Self Storage: The Best Solution for Your Christmas Decorations

I know – you haven’t even gotten through Christmas yet, and we’re talking about storing the decorations. It’s never too soon to plan ahead. You need to get to 2021 as quickly as possible so that you can put 2020 into the vault of terrible years.

 

Christmas 2020 is soon to be another magical memory. Watching your kids fall asleep, face down on top of their gifts while your relatives argue about politics and Covid, as you cook dinner for 37 people, will soon be past history. Before you have time to say, “I’m going to quarantine myself out in the backyard while the rest of you cook,” it will be time to move on to the time-honored tradition of storing the decorations. Ugh!!!

 

Nobody enjoys this task. It’s tedious and lonely because no one wants to help. If you do coerce family members into helping, they suddenly remember a previous engagement or a contagious disease (Covid is perfect for this). Get used to it; it’s not going to change. Ask Alexa to play “the happiest songs for dismantling Christmas decor,” and get to it. 

 

Before you start packing your decorations into either the very expensive storage containers from Target or Wayfair or the leftover egg cartons and disposable coffee cups from your garbage, you need to think about where you’re going to store these items. If you’re anything like me, the ornaments and decorations seem to multiply while your space seems to shrink. You need a solution, and you need it before the Christmas ornaments find a new home in your garage and the cars are stuck out in the driveway all year. 

 

What you need is a self-storage unit, preferably a convenient, secure, climate-controlled storage unit. Here at Universal Storage Group, these units are available in a variety of sizes that are suitable for large or small Christmas trees and all your other seasonal items. You can add pegboards to the walls for hanging your wreaths and garlands and shelving for plastic ornament boxes and Christmas linens. With climate-controlled storage, you won’t find a pool of hardened wax that used to be a candle or a moldy piece of fabric that was once the beautiful table cloth that grandma crocheted with her arthritic hands

 

 

Tips to Prepare Your Decorations for Their Temporary Home

 

Take Pictures of Your Decorations

Did you ever begin your Christmas decorating, suddenly realizing that you can’t remember which decorations you used on the mantel or which centerpiece you used on the dining room table? As you age, this will happen. Before you remove those decorations for storage, take pictures for future reference. Mobile devices make it so easy to take photos. Add a few selfies before you store them; memories of the bags under your eyes are precious.

 

Be Careful with the Christmas Ornaments

In many families, Christmas ornaments are irreplaceable treasures. They represent life events, travel, and tradition. Many were created with little hands out of construction paper, glue and glitter. Some are given as special gifts. Fortunately, you can find endless options in boxes and containers made specifically to protect fragile ornaments. They’re available in Wayfair, Home Depot, and Target, just to name a few. Remember to leave the hangers on the ornaments, so that  you don’t have to make a trip to the store in the middle of next year’s decorating.

 

Keep Your Christmas Tree Looking New

Even though artificial trees are quite durable, storing your tree in its original box is not the best idea. With each passing year, the box will deteriorate, making it prone to insect (and deranged squirrel) infestation, and the tree will not look as nice if it has to be jammed into the box and reshaped every year. There are several different tree storage container options that will protect your tree and keep it in great shape. Climate-controlled storage is perfect for keeping your tree in pristine condition. This is especially important if you have a frosted or flocked tree; they don’t do well in extreme temperatures. Actually, they make a mess at any temperature.

  

Maintain your Wreaths and Garlands

As with all your other Christmas paraphernalia, there are numerous options for wreath and garland storage. Look for sturdy containers that will preserve the shape of these items and protect any decorative bows and ornaments. They can also be hung from hooks on a pegboard in your storage unit. For extra protection, you can cover them with a lightweight dry cleaning bag.

 

Keep Your Christmas Lights Untangled

Clark Griswold should not be your “go to” example for Christmas light storage or design. Think “organization.”  The first thing you need to do is to dispose of any lights that are damaged or not working properly. Then, you need to avoid the tangled mess of previous years by wrapping your lights around storage reels. When you’re finished organizing the lights, place them in a large plastic storage bin along with the necessary extension cords. Don’t forget to take pictures as a guide to next year’s light design.

