items.

A Side-by-Side Comparison

Let’s compare Boxbee to a typical San Francisco storage facility, Stop N Stor Mini Storage.

A comparison of Boxbee and Stop N Stor.

As we can see, Boxbee charges much more per cubic foot per month, but they also provide a convenience that Stop N Stor and other traditional facilities can’t match. When you add in the cost of a rental truck, deposit, lock, and any other fees or costs, Boxbee’s flat rate begins to look a little more appealing. Even if you qualify for Stop N Stor’s free rental truck, you still have to find the time and people to make moving into a storage unit feasible.

Other Moving and Storage Apps

That’s not all in the world of storage apps! While storage-by-the-bin is the predominant model for several budding companies across the nation, others have taken a different route. Cubbyhole is an app that allows travelers to find a place to keep their bags for a day if they don’t have a hotel. By connecting those who need a brief amount of storage with people that have space in their homes, the app makes passing through a city a lot more convenient.

Similarly, buddyTruk hooks up people who are moving with people who have trucks available for a move. With the constant progression of mobile technology, it’s become easier than ever before to connect a consumer with someone who can provide the desired service.

Technology is always advancing, and it’s inevitable that new developments will change existing business models, even in a stable industry like self storage. As storage-by-the-bin companies grow, they will increasingly become a viable alternative to traditional storage. Ultimately, the competition will force us to think about what we want from our storage and how much we’re willing to pay for added convenience.

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Inspiring DIY Projects: How to Salvage Junk from Your Storage Unit Fri, 07 Mar 2014 16:54:49 +0000 Andrea Hewitt Although Storage Wars wants to convince you differently, most storage units aren’t full of treasures. They’re usually full of junk that you have an emotional attachment to and can’t find a good enough reason to throw away.

Instead of letting your belongings collect dust, channel your creativity and turn them into your latest DIY projects. Not only will it leave you extra space in your unit, but it can give extra sentimental value because you took the time to revive it.

Taking on these projects can even
quell your depression and be a great bonding opportunity for you and your significant other. Use this list of seven projects my friends and I have taken on to jumpstart your next project and get your creative juices flowing:

DIY lamp projects.



  • Old lamp
  • Spray paint
  • New lamp shade (from $10 to $100 online)
  • Rag and water

How to:
This is a really simple project that can transform your old, ugly lamp into something beautiful that you’re proud to show off. All you need to do is clean the lamp with a rag and water, spray-paint it with a color that works with your décor and buy a new lampshade. The project can be as cheap as $15 and will light up a room.

Kitchen chair DIY project. Repaint.

Kitchen table chair


  • Sandpaper
  • Spray paint
  • Possibly paint thinner and scraper
  • Rag and water

How to:
These chairs sat in my parents’ storage for at least a decade before I moved into my first post-collegiate apartment and needed something to sit on around the table I’d just built. They had an ugly, dark brown stain that I had to get rid of so the yellow wouldn’t look too dark. I poured the paint thinner on, let it sit for a while then wiped and scraped away the stain. Then I sanded them a bit and spray-painted them. It only cost approximately $20 and now guests have somewhere to sit when they visit.

Make candles with leftover mason jars



  • Mason jars
  • Soy flakes
  • Scent oil
  • Wicks/wick stands/wick holders
  • Pot
  • Wooden spoon

How to:
I’ve never tried this but definitely plan to after stumbling upon the project on my coworker’s blog. I have a ton of mason jars lying around and I assume most other people do, too. Dig them out and attempt this easy project. Center the wick inside your jar and hold it in place with anything from a pencil to a straw. Heat up the soy flakes over low to medium heat until it is all melted together. Keep stirring and don’t let it boil! Once it’s all evenly melted, stir in one ounce of scent oil per pound of soy flakes. Pour the mixture into the mason jars and let it cool. Once it’s completely cooled and hardened, cut the wick to about half an inch and you have a candle!

Make a cat bed out of an old bookshelf.

