Monthly Archives: December 2014

How Downtown Self-Storage Benefits our Local Home-Based Businesses

localshops

It seems like everybody is getting in on the home-based business craze. In light of the recent economic changes, people appreciate the extra cash and security that they can provide. Sometimes, people jump into a known enterprise, selling cosmetics, household cleaners, wigs or other goods. Creative entrepreneurs start businesses of their own design, and manage a one-person team. At some point, though, successful home-based businesses take over the entire home. Downtown self-storage helps bridge the gap for a business that’s too big to be kept at home, and one that needs its own dedicated office space.

Inventory

A storage unit is the way to go if you have surplus inventory. First off, it helps keep family members out of it, and it also saves the business owner from being buried in boxes. It’s easy to line the walls with shelves for orderly presentation and organization. Whether you’re keeping samples on hand for prospective buyers, or purchasing inexpensive items and selling them at profit, you can find the right-sized space for your needs. Keep in mind, though, that some things, like makeup, will do much better in a climate-controlled space.

Documents

It’s easy to get buried alive in paperwork as well. Records of ordering, receiving, licensing, tax documents and more, all need to be kept. You can stow it all together along with the rest of your business supplies.

Signage

Often times, home-based businesses come with a lot of leg work. As in, you walk. A lot. You may be posting signs on street corners, hanging them in local businesses, or just about anywhere else people will let you. Sometimes you’ll have to remove a sign, or you’ll keep them in rotation. On the other hand, you may be so busy managing all the other aspects of your business that you can’t get to putting up the last few signs. At home, they may be trampled or repurposed, by eager, helpful artistic children. In storage, they’ll stay exactly how you want them.

Other Marketing Materials

There’s just something magical about designing your first brochure. It makes your company feel real and gives it a professional appeal. Before you know it, you’ve got three different deigns, another set of flyers, and a couple of sets of business cards. While the experts usually say it’s wise to test out unique designs, keeping all these things at home can be overwhelming. On the other hand, you can grab what you need, when you need it, if it’s safely tucked away off-site.
There are so many things a small-business owner has to manage and keep track of. A Downtown self-storage unit can provide peace of mind and also keep little hands off important, and expensive, materials. If you’re at a point where your business has outgrown your home, getting a unit just might be the next logical step on your path to growth.

Visit our self storage facility in Vancouver at the address below:

Iron Gate Storage
1200 West Fourth Plain
Vancouver, WA 98660
(360) 419-4200

How Vancouver Self-Storage Can Keep You Prepared for Emergencies

ER

Emergency preparedness is big business, and not just because of the impending zombie apocalypse. The US has entire agencies devoted to setting aside items in case natural disasters occur, and they advise each household to do the same. While it’s wise to keep what you can inside your home, not everybody has that kind of space. A Vancouver self-storage unit can help you create a stockpile so your family is set, even if the store shelves are empty. The following is a general guideline as to what supplies you should keep ready, just in case.

Food

You can keep your storage unit loaded with all the food your family will need, provided you choose all non-perishable items. Water can be stored in large 5-gallon bottles or in smaller jugs for easier use. As a general guideline, you should have:

  • Infant formula
  • Water (One gallon per person per day for three days is recommended by FEMA)
  • Non-perishable food supply to feed entire family for at least three days
  • Can Opener

Medical

Medical items can be easily stored together in a single bin. Although FEMA makes no note of it, it might be a good idea to keep common over-the-counter medications ready in addition to the following:

  • Prescription Medications
  • Spare Eyeglasses
  • First-aid manual
  • First-aid kit
  • Dust mask

Hygiene

FEMA recommends that you keep baby diapers on hand. However, if the end of the world really does come, it might be a good idea to have adult ones too. They also recommend:

  • Feminine hygiene supplies
  • Moist towelettes and/or baby wipes
  • Antibacterial gel

General

There are a ton of things which are good to have, but don’t really fit into any other category, including:

  • Pet food and extra water
  • Cash and travelers’ checks (Don’t expect you plastic to work in the event of an emergency.)
  • A sleeping bag or warm blanket for each member of the family (Washington residents should probably have 2-3.)
  • Change of clothing for each member of the family (Kids should have 2-3 changes.)
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Mess kits or disposable dinnerware
  • Paper towel
  • Paper and pencil
  • Non-electronic entertainment, such as books, coloring books, and board games
  • Battery-powered or crank radio
  • Flashlights for every member of the family
  • Extra batteries
  • Whistle
  • Trash bags and ties
  • Tool kit
  • Local maps

Much of this list was compiled from FEMA’s guidelines. They also recommend people should have bleach and matches on hand, which may or may not be permitted in your Vancouver self-storage unit. You’ll have to use your own judgment on adding items, as the list lacks glaringly obvious things like a tent for shelter and weapons to fight zombies.

Call or stop by our self storage facility in Vancouver today to reserve your storage unit!

Iron Gate Storage
2225 E. 5th St.
Vancouver, WA 98661
(360) 899-0030

Protecting China and Crystal in an Orchards Storage Unit

chinacups

Have you ever been told by well-intending people that your fine china and crystal were meant to be used? These are usually people who don’t have rambunctious children roaming about and the busy lifestyle that you do. In modern homes, beautiful heirlooms can last about two seconds, and it makes sense to keep them safe until the madness subsides or the kids are older. If you’re getting ready to pack your china and crystal into your Orchards storage unit, here’s how to give it an extra measure of protection.

Use the Right Packing Material

If you have the original box, and it’s in good condition, it’s probably a safe bet. If it was lost or you want to give your dishes the highest level of protection, get a specialty kit. These are often lined with silk or felt and padded heavily, which reduces the risk of chipping and of tears later. If you go with a kit, you should have everything you need for proper packing. If you’re working on your own, the key is padding. Each item needs to be wrapped individually in thick fabric, like felt. Plates are a little more resilient and are usually safe, as long as there is fabric between each one. If you don’t have a kit or the original box, at least spring for something sturdy, like a Rubbermaid container.

Take Extra Precautions

Some pieces, like bone china, can benefit from a layer of bubble wrap as well. Try to avoid the urge to pop the bubbles or purchase a little extra for amusement later. You’ll want to keep your box balanced and place the heaviest items on the bottom. Take care not to over-pack, though, because the pressure alone is enough to shatter plates on the bottom.

Organization

Normally, people have the tendency to squeeze as much as possible into a single box. This is a bad idea with your fragile dinnerware, unless you like the idea of piecing all the items back together like a puzzle. Try to keep like-items with each other, such as a box of plates or tea service. It’s also a good idea to label the outside of the box in several places, so you don’t have to hunt for pieces and risk breaking them. Crystal is incredibly heavy, so store it separately and pack it upright in a single layer. Be sure to fill in any gaps within your box using bubble wrap or another thick padding.

Whenever possible keep your precious dinnerware in a low-traffic portion of your Orchards storage unit. This will give it the greatest potential to make it to your table as beautiful as the day it was created. What happens to it once it’s in the hands of your children and guests, is another matter entirely.

Call or stop by our self storage facility in Vancouver to reserve your storage unit today!

Iron Gate Storage
7920 NE 117th Ave.
Vancouver, WA 98662
(360) 799-5082

Personalizing a Furnished Rental Home Using Mill Plain Self-Storage

furnishedrental

Congratulations! You’ve found the perfect rental home. As an added bonus, it’s furnished! Despite the convenience, moving into a furnished rental home comes with both good news and bad news. The Good News: You don’t have to spend additional money to procure furniture. The Bad News: Your home becomes part of your identity, and moving into a furnished rental can feel like moving into a stranger’s house.

Are you a creative type that needs to fill your rooms with plants and exotic home accessories? Perhaps you’re a clean-freak that values a modern, no-nonsense look in your home. Maybe the rental is furnished the breakable items, and having these items around your hyper children is just not a good idea. Your home can, and should, reflect you and your family’s needs and personality.

