Saturday, May 31, 2014

Keeping Your Spaces Clutter Free

It’s hard to keep your spaces clutter free when you have a lot of possessions or live a very fast-paced life. There are many times when you don’t know whether you are coming or going, and you just want to shove everything to the side for an hour or two of sleep. Other times, you have so many things you don’t know where to start. And what about when you have unexpected visitors and haven’t taken the time to straighten up? These are the times when you need to take a deep breath, survey the situation and roll your sleeves up to tackle those projects.

One of the best things you can do when getting ready to downsize some things is to assess your storage options. You can rent a self-storage unit from a storage facility with a variety of options, or if you don’t have the money for that, containers and other storage solutions can come in handy while keeping a lid on your budget and fashion sense. There are many tips that are useful in storing items in your home, garage or attic. Being able to recognize those areas that will work for you and using strategies that will help you accomplish the goal is a great asset.

There are other ways to stay clutter free:

  • Limit the number of items you have.
  • Limit new purchases.
  • Go through your mail as soon as your receive it and discard the mail you don’t need.
  • Scan your bills and other documents to stay away from paper clutter.
  • De-clutter your spaces once a month (refrigerator, mail bin, bills, etc.)

These are just a few ways you can keep some of your spaces clutter free, but for large areas, you need another solution. If you have too much furniture, get rid of it! There are many ways you can function with a limited amount of furniture that will give you space and remain stylish at the same time. Getting ideas from the pros can help you with this issue.

It may be a daunting task to get organized, but once you do, taking the steps to keep your areas clear of clutter will be the challenge. Make a plan and stick to it. Start practicing putting things away as soon as you use them. Don’t drop clothing at the door. Take the time to put it away. After washing, fold and hang your clothes up to prevent them from accumulating. Once you do something 21 days in succession, it becomes a habit. Practice a series of organization skills for a few weeks to see what works, what is doable and how you can incorporate these changes into your lifestyle. At this point, it’s really about mind over matter. Believe it or not, the way you feel does matter. Being stressed from having too much stuff eventually takes its toll. Don’t get caught in the fray. Make your mental health a priority and start de-cluttering your life today!


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Using the Right Packing Material

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I often talk to people who need a storage unit.  It seems that those who need a small space usually store things in totes.  Mostly they store clothes or small items.  I would hate to use small bags or even boxes to store my belongings. Unfortunately there are some facilities that do not do a great job of maintaining their facility and keep the rodents and bugs out. If that is the case then you will have issues keeping your clothes protected.

In addition to that bags can’t hold very much (unless you use a garbage bag), and they don’t stack.  That makes it really hard to organize your space.  If they rip, ALL of your things come out, and they fall over as well. It is definitely not a great idea to keep your belongings in a bag.

You can usually find free boxes at your location discount retailer, so why waste your time on bags? You can definitely drive around to your different grocery stores in the area to see if they have boxes that they want to throw out. You could find gold with finding some sturdy boxes. If you can’t find good boxes, you can always use totes. They are good to stack and keep safe in your storage unit.

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Elderly Man Arrested for Child Pornography Found in Self Storage Unit

2014 has started out with continuous stories of innocuous items found in self storage units. Last week, we examined the former Storage Wars star who found ashes in his self storage unit and now there is an equally strange case. An elderly man in Orlando was arrested recently as a decade-old incident caught up with him – child pornography was found in his self storage unit.

Fleetwood D. Peeples Jr. fell at an Uncle Bob’s Self Storage near Mercy Drive in Orlando, the police were called to assist and then the chilling discovery was made. While police assisted Peeples, evidence of child pornography was discovered and a search warrant was obtained to search for more.

The 76-year old man was then charged with multiple counts of possession and promotion of child pornography. The children in the explicit photographs appeared to be around 5 – 12 years old. Based on the age of the photographs found, police estimate that the children who appeared in them could be anywhere between 30 – 50 years old today.

Further implicated in this case is the Boy Scouts of America as Peeples admitted that that he had molested the scouts during camp-outs, along with other children in his neighborhood, when he was a Scouting leader from 1980 – 1982. A representative from the Boy Scouts of America stated that the organization is prepared to full cooperate with police during the investigation.

Peeples, who resides in Casselberry, first aroused suspicion when he was more concerned about the camera he thought he left behind in the storage unit than his injuries. He was also instructing paramedics to keep the key to the unit away from his wife, who was unaware that he had rented a storage unit so far from their home. He later admitted to police that he has been taking digital pictures of his photo album in the self storage unit when he fell.

Peeples’ will likely not be charged for the molestation since the abuse happened so long ago and the statute of limitations has run out. Police plan on pursuing the possession and promotion of child pornography charges against him. He is being help on $12, 500 bail and will is likely to spend the rest of his life in jail if convicted. Defense attorney Richard Hornsby said Peeples’ lawyer will likely try to get the evidence found in the self storage unit thrown out since it was searched at first without a search warrant and only a signed consent from Peeples.

The alarming number of illegal activity that is often uncovered in self storage units is a growing cause for concern. The proposed law to give police access to self storage facilities’ tenant information could potentially put lessen the incidence of illegal activity by increasing the accountability of self storage renters. If tenants know that law enforcement is likely to peruse these records, they may think twice before engaging in illicit activity in their units.


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Law in San Francisco Makes it Illegal to Store Your Own Items

In news that made us go “OMG” this week, we found out that it is illegal to store your own items in your own garage in San Francisco. Yes, you read that correctly – storing items in your garage in San Francisco could land you in the big house! San Francisco wants you to leave the storage up to the professionals and rent a self storage unit. Many residents of San Francisco may be unaware of this law as there are many people who are storing more than just a car in their garages.

A review of Chapter 6 of the San Francisco Housing Code reveals that “Private and public storage garages in apartment houses and hotels shall be used only for storage of automobiles.” For many of us, the garage is used to store holiday decorations and other seasonal items. Only a select number of people store only a car a in a garage. This bizarre law comes as a surprise for many San Francisco residents who are used to storing all kinds of items in their garage.

