How to Organize and De-clutter with Self Storage

It’s that time of year when everything gets hectic. You are decorating for the holidays, buying presents, entertaining guests, and experiencing a lot of stress. The least of your worries should be the clutter around your home. But if you’re worried about simply having too much mess around the house, we have some simple tips for you to help you stay organized by utilizing the benefits of self-storage. Let’s go over the process.

1.    Organize by holiday

Christmas Ornament Box

You probably have a box with Christmas decorations and another with Easter decorations, etc. It can be difficult to keep everything neatly in order when you get busy, however. By taking the time to sort everything, you will save yourself time next year. Sit down and divide everything into neat groups by holiday. You can survey your items and choose what you’d like to keep and what’s ready to be tossed. If you purchase new decorations every year, simply pack them away with the rest of the things when the festivities have ended. Now you’re ready to get them packed up. This is an important step before placing your items in a self-storage facility.

 

2.    Label everything and store everything appropriately

labelThe best way to store any fabric or delicate material is by placing it in a tough plastic container. Moisture eats away at standard cardboard boxes, and even wood crates can invite in pests and elemental enemies. By getting a tough plastic container, you keep out unwanted pests and moisture – plus, they last a long time and cost very little money. Next, label each bin according to its contents. Even if you don’t have a lot of decorations, it’s best to label everything on all sides so that no matter how it’s stored in the self-storage facility, you can find exactly what you’re looking for.

 

3.    Head to your local self-storage facility

self-storage-sydneyWhen you’ve finished, you can feel good that you won’t have to sort through those boxes again when it comes to spring cleaning!Once you have everything neatly packed away, you should opt to store it in a self-storage facility. This way, you can easily keep all of your holiday decorations together while de-cluttering your home. Additionally, brisbane self-storage facilities are temperature and moisture controlled, so you won’t have to worry about your decorations getting musty – or worse, ending up as treats for mice and other pests.

As you can see, a self-storage facility makes it much easier to organize your belongings, de-clutter your home, and store the items in a safe place. Most self-storage units are very affordable and offer 24-hour surveillance as well as secure entry. You may also opt to store other things in a self-storage unit: paperwork, old or unused baby items, coin collections, artwork, and even vehicles. Self-storage is a versatile and extremely easy way to keep all your items that you’ve collected over the years while still maintaining a clean and happy home. Happy holidays to you and your loved ones, and we hope you’ve found these tips useful!

Keep Your Reds Safe: Tips and Tricks For Storing Fine Red Wine

There is nothing quite like the pleasure of having a really good bottle of red around: the feeling of success when you acquire it, the pride in your collection, the anticipation of uncorking it, and the exquisite joy of finally, at long last, taking that first sip. But too often, what comes half a second later is frustration and disappointment, as you realize that something bad has happened to the bottle.

And what happened can be tough to pinpoint. Wine is notoriously fickle. Unlike most foods that we preserve and save, wine continues to develop while in the bottle. It’s extraordinarily sensitive to a variety of outside factors, from temperature to humidity to light, vibration, and smells. Because of this, keeping a good bottle of red requires a bit of care and attention. This article will discuss some of the factors that affect a bottle of red wine in storage, and will then discuss some of the storage options for getting the most out of that prized Petrus Pomerol 1998 – or something less expensive!

 

Keep temperature low and consistent

This is by far the most essential factor when preserving red wines. All chemical reactions, including the aging process of wine, happen more quickly at higher temperatures. Anywhere above 70 degrees F (21 degrees C) will result in rapid oxidization of the wine, the process by which wine turns to vinegar. Wine that’s been stored too hot is called ‘cooked.’

At the same time, too low temperature is also not ideal. At lower temperatures, the wine will begin to flatten out, losing some of its flavor and texture. Lower temperatures are also associated with low humidity (more on that soon) which can dry out a cork and result in oxidization. As temperatures continue to drop, liquids, including wine, begin to expand, which can put additional pressure on the cork, and even result in wine seeping out. And anywhere below freezing (32 degrees F, 0 degrees C) the wine may begin to turn to ice, which can have permanent impacts on the flavor and integrity of the wine.

Almost as possible as the absolute temperature in the storage area is how much the temperature varies. Red wine should be stored in an area with temperatures that are as consistent as possible. Rapid fluctuations in temperature can cause the bottle, the cork, and the wine itself to expand and contract. This can cause wine to seep out the cork, it can allow oxygen in (which oxidizes the wine), and, in extreme cases, it can even crack the bottle.

Overall, the ideal storage temperature for wine (red or white) is 55 degrees F (13 degrees C). A bit higher or lower won’t be a problem, as long as you avoid freezing temperatures or cooking temperatures. Whatever temperature you choose, ensure it remains as consistent as possible. The temperature in the spot where you store your wine should not vary more than 3 degrees F (1.6 degrees C) per day, and 5 degree F (2.7 degrees C) over the course of the year.

