Category: Storage

New Year, New Garage: Organize your Car Garage Now!

Researchers estimate only 30% of homeowners with a garage actually use them for car or vehicle storage. More often, garages are used

Organized Garage

Organized Garage

for storing extra household items, property from other family members, estate sales, or landscaping and lawn care equipment. Start planning now to organize your garage in 2016!

There are many solutions to organizing and de-cluttering your garage: first, you’ll need to make space to work. Consider a self storage container unit to pack away your extra household items. Container storage offers more space for less money than traditional indoor storage units, and are a secure, clean, safe alternative storage option for a large amount of boxes, furniture, equipment, materials or tools.

When considering cleaning out the garage, keep in mind you’ll need at least a full weekend or possibly two, to get everything done. Consider flooring early in your planning. An epoxy coating, rubberized coating, or concrete floor sealant can be an attractive addition to your garage and increase your home’s overall value. Flooring requires removing all items from the garage, so it’s a good idea to consider renting a storage unit large enough for all the items in your garage if redoing the floor. Custom floors with designs or colors are popular in some areas. If you are planning on staying in your home for many years, a custom garage floor may be a wise investment.

Get the family into the loop: depending on your garage size you might want to call in reinforcements. To stay organized and stay on track you’ll want to make piles of the things you’ll keep close to home and items you may want to put into a storage unit. Items you may never use again might be good candidates for charitable donation. Before donating, consider whether family members may be able to use these items in the future. Many of the things you’ll come across may make you somewhat nostalgic. For these items storage in a storage unit or self storage container may be the best option. You or your children can review these items at a less hectic time in the future.

For items you are keeping close to home, organize them first by order of importance. Keeping most of your goods in labeled plastic bins can be very helpful for organization as well as making it easy to find. Once you’re done storing your items make a floor plan for yourself, where do you want certain items? Where do you want to keep handyman tools? If you’re looking into buying shelves or putting up any type of cabinet, measure out the dimensions on your garage before you go out and buy anything. Buying the wrong thing can put a hole in your budget and can be a hassle trying to exchange it for something new. Consider making overhead storage for smaller household items or boxed items that you don’t have to have readily accessible.

Your local hardware store or big box store (Home Depot or Lowe’s) can be great places to start planning a garage storage strategy. Overhead storage can be attractive, but it can be expensive and time consuming to install. Consider the cost and time of researching, installing and using overhead storage versus storing items in a self storage unit or self storage container for a month or two.

A few general tips for garage organization:

  • Keep your bikes and scooters closer to your garage door, using racks or other hangers, so you don’t have to haul them through the entire garage for when you want to go on a bike ride.
  • Keep larger gardening tools further away from your car, so neither your car nor your appliances get damaged.
  • Keep chemicals in a child proof area, locked away. If you have any types of tanks such as propane, you should always keep them outside; a small spark could ignite a fire.
  • Keep a functional fire extinguisher in an easily accessible place.
  • Keep seasonal items and things you don’t use as often in higher or harder to reach places.
  • Keep any pet food in tightly sealed bins (the scent attracts insects and critters)
  • Place electronics accessories, cables, wires, and plugs in invidual Ziplock type bags and place all in the same storage bin, to prevent time consuming tangles.
  • Keep a storage bin or two stocked with emergency supplies such as water, non-perishable food, flash lights, batteries, blankets, matches, and a first aid kit. A complete guide to emergency preparedness can be found at the American Red Cross. 
  • Consider off site storage for extra vehicles, trailers or project cars.

If you have many tools, but don’t have a tool chest it can get messy. Tool chests are nice to have, but can be somewhat expensive especially if you’re organizing on a budget; consider having a tool pegboard for your bigger tools and a multiuse clear plastic cabinet for smaller bolts, nails and such. Storing your tools in storage bins wouldn’t be ideal for a few reasons; you can damage your tools, easily lose your smaller tools and when you can’t find them you might make a bigger mess than what you started off with. If you have inherited tools from a family member that are more sentimental then functional, consider storing them for a future time. An antique toolset, watch bench, chest or work bench makes a sentimental and irreplaceable gift for a grandchild.

Consider garage security: Are the windows and side doors of your garage lockable and tightly sealed? If your garage is not part of your security system, you may want to relocate any expensive items or items attractive to thieves to your home or to your self storage unit.

