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What Size Self Storage Unit Do I Need?

Searching for a self storage unit doesn’t have to be as difficult as Prince Charming searching his kingdom for the owner of the glass slipper. You’re not looking for Cinderella – you’re looking for self storage. You don’t have to visit every self storage facility in the land to find the perfect fit. 

Whether you’re looking to store your small business inventory or the contents of a typical bedroom, knowing what size you need will save you time and money. You don’t want to have your unit half packed before you realize it’s too small, and you don’t want to spend extra money on a unit that’s too large. 

How Do I Choose the Right Size Self Storage Unit?

Here are some guidelines that will help you determine the storage space that you need. 

Take inventory of the Items Your Storing

Consider the number of boxes, measure appliances and large items, and take into account any large or irregularly-shaped items like bicycles or exercise equipment.

Use Size Guides and Visit the Unit Prior to Reserving

Most self storage websites include a storage unit size guide and many have an interactive space calculator. An in-person visit to the unit that you’re reserving is good idea. A visual representation of the space will help you better plan for your needs.

It’s Better to Overestimate than Underestimate

Even using all of the resources at your disposal won’t determine the exact size unit for your belongings. Of course you don’t want to spend extra money; but, if you’re uncertain, it’s better to spend a few extra dollars for enough room. It’s always a beneficial to have enough space for a path between your boxes and large items.

Think About Storage Unit Dimensions

Self storage units are typically sized as length by width, making it easy to estimate your floor space by square footage: for example, a 5 x 10 unit is 50 sq. ft. Self storage units typically have a height of eight feet, giving you extra vertical space. You can easily stack boxes and containers and position furniture and appliances to save space. 

Look for Packing and Organizing Tips

After you locate the right unit, be sure to get it packed and organized properly to make the best use of your space. Check our Packing and Storage Tips for more information.

How Much Storage Space Do I Need

Below are unit sizes and typical contents. This should give you a rough idea of what you need. This is the type of information you’ll see on a typical size guide.

5 x 5 (25 sq. ft.): The size of a walk-in closet. Ideal for boxes, books, seasonal items (garden tools and pool toys), clothing,  office supplies, and twin size mattresses.

5 x 10 (50 sq. ft.): This is a good size to store a mid-size bedroom, office, or an entire studio apartment.

10 x 10 (100 sq. ft.): An entire living room and two full bedrooms are a good fit for this space. 

10 x 15 (150 sq. ft.): A three-bedroom house will fit in this size unit. It’s ideal for large  screen tvs, sporting equipment, bikes, pianos, and tables.

10 x 20 (200 sq. ft.): This space is ideal for a five-bedroom house, including large appliances. This unit is also big enough for cars, boats, and other vehicles. 

10 x 30 (300 sq. ft.): This unit has enough space to store a five- to seven-bedroom home or a large vehicle or small boat with room to spare. If you’re making a cross-country move, this size will enable you to store the contents of your large home while getting settled.

Vehicle Parking:  Most facilities offer indoor, covered, and open parking spaces for cars, boats, and RVs. You can find information on the vehicle storage page of most self storage websites.

Whatever your storage needs, the information in this article can guide you in the right direction to easily find the right size unit at your local facility. If you’re still uncertain, speak to the manager at your local self storage business.The friendly, knowledgeable employees are always happy to answer your questions and help you to find the right fit.

Do You Know the Difference Between Self Storage Insurance and a Tenant Protection Plan?

According to the Self-Storage Association, one out of every 10 households in the U.S. rents a  self storage unit. That means 10.8 million Americans are comfortable that their possessions are safe, secure and well protected at their local self storage facility. They’ve taken the time to choose the right self storage facility for their possessions, and they know that the majority of self storage businesses have cutting edge security. Video monitoring, electronic gates, keypad access, and even bluetooth enabled keyless entry keep their belongings safe and protected.  

Despite these precautions, insurance is required at most facilities to mitigate risk and cover losses. A growing number of self storage businesses have added a tenant protection plan as another layer of protection.  A tenant protection plan covers certain losses not covered by insurance. 