Note: in the case of most reds, 55 degrees is too low a temperature to fully appreciate the character of the wine. This means that some preparation will be required when it comes time to crack the bottle. Either allow the wine to decant, or simply leave it unopened in the bottle in a room-temperature spot. (55 degrees also isn’t right for whites, which should be around 35 degrees F or 2 degrees C. Give your whites some time in the fridge before serving.)

 

Keep it humid – but not too humid

Humidity is another environmental concern for red wine storage, and especially for long-term storage. If the environment is too dry, the bottle’s cork will begin to dry out. If the cork gets too dry, it will begin to crack and become more permeable to oxygen. Wine that comes into contact of oxygen will begin a process of oxidization, eventually turning the wine into vinegar.

On the flip-side, environments that are too humid promote the growth of mold spores, which can make you sick. The wine in a sealed bottle won’t get moldy, meaning the risk isn’t too high – but the outside of the bottle and the top of the cork can get moldy, which ruins the aesthetic of the bottle, and is generally unpleasant. In high humidity, the bottle’s label can also start to peel or curl, which is also to be avoided.

Thankfully, wine bottles are pretty forgiving when it comes to humidity. Traditionally sommeliers have recommended a strict 70% humidity be preserved, but anywhere between 50% and 80% humidity should be fine. This range includes most environments in most homes outside the Sahara and the Amazon. You can test the humidity level in your wine storage area with a hygrometer, which is a relatively simple device that can be purchased from many electronics or do-it-yourself stores. If the humidity level is too low, a simple dish of water placed nearby can help, or you can purchase a special humidifier. A dehumidifier can be used to lower humidity levels.

 

Store wine bottles horizontally

It’s no coincidence that most wine coolers and wine cellars are designed such that bottles lie on their sides. In addition to being one of the most effective storage methods for getting as many bottles as possible into a small space; it’s actually as essential preservation measure, too. Laying the wine bottle on their sides means that some wine stays in contact with the cork, thus keeping the cork from drying out. A dry cork will begin to crack, allowing oxygen in, oxidizing the wine.

It’s recommended that you store your bottles such that all labels are facing up. This allows you to easily see what’s contained in the bottles without having to move them unnecessarily (more on why that poses a problem later), but it also has another purpose. Wine naturally contains bits of solid material, such as granules of grape skin and seeds. This is known as sediment, and, as wine continues to sit, it will begin to accumulate at the bottom of the bottle. Sediment isn’t a problem, and can easily be dealt with by properly decanting the bottle of wine – but without that step, the wine may have an unpleasant, gritty texture. By keeping your bottles of wine stored with the labels up, the sediment will accumulate on the underside of the bottle – meaning that you can easily see it, and know that the wine contained within requires decanting.

 

Avoid disturbing your wine

As much as possible, wine should be left alone in a spot where it’s free from moving or rattling. This is another safeguard against the problem of sedimentation. The more the bottle is jostled or shaken around, the less likely it is that the sediment will be able to settle. Instead, it will be distributed through the wine, lending it a gritty texture, even after proper decanting. Depending on who you speak to, some wine experts will tell you that even subtle vibrations can also speed up the aging process for wine, resulting in bottles that oxidize and go sour more quickly. Others dispute this fact.

Regardless, the wine should be kept in a spot free of vibration or shaking. This means storing your wine bottles far away from large appliances, like the washing machine and dryer. It means that that the garage may not be an ideal spot for your wine cooler, as the vehicles coming in and out will also cause a lot of vibration. And it may also be a reason to avoid storing wine long-term in the refrigerator: people moving things around in the refrigerator, the impact of the door opening and closing, and the vibration caused by the refrigerator’s motor can all have negative effects for your wine.

In addition, as much as possible, avoid moving your wine bottles around from place to place. Choose a single location for your wine bottles, and keep them there until they’ll be used.

 

Keep your wine in the dark

Ultaviolet, or UV light, such as the light that comes from the sun, can also damage a bottle of wine, prematurely aging it and causing it to become ‘light struck,’ which lends it an unpleasant smell. This is why many wines come in dark, colored glass (and indeed, these bottles will be less susceptible to light damage). This is a long, slow process – a little light on occasion isn’t going to be a problem – but it’s wise to avoid keeping your wine in a spot where it comes under constant direct sunlight.

 

Keep the wine away from bad smells 

Remember that, even when it’s in the bottle, wine does breathe. The cork is semi-permeable, and so the wine inside will begin to take on the odor and flavor of anything that’s particularly pungent in the area. This would include food with a strong odor, such as fish, cheese, or anything smoked; and it would also include environmental smells. Wine stored in a musty basement may itself take on a musty character. The location you store your wine should be clean and well-ventilated.