Try to re-evaluate your garage a few times a year to make sure things aren’t piling up again. Move items into your storage unit than are not being used, but could be helpful in the future. Keeping on top of your garage will save you from needing a complete overhaul ever again. Finally, if you have extra vehicle or project car at home, consider outdoor car storage to get it out of the way. Affordable outdoor car spaces and storage containers units are available at Gateway Storage. Check out our Facebook page for the latest specials or give us a call today!



How To Unload Your Moving Truck Like A Pro

moving truck unloading

Photo Credit: erix!

Once you’ve successfully packed your moving truck and have driven it to your new destination, either your new home or an Alexandria storage unit, it’s time to begin one of the final stages of the process. Unloading, and finally unpacking.

Below you’ll find our best unloading practices that will help to simplify the process. If you’re still in the packing stage of the process make sure you check out our article on how to pack your moving truck effectively.

When you’re just beginning the unloading process it can be tempting to simply dump everything out of the truck at once. But, this will only lead to added stress later. The best course of action is to unload in an organized manner.

1. Decide Where Your Items Will Go

Before you even begin to take items out of the truck consider where they’re going to be moved to. The last thing you want is to have your new living room filled to the brim with boxes and other items.

When transporting items from the moving truck make sure there’s a clear pathway. You’d hate to accidentally trip and break one of your fragile items this close to the finish line.

If you’re making a stop at your Alexandria self-storage unit. Then make sure you’re placing items you’re going to need to readily access towards the front of the storage unit.

2. Safely Unload The Fragile Items

Before you move any large items from your storage unit it’s important to take care of your fragile items. This will help to avoid any items accidentally becoming damaged during the unloading process.

Make sure you safely store these items in your new home, or inside your storage unit.

3. Unload The Living Essentials

Once you’ve safely placed the fragile items you can then start moving all of your boxes. It can be helpful to take care of your boxes that have your living essentials first. Such as, clothes, and kitchen and bathroom essentials.

This will simplify the unloading process as you’ll be able to take a break to eat if the need arises.

4. Remove The Large and Heavy Items

Finally, it’s time to unload the heavy and large items. These will take a little more man-power and energy. So, feel free to take a break, or bring in extra help if need be.

When moving your larger items make sure to take them into their respective rooms in the house, so you don’t have to move them more than once.

5. Take Your Boxes To Their Respective Rooms

We mentioned this above, but it’s worth repeating. When you’re moving any new items into your home or storage unit make sure you bring the boxes or items into the rooms where they’re going to be used.

That way you can avoid making two trips, and your home will be less cluttered.

If you’re interested in renting a storage unit throughout the duration of your move, we hope you consider using Gateway Storage.

We love to serve our clients across the Alexandria, Woodbridge, Springfield, and Northern Virginia areas. Get in touch today.

How To Effectively Downsize and Move Into A Smaller Home


Photo Credit: baslow

Are you considering moving to a smaller place? If you are then taking the time to effectively downsize will ease a lot of the stress about your upcoming move. Over time we tend to accumulate a lot of stuff in our homes. This can make moving quite difficult, especially if we’re moving into a smaller place.

Below you’ll find a process that will help you effectively downsize into a smaller place.

1. Take Stock Of Your Current Items

Before you begin the downsizing process you’ll need to take stock of what items and furniture you currently have in your home. Make sure to check all of your typical storage areas, as well as hidden closets and cabinets.

This part can be very overwhelming as you’ll come face-to-face with items you’ve been storing and holding onto for years. However, keep in mind the stress won’t last long as you’ll be moving into a smaller place very soon.

It can be helpful to sort your new items and group them by category. 

2. Measure All Furniture You’re Keeping

Once you can visually see everything you own it’s time to start sorting the items you’re going to keep, and the items you’re going to give away or sell.

Make sure you measure the dimensions of the items you’re going to keep, so you can be sure they’re going to fit into your new place. Anything that’s too large will have to move into the donation pile.

3. Assess Your New Space

Do you know the dimensions of your new space? If you don’t know the exact dimensions of your new place, or Woodbridge storage unit, you can make an approximation based upon how much space you wish to have.