For those who do not heed the warning and choose to ignore the law, this mistake could result in fines up to $500. An initial violation could cost the offender up to $100. Storing items illegally a second time around could result in a $200 fine and if you were caught a third time, the $500 penalty would kick in. This seems a bit excessive to us and those fines are certainly more expensive than just renting a self storage unit to get the headache of storing your items out of the way.

However, residents of San Francisco aren’t taking news of this law in stride and are doing whatever they can to fight back and bring about some form of change. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, residents like Kimberly Conley and Amandeep Jawa have been using their garages to store bicycles and various miscellaneous items and are eager to see some form of reform to what they consider a rather ridiculous law. San Francisco attorney Gary Rabkin criticized the law and said that it was quite ridiculous. Supervisor Mark Ferrell is all set to propose a new measure that would get rid of the law and also remedy other similar laws from San Francisco’s books that seem to have no merit.

If you’re living in San Francisco, there may not be much you can do about the law for the time being. However, you take the necessary precautions and ensure you are on the right side of the law by renting a self storage unit instead of taking a chance and letting items lay around in your garage. So far, there have been no reports of people getting written up and fined for being in violation of San Francisco’s strange storage laws. With the talk of new reform, there might be more attention paid to the law than before. We at OMGStorage have got you covered. You can search for self storage in San Francisco and move all those items out of your garage.


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Relocating? Here’s How to look for a New House

Relocating can be very tricky, especially if you are moving to a new state. There are a number of things that must be done to make your journey smooth, and making sure you have all the tools you need is important. You may have to put your things into a self-storage facility and deciding which one would be best is a factor. With so many options available like climate-controlled and auto storage, your belongings will be safe and sound, but what if you also need one at a new location because you have not found your home?

Finding a new house should be a top priority on your list. If your company is paying for your relocation costs, you should also have a few trips in that package that will allow you to travel to your new location to find suitable housing for you and your family. Here are a few tips you can use when locating a realtor and finding a new home:

  • Take the time to interview realtors by phone or Skype. Do your research and find out their track record.
  • After you find your realtor, let them know when you will be in town and see what open houses are going on during your stay.
  • Make a list of the requirements that you cannot compromise on. This may include location, proximity to the new job, requirements for particular schools, housing costs, amenities, proximity to parks and shops, and the density of the population. Make sure your realtor understands your requirements and knows what price range you are working with.
  • Get a map of the city and research areas prior to arriving.
  • Speak to other employees who reside in the city to get a general idea of areas that may be attractive to you.
  • Try and get pre-qualified or pre-approved prior to your house hunt to assess what you may be able to afford. Make sure to factor in you will have two mortgages until you sell your primary residence.
  • Take lots of pictures and make notes of homes and areas that appeal to you. This will be the blueprint for making a decision, and will give you time to assess what had the features you wanted, and which homes you would be willing to compromise on.
  • Once you find your home, make sure to notify your company, especially if they will be responsible for your closing costs and other moving expenses.

You want to make this an interesting and fun trip. If you are able to take the entire family, do so. It would help in getting a general feel on what areas and schools are appealing to everyone. It’s best to include everyone in the transition if you can since the entire family will be affected. Do some sightseeing and information gathering to make a well-informed decision. It will be well worth the time and will make the relocation experience enjoyable for everyone in the family. Happy hunting!


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House for Life by Ryntovt Design

Ukrainian studio Ryntovt Design has completed the House for Life project, a 2,906 square foot single family house located in Dnepropetrovsk, the fourth largest city in Ukraine. Photos: Andrew Avdeenko More... Continue reading


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Student Décor and Storage Tips

It's the time of year when students are getting ready to go home for the holidays. On the flip side, there are some students that are preparing to go away to school for the first time. In both instances, there are changes that need to be made. For the student going home for the holidays, there may be a need for a student storage facility to ensure your items are protected while you’re away.

Although it is easier to leave your belongings in your dorm, there have been too many instances of theft that occur when students are away. Quite a few colleges have implemented "storage rooms" where students can put their items, but is it really safe? During the holidays, almost everyone is gone, which leaves that area just as vulnerable. Having peace of mind for your own belongings is much better than worrying about whether or not something will be missing upon your return.

Student who are preparing to go away should think about their room décor, in addition to how they will store their items. Being in the dorm half of the year puts an entirely different spin on things – you may not want to invest as much into decorating your dorm room as opposed to being there the entire year. There are still ways to make the space your own. Here are a few tips:

  • Color You Yours!

Taking the time to use your favorite color throughout your space gives it life, while giving you comfort. This could be from your alarm clock, down to your microwave (if you can have one).

  • Bring things that are familiar to you – a picture collage right above your bed can liven up your space while keeping you attached to the people you care about.
  • Make sure you have household items.

There are some things that can’t be denied. Having paper towels, toilet paper, soap, toothpaste and other toiletries is a necessity. You may not have as much as if you were staying the entire year, but having an abundance won’t hurt. You can store those things for the next full year of school.

  • Putting up curtains may be an option, but again, think about how much time you will invest for a space that you will be in for five months. Even if you stay during the summer, there is no guarantee that you will receive the same exact room the next year.
  • If you have a roommate, take some time and contact them prior to your arrival and ask for pictures to see how the room is already decorated. You want your styles to mesh, not clash. This is also a good way to get to know your roommate and their tastes.

Getting a small storage facility may also work for you as a new student, especially if you live in another state. Although you may not want to bring everything into your room because you know you will be moving, having your items handy isn’t a bad idea. You’ll already be ready for the next school year!


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Yard Sale Divas

Amy at her computer

So, one evening I was surfing facebook, delving into the who and what of various “friends” and their activities, when suddenly, up pops a box that says “LIKE my Page.” I looked at it for a moment, realized I really liked the name of the page — Yard Sale Divas — and clicked on “LIKE!” Then I decided to investigate further.

I was happily surprised to find that Yard Sale Divas was located right here in Florida! I looked further and, to great elation, Yard Sale Divas was located right here in Flagler Beach!!!! OH MY!!! Flagler Beach is considered our beach, a neighborhood in our town; a sister in the community character!!! In my surprise and excitement, I also found that they put on yard sales FOR YOU!!! No more muss or fuss!!! Yard Sale Divas would come into your home, sort through the things you own, set a date for a sale, run the sale and then hand over the money (after they keep a percentage, of course) to YOU!  And all of this happens after they are finished cleaning up!!! You can go down to the beach and lay in the sun while they do all the grubby work!!! What is there not to like about that!!!