To help you customize your furnished rental, without violating the terms of your lease, here are a few ways to personalize your new furnished rental.

10 Ways to Use the Mill Plain Storage Facility to Personalize Your Rental Home

  1. Take anything breakable, from vases and decorative bowls, to storage.
  2. If you hate the drapes, take them down and replace them with drapes that match your personality.
  3. Do you find the couch to be uncomfortable? Store the rental’s couch at Mill Plain Self Storage, and purchase your own.
  4. Love all the rental furniture, but you have a lot of your own furniture from the last house? Store it all until you’re ready to move again.
  5. Pack up bulky coffee tables and unnecessary ottomans to give the kids more room to run around the living room.
  6. Upgrade the appliances without discarding the rental’s. Purchase a new microwave, toaster, and all of the little things that make life convenient, and store the rental home’s appliances at Mill Plain Self Storage.
  7. Need to make room for your new TV? Send the rental’s living room items to be safe in storage to make room for your entertainment center.
  8. If your rental home came with bedding, but you’re in love with your own bedding, pack it up in a box or bag to take it to storage.
  9. Large items like old bookcases and old dinner tables might pose hazards to pets and children. Send them to stay safely in a large self-storage unit.
  10. If you change your mind about anything, just pick it up from the unit. You are free to reclaim anything that you put into your own unit at Mill Plain Storage Facility.

If you’ve moved into a furnished rental home, you have plenty of ways to still make it your own. Store away what you don’t like, and add on to what do like.

Reserve your storage unit in Vancouver today!

Iron Gate Storage
12406 SE 5th Street
Vancouver, WA 98683
(360) 799-5100

Keeping Silver Tarnish-Free in a Beaverton Storage Facility

silverspoon

Some possessions are meant to be used and enjoyed, including silver. Still, it may not be practical to have your silver pieces out every day. Proper storage techniques will help keep them ready for use while avoiding damage or blackening. Here are a few tips for safely storing your silver:

Understanding Silver Sulfide

Silver sulfide, also known as tarnish, is a black film that can develop on your silver over time. Many people do not realize that tarnish is the result of a chemical reaction. Because of this, tarnish must be polished off, not washed off with soap and water. At the same time, be cautious not to over-polish or polish your silver too often as the process can remove a tiny bit of the silver each time. Polishing one to two times a year is a good guideline.

Avoid Scratches

While preparing to put your silver in a Beaverton storage facility, be mindful of scratches. The element silver is a soft metal, so it scratches easily. Always handle your silver with care and avoid scooping up handfuls of silverware or stacking silver dishes haphazardly.

How to Store

Always avoid using newspaper or other acidic papers to wrap your silver in. You can use museum-quality archival tissue paper, but one of the best materials for storing silver is flannel. You can purchase specialty storage flannel from a variety of vendors, or purchase treated flannel from your local fabric store. Anti-tarnish bags are typically made of flannel as well, although they may come in another fabric. Either way, your storage box or chest should be lined and close fitting to help keep the silver tarnish-free.

Other Tricks

If you are interested in additional ways to keep your silver from blackening, consider using anti-tarnish strips. These strips are made with activated charcoal, which draws in the gasses that cause tarnish build-up. Avoid waxing your silver before storing it unless it is display-only; otherwise, the wax will have to be removed before use.

Finally, look for a Beaverton storage facility that is climate-controlled. Since silver is a soft metal, both humidity and heat can accelerate tarnishing. Avoid storing your silver anywhere there might be big temperature fluctuations, as this can also cause problems. With these tips and a good storage center, your silver will remain safe and tarnish-free.

Call or stop by our self storage facility in Beaverton today!