 

Keep Your Christmas Linens Crisp and New Looking 

Be sure that your Christmas table linens, bed linens, and towels are clean prior to storage.  Stains can oxidize over time and be impossible to remove, so don’t be lazy and store them with wine and gravy stains. Don’t wrap linens in tissue, newsprint, or cardboard as these materials can release gases that will turn your fabric yellow. Plastic can also damage the fabric, and hangars can cause creases that are hard to iron out. If you have the space, you can store these items on an extra shelf in your linen closet. A better option is a suitcase that you no longer use in your storage unit. Keep in mind that these items should be stored in a climate-controlled environment to maintain their beauty and prevent further damage.

 

Candles Require Special Care

Wrap candles in old socks or cellophane to prevent scratching and color transfer.  Do not use plastic wrap or wax paper as they can stick to your candles. After you finish wrapping, store them in a box or crate, even in your ornament storage boxes.Be sure that they are in a climate-controlled area in your home or storage unit.  Unless, of course, you want melted, misshapen globs of wax.

 

Organize 

It goes without saying that you should store your boxes strategically and with labels. Not only should each label show a detailed content list, but they should be numbered and stored in the order in which you want to open them. 

 

Storing your decorations the right way is tedious and time consuming; but, when next year rolls around, you’ll be happy to find everything organized and in perfect condition. Then, you can start the process over again. Happy Holidays!

Self Storage: The Secret Weapon for Storing Holiday Gifts

It’s early December, and you know what that means. The holiday season is breathing down your neck. People have already begun to stash away Christmas gifts and surprises. If you haven’t started shopping, you’d better get your hustle on. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are over; you’re already a step behind. 

When you think of the excitement on those sweet little faces at 5:00 a.m. on Christmas morning, it’s hard to resist buying everything they want!. Calm down and step away from the credit card. By noon, they’ll be playing with an empty box and sobbing with exhaustion. And you still have to navigate them through the remainder of the day with relatives and friends.  Here’s an idea. Make the time leading up to this day of memories (and disorder) a little bit easier by using self storage. 

Give Yourself a Break – Use Self Storage to Stash the Presents

Black Friday is the shopping kickoff, followed by Cyber Monday, and every day and night thereafter until you have to find time to bake cookies, drink wine, and have one of many emotional breakdowns leading up to the big day. After all of that shopping comes the challenge of trying to find hiding places for all of those presents. It’s harder than trying to find a parking space at the grocery store on Christmas Eve. 

You need a plan, or the simple task of hiding gifts will become a logistical nightmare. You’ll forget where you put them; and, if you wrap them prior to hiding, you’ll absolutely forget who they’re meant for. It’s so annoying when you open the freezer and the Lightsaber Academy Interactive Battle Lightsaber falls out and breaks your toe because brain fog caused you to forget you hid it in there. But the most fun you’ll have by far is watching Aunt Karen open Cousin Sydney’s Cards Against Humanity. Cue another breakdown.

Universal Storage Group is your seasonal helper. Rent a convenient, secure, affordable self storage unit to use as ground zero for gifts. Our small sizes are perfect. You can use inexpensive shelving to keep the gifts off the ground, and you can even add a table to use for wrapping the presents. You don’t have to worry about making a long-term commitment to rent a unit, because we have flexible month-to-month leasing. 

The More the Merrier – Wrap With Friends

Better yet, if you want to save money, rent a slightly larger unit and share with friends. You not only use the space for gifts, but you can set up a wrapping station. Place a folding table with several tape dispensers and pairs of scissors in the unit. You can use it individually, or plan a wrapping party, complete with eggnog and snacks. Wrapping paper, gift bags, and ribbon can be supplied by each renter.

Choosing The Right Storage Facility

If you’re going to use storage for your gifts, you need to find a facility that is secure and convenient.

Location

At this time of year, you need to think about convenience. You’ll be stopping at the unit frequently, so you’ll need a facility in your neighborhood that is close to the places where you shop and run errands.

