Winters in Canada are cold and our summers can have some pretty warm days; this can wreak havoc on certain belongings. Wood furniture, art, delicate fabrics, electronic devices,  CDs, DVDs, vinyl records, and books can all be compromised if they are stored in an environment that gets too cold. A heated or climate-controlled storage unit can help mitigate the risks to your belongings, but there is a difference in these types of units and the items that should be stored in each.

What Does Heated Self-Storage Mean?

A heated unit keeps the temperature warm during the winter. No A/C is provided in the units during the summer months. Cold temperatures is the only environmental consideration that is accounted for in these units. It is fine to store exercise equipment, electronics, appliances, CDs, DVDs, and even brass musical instruments in a heated unit with other items. The majority of U•STORE•IT’s units are heated, with the exception of Erin Ridge that has climate-controlled options.

What Does Climate-Controlled Self-Storage Mean?

Climate-controlled storage offers more than heat during the winter. The temperature can rise and units could get pretty hot in summer, so climate-controlled has the extra protection of A/C to keep your items at a consistent temperature all year round. This level of environmental management won’t be required in all cases, but if you have wood furniture, woodwind musical instruments, important documents, photos, art, paint, books, clothing, vinyl records, or leather items you may want to consider a climate-controlled option. These items can also be sensitive to the amount of moisture in the air, and if the humidity gets too low or too high, it may damage your belongings. Climate-controlled units are only available at our Erin Ridge location.

Do You Really Need a Heated or Climate-Controlled Unit?

You might be asking yourself? Do I really need to pay extra for a heated or climate-controlled storage unit? Here are some questions to help you decide:

  • Do you intend to store any of the items listed above?
  • Do you intend to store these items during the winter?
  • Will you be storing any special or sentimental items?

If the answer is “yes” to any of these questions, it would be worth considering the investment in a heated or climate-controlled option to ensure that the items will remain undamaged and will function as you expect them to when you take them out of storage.

Contact your closest location and we will provide availability details and pricing for a heated or climate-controlled unit to keep every item you store with us in tip-top shape.

Like a lot of people, you are probably spending a lot of time in your home right now. You may be wishing that it was a little more organized and less cluttered, you’re definitely not alone in that sentiment. The Mayo Clinic even recognizes the link between getting organized and your mental health. Here are some tips to help whip your home into an organized space and make it feel a little less chaotic.

Organization Saves You Time

A huge time