Tips for Packing Boxes

Tips for Packing Boxes for StoragePacking boxes for storage is not rocket science, although without some experience doing it you might make minor mistakes that, over time, become considerable problems. The following tips will help you pack boxes to prepare for moving or long-term storage.

 Should we take our boxes from the attic or garage and place them directly in storage?

When people place things in storage around their homes, whether in the garage or in the attic, generally much thought isn’t given to the organization of the things inside the boxes or the condition of the boxes themselves. Whether you should repack boxes you have in storage around your home will depend on how long you have used these boxes and what is inside them. If your box is falling apart, you should just automatically recycle it and get a new one, because moving the box from place to place shouldn’t be an anxiety-filled affair. If the items within the boxes are delicate, you’ll want to replace the box anyway, because if the box is exposed to different levels of humidity or temperatures, the box could break down more and expose its elements to the elements. Generally you will need to repack things you have had in the storage of your garage or attic.

 Can I just use any kind of tape for these boxes?

Packing tape uses a specific adhesive that sticks especially well to boxes and paper materials. Use packing tape and not duct tape or masking tape might save you from a headache later. For instance, duct tape, if not completely sealed to any area on the box, is known to peel off over time by itself. The fine particles on boxes can cover the adhesive layer on duct tape without forming a bond, rendering the duct tape useless. The same is true for masking tape. Different adhesives are designed to bond with different kinds of materials, this is why it is best to use packing tape over any other kind of tape when you are preparing your boxes for storage.

 How much stuff should I pack in each box?

Generally it is not recommended to pack more than 30 pounds in a box. But depending on what is inside, it might be wise to aim lower than that mark. Be sure to fill spaces in between objects with paper so that the contents to do move around when the box is moved from place to place. Generally bubble wrap for fragile items works well and paper for anything else. Pack the boxes tightly, filling in spaces with packing paper.

Three Places to Store Your Spare Keys

Improvements in technology haven’t really solved the old, eternal dilemma: where to put the spare key. Hiding it is imperative, but keeping it accessible, and in a memorable spot, is difficult. We recommend 3 easy, accessible places to hide your key in plain sight.

Car floor mat

As long as you don’t lose your car keys, your car floor mat is a great place to keep your spare key. It’s so great because, presumably, your car will be wherever you are.

Wind Chime

It may be unorthodox to hide your spare key in plain sight, but it’s perhaps a most effective method, given certain constraints. Attaching your key to a wind chime gives you accessibility and also an alarm. If anyone is attempting to take your key, you’ll hear it. On the other hand, every time your wind chime rings you might be tempted to peek outside. It’s a worthy sport for consideration, though.

Pet or Pet House

This may not just be unorthodox, but downright heresy. So long as you have the spare key on a keychain loop, you can attach it to almost anything. Consider placing the key either on the collar of a pet or in an outside pet house. That way, the spare key has a guard, and it’ll come to you when called.

Wherever you hide your spare keys, just make sure you don’t forget where they are, and keep them in accessible locations. That way, next time you get locked out, getting back into your apartment or home won’t be a nightmare.

Simple Rules for Self Storage

Simple Rules for Self StorageWhen making the decision to use a storage unit for personal or business use, you’ll want to be aware that every storage business  prohibits the storage of certain items to protect the storage units,  staff, and other customers. If you have any questions about whether an item is permissible, ask your storage manager or someone on staff. Self storage professionals are your guide to the specifics of self storage local, state, and federal laws and regulations.

Combustible, Flammable, Hazardous, or Toxic Materials

Any object that is considered inherently dangerous, like those that cause fires or explosions, are usually prohibited. These items include gasoline, paint, cleaners, compressed gas, lamp, and motor oil fertilizers, among other things.

Cars and Tires

If the self storage location has a space for vehicles, you should have no problem storing your vehicle as long as it is in safe operative conditions and is registered and insured. If you want to store tires only, be sure to check the number that you are allowed to store. Most storage units have a limit because tire disposal costs.

Perishable Food and Animal Food

Perishable food, animal food, and meats are not allowed in storage units because these foods can spoil and attract pests. Canned food goods however are allowed to be stored in the typical storage unit.

Asking a self storage professional is the best way to determine what you can and cannot store at any self storage location. If you have any questions, contact one of our self storage professionals today!

Tips for Packing the Kitchen

Tips for Packing the KitchenWhether you’re moving to a new home, or you just need to put your kitchenware in storage for a while, the following tips will help you pack your kitchen efficiently.

Glasses

Many people pack their glass cups in boxes with their bottoms to the floor. It’s just like putting them in a cabinet, right?