Iron Gate Storage
4050 SW 160th Ave
Beaverton, OR 97007
(503) 649-7531

Best Practices for Packing Bedding in a Beaverton Storage Facility

blanketkitty

Just because you’re putting your bedding away into a Beaverton storage facility doesn’t mean that you won’t ever use it again! Sometimes, your linen closet has one comforter too many, or maybe you’re just storing to bedding temporarily as your prepare to move to another home. Regardless of your reasons, your bedding needs to be packed in a way that keeps it safe while in storage.

Here are a few tips to properly pack your bedding to keep it nice while it’s in a Beaverton storage unit.

  1. Neatly fold all of your bedding prior to packing. This will help you play “packing Tetris” easier.
  2. Get your hands on packing paper and tissue.
  3. Pick the packing method that suits your needs below.

The Plastic Bag Method

Line a large plastic bag with paper or tissue, similar to the tissue used to wrap gifts. The paper helps reduce moisture within the bag and protects the texture of the fabric. Carefully pack your bedding into the plastic bag, and tie it tightly, removing as much air from the bag as you can to compress the bag. This makes it easier to carry and store.

If you are absolutely strapped for space, you can also use a vacuum hose to remove extra air from the inside of you plastic bag. Similar to a Space Bag ®, this method of packing bedding into a plastic bag includes narrowing the opening of the bag to the size of a vacuum hose. Then, you use the vacuum to suck out the extra air. This will not damage the bedding inside, and it will allow you to save space. If you opt for this method, ensure that you are using a plastic bag that has no holes.

The Big Box Method

Have more or fluffier bedding to pack? Upgrade from the plastic bag to a box! Line the bottom and sides of a large box with a single layer of packing paper. When you’re placing your folded bedding items into the box, place the heavier items on the bottom. Comforters, sheets, and other heavy items will compress as the smaller bedding items are loaded into the box on top of them.

For Your Best Bedding, Before and After Packing

Packing your bedding to send to a Beaverson Storage Facility shouldn’t feel like giving a final goodbye. If you pack them correctly, imagine how nice it will be when you are reunited again.

Call or stop by our self storage facility in Beaverton today!

Iron Gate Storage
4050 SW 160th Ave
Beaverton, OR 97007
(503) 649-7531

Keeping Your Mink in Mint Condition Using Vancouver Self-Storage

minkcoats

Among the many things in your closet that you can haphazardly toss into a box, your furs are definitely NOT one of them. We repeat: DO NOT TREAT YOUR FUR LIKE THE REST OF YOUR WINTER JACKETS. Fur coats have a small and select list of vicious storage enemies:

  • Moisture
  • Vermin
  • Pressure/Stress
  • Odors

Learn more about these elements, and what to do to keep your mink in mint condition.

Moisture

In much the same way humidity is out to get your hair, it also has its eyes on ruining your furs. Moisture is the top threat to storing fur coats, and even a little bit of humidity can dampen the furs and cause mold and deterioration. Green mold is hardly a flattering color on your gorgeous furs. A Vancouver self storage facility can store your furs in a controlled ideal climate of 50% relative humidity and at a temperature of 10 C. Also, fur coats need to “breathe.” They need to be exposed to circulating air to retain their lustre. Air circulation also deters mold from growing in the fur.

Vermin

As in their first life, furs are often the target of bugs and animals in their second life. If left unattended for long periods of time, flying insects will be attracted to the furs, and rodents will attempt to chew in the leather. Your house, immaculately clean as it may be, might not be able to keep out every small creature that invades it. They are very attracted to the scent of fur coats, and, if they get into your closet, they will destroy it.

Pressure/Stress

Fur coats should not be tightly packed into a closet with the rest of your winter wear. Not only does packing the fur reduce the air circulation that reach it, but it also puts stress on the leather and fur itself. This can, ultimately, cause warping and damage.

Odors

If you store your fur coat in a closet with mothballs, wool, leather, or other organic material, it will eventually start to smell like them. Fur collects the scents around it, and stuffy closets can harbor an interesting array of aromas. Unless you like smelling like an old closet at winter parties, you might want to consider storing your furs in a climate controlled, open air Vancouver storage unit.