The number one hesitation for people to put on a yard sale is the time it takes to organize and set up a decent sale. I know that with the amount of treasures that I constantly collect, I could easily have at least two yard sales a year!!! But I don’t!!! It takes too much time and effort to pull it together!! Yes, I admit it…I am whining here!!!!

So, Yard Sale Divas had a telephone number right on the front of their page and, of course, I called them right away!!!! Tamara picked up the phone and well, let’s just say, we are now BFF’s forever!!!

After we got to know each other through “junkin” conversation, we decided to talk again at another time to better set up an interview for this blog!

Saturday, Tamara and I spent an hour discussing all the details of Yard Sale Divas — how the business came about, where it is going, and what makes it fun and interesting!! The following is the Interview for your enjoyment!!

yard sale diva

Interview with Tamara of Yard Sale Divas:


Why and how did you get into the business?

“I Love yard sales!  I love the whole point of them being to reuse, recycle, and repurpose your old stuff…along with making money!!… They are very positive events!  Yard sales allow new beginnings and fresh starts!… I got into the business because an aunt needed help getting rid of some things and then a neighbor needed some help and then another relative and things just kept going on from there.”

Did you have to get business license and permits and insurance?

“Yes, I have the required business license from the city where we are located. The cost was $79. And we also have liability insurance totaling $1million.”

How many days prior to a sale do you allot for organizing?

“The first meeting between Yard Sale Divas and a client occurs two weeks before the Yard Sale. The client shows us generally what they want to sell. We make a list and then we ask that they start pulling everything out and setting it all aside. We come back again a week before the sale and start tagging the merchandise and setting things up on tables and other displays.”

How many days do you schedule for the actual sale?

“Yard Sale Divas allows 2 or 3 days for the sale, usually scheduling on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, or just Friday and Saturday.”

What percentage of sales makes up your fee?

“We keep 30% of the sales revenues.”

cash is queen

How much does the customer keep?

“The client keeps 70%, but there are ways to make extra money for both Yard Sale Divas and the client

Is there a profit?

“(Laughing) Of course! Yes, we make a profit!”

Do you do the advertising for the sale as part of your fee?

“Yes, Yard Sale Divas pay for the advertising as part of our percentage. But we are considering some start up fee changes in the future so that we can expand our marketing area.”

yard sale diva mannequin

How do you advertise?

“The fee includes advertising in the local papers and signage and balloon decorations around the neighborhood and in front of the sale. It also includes announcements online on facebook, craigslist, and the local swip swap sites.”

How do you calculate the price of an item?

“Prices are based upon our experience from selling the same type of items and what we have researched on the net.”

Do you use your own tables and set up displays?

“Yes. We have a collection of tables and boxes and displays that show off items for better sales.”

How many people do you use for a sale and are they all part of the fee?

“At this point in time, it is just the two of us who work the sale. But on occasion we will hire outside help for very big sales or for sales that have lots of heavy or bulky items.”

How do you keep track of the sales?

“All items are listed in an excel program. There is a column for the description of the item, another for the lowest sales amount that will be accepted for that item, and then another for the expected price of the item.  Anything that is sold above the expected price gets listed in another column and that is split between the client and Yard Sale Divas.”

Is each item tagged and then recorded at the time of the sale?

“Yes. It can slow down check out just a bit, but [it] is necessary.”

What happens if a client feels like you didn’t charge enough or too much?

“All prices and rules are discussed and agreed upon before the sale, and there is a signed expectation agreement between both parties.”

The sale is over; do you pack it up?

“Yes. We pack everything up and put it away, set it out for the garbage pick up, put it all back into their storage unit or garage, or donate it to the recipient that the client has chosen. Or, we keep whatever is left over (as per the client).”

If Yard Sale Divas keep[s] the leftover items, is it a part of your fee payment? And what do you do with the items yourself?

“We try not to have anything left! We already have enough stuff!!! But, we still have a few boxes of items left in our garage!  I guess we will have our own garage sale someday!!”

What happens if it rains or storms?  Does the sale still go on?

“If we can’t move it inside, we will simply reschedule at no additional fee.”

What happens if the sale is a disaster with no sales, no buyers, no money?

“It is what it is!! We will offer alternatives such as a different date or time of year or selling on line.”

How involved is the client on the day of the sale?

“They are as involved as they want to be. Some simply leave and let us do the job, whereas others will stick around and watch all that is going on. Rarely do they interfere with transactions. One lady made us lunch and brought us lemonade all day!  But most leave!”

How many sales a weekend do you currently do?

“One a weekend because, at the current time, there is just the two of us. But we are in the process of trying to develop sales teams so that we can do several sales simultaneously.”

Do you see turning this into a franchise opportunity?

“Yes. I would like to think it is possible to franchise this idea.”

What is your business background?

“I was a real estate investor in Philadelphia. And here in Florida, I own a Valet Laundry Service and a Paint your own Pottery Studio.”

Where are you from originally

“I’m from Philadelphia.”

Doesn’t this job, this business, get hot and dirty and exhausting?

“(Laughing) Of course it gets hot and dirty and exhausting!!”!

What keeps you going with Yard Sale Divas?

“The excitement of finding something new!  Getting things cleaned out and cleaned up!  Each sale is a brand new adventure!”


Yard Sale Divas is gearing up for a very busy summer season and hope to have at least Two other Sales Teams read to go very soon!

This is their breakdown on what they can do for YOU!!!

“Yard Sale Divas will come to YOU to organize, set-up, price and sell your stuff!


Yard Sale Divas will come to your home or place of storage to…

1. Assess your items

2. Help organize the items you want to sell / donate / keep

3. Help sell items online before your sale date

4. Set a sale date

5. Advertise online and in local newspapers

6. Provide and put out signs on the day of the sale

7. Price items

8. Set-up and organize items for the sale (we can also provide tables)

9. Clean-up and box items for storage and / or donation after the sale”

Since I just met Tamara last week, I have been impressed with how organized and calm she is! Yard Sales always seem to be a bit of a panic situation.  But Tamara’s calm and matter of fact approach allows for logic and large sales numbers!!!