Actually, to prevent movement, after you wrap your glassware in newspaper, felt, or dishcloths, it’s best to place them upside down. Since most glassware has a bowl-shaped top, the top generally covers more area. This extra area will add significant stability when you move your boxes from one place to the next.

Plates

You’re worried about your plates moving around in their boxes, so you stack them on top of each other. This isn’t a good idea. As you add plates to the pile, more pressure is placed on the plates at bottom. This causes them, eventually, to crack.

Rather, the best practice is to wrap each plate. You can use anything from newspapers to handy dishrags that you need to pack anyway. Once wrapped, stack the plates on their sides, next to each other. Then there will be no pressure on the plates. And, if there is extra space, just stuff more newspaper in the box. Otherwise, you don’t have to worry about movement.

Appliances

You might wonder what you do with small appliances. Some of them can have many parts. And if you want to place them in storage, you’ll want to take them apart to require less space for storage.

Don’t just throw every piece to every appliance in a small box. It’ll be a nightmare when you try to piece them back together. Rather, grab small Ziploc bags, label them, and place the parts to different appliances in different bags. Then when you re-assemble, you won’t have to play the trial-and-error guessing game. That small blade probably doesn’t fit with the can-opener.

For larger appliances, clean all food out thoroughly, especially if they’re headed for storage. This will prevent any unwanted creatures from visiting. You’ll also want to wrap them in plastic, for a final layer of security. You can get plastic at any moving-supplies store and at most Infinite Self Storage locations.

If you have any questions about packing your kitchen for storage, feel free to give one of our professionals a call!

Prepare Your Clothes for Storage

Prepare Clothes for StorageIt’s time to put those summer clothes away for the season. Here are some tips to help prepare your clothes for storage.

Clean

You probably don’t want to pack away clothes with bad odors. But don’t forget your clothes might be stained too. And those stains will become permanent if you let them sit for half a year. Just be sure, wash all the clothes you plan to put in storage.

Pack

Everyone has boxes of some sort lying around. You’ll be tempted to use them. But purchase some plastic containers to store your clothes in. These containers secure your clothes from insects and rodents. And if you have clothes from the drycleaner, don’t just leave them in the drycleaner plastic. They could get water damaged.

If you use a storage facility, like Infinite Self Storage, you can purchase wardrobe boxes to hang up your clothes while they’re in storage. Then you won’t have to worry about creases or folds.

Label

You might think you can just throw everything together. And that’s fine, if you are just going to get everything out once spring arrives. But if you have a more variegated clothing selection, you’ll want to label your items by season or, even, activity. Then you can keep your harvest season clothes in storage while it’s planting season.

Store

Sure, it’s reasonable to think plastic bins will protect your clothes from temperature changes. But they won’t. In fact, they could compound the effects condensation has on your clothes. If you have an expensive wardrobe, invest in a temperature controlled storage unit to protect your clothes from condensation.

If you have any more questions about storing clothes, we encourage you to contact one of our professional storage team members. At Infinite Self Storage, we have solutions to all your storage problems.

How to Organize for a Clean Garage

How to Organize for a Clean GarageNobody knows exactly why or how the garage gets cluttered. It just does. Right? And during the holiday season, with the kids on college break, and the presents that must be stored until the last minute, the garage can be especially packed. Perhaps moving everything from the now spare bedroom into the garage was a great idea, but is it a good idea to move it all back?

It’s the beginning of a new year, and that means it’s time to make changes. Follow these tips to declutter your garage.

Where to Begin

Shivani K, writing for the renown organizing website Unclutter.com, mentions that 57% of two-car garages either only have enough space for one car or do not have enough space for any car. That’s astonishing in and of itself. But she also gives tips on how to declutter your garage.

Of course, this will be a huge task, no matter when you choose to do it. A garage is made to store a car, if not the tools to work on it, a work bench, etc. So you’re at least dealing with the storage capacity of a very large room. The garage is typically used as a middle-way point: between wanting and not wanting, between decision and indecision. Should you keep that mammoth $15 roll of wires you bought at a garage sale twenty years ago because you might use it one day? Is twenty years in the garage enough time to override the just-in-case?

Begin decluttering by pulling everything out of the garage. This is no easy task, to be sure. But it is the easiest and quickest way to determine what you have and plan where everything should be stored. Shivani recommends creating four groups for all your items: Keep, Donate, Sell, Recycle/Toss.

