About Ken Susman

I have been writing about storage for as long as I can remember... or at least since 2013. I live in St. Louis with my beautiful wife and daughter, and a slightly ugly shih tzu. Aside from countless hours spent pondering the wonders and peculiarities of self-storage, I teach history, peck at a guitar, and watch baseball. Who cares? No one? Great... Check out www.bookstorageonline.com for the best storage deals on these Wide World Webs!

5 Easy Steps to Clean Out Your Closet

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Have you ever been hunting for something, like that hypoallergenic pillow you keep on hand for when your excessively fussy sister decides to surprise you with an unannounced visit, and you just can’t find it anywhere? You look in the hall closet and it’s not there. You check the bathroom linen closet—nada. You tear apart your bedroom closet and the damn thing ain’t in there, either. Finally, after a generous gin and tonic and an even more generous string of expletives aimed at your sibling, you find the pillow. In the hall closet behind the stack of old board games. This is no way to live. It’s time to clean out your closets.

Before you reach for another finger of gin, relax. If this task seems overwhelming, that’s only because it is. But with a few organizational tips, you can easily whittle this enormous project down into a few bite-sized pieces. Continue reading

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Creative Storage Hacks to Keep Your Home Office Clutter-Free

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Working from home is the best thing to happen since the invention of the Laptop Beverage Holder. Look at you, emailing clients out on the patio while sipping a Mint Julep and texting your friends sarcastic messages when they’re stuck in rush hour traffic.

But over time a problem developed: unlike the fluorescent prison you used to escape from at the end of each day, your home office never goes anywhere. Stubbornly, it attracts disorder and chaos the way the Bermuda Triangle sucks in aircraft and ships. And worst of all, there’s no mysterious cleaning crew to come in to restore order every night. Continue reading

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How to Make Your Bathroom More Convenient

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At first you thought it was just a rumor, but then you actually saw one while flipping through Architectural Digest: a bathroom big enough to house your entire family. You drooled over the 24-karat gold toilet paper, gasped at the built-in dressing room that could double as a three-car garage, and pictured yourself doing laps in the Olympic-sized tub.

Meanwhile, your water closet is so small that the shower door hits the toilet every time you open it and the only free space available to keep your hair dryer is in the hall. Storing your stuff under the sink would be helpful if it weren’t for that damn plumbing getting in the way, and the medicine cabinet doesn’t hold more than a travel-sized container of Q-Tips. Continue reading

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How to Declutter Your Space

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It was 1:30 in the morning. You were vulnerable, lying on the couch with a belly full of cheese curls, chocolate chip cookies and a keg of soda. And that’s when you saw the infomercial for a new, convenient exercise machine: the Ab Rocket. That’s the thing that will finally change your life.

It did change your life, but not by giving you six-pack abs. In the eight months that it’s been sitting in the corner of your room, it has attracted a mountain of clutter around it and it’s growing steadily. Before it takes over your entire home and eats you alive like a couch potato downing cheese curls and cookies, you’d better do something about this problem of yours. Continue reading

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A Semaphore Guide to Self-Storage

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Everything old is new again goes the old yarn. I don’t have a clue what that means, or what yarn has to do with it. What I do know is that with our crazy, high-speed, high-tech world, people are often looking for ways to slow things down and bring back some of the old ways.

In the same way that the iPod has counterintuitively driven people running for record players, we expect that Skype, Facetime, and Google Hangouts will eventually drive people back to older, more personal forms of communication.

It’s for this reason that the staff here at BSO wants to present this guide to using semaphore flags to communicate in the 21st century. Whether you’re running a storage facility, looking to rent storage, or hoping to make a splash at the next punk rock show /  regatta you attend, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for below:

“Do you have 5 X 10 available?”

semaphore s semaphore e semaphore y

Continue reading

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3 Important Tips to Finding Self Storage in Baltimore

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Beautiful row houses in Baltimore

Windows? Yes!
Closets? No!

Baltimore has a long and storied history, and was the second largest city in the country for decades. But, for those of us who live in the modern world, that doesn’t make a whole lot of difference in our daily lives. Though we may tell English students otherwise, Harbaugh’s Ravens are quite a bit more important than Poe’s The Raven.

Baltimore’s long and storied history does affect us when it comes to home design, however. Most older homes were not designed with storage space as a priority, and that leads many people to look elsewhere to solve their organization issues. Below, you’ll find three important things to keep in mind if you’re considering renting a self-storage unit in Baltimore.

Size matters!

Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying (assuming, of course, that you’re talking about storage units). When people think about renting storage units, they often picture something the size of a garage and decide that they don’t need nearly that much space, so there’s no point. But storage units come in all sizes, and Baltimore has an exceptional range of options.

If you need to pack up a two-story, five-bedroom house, there are plenty of 10 X 30 units available, both with and without climate control. If, on the other hand, you’re looking for a place to keep a few chairs, a couch, a desk, and a few boxes, there are 5 X 5 units available for as little as $35 per month.

Still too much? Really just looking for a place to keep those holiday decorations, thirty-year-old letter jackets, and that box of your kids’ art projects from the late 1970s? Would you believe that you can find storage units as small as 2 X 2? You would be surprised how much you can fit into four square feet when you stack things! Plus, for twenty bucks a month… why not?

Don’t forget about climate control

What are you planning to store? What happens if it gets down to 15 or 20 degrees, or even lower? What about if it gets into the 90s, or–god forbid–breaks into triple digits? Will your stuff hold up? If so, then climate control is probably an unnecessary expense.

If you’re not so sure, then you may want to consider protecting your investment with a climate controlled unit. For an extra few bucks a month, you can buy a little piece of mind knowing that your stereo system or television won’t fry in the summer, that your important documents won’t be forced to undergo nearly one hundred degree temperature swings, and that your vintage wine won’t freeze through the winter.

Basically, my feeling about climate control is simple: if you’re paying money to store your stuff, it’s probably worth a few extra dollars to protect your stuff. Baltimore storage facilities have you covered on that front, too.

Consider construction

Ever feel like you’re never going to get home because the JFX is so backed up? If you’re planning on accessing your stuff occasionally, location matters. Considering the construction plans on the JFX and the lane closures along Russell Street, you ought to consider finding a storage unit that is near your home or work.

BSO is partners with more than twenty storage facilities spread throughout the metropolitan area, so there’s bound to be at least a couple of them within easy driving distance. Plus, if you plan to rent a truck, a shorter distance will save you valuable time and miles on the rental.

The Wrap

These guidelines should be enough to make sure that you find the right storage unit for you in Baltimore. If there’s anything that I missed, or if there’s anything that I can help you with, please let me know in the comments below, or on your favorite social media site! Or, if you’re more the shy type, email me and I’ll help you out that way.

Like what you see? Then LIKE what you see!

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4 Tips for Finding Storage in St. Louis

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Beautiful picture of the Old Courthouse, framed by the Arch.

Every postcard ever sent from St. Louis.

St. Louis is an interesting place to live. I should know. I’ve lived here my whole life. We’re just… different, and in an extremely boring, predictable way.

And I mean that in the best possible way. I know where everyone went to high school (me: Parkway North). I know which interstate everyone takes to work (me: 270). I know what everyone thinks of Mike Shannon (my thought: annoyingly charming).

It also means that there are a few things to remember when looking for storage in the StL.

Climate control might be worthwhile

Having four true seasons has benefits, but it does lead to some difficult choices when it comes to storage. If you’re planning on storing electronics or important documents, it might be worth the additional cost to get a climate controlled unit. On the other hand, if you’re just storing a couch, some chairs, and an old kitchen table, it is probably a feature you can do without. One rule of thumb is to think about whether you would want to leave the stuff in your garage. Storage lockers are often better than most people’s garages at keeping out the elements, but they’re no different when it comes to temperature. If you wouldn’t want to keep your belongings in your garage, you might want a climate controlled unit.

We’ve got a little bit of everything

Want a big name facility? Got ‘em. Want a hometown-based facility? Got ‘em. Looking for climate control, business storage, or a place to keep your boat during the winter? St. Louis has storage for everything. Basically, befitting our locating in the middle of the country, we’ve got it all. And, it’s located everywhere you want to be. From Chesterfield to Hazelwood to Fenton to Belleville, there’s no reason to drive more than a few minutes to access your stuff. On that note…

Things are not always where you expect them to be

We St. Louisians have a penchant for naming things in weird ways. For instance, West Florissant Road is actually to the east of Florissant Road. Creve Coeur Park is not in Creve Coeur. Interstate 270 runs east-west, then north-south, then east-west again. Olive Street is downtown, takes a five mile break, then picks up again.

In other words, if you’re new to town, it will help you to know which municipality or neighborhood that you’re near. Remember, too, that there’s almost always a back way to help you avoid traffic.

Not sure? Just ask the question… you know you want to…

If you’re still not sure where your storage facility is located relative to you, just ask the question… you know the one… give in… not sure where the unit is located? What high school is it near? It’s on Lindbergh, but you’re not sure where? If you live near Mehlville and you accidentally book a unit near MICDS or Pattonville, you’ve got a long drive ahead of you. Nothing lost by asking.