Storage Insurance vs. Tenant Protection Plan

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners states that even though items in a storage unit are not physically in your home, your homeowner’s policy may help protect those items from certain hazards.  Homeowners/renters insurance typically includes personal property coverage, from certain risks, for clothing, appliances, electronics, and furniture. These items, however, are covered only up to the coverage limits on your policy.

Tenants who depend on the “off-premises” coverage of their homeowners or renters insurance to pay for any damages to items in their storage unit may be disappointed in the event of loss; “off premises” coverage is usually capped at a certain rate.

Be sure to check with your insurance agency to verify exactly how much coverage you will have for “off-premises” items.  

Homeowners/renters insurance covers the contents of a self storage unit only up to a certain limit.

  • According to the Insurance Information Institute, coverage for items in a storage unit is generally provided by the “off-premises” personal property coverage in a homeowner’s policy. Typically covered are fire, lightning, theft, and vandalism.
  • “Off-premises” personal property usually has a coverage limit of up to 50% of the policy’s dwelling coverage limit. Some homeowner’s policies have even lower limits for property located away from your home. For example, if you have $75,000 coverage on your personal property under your homeowner’s policy, coverage for “off-premises” property may be capped as low as 10% or $7,500.
  • Renters insurance generally covers items in a self-storage unit for up to 10% of your policy limits.   

What is covered by self storage insurance?

Buying self-storage insurance will usually give you coverage for damages to your possessions, less your deductible, due to loss from:

  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Hurricane
  • Tornado
  • Wind
  • Hail
  • Lightning
  • Leaking Water (excluding flooding)
  • Smoke
  • Earthquake

A tenant protection plan offers advantages that you don’t see in conventional insurance coverage.

How does a tenant protection plan work?

A tenant protection plan is a contractual agreement between the facility and the tenant, with the facility assuming limited responsibility for the tenant’s belongings while they are stored in a locked unit. In other words, operators agree to pay customers for damages to belongings up to a specified dollar amount.

Customers will be reimbursed at replacement cost for their damaged or stolen property (clothing and household linens are subject to depreciation). Protection plan fees are conveniently collected with the monthly rent, and there are no deductibles.

Losses from the following are covered:

  • Theft due to forcible entry
  • Fire, smoke, lightning, or explosion
  • Windstorms
  • Water damage from a leaking roof or broken pipe (up to protection plan limits)
  • Furs, antiques, works of art, and consumer electronics

Certain protection plans also cover:

  • Cars, boats, jet skis, RVs, motorcycles, and quads stored inside units
  • Document re-creation costs (up to protection plan limits)
  • Moth, insect, rodent, or vermin damage up to $500
  • Jewelry up to $500

Tenant protection plans do not cover:

  • Loss due to flood damage
  • Damage caused from dropping or moving property in and out of a storage room
  • An improperly packed room resulting in damaged belongings
  • Mysterious disappearance
  • Any property stored outside a locked storage room, including RV’s, cars, boats

With a tenant protection plan, you’re guaranteed an extra layer of safety for your possessions. 

Before you make a decision on any insurance or protection plan to cover your losses, think carefully about the monetary and the sentimental value of your possessions. Be sure to consult your insurance agent, and discuss your options with the manager of the facility where you choose to store your belongings.

Use a Proven Lock on Your Self-Storage Unit: It Makes a Difference

Most self storage facilities have stringent security measures in place, including perimeter fencing, digital video monitoring and electronic gates with keypad access. Some have keyless systems that require only an app on your mobile phone to gain access and others offer “smart” units. Whether or not your facility is equipped with the latest in mobile or smart technology, you should purchase a high-quality padlock as an extra layer of protection for your valuables.