Don’t hold on to anything simply because you don’t want to lose money on it. Think of it this way: you paid for it to take up space in your garage. Whether you throw it away now, or never use it, you’ll lose money on it either way. And nowadays, more platforms for selling your things are available than ever before: from Facebook to Amazon, from eBay to Craigslist. Be sure to learn about listing costs and/or associated fees these services charge before you choose one.

Where to End

Commence organization! A helpful way to organize is by category or use. Tools obviously should go together. But long and short term storage should not. Make one more accessible than the other. Build shelves or hang hooks for larger items.

But most of all, never use your garage space as a way to live indecisively. Be purposeful about what you place in the garage. Only store things you know you will use (not might use), and only bring into the garage what will add to its value or utility.

How to Break Old Habits and Adopt an Organized Lifestyle

How to Break Old Habits and Adopt an Organized LifestyleNow the holidays are over, and the New Year’s resolutions are kicking in, it’s time to think about sustainability. Whether you are resolved to eat healthier this year, get organized, exercise more, or even learn a new instrument, you’ll have to think long and hard about how you’ll accomplish your by-the-end-of-the-year goals. The good thing is you’re not alone. Gaining traction on your New Year’s resolution is a matter of forming a new habit. So it’s important to understand how habits work.

Habits are like Cycles

In an interview with NPR, Charles Duhigg discusses his book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life And Business. Everything we’ve made into a routine, from exercising to cooking, from brushing teeth to cleaning laundry, begins with the same “psychological pattern.” This is called a “habit loop.” It’s really simple, actually: every habit begins with a cue, proceeds by routine, and ends with a reward. That’s it!

Let’s look a little closer. A habit begins with “a cue, or trigger, that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and let a behavior unfold.” Then the routine occurs, which is the behavior itself, or the habit. Lastly, the reward is “something that your brain likes that helps it remember the ‘habit loop’ in the future.”

The interesting thing is habits are formed in the part of the brain that has a major influence on “emotions, memories and pattern recognition.” It’s called the basal ganglia. Why is this interesting? Because it’s a separate from the region of the brain responsible for decision making – the prefrontal cortex. And, as a result, when automation kicks in, when habit loops initiate, the prefrontal cortex goes into hibernation.

This is readily available knowledge, at least by quick reference to experience. Think about how difficult the very basics of reading and math once were. We learned by rote memory, by memorizing the alphabet and times tables, and this period of learning required intense concentration. But after a while these things became second nature. It’s because, like any other habit, our focus, determination, and persistence eventually formed habit loops.

Lessons from in the Loop

Because all habits begin with a cue and end with a reward, it’s important, especially if you have big plans for your health this year – to exercise three or four times a week, to cut out sugar from your diet, etc. – to figure out some sort of consistent pattern to follow when you eat, go to the gym, or whatever you may do.

Maybe before a trip to the gym you listen to music you really like as you prepare, and afterwards you treat yourself to some yogurt. When some people crave a sweet snack, they cut up some apples and eat those as substitutes instead.

With new habits, especially healthy habits, old habits are broken. And this means the power of the reward system established by the old habit loop becomes more and more powerless. As you exercise more, your desire to lay around all day will weaken. And as you stay away from sugar, your cravings will diminish.

For more information on habits and the science behind them, you might also be interested in Scientific American’s podcast episode where Dr. Art Markman discusses things like “How to know you have a habit,” “How to work in league with your psychology to from new habits,” and “How we are more likely to succeed when we view failure as part of the process.”

Conclusion

But, most importantly, remember that habits are like cycles: as you reinforce them, they eventually become as automatic and predictable as the sunrise in the morning. Don’t be discouraged by failure. Every mistake is an opportunity to learn, an opportunity to change, and an opportunity to become better at what you are trying to do.

How to Prepare Your Washer and Dryer for Storage

Tips for Preparing Your Washer and Dryer for StorageMaybe you’re in between homes, or your new place doesn’t have a designated area for your washer and dryer yet. Whatever your situation, the following tips will prove useful as you prepare your washer and dryer for storage.

Cleaning

First thing’s first: clean your washer. You don’t want your washer to rust while it sits in storage. Nor do you want detergent residue to harden beyond the point of no return. Simply clean your washer by running a hot water cycle with vinegar. Then dry it with a towel.

All you’ll want to do for your dryer is clean out the lint tray well, by simply rubbing a damp cloth against its filter.

Disconnecting

Many manuals actually lay out the steps for disconnecting your washer and dryer. You’ll want to consult a manual if you have it. Otherwise, generally you’ll want to turn off the water, the electricity breakers, and disconnect the hoses. Then your machines will be ready to move.

