5 Spring-Cleaning Tips for a Clutter-Free Garage

Spring is here! Longer days, cozy sunshine, refreshing breezes, and the best of all, there are baby animals everywhere (seriously, it is the most adorable season).

Spring is here! Longer days, cozy sunshine, refreshing breezes, and the best of all, there are baby animals everywhere (seriously, it is the most adorable season). Everything seems pretty perfect… except your garage is still cluttered and disorganized. Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us. Our garages become a dumping zone for the things we don’t want in our home. The majority of us have to keep our cars in the driveway because it just won’t fit in the garage anymore. As the junk and things you do not know what to do with pile up and gather dust, cleaning out your garage can seem like an incredibly daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be! Here’s 5 tips for a more functional, tidier, and clutter-free garage.


Photo: Tristan Schmurr-Flickr

1 Clear the space

Do you know everything that’s in your garage? If not, there are likely things stored deep in your garage that you’re not even aware of. The best way to start the decluttering process is to completely clear everything (we know, but you gotta do it!) out of the space so you can start with a clean slate. Make sure you check the day’s forecast for rain before you start.

  • Sweep, vacuum or wash the floors to remove accumulated dirt, dust, bugs, and grime.
  • Use a broom to remove any cobwebs and dust from walls.
  • Wipe down any shelving or flat surfaces.
  • Open all windows and doors to give your garage a good airing out now that there is no more clutter restricting airflow.

2 Organize your items

Once you have removed everything from the garage and cleaned, it is time to start sorting and organizing your items. This will allow you to better assess your contents so you can decide what to keep and what to discard.

  • Sort everything into piles – keepingtossingsellingrecycling, and donating.
  • Avoid making a “miscellaneous” pile.
  • Group items you are keeping together: tools with tools, sports equipment together, yard equipment with garden tools – you get it.
  • Set up a system of organization by preparing and labeling drawers, cabinets, plastic totes, bins, or boxes that are to go back into the garage.

3 Purge

With your keeping pile off to the side, it is time to sort through your tossingselling, and donating piles. Before you start, make sure you have cardboard boxes, garbage bags, or plastic bins on hand.

  • Tossing – These are the damaged, broken, or junk items that cannot be sold or donated. The best way to get rid of your garage clutter depends on what you have and how much. If you are left with a pile of stuff that is too big for the curb, consider renting a pickup truck to take your load to the dump.
  • Selling – You rolled up your sleeves and got some serious work done, so why not make some money? Consider hosting a yard sale or posting your items for sale online through Craiglist, Kijiji, or Facebook Marketplace. Do some research online to help you decide how to price your items.
  • Donating – Create a list of places to donate your items to. You can start with the Salvation Army, BC SPCA, Value Village, or Habitat for Humanity, to name a few. That way, you will know what items you can and cannot donate.

4 Install storage options


Photo: Rubbermaid Products-Flickr

Upgrade your garage’s functionality and organization by investing in the right storage solutions. To make better use of your space, consider these:

  • Garage cabinetry systems – These come in a variety of shapes and sizes including free-standing cabinets, cabinet systems, and wall-mounted cabinets.
  • Slatewall – Take advantage of unused wall space and install slatewall panels with easy to move hooks to hang items such as tools, sports equipment, or ladders. You can also attach a variety of accessories for even more storage options such as bins, baskets, and shelves. 
  • Ceiling Storage  – Convert unused space by installing ceiling storage racks, overhead hangers, or strap systems.
  • Pegboards – Hang up pegboards to organize hand tools.  
  • Garage Shelving & Racks – Add heavy-duty storage racks and metal shelving to your garage to keep items off the floor.

Imagine, finally being able to fit your car into your garage! Or parking your car into your garage for the first time… ever!


Photo: Christian Kitchens-Flickr

Besides a clutter-free garage, there are a lot of other advantages to parking your car inside:

  • Protection from the outside elements.
  • Reduced risk of theft or vandalism.
  • Protection against extreme weather & temperatures.
  • Increased comfort & convenience.

5 Inventory everything

You may store a lot of different things in your garage: house supplies, sports equipment, tools, gardening equipment and tools, cars supplies, camping gear, and maintenance equipment, to name a few. If you’re like most of us, you often forget where you put your things in the garage, or even what you put in there. The best way to both declutter and organize your garage items (and keep them that way) is to inventory your items. This does take some time to complete, but it is totally worth the effort. A completed inventory will not allow things to go unnoticed and will force you to put things back into the proper places.

  • You can make your list in an Excel spreadsheet, write everything down in a notebook, or use an inventory app, such as Sortly (iOS), Nest Egg (iOS), or Encircle (iOS). That way, two years from now when your bicycle has a flat tire and you ask yourself, “Where is the tire pump?” You can be like, “Oh, never mind, it’s in ‘box 3’ on the top rack of the ‘sports equipment shelf.’ Of course.” Because isn’t that the dream?
  • Label your boxes or containers on all four sides. Ensure you include a title and small description of the contents on at least 1 side.
  • When making your inventory, include the following columns: Item DescriptionCategoryQuantity, and Location of where the item(s) are located in the garage.

