What Goes Down… Must Come Up
Here in Northeast Ohio, basements come in all shapes and sizes, and they can provide you with the additional living space that you so desperately need. However, you should be very selective about what goes down in your basement. The fact is that what goes down will, eventually, have to come back up. And you’ll find that it’s far more difficult to bring the furnishings and appliances up the stairs than it was to get them down. Before you decide to haul that old bed or couch down to the basement, here’s a few things you may want to keep in mind.
Gravity is Helpful
Going down the stairs isn’t too bad because gravity is simply on your side. You can guide heavy items down one step at a time with minimal assistance. However, reversing the process is much trickier. You’ll need the strength or leverage to lift that heavy dresser or appliance up each step. Even if you carted the collection down yourself over a course of several years, you’ll find that getting everything back up again is simply too exhausting. Before you decide to put a heavy item in the basement – ask yourself if you’re going to be willing to pay someone to haul it out again down the  road.
The Passage of Time
Things tucked into the basement tend to sit and be forgotten. You may have hauled that freezer down when you were young and in great shape, but 20 years have gone by and it’s suddenly heavier than you remember. Time not only plays a role in your own strength and energy levels, but it also impacts the condition of the furnishings and appliances that are down there. If a dresser or deep freeze has gone through a flood (or two) then it starts to rot. The sturdy sides and bottom that were in place when you first moved it down there may be gone, and that makes it much harder to get it up to the main floor. Are you really going to use that extra piece of furniture?  If not ,then you may be better off just disposing of it today rather than dragging it downstairs only to haul it up again later.
Emergency Extraction Required
Most people fill their basement one item at a time. It starts with some old cabinets or an outdated couch. Maybe a desk or some shelves are added to the mix. They’re out of sight and out of mind, forgotten and neglected – until an emergency strikes. Spring floods, backed up sewers, and leaking pipes can all lead to standing water, even in basements that are normally completely dry. If you needed to evacuate personal items from your basement, would you be able to? In most cases, the answer is no. As the collection downstairs grows, the ability to move it efficiently shrinks. Spare yourself the hassle tomorrow by being more selective about what you put down there today.

If your basement features an amazing collection of stuff spanning several decades, then let professional junk haulers help you clean it out. You don’t have to exhaust yourself clearing out the junk you’ve got because JDog can help you. We’re ready to take care of those sleeper sofas, deep freezes, crafting collections, and outdated clothes that are taking up real estate in your basement and turning into an eyesore. Give us a call today to discuss your situation and see how we can help you. Your basement can be an enjoyable living space, provided you take care with choosing the items you’ll move down to this room.What Goes Down… Must Come Up

Here in Northeast Ohio, basements come in all shapes and sizes, and they can provide you with the additional living space that you so desperately need. However, you should be very selective about what goes down in your basement. The fact is that what goes down will, eventually, have to come back up. And you’ll find that it’s far more difficult to bring the furnishings and appliances up the stairs than it was to get them down. Before you decide to haul that old bed or couch down to the basement, here’s a few things you may want to keep in mind.
Gravity is Helpful
Going down the stairs isn’t too bad because gravity is simply on your side. You can guide heavy items down one step at a time with minimal assistance. However, reversing the process is much trickier. You’ll need the strength or leverage to lift that heavy dresser or appliance up each step. Even if you carted the collection down yourself over a course of several years, you’ll find that getting everything back up again is simply too exhausting. Before you decide to put a heavy item in the basement – ask yourself if you’re going to be willing to pay someone to haul it out again down in the future.
The Passage of Time
Things tucked into the basement tend to sit and be forgotten. You may have hauled that freezer down when you were young and in great shape, but 20 years have gone by and it’s suddenly heavier than you remember. Time not only plays a role in your own strength and energy levels, but it also impacts the condition of the furnishings and appliances that are down there. If a dresser or deep freeze has gone through a flood (or two) then it starts to rot. The sturdy sides and bottom that were in place when you first moved it down there may be gone, and that makes it much harder to get it up to the main floor. Are you really going to use that extra piece of furniture?  If not ,then you may be better off just disposing of it today rather than dragging it downstairs only to haul it up again later.
Emergency Extraction Required
Most people fill their basement one item at a time. It starts with some old cabinets or an outdated couch. Maybe a desk or some shelves are added to the mix. They’re out of sight and out of mind, forgotten and neglected – until an emergency strikes. Spring floods, backed up sewers, and leaking pipes can all lead to standing water, even in basements that are normally completely dry. If you needed to evacuate personal items from your basement, would you be able to? In most cases, the answer is no. As the collection downstairs grows, the ability to move it efficiently shrinks. Spare yourself the hassle tomorrow by being more selective about what you put down there today.