Cat bed


  • Old bookshelf
  • Spray paint
  • Wooden letters
  • Hammer
  • Nails

How to:
My apartment is overridden with two things: cats and books. So, I was surprised to find when my fiancée and I merged our large book collections that we had an extra bookshelf empty. It sat empty for a while until I was awoken eight mornings in a row at about 3:30 a.m. by cats moving around in the bed. They needed their own space to hang out.

I took the two shelves out, tossed one aside and painted the rest of the pieces. I also went to the store and found wooden letters that spelled our cats names because I’m a nerd. I spray-painted the letters a different color and let it all dry. Then I nailed the shelf in at the bottom vertically and glued on the letters. As an extra touch, I threw a pillow and a blanket in there. Even though they still bug me at night sometimes, I’ll come home at lunch and find one or both of them sleeping in there.

Repaint an old painting instead of throwing it out.



  • Paint
  • Paintbrushes

How to:
This isn’t my painting. I’m really not artistic, which you can probably tell by now, so I stole this idea from my friend. Years ago, he’d painted the picture on the left but when he moved into his new house, it didn’t go with the colors and décor. It sat in the basement for a long time before he realized he could just paint over it! He threw a layer of primer on and created this new masterpiece on the right.

Make a wall decoration out of an old cork board.

Wall decoration


  • Corkboard
  • Thumbtacks
  • Sharpie Paint Pens

How to:
We had an empty corkboard haunting our apartment for months before we decided we needed to do something about it. We looked around to see what supplies we had and found thumbtacks and Sharpie Paint Pens. Neither of us is super crafty or artistic but we decided to tackle the project together as a bonding experience. We painted approximately 400 thumbtacks one by one, painted the frame and pushed the thumbtacks into the corkboard. It was completely free because we had everything already. It might not be the most beautiful work of art, but it was really fun to do together.

Reupholster an old lounge chair as your next DIY project.

Lounge chair


  • Spray paint
  • Grommets
  • Outdoor upholstery fabric
  • Thread
  • Twisted cotton rope
  • Rotary cutter

How to:
This is another project idea I stole from a friend. She’s pretty crafty so it’s the most complex of the list. She started out by removing the old, stained fabric off the chair and spray-painting the wood. She cut the fabric, sewed up the sides, and used the rotary cutter to make holes for the grommets and stuck them in. Then she put the fabric over the chair, thread the rope through and tied off the ends. Voila!

Don’t feel limited to these ideas. The next time you go to your storage unit, walk in and take a deep look around. With a little inspiration, your junk quickly turns into projects that you’ll be proud to show off around your home!

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How To Decide What Self Storage Amenities You Need Thu, 27 Feb 2014 23:45:29 +0000 Andrea Hewitt You wouldn’t sign a lease to an apartment without making sure it had a bathroom first, would you? I challenge you to apply that same logic to renting your storage unit in regard to its amenities.

That isn’t an easy task if you don’t know what climate control protects or what a resident manager is. So, we’ve trolled through our thousands of clients’ amenities to make this comprehensive list with descriptions and situations where they are a must for renters.

Climate control

If you are storing antiques, important documents or anything that could be warped by extreme temperatures, a climate-controlled unit is right for you. These units are kept between a specified temperature range year-round. The downside is that they are usually more expensive than a traditional unit. You might also see this listed as “interior storage” but that doesn’t always mean its climate controlled. Double check with the manager to make sure.

Wine storage at storage facilities

Wine storage

If you are an avid wine collector but don’t have the space at home or you have kids running around, you can find a storage facility that has wine storage. The facility staff should be experts in wine storage so you can be confident that your wine will be stored properly.

Storage Facility open 24 hours

24-hour access

Some facilities have limited access hours during the day while others will allow you to come and go at anytime. This is important for renters that work wonky hours or want the peace of mind knowing they can pick up heirlooms or tools without waiting.

Mobile storage

Mobile storage basically brings the storage unit to you, which is perfect for someone who doesn’t want to drive a moving truck around town. Each mobile storage company offers different features, but the main idea stays the same. The company will bring you the unit then drive it back to its facility or to your next destination.

Moving and packing self storage supplies

Boxes and supplies

When you see this on a storage facility’s website, it means the facility sells moving and packing material at their office. It’s perfect for renters that don’t want to run around town searching for supplies.