This will help you pare down your goods to only the essentials. After all, there’s no reason to hold onto items forever if you don’t actually enjoy them, or use them frequently.

4. Donate or Sell Old Items

Now that you have your items sorted, and know which items you’re going to keep you can begin the process of selling or donating your goods.

Common methods of getting rid of old goods include listing them on eBay, or Craigslist. Or hosting a garage sale.

After you’ve attempted to sell all of your items you can take your remaining goods to a thrift store, or consignment shop.

5. Get Organized

Once you’ve successfully unloaded all of the items you no longer want to keep you can then begin the process of organizing your goods for your move.

Box up all of your items and use the necessary packing materials to ensure their safety. It can also be helpful to label everything by room, so you know exactly where to take each box.

By applying the strategy above to your downsizing process you’ll find it will be much less stressful overall.

If you need a self-storage solution throughout the duration of your move we hope you consider Gateway Storage.We love serving our clients and customers across the Alexandria, Woodbridge, Springfield, and Northern Virginia areas.

How To Master Moving Truck Packing (It’s More Important Than You Think)

moving truck

Photo Credit: CJ Sorg

Packing a moving truck can be a very overwhelming process, especially if you haven’t taken the time to adequately prepare. By preparing effectively you’ll be able to minimize damage to your precious goods and make the packing process more enjoyable. Whether you’re moving your goods into a Springfield storage unit, or a new home, packing effectively will save you time and stress.

Below you’ll find our tips and recommendations for effectively packing your moving truck before a big move.

1. Prepare Your Goods For The Truck

To move your goods in the most efficient way possible it can be helpful to gather a few extra supplies to assist in the moving process. The supplies are listed below:

  • A dolly: this will help you move heavy items.
  • Extra padding: this will help you add extra padding to spaces between items and boxes.
  • Packing tape: this will help to secure the extra padding and loose items.
  • Extra straps: you can use these to secure large items to prevent them from shifting.

2. Get The Moving Truck Ready

Most moving trucks have a separate cab area. Put any items you’ll need to readily access here, so you don’t accidentally box them up.

Make sure you sweep out the back of the truck, as there could be dust or dirt that has accumulated from a previous move. It can also be beneficial to stock the moving truck or cab with a toolbox to help with re-assembly.

You can also load fragile items into the cab, or store them in another vehicle if you have another car you’re using for the move.

3. Prepare Your Furniture

Dissembling your furniture will make your truck much easier to pack. Although it will add a little extra time, so you’ll need to plan accordingly. Make sure you label your items so you don’t get any pieces mixed up.

If you have any items such as bookcases, or drawers, you can use these to store boxes and other items. Otherwise, you’re just wasting space. Just make sure you place items on the shelf that aren’t going to shift during the move.

4. Load The Truck Effectively

When loading the truck you’ll want to load in your heaviest and bulkiest items first. This will help you maximize space as you get further into the packing process. This will also help to balance the truck and make it much easier to drive.

As soon as you load any fragile items, or items you’ll want to protect, into the truck make sure you wrap them with protective wrap. Secure larger items to the sides of the truck with ties and straps.

Once all of the larger items are secured then you can begin filling in the gaps with boxes and other items.

Throughout the moving process it can be helpful to consider renting a storage unit. This will ease any stress you have about where you’re going to store your old goods.

We hope you consider using Gateway Storage for all of your storage needs. We love serving our clients across the Alexandria, Woodbridge, Springfield, and Northern Virginia areas. Get in touch today.

How Self-Storage Is Beneficial For College Students

alexandria college self storage

College marks a large period of transition for many young people. When you’re transition to a new school, or need a place to store your goods for the summer months renting a storage unit can definitely come in handy. Even with all of the planning you do, it’s easy to end up with a surplus of extra items on your hands when the school year is over, with no place to store them.

Below you’ll find our best tips for choosing the right storage unit for your college student, when extra storage space is needed.

1. Find The Right Facility

If you’re a student there’s a good chance you’re on a budget. For this reason you’ll want to give yourself time to do your research and shop around for the perfect unit for your needs.

Some Alexandria self-storage facilities end up offering discounts during the summer months, which will help to make your decision easier.

If possible, it’s always a good idea to book your unit ahead of time. This will make the packing and moving transition much easier, and will ensure you have a secure spot for your belongings.