 If your basement features an amazing collection of stuff spanning several decades, then let professional junk haulers help you clean it out. You don’t have to exhaust yourself clearing out the junk you’ve got because JDog can help you. We’re ready to take care of those sleeper sofas, deep freezes, crafting collections, and outdated clothes that are taking up real estate in your basement and turning into an eyesore. Give us a call today to discuss your situation and see how we can help you. Your basement can be an enjoyable living space, provided you take care with choosing the items you’ll move down to this room. - April 2016

Out of the Basement and Attic!
As you look around your home for more storage, the most obvious spots are the basement and the attic. You’re probably not using the attic for extra living space, and the basement has all those handy corners where you can stack bins and store the holiday decorations. However, these areas probably are not the best choice for the stuff that you love. In fact, there are certain things that should never be stored long-term in the attic or the basement. Before you decide to put your beloved antique rocking chair in storage upstairs or leave your wedding gown in a closet down in the basement, here’s what you should know about these storage areas.

Temperature Changes
The basement has a pretty steady, cool temperature year-round, but the same is not true of your attic. In fact, most attics can get hot enough in the summer to literally melt candles. These temperature shifts are not good for all types of items, including fragile items, leather, papers, electronics, and wood. In fact, the dry heat that builds up in a Cleveland attic over the summer can cause wood to shrink and split, and it can also cause veneers to separate from the wood below. Before putting anything in that attic, ask yourself if it can handle cold temperatures in the winter and extremely hot conditions in the summer.

Moisture Problems
If your attic is properly vented, then it’s going to stay reasonably dry. However, basements are known for having high humidity levels. This is bad news for any natural material that mold can grow on and latch into. Mold can grow on everything from area rugs and stuffed animals to your grandmother’s fine linen tablecloth. Keep these items in the main living area of the home where you’ll have better control over the moisture.

Pests
All the activity in your main living areas keeps pests under control. You notice signs of visitors and can address them, and you tend to scare away small animals and pests with your footsteps and daily activities. However, they don’t necessary leave the premises. Instead, they retreat to lesser used areas like the basement and attic. Once there, the pests will happily turn your cherished collection of photos into bedding materials or chew right through your coats. If you do store the things you love in the attic or basement, then you should check them regularly for pests and even consider having a monthly service to treat these areas and keep the pests away.

What’s it Good For?
The good news is that there are still some things you can happily store in the basement or attic. This includes certain kitchen supplies like pots, pans, and dishes. Patio furniture that will only be there for a season is generally fine, and most seasonal decorations will survive the basement or attic just fine. If you have higher humidity levels in the basement, then consider running a dehumidifier to keep it dry.

If you’ve been looking at the basement or attic and you feel like it’s just an overwhelming task to clean it out, then give JDog a call. We can take everything out of the attic and stage it somewhere in the house so that you can sort it out. We’ll even put the boxes on the truck for disposal or in another room of your home based on your needs. Our goal is to make it easy for you, and we’ve even been accused of making it fun. (April 2017)

How Easy it is to Get Organized in the New Year 

It’s a new year, the Cleveland weather is typical for January, and that makes it a great time to start organizing the house. The great thing about getting organized JDog style is that you don’t necessarily have to go out and spend a lot of money. In fact, quite a few of the organizational tools that you need are probably already in your house.

Become a Paper Hater
Paper has a way of building up, and it can wind up burying you. It’s not just the junk mail that comes in, either. It’s the paper bills, old contracts, mortgage papers and school papers that tend to build up. Here are some guidelines for getting rid of those old papers so that you can have more space in the house.

 

  • Old Magazines – If you’re keeping it for a specific article or recipe, then just pull out that page and toss the rest. You can keep the things you want to reference again in a neatly organized binder.
  • Outdated bills – With the ability to go digital on bills, you really don’t need to receive the paper ones at all. As a general rule of thumb, you can shred the bills after you’ve reviewed them to be sure that they’re correct.
  • Receipts – You only need to keep the receipt if you’re not sure you like the item or it is a more costly item that has a warranty. Once the warranty has expired, it’s no longer necessary to keep the receipt unless you itemize your taxes or need it for reimbursement.
  • Pay Stubs – Keep the last few, but you can shred them one you confirm that they’re correct. W-2 statements should be compared to the last paycheck for the year and then filed with the taxes.
  • Tax Returns – You have 3 years to file a tax return. In general, the  IRS can look back six years on an audit. If they find substantial discrepancies, then they can go back as far as they want. However, most people really don’t need to hold on to more than 10 years of tax returns.
  • Insurance Papers – The most current insurance papers and cards are all you need. You can safely shred the paperwork for any plans that are outdated or expired.