Resident manager

A resident manager lives onsite, but don’t be concerned, they aren’t living in a unit. They’ll have a home or apartment on the facility, which means if you’re moving in the middle of the night and have an emergency, someone will be there to hear your screams. Or just to answer your questions.

24-hour kiosk

If you hate interacting with other human beings (or you’re busy during regular office hours), the 24-hour kiosk is the way to go. You can rent a unit and/or pay your bill anytime without having to talk to another person or rearranging your schedule.

Elevator access/ramps

These are perfect for moving in and out of interior storage. They eliminate the need for you to carry your heavy belongings up stairs. Plus, ramps make it much easier to use dollies and handcarts.

Drive-up access

These are units that you can literally back your truck up to. If you have a bad back or knees and don’t want to carry your boxes or belongings far, this would be a great option for you. Drive-up access may also be important if you’re on a tight schedule since you can pull up, load up and get going.

Get moving truck rental at storage facilities

Truck rental

If you want to rent your moving truck from the same place you’re renting your unit, look out for this amenity. It eliminates the chaos of dropping your car off and picking up a moving truck somewhere else then having to go back to that business after a tiring move. Some facilities will offer free truck rental, while others will provide a discount. You may want to check with the manager about pricing before you assume the truck is free.

Security cameras at storage facilities

24-hour security cameras

A big concern for most renters is that storage facilities can be a hotbed for crime. One way to protect your unit is to rent from a facility that keeps its security cameras running 24/7. Pair this with a resident manager to look over a fully fenced facility and you’ve found the safety trifecta.

Fenced and gated facility

This is another security measure. An electronic gate will allow only renters to enter the facility. If you’re searching online or over the phone, make sure to ask about the height and material of the fence. You don’t want it to be short enough for criminals to easily jump

Online bill pay

If you value convenience and have an Internet connection, online bill pay is right down your alley. Some facilities will still make you drop off a check or call in your payment. Don’t get stuck in the Stone Age if you like to keep things fast paced.

Covered parking at storage facilities.

Covered parking

Some facilities will boast RV, car and boat parking but it will just be in a parking lot. Covered parking will keep your vehicles safe from the elements like rain, snow, hail and anything else that falls from the sky and tries to damage your vehicle.

Wind Turbine at storage facilities.

Green amenities

Many storage facilities have embraced the green movement and put solar panels on their facilities. Texan Self Storage in Wimberley, Texas has a 30,000 gallon rainwater collection system and a 10kw wind turbine. So, if the sustaining the earth is something you’re passionate about, ask if the facility has made any environmentally friendly strides.

Our favorite fun amenities

We’ve been in the self storage game for a while so we’ve seen some funny and brilliant amenities. Here are our top five favorite:

  1. Free coffee
  2. Document shredding
  3. Free smiles
  4. Friendly dog
  5. Charity drop off
  6. Ice cream truck parking

Don’t go with the first facility you find in a Google search, phonebook or storage facility aggregator. Figure out what amenities you couldn’t live without while taking into account price and location. It would be a pain to move in and realize they didn’t have everything you wanted and have to move again.

With approximately 48,500 storage facilities in the United States, chances are there are several to choose from in your market. Make sure you ask the managers hard-hitting questions and compare cost, location and amenities so you can be confident that you are getting the right storage unit for you.

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10 Creative Kitchen Storage Ideas for Under $10 Thu, 27 Feb 2014 22:27:11 +0000 Tim Schlee Here at StorageFront, we know how tough it can be to get organized – and especially to stay that way. In the past, we’ve offered tips on cleaning out your closet and organizing your storage unit, and now we’d like to tackle yet another area: the kitchen.

The kitchen can be a tough room to keep straight. No one wants to deal with old food and dirty dishes, but with our budget-friendly tips, you’ll have a better looking kitchen in no time at almost no cost. Here are ten simple, unique kitchen storage ideas, all for under $10. (Prices are from

1. Use Command Hooks to Hang Lids

Hang lids with command hooks.