Making an inventory will help you stay organized, give you a better understanding of what you own, and will help you make better use of the space. In addition, here are some other benefits to keeping an inventory of your garage items:

  • Reduced pain and stress because you are prepared for the unexpected.
  • Unexpected or natural disasters like flooding or fire can damage your home and garage. If you need to claim these items, a documented inventory will give you complete recollection to all the items you own.
  • If you experience theft, a prepared inventory will make the process of your claim easier. If you track your serial and model numbers in your inventory, you will have a better chance of even having some items recovered. 

Cleaning out and organizing your garage doesn’t have to be the overwhelming, impossible task it appears to be at first glance. Now that the beautiful weather is here, it is the perfect time to cross one more thing off your to-do list and give that garage a real spring-clean! In the end, you will find yourself making better use of the space and enjoying a more functional and clutter-free garage for both you and your vehicle.

Prom Closet Nanaimo’s Annual Boutique Event

For many, the high school prom is a once in a lifetime celebration that marks a milestone between childhood and adulthood (it’s a big deal!).

Prom Closet Nanaimo Boutique Event


Event: Annual Boutique Event

Where: By appointment

When: March 7th, 8th, & 9th

Cost: Free

ContactJoan Hiemstra

Event WebsiteProm Closet Nanaimo

For many, the high school prom is a once in a lifetime celebration that marks a milestone between childhood and adulthood (it’s a big deal!). Students are able to dress to the nines, take countless pictures with their best friends, and dance the night away. It is anticipated by many as one of the most memorable experiences in high school. The truth is, the days leading up to the night of glitz n’ glam are just as memorable as students search for the perfect attire to express their style on the big night. Unfortunately, this process can be extremely costly and stressful as prom dresses can average anywhere between $100-$1000 and tuxedo rentals from $100-$250. The volunteers at Prom Closet Nanaimo, however, offer students a different experience that they won’t find in-store by showing that this rite of passage does not always have to mean emptying your wallet. They make sure that no graduating student in Mid Vancouver Island communities are left out of the end-of-the-year celebrations by offering them formal wear free of charge.


Joan Hiemstra

“We are levelling the playing field for so many students,” said Prom Closet coordinator Joan Hiemstra. “They are welcomed to a low-pressure environment where price tags do not exist. This is especially important for those girls that are experiencing anxiety over the expectations of prom or wearing formal wear for the first time.”

What does Prom Closet Nanaimo Offer?


Prom Closet Nanaimo

Students can visit Prom Closet Nanaimo at their upcoming Boutique Event, or by appointment, to view over 500 dresses and gowns in storage in a variety of lavish colors, glimmering rhinestones, beads, and styles without the worry of a price tag. Students will be met by volunteers that will serve as personal assistants to help students find their perfect outfit, including making any necessary alternations, if needed. There are also tuxedos, suits, shirts, purses, jewelry, and wraps, all free for graduating students.

Why visit Prom Closet Nanaimo?

One of the leading reasons students visit Prom Closet Nanaimo, according to Joan Hiemstra, is because “they cannot justify the costs for a 1-day event, especially at a time they are trying to save up for tuition and college. One dress could equal tuition for an entire course.” The Prom Closet Nanaimo’s goal is to continue see it become more socially acceptable for girls to recycle and redesign second-hand dresses. To them, prom is about embracing the experience and having fun, not getting tied up in expectations, unfair pressures, and spending money.

Is Prom Closet Nanaimo only open to Nanaimo students?

“[Prom Closet Nanaimo] have served students from every single high school in Nanaimo, both private and public. All for totally different reasons,” says Joan. Despite their name, however, the volunteers are happy to serve students from all over, not just Vancouver Island. “Even though we’re called ‘Prom Closet Nanaimo,’ we are happy to accept any graduating student from anywhere.”

Prom Closet Nanaimo cares about finding students the right dress, even if that means exploring outside their own inventory. Volunteers are happy to work with other similar organizations, and have on several occasions through sharing referrals, gowns and other inventory, to ensure a student finds their perfect dress.

What’s new happening with Prom Closet Nanaimo?

Joan Hiemstra continues to find new ways to help students perfect their formal wear for their style. That is why in 2018 she started a new program for students to redesign plain and prom dresses with the help of a sewing teacher.

How can I contribute to Prom Closet Nanaimo?

With over 500 dresses in a continuously growing inventory, Prom Closet Nanaimo has enough dresses to go around, they just need more students to fill them. When asked what challenges Prom Closet Nanaimo currently face, Joan says, “it’s not the dresses, we have an amazing assortment of dresses because people are very happy to work with us and are very generous, it’s reaching the students and getting our name out there.” If you know somebody graduating soon, help spread the word by visiting the Prom Closet Nanaimo Facebook page and sharing their page!

Prom Closet Nanaimo would not exist if it were not for the volunteers. If you are looking to contribute, there are several options for volunteering with Prom Closet Nanaimo, and all of them are essential to the success of the program. For more information on how you can volunteer, click here.

As a non-for-profit organization, the continued success of the program relies on donations. If you have any clothing, accessories, or event items and supplies that you would like to donate, Prom Closet Nanaimo accepts donations year round. For more information, including drop-off locations, click here.

The Prom Closet Nanaimo Boutique Event will be held March 7th, 8th, and 9th 2019.