Security

Cost is an important factor, but it shouldn’t be your only consideration. Find a reputable company with state-of-the-art security. Look for video surveillance, perimeter fencing, security locks, and electronic keypad access. You’ll also want a friendly, knowledgeable management team that is willing to answer your questions, understand your needs, and show you around the property.

Delivery

As an additional advantage, many self-storage facilities accept deliveries. You can spend a day shopping on the internet and have all of your items shipped to your storage facility: the ultimate in convenience.

Climate Control

If you live in an area that’s subject to extreme temperature fluctuations, opting for a climate-controlled unit will be better for you and your gifts. If you plan to share with friends and spend time wrapping gifts in the unit, you want to be comfortable and you want your gifts to be protected from damage and humidity. 

Insurance

One last thought. Don’t forget to check with your insurance agent to verify that your gifts are covered under your homeowners’ or renters’ policy. If your policy does not cover these items, you can purchase insurance from your storage company.

You’ll be surprised at how much less stressful your life will be with a safe, comfortable hiding place for your gifts, especially if you bought one of the kids an electric ride-on car. You won’t have to store it in your neighbor’s living room for two months. Merry Christmas!

Self Storage to the Rescue: Get Your Guest Room Ready for the Holidays

The holidays are approaching quickly. Halloween is over, and Thanksgiving and Christmas are slowly creeping into your already cluttered brain. If you’re expecting overnight guests, you need to get ready now – not when their plane is 15 minutes away from arrival.

Greeting guests at the front door and realizing that you have to excuse yourself to empty drawers and make closet space in the guest room is not a good look. It sets the tone for the entire experience.

If you want to make your holiday guests feel like kings and queens (and don’t forget the little princes and princesses), follow the tips in this article. They may want to stay a few extra days (uh-oh)!

Make Your Guests Contented and Comfortable

General Tips

Clean the House

This is a no-brainer and your motivation to get rid of the clutter. It’s time to get a self-storage unit if you don’t already have one. It’s a place for the extra clutter and furniture crowding the guest room. You and your guests will have a much more enjoyable experience in a tidy house. For more information read Put that Clutter in Self Storage and Get On with Your Life.

Be Ready with Snacks and Drinks

Stock the fridge and pantry with snacks and drinks that you know your guests will enjoy. Don’t forget the littles; have plenty of juice boxes, fruit, and crackers.

Plan in Advance for Entertainment

You know your guests (I hope), so you’ll be aware of the activities they’ll enjoy. There are plenty of holiday events at this time of year. Shopping trips, craft fairs, tree lightings, concerts, and local cuisine are all at the top of the list. This doesn’t mean you have to pack every day with endless adventures, but it helps to have some back-up plans. You can always just hang out and watch A Christmas Story.

Remember the Kids

If there are children in the mix, remember to accommodate their needs. Baby proof where necessary. You can put all of those valuables in your self-storage unit with the extra furniture from the guest room. Parents should be able to relax and not spend their entire time reprimanding a child for touching valuable pieces or sticking their little fingers into light sockets. Make sure that you have a few board games and simple (not messy) crafts for elementary-aged kids. They will undoubtedly bring their own technology.

Bedrooms & Bathrooms

Drawer & Closet Space

Remember to clean out several dresser drawers for guests to use and provide a luggage rack for their suitcases. And don’t forget to make room in the closet and add extra hangers.

Clean Linens

It goes without saying that the beds will be made with clean sheets, blankets, and cozy comforters. Be sure to have extras so that everyone is comfortable. Buy fluffy new towels for the guest bathroom, and have plenty of extras in a cute basket. Provide another basket for dirty towels so that you can throw them in the wash every day. Don’t forget a decorative container of extra toiletries in case one of your guests is forgetful: soap, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, toothpaste, and toothbrushes. 

Extra Touches

Provide a pretty tray with bottled water, granola bars, and fruit. A vase of fresh flowers or live plants are always nice touches. If you want a festive touch, add a small tree and a few holiday decorations. Arrange a variety of books and magazines on the night table, and don’t forget nightlights in both bedroom and bathroom.

Technology

Leave a note card with your Wi-Fi password and TV remote instructions in a convenient spot in the guest room.