When I left our interview, I must admit I went through my garage and started to make a list of all of the things that I could easily get rid of!!


Gee, I wonder how much she could get for that pitcher, or that old bike, and that frame…


I think I’ll go ask her!!!!

Until Next Time!!!!

Keep on Junkin’!



Amy's Heart

The post Yard Sale Divas appeared first on Storage Unit Auction List.


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Moving Your Office? Here’s How!

Moving your office can pose quite a challenge. Maybe you’re moving from a home office to an office space, or you’re getting a bigger and better space or downsizing. Either way, you should be prepared when it comes to moving:

Preparation is Key

Prepping your office is one of the biggest challenges you have. There are files and documents that need to be packed and some need shredding.

If you have a large company, there are a number of things that must take place:

  • A meeting of all supervisors should be held to explain when and where the company is moving and the expectations of each supervisor.
  • Each supervisor should have a master manual in which to handle their department.
  • Supervisors should be in charge of their departments and serve as the point person for their staff, distributing boxes, etc.
  • Employees should be briefed in a short meeting by the supervisor of the move and their expectations.
  • Each employee should be provided an office moving manual and boxes in which to pack their items and items they are responsible for.

Maintenance should come by to label all desks and office furniture. If they are lockable, do so. Make sure any employee personal belongings boxes are moved by that employee separately than the other items.

There are many sensitive documents that will have to be moved. There should be a sign-off list for the employee, the supervisor and the mover.

Any equipment or furniture that will stay behind should be clearly marked or tagged by the supervisor for the movers.

Any documents that need to be shredded should be placed in one area for the shredder to come pick up.  

Your master checklist should look something like this:

  • Furniture cleared and labeled?
  • Everything removed from walls?
  • Electronics disconnected and labeled?
  • Lights and restrooms working at the new facility?
  • New stationery created?

This will alleviate a lot of confusion and make the transition easier for everyone to quickly get back to work. For smaller companies, the same applies but not so formally. Everyone should be responsible for their files and belongings with the exception of the heavy furniture, files and equipment. Smaller companies usually don’t have the time to make it a big production, so there is an urgency to get packed, get moved, and get to work.

There are items that may be moved to an off-site storage facility. These should all be clearly labeled and ready to organize so that things will be accessible and easy to find. Make sure you employ a moving company that is familiar with moving offices, and pay extra to get all your items fully covered in the case of damage. Your movers should provide a visual quote for moving from one location to the other and be able to explain their entire process of loading and unloading to protect your property. Find out what equipment they need. Whatever insurance options are available to you, get the maximum. Make sure all your paperwork is in order and get ready for the big move!


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Friday, May 30, 2014

Landscapers Utilizing Self Storage

Everyone knows that landscaping is a seasonal job and the winter for landscapers is generally their down time. That is of course unless you’re a landscaper that also plows in the off season which most landscapers do! That raises a good question of what do landscapers do with their equipment such as lawn mowers, weed whackers, leaf blowers, shovels and rakes, snow plows, salting machines, snow blowers, trailers, trucks and the sort. Generally speaking landscapers normally have a base of operations where they keep all of their equipment whether it be garage space they rent or part of their personal property that they designate for the storage of their equipment or in some cases which is not uncommon to find, the local self storage facility like us here at Storage Station located at 1867 Greenwood Lake Turnpike in West Milford, NJ 07480 and 11 White Road Hewitt, NJ 07421 which has garage or unit space and outdoor parking spots which landscapers can utilize without question for their storing needs!

Let me explain a little bit about a landscaper’s job before we move further so everyone is on the same page. For landscapers there are four seasons just like the four seasons for everyone else but these four seasons include different job details which keep landscapers on the move constantly! The first season in my opinion is spring which involves a lot of spring clean up. Basically clearing away the mess that Father Winter left for us from fallen trees to leftover leaves and any debris that got caught in the snow and laid it to rest where the ice held it in place! Weed control is generally often taken advantage of in the spring to get a jump start on the prevention of the weed growth so they aren’t as pestering during the summer where weeds are free to grow out of control!  Spring clean up is always a must to start off the year for the yard or property so regular maintenance in the next season is nice and smooth!

The next season of course is the summer season which is my favorite season!! The summer season involves lots regular lawn maintenance, weed whacking when necessary and of course detailing the yard with the leaf blower! This season for landscapers generally the busier season because of the regular lawn maintenance that occurs for landscapers clients which is on a stead schedule but that does not limit landscapers from picking up all the extra jobs like building rock walls, framing and setting up gardens for clients, planting trees, flowers or bushes and really anything related to the presentation of their clients landscaping!  Summer months for landscapers can be brutal working in the sun and doing the manual labor but at least they get to work on their tan while at work!

The season following summer of course is fall and obviously this means it is time for fall clean up!! Leaf control is priority in the fall season and as the weather starts getting colder and colder it means you have to get those leaves out of the yard before it comes time for the snow!! Fall clean ups generally have a couple stages where a lot of leaves fall landscapers clean it up and right before the snow comes landscapers clean up the remainder of the leaves and debris.

Now if you don’t get the remainder of the leaves before the snow comes it makes for an even tougher spring clean up because the weight of the snow pushes the leaves into the ground making them harder to get up by the time spring comes along! So, a diligent fall clean up can save a lot of time and frustration come spring time no question about it!

Now the landscapers final season, one in which I believe I could live without is the dreaded winter season! This season is in my opinion the most unpredictable because even though the meteorologists say that it is only going to snow two inches, there is a good chance those two inches may turn into 6 inches. The winter weather is always unpredictable and landscapers always keep that in mind when they prepare for any storm! Not all landscapers plow during the winter season but I am willing to bet that a majority of them do! They already have the trucks for moving their materials around so why not throw a plow on the front of their truck, a salt hopper on the back of their truck and make some money during the cold season!!

