Station Storage…How I Organize the Chaos :)

Hey y’all!  I’m BACK!!!  As of late last night, we are finally moved in!  Can I tell you how THRILLED I am?!?!  I think it’s safe to say we’ve been busier these last two weeks than we are during the school year.  In addition to moving, we decided to *finally* potty train our three-year-old.  {Well…in all honesty, he potty trained himself…PTL!} We spent several days at my parent’s house with all 4 of us sleeping in a king size bed.  We unloaded WAY too much junk and moved it all into the house…let’s see, about 3 UHauls worth of *stuff*?!?!?!  I’ve seen WAY too many frogs.  AND…we finished filming House Hunters!  Whew!  I need a nap!  HA!!

Okay…so the most frequent question I am asked/emailed has got to be, “HOW do you organize and store all of your station work?!”  Well…I thought I’d take a second to share that with you!  I know everyone has GREAT ideas.  We all have our own method to the madness.  This is just what has worked for me through the years!  I’ve tried different storage solutions, but I keep coming back to this!

SO…when my kids are at their literacy/math tubs, this is what the set up looks like…

organization1-1  organization2-1organization5-1

Inside of each tub is a smaller little storage piece to hold the small parts of my station work.  And, of course, an assessment sheet is included in each tub also.  I typically copy 5 extra assessment sheets for each activity because inevitably someone will need it, AND I like to have an extra copy for myself for organizing purposes :)

Every Friday, I file away all of my station work and set out the following week’s tubs.  Here’s how it looks when I file it away...

organization4-1

I use the 9x12 tabbed envelopes to store EVERYTHING!!!!  And everything gets labeled, too.  I’ll indicate whether it’s a literacy or math activity because I have separate filing cabinets for each.  The title of the activity goes in the middle, the date/theme/month goes on top, and then I also like to write the name of the packet from which it came on the bottom…that way, if I happen to lose a piece of the activity or the recording sheet, I can go right to the packet and print new copies without having to search through everything I own :)  If it’s a packet I didn’t create, I like to write the name of the author as well :)

organization8-1

In each tabbed envelope, I’ll keep a copy of the directions {if they’re included with the activity}, one copy of the assessment/recording sheet, and I’ll place the activity in a little baggie and shove that inside the envelope, too.

organization3-1

And when I run out of tabbed envelopes…which happens quite frequently…I use gallon sized ziplock baggies :)  This works just as great!  I usually print out a label to stick on the baggie that includes all the info I’d put on the front of an envelope.

organization6-1

I know there are a MILLION different ways to organize, so this might now be the best system for you!  But it works like a charm for me :) 

Now tell me…how do YOU organize your station work?!

68 comments:

  1. "Filming House Hunters?!" Are you for real? Did I miss something?

    Mrs. Wheeler’s First Grade
    Mrs. Wheeler TpT

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    1. Hahahaha! True! I think our little episode will air in September! Now everyone will see what dorks Mr. Spouse & I really are ;) HA!

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    2. I can't wait to see it!!! =) That is so exciting!

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    3. That is kinda CrAzY! You will have to keep us posted ....FUN!

      Sarah
      shetrick@gmail.com

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  2. Ha! I was going to ask the same thing! How cool! You will have to tell us when it airs :)
    Thanks for the organization tips~ I can always use those!
    Tori
    Tori's Teacher Tips

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  3. I'm asking the same question as Mrs. Wheeler ... House Hunters? I LOOOOVE that show! When will it air? So excited to see your episode.
    Thank you for your organizational tips!
    Amy
    Where Seconds Count 2nd grade blog

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    1. I think it'll air in September! I'll know 2 weeks beforehand, so we'll see!

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  4. Shut the front door! You are on House Hunters!!!!! I love that show. You must give us details when you know when it will air! I will feel like I "know" someone famous! :) Best of luck! We are moving (across town) next week...I'm dreading it!