Appointments are needed in advance. For more information on how you can make your appointment, click here

Camping Gear Storage

British Columbia is home to many passionate outdoor adventurers. With its beautiful mountains, diverse hiking trails, islands, and vast fjords and rivers, British Columbia offers an incredible range of outdoor adventure and recreational activities. If you are one of these adventurers, then you know the struggle of trying to store all that camping and outdoor gear during the winter months. Like most people, you store it anywhere and everywhere you can, such as inside the garage, attic, basement, cupboards, and closet. You’ve invested a lot into your camping gear and expect it to remain durable for a long-time, but the life span of your gear will depend on how you look after it. This means keeping it clean, in good shape, and properly stored. For the sake of convenience, longevity of your outdoor gear, and the success of your next excursion, check out the following tips!

Cookware

Always scrub and clean your cookware before storing it away. Make sure that you clean away stray food and crumbs so not to attract bacteria, rodents, and insects. 

Camping electronics

Always remove batteries from any camping electronics, such as GPS devices, flashlights, lamps, and other electronics you are putting in storage. Collect your batteries and store them in a sealed plastic bag with your camping gear. This simple step will ensure that you will not have your electronics damaged from possible corrosion or leakage.

Tents

How to clean tents:

  • Sweep out your tent. Make sure your tent is clean before folding or rolling it to improve longevity. To avoid holes or abrasions in the fabric, sweep out all rocks, branches, leaves, and leftover dirt before packing it away.
  • Inspect your tent. Inspect both the interior and exterior and repair any tears or damage found in the seams, zippers, tarps, and poles.
  • Spot-clean dirt, mud and grime. Make sure the zippers remain running smoothly by removing any leftover dirt or grime from the teeth with a small brush (like a toothbrush). Use a soft cloth or sponge, water, and mild detergent and spot clean any dirt stuck on the tent.
  • Soak tent in water. If your dirty tent requires extra cleaning, fill a tub and soak the tent in sudsy water. Be sure to only use light detergents or manufactured approved cleaners designed specifically for camping gear to avoid damaging the fabric. Consult with your local camping store to find out which tent cleaner best suits your fabric.
  • Dry your tent. Hang your tent outside in a shaded area for several hours to dry and air out. If weather does not permit this, pitch or hang your tent indoors until it is dry.  Be sure your tent is completely dry before packing it away. Moisture, even the smallest amount, can lead to mildew, stains, and foul odors in the fabric.

How to store tents:

  • Packing your tent in a compression bag or stuff sack is great for backpacking, but it is not good for long-term storage. Instead, consider using an old pillow case, large bag, or large plastic bin. This will allow the fabrics to breathe and relax instead of being compressed in the stuff sack.
  • If you can, try to store the poles partially or fully assembled. This will ensure there is less tension on the shockcord inside the poles and will help it to last longer. If you do not have the space to do this, that is okay, you can simply collapse the poles down by starting in the middle and working your way to the end. This will evenly distribute tension along the shockcord.

Sleeping bags

Thoroughlyclean the sleeping bag before storing it. Even if your sleeping bag looks relatively clean, it still most likely collected dirt, odors, sweat, or possibly insects from your trip.

  • Remove debris by shaking out your sleeping bag a couple of times.
  • Hang your sleeping bag to air out for at least 24hrs.
  • Spot clean dirty smudges on the shell with a soft-bristle toothbrush. Make a paste by mixing a non-detergent soap with a little bit of water. Hold the soiled shell or liner fabric away from the insulation and use the brush to gently clean the shell.

Machine washing down sleeping bag

Many years may go by before your bag needs to be washed. Backpacker.com does not suggest washing your sleeping bag after every trip because of wear and tear it has on the loft (air-trapping fibers). Always look at the manufacture’s washing instructions printed somewhere on the bag and follow them.

If you choose to wash your bag yourself, REI Co-op suggests washing and drying your sleeping bag in the large commercial-size washing machines at a Laundromat:

  • Purchase and use a non-detergent soap product made for washing down such as NikwaxGear Aid ReviveX Down Wash, or Granger Down Wash.
  • Close all the zippers and velcro attachments.
  • Place down sleeping bag into a front-loading machine with a gentle cycle and follow the instructions on your down cleaning bottle.
  • Once the wash has finished, check your bag by pressing down on it. If you see any soap suds come out, then put the bag back in for a second rinse cycle
  • Be careful not to tear the fabric or stitching when you are moving the bag to the dryer because down is very heavy when wet.
  • Place your down sleeping bag into a large dryer on the lowest heat setting (up to 30°C) to dry – this can take several hours. To prevent the down from clumping, add a few clean tennis balls into the dryer. Make sure it is completely dry before taking it out of the dryer.

Machine washing down synthetic sleeping bag

You do not need to wash your synthetic sleeping bag after every trip, however, unlike down sleeping bags, you can wash them more often, if needed.

  • Use soap made for cleaning synthetic insulation, such as Nikwax Tech Wash. Always follow the instructions provided on the bottle.
  • Close all zippers and velcro attachments.
  • Use a front-loading washing machine on a gentle cycle.
  • Carefully put in dryer and dry on the lowest setting. Add a clean tennis ball or two to break up clumps. Or, you can air dry it by laying it flat on a towel, rack, or in the sun or partial shade, if possible. Ensure the bag is totally dry before putting it away into storage.