Before you purchase a lock for your self-storage unit, there are several things you need to consider.
  1. Depending on the security level of your storage facility, you’re probably trying to decide between a medium- and high-level quality lock. Remember the old adage, “you get what you pay for.” Don’t compromise the security of your belongings. Go with the best lock in your budget range, especially if you’re going to have your valuables in self-storage for a lengthy period of time. 
  2. If it fits your needs, consider a shrouded shackle. They are more expensive, but harder to drill because of a protective covering on the shackle.
  3. Consider the size of your padlock and where you’ll be using it. You want it to fit; don’t buy an industrial-sized padlock for a small unit.
  4. If you’re considering a regular vs. a disc padlock, the disc padlock actually provides better security. These are considered by many to be the best locks for storage units because there is virtually no space to use bolt cutters.
  5. Be sure that your padlock is made of materials that will provide strength, hardness, longevity, durability, and resistance to corrosion. Common materials that will provide these qualities are steel, alloy steel, aluminum, carbides, and brass. 

Seven of the Best Storage Unit Locks for 2021 

According to Storagefact.com, the following are a few of the best locks for 2021. If you need more information, or these locks aren’t the best fit for your needs, check the above link to see more types of locks. 

4 Digit Combination Lock by Desired Tools

The Desired Tools 4 Digit Combination Lock is Storagefact’s top pick for 2021. This lock is so popular that it has a 4.5-star rating, with other 5,000 reviews on Amazon. The manufacturer claims that this lock is great for lockers, fences, and storage units and can survive both indoor and outdoor.

Pros

  • Weatherproof – survive sun, rain, and snow
  • Stainless steel hasp – unlikely to rust
  • Steel, metal, and zinc alloy – durable and sturdy
  • Easy to set and reset combination
Cons

  • The manufacturer has been known to bombard customers with spam emails

Abus 20/70 Diskus Stainless Steel Padlock

The Abus 20/70 Diskus Padlock is made of stainless steel, and the shackle has little room for cutting or drilling.

Pros

  • High quality and high security
  • Heavy duty
  • Resistant to drilling
  • No springs in the mechanism
  • Difficult to pick
Cons

  • Could get jammed on an extremely cold day
  • Finding replacement keys for this lock is very difficult. They are custom made and shipped directly from Germany

Stanley Hardware S828 Shrouded Hardened Steel Padlock

The Stanley Hardware S828 boasts a six-pin cylinder and anti-pick pins, and its hardened steel that will protect the contents of your storage unit even from sawing and cutting tools.

Pros

  • Durable and sturdy
  • Will stand up to electric and manual saws
  • Keyway cover provided to combat drilling
  • The 6-way pin core is resistant to picking
  • Inexpensive
Cons

  • Finding or even getting a replacement key made is quite difficult
  • Compatible only with Android and iOS

WGCC Fingerprint Keyless Padlock

The WGCC Fingerprint Keyless Padlock is built from aluminum alloy and was given a 4-star rating by around 200 customers. 

Pros

  • This lock has a three-month free return policy
  • Weather and dustproof
  • Long-lasting, rechargeable battery
  • Cut resistant body
  • Works with a mobile app that allows you to manage access to your storage unit
  • You can record 15 fingerprints, giving 15 people access to your unit
  • You have the option of using the app as well as a fingerprint to unlock
  • The app displays battery status
Cons

  • The app asks for too much personal data during the installation and configuration process.

The ABUS 37/80 Granit Alloy Steel Rekeyable Padlock

The ABUS 37/80 Granit Alloy Steel Rekeyable Padlock does not compromise in design and has a tensile strength of 25,000 pounds.

Pros

  • High Security
  • Well made, heavy-duty
  • Worth the cost
  • Excellent resistance to pulling and drilling
  • Strong and shrouded shackle
  • Durable
Cons

  • May not fit all storage units

Master Lock 930DKHPF

The Master Lock 930DKHPF’s corrosion resistance makes it a great option for the outdoors. It’s also the least expensive option for these locks.