Snow plowing really depends on Mother Nature so if she decides it is going to be a brutal winter landscapers who also do snow removal could be in for a busy winter! From plowing to salting and shoveling the snow, winter can also be a very brutal season for landscapers but to be honest when landscapers see the snow fall, the flakes can be in the shape of money signs and no matter how hard or brutal the work it is worth the labor because winter is unpredictable so when the snow falls landscapers have to get out there to earn their keep because they don’t know when the next storm will be coming!

Now that you are filled in a bit on the job details of a landscaper let us get back to the topic here, SELF STORAGE!! Now if you read this far you can only guess of where I am going here! The fact is that a lot of landscapers use the convenience of self storage units and outdoor parking spaces to store their equipment whether it is during the busy season months or during the off season months! It is quite common to find landscapers using self storage!

During the winter months landscapers often store their lawn mowers, weed whackers, leaf blowers, shovels and rakes and much more within a self storage unit. Once their machines are all winterized and ready to be laid down for the season, landscapers take all the lawn equipment out of their trailers to fill it up with their winter season equipment! Now keep in mind that in a self storage unit you are not allowed to store any hazardous materials such as gas, chemicals, oil, propane tanks and the like so, when landscapers winterize their equipment it is quite clear to them that they are not allowed to store these types of hazardous materials within their storage space!

As far as the spring, summer and fall months go landscapers take their winter equipment such as snow blowers, plows, snow shovels, salt hoppers and the like out of their trailers and replace it with their summer equipment! This is no surprise and it seems to work in a cycle year after year for landscapers that they swap their equipment out for what they will be using! I find it quite common that landscapers are looking for a reliable place to store their equipment and a self storage unit from Storage Station is a great place for them to do so!

One other thing is the trailers that landscapers town behind their landscaping trucks every day! This is where outdoor parking spaces come in quite handy for landscapers! Why not utilize an outdoor space form storage station to keep your trailer in while you’re not on the job? It is a great place to leave it, nice and close to all of your other stored equipment so everything is in one convenient location!

All and all it is quite common to find landscapers utilizing self storage units as well as outdoor spaces for their everyday or seasonal needs! So if you are a landscaper and looking for a place to store your items, don’t hesitate to call your local storage station location. I am sure we can provide you with the space you need to get the job done at the end of the day!

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Luxury Hotel Dukes’ Palace, Bruges

The luxurious Hotel Dukes’ Palace in this fairytale UNESCO World Heritage City, famous for its lace and chocolate, romantic canals with legendary swans and historic towers looming over the picturesque cobblestoned streets, is one of the most popular destinations in Europe. The 93-room luxury Bruges hotel Continue reading


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Self-Storage Growth: Companies To Watch

It’s no secret that the self-storage market continues to grow. With the population consistently rising, competition is fierce. Small business owners are also making waves in the industry with their eyes on expansion. Here are a couple of companies that made a big splash in 2013 and are on target to continue their streak this year.

Amsdell Companies – Compass Self Storage –

This Cleveland-based company operates under the name Compass Self Storage. They own 40 facilities in approximately 10 states, 11 of those purchased in 2013. The company has plans to continue expanding their portfolio with acquisitions with four projects already underway.

William Warren Group – StorQuest –

This California-based company is a self-storage and third-party management company who expanded their portfolio in 2013 with 18 properties between South Carolina and Florida. The company also opened a regional office facility in Tampa, Florida. This company currently manages over 80 facilities and plans continued expansion throughout the year.

Strategic Storage Trust, Inc. – SmartStop Self Storage -

Headquartered in Ladera Ranch, California, this company has plans to go major. They filed paperwork in 2013 for a $1.1 billion IPO. If successful, they will become the fifth publicly traded self-storage company in the United States. They added 12 facilities in 2013, including five properties in Dallas-Fort Worth. They own more than 120 facilities spanning 17 states and Canada.

Stein Investment Group –

This real estate firm based in Atlanta, Georgia has major acquisition plans in store for 2014. The company plans to acquire properties in Denver, Nashville and Phoenix for redevelopment and new development opportunities.

Devon Self Storage Holdings LLC –

This self-storage management company based in Emeryville, CA acquired 22 properties from CubeSmart LLP in October. These included 10 facilities in Memphis, Tennessee. They have plans to continue acquisitions in 2014 and redevelopment.

Morningstar Properties LLC –

Morningstar sold 43 properties to Public Storage for $315 million. They also purchased six properties with seven under contract. The company is set to rebuild their portfolio with 20 to 25 facilities.

National Storage Affiliates –

This was a merger between Northwest Self Storage, SecurCare Self Storage and Optivest Properties. The initial merger was 64 facilities, with a gradual contribution of all the properties of the three. This will give the company 220 facilities, making it the largest private self-storage operator in the United States

While these are definitely companies to watch, other businesses and online aggregators can beef up their marketing efforts in these cities to compete. Making sure the business is technologically up-to-date with the latest software and internal processes could be a major factor in the longevity of the company. Utilizing these tactics and watching the market can give you leverage going forward and ideas on which markets to target. Strategic moves are key when competing against firms that have their eyes set on being number one, especially if your company does not have the same level of cash flow. Now is a good time to watch, listen and learn.


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Bottle Cutter Reviews: Kits, DIY, Patents and Prices

A bottle cutter can help you to create a wide range of crafts that can be used around the home and elsewhere. The Generation Green (G2) bottle cutter is a reasonably priced tool that will let you cut bottles as well as jars that hold up to a maximum of 5 gallons. You can easily score the bottle that you want to cut and the makers of this product have come up with a good way of helping you to easily separate the bottle and the piece you want removed.  The glass cutter attachment has been known to break off or become damaged, but they are very easy and cheap to replace. This product usually costs between $18-25 and could prove to be very useful in helping you to create the crafts that you want.

If you’re looking for a bottle cutting kit then you might want to consider Ephrem’s bottle cutter deluxe kit, as it is not as basic as the G2 bottle cutter, the kit compromises of a strong bottle cutter that is made from metal, a bottle neck adapter than you may or may not want to use, an instruction booklet and a few extra pieces such as a candle, to help you with your designs. Bottle cutters help you to create the pieces that you want and you aren’t just limited to cutting the ends of them and inserting a candle. There are so many things that you can do, and this bottle cutter will help you to achieve your goals. Make sure that you buy this deluxe kit from a trusted website as there have been complaints from people who have paid for the deluxe kit and received the basic one. With a price of about $35, the deluxe kit is a little more expensive than some, but it does come with a few added extras that might please you.