    Sarah
    Kindergarten Korner

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  5. What? How did you get chosen for House Hunters? Can't wait to see it. Thanks for the organization tips. Glad you're settled into your new house.
    Tammy
    primaryparadise.blogspot

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    1. No idea how we got chosen. It was my mother-in-law's idea actually. It was definitely lots of fun!

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  6. Thank you for the organizational ideas. I have tons of things cut out and ready to use for next year. Liz

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  7. Great post! I am also in the same boat as the other people commenting, House Hunters!? I'm so excited for you, I LOVE that show. My fiance is convinced our TV is "magically" set to flip to that show as soon as he leaves the room because I have it on all the time. When will it air?

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  8. I organize mine the same way, except mine go into boxes instead of filing cabinets. I like the little baskets inside the big center baskets. It looks so cute!
    Jennifer
    kindertrips

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    1. Boxes are a great idea!!!! If I have more space at my new school, I might switch to that instead!!!!!!

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  9. I too want to know. Are you really going to be on House hunters??
    Love your organization methods. I do it pretty similar. However I organize everything by the story in my basal reader. So all I have to do each week is pull out the folder for each story and everything is in that particular folder. I bought the folders at good old Walmart. They're the plastic folders.
    Hive2nd.blogspot.com

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    1. Yes...true story! I think we'll be on in September!!
      I love your organization ideas!! We didn't really use a basal at my last school, but I'm curious to see if I'll be using one in my new district. If so, I'll need to think about organizing the same way you do! Thanks for the tip!

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  10. We watch House Hunters all the time. Can't wait to see somebody I know. Started a very similar organization of centers this past year and LOVE it!
    Robynn
    BusyBees

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  11. Congrats on moving into your house! I will be in Houston this weekend because we love the zoo there. You should check it out this summer. The red pandas are our favorite! Good luck unpacking. :)

    Erica

    Sprinkles to Kindergarten

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    1. The Houston Zoo is my absolute FAVORITE!!!! It's BEAUTIFUL!!! I grew up here and took my boys to Boo at the Zoo last year. It's AMAZING!!!!!

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  12. Okay.... so its be asked before.... but House Hunters? That is super cool! You will definitely have to tell us about the people and the crew and let us know when it airs. I want to sit in front of my tv and be like "I know that person! I read her blog!"

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  13. Shut the front door! I just love that phrase, lol! Congrats again on filming for House Hunters!

    I usually use the gallon sized ziplocs, just because I'm so visual...I need to see what's in the bag. It also helps me to doublecheck that I have everything in there for the activity.

    Thanks, for sharing! I think we'll all be scouting out the previous to see someone we "know"!

    ~Tanya
    Mrs. Dwyer’s A+ Firsties

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  14. ....previews, not previous...!!!

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  15. Oh, House Hunters AND organization!!! Yeah. I watch it all the time (DVR) it. Now we will get a visit to your house.

    And, why did I never think of a smaller basket within the larger one at the workstations? And the organization in the file--with the name of the source?

    Thanks for helping....again!

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  16. I just crawled back into bed from feeding my baby boy and woke up hubby with my gasp!! You're gonna be on House Hunters!! You will HAVE to let us know when it'll air... I will have to go to my parents' house to watch bc we got rid of satellite :-) Congrats on finishing the move, and thanks for some great organizational ideas!

    ~Laura
    www.firstgradeFUNdamentals.blogspot.com

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  17. Congratulations on completing the move and being on House Hunters! I love that show. I can't wait to see it. You are already famous in the blogging world and now we get to see you on tv. Very cool! I love your centers and I organize like you but I laminate and tape your direction sheets to the front. If it doesn't have a direction sheet I laminate and tape the show what you know page. On the back of the envelope I write how many of each set, the theme name/author and any extra materials I need to add. (unifix cubes) Then I can quickly see what I need. BTW....Do you ever sleep?

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    1. NOT famous :) But seriously, GREAT idea!!! I LOVE the way you organize!!! I need to start being a little more detailed!!! Thanks for sharing! Love it!