Pros

  • Comes with two keys
  • 5-pin cylinder locking mechanism
  • The lock works in many weather conditions
  • Resistant to cutting, prying and drilling
  • Solid, high quality, but inexpensive
Cons

  • The shackle is long, so be sure to check that it will fit your unit.
  • The lock has been known to rust over time, however, it’s still worth considering as an all-weather lock. 

Master Lock Titanium Shrouded Padlock 

The Titanium Shrouded Padlock by Master Lock is durable and easy to use. Master Lock has been raising the bar on locks since 1921. 

Pros

  • Stainless steel body won’t corrode or rust
  • Shrouded design
  • Four-pin cylinder makes picking difficult
  • Dual locking levels provides defense against hammering
  • Fits most storage units
  • Keyhole protected from dust
  • the key-retaining feature that makes it hard for you to drop your keys
Cons

  • The keys Master Lock provides are made from weak metal. They bend and break easily

Choosing the right lock can be overwhelming; we hope this information helps. When you look at locks, consider the value of your possessions and the security features at your storage facility. Having the right lock will add an extra layer of security and put your mind at ease.

New Year New You: Use Self Storage to Turn Your Garage into a Home Gym

Are you tired of crowded gyms, expensive memberships, and travel time going to and from your gym? Are you concerned about contracting Covid 19, or are you tired of the mask mandate and social distancing? Maybe you live in an area where none of this is relevant because gyms are still closed. Wouldn’t it be great to wake up and go to a mini-gym that is conveniently located just a few short steps from your bedroom? 

Why not transform a room in your house into the perfect personal workout space? If you don’t have the extra space in your home, think about your garage. You can turn it into a home gym with all of the equipment you need right at your fingertips. It may take some time and a self storage unit, but in the end you’ll be working on your strength training at home!

Read the following to discover how to make your vision of a personalized gym a reality. 

Clear it Out

Unless you’ve been cleaning it regularly, your garage has become a space for everything that you don’t want to keep in the house. Unopened boxes from your last move, Christmas decorations, craft supplies, and useless junk are taking up valuable space. This is why you need to rent a storage unit. Before you read further, read Choosing the Right Self Storage Unit. 

Take everything out of the garage and place it in three groups: keep, discard, and donate. The items you’re keeping will get packed up and put in storage, and the items you’re discarding will get packed up for the trash. The items you’re donating can be placed in storage until you decide who is getting what. You’re focused on your home gym right now; self storage gives you a place to keep the donations until later.

Clean it Up

Now that you’ve emptied your space, it’s time for a deep clean. The best way to ensure that you don’t miss any dirt is to work from the top down. Start with the ceiling, move to the walls, and then down to the floor. You’ll need to dust and scrub everything before you get to the fun of making the space appealing as well as functional.

Spruce it Up

Paint the walls and ceiling an appealing, bright color and install good lighting. You want to be able to use this space at any time of day or evening. Flooring is important; a cold, cement floor is not the most comfortable place to work out. Carpet sounds nice, but won’t last under heavy workout equipment. The best option is laminate flooring; or, if you want to spend a bit more, you could opt for jigsaw interlocking floor mats. If you choose the laminate, you’ll need to consider purchasing workout mats.

Ventilation is important. You don’t want to be exercising in uncomfortable conditions. If the garage isn’t already temperature controlled, you can look into portable units that will do the job. 

Make it Entertaining

Watching TV or listening to music makes it easier to motivate yourself to work out. If it fits your budget, a wall-mounted TV with a sound system is perfect. You can use it for watching TV and listening to music. Not essential, but fun. 

Equip it Properly

Purchasing the right equipment can be a challenge. Where do you begin? Think about your goals and what you want to achieve. If you’re experienced, you’re already aware of your specific needs, but where do you find the right equipment at the right price? Do you want a bike, treadmill, weights, or a freestanding punching bag? If you’re a newbie, check out the verywell fit site for help. This site explains different types of setups, cost, safety, and other handy hints.

If you have the budget, one of the new home exercise mirrors looks like fun. They’re pricey and there is a monthly fee for the companion app, but the investment may be worth it if you decide to forego the gym membership permanently. 