 

So what’s the best spot to store wines?

With all of these stipulations in mind, it’s time to start looking for a spot to store your wines. If you have a wine cellar, by all means use it. This certainly satisfies all the requirements, offering a cool, dark, humid place with shelving that’s ideally suited for wine, and likely will be designed to keep bottles lying on their sides.

If you don’t have a wine cellar, but you do live somewhere with a basement, it can be converted easily enough, by installing some appropriate shelving units. This type of shelving can be purchased pre-made, or can be made custom by a carpenter or an enterprising amateur wine aficionado and handyman/handywoman. The shelving should be installed in a place where it won’t come into contact with too much direct sunlight. If this can’t be avoided, a tint can be purchased and installed on the window to filter out the UV light, which is the primary problem with sunlight. As vibration will cause problems for your wine bottle, avoid anywhere near to any large appliances or heavy machinery, such as workbenches with power tools or the washer and dryer. And, before you choose your basement, invest in a home hygrometer to test the levels of humidity in the basement.

The basement is the ideal spot for your makeshift wine cellar, as it is cool, dark, and humid, but other spots in your house can be adapted for the purpose, too. Closets are ideal, as they’re dark and out-of-the-way. Depending on the climate where you live, it may become more difficult to find a spot with the consistent cool temperatures outside of the basement, as temperatures on upper floors tend to vary more. And again, the problem of sunlight and vibration becomes more pronounced.

Because of this, many people will choose to by a special wine cooler or wine refrigerator. This is a special appliance designed specifically to store wines. There’s a wide variety of wine coolers out there at a variety of price points. More expensive coolers will offer greater storage capacity, as well as finer levels of control and additional features, such as different temperature zones for the storage of different types of wine, and the ability to take a bottle out without opening the unit up wide (which would result in temperature spike). Some people choose wine coolers with glass doors, which is attractive and allows you to browse your collection without opening the door – but this can leave the wines more exposed to sunlight, if the cooler is near a window.

 

Final thoughts

It’s often recommended that, no matter what storage option you choose, you choose a spot that can hold at least double the number of wines you think you’ll want. This is because wine collecting and appreciation is such an addicting habit. There is a wide world of reds out there. Find a storage solution that works for you, then get out there and start enjoying yourself!

Tips for Storing Furniture in a Non-Climate Controlled Unit

If you’ve blended two households together or inherited furniture from parents or grandparents, you may not have room in your home for everything you wish to keep.  Even if you are only keeping it temporarily, renting a storage unit for your extra pieces of furniture will keep it out of your way while protecting it from damage.  Ideally you would rent a climate controlled unit for wood furniture pieces, but you can protect your furniture while storing it in non-climate controlled units with these tips.

Moving-Hints

One of the best ways to preserve furniture when you have a unit that is not climate controlled is to wrap all of the furniture to keep the wood from drying out and the fabrics from fading.  You can use furniture blankets, cloth and plastic to carefully wrap your furniture and protect it from extreme temperature fluctuations.  If you have a unit with an outdoor entrance, place furniture as far from the door as you can so it doesn’t get wet if rain seeps into the unit.

 

Preparing Wood Furniture

When preparing your furniture for storage, you will want to polish all of your wood furniture before wrapping it up.  Thoroughly dust and clean your furniture and polish it with a good furniture wax to keep it from drying out while it is in storage.  To make it easier to move, dissemble what you can to prevent scratches and other damage to it when it is being moved and stored.

Use plastic sheeting or shrink wrap around wood furniture.  If you care to, you can wrap your wood furniture in blankets first, then wrap everything in plastic sheeting or shrink wrap.  Secure the plastic with masking tape, making sure it doesn’t stick to the wood.  Using plastic sheeting or shrink wrap will protect your furniture against wood-boring insects and rodents.

 

Preparing Fabric Furniture

When storing fabric furniture, you will want to thoroughly clean the fabric and under the cushions, if they are removable.  Clean your mattresses as well if you have any that are being stored.  Cleaning the fabric will help reduce mold and mildew.  Also wipe the surface of the fabric with an antibacterial cleaner that is safe for fabrics and allow time for the cleaner to dry before storing the furniture.

You can place blankets or padded clothes over the furniture in the storage unit.  For smaller pieces, use large plastic bags to slip over them.  Before placing any furniture in the storage unit, cover the floor with plastic and place the furniture onto the plastic.  This will help provide a moisture barrier in the storage unit.

When selecting your storage unit for storing furniture, try to find a unit that is indoors so your furniture has less exposure to the elements.  It will help you keep rain or snow out of the unit when you open the door.  As long as your properly prepare your furniture for storage, it should be fine in a non-climate controlled unit.