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  18. WOW! You've been so busy. How exciting to be on House Hunters. I'd love to hear how you were able to get on the show and the date it airs. I love organizing, and I think your ideas are great. Thank you!

    Mona
    First Grade Schoolhouse

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  19. Okay, I'll be honest with you. I had to look up what "House Hunters" was! Now that I have seen some clips online, I'm pretty sure I have watched it before. I can't wait to watch your story. How exciting! Were the Dallas Cheerleaders there? I hope it airs soon and not in a year or something! My cousin was on "Cash Cab" and it took a while before his episode aired.
    Thanks for sharing how you organize your stations! I'm thinking about changing my system for same skill/varying ability levels. This really helps.
    ~Andi

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  20. My kids watch that show. They are going to be excited to hear that I "know" someone on it! I read your teaching blog and your recipe blog all the time. Thanks for the great info! Have you found out what grade you will be teaching next year? I am looking forward to hearing all about it.

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  21. Welcome to Houston! I wanted to ask which district you will be teaching in, but it might be too personal :) I live in Houston and I am interviewing to get back into teaching. I love House Hunters and can't wait to see your episode! So cool!

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  22. I use the 9x12 envelopes too!! I then file them by month/holiday/theme so it's easy to pull and go! If an activity doesn't have a holiday/theme then I try to align the level of rigor or the skill with the time of year I introduce it. Keeping everything in cronological order really makes planning faster- no more thinking or guessing?!?

    Kimberly
    The Learning Tree

    p.s please share with us when your House Hunter episode airs! Congrats on getting everything moved... that'll be mmy family next Wednesday. You never realize how much *stuff* you have until you have to put it all into brown boxes, right?? LOL

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  23. Congratulations on your successful move! Did you post which grade you will be teaching?

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  24. I am glad to know the move went well and y'all are settling in. That is exciting about being on House Hunters and I would have to agree that you are famous! =)

    My goal this summer is to either write the TEKS or create some type of spreadsheet that has the activity and the TEKS on it. This will help document that those TEKS are being covered especially when it comes to RtI documentation and the different tiers. It will also help me see what TEKS I need to do a better job of teaching.

    I hope you share with us soon what grade you will be teaching. =)

    Although I don't live in Houston, I would still love to plan a bloggy meet up with you...maybe in July. Let me know. =)

    Once again....thank you for being such an inspiration to me. You help me be a better teacher. =)

    BTW- I shared lots of *freebies* the other day and I would love for you to come take a look when you get the chance.

    Heather
    Heather's Heart

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  25. Ohhhhh, I LOVE House Hunters!!! Congrats.

    I organize my centers/stations the exact same way! My filing cabinet if FULL of those envelopes and I was beginning to think "my" way was crazy. So happy to know I'm not alone in my craziness. Haha!

    Amy
    Krazy About Kiddos

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  26. Yay! Glad to hear your move went well! Can't wait to catch your episode on House Hunters. My husband and I love that show! I am also a teacher here in Houston well actually, in Spring. It's exciting to know you will be in the area too! I LOVE all your creations and ideas. Have a GREAT summer!

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  27. House Hunters is my obsession...no I am not even kidding! I am so jealous you got to be on that show...and I can't wait to see your episode!!!

    Love the organization tips and I am so glad you are back!!

    ThirdGradeIsAHoot

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  28. These tips come at a great time as I am getting centers ready for next year. Great ideas for labeling the folders with critical info in case a piece is lost. I can't imagine first graders losing anything though, can you? Congrats on the move as well!

    http://firstgradebubblesandtails.blogspot.com/

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  29. House Hunters, that's so cool! Let us know when it airs Congrats on the house!

    Sara :)
    Smiling In Second Grade

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  30. You have been busy! HGTV isn't going to know what hit them when they get the ratings for your episode. Do they know they filmed a teacher/blogger/superstar?!