Price: $7.65 (white, medium, six pack)

Command hooks offer almost unlimited possibilities. These can be used to mount foil or plastic wrap containers to the wall for easy access and a little more storage space in your drawers. They are also a great way to make some cupboard space by hanging pot and pan lids on the inside of the cupboard door, as seen above. These guys can be slapped on almost anywhere, so decide what you want to hang, and throw up some Command hooks to clear out some space.

2. Use Tension Rods to Easily Store Trays, Sheets, and Lids

Tension rods can save space in the cupboard.

Price: $6.79 (18-28 inches)

Put some tension rods in a cupboard and you’ll be able to store flat objects like cookie sheets, trays, and lids vertically. Not only will it clear up some space, but it will also save you the time of digging up an entire pile of clanking sheets and pans to grab the one on the bottom.

3. Put a Turntable in Your Refrigerator

Put a turntable in your refrigerator.

Price: $7.50 (10-inch bamboo single turntable)

Don’t you hate when you’re reaching for the pickles way at the back of the fridge and you knock over everything in front? Throw a Lazy Susan or turntable in your refrigerator, and you can just spin it for easy access.

4. Keep Tupperware Lids in a CD Rack

Organize Tupperware lids with a CD rack.

Price: $5.36 (9” x 11 3/8” x 8”)

Put an old wire CD rack inside your drawer to keep your Tupperware lids upright and organized. You probably still have one of these things lying around from before you could fit your entire music collection in your pocket, so dig it out of the basement and put it to some use!

5. Throw Your Snacks into a Shoe Organizer

Keep snacks in a shoe organizer.

Price: $9.99 (24 pockets)

If you recently de-cluttered your closet, you might have an extra over-the-door shoe organizer or two lying around. Throw it over the pantry door and use it to keep your snacks well organized and out of the way of the important stuff like flour and bread. Just kidding – the snacks are the important stuff.

6. Stack Your Cookie Cutters around a Paper Towel Holder

Keep cookie cutters on a paper towel dispenser.

Price: $8.09

If you love cookies but hate the mess of the cookie cutter drawer, grab an old paper towel dispenser and stack the cookie cutters in an organized fashion. Now all those stars, hearts, gingerbread men, and other odd shapes can rest neatly beside each other.

7. Turn an Empty Soda Box into a Soup Dispenser

Keep soup in an empty soda box.

Price: $0.99 (Diet Coke, 12 pack)

You might not have expected, but a 12 oz. can of soda and a 12 oz. can of soup are pretty similar in size and shape. This makes old soda boxes a great way to store your soup cans. You can decorate the box however you like if you don’t want to mislead any eager pop drinkers with the logo of their favorite carbonated beverage.

8. Hang Buckets Underneath Your Sink

Buckets can add space under your sink.

Price: $5.55 (5 qt. pail)

Instead of stacking things or, worse, wasting space in the cupboard beneath your sink, you can simply mount a bucket or pail on the cupboard door underneath your sink for added storage. As long as the objects in front aren’t too tall, your buckets should fit right in. Hop back to the Command hook section if you’re short on ideas for mounting them.

9. Organize Your Refrigerator with Small Bins

Small bins keep your refrigerator clean and organized.

Price: $7.99 (3.5” x 11” x 5.5”)

Small, inexpensive bins can help keep everything in your refrigerator in order. Instead of knocking down your condiments like dominoes, you can simply pull out your condiment bin and select the one you want. Keeping your items in bins also saves you a lot of trouble when it comes time to clean. A spill in a removable bin is a lot easier to wipe up or scrap off than one stuck at the back of your refrigerator.

10. Keep Paper on a Cork Board

Cork board in your cabinet can hold paper.

Price: $9.97 (2 feet x 3 feet)

Instead of spreading them out all over your counters and kitchen table, pin recipes, coupons, pictures, postcards, and whatever else onto a cork board inside a cupboard door. Now you can use your counter space as it was intended – for cooking.

These are all easy, cost-effective ideas. You could probably do all of them in less than an hour. With such a small amount of time and money required to keep your kitchen better organized, there’s no excuse not to run to the store to grab a few of these items.