Hand washing down or synthetic sleeping bags

  • Fill a large sink or tub with lukewarm water and add a small amount of soap product. Follow washing instructions on the bottle of your soap product.
  • Close all the zippers and velcro attachments.
  • Submerge sleeping bag into water and leave to soak for an hour or so.
  • Drain the soapy water and refill again with fresh water.
  • Remove soap by gently massaging the bag by pressing up and down. Do not wring or squeeze the bag.
  • Continue massaging and rinsing the bag with fresh water until the bag is free of soap.
  • Drain the water from the bath or tub. Press down on the bag and push out the remaining water from the waterlogged sleeping bag.
  • Tumble-dry your sleeping bag on a low temperature setting. MEC does not recommend air drying the down sleeping bag – it would take several days and can attract mold or mildew. 

How to store sleeping bags

Too much compression is bad. Compression stuff sacks are suitable for travel or backpacking, not long-term storage. If you leave your sleeping bag compressed in its stuff sack for several months, it can lose resilience and insulation loft, both of which are key to keeping you warm. Some better alternative storing options include:

  • When you purchase a sleeping bag, it often comes with a mesh or cotton sack. Loosely stow your sleeping bag in its storage bag.
  • Store your sleeping bag in a cotton pillowcase.
  • Hang your sleeping bag from a hook. This will allow air to flow freely around the bag without it being compressed at all.
  • Store it in a plastic bin.

Consider self-storage for your camping gear

You have made sure your camping gear is clean and dry, but where do you store it? Garages, attics, and basements are not ideal because you can encounter problems such as mold and mildew caused by temperature and humidity, or damage caused by insects or pests. A self-storage unit can free up space in your home and provide a convenient location for all your camping and outdoor gear. Consider choosing heated self-storage for peace of mind that your camping gear will be safe, dry, and ready to go for your next adventure!

Tips and Tricks for Storing Christmas Decorations

For many of us, the best part of the holiday season is the decorating. Nothing puts you into the festive spirit like a decorated house and tree.

For many of us, the best part of the holiday season is the decorating. Nothing puts you into the festive spirit like a decorated house and tree. Every ornament you hang or decoration you unbox brings back fond memories and feelings of nostalgia. It’s an absolute joy. But then Christmas is over and you are confronted with what you were trying to forget…it all must come down. That joy you felt quickly turns into frustration because the tree just won’t go back into the box! It came out of the box so why won’t it go back in? And why won’t the ornaments fit back into the plastic containers? And why is there still glitter everywhere!? Taking your tree down and putting away your decorations can be a real headache, but that’s where we come in! We’ve compiled some tips and tricks that you can use to not only stay stress-free this year, but also make your decorating next year even easier!

Organize

How many times have you said to yourself, “I’m going to organize my Christmas decorations and pack them efficiently this year!” But then a year passes and you find yourself unboxing crushed bows and torn wrapping paper? Not this year though, this is your year!

  • RealSimple suggests you pack and label your boxes by the order you use them instead of by type. For example, pack and label an “Open First” box and put it into storage last. This will make it easier the following year to grab exactly what you need when it is time to find it.

Label

Label everything. This simple step will save you time and end the stress of opening and rummaging through miscellaneous boxes for that one thing you need. Label as you pack away and remember to include a description of all the contents in bullet points.

Containers

Still trying to fit your ornaments in their original packaging? Do you have a bunch of flimsy plastic holders covered in scotch tape that just won’t make it to next year? Consider these long-term solutions instead:

  • Commercially available ornament boxes
    Invest in ornament boxes. These are plastic containers made to store and protect ornaments. They often have cardboard separators so you can store your ornaments individually so they don’t bump against each other in the box, protecting them from accidental damage.
  • Clear plastic bins
    These are great for seasonal items because they are long lasting, stackable, easy to carry, and transparent. No more will you have to go through box after box or rely on memory to find something you packed away a year ago. RealSimple suggests to take your organization one step further and organize your boxes by season with color-coded lids (for example, red for Christmas and orange for Halloween).

 Recycle and Reuse 

Before you go out and buy new storage containers, take a DIY approach and look around your house for what you may already have available:

  • Make your own ornament box. Use leftover plastic cups as ornament protectors by gluing them onto a piece of cardboard and stacking them in a plastic bin.
  • Anna Moseley suggests reusing egg cartons (what an egg-cellent idea…), cardboard beverage trays, old takeout containers, or plastic apple containers to store ornaments safely. Store each ornament individually in each space. 

  • Use coffee filters as protectors for your ornaments and delicate decorations. They are soft, flexible, and inexpensive.
  • Use garment bags to store wreaths, wall-hanging decorations, and rolls of wrapping paper and stash them away in your closet for next year.
  • Forget spending time sorting through tangled webs of holiday lights. Instead, keep your lights organized by turning leftover cardboard into a DIY spool for your lights and store them in a plastic container.