Don’t forget to add shelving or storage for your weights, kettlebells, and other small items. 

Time to Enjoy Your Hard Work

You’ve moved all the clutter to your storage unit, and you’re gradually finishing your home gym. Get the TV connected, fire up the sound system, learn how to use your new exercise mirror, and you’ll be ready to enjoy your workouts without the hassle of costs, commutes, or expensive gym clothes. Happy New Year

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!

Self Storage: The Secret Weapon for Storing Holiday Gifts

It’s early December, and you know what that means. The holiday season is breathing down your neck. People have already begun to stash away Christmas gifts and surprises. If you haven’t started shopping, you’d better get your hustle on. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are over; you’re already a step behind. 

When you think of the excitement on those sweet little faces at 5:00 a.m. on Christmas morning, it’s hard to resist buying everything they want!. Calm down and step away from the credit card. By noon, they’ll be playing with an empty box and sobbing with exhaustion. And you still have to navigate them through the remainder of the day with relatives and friends.  Here’s an idea. Make the time leading up to this day of memories (and disorder) a little bit easier by using self storage. 

Give Yourself a Break – Use Self Storage to Stash the Presents

Black Friday is the shopping kickoff, followed by Cyber Monday, and every day and night thereafter until you have to find time to bake cookies, drink wine, and have one of many emotional breakdowns leading up to the big day. After all of that shopping comes the challenge of trying to find hiding places for all of those presents. It’s harder than trying to find a parking space at the grocery store on Christmas Eve. 

You need a plan, or the simple task of hiding gifts will become a logistical nightmare. You’ll forget where you put them; and, if you wrap them prior to hiding, you’ll absolutely forget who they’re meant for. It’s so annoying when you open the freezer and the Lightsaber Academy Interactive Battle Lightsaber falls out and breaks your toe because brain fog caused you to forget you hid it in there. But the most fun you’ll have by far is watching Aunt Karen open Cousin Sydney’s Cards Against Humanity. Cue another breakdown.

Universal Storage Group is your seasonal helper. Rent a convenient, secure, affordable self storage unit to use as ground zero for gifts. Our small sizes are perfect. You can use inexpensive shelving to keep the gifts off the ground, and you can even add a table to use for wrapping the presents. You don’t have to worry about making a long-term commitment to rent a unit, because we have flexible month-to-month leasing. 

The More the Merrier – Wrap With Friends

Better yet, if you want to save money, rent a slightly larger unit and share with friends. You not only use the space for gifts, but you can set up a wrapping station. Place a folding table with several tape dispensers and pairs of scissors in the unit. You can use it individually, or plan a wrapping party, complete with eggnog and snacks. Wrapping paper, gift bags, and ribbon can be supplied by each renter.

Choosing The Right Storage Facility

If you’re going to use storage for your gifts, you need to find a facility that is secure and convenient.

Location

At this time of year, you need to think about convenience. You’ll be stopping at the unit frequently, so you’ll need a facility in your neighborhood that is close to the places where you shop and run errands.

Security

Cost is an important factor, but it shouldn’t be your only consideration. Find a reputable company with state-of-the-art security. Look for video surveillance, perimeter fencing, security locks, and electronic keypad access. You’ll also want a friendly, knowledgeable management team that is willing to answer your questions, understand your needs, and show you around the property.

Delivery

As an additional advantage, many self-storage facilities accept deliveries. You can spend a day shopping on the internet and have all of your items shipped to your storage facility: the ultimate in convenience.

Climate Control

If you live in an area that’s subject to extreme temperature fluctuations, opting for a climate-controlled unit will be better for you and your gifts. If you plan to share with friends and spend time wrapping gifts in the unit, you want to be comfortable and you want your gifts to be protected from damage and humidity. 

Insurance

One last thought. Don’t forget to check with your insurance agent to verify that your gifts are covered under your homeowners’ or renters’ policy. If your policy does not cover these items, you can purchase insurance from your storage company.