2. Choose The Right Sized Unit

What size storage unit are you going to need for all of your goods?

Most students opt for the smallest possible size, but it’s important that you take note of all of your items you’d like to store. After all, you’d hate to run out of space just as you’re finished loading your unit.

In some cases you can share your storage unit with friends, but often you can only have one name on the lease, so you’ll need to trust every party involved. Another great benefit to students are the flexible lease dates that most Alexandria self storage companies offer.

Whether you need your unit for one-month, six-months, or longer most facilities are willing to accommodate.

3. Effectively Preparing Your Items

Some of the items you own will require extensive preparation before they can be stored for a long period of time.

For instance if you have a mini-fridge you’ll need to de-frost, clean, and dry your fridge before storage to prevent mildew buildup.

Any musical instruments also need to undergo prep work, along with any other wooden furniture you might own.

If you’re storing any textbook or paper products it’s a good idea to store these in boxes, or plastic containers that will prevent them from being damaged.

Depending on the weather in your area it might be a good idea to opt for a climate controlled storage unit, if possible, as these will ensure your items don’t become damaged from inclement weather.

We love serving our clients and for customers across the Alexandria, Woodbridge, Springfield, and Northern Virginia areas. Get in touch for a free quote.

How To Effectively Store Home Appliances

appliance storage

Image Via: KLGreenNYC

Storing your home appliances in a safe and efficient manner can be quite the challenge. If you’re about to move, or are trying to downsize, yet don’t want to part with your home appliances, then self-storage might be a great option for you.

However, home appliances require a lot of additional prep work to ensure they’re ready to be stored and won’t incur any added damage. The last thing you want is to remove your appliances from storage only to realize they’re no longer functional.

Below you’ll find a few tips that will ensure your items are effectively prepped and ready to be stored in your Woodbridge self storage unit.

1. Storing Your Refrigerator

Before you begin the packing process you’ll want to take the necessary precautions to ensure your fridge is ready for long-term storage.

To get started empty out your refrigerator and start the defrost process. If you’re trying to speed up the defrost process you can put a hot bowl of water inside the freezer. After the defrost process is complete remove all the shelving units, and clean the interior of the fridge.

After cleaning thoroughly dry the refrigerator and freezer, and tape the door shut, so it won’t swing open during the moving process. Lastly, your fridge should be stored upright and stay upright throughout the duration of the move.

2. Carefully Pack Your Electronic Devices

Your electronics are going to be stored most effectively in their original boxes. If you don’t have access to the original box, then make sure you use a box that is very study and can hold you electronics without too much extra space.

It can also be helpful to label all of your cords and store them in the same box as the device. This will save you a lot of trouble when the time comes to unpack all of your boxes.

3. Safely Storing Your Washer and Dryer

Washer and dryer units do very well in storage. However, if you want to keep them in good condition you’ll need to ensure they’ve been sufficiently dried and cleaned before moving them.

Placing them into a storage unit while they’re still moist can cause mildew or mold to form. Also, ensure all of the pipes and tubes are taped to the back of the washer and dryer, otherwise they run of risk of getting trampled or lost.

Lastly, before you move forward with transporting your items into your storage unit you’ll want to make sure your unit is actually large enough to hold your items. There’s always a chance you can upgrade, but it’s much easier to ensure your unit is ready to go from the start.

If you’re interested in storing your home appliances for the short or long-term we hope you consider Gateway Storage. We love assisting our customers across the Alexandria, Woodbridge, Springfield, and Northern Virginia areas.

Is Retirement Right Around The Corner? Consider Self-Storage To Help The Transition

springfield retirement storage

If you’re considering retirement and looking to downsize your home, then self-storage might be a great option for you. If retirement is coming up soon for you, then you may want to consider downsizing and storing certain goods while your begin your new home search. Or, if you’re planning on traveling for a while, but don’t want to part with certain goods you can rent a Springfield storage unit to store your items while you’re gone.

Below you’ll find how self-storage can be beneficial for those planning on retiring in the near future.

The Benefits of Downsizing For Retirees

Once your kids have left the nest, and you’re planning for retirement, it can be difficult to justify staying in your large home. Thus, downsizing can become a necessity for you to start enjoying your newfound freedom.

