How Self Storage Can Help When the Kids Are Home for the Summer

If this is your first time as a parent with a college kid who has been living in a dorm, you’re in for a love-hate experience. You love that your child is going to be home for the summer because you’ve really missed the patter of their little feet sneaking out when they’re already grounded for sneaking out last week. On the other hand, you hate that your child is bringing home all that junk that they just took with them. 

You’re wondering how time flew by so quickly. This isn’t high school, Momma. College semesters are shorter than you realize. In spite of that brief stopover at school, your child has managed to accumulate a few strange, and maybe scary, items. Many of them will be unfamiliar, and you’re better off not even knowing they exist. 

Unless you want this stuff stored all over your house, these items need to find a temporary home before next semester. You have a problem, and we have a solution – a safe, secure, affordable self storage unit.

Self Storage Saves Your Sanity

You need an actual solution to this problem, not a Band-Aid. Your solution should keep your space just the way it is – full of your own possessions and not tripping over cartons of text books and bags of dirty laundry. It has to be affordable because you’re already paying big bucks for tuition. State-of-the-art security, including electronic gates, perimeter fencing, and 24-hour video monitoring are not optional. Having any of this junk stolen does not fit the plan.

Month-to-month leasing is another necessity. Flexibility is important, and you don’t want to be committed to a long term lease. Location is another factor to consider. The storage facility that you choose should be close to the school and in a safe location.

The following tips will help you find the storage that you need.

The Right Self Storage Facility Should Keep the Possessions Safe and the Student Safe 

As shocking as this might sound, college students don’t always have the best judgment, and cautious behavior is not always a priority. It’s probably a good idea if you help them to choose the right storage facility. 

You want security not only to keep the things safe, but to keep the student safe. Look for a clean, well-lit property that is fully fenced and gated with digital video monitoring and electronic keypad access. Have the manager take you on a tour of the property, and check to see if a tenant protection plan is available.

Look for Layers of Security

  1. A facility in a safe, convenient location
  2. A clean and well-maintained facility
  3. Well lit property
  4. Perimeter fencing
  5. Gates equipped with electronic access 
  6. Twenty-four hour video surveillance
  7. An indoor unit with keypad access
  8. On site and/or resident managers
  9. A disc or cylinder lock that is resistant to tampering
  10. Do Not share gate access code with friends

Be thoughtful when choosing a storage facility, but don’t worry. There are plenty of safe, secure self storage facilities. For more detailed information read, Choose the Right Self Storage Facility.

Ease and Accessibility

You want to be close to the school and in a safe area. Look for 365-day access, with packing supplies, and moving carts and dollies available. Drive-up access and wide aisles can relieve loading and unloading problems. 

Added Amenities

Depending on the items you’re storing and the local environment, you may be interested in climate-controlled storage. Many facilities offer a free truck with move-in, accept deliveries and offer free copy/print/scan services. Check with your manager for details.

Student Discount

Don’t forget to check on available specials, particularly student discount programs. You may even be able to share with another student.

Conclusion

Whatever you decide, your life will be less chaotic with a storage solution. And remember to have a serious conversation with your kids. You don’t want them storing their younger siblings or that roommate that doesn’t believe in personal hygiene. Take a deep breath. Only three??? more years of this. Then…grad school!

Garage Sale Plus Self Storage Equals Spring Cleaning Success

It’s that spring cleaning time of year – time to refresh the house and get rid of the clutter. Did you ever start to declutter, only to realize that you’re sitting in the middle of a huge mess? You’re not sure what to keep and what to throw away. You have a multi/tiered solution to this dilemma. You can use self storage for the items that you definitely want to keep, and you can have a garage sale for the rest. Turn those unwanted items into cash, and buy new stuff that you can store next year!

 

Garage Sale Genius

Have you ever heard of Aaron LaPedis? His mother left seven-year old Aaron to tend her garage sale while she made lunch. The garage sale was moving along nicely, so Aaron decided to take advantage of the brisk sales. He went into the house and grabbed everything that he could carry from the living room — lamps, end tables, and other small decor — and sold those items as well. His mother would eventually notice that half of her living room furniture was missing, but she probably wasn’t upset for too long. Aaron eventually turned this into a profitable enterprise for himself by flipping items that he purchased at garage sales. You can read all about Aaron’s rise to garage sale fame in his book, “The Garage Sale Millionaire.”

Make the Most of Your Garage Sale

A garage sale can seem a bit overwhelming, but the following tips will help you to organize, price, and advertise your items. Do it right and you can end up with an orderly home and/or self storage unit, as well as some big bucks. 