You’ll be surprised at how much less stressful your life will be with a safe, comfortable hiding place for your gifts, especially if you bought one of the kids an electric ride-on car. You won’t have to store it in your neighbor’s living room for two months. Merry Christmas!

Self Storage to the Rescue: Get Your Guest Room Ready for the Holidays

The holidays are approaching quickly. Halloween is over, and Thanksgiving and Christmas are slowly creeping into your already cluttered brain. If you’re expecting overnight guests, you need to get ready now – not when their plane is 15 minutes away from arrival.

Greeting guests at the front door and realizing that you have to excuse yourself to empty drawers and make closet space in the guest room is not a good look. It sets the tone for the entire experience.

If you want to make your holiday guests feel like kings and queens (and don’t forget the little princes and princesses), follow the tips in this article. They may want to stay a few extra days (uh-oh)!

Make Your Guests Contented and Comfortable

General Tips

Clean the House

This is a no-brainer and your motivation to get rid of the clutter. It’s time to get a self-storage unit if you don’t already have one. It’s a place for the extra clutter and furniture crowding the guest room. You and your guests will have a much more enjoyable experience in a tidy house. For more information read Put that Clutter in Self Storage and Get On with Your Life.

Be Ready with Snacks and Drinks

Stock the fridge and pantry with snacks and drinks that you know your guests will enjoy. Don’t forget the littles; have plenty of juice boxes, fruit, and crackers.

Plan in Advance for Entertainment

You know your guests (I hope), so you’ll be aware of the activities they’ll enjoy. There are plenty of holiday events at this time of year. Shopping trips, craft fairs, tree lightings, concerts, and local cuisine are all at the top of the list. This doesn’t mean you have to pack every day with endless adventures, but it helps to have some back-up plans. You can always just hang out and watch A Christmas Story.

Remember the Kids

If there are children in the mix, remember to accommodate their needs. Baby proof where necessary. You can put all of those valuables in your self-storage unit with the extra furniture from the guest room. Parents should be able to relax and not spend their entire time reprimanding a child for touching valuable pieces or sticking their little fingers into light sockets. Make sure that you have a few board games and simple (not messy) crafts for elementary-aged kids. They will undoubtedly bring their own technology.

Bedrooms & Bathrooms

Drawer & Closet Space

Remember to clean out several dresser drawers for guests to use and provide a luggage rack for their suitcases. And don’t forget to make room in the closet and add extra hangers.

Clean Linens

It goes without saying that the beds will be made with clean sheets, blankets, and cozy comforters. Be sure to have extras so that everyone is comfortable. Buy fluffy new towels for the guest bathroom, and have plenty of extras in a cute basket. Provide another basket for dirty towels so that you can throw them in the wash every day. Don’t forget a decorative container of extra toiletries in case one of your guests is forgetful: soap, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, toothpaste, and toothbrushes. 

Extra Touches

Provide a pretty tray with bottled water, granola bars, and fruit. A vase of fresh flowers or live plants are always nice touches. If you want a festive touch, add a small tree and a few holiday decorations. Arrange a variety of books and magazines on the night table, and don’t forget nightlights in both bedroom and bathroom.

Technology

Leave a note card with your Wi-Fi password and TV remote instructions in a convenient spot in the guest room.

It looks like you’re ready. Bring on the company, but don’t waste a lot of time worrying about the “perfect experience.” Being  with friends and family is the perfect experience. Use the time to have fun and make memories! Take tons of pictures and share special moments. Happy Holidays!

Low Cost Technology to Enhance the Customer Experience

At USG, We’ve Got You Covered. Learn how you can use low cost technology to enhance the customer experience in this quick video shot at one of the nation’s best new storage facilities.

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!

On the Move & Anne Ballard: Using Your Branded Moving Truck for Good

Using a branded Moving Truck, self storage operators can make a positive impact in their community in many ways. USG’s Anne Ballard joins On The Move to encourage operators to “think outside the box” and put that rolling billboard to use for the greater good.