1. Lowered Cost Of Living

By having a smaller home it can be much easier to lower your costs. Smaller homes will not only cost less, but so will the utilities and other bills. By lowering your costs you’ll be able to make your retirement fund last much longer.

2. Space For A New Chapter

Retirement is a new chapter in your life. It’s a time in your life when you have ultimate freedom to make your own decisions again. By choosing a new smaller home you’ll be able to start fresh at this new juncture in your life.

3. Less Work Around The Home

Smaller homes require less overall maintenance and upkeep to keep them looking nice. Maintaining the appearance of a larger home takes a lot of work. You’d hate to spend your precious years of retirement dedicated towards home maintenance.

By downsizing you’ll give yourself more time to do things you truly enjoy.

Tips For Downsizing and Storage

Downsizing can take much longer than expected. After all, if you’re downsizing a family home it can be hard to part with older items that hold a lot of memories.

1. Take Stock and Sort Your Goods

Begin your sorting by going through old storage areas in your home, such as, your closets, garage, and storage shed. Once you’ve gone through items that are easy to part with it’s time to move onto more sentimental items throughout your home.

2. Find A Self-Storage Facility Close By

When deciding which storage unit facility to use for your valuables it’s important to think about the location. You’ll want the facility to be near your new residence if you’re planning on using your unit during the moving process. Luckily for you Gateway Storage has a very easy-to-access location right off I-95.

3. Pack and Organize Your Unit

When packing your unit you’ll want to keep organizational principles in mind. Sort your boxes by different rooms in your home, and make sure all of your items have the necessary padding and protection.

Also, if you’re planning on removing items out of the unit rather quickly, place the items you’re planning on moving near the front, so you don’t have to re-arrange the entire unit.

If you’re looking for the perfect storage facility for your downsizing process we hope you consider Gateway Storage, the premier storage facility across the Alexandria, Woodbridge, Springfield, and Northern Virginia areas.

The Best Packing Materials For Keeping Your Valuables Safe

springfield storage tips

When the time comes to pack up your belongings you’ll need to ensure their safety. A lot of people end up feeling rushed during their move and throw their belongings into boxes. Sometimes, your fragile belongings may make it home safe, but chances are higher they’re going to end up damaged or broken.

The more effective course of action is to take the time to properly wrap and store your goods before you even think about loading up your car, or moving truck. In this post we’re going to cover the essential materials you’ll need to consider buying in order to ensure the safety of your valuables.

1. Sturdy Boxes

It can be beneficial to purchase a wide variety of box sizes. This will ensure you don’t end up storing fragile items with more heavy duty items. If you have the original boxes for any of your fragile goods, these can be the best bet to ensure the safety of your items.

When trying to decide which boxes to purchase it can be helpful to buy boxes with sturdier walls, as these are less likely to be crushed or damaged in the move.

2. Padding

If your boxes are mostly empty there’s a good chance the items are going to shift during the move, and can possibly break. The best forms of extra padding include, styrofoam, bubble wrap, and polystyrene filler. You can find these at your local hardware shop.

3. Extra Cardboard

If you’re transporting fragile china or other glassware it can be beneficial to purchase extra cardboard dividers. This will prevent any glass items from rubbing together. If you can’t find any cardboard dividers try visiting a local liquor store, as their bottles often come shipped with these dividers.

4. Newspaper or Other Lightweight Paper

The more padding you use the better.

It’s always to have extra paper, soft tissue, rags, newspaper and other forms of extra padding.  You can use these to stuff into the gaps of your boxes. When you pick up your boxes you shouldn’t be able to feel the items shift at all. If they do, then you’ll want to add more padding.

5. Markers

It’s important to label your fragile boxes from those that can handle more of a beating. This will ensure you load your moving truck, or vehicle, with a focus on placing your fragile boxes into an area they won’t become damaged.

This can also be valuable if you’re taking your items to a Springfield self storage unit, as the labelling will make it much easier to load and unload the right boxes.

If you’re interested in reserving a self-storage unit for your next move, we hope you consider Gateway Storage, the premier self-storage facility across the Alexandria, Woodbridge, Springfield, and Northern Virginia areas.