 Tree

You know how the tree always seems to come out of the box, but never seems to want to go back in? You force and pack it down like you’re stuffing a sleeping bag, but the box rips and tears on you. You pull the tree out the following year to find the branches bent or damaged. It’s incredibly frustrating! The original box is the perfect fit for your tree, but unfortunately only lasts about 1-2 years. When it’s time to throw away the original box, try these long-term alternative storage solutions:

  • Invest in a heavy-duty tree bag. They are less bulky than a box and easier to carry with handles.
  • Shrink wrap your tree. Setting up and taking down your tree can be a lengthy process. An easy solution to avoid this is to stop by your local moving supplies shop and pick up a roll of shrink wrap. Instead of taking your tree down, leave all the ornaments and lights on the tree and start wrapping it up! The tree can then be stored vertically much easier in your attic, closet, garage, or basement. Then, when next year rolls around, simply grab a pair of scissors and slice down the side of the wrap and fluff the branches back out. Tad-da! Instant Christmas tree!

Taking down and packing away your holiday decorations doesn’t have to be such a terrible chore. With a little bit of organization, easy to use and protective containers, and some DIY innovations, taking down and packing away your holiday decorations will be a piece of cake! 

CFAX Santas Anonymous Christmas Hampers

Victoria U-Lock Mini Storage is currently accepting new toys for CFAX Santas Anonymous until December 14, 2018. You can drop off your donations during our office hours of Mon-Fri 9:30am-6pm and Sat-Sun 9am-5pm. Every December, CFAX Santas Anonymous hands out Christmas hampers containing toys, clothing, food, and other gifts to local families living in poverty.

With your help, CFAX Santas Anonymous can put food on the table and gifts under the tree for those that are struggling during the holiday season. They are asking generous members of the Greater Victoria community to donate new toys, clothing, and other items to help fulfill the Christmas wishes of local families and make sure every child wakes up to a Christmas Day with presents and food. CFAX Santas Anonymous are requesting new toys for children of all ages, but due to the supply of stuffed animals they currently have, they are requesting no stuffed animals this year. 

Volunteer

Volunteers of all ages are welcome!

Click here for more information of how you can contribute to the cause.

Donate

  • Donate online: make an online donation
  • Donate by phone: call 250-920-4644 to speak with someone about your donation
  • Donate in person: visit a Tree of Wishes displays at one of the local shopping centres accepting donations in Greater Victoria

Festival of Trees

Kick off this holiday season by touring an extraordinary lust forest of beautiful trees hand-decorated by local business organizations and individuals. Starting November 15, 2018 and running until January 7, 2019, the 27th Annual Festival of Trees will be hosted at the Bay Centre in Victoria, BC. All proceeds raised through the event go towards the urgent care needs of children in BC, including advancing research, needed equipment, and vital programs tailored to the needs of kids at BC Children’s Hospital, Sunny Health Centre for Children and the BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute.

Community Support

U-Lock Mini Storage has been a sponsor of the Festival of Trees since 2008. As a supporting sponsor, we can give back to our community and do our part to help children in need of urgent health care across the province. Our community is only as strong as its members, but when we work together to give back, we can ensure that the BC Children’s Hospital can continue to push boundaries, change the future of care, and better the lives of the families that call our community home. Together, we can create new possibilities. 

U-Lock Mini Storage Tree

Visit the Bay Centre between November 15, 2018 and January 7, 2019 to vote for your favourite tree. We will be sponsoring a tree that will be decorated on our behalf by the volunteers behind Anney’s Closet, an award-winning project of Soroptimist International of Victoria Westshore (SIVW). The tree will be decorated in a theme that represents the clients they help. Using the storage units donated by U-Lock Mini Storage at our location in Victoria, Anney’s Closet has created a free store using household items donated by the local community for woman and girls in need of household items and help them transform their new apartments into functional and comfortable homes.


Visit our Facebook page to see our decorated trees from previous years!

To vote for our tree in the People’s Choice award, you can visit the Bay Centre and vote in person, or visit the BC Children’s Hospital website and vote by donation to our tree.

Click here if you wish to donate to the BC Children’s Hospital

 

Start:
November 15, 2018

End:
January 7, 2019

Website:
http://www.bcchf.ca/events/event-calendar/festival-of-trees/victoria/

Venue:
The Bay Centre
1150 Douglas St, Victoria, BC V8W 3M9

Rug Storage: 6 Essential Steps

There are a few reasons why you may find yourself needing rug storage. Perhaps you just moved, but have no space for it, inherited a family heirloom, reorganized your space, purchased an awesome find you just couldn’t pass up, or simply do not need an area rug right now. Whatever the reason may be, you will need proper storage. Rugs may not seem all that fragile, but if not stored properly, rugs and carpets crack, warp, or deteriorate from damage caused by moisture, mould and mildew, and bugs.

When preparing your rug for storage, follow these 6 steps:

1. Vacuum your rug

Vacuum both sides of the rug to remove deposited soil, food residue, dust mites, and pet dander. If the rug is small enough, you can take it outside and gently shake it out as well.