When the mail comes in, stand over the trash can to go through the stack. Pitch the junk, dispose of all the envelopes, and then file what’s left. This will avoid the hassle of having a stack of mail that’s sitting on the counter laughing at you. 

Add the Charity Basket to Your Laundry Room

Get a box, bag, or basket that you can put donations in. Keep this in your laundry room so that you’ll have an instant disposal spot for those clothes that no longer work with your wardrobe. Rather than folding and storing jeans that are too faded or a sweatshirt you don’t like anymore, you can just toss it in the basket. When it’s full, take the good to your favorite charity store.

Go Digital and Ditch the Paper Calendar
The calendar app on your phone can be synced with your desktop application and even other phones. When you sync the calendars together, it’s easier to keep up with the kids’ schedules and upcoming events. You can then lose the paper calendar to open up space on your wall. If your method involves notes left all over the fridge, then you’re going to love how clean the fridge looks without the papers.

A Trash Can in Every Room

It may be worth your time to add a trash can to every room.  When the Magic Kingdom was still in the design phase, Walt Disney and other staff members did some research to see how far people are willing to walk in search of a trash can before just littering. On average, it’s 25 steps. That’s why trash cans in Disney World are so close together. (Fun fact: check out the distance between cans at Cedar Point – it’s similar) The same theory holds true in your own home. If you want to encourage the family to toss their trash, you can try making the cans more accessible.

Recycle Around the House
Get creative with your storage needs. Use old shoeboxes as dividers in your dresser drawers. Take a dresser you no longer need in one room and use it in the foyer for hats and gloves. An extra laundry basket can sit in the hall closet for shoes. Before you go out and buy a special container, see what you might have around the home that will also work.

It’s time to get your home in order, and it doesn’t even have to cost you much money. Change how you view the paper clutter, and get creative with the ways you reuse items around the home. Add trash cans to the busiest rooms in your home, and consider going digital for your mails and even receipts. Before you know it, you’ll be well on your way towards getting everything organized. If you have big stuff to remove, or you want help with a project, then give JDog a call to see how we can help you.  - January 2017

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The Disturbing Truth About Storage Sheds
Storage sheds are a great way for you to hold on to the stuff that doesn’t quite fit at home. You can use them for your seasonal decorations, sporting equipment, and even getting your property ready for renovations or to go on the market. However, many of us tend to put things in the storage shed and then forget that they exist. This is a serious problem that’s costing you money in more ways than one. Before you pay rent for another month, here’s what you need to know about your storage shed.

Pests Find a Way In
Pests are very creative at finding their ways into storage units, and even dry spaces that seem secure may be home to mice and other pests. They come in for the shelter and find handy bedding materials through cardboard boxes, bags of clothing, and other organic materials. Even very clean and well-maintained properties may still have problems with pests because it’s nearly impossible to seal off every gap. If you’re accessing the items regularly, then you’re probably scaring off most critters, but items that have been sitting for years on end may have been damaged by unwelcome intruders. You can always put out a few traps, but a better solution is to simply get the things out of storage and make a decision about using or selling them before they’re damaged by animals.

Dry Rot Happens
Another nasty surprise could be waiting for you in the form of dry rot. Without regular movement and use, certain items are prone to degrading and literally falling apart. This can be seen in car tires, rubber gaskets, and all types of upholstery. While the items you put in the storage shed five years ago may have been in pristine condition, they may not be very attractive when you go to retrieve them. If you have items in your storage shed that have value, then you may want to go ahead and sell them before they’re destroyed by the passage of time.

Dated and Forgotten
Some things, like antiques, are truly timeless. Even certain decorations can circle around and become new again. However, there are some fashions that hopefully will never make a comeback (we’re talking to you, 1980’s shoulder pads). Even name brand clothes and purses lose value once they fall out of fashion, so consider getting them out of the storage shed and listed on your favorite resale app.

The Financial Factor
When you’re keeping items in storage, the most obvious cost is your rental fees, but it doesn’t end there. Every item sitting in your shed has a potential sunk cost, meaning that it becomes impossible to retrieve the value from it. Things depreciate or become damaged, and the ability to sell or even give it away is lost.