What You Need To Know About Hiring A Mover

alexandria moving company

Image via: TheMuuj

The moving process is already overwhelming enough. However, if you have a lot of bulky or heavy items to move, then you may consider adding hiring a mover to that list as well. Working with a mover can be a stressful experience if you don’t take the necessary precautions. In this post we’re going to dive into a process that will help you select a high-quality mover or moving team.

1. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask Questions

When you’re researching different movers or companies it’s important you ask questions to see if they’re right for your needs. Make sure to ask about their rates and estimates, the time required for the project, if they use subcontractors, if there are any hidden fees, and insurance availability in case something becomes damaged in the move.

The more questions you ask the better picture you’ll get of the total costs and timeline for the move.

2. Uncover Extra or Hidden Fees

Hidden or added fees can surprise you at the end of your move. Make sure you request all extra fees are discussed upfront. Some companies also do a flat rate move, so you know exactly how much you’re paying. We dig into this a little more during the estimate gathering process.

3. Ask For Estimates

By asking for project estimates and price quotes you can filter out companies who quote you too high. This will also help to ensure there are no surprises when it comes to your bill. Some companies also charge more if you’re crossing state lines during your move, or require moving heavier items.

To truly get the most accurate estimate it’s useful to schedule in-home viewings with multiple companies. During these in-home viewings make sure to show the estimator every single item you’re planning on moving.

Only after you’ve gotten all of the estimates should you compare them to find the best bid. Watch out for bids that are significantly lower than the rest, as there could be hidden charges that aren’t mentioned.

4. Do Your Research

It’s not uncommon to contact 2-3 moving companies before settling on one for the move. 

Make sure you do background research that includes screening the company through the Better Business Bureau, and the American Moving and Storage Association. This will help screen out companies that aren’t legit.

If you need to move items into an Alexandria storage unit for the interim of your move we hope you consider Gateway Storage, the premier storage solution in the Northern Virginia area. We love serving our clients across the Alexandria, Woodbridge, Springfield, and Northern Virginia areas.

What To Look For In A Storage Unit Before A Big Move

storage unit

Image via: stocksnap

Finding the perfect storage unit is similar to looking for a new home or apartment to rent. You obviously won’t be occupying your storage unit as often, but you’ll still want to ensure you’re choosing the right storage unit for your needs.

Below you’ll find a process that will take you through the search of finding the perfect Woodbridge storage unit for your needs.

1. Take Stock Of Your Items

Before you even consider looking for a storage unit you’ll need to take complete stock of the items you actually want to store. This will help you decide on how much space you need, and if you require a more flexible storage solution.

Also, don’t make the mistake of going for the smallest storage unit possible. You’d hate to pack your storage unit to the brim, and have to remove every single item just because you want to take out one small box.

If you have more sensitive items, such as, musical instruments or antique wooden furniture, then you’re going to want to look for a temperature controlled storage unit.

Keep all this in mind as you progress through your search.

2. Do Your Research

When you’re researching the perfect storage unit facility there are a few things you’re going to want to keep in mind.

The first is location. Are you going to need to access the unit on a regular basis? If so, then you might want to consider one of the facilities off I-95, like Gateway Storage. 

Second, you’ll want to check out the reviews. Websites like Yelp can end up providing valuable insight into the storage facilities you’re thinking about utilizing. Poor reviews can help to illuminate potential problems you might run into.

Third, look into the facility hours. Some gate hours are 24/7, while others are only open for a set number of hours. Take note of these and make sure they align with your needs.

3. Visit The Facility

Now that you have a few options it’s time to actually visit the facilities to see which one is going to work out best. During these visits there are a few things you’ll need to cover.

  • Visit the unit you might be renting

When you’re browsing for units see if you can take a tour of the exact unit you’re planning on renting. Or, at least try to check out the same style of unit. This will give you insight into storage capacities, as well as the quality of the unit.

  • Ask for discounts

Some facilities provide new renter discounts. But, the only way to receive these discounts is by asking. These discounts will help make the transition into your new storage unit much easier.

  • Look into payment options

Some Woodbridge storage facilities also offer discounts based upon the amount of time you’re planning on renting. Discounts can also be bundled into long-term rental contracts.

If you’re looking for the perfect storage solution in the Northern Virginia we hope you check out Gateway Storage. We have customers all over the Alexandria, Woodbridge, Springfield, and Northern Virginia areas.