2. Wash and Tackle Stains

Always clean your rug based on the manufacturer-approved instruction before putting it into storage. Prevent potential dry rot and warping of the rug by thoroughly cleaning and removing dirt, residue, and contaminants that have nestled into the foundation of the rug. A thorough washing will also ensure that no bugs may be catching a ride with your rug into storage. Tackling stains will depend on your rug:

  • Woven or braided rugs: Small braided rugs and woven rugs can be washed in the washing machine. If there is a label, always follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions. Put the rug into a mesh laundry pouch and wash on the gentle cycle and tumble-dry on a low setting. Large braided carpets that cannot be machine-washed can be cleaned using a cloth and suitable carpet cleaning foam. Or, you may consider having it dry cleaned.
  • Natural fiber rugs (sisal, seagrass, jute, and hemp): Clean with little water because natural fibre rugs absorb moisture, which makes them difficult to dry. If not dried thoroughly, water can leave natural fiber rugs severely damaged as they will shrink and distort. Using a white cloth, spot-clean stains using a gentle cleaner, such as soapy water or cleansing solution made from 1 teaspoon of detergent (without bleach), 1 teaspoon of white vinegar, and lukewarm water. Gently blot the cleaner on the stain and blot the area dry. Use a fan to dry the rug quickly and thoroughly. Always test spot a small area first.
  • Fur and hide rugs: Should be cleaned without water. Cover the rug with an unscented talcum powder and leave it for a couple of hours. You can then gently brush (in the direction of the grain or hair growth) and shake the powder out. Repeat this process several times as needed.  

3. Roll your rug

Do not fold your rug because the undue stress can lead to creases, cracks, or warping in the rug. Instead, roll your rug into a cylinder:

  • To create a tight roll, it is recommended that you roll the rug from the bottom end first. The best way to locate the bottom is to run your hand across the rug and see which direction your hand is moving with the grain and against the grain. Moving with the grain will lead you to the top of the rug and moving against the grain will lead you to the bottom.
  • Pile in or out? The condition of the rug will determine. Generally, the pile is much more vulnerable than the foundation, so most rugs can be safely rolled with the pile inward.

4. Wrap your rug

Before placing your rug into storage, wrap it to protect it against dust and to keep bugs out. Use brown craft paper or Tyvek paper. Both breathe and allow moisture to escape. Do not use plastic, it does not breathe and traps moisture, which can damage natural fibers and cause odor problems.

5. Store your rug

It is best to store carpets off the floor and vertically on end in a climate-controlled space. To avoid cracks in the foundation or damage to the shape of the rug, do not lay anything on top of the rug.

6. Check your rug

If possible, try to check your rug every couple of months. Unroll your rug and inspect it for signs of damage or evidence of infestation. Checking on your rug regularly is the best step you can take to prevent potential damage.

There you have it! Follow these 6 essential steps and you can make sure your rug stays in great condition until you are ready for it again.

Motorcycle Storage: Winter Preparation

As the temperature begins to drop, we are reminded that winter is just around the corner and the riding season is drawing close to an end. For motorcycle enthusiasts, winter means dangerous road conditions caused by ice and snow, and rust and corrosion to bikes caused by salt and other road treatments. For many Canadian bike owners, now is the time to start thinking ahead to winter storage and what steps you can take to ensure your bike is protected during the cold winter months.

Whether you live in an area where weather makes year-round riding impossible, vacationing for a few weeks or months, or only ride your motorcycle on the weekends, a self storage unit is a great option to make sure your motorcycle remains in tip-top shape all year.

Here are some essential things to consider when you are planning your motorcycle winter storage solution…

SIZE OF STORAGE UNIT

A motorcycle does not occupy much space, so a 5×10 storage unit is a perfect size to accommodate a single motorcycle and accessories such as jackets and helmets. If you are looking to store any additional seasonal items or multiple motorcycles, you may require a 10×10 storage unit.

Features to consider when getting a storage unit:

  • Heated storage: Provides an environment where temperature and humidity are moderated and protection against extreme weather of any season.
  • Security: Individual unit door alarms, video surveillance, and onsite monitoring will provide you with peace of mind.
  • Flexible hours: Allows you to access your bike at your convenience.
  • Garage-style door: A full-size garage-style door will provide easy access to allow you to get your bike in and out with ease.

PREPARE BIKE FOR STORAGE

Clean your bike

Give the bike a thorough wash and completely dry it by removing all moisture off the surfaces. Be sure to remove any dirt, grime, bug guts, and water spots because they can corrode the finish.

Change the oil

Replace the engine oil and filter plug before putting the bike into storage. Used motor oil is full of harmful contaminants and sediments that are extremely corrosive and can cause serious damage, such as etching of metal surfaces and engine parts, like the transmission gears and bearings. Consult with your owner’s manual to determine what kind of oil your bike uses and what filter matches your model.

Fill the gas tank

Condensation can form when tanks are left partially empty for long periods of time. Prevent any moisture from forming and causing rust by filling the gas tank and adding the recommended amount of fuel stabilizer. Run the engine for a few minutes to allow the stabilizer to settle in. Be sure to use a recommended fuel stabilizer as indicated in the owner’s manual.

Lubricate all moving parts

For chain-driven bikes, lubricate the chain as well as the throttle and clutch cables before storing.

Tend to the tires

Fill your tires to their recommended maximum pressures before storing. Tires are porous and will lose air while in storage. If you can, try to keep your bike elevated off the ground so there is less pressure and weight on your tires. You can prop your motorcycle on a pallet, paddock stands, or on its center stand (if it has one).

