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.

Your Self Storage Unit Needs a Thorough Spring Cleaning

If it’s been awhile since you’ve paid attention during a visit to your storage unit, you may be unpleasantly surprised to find that your home isn’t the only area that needs a thorough spring cleaning. 

You’ve been in and out of your unit for years retrieving your belongings, moving things around, and haphazardly damaging boxes and containers. When you made the decision to use storage, the relief at getting the overflow out of your house doubtless overshadowed any thoughts of being neat and orderly.  It’s easy to store your stuff, and forget about it…”out of sight, out of mind.” Well, those things may be out of sight, but they’re still there, right where you left them.

Now that you’ve finally made up your mind to get this job done, I have a few tips to help you keep it from becoming the formidable task that it really is.  

Tips to Get the Most Out of Cleaning Your Storage Unit

Set a Deadline:  Pick a date, and stick to it. This is kind of like making an appointment with yourself that you must keep. If you’re in the habit of not keeping appointments, I can’t help you.

Invite Friends:  When other people have committed to help, you’ll be that much more likely to be committed yourself. Unless you don’t care if your friends stop speaking to you.

Remove Everything:  Take everything out of your unit so that you can sweep and clean before re-organizing your space. Chances are that everything will be dusty and may need to be re-positioned. It’s a good idea to refold stored textiles and linens to prevent creases from forming. Maybe you can coerce your mother into doing the folding.

Start by Opening Boxes:  People generally lose track of the items they’ve stored.  If you haven’t opened some of the boxes in ten years, you may be pleasantly surprised to find some family heirlooms or possessions you thought you’d lost. Or you may find some things that you wish you’d lost. (and some living things!)

Keep, Discard, Donate:  Go through the same process that you did when you decided what to store.  As you open your boxes and sort your belongings make “keep, discard, donate” piles.  If you haven’t retrieved something in more than a year, it’s probable that you’ll never need or use it again. Did you really go through this process before deciding what to store, or were you lazy? 

Consolidate:  Free up storage by consolidating.  There will be items that you never use but just can’t part with. Try to combine them in the same boxes and keep them in the back of the unit. 

That doesn’t mean you should store the old knee brace in the mixing bowl of a broken stand mixer.

“The Wait and See Box:”  For those items that you are not sure about, use a “wait and see box.”  You can review this box during your next spring cleaning; and, if you haven’t used these things in the past year, discard or donate them. This is not an “excuse” box because you don’t feel like dealing with these items. Some items have to go NOW!

Label and Redistribute Weight: When you’ve finished re-packing, be sure to distribute weight evenly, with heavier items on the bottom. Clearly label everything to make the next cleaning easier. Don’t store a box of medicine balls on top of grandma’s china tea cups.

Reorganize With a Plan:  Create a written map or drawing of the unit to indicate where items can be found.  Items can be grouped in any way that is appropriate for your life. For example, you can group by person, room, or importance. Leave this plan on a clipboard hanging on the wall of your space for easy reference.  Store belongings that you don’t use regularly in the back of the unit. Save the front space for things you use more often and for seasonal items. Be sure that unused space in dresser drawers, cabinets, or freezers is filled with belongings (not food).  If possible, leave aisles with room to move around and easily view all labels. If you’re super organized, take photos with your phone so that you can check to see what’s in your space prior to making a trip. Yes, this is a bit complicated, but do it. 

And stop complaining. Decluttering is good for your mental health. The most important thing to take with you to your unit is a positive mindset.  Focus on the feeling of relief that comes from a good cleaning and reorganization. Or not. You have to get the job done either way.

If you don’t have a storage unit, but you’re interested in cleaning up your house and storing the junk, read Put that Clutter in Storage and Get on With Your Life.   Happy cleaning!!!

Get to Know This Popular Self-Storage Packing Material

It’s a stress reliever, it comes in rolls, it protects fragile items, and it’s name is a generic trademark used by Sealed Air Corporation. Any guesses as to what I’m talking about? It’s a solution for consumers and small businesses alike, and people love to spend an aimless hour or two popping it. It’s not only the most protective packing for your breakable items, but this stuff keeps kids occupied for hours. You’ve probably figured out by now that I’m talking about the ever-popular, ever-entertaining rock star of the packing material world, Bubble Wrap. You know you love to pop those bubbles. Admit it. But, do you know the history of this humble plastic wrapping material.

