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 Moving Large Mirrors

Tips for Moving Large MirrorsIt’s the one thing you dread moving: the 100 pound, colossal mirror. If you’ve never moved a large mirror with a moving truck before, every little bump in the road will make you second guess the thickness of the sheet you wrapped it in. But, with just a few tips, you’ll be ready to go.

Tape

This step is especially important for larger mirrors. You’ll want to tape across the mirror, horizontally and vertically. Create all kinds of crisscrosses. If your mirror breaks during the move, the pieces won’t shatter all over the place. Instead, the tape will keep the shards in a somewhat better position to dispose of without injury.

Bubble Wrap

It’s just essential. Bubble wrap will protect the mirror from edges and corners, bumps and boxes.  Bubble wrap the mirror as many times as you want. The more you have the better, right? Just don’t pop the bubbles until after the move.

The Best Box

Invest in a mirror carton. It’s a box specially made for mirrors. The mirror carton is divided into four parts that interlock and move to fit the frames of most mirrors. In conjunction with the bubble wrap and tape, you won’t have any problems moving any mirror.

And best of all, you won’t have to worry about breaking them. Who needs that kind of luck, anyway?

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 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.

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.

Tips for Packing the Kitchen

Tips for Packing the Kitchen

Whether 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!

Tips for Storing Quilts

tips for storing quilts

Quilts are valuable because they’re made and inherited by family members, and their significance only increases as time passes. It can be worrisome to store them for long periods of time. Most people know not to store quilts in direct sunlight. But what about storing quilts for several consecutive months? Follow these tips to keep your quilts in pristine condition.

Store in a Temperature Controlled Unit

Transitioning from an extremely cold to an extremely hot environment can cause condensation to accumulate. And quilts will act like sponges to this build-up of water. Eventually, the moisture will eventually dry out the fibers that hold these quilts together.

But you control the temperature changes in a temperature controlled unit. So it’s best to get one to store your quilts in. Just keep the temperature consistent, and you’ll be fine.

Don’t Store in Plastic

Quilts are known to sweat in air-tight containers. It’s because the cotton fibers need oxygen to maintain their structure. You may think plastic is the best container to prevent a rodent infestation. But it won’t help the longevity of your quilt.

If you store your quilt in a plastic container, it may gain spots.

Store Your Quilt Rolled-up or Flat

Instead, find a reputable self storage facility, like Infinite Self Storage, and roll up your quilt in a furniture cover. Either suspend the rolled up quilt from the ceiling or find a space long and wide enough to lay it flat on the ground. Folded quilts can acquire permanent creases which will breakdown the fabric. So it’s best to either store your quilts flat or suspended.

Infinite Self Storage has a packing supplies store at most of its facilities. Contact your local Infinite Self Storage professional staff for more information on storage techniques and self storage unit availability.

Store Your Bike for Winter

Store Your Bike for Winter

With the changing seasons come changes in life. Transportation is one of the most obvious. Winter is coming. And that means no more bike rides along the park. And, for the most part, no more biking around town. It’s time to put your bike in storage. Here are some tips to make it simple.

Clean and Maintenance

Now that you’re off the dusty trail for a while, take some time to wipe down and clean your bike, especially your tires. Lubricate the chain to prevent rusting. And lubricate the tires to prevent cracking from changes in temperature. Removing dirt from the frame helps keep it rust and scratch free, and it’ll prevent discoloration in the paint.

Another part of bike maintenance is airing up the tires to recommended levels. Proper air inflation not only prevents cracking in the tires, but it also helps maintain the structural integrity.

Hang, Box, or Stand

If you will have your bike in storage for a long time, longer than a season, you might want to invest in a bike box. They save space and protect your bike from scratches and dents during storage.

However, you can just hang your bike on a wall either in your house or in a garage. Especially if you’ll take it back out one the first of spring.

Likewise, if you invest in a storage unit, you could get a temperature-control unit and just roll it in to storage. This is a good idea, especially if you have other things you’d like in storage.

How to Organize Your Car

How to Maintain a Clean Car

We all know this experience. You go to the car wash. You pay for a nice shine. You vacuum the seats and floors. And after a month, not only has the shine faded, but it looks like a dump on the inside. Follow these tips to maintain a clean interior throughout the winter.

Trash Cans

This idea might seem unappealing at first. Who wants a trash container to take up legroom in the car? And won’t it smell? But, especially if you don’t want to clean out your car every time you drive it, a secondary benefit of a trash can is to get you in the habit of cleaning out your car. Even if it means just taking out the trash once a month.

But obviously the primary benefit of having a trash can in your car is it eliminates the garbage. And it won’t take up too much space. Buy a small 3 or 5 gallon trash can with a lid. Once you get in the habit of taking the trash out of the car, you can get rid of the trash can.

Organizers

Invest in a good car organizer. Then purchase some car wipes to keep the interior shiny and clean. Also stock up on some baby wipes for any messy passengers. Place these cleaners and any objects or tools in the organizer.

With the trashcan and organizer, what else can be in your car? Once you get organized, cleaning will be the easiest part of owning a car. Even if you have a family, an organizing box will hold toys, crayons, books, and anything else you’ll need.

Now that the floor is clean and the dashboard wiped, the interior of your car will stay as clean as it came out of the factory.

Prepare Your Car for Storage

Prepare Your Car for Storage

You may be leaving the Midwest for winter. Or maybe you just have a vintage Corvette you don’t want to sit in the snow. Whatever your reason, follow these tips to prepare your car for storage.

Maintenance

First thing’s first: you might as well maintenance your car before you put it in storage. Then it’ll be ready to go when you need to move it, especially if you want to do so unexpectedly. And besides, you don’t want just plain gas sitting in the tank. You’ll need to add stabilizer to prevent corrosion of gas lines.

Outdoor or Indoor

Next, determine what kind of storage you’ll need. Outdoor storage makes your car susceptible to weather conditions. It could get damaged from ice storms or hail, and it could rust from wet conditions. But it’s usually much cheaper to rent outdoor storage than indoor storage.

Indoor storage adds a level of security outdoor storage can’t. Not only does it protect the car from weather, but it also protects against animals and rodents. You can go a step further by adding temperature control.

Whichever you choose, measure the length and width of your car so you’ll know how much space you’ll need. And, no matter if you choose indoor or outdoor, Infinite Self Storage provides an added layer of security with cameras and coded gates at most facilities.

Learn the Rules

Most storage facilities require your car to be in running condition with insurance and registration. All this ensures the car isn’t junked or stolen. And don’t be surprised if you can’t work on your car while it’s in storage. Most self storage facilities will want you to use their units just for storage. Besides, they won’t want oil spots on their floors for their next customers.

If you have any questions about preparing your car for storage, give one of our professional team members at Infinite Self Storage a call!