Conserve the battery’s charge

If you are storing your bike inside a heated storage unit, there is no need to remove the battery, but it is recommended that you clean and lubricate the terminals and leads to prevent corrosion.

If you are storing your bike where the temperature drops below freezing, it is recommended you remove the battery and trickle charge it all winter. Or, you can store your bike with a fully charged battery, but it is recommended you give the battery a charge once a month during the idle period.

Moving with Pets

Transitioning to a new home can be stressful for anyone, including your pets. Unexpected activity in the home, sudden changes in routine, family members coming and going, and new environments can easily make your pets feeling anxious. It is not easy to move with animals, but with forethought and planning, you can make sure that your move goes smoothly for both you and your precious furry cargo.

Before the move

As you get closer to the move, your schedule gets more hectic. With such a busy schedule to manage, your pet’s feeding times start to vary, they receive less attention and exercise, and spend more and more time behind closed doors or inside kennels. During this time, it is important to be on the lookout for possible stress-induced behavioral changes, which may include a lack of appetite, whining, listlessness, or accidents in the house. When you are at the pre-move stage,

  • Try to maintain consistency in your pet’s usual feeding schedule.
  • Give them attention and play with them when you can.
  • Take them out of the house. Whenever possible, give them a break from the craziness inside the house and take them for a walk or in the car with you during open houses.

Pet Preparation

Plan and prepare a pet travel bag. No need to go overboard, just make sure you pack the basics to cover your trip: your pet’s favorite food and treats, at least a gallon of water, a pet first aid kit, and some extra towels in case of accidents. Make temporary ID tags and put them around your pet’s collar and include: your name, destination address, and the phone number you can be reached at. After your move, make sure that you update the agency that has your pet’s ear tattoo or microchip information with the new address and required information.

Traveling by vehicle tips

If your pet’s only exposure to a carrier was the day you brought them home, or only time spent in the car is during trips to the vet, then you will want to start to acclimate them a few weeks prior to the move. Place your pet’s carrier somewhere in the house where they can interact with it daily. Place their favorite blanket or toy inside and praise them every time they go inside it. Pet carriers should be large enough for the animal to comfortably stand, lie down, and turn around. Your carrier should be appropriate to the species of animal that is traveling, so if you are unsure, inquire with your veterinarian about what type of carrier you may need. 

  • Cats and small animals such as rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets and birds should be confined to a hard-sided carrier. Ensure there is enough room on either side of the carrier for ventilation. It is recommended that you use a sheet or light blanket to cover the carrier for the first few hours of the trip. After a few hours, your pets should relax, and the sheet or blanket can be removed.
  • You may choose to either confine your dog in a kennel or restrain them. You can attach safety harnesses to any seat belt, which allows them to sit or stand comfortably, or setup a mesh or metal safety gate to allow them more mobility. It is important to restrain your dog before you embark on your trip because an agitated dog can be a dangerous distraction to the driver.
  • Watch the weather. Temperatures inside a vehicle can quickly rise or drop in extreme hot and cold weather, which can cause your pets to suffer, or even die. Animals should not be kept inside vehicles for long periods of time. If you need to leave your pet inside your vehicle for a short period of time, ensure that you leave the windows a little bit open, enough to create a cross-breeze, and your pet has access to fresh water.

Traveling by plane tips

It is a good idea to visit your vet to check the health of your pet before any long trips to ensure they are fit for travel. Ask your vet for a current health certificate for your pet as it may be required for travel, especially if you are flying internationally.

  • On most commercial flights, you may fly together with your cat or small dog in the cabin. Your pet in its carrier will count as one standard item toward your carry-on allowance. Remember to arrive at least 30 minutes prior to check-in time to check-in with an agent as passengers traveling with pets cannot check-in online or at a self-service kiosk.
  • Pets that are too large to travel in the cabin will travel unaccompanied as airfreight in the pressurized cargo compartment of the plane. Contact your airline to arrange the details of how your pet will be confined. The fees are generally higher, and pets must travel in carriers. Reservations should be made no more than 24hrs after booking your ticket.
  • Always remove your pet’s leash before placing them inside the carrier.
  • Feed your pet 4-6 hours prior to departure.
  • Allow your pet water right up to the time of travel. Leave the dish in the carrier so an agent may provide water if there is an extended wait before or after the flight, or during connections.
  • Tranquilizers and other medications are not recommended. Consult with your veterinarian.
  • Cover the bottom of the carrier with blankets and absorbent material. Add your pet’s favorite toy to it to provide them with a sense of familiarity and comfort.

After the move

For you, arriving to your new home is an exciting relief, but for your pets, it is a strange new world with new smells, sights, and noises. When you have arrived at your destination, remove your pet from the car and segregate them in a single room with all their belongings. Do not let your anxious cat or dog loose in the house until you have had the chance to walk through your new home and inspect for any open doors or windows. A loose cat or dog can easily slip out and get lost in a new area.