The History of Bubble Wrap (Textured Wallpaper???)

Bubble Wrap has been around for a while. In 1957 two engineers, Alfred Fielding and Marc Chavannes set out to create textured wallpaper. Textured wallpaper – let that sink in. They created this trend-setter wall covering by sealing together two shower curtains with air bubbles trapped inside. Can you imagine having your walls covered in bubble wrap? It would be great for your baby just learning to walk or for great-grandma who has balance issues. I see no other advantages. Can you imagine having to reprimand your kids for “popping the air out of the wallpaper?” You’d have to put them in the middle of the room for a timeout or your walls would look like used plastic wrap.

After discovering that this wall covering wasn’t as popular as they’d hoped (shocking!!), they had to change direction. For their next trick, they tried marketing this “textured wallpaper” as greenhouse insulation. Apparently, their marketing skills weren’t up to the task because that proved to be unpopular as well.

Three years later, Frederick W. Bowers, a marketer at Sealed Air, the company that makes Bubble Wrap, discovered the perfect use for this product. IBM had announced their new 1401 computer, and Bowers got the ingenious idea that Bubble Wrap could be used as a protective packing material during shipping. He pitched the idea to IBM, the demonstration was a success, and IBM began using Bubble Wrap to protect all of their fragile products during shipping. From modest beginnings, Bubble Wrap currently accounts for 10% of Sealed Air’s revenue, translating to around $400 million in annual sales.

A Modern-Day Marvel With One Small Problem

Today, Bubble Wrap takes on many forms and can be purchased almost anywhere that moving and office supplies are sold. You can always find it at your local self storage facility that carries moving and packing supplies. Mailers, pouches, and padded envelopes are examples of other popular uses for Bubble Wrap.

A downside for customers who are buying Bubble Wrap has been the space it takes up during shipping and storage. In the early 1990s a group of engineers began work on a product that could be shipped in thin, flat sheets of plastic without the bubbles. The method is to eject tiny pellets of polyethylene into sheets, which are then heated. These tiny pellets then flatten to form strong polymer sheets with rows of un-inflated bubbles that are connected in lines. Customers lease a special machine from Sealed Air which inflates all the lines of bubbles and seals the openings. This customer-inflated Bubble Wrap is 40 times cheaper to ship than the original.

Bubble Wrap is useful for so much more than merely packing. Wasting time has never been more productive.

Bubble Wrap Fun Facts

The amount of Bubble Wrap produced by Sealed Air annually is enough to wrap the entire Earth, at the equator, with Bubble Wrap about 10 times.

While originally used primarily for packing, most of the Bubble Wrap currently produced is used for food packaging.

In a demonstration done by Sealed Air, an 815 pound pumpkin dropped from a height of 35 feet onto layers of Bubble Wrap survived without a scratch.

The next time you watch a TV show in a school setting, know that the backpacks everyone is wearing are filled with Bubble Wrap so that they don’t have to lug heavy books.

To survive a six-story fall, you would need 39 layers of Bubble Wrap (don’t try this at home).

In 2015, Boy Scouts in Elbert, Colorado set a Guinness World Record for the most number of people popping Bubble Wrap simultaneously: 2,681 Scouts participated.

Bubble Wrap was a Toy Hall of Fame Finalist in 2016.

Sealed Air manufactures Bubble Wrap sheets with air cushions shaped like letters that spell out “happy holidays” and bubbles shaped like hearts or smiley faces.

Sealed Air licenses day calendars that allow consumers to punctuate dates by popping a giant bubble. Much more fun than marking off the days with a conventional calendar.

Teenage girls all over the world use it to stuff their bras.

If you’re very patient and adept with a syringe, you can make jello shots with Bubble Wrap.

For added dimension to an already great party game, place Bubble Wrap under Twister.

People love to pop Bubble Wrap because:

  • It releases muscle tension
  • It distracts you from your worries
  • It makes an awesome noise
  • It provides instant gratification
  • It has a satisfying, calming tactile feeling
  • You can throw it away when you’re done

Who would have thought a humble plastic packing material could be so versatile in addition to being so useful. I hope that this article provided you with a newfound respect and admiration for Bubble Wrap. Wrapping a package will never be the same.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll go back to popping – it’s cheaper than a therapist.