A glass bottle cutter with some added extras

if you’re looking for a glass bottle cutter that comes with a few extras then the Armour Bottle and Jar Cutter might be what you need, this cutter sells for about $27 and with it you will get a reference guide, sanding sheets, two cutting wheels and so much more. This is a good glass bottle cutter that will help you to make use of the bottles that you have lying around, and help you to feel that you’re doing your bit for the environment. There have been a few disappointing customer reviews stating that this bottle cutter does not score properly, but there have also been a few happy customers who have never had a problem. When you come across a negative review or two, it might be worth your while looking elsewhere to see what other people say about the product, so you get a good idea about whether or not you think the Armour Bottle and Jar Cutter is worth the money.

For an extensive look at how a bottle cutter works, you might want to refer to this page as it serves as a guide and can help you out if you are stuck, or you just want to know a bit more about cutting bottles. The bottle cutter used here is part of the Ephrem’s bottle cutter deluxe kit, but a lot of the kits you can buy are fairly similar, so it shouldn’t make too much difference. Because it contains photographs and an easy to read guide, you should be able to determine whether or not bottle cutting is something you are interested in, and it also serves as a bit of an advertisement for the bottle cutter than is featured.

Your new bottle cutter kit

A bottle cutter kit is what you need to help you to get started and the Generation Green Luminary Bottle Art Kit will probably be the kind of thing you are looking for. This kit can help you to brighten up your home, work space or help you to make gifts for other people, and is priced from $9.99 to $19.99 depending on where you shop. Although this is not the most expensive kit, it is a pretty good one; you will however be disappointed if you expect this bottle cutting kit to contain a bottle cutter.  The Generation Green Luminary Bottle Art Kit markets itself as being suitable for bottle cutting kits, and could be a bit misleading at first site.


Safely use a diy bottle cutter

For a bit of help and advice when it comes to using a bottle cutter, you might want to take a look at this site, it shows you how to use a diy bottle cutter and has clear photographs and explanations that make the entire process relatively easy to understand. This site also gives you a list of the tools you will need to do the job and complete it successfully.


Where to find bottle cutter patents

if you would like to have a look for a bottle cutter patent in case you have made one yourself and you want yours to be different from the rest then you should take a look at as this site will show you what patents already exist, giving you the opportunity to fine tune your bottle cutter so that it’s completely unique.


Comparing bottle cutter prices

if you are still serious about buying a bottle cutter and transforming used and old bottles into something quite artistic and helpful, then you may be interested to know that you can compare bottle cutter prices. A good number of products are listed here and you will get the opportunity to see what you could be charged for a wide variety of bottle cutters. Shopping around always pays off, so it’s vital you have a look and compare the prices and the products before you hand over your cash.


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The Customer is Number One

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As a property manager we have all kinds of responsibilities to ensure the store runs well. Not many customers know or pretend to know what we do on a daily basis. We try to have a list or responsibilities to do every day and we try not to get behind on our duties. Now of course we do have to also take care of our customers which have the highest priority on our list. In fact I know I would put a stop to anything else I was doing in order to take care of the customer, especially if it is a new renter. This is of course no matter what time of night it is.
A new renter of a storage unit arrived at their unit about 45 minutes before the store closed last night. They had a moving truck fully loaded with movers. The only problem was there was an orange lock on the unit, which meant that we had placed it on their unit. We do that so that no one puts their stuff in a lock when they are not supposed to. Regardless of the explanation, she was so upset. She just bought the unit and wanted to know why the store would place that on her unit, although earlier that day, I did tell her to put a lock on it before she left. It is for the safety and protection of the company and the customer that we lock up each unit that is empty before I leave for the night.
She was happy to know that the property manager was available to assist her in taking it off and that the reason why they had it on the unit was so no one could move their things into the unit accidently. She had plenty of time that night to move her belongings inside the storage space. The customer is our number one priority when it comes to our daily duties, so I am glad that we could make another customer happy.

As a property manager we have all kinds of responsibilities to ensure the store runs well. Not many customers know or pretend to know what we do on a daily basis. We try to have a list or responsibilities to do every day and we try not to get behind on our duties. Now of course we do have to also take care of our customers which have the highest priority on our list. In fact I know I would put a stop to anything else I was doing in order to take care of the customer, especially if it is a new renter. This is of course no matter what time of night it is.

A new renter of a storage unit arrived at their unit about 45 minutes before the store closed last night. They had a moving truck fully loaded with movers. The only problem was there was an orange lock on the unit, which meant that we had placed it on their unit. We do that so that no one puts their stuff in a lock when they are not supposed to. Regardless of the explanation, she was so upset. She just bought the unit and wanted to know why the store would place that on her unit, although earlier that day, I did tell her to put a lock on it before she left. It is for the safety and protection of the company and the customer that we lock up each unit that is empty before I leave for the night.

She was happy to know that the property manager was available to assist her in taking it off and that the reason why they had it on the unit was so no one could move their things into the unit accidently. She had plenty of time that night to move her belongings inside the storage space. The customer is our number one priority when it comes to our daily duties, so I am glad that we could make another customer happy.

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Can ‘mystery shopping’ benefit your storage facility?

Donna Baker, senior operations manager at SKS Management, uses mystery shoppers as an extra set of objective eyes and ears for the 20 self-storage properties that the Oakland, CA-based company manages in California and Hawaii.

“Mystery shopping is one of our largest programs,” said Baker, who hired Mercantile Systems, a mystery-shopping service based in Brentwood, CA.

“You always want to know what’s going on in the background, because we’re not there 24 hours per day, seven days a week watching all the details,” she said.

Mystery shoppers provide customer service feedback to storage businesses as “undercover” customers. Posing as regular customers, they visit, call or email a storage facility. They also may be hired to “shop” competitors’ facilities to see how a client’s properties stack up.

Shoppers doing site visits might evaluate how long it takes to be greeted, how clean a location is, and how a facility is complying with company standards like dress code and signage.