Better yet – you probably already have most of them lying around. So get up off your computer and get started!

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Can a Storage Unit Save Your Relationship? Why You Should Clear Space for a Man Cave Thu, 13 Feb 2014 21:20:38 +0000 Tim Schlee The “man cave,” an area of the house set aside exclusively for use by the man in a relationship, is a concept that’s probably as old as time, but it’s still very much a part of the lives of many modern cohabiting couples. Why is it such an enticing concept?

For all the clichés about boorish behavior and dirty dishes, a man cave can actually help a couple stay organized, both physically and emotionally. If you need to clear clutter out of some of your communal spaces, like your living room or bedroom, or if you and your partner are drowning in the constant accompaniment that often comes with living together, then a man cave might be just what the doctor ordered. Clear out a room or rent a storage unit and the extra space could save your relationship!

The (Wo)Man Cave

Big Yellow Self Storage, a storage company based in the United Kingdom, commissioned a survey recently to find out more about the man cave phenomenon. The results were resounding: People, men and women alike, enjoy the man cave.

Men and women both approve of man caves.

Though the term “man cave” is the most popular way to refer to designating a room as belonging to one person exclusively, it need not be a gender-specific term. A “woman cave” can function just as well because the goal of a man cave is not to celebrate masculinity but to promote personal space, something that can be hard to come by when living with another person.

The man cave (or woman cave) itself can range from a workshop to a high tech entertainment room to a bar or even a library – whatever works best for the person setting the room aside as their own.

Benefits of the Man Cave

An article from lays out a few basic benefits to the man cave:

  • Acts as extra storage space
  • Allows one to work at home without distractions
  • Keeps house free from clutter
  • Provides much-needed personal space

These can all work together to make the home and the relationship better. With most of the man’s stuff out of the way, the rest of the house can more easily stay clean and organized. And, as a woman named Yasmin says in the article, it provides space for both.

Quote about man caves.

Personal space, of course, can be very important in a relationship. It is not – or at least should not be – about power or control over the physical space that the two people in the relationship occupy. Rather, it is about the necessary navigation between two very distinct needs – bonding time spent together and recharging time spent alone.

This can be a difficult balance to get right. Some people need more alone time to be happy, while others prefer the presence of other people almost exclusively. Communication is the most important thing. If a man cave or woman cave is what’s right for your relationship, it should be a mutual decision that makes both of you more comfortable.

Drawbacks of the Man Cave

If it’s not a mutual decision or the personal space is abused, then a man cave can serve as a warning sign. In a blog post at Psychology Today, J.R. Bruns, M.D. in Repairing Relationships, warns that it can be “a symptom of a basic structural flaw in [a couple’s] union.” If the man feels forced to create a man cave because he has no control over the rest of the house, then there is a fundamental imbalance that a small private space will probably not overcome.

Another man cave quote.

It can also be a sign of withdrawal or of distance growing between a couple. If the man cave becomes a place of escape and not a place of necessary relaxation or introspection, then it will only hurt instead of help the relationship.

You also don’t want a man cave to become a place populated by dirty dishes and empty beer bottles. While less dire than the previous potential scenarios, this one can still cause a lot of strain on a relationship.

How to Create Space for a Man Cave

Once you’ve talked it over with your partner and decided that a man cave would be beneficial, you have to find the space to make one. Most houses are cluttered enough as it is, and shuffling everything out of one room to make space for a man cave can be a significant issue.

When in need of organization advice, there’s no one better to turn to than Peter Walsh. The author and television host has a knack of cutting through to the root causes of clutter and disorganization. His insight is just as keen when examining interpersonal relationships.

Peter Walsh quote about couples.

With this in mind, tackle things together. Decide as a couple what to put in the man cave and what to leave elsewhere. Avoid saying “you” and “I” and instead say “we.” The man cave may be a room set aside mostly for use by a single person, but it is a tool that should strengthen the entire relationship.

If you find the two of you have too many things to clear out an entire room of the house, stop by your nearest storage company and rent a unit for some extra space. Alternatively, you can simply make the storage unit your man cave and keep your rooms as they are at home.

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