The Wrap

So, that’s a little introduction to storing things in St. Louis. Take these four items into account and you should land the perfect storage unit in the Gateway City.

What did I miss? Let me know in the comments below!

Like what you see? Then LIKE what you see, or follow us on the social media of your choice!


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2 Important Tips to Finding Storage In Miami

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Everyone knows about Miami the party town. But for those of us living here, it’s not the party town, the glitz or the glamour, the Bushes, or LeBron. For us, it’s Miami – land of no basements, full garages, and cars on driveways.

If you aren’t lucky enough to have some big closets or an extra bedroom, there’s a good chance that you may actually need someplace to store your extra stuff, and BSO is here to help with a few tips for finding the right storage unit in Miami:

Climate control is a must!

Miami is hot. And not like occasionally hot. Like real hot. And humid. And sticky. And… well… this seems to be getting somewhat repetitive. You might not want to think about how hot it is, but when you’re looking for a storage unit, you really should. Heat and humidity can do serious damage to paper, wood, electronics, and really, just about everything. You wouldn’t want to live here without air conditioning, so why would you store your stuff without it?

The good news is that most storage facilities in Miami offer climate control as a part of the package. The bad news is that some of them do not. Just because a storage facility is ten stories and indoors does not mean that it’s necessarily climate controlled. You want to make sure that the space where you store your valuables will actually protect them. And, for the record, humidity control is not the same as climate control.

Location, location, location!

Traffic sucks big time up and down the coast, so take into account how often you plan to go to your unit. It might be nice to save $7 per month, but if you have to sit in forty minutes of traffic every few weeks or so, there’s a chance that would have been money well spent.

On that front, there are storage facilities located throughout the metro area, so there’s bound to be one convenient to you. Plus, the prices are great, ranging from less than $30 for a 5 by 5 unit, up to nearly a thousand a month for industrial vehicle storage. With so many options available throughout the metro area (not to mention nearby in Ft. Lauderdale), you should be able to find what you’re looking for without breaking the bank or sitting in endless traffic on the Palmetto.

The Conclusion

So, if you’re ready to put your car back in the garage, but you’re not willing to move someplace where they allow basements, think about using self storage for your stuff. Just remember that location matters and climate control is a must!

Did you find this article helpful? Do you have suggestions that might help others looking for storage in the Miami area? Let us know in the comments, or like this post on the social site of your choice below!

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Welcome to BSO!

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And I guess that's why they call it the beard.

And I guess that’s why they call it the beard.

When I was offered an opportunity to write for BookStorageOnline, my initial question was what the hell I’m supposed to be writing about. I’m a history teacher, and a new dad, and writing about storage is not my natural tendency. Plus, just look at that picture of me. Is that a face that you’d want to store away? Don’t answer that…

But then, I thought to myself, let’s give it a shot.

I mean, what’s the worst that can happen?

Also, don’t answer that. I’m perfectly happy leaving it as is.

So, what’s my plan? Well, I’m going to try to blend storage tips with state and local storage information with miscellaneous nonsense. I know that I can cover the last one, and I’m planning some great blog posts about the others. Here are some upcoming blog topics you can expect to see in the future:

  • Why climate controlled storage might be the right solution for you
  • How to choose a storage unit
  • An infographic about how to store the Kardashians
  • Historical moments when a storage unit would have come in handy
  • Silly things my daughter does

I know that the last one isn’t storage related, but it’s my column and I love that kid, so you’re getting silly things my daughter does. Plus, my wife likes to read about my daughter, and you know what they say: happy wife, happy life. So, you’re getting silly things my daughter does.

Along the way, I’ll try to keep you up to date about what’s going on in your neck of the storage world. Not to mention filling you in on tips and tricks about how to best utilize your storage space and how to organize things in a way that works best for you. As my wife, friends and coworkers will tell you, I’m not great at organizing things in my own world, but I’m booksmart on lots of things. In other words, do what I say, not what I do.

In addition, since we here at BSO like to focus on different types of storage, I’ll try to get lots of advice for you regarding climate controlled storage, vehicle storage, and more. In addition, I can try to answer any storage, moving, organization or other questions that you might have. I can’t guarantee you success, but I can guarantee that I’ll do my best to get you an answer as soon as I possibly can.

Finally, if you have any ideas for columns or posts that you’d like to see, please let me know in the comments below, or visit us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest. If there’s someplace you think we should be, and we aren’t there, let me know.

Please welcome me by liking, following, or sharing my first post on the site of your choice! Thank you!

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