It looks like you’re ready. Bring on the company, but don’t waste a lot of time worrying about the “perfect experience.” Being  with friends and family is the perfect experience. Use the time to have fun and make memories! Take tons of pictures and share special moments. Happy Holidays!

Spooky Self Storage: Be Careful When You Store Your Halloween Decorations

Goblins and witches and werewolves, oh my! It’s that spooky time of year again, and Halloween is only a few weeks away. You’re busy carving pumpkins, decorating your front yard, and buying Halloween treats. Decorations for this scary night have come a long way in the last decade. In the past, a glowing jack-o-lantern was the traditional decoration. If you carved one with unique features, it was a big deal. Now we have everything from strings of purple and orange lights to a 6 foot animated Freddy Kreuger.

Costumes have also evolved through the years, and there is no shortage of ideas. Specialty Halloween stores lure you with a variety of weird costumes and frightening masks, and they’re not inexpensive. You can be anything from a glittering emoji to Demogorgon from Stranger Things. Couples, group and family costumes are available in everything from Scooby Doo to Harry Potter. There are no limits to your Halloween vision.

After a festive night of trick or treating, you’ll want to put those costumes and decorations back into your self storage unit. Deflate your inflatables, pack up those costumes, and bubble wrap the animatronics. But, be warned, there are certain spooky creatures that you may want to avoid storing in your unit. 

If You Store These Spooky Creatures, Be Ready for Trouble

Skeletons

That bag of bones looks harmless enough, but they have some nasty habits. Skeletons love to dress up. They will tear open your bags and boxes to find their idea of a perfect outfit (don’t ask). After they dress up they “party like it’s your birthday.” Their idea of a good time is making a mess (just like your kids). They’ll tear open boxes, overturn shelving and then break down the rolling door so that they can find the nearest graveyard and hang out with the “walking dead.”

Witches

Witches are the mean girls of the netherworld. Their idea of a good time is casting spells on creatures and humans that they don’t like. Remember The Craft? If you put them in your storage unit they’re sure to make trouble with the ghouls and werewolves. Before long they will be fighting with all of the other creatures and lighting fires under the cauldron so they can brew magic potions. Try explaining that to the fire department.

Ghouls

Ghouls drool. There’s no getting around it. They will slobber all over everything in the unit. You’ll have creepy mold and mildew everywhere. And when they slobber into the witch’s cauldron, there will be an argument that will make an eruption at Mt. St. Helens look like the overflow from a shaken can of Coke. The screeching and howling will wake the dead, who will join the party.

Ghosts

Ghosts are quiet. They won’t make much noise, and they’ll walk through boxes and walls without destroying any of your stored items. But you’ll be sorry if you store them in your unit. They are super mischievous. These ghostly troublemakers will fly all over the property trying to scare the staff and prospective customers. If you store paperwork in your unit, they’ll rearrange it and change names and numbers. They’ll put your Christmas ornaments in with your Easter baskets and change the lock on your unit. It’s time to buy some bolt cutters.

Werewolves

Storing a werewolf in your unit is just asking for trouble. Because of their shape-shifting power, you might think you’re storing a cute little lion cub. But, as soon as you close and lock the door, that huge werewolf will break out and start looking for dinner. If he decides to bring his meal back to his new home and eat in the unit, you’ll be overrun with creatures of a different variety.

Vampires

Never store vampires and werewolves in the same unit. Everything you own will be bloodstained and covered in bite marks. There will be some ugly conflicts because they have a strong dislike for each other. Vampires think of themselves as aristocratic, whereas werewolves are more laid back. Think Prince Philip and Larry the Cable Guy. Be sure to visit only during the day, and keep your wooden stake and silver bullets handy. If there’s a confrontation, you don’t want to be in the middle. They clearly don’t like each other. It’s really an issue of superiority complexes: who is the bigger, badder creature? 

Take Away

You all know we’re only kidding. These creatures don’t really exist. You buy them at the Halloween store in the form of animatronics, inflatables, or just plain old decorations, use them for Halloween and then put them in storage. This was all just a crazy Halloween joke. Or was it?