  • Update your animal’s tags with your new contact information as soon as you can.
  • At first, your pet may seem out of sorts or uninterested in their new surroundings, but that is okay, just allow them a little bit more time to acclimate and get familiar with their new surroundings. 
  • For the first few weeks, it may be best to keep your animals in the kennel while unintended.
  • To keep an eye out for accidents or chewing during the first few weeks, you may want to consider keeping your dog on a leash while you let them roam around their new area.
  • To help ease your animal’s anxiety, try to set-up your pet’s water and food dishes and other familiar items in the same locations they were in your previous home.
  • You may instinctively want to wash all your pet’s blankets right away but try to hold off. The familiar smells will make them feel more at home.
  • Make sure you continue to play with your pet and give them attention while you unpack.
  • Routine is important. To help get your pet feeling comfortable, maintain their usual schedule as quickly as possible and stick to it.

College Student Storage Solutions

Back to School: College Student Storage Solutions

You have officially graduated from high school and now it is time for you to prepare to embark on a new journey in life. As you get ready to venture off to your first year of college, you are also preparing for the biggest challenge of them all, living on your own. Over the next 4+ years, you will probably move more than you ever had before. As you move from dorm to apartment, it is important to remember that every square foot counts. That is why it is essential you plan a proactive approach to your organization and storage because whether you realize it or not, storage will play a huge role during your college years. But have no worries, U-Lock Mini Storage has the solutions to all your student storage needs…

1. Make your checklist.

  • What you need to bring.
  • What large items or appliances you need.
  • What extra storage you may need.
  • How the room should be set up to optimize space.

2. Declutter.

First, you may start off with a few things, like some clothes, a computer and printer, toiletries, maybe a mini fridge or TV, but then you will start accumulating textbooks and school supplies and memorabilia, all the while, trying to adjust to sharing a small space with possibly one or more roommates. When space starts to run out, it is a good idea to begin to plan for the next semester. Make two lists: “Keep” and “Declutter.” The first list should include all the items you will need for the following semester, and the other should include a list of all the items you have decided you no longer need or want to keep.

Domain idea for students
  • Sell your old textbooks. When the textbooks start to pile up, sell or donate them before starting the new semester.
  • Donate or throw away those old clothes taking up unnecessary room in your closet. Donate them to charities or look for a donation box around campus.
  • Sell or donate what you no longer want or need, such as furniture, appliances, or sporting equipment, to name a few. Inquire with your student union for any bulletin boards or online University group pages or forums you may post on to sell your items.
  • Don’t procrastinate, if you have anything that is broken, damaged or old,
    let it go!

3. Get a storage unit.

Rent U-Lock Mini Storage Unit

Instead of trying to cart all your belongings back home and trying to clear enough space for them for just a few months, inquire with your local storage provider about getting a storage unit. Storage units can solve the problem of clutter and are a great option to keep all your worldly possessions safe without the hassle. If you are a student on a budget, look for a heated storage provider that offers a month-to-month lease and has top-notch security. Do not forget to declutter and organize your items first, otherwise, before you know it, your unit will be full of items you will not know what to do with. Store only what you know you will need for the following year.

So, what size storage unit will be ideal for a student? We recommend either a 5×5 or 5×10 storage unit:

  • 5×5 units are equivalent in size to a small closet and are recommended for boxed personal effects, books, seasonal clothing, or 3-5 loads in a standard sedan trunk.
  • 5×10 units are equivalent in size to a walk-in closet and are recommended for extra office furnishings, furniture, sports equipment, bicycles, mattresses, appliances, or 1-2 loads in a standard cargo van.

4. Organize your space.

Try to assess your new space before buying storage and organization items. If you can, give yourself a few weeks to adjust and establish a routine so you can better plan how to maximize your space.

Here are some of our storage solutions to help you plan ahead and easily maximize your living space to make your life a little easier:

Vertical space

  • Over-the-door storage shelves are easy to install and provide plenty of storage to keep your floors and countertops clutter-free. Customize them with different sizes of baskets to store your shoes, toiletries, hats, socks, and even food.

Wall space

  • Bulletin boards, cubby shelves, wire baskets, and adhesive hooks can be used to hang things like jewelry, coats, bags, and umbrellas to keep your desk clear for studying.

Closet Space

  • Hanging closet organizers are a great way to keep your closet organized and tidy with different compartments to store your folded sweatshirts, pants, towels, hats, shoes, and accessories.
  • Tension rods are an inexpensive solution that can be used in a variety of ways. Use them inside your closet or small spaces around your place to create additional storage to hang clothes, charge chords, belts, and shoes.

Under the bed

  • Bed risers lift your bed off the ground to create valuable storage space for plastic storage bins, boxes, or drawers. If you are feeling self-conscious about your under bed storage, you can add a bed skirt to your bed to hide it.

Lighting

  • Clip lights can be used to replace floor and desk lamps to free up additional living space. Attach them to bookshelves, headboards, or overhead shelves.

Check out this list of schools near U-Lock Mini Storage facilities

U-Lock Mini Storage
1270 Alberni Hwy, Parksville, BC

U-Lock Mini Storage
4388 Wellington Rd, Nanaimo, BC

U-Lock Mini Storage
1621 Island Hwy, Victoria, BC

U-Lock Mini Storage
15028 32nd Avenue Surrey, BC

U-Lock Mini Storage
4240 Manor St, Burnaby, BC