For “mystery” telephone calls, callers might note whether they were greeted in a friendly manner and how many rings it took for someone to answer the call. If the call went to voicemail, were they called back in a timely manner? Were they given a list of the facility’s amenities? Also, if they contacted the facility by email, did someone follow up?

mystery shopper

A mystery shopper can check out a facility in person, via email or over the phone.

“A lot of it’s about company compliance,” said Charles Stiles, president of Mystery Shopper Services in Arroya Grand, CA. “Are employees following the company’s non-negotiable standards for the service culture they’re trying to establish? Are they hitting all the key points that would help drive a successful sales transaction and make them different from their competitors?”

Is ‘Mystery Shopping’ Effective?
Mystery shopping programs can be an economical way to help storage owners collect important data. Pricing depends on the type of evaluation, the number of interactions, the specifications and so forth. Typically, mystery shopping is charged on a “per-evaluation basis,” and can range anywhere from $65 for basic service to $300 or more for premium service.

Mystery shopping results have prompted SKS to make changes.

“It taught us that instead of laundry-listing our services, we say, ‘Hi, how may I help you? What do you need? How can we get you the best deal? How can we provide additional services to make your move convenient?’” Baker said. “It’s done a lot for us; it’s helped us with our conversion rates.”

What Are the Drawbacks?
Baker cautioned that there can be a fair amount of turnover among mystery shoppers and that mystery-shopping assessments may lack details.

“If you’re going to grade someone for doing something ‘well,’ what did they do that was above and beyond that made you feel that they deserved that?” she said.  “And vice versa, if someone did not perform as well, can you give me a little more detail as to why?”

Self-storage industry consultant Bob Copper said mystery shopping receives mixed reviews among storage operators.

Charles Stiles

Charles Stiles says mystery shoppers often focus on compliance with company standards.

“Like a lot of things, it depends how you use it and follow up,” Copper said. “Some of the cons I’ve heard are that the people who do the calls are almost coaching and asking about things that, frankly, a regular caller wouldn’t ask about. Too many managers almost know when it’s a mystery shopper, because shoppers try too hard to elicit information.”

However, Copper said that if done properly, mystery shopping can be an effective tool to measure customer experience. In turn, that can help a business boost sales and profit.

“The value of mystery shoppers is if you’re investing in training, it’s a way to make sure managers are responding to the training,” Copper said. “Frankly, if you’re doing mystery shops and recording calls but don’t bother to teach managers how to answer the phone, why bother? That’s a waste of money.”

Copper said storage managers often have one shot to land a potential customer.

“On average, the typical self-storage customer calls three to five facilities, and whoever does the best job on the phone and when they walk in gets the business,” he said. “It’s not about who’s the cheapest—it’s about who does the best job.”

Knowledge Is King
Dan Cosgrove, CEO of Mercantile Systems, thinks it comes down to the old adage, “What gets measured, gets done.”

“If you want employees to do something that you’re training them to do, you need to measure them,” he said. “You may hire right and train right, but where it usually falls apart is that measurement. After training, owners say go ahead and they deploy and let them run on their own. Then they come back six months later, and go, ‘Wow, you’re not implementing any of the things we trained you to do.”

Cosgrove is working with a client that recently picked up 20-plus storage facilities. His company did mystery-shopping visits for the client to measure 40 “touch points,” including whether the employee used the prospective tenant’s name. On average, the facilities earned a score of just 61 percent.

“But the good news is if I’m a management company or owner, and I know what I’m doing and I have marketing, sales and measurement in place–and coaching and developing behind that–I can move that needle pretty quickly,” Cosgrove said.


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Less Mess Self Storage Inc. Completes Property Aquisition

This week, Canadian self storage company Less Mess Storage Inc. finalized the purchase of five self storage facilities in the Czech Republic and Poland. After putting the finishing touches on the deal, the company expects to break into the self storage market. Previously a mineral exploration firm known as DGM Minerals Corp., the company overhauled its image and made operational and name changes. In addition to these changes, the company also appointed Guy Pinsent as president and CEO, taking over from Peter Smith who will stay on in a new role as chairman of the board and vice president of corporate development.

The deal has been in the making as early as January 2014 when Less Mess Storage Inc. issued a press release which described the transaction and its assets. After announcing its intention to buy the properties in November 2013, the company signed an agreement that will have five facilities under its control. It also agreed to consolidate the current and outstanding shares on a 10-to-1 basis.

The two properties located in Warsaw, Poland in the Krakowska and Torunska areas while the other three in Prague are in the communities of Dejvice, Holesovice and Pankrac. According to Pinset, “This acquisition represents an important first step in building a substantial self storage business in a high-growth region with almost zero market penetration—a huge opportunity.” He continued, “The five stores acquired, four of which are freehold properties in excellent locations in Warsaw and Prague, are generating growing cash flow with further upside potential. Poland and the Czech Republic, which have just celebrated 10 years' membership of the European Union, have robust macroeconomic outlooks, which will further underpin the self-storage story. We now have a lot of work to do in rebranding, restructuring and rolling out the business.”

In addition to the new self storage sites, the company also announced that it has 815, 000 stock options for officers, directors, and consultants. As the largest self storage chain in Central and Eastern Europe, Less Mess Storage Inc., also has offices located in Vancouver. The rise of self storage in the international market indicates that the rest of the world is finally catching up the million dollar market that has been the self storage industry in the United States for the past few decades.


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Celebrate Cinco de Mayo in Los Angeles



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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Forgetting The Gate Code

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Many times when someone rents a storage unit they may not visit their unit very often as with the caller I spoke with a few days ago. I’ll never forget how frustrated they where to begin with and how the call ended.  They arrive to the storage facility and could get their gate code to work. They thought the store made a mistake. When a customer comes in and uses their gate code, as a property manager, we do not change it at all. We leave the codes alone so the custoemer can use it again. If we do need to change it, we will make sure we contact the customer. Unfortunately, many customers do for them.
More times than not, It turns out that they had forgotten to simply use the symbols before and after the gate code in order to enter the gate. Although it was written with their code, it wasn’t entered. They felt a bit silly but were extremely happy that they didn’t have to wait until the next day when the store reopened. They are happy now, but they sometimes again need to be reminded of that when they have to access their storage unit after months of it being idle.