One More Tip to Keep Your Fur Coats Pristine

When it’s no longer “coat season,” consider bringing your fur to a Vancouver storage facility to keep it safe from its storage enemies. You’ll save money in the long term by avoiding costly reconditioning treatments, and you’ll continue to have fabulous looking winters for years to come.

Call or stop by our self storage facility in Vancouver today!

Iron Gate Storage
802 NE 112th Ave.
Vancouver, WA 98684
(360) 799-5090

Gems that Might be Hiding in Your Vancouver Storage Unit

diamondring

Have you recently checked on what you have stashed in your Vancouver storage unit? There’s a chance it might make you very happy, and not just because it keeps Aunt Mable’s yearly gift of knit house-shoes out of sight and out of mind. Throughout the years, people collect a lot of stuff. Hand-me-downs from family, vacation mementos, thrift store treasures, and more, somehow all work their way into storage. Aside from the obvious sentimental value, sometimes these things are worth a ton of cash.

Paintings

An Ohio man received a print in the 1960s and held onto it for around 50 years. Much of the time, he kept the artwork stored away. When he cleaned up, he thought nothing of it, and donated it to a thrift store. It was a Picasso original. Even works by relatively unknown artists can fetch a pretty penny, so if you’ve got paintings, do a little research so you know their true value.

Ceramics and Figurines

It’s difficult for the untrained eye to know which ceramic pieces and figurines have value. Much of the time, these items are stamped on the bottom with a manufacturer or artist’s information, which makes it easy to trace. However, some antiques, as well as pieces designed by people who hadn’t caught on yet, carry no markings. In these cases, it takes a collector to know the style and other signs on a piece that show it’s part of a valuable collection. There’s no baseline when it comes to this type of art. Some may be worth a few bucks, while others can fetch over a million at auction.

Jewelry

If Grandma gave you her stash of costume jewelry and plastic baubles, you probably rolled your eyes and said, “Thanks, Gramms.” However, it’s wise to take a look at each individual piece, because she might not have known some pieces have more monetary value than others. Whether due to senility or her big heart, her most-prized possessions were probably the inexpensive pieces given to her while she was being courted by Grandpa or were gifts from her children. Grandmas are notorious for stashing the lavish pieces, which keeps them in top condition. One particular brooch was passed down and kept in the dark for decades, and then later sold for more than 30,000 pounds.

Baseball Cards and Toys

These kinds of items routinely get boxed up, stowed, and forgotten. Seemingly worthless packages are passed down through families, unopened. This was the case with a set of “Air Raid” video game netted over 33,000 dollars at auction.

If you have unopened boxes in you Vancouver storage unit, or you’ve forgotten what’s in there, it’s time to take a look. You just might have a million-dollar collection alongside your knit house-shoes.

Call or stop by our self storage facility in Vancouver today!

Iron Gate Storage
2225 E. 5th St.
Vancouver, WA 98661
(360) 899-0030

Using a Downtown Vancouver Storage Facility to Stage a Home

clutter

Imagine that you’re looking for a new home, and you visit an open house. The neighborhood is safe, the schools are great, and you pull up to a beautiful place with massive curb-appeal. Then, you step inside and smell fresh-baked cookies. This is exactly what you’ve been looking for! As you round a corner, a misplaced toy sends you face-first to the ground, arms flailing. With as much grace as you can muster, you collect yourself and head to the kitchen in search of those cookies, only to find the counters littered with gadgets and gizmos. “Hmm… It’s not as spacious as I thought,” you mutter to yourself.

No matter, armed with your cookie, you head to the “den” to continue your examination. Only, it’s not a den. It’s got more toys, a TV, a computer, a bed, and some items you can’t identify. Is it a bedroom, a rec room, a playroom, or something else? If you’re like most people, you throw in the towel, then and there, and move on to the next house, simply because you can’t envision yourself in the space. If you’re selling your home, don’t send prospective buyers away with your clutter. Stash it in a downtown Vancouver storage facility, so people can easily see themselves living in the home.