    I keep my centers in the cheap two pocket folders. I laminate the folders first, with a title page on the front and then the instructions on the back. Pieces for the center go in baggies or envelopes (labeled in case they get lost) on the left side of the folder, assessment sheets go on the right. The folders are color coded, red for math and blue for language arts. I try and keep that consistent with everything we do. I write in red for math, blue for LA, etc... I have a language arts storage tub and a math storage tub. I'm having a big issues storing the files I d/l from TPT. So far I have them in a big binder but that's just not working as well as I'd like. I used to be a manilla file person, but I'm finding that's not working so well either. I'd love suggestions about organizing the teacher stuff!

    Congratulations on all the excitement (and the Potty Training! Whoo Whoo!). Did you mention if you are teaching first grade again?

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  31. I love your idea, thanks for sharing!

    Question, is House Hunters really a set-up? Or did you guys really decide on the house after looking at all three?

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  32. Thanks so much for writing this post. I am one of those who emailed this question to you. I've bought most of your centers and was having a hard time figuring out the best way to organize them. This was my first year teaching, so I'm slowly learning. =]

    Tiffany
    http://www.thelearningeffect.com

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  33. Oh my Larry!!! House Hunters?!?! How exciting is that?!?! I can't wait to see it!
    Michelle @ Smitten With First

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  34. OK--so are you going to be using these FIRST grade learning stations in your new school????

    Waiting on the news.

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  35. I'm like everybody else....House Hunters!!!???!!! How exciting...love the show and you have to let us know when it airs!
    I organize my stations in a similar way, but use gallon size ziplocs. I then have sterilite bins for each month/theme where I place the bags. Of course, the bins have a cute label on the outside. I have no storage in my classroom so I store these at home, then I just have to take the bin for the theme/month that it's needed for. I really like your idea of including the packet name with the station so it is easy to print additional pieces.
    Thanks for sharing! Good luck unpacking;)

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  36. WHOA! So excited for you that you're on House Hunters...PLEASE let us know when to watch!
    Thanks for the tips on organizing stations! I was a first year teacher last year....so there was no method to the madness. =) Trying to get a handle on things this summer for my second year.
    I have a few more questions for you regarding your stations: How many stations do your kids do a day? How do you post/rotate your schedule? How often do you change the activities in your stations? Last year my kiddos went to two stations a day and the schedule was in a pocket chart that I rotated. I'm thinking about revamping it next year and I'm curious as to what you do.
    Thanks!!

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    1. I was also wondering these exact same questions! I am also curious if you would be willing to share a sample schedule of what a days agenda looks like in your class?
      Thanks!

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  37. Liking those little numbered comment boxes!!! Did you design those too?

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  38. Well, it's obvious that we are all excited about House Hunters! Can't wait to see it.
    I read your post on a regular basis but haven't seen anything about what grade you teaching. Have I missed something?

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  39. Awesome post with lots of great ideas! My mind is already working on how to incorporate it all! Thanks! Also, House Hunters?! Awesome! Love the show and can't wait to see it! You're amazing!

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  40. I love this post. First of congrats on HH! Can't wait to watch your episode!
    As for the organization of centers, I still have some questions. Mostly it's the logistics and copying questions.
    From the first picture you are showing, it seems like it's one basket with everything a student would need.... but... is there only one set in the basket or multiple sets? How many sets of each center do you make? If you make multiple sets, how do you keep them organized in the baskets? More than 1 basket?

    If it's the way I imagine.... a handful of students use it each day, so that by the end of the week all students have completed the center. How many students use a set at one time?

    Two more questions.... or possibly a topic for another post... What do students do with the work once they finish it? How do you keep them accountable for doing the work?

    I realize these are a lot of questions... didn't realize I had so many. I am not sure that they're very clear...if it's too much to answer I understand. I just really struggled with all this throughout the year and wanted to give up on centers.

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    1. Great questions too! I am curious about these as well.
      Thanks!