Watch Out for the Stress
Every time you pay that monthly bill, you’re reminded of an incomplete task. The storage shed needs your attention, and you need to stop spending money to store items that you can happily live without. If the things have sat in a shed for a year or more, then the fact is that you really don’t need them, and trying to maintain them in an off-site shed will only add unwanted stress to your life.

 It’s time to stop the losses and address those items that are sitting and gathering dust. It’s obvious that you don’t need the goodies that are stacked inside those four walls, but what will you do with them? That’s where JDog comes in. We’ll help you empty the shed out, and we’ll take everything to the appropriate location. We’ll transport the sellable items to your home, take other treasures to the thrift store, and dispose of what’s left for you. Our fees are based on how much we haul, and our rates are highly competitive. In a matter of hours, you can say good-bye to the monthly rental charge and the stress. Then next month, you can take the money you were spending on storage and put in your vacation fund.  Where will the savings take you?

-April 2017

To Store it or Toss it – How to Make the Decision 

Storage sheds are a great solution when you want to reclaim your garage without surrendering your treasures. However, all the stuff you have in the basement or garage probably doesn’t need to go into a paid storage unit. By throwing out the trash, you can either get a smaller shed or create a better organizational system in one with more space. The benefit is clear, but deciding what’s worth storing and what really need to go can be a little murky. 

Clothing Considerations - Maybe
If it doesn’t fit and you know in your heart that it will never fit you right again, then it’s time to just let it go. The only thing those too-small jeans are good for now is inducing guilt.  However, there are a few things that may be worth storing. Do you have a collection of concert T-shirts you just hate to part with?  Put them in a bin with some fabric sheets.  Down the road, you’ll either let your kids have a good time wearing them, or you can have someone turn them into a quilt. A trendy jacket that still fits is worth keeping because there’s a good chance it can come back in style. Another keeper are those adorable baby clothes that you just loved putting on your baby. These can also be worked into quilts or scrapbooks when you have time.

Trading Cards and Collectibles - Store
If you’re holding on to items because you believe that the value will go up in the future, then you’ll want to put them in a climate-controlled storage unit. Be sure that the bin is waterproof, and consider putting some silica gel packets or a container of DampRid in with them. If you check on the value and find that they’re a hot commodity today, then it may be worth it to go ahead and get them listed on eBay. Take your pictures, put the bin in storage, and then just retrieve what you need as it sells.

Anything Broken - Toss
Assess items honestly as you go through the stuff at home. It’s a great idea to put seasonal decorations in storage, but you should only move the items you actually use. If you haven’t displayed it in five years, then you can safely let it go. Send it to a thrift store or throw it out, but do not pay to store it. Save that precious space in your storage shed for stuff that actually works.

Things Your Kids Will Want - Maybe
This is a tricky one because what you think the kids will want and what they’re actually interested in are two different things. For example, my mother moved her school teacher desk with her to Ohio. She was convinced that one of her kids would want it. She looked at us over Thanksgiving dinner one year and said, “So, who wants that wood desk?  It’s a nice desk.”  We all shifted uncomfortably because nobody wants it.  That thing was ugly, and we finally had to tell her so. She considered selling it, but then realized that the only value to the desk was her own emotional attachment. In the end, that wasn’t enough to convince her to hold on to it and the desk went to the curb. (Even the trash pickers didn’t want it – that thing was still there the next day)

It’s great to store items that your kids will want someday, but you might want to speak with them to be sure they’re actually interested.  Tell them that your feelings won’t be hurt if they say no. Once you have this information, you can decide if it’s worth keeping in your house, should still go to storage, or needs to be disposed of.

Sports Trophies - Recycle
Those trophies bring you such pride when you earn them, but they take up a good deal of space. If you’re not willing to display them in your home, then you probably shouldn’t store them either. Take photos with them, and then see about recycling the trophies. You may find businesses in your area that will take the trophies and recycle the parts. You’ll have more open space at home, and you won’t feel guilty about just throwing them away.

Dark Wood Antiques – Keep or Sell
This is another interesting dilemma because the current trend is towards light stains or painted wood furniture. Most people aren’t interested in having those heavy, dark pieces in their homes. However, this is another fashion movement that could change in the future. Another option is to put them up for sale and leave them in the storage shed until you find a buyer. While people don’t want the dark pieces, DIY enthusiasts are always looking for items with good bones that they can paint. They won’t pay you a fortune for them, but you’ll get some little cash in your pocket and the pieces will get a new lease on life.

