Tips and Tricks for Your First U-Haul Experience

Whether you’re trying to free up some space in your home or making a cross country move, you could be using a U-Haul truck for the first time. Many of our storage locations, in an effort to help make your moving and storing experience more convenient, offer U-Haul truck rental on site.

U-Haul is unique in the industry because they work with manufacturers to design a truck specifically for household or small business moving. U-Haul offers more safety features than any other truck in the industry along with gentle ride suspension and high visibility mirrors to assist the driver.enefit of Driving a U-Haul Truck

  • 50% easier to load –  A wide, stable EZ Load Ramp makes loading your large, heavy items a breeze.
  • Safely move your furniture –  Gentle ride suspension and aerodynamic styling keep your furniture safe and secure.
  • Quiet, with independent seating for three Driver and passengers enjoy a peaceful, comfortable driving experience.
  • Save money –  This is important with current gasoline prices. While many trucks use acrid, expensive diesel fuel, these trucks use cleaner, cheaper, and more convenient unleaded fuel.

It’s great to have a truck at your disposal, but If you have no previous truck-driving experience, you’re going to need a little help. We want to share the following tips to get you started on your journey and keep you safe.

First Time Driving a U-Haul

As with any new experience, driving a truck for the first time can be tricky. Be sure that you choose the right size vehicle, and discuss any concerns you may have with office personnel. They have plenty of experience and will be happy to answer your questions.

We always have a selection of the newest trucks to fit your moving and storage needs.

  • U-Haul trucks are heavy vehicles, especially when fully loaded. It takes longer to stop than a car, so allow at least 4 seconds between you and the vehicle in front of you (allow 5 seconds in adverse weather).
  • Because a truck is longer than your average vehicle, you’ll need more time and distance to pass. Don’t pass on hills or curves.
  • Shift into lower gears when driving uphill to prevent jerking due to engine lugging.
  • Before going downhill, slow down and shift into lower gear to allow the engine to control your speed. Do not ride the breaks on a downgrade.
  • If your truck moves off the paved roadway, don’t panic, don’t make a sharp turn, and don’t apply the brakes. Slow down to below 25 mph, and make your way gradually back to the road.
  • When turning at a sharp corner, drive slightly past the corner or make a wider turn than you would in a car. 
  • Avoid parking on steep inclines. The parking brake may not hold, and the bumper may drag or get stuck. 

Using a Truck Ramp for the First Time

Using a truck ramp for the first time isn’t difficult, but like any first-time experience it can be confusing. The following tips will help you through the process.

  • First, open the rear door of the truck.
  • Push down on the latch that keeps the ramp securely under the truck and pull the ramp out slightly.
  • Use the straps on the end of the ramp to slowly and carefully pull the ramp out until it is fully extended.
  • Set the ramp on the ground gently.
  • Grab both sides of the ramp near the rear of the truck and lift up. You’ll see two hooks. Place these hooks over the slots on the truck deck to secure the ramp in the loading position.

If you’re thinking about towing your car or a trailer. U-Haul has an easily understandable series of videos to help with that.

Whatever your needs, our friendly, knowledgeable staff is always here to help. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and express your concerns. Have a safe trip!

Why You Need Self Storage After the Wedding

If you think preparing for a wedding is a lot of work, wait until you move into your new home together. Many couples start out in a small apartment while saving for their dream home.  Combining these accumulated belongings in a small space takes effort and compromise. 

He may have enough college memorabilia to decorate the entire house or apartment. She may have a collection of holiday decor that would be enough to make the entire neighborhood look like a Hallmark Christmas movie. Add wedding gifts to the mix, and you have a small battle on your hands. Instead of spending those first days of marital bliss in confrontation or angry silence, find a solution. Rent a safe, secure storage space

You don’t have to dispose of your treasures or even your duplicate wedding gifts. The following suggestions will help you find the perfect space.

Self Storage After the Wedding is Your Lifesaver

Choose a Self Storage Facility

Your first task is to choose the right self storage facility. Think about what you’re storing and how long you plan to store these items. Choose a reliable, affordable, climate-controlled secure self storage facility. Talk to our friendly, professional staff about options, specials, and amenities. Tour the facility so that you can get a visual sense for how much space you’ll need. Some units are narrow but have a lot of vertical space; others are wider with lower ceilings. In some cases, one layout may be preferable. Take your time choosing a unit.

Sort 

Sort items based on what you want to keep in your home, place in storage, and dispose of or donate. Remember, it’s  important to respect each other’s needs. You may think that college mascot statue is ridiculous, and your spouse or partner can’t understand why anyone needs 150 pairs of shoes. Try to find a middle ground, and a self storage facility that’s open 7 days a week. That way, if you want to visit your items in their new home, you can do it every day.

Organize

Create a general plan of how you’re going to organize furniture and boxes in your unit. It’s very possible that you may have multiples of sofas or large appliances. After you decide which item to keep in your home, having a duplicate in storage means that you won’t have to spend your savings on a new washer. 

Put some thought into how you’ll place these items. Ideally, furniture and large appliances should be against a wall opposite the boxes. Leave space in the middle of the unit for easy access. Boxes that you’ll need to access frequently should be stored last. In any case, use labels so that you can easily find what you may need in the future. If you end up storing more than you expected to, it’s a good idea to create a map. It’s ideal to hang it on a clipboard on a wall in your unit. The drawing doesn’t have to be fancy; a pencil sketch works. This way, you can easily locate what you need without tearing everything apart.

Duplicate Wedding Gifts

If you have a large wedding, you will receive a plethora of gifts. It’s possible that you’ll find yourself with three toasters, two coffee makers, and several sets of steak knives. If you’re living in a small space, you don’t want to store three toasters on the kitchen counter. You can return these items or use your “self-storage after the wedding” solution. If you’re using climate-controlled storage and packing carefully, when one toaster stops working, you’ll have a duplicate waiting. 

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Here’s a great idea for wedding guests. If you’ve been invited to a wedding and can’t decide on that perfect gift, think self storage unit. Gifting a year’s worth of self storage for after the wedding is like giving the newlyweds more space instead of more things. While self-storage units are rarely listed on a couple’s wedding registry, you can be certain they won’t want to return it. Enclose a note, explaining the many ways it can be used, now and in the future. They may not be enthusiastic at first, but they will thank you many times over the years. Self storage can be a thoughtful, romantic wedding gift. Who knew?

Takeaway

A storage unit helps to keep the early days of your marriage peaceful. Putting those excess items into a self-storage unit will give you space and time to think. Later, when you’ve had some time to settle in, you can evaluate the things you hid away and decide what stays, what goes, and what continues to live in your storage unit. And, of course, there’s always that extra perk of having a great place to hide from your future kids!

 

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!