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  41. wait a second, did i miss something?!?! you are on house hunters?!?! i trust you will share the details when the episode will air, right...? that is seriously on my bucket list. I have to ask, is there any incentive for you as a home buyer to be on that show? do they help with closing costs or anything? or is it for pure enjoyment? always curious, as i'm seriously considering being on that show!! congrats, and please spill the details!!!

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  42. Congrats on House Hunters! Love that show!

    A few questions about your management for stations...

    1. How do the students know which station to go to...do they go wherever they want and work at their own pace or do you have a chart? Do they work independently or with a partner? Do they finish all stations each week? What do early finishers do?

    2. Do you correct/grade each station record sheet that is turned in? How to you manage all the papers being turned in? Also, do your students make corrections on their work?

    3. How do you introduce new stations? Do you intro on Monday and then start stations on Tuesday?

    4. How do you keep your station pieces looking so nice? Do you print them and cut them out, then laminate the pieces and cut them out again? Or, do you laminate the entire sheet of pieces then cut them out?

    I apologize for all the questions, but thanks SO much for the help! I love doing stations, but need to get the logistics figured out! :)

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    1. More great questions! Thanks so much!

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  43. My favorite is the
    Ready, Set, Learn! {Back To School Math & Literacy Activities}. Cross my fingers! Stephanie

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  44. My favorite is Ready, Set, Learn! Back to school math and literacy activities.

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  45. Oh my goodness, I couldn't decide with unit I'd like better. I'd love to use Camping Capers or Ice Cream Unit with my kiddos!
    Blessings,
    Tammy
    tam61883@comcast.net

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  46. Congrats on the move. Can't wait to see the show. I use a similar approach but instead of file cabinets, I have file boxes on a shelf. They are organized by theme/season and everything is one box. I found that science models, stuff for social studies, etc. fit in better than a file cabinet.

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  47. I am your newest follower and absolutely LOVE your blog and everything you offer! I am a brand spanking new 1st grade teacher myself...aka I accepcted my first job only earlier today, and love getting ideas from you for my classroom!

    I am also new to the blogging world and would love it if you stopped on by or featured me on your Wondering Wednesday!

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    Tracy
    http://crayonspencilspaper.blogspot.com/

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  48. I'm reading this after the fact, but congrats on the move--We moved into our house (New York to Florida) 8 years ago. I don't ever want to do that again--so many boxes, so little time (not to mention ALL of the teaching supplies that needed to be stored in the garage until school started). Also, glad to hear your baby boy is potty trained. That was a huge milestone in my kids lives. Can't wait to see pics of your new classroom. Decorating is so much fun!
    Jessica
    http://tales-of-a-first-grade-teacher.blogspot.com

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  49. Congrats on the move... House Hunters?! WOW! Love that show. I hope you will let us all know when your episode is going to air!
    My center storage is much like yours. Baskets when I'm using them, labeled zip-lock or something similar when I'm not. LOVE how you labeled your tabbed envelopes.
    ❤Dragonflies in First ❤

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  50. Using baskets and containers to separate one thing from the other is a proven and effective way of organization. Also, putting those files in a plastic envelope helps in prolonging its shelf life. Using this kind of organizing system is like putting the files in a climate-controlled storage in a sense that you put an extra layer of protection on them.


    Regards,
    Ericka Muldowney

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  52. just watched your house hunters episode - youre a food blogger and broke the macaroni into the pot?! shame shame!

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    1. Not a food blogger...just a mom who blogs about the recipes she tries :) I'm no expert...thanks for pointing that out!! :)

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  53. Cara (Hagerty) - Anna Gray was watching House Hunters with her mom (me) and she said, look, that's my Kindergarten teacher. I agreed that it looked like you but ... She persisted and apparently was right. What a small world !! She has found memories of you and Hickey Elementary and is now in 11th grade. Time flies. All the best, Robin Gray

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  54. There are several parking spots to accommodate loading and what not and there are several trolleys available to move small and large items in and out of storage unit.
    self storage website design

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