Moving

You may be surprised by how light washers and dryers are. But, whether they’re light or heavy, you’ll want to purchase or borrow a dolly. Transportation will be much easier, and you won’t have to worry about denting or jarring anything. If you hire a moving company, don’t forget to stay informed about their policies.

Storing

Wrap both your machines with either shrink wrap or a blanket. This will keep them clean from dust and protect them from dents and scratches, if you’ll be moving things around a lot.

Another thing you’ll want to do is store them on pallets. This will keep them from forming condensation underneath, as pallets allow airflow. And, as a bonus, they’ll protect your units in the unlikely occasion that water gets into your unit.

Tips for Storing Rugs

Tips for Storing RugsMaybe you’ve downsized your living space for a while. Or maybe you have family staying for an extended visit, and you don’t want their dogs to trample your large, pristine rug. Whatever your situation, when you put your rug in storage, you’ll want to prepare it properly.

Clean

First thing’s first: clean the rug thoroughly. Dirt, when concentrated in a small area of a rug, can form a clump, causing a smooth, hard surface on the rug. This, obviously, is completely undesirable. So dust the rug, then vacuum, and repeat a few times. Diligence will not only rid the rug of dust and dirt, but it’ll also prevent entrenched hair and dust from causing odors over long periods of storage.

Prevent

Next, you’ll want to prevent water and pest damage from ruining your rug while it’s in storage.

To prevent pests, apply a repellent designed for rugs. Then let it set for a few minutes before you roll it up, especially if the repellent is a liquid. You don’t want the rug to be wet for the next step. A wet rug in storage is a recipe for mold.

Never fold the rug. This will compromise the foundation, causing breaks and folds that irreversibly separate its material. Rather, roll up the rug. If it’s delicate, have the material facing outside, as this will put less pressure on its foundation. Either way, be sure to wrap the rug in paper wrapping which will allow moisture to escape while also protecting the exposed, rolled-up exterior.

Storage

The ideal place for a rug is in a climate-controlled storage unit. That way, you’ll control how much moisture is in the air. Some rugs soak up humidity, causing them to trap odors. But, to be sure, check out the material type and what kind of conditions it can endure. Certainly, a temperature-controlled unit or a regular storage unit will be less expensive. If this is a route you can go, it will be more cost-effective.

At the end of the day, you’ll just want to have your rug off the floor, which prevents pest infestation and moisture accumulation. And you’ll want it out of direct light, which can cause certain materials to fade. You’ll also want to check it every once in a while. The sooner you discover issues, the sooner you can resolve them.

Conclusion

Rugs can be finicky. Be sure to research the kind of rug you have and what kind of conditions it can endure without losing value or beauty. And, as you follow these tips, you can be sure that your rug is perfectly prepared for storage.

Self Storage for Beginners

Self Storage for BeginnersMoving can be tough. To reduce hassle, many people choose to temporarily use self storage units to store items that won’t be put to use for a while. This is especially true if remodeling projects are on the horizon for the new home. The following quick tips will help those who don’t have experience using self-storage units.

Couches and Beds

Utilize furniture coverings to protect from dust and mildew. Larger coverings or bags can usually be purchased at storage facilities. When storing a mattress or couch, be aware of whether you’ve positioned them too close to other furniture. Over long periods of time, color transfer between items becomes a possibility.

Tables, Dressers, and Chairs

If a chair or table does not disassemble, place a moving blanket on the floor and store the chair or table with the legs in the air. If the chair or table does disassemble, wrap each part in plastic or bubble wrap to prevent damage. When moving dressers you can use the drawers for more fragile items. This is recommended only if you can lock or wrap the dresser doors closed.

Use lots of plastic and bubble wrap to protect the corners, especially your more valuable items. Use cotton and canvas tarps to avoid dust on furniture. These covering will also allow for airflow. Using pallets in the unit  to raise your furniture off the ground will prevent damage from moisture. You can also put down a tarp on the ground to collect moisture.

Lamps, TV’s, and General Storage

When moving lamps, wrap the bases in bubble wrap or a moving blanket. Place lamp covers in loose plastic, cotton, or bubble wrap and store them in boxes.

You can never be too careful with larger flat screen TVs and computer monitors. Temperature controlled units are the best option to protect these, and other electronics, from damage that may be caused by extreme temperature fluctuations.

Make sure that you properly plan for your moving or putting personal items in storage. It is vital that the proper plan is in place so that you save money as well as time. If you have any questions regarding the use of your unit, contact your friendly, professional Infinite Self Storage management team.