Many times when someone rents a it storage unit they may not visit their unit very often as with the caller I spoke with a few days ago. I’ll never forget how frustrated they where to begin with and how the call ended.  They arrive to the storage facility and could get their gate code to work. They thought the store made a mistake. When a customer comes in and uses their gate code, as a property manager, we do not change it at all. We leave the codes alone so the customer can use it again. If we do need to change it, we will make sure we contact the customer. Unfortunately, many customers do for them.

More times than not, It turns out that they had forgotten to simply use the symbols before and after the gate code in order to enter the gate. Although it was written with their code, it wasn’t entered. They felt a bit silly but were extremely happy that they didn’t have to wait until the next day when the store reopened. They are happy now, but they sometimes again need to be reminded of that when they have to access their storage unit after months of it being idle.

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Retirees ……….. Most downsize when they retire, a big house for 2 is usually just too big, but with most professional’s…. their garage often becomes their workshop, depending on your occupation before retiring, Not too long ago I had a couple, retired sell there house and move to Middletown, one of these communities that are popping up all over the place, but unlike a house they have no storage …. And no garage. He is a retired Mechanic, who still works on his own automobiles, Over 40 years being a mechanic you collect a large amount of tools, and those tools like most for any profession are not inexpensive, some are extremely costly. So you take them with you, or like my retiree you get a storage unit, even down sized they still needed a large space for all his tools and equipment. Being retired he has rolling drawer full of parts and tools. The amount of tools a mechanic uses is truly extensive. Different parts of the engine have their own group of tools; you also have the tires that get their own select group.  Let’s hang out with the engine mechanics for now, the engine is the most complex part of the car we would all agree, now with computer chips and sensors regulating just about everything the engine says or does not only do you need traditional  tools like wrench’s and power drills, you need a laptop as well. When your check engine light comes on, the first thing they do is connect it to the computer to see what the problem is, and then from that point comes the real work…. No matter how far we get with technology we still need hands on service, the guy or gal to get under the hood and make your engine purr like a kitten once again.

The check engine light is like a guideline, shall we say a starting point….. Then comes the professional, the one who finds and fixes your knocking, clanging or chug chug sound your cars makes. A computer can’t listen and tell you like a experienced mechanic can, I recently had a screeching noise over the winter, this is actually the second winter I have had this particular grinding metal screech, I explained the noise to my awesome mechanic and he popped off with the problem, so of course in it went, some flap getting sand and salt …. So he fixed it, he straightened my flaps and poof the noise is gone…. Funny thing is I had two people look at it the year before and both could not find anything wrong….

The importance of a good honest mechanic is as valuable as drinking water!  The other guys were clearly lacking the knowledge or the desire to find and fix my crazy screech.

Tools of the trade ….
An experienced and honest mechanic will not “make do” with just any tool to do any task. There is the correct tool for every job Not only does the right tool do the job right the first time, it can also avoid doing any damage to the machine needing the work, if you use the improper tool the likelihood of creating more damage is almost guaranteed when it comes to an engine,

Wrenches ………

Top mechanics will rarely if ever use an adjustable (“monkey”) wrench. Mechanics use wrenches sized for every nut and bolt. Also, mechanics will have every sized tool for both English (inches, feet) and Metric (meters) measurements.

On some machinery there will be a combination of English and Metric fasteners as components come from around the world for final assembly. Another advantage of a good set of box end wrenches is they are engineered to make work easier . The wrench heads are angled for better leverage with loosening and tightening fasteners. Mechanics will also have a set of box end wrenches with offset wrench heads to reach around an obstruction and reach a bolt or nut deeper in the machine.

Finally, every top mechanic will have sets of both 1/4″, 3/8″ and 1/2″ sockets and a socket wrench. The different sizes offer larger wrenches for greater leverage. With the socket set the mechanic will have either one or possibly more torque wrenches. Torque wrenches are set to certain settings and will only drive a fastener so tight before releasing. This avoids tightening a bolt too much and possibly digging into the machine surface or shearing the bolt with too much force.

Although seemingly simple tools, the screwdriver comes in different lengths, weights and with different heads for different types of screws. Again, a top mechanic only uses the right screwdriver for each fastener. Longer screwdrivers reach screw heads in deep recesses while a thicker shaft and beefier head can apply more twisting action  to the screw. Screwdrivers are made to fit flathead screws (one slot), Philips head (cross slots) or star screws (a star-shaped hole). Screwdriver bits can also be attached to socket wrenches for turning hard to reach screws needing significant force to turn.

Air Tools
Mechanics will have an assortment of pneumatic (air) powered tools for quickly doing work with less effort. Air wrenches can whip off a lug nut quickly. A screwdriver bit can turn screws with the press of a button. Air hammers are needed to pry apart seized or frozen parts fused together even after removing the fastener.
The tools are driving by an air hose connected to a compressed air tank filled by a recycling compressor (as air is used and pressure goes down the compressor activates and refills the tank). Different tools, however, may need different air pressure so the tank is regulated. An air-powered screwdriver needs less power  than an air hammer.

Hang on……. We just scratched the surface……
Floor jacks
Trolly hoist
Engine hoist
Transmission jack
Oil drain pans

Air compressor. Bigger the better
All types of air tools
Impacts, ratchets, grinders, saws, rivet gun, blow guns,

Parts washer

Electric power tools like grinders, drills, etc

Hand tools
Ratchets, sockets in SAE and Metric in short, med and deep well, in 1/4″, 3/8″, and 1/2″ drive sizes
vise grips, wire cutters, slip joints
pry bars
punch sets
code readers/scanners

compression and leak-down gauges
timing light
dial calipers
feeler gauges
Volt/ohm meter
valve spring compressor
allen/hex wrenchs
torx drivers

Mig welder
Oxy/fuel torch

Now , just imagine running your own mechanic shop for 40+ years, then retiring, then downsizing….. That is where we here at Storage station come in to help…. With the mass amount of tools acquired over the years it takes a large space to store all of them, my retiree currently rents a 10×15 drive up storage unit, I have a contractor here who utilizes a 10×30 drive up double door unit, that is a whole different bundle of tools those contractors use….. we will save that for another day.

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