Remove the Clutter

The first step in staging a home so you get top-dollar is to remove excess clutter. The less stuff you have in the house, the bigger it looks. It also makes it easier for people to picture where they’ll store their own items and how they’ll use each room. Consider stowing:

  • Excess Toys
  • Kitchen Gadgets
  • Surplus Items from Closets and Cabinets
  • Sporting Gear
  • Out-of -Season Clothes and Décor
  • Anything You Don’t Use Often

Set the Stage

Once your home has been freed of needless things, do a thorough cleaning. Enlist the help of spouses and children by tucking small amounts of cash in various places, so they have to clean to find it. If money’s tight, just tell them you did, and that they didn’t clean well enough to find it. To avoid baffling buyers, remove items from your “everything room” to help define it. Consider stowing worn furniture until the sale is complete as well. You can pick up rental pieces inexpensively if need be.

Tidy, organized homes sell faster and usually fetch higher prices than cluttered ones. Utilize a downtown storage facility to help make the sale and prepare for your move. If your home still doesn’t sell despite your efforts to restore order and maintain tidiness, use cookies. If you happen to be showing your home to the one person in America who can’t be swayed by a neat house and baked goods, at least you’ll have comfort food.

Call or stop by our self storage facility in Vancouver today!

Iron Gate Storage
1200 West Fourth Plain
Vancouver, WA 98660
(360) 419-4200

How to Stow Your Winter Gear in Orchards Storage Units

skiiboots

Although Vancouver at most has one or two days of summer each year, most residents are all too happy to stash winter gear at some point. Even if it’s only to trade items in for lighter wear, like galoshes, or fewer layers, it sure is nice to pack stuff away and imagine that warmer days are ahead. Whether you’re a non-native who waits until June, or a local who hits their Orchards storage unit with loaded boxes in March, it’s good to know a few packing tips.

1. Dry Your Clothes…

And then dry them again. Moisture is public enemy number-one when it comes to packing up winter wear. If your clothes aren’t clean and totally try, they’ll create the perfect environment for mold to flourish and will also attract pests.

2. Keep Your Clothes Dry

If you’re 100-percent, completely, without-a-doubt certain that your clothes are absent of moisture, dry them a third time. If you choose to pack them in cardboard boxes, you’ll almost certainly need a climate-controlled storage room to keep humidity from ruining your clothes. If you go with a clean (and dry!) plastic bin or a space-saver bag, you can probably get away with a traditional room for a short period of time.

3. Get Ready to Roll

You’ll have fewer wrinkles and can condense your stash more if you roll items instead of folding them. Although you’ll probably be so sick of winter that you want to chuck your stuff in a box and be done with it, you really should roll your items. It’ll help your clothes last longer, and they’ll look better right out of the box when cooler temperatures return.

4. Stuff Your Stuff

Use newspaper or another filling material to plump up boots and hats so that they maintain form. The comic section is advisable. This is not because it somehow works better, but because it can help ease the pain when you have to take your stuff back out of storage again.

5. No Vacancy

Let creepy crawlies know that there’s no room at the inn by enclosing cedar or lavender with your fabrics. Both are believed to have aromas that are unpleasant to common pests, yet are not harmful to people and their stuff.

6. Save Your Skis

Spring is the best time to get your skis tuned up, so they’re ready next time it snows. They’re sensitive to the elements, so store them with a coat of wax in a climate-controlled room. Plastic sleds do better under the same conditions, as they tend to dry out and become brittle in the heat, and wooden toboggans should be kept off the floor and away from moisture.

No, packing winter gear into your Orchards storage unit won’t bring warmer temperatures, or dryer weather for that matter, but it’s nice to have a tidy space and your stuff protected. If, by chance, you’ve been a little overzealous by stowing your stuff too soon, you can always come back and grab what you need.

Call or stop by our self storage facility in Vancouver today!

Iron Gate Storage
7920 NE 117th Ave.
Vancouver, WA 98662
(360) 799-5082