Get Organized 

Clean:   Go through your home room by room looking for items you don’t use or wear regularly. Don’t forget the garage, basement, attic, and shed. If you already have a self-storage unit, make time to go through those items. There are typically a number of long-forgotten goodies in your self storage unit.

Sort:   The next step is to sort your items into the ever-present categories: Keep, Sell, and DiscardYour goal is to sort and organize; get rid of the junk and find a permanent home for the keepers.

Set the Date:   Friday, Saturday, and Sunday mornings are typically the most opportune times to hold your sale. That doesn’t mean you can’t think outside the box and consider a different time to have less competition. There are dozens of Saturday morning garage sales, but how many do you see scheduled for a Tuesday morning? If you time your sale during early morning or late afternoon commuting hours, you could attract commuters, car-pooling parents taking kids to school, and anyone else looking to score a deal.

Stock up on Supplies:   Buy basic pricing stickers and blank labels at your local office supply store or the dollar store. If you’re on a tight budget, just pick up some masking tape and a permanent marker. Use a card table or any small table and chairs so that you have a designated place to comfortably cash people out. Make sure you have some boxes, and stable, inexpensive shelving to display one-of-a-kind and breakable items.

Price the Merchandise

Price it Right:   Don’t attach sentimental value to your item, and overprice it in the process. If you’re not sure how to price an item, ask a friend for an objective opinion. Check current value by doing an online search. A good rule of thumb is to sell items at one quarter to one third of their original value. Most people aren’t looking to spend a great deal of money at a garage sale, so try not to price anything over $100. You’re better off selling big ticket items online. Toward the end of the sale, consider posting a “half off” sign. The goal is to get rid of your stuff!

Price Visibly:   Don’t make a buyer search for a tiny sticker. Use large enough tags so that potential customers can easily see a price tag. Another option is to use colored stickers and a chart that specifies cost by color. If you do this, hang several large charts in different areas to make them easily visible.

Bundle Items:   If you offer DVDs at 4 for $5, they will get more attention than if you’re asking $1 each. You can also bundle things like small kitchen gadgets, tools, or holiday decorations. Get creative.

Don’t Overprice and Expect to Haggle:   Buyers will walk away from overpriced items. Garage sale shoppers like to snag a deal, but they won’t haggle over unrealistic prices. You’ll lose a sale.

Advertise

Spread the Word:   Use fliers in your neighborhood and online ads. Craigslist, Nextdoor, and Close5 are good ones. Forums like GarageSaleHunter.com and Yard Sale Search are forums directed specifically to garage sale regulars, and don’t forget about garage sales groups on Facebook

Use Signs:   Use 15 to 20 large, brightly colored signs. They should be at least 3 feet square. Keep them simple with large arrows pointing in the direction of the sale. They should be easy to see when driving and simple enough for a first grader to read. 

The Big Day

Organize Your Checkout Area:   Be sure to have plenty of small bills and coins on hand to make change. You could lose a sale over not having change readily available. Have enough plastic grocery bags and moving supply wrapping paper for fragile items. These details go a long way in showing your customers that you are organized and ready to sell.

Make it Look Like a  Retain Store:   Group items together: kitchen items in one area, tools in another, and clothing and accessories easy to sort through and hanging on racks. If you do have any big ticket or specialty items, place them near the street so that people know you’re selling more than mismatched dishes and outdated CDs. Reorganize throughout the day to keep things looking fresh.

Go for Appeal and Ease:   Before you try to sell things, make sure they are clean and free of dust. Be sure that your shopping area doesn’t look disheveled. Borrow or rent tables so shoppers don’t have to crouch down to look at your items. If something needs batteries, insert them so that the buyer knows the items will work. Keep extension cords handy for small appliances, Christmas lights, and electronics. Place a mirror near the clothing and accessories. These details will go a long way in making customers feel comfortable and increasing your sales.

Elevate the Mood:    Take a lesson from retail stores. They play music to encourage  customers to stay longer and spend more. Make people feel welcome with bottled water, soda, lemonade, and don’t forget the cookies. People are far more apt to buy if you put them in a “buying” mood. 

Stay Safe:   Most shoppers are good people looking for a good deal, but you need to be  practical and aware of what is going on around you. Most of these people will be strangers to you. Keep your doors locked during the sale, don’t let anyone in your house to use the bathroom, and don’t leave your cash unattended.

 

It’s time to put these tips into action. Organization is the key so that you’re ready to go when the first customer pulls up to the curb. If you remain calm, happy, and vigilant, you’ll have a successful sale and be ready to do a victory dance at the end of the day. Remember, any left over items can go into your self-storage unit for your next sale.

 

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!

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?