If you’re going to move a lot of big stuff into storage and you don’t want to deal with the hassle of renting a truck, then give us a call. JDog Brunswick is happy to load everything into our covered trailer and transport it for you. If you’re purging an existing shed to make room more stuff, then we can help you with the cleanout. We haul everything from furniture and pianos to old trophies, clothes, and more - February 2017

How to Reclaim the Forgotten Storage Areas in Your Home

It’s so peaceful to have a nice, clean house. Unfortunately, getting there can be a major challenge for busy families. When you’re constantly on the go with the kids, errands, work, and whatever else is going on in your life, it’s easy for things on the homefront to get put on the back burner. Before you know it, you may look around and find that your peaceful home is feeling cluttered and stressful. My friends laugh when I say that I need to declutter.  “If only you knew a company that would haul it all out for you.”  Comedians.  I’m surrounded by comedians.

But in all seriousness, I did wind up doing the JDog dance in my own house this past winter. Things needed to go, and I chose to start with the hidden storage areas that play such a valuable role in the home. While you know the age old advice of tossing it if you haven’t used it in a year and letting go of anything broken or expired, you may not think to focus on some important areas. Here are the spots that should be cleaned out as you create an orderly home.

The Linen Closet
It happens every spring and summer. You head to the store for bug spray and sunblock. But what about the cans and bottles from last year?  Were they used up?  Or are they sitting in the top of your linen closet taunting you? These products do actually expire, so go ahead and purge them without feeling a bit of guilt. Next, take a look at the sheet sets. If everything just looks like one great big ball of fabric, then it’s time to whip things into order. Pull out the bedding and get your complete sets together. Donate the miscellaneous bedding that you’ll never use to a local animal shelter.

LIFE HACK: Use one pillowcase from your complete set to store everything else. Your closet will look nicer, and you’ll know that you’re getting a complete set when you pull it out.

The Junk Drawer
I’m convinced that every house has at least one junk drawer. I’m equally convinced that every junk drawer has some stuff in it that’s simply crossed over into the garbage category. Take everything out of the drawer and put it in a bag, box, or even right on the counter. As you’re putting things back in – ask yourself if you really need it. Duplicates, broken electronics, expired coupons, and busted pens can all go right in the trash bin. Give the extra office supplies to the kids for their own art bins or homework areas.

LIFE HACK: Give the drawer some law and order by corralling small items in an old ice cube tray or muffin pan.

The Top of Your Closet
Most closets come with a simple rod with a shelf above. There’s all kinds of things you can do to make your hanging clothes more orderly, but the top of the closet is often forgotten. If you haven’t touched anything up there in a few years, then this is a good time. Chances are good that you’ll find clothing you no longer want, old hats that are no longer in style, and even Christmas gifts that you forgot you bought. I recently found a Little People toy that I bought for my kids.  It’s a shame that they’re currently teenagers and no longer enjoy Little People. When you find those treasures, consider donating them to your local charity thrift store.

LIFE HACK: Decorative baskets provide you with great storage for this space. Use the baskets for out-of-season pajamas or your collection of concert T-shirts that you can’t bear to part with.
 
Under the China Cabinet or Entertainment Center

Whether it’s a china cabinet, a buffet, or the lower cabinets of your entertainment center, these areas tend to become catch-alls. Identify yours and give it a good purging. You’ll find plenty of stuff that you can donate or toss, and you’ll have a new storage area for your DVDs, fancy holiday napkins, or any other small items.

LIFE HACK: Buy a few plastic shoe bins that will fit in the space. They’re the perfect storage solution for your first aid kit, extra office supplies, dusting supplies, and even light bulbs.

Under the Bed
Cleaning under the kids’ bed is usually a little scary, but your own room may have its share of dust bunnies under the mattress. It’s easy for things to all and get kicked under the bed, so you’ll definitely want to clean it out. In the process, you’ll discover that this is a hidden storage gem that can be ideal for extra shoes, bedding, and even hiding birthday gifts. Can’t reach anything that’s been pushed back to the center?  Use your broom to pull it out of the space.

LIFE HACK: Pick up a shallow rolling bin with a cover so that you can store items while keeping them protected and easy to reach.

Think about the forgotten storage areas in your home and see what’s built up there. After you take care of the little stuff, you can call us in to handle the big things for you. We can remove pianos from basements and old boxes and broken furniture from attics. The end result will be a peaceful and calm house that you’ll enjoying returning home to after a long day. Don’t sweat it. JDog it.  -   March 2-17