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!

Choosing the Right Self Storage Facility for Your RV

Even the most avid RVers need to store their vehicle for at least part of the year. Leaving it in your driveway, backyard, or the street in front of your home may not cost anything; but that isn’t always the best option. If you leave the RV in your driveway or yard, it’s not only inconvenient for you but an eyesore for your neighbors and may be against your HOA restrictions. Unless you use the proper covering, environmental damage caused by the sun, rain, and snow is inevitable.

Building a garage that is specifically designed for your RV can be a good choice if you’re constructing a custom home, but it can affect resale value if and when you try to sell your home. Building codes and HOA restrictions could make it impractical or even impossible to add to an existing garage or build a separate RV-sized structure.

If you want to avoid the hassle that comes with storing your RV at home, your best option is to find a self-storage facility. Many storage facilities provide indoor storage and some even boast climate-controlled storage for your home away from home. If you decide that this is the way to go, read below to understand how to find the right facility and prepare your vehicle for storage.

Check the Self-Storage Facility

Be sure to pick a reputable facility for your recreational vehicle. Convenience is important, but security should be your main concern. Check the following guidelines:

  1. Visit several facilities before making a commitment.
  2. Verify the reputation of the facility by checking reviews. Ask about break-ins and vandalism. 
  3. The facility should be clean, well-lit, and well maintained.
  4. Check that there is 24-hour recorded surveillance with motion sensors.
  5. Verify that electronic gates are accessible only by security code.
  6. Look for sturdy perimeter fencing.
  7. The facility should have regular, posted hours during which time you can enter the premises.
  8. There should be an on-site manager, and staff should perform regular walk throughs.
  9. Typically there are three types of RV storage: outdoor, covered, and indoor. Consider your needs and availability before making your final decision.

Outdoor, Uncovered Storage

This is the most affordable option, and it offers the widest range of sizes. Your vehicle will be exposed to the elements; but If weather isn’t a concern and cost is, this could be your best option. These spaces can hold everything from Class A motorhomes to small pop-up campers and tow trailers. If you’re using this type of storage, you should consider a high-quality cover.

Covered Storage

Covered storage offers shade and provides some protection from the elements. This storage is also less expensive than indoor, and close to that of outdoor, uncovered. Almost all RV and trailer sizes can fit in these spaces. A good cover helps to shield your vehicle from the weather. Both uncovered and covered storage are the best options for short-term storage.

Indoor Storage

This is the best solution, especially for long-term storage. Indoor units are more costly, but they provide ultimate protection. Not only will your RV be protected from the weather, but you may find that some facilities offer a climate-controlled option. Security won’t be as much of a concern because along with the conventional storage features available, you’ll have a space with a unit lock.

Prepare Your RV for Storage

  1.  Drain All Tanks – Drain the fresh water holding tanks as well as the black and grey holding tanks.
  2.  Drain the Water Heater – Remove the drain plug and open the pressure relief valve.  Caution:  Do not drain when the water is hot!
  3.  Remove Food and Supplies – This seems obvious, but even that forgotten bag of unopened chips can attract bugs.  In any case, food left for long periods of time will become moldy and/or inedible.
  4.  Disconnect the Refrigerator and Leave the Door Open – Leaving the refrigerator door open prevents stale air and condensation that can ultimately cause mold.
  5.  Use RV-Approved Non-Toxic Antifreeze – To keep your pipes from freezing during frigid weather use RV-approved, non-toxic antifreeze so that you don’t poison your water.
  6. Pressurize Your System – Start with the faucet closest to the water pump and slowly open the hot and then the cold valves until the antifreeze appears.
  7. Cover External Vents to Prevent Pests – Don’t let your RV become a home for pests during an extended storage time.
  8. Check Roof Condition – Repair any holes or damage to your roof.
  9. Coat Your RV With Wax – If you give your RV a coat of wax prior to storage, it will not only look brighter the next time you’re ready to use it, but you’ll give it an added layer of protection from the weather.

At Universal Storage locations, we have state-of-the-art security features so you won’t have to worry needlessly. Here are some additional tips on doing the best job of getting your RV ready for storage. Enjoy your travels!

Your Boat is a Big Investment: Keep it Safe and Protected in Self Storage

Unless you’re the captain of the Flying Dutchman, the legendary ghost ship doomed to forever sail the oceans, it’s that time of year to think about storing your watercraft for the colder months.

It can be very costly to store your boat at the marina for the winter months or when you’re unable to use it for an extended period of time. Trying to store it at home is inconvenient and can be a security risk. It takes up space in your driveway or elsewhere on your property and is exposed to theft and vandalism. A better solution would be to store your boat in a conventional storage unit that has sufficient space for your boat and trailer, or a secure outdoor parking area. Your jet skis, kayaks, and canoes can be stored right along with your boat. Storing with us is far less hassle for you and a safe, secure option for all your watercraft.

Here are some tips to help you get your boat prepared for storage. Some extra work now will have your boat in pristine condition and waiting for you when the warmer weather arrives.

Get Your Boat Ready for Storage

Clean the Hull and Deck

You’ll be storing your boat for an entire season. You want it clean and free of last summer’s trash when you’re ready to put it in the water next summer.

Add a Fuel Stabilizer and Fill the Tank

Condensation can form in an empty gas tank, causing corrosion or worse if the moisture freezes. Fuel stabilizer will prevent this from happening and your fuel will be ready to go when you are.

Change the Oil

Water or acids that have gotten into your oil can corrode the engine. Change the filter and flush it out so that no water remains. Then, add new oil.

Refresh the Coolant System

Drain the current coolant, flush with water, and fill with fresh antifreeze. Make sure you’ve diluted the antifreeze to specification. This will protect your engine from freezing and corrosion.

Disconnect the Battery

Don’t allow your battery to drain over the winter. Disconnect it and top it off with distilled water. Charge it periodically to make sure it’s ready to go when you hook it back up to your boat.

Grease the Steering Mechanism

Grease the steering and control mechanisms so that they will be moving smoothly when it’s time to take the boat out again.

Remove the Drive Belts

Before storing your boat, loosen or remove the drive belts. They may crack under the stress of being kept under tension for long periods of time.

Maintain the Interior of Your Boat

If you have electronics in your boat, they are vulnerable to extreme cold and moisture. Remove them prior to storage. Leather, canvas, and any other organic fabrics should be removed to prevent mold and mildew. Empty the water tanks and run antifreeze through the pipes.

Wash and Wax the Exterior

Cover the body of your boat with wax. This will prevent rust from corroding your boat’s exterior and is particularly important if you are storing your boat outside.

Use A Cover

cover is not merely an accessory, it is a necessity. A cover can be a significant investment, but it will protect your boat from moisture, mold, fading, cracking and animals as well as being a theft deterrent.   

Here at Universal Storage we can offer you a convenient, affordable, and secure facility to not only store, but protect your watercraft. Any one of our friendly, knowledgeable staff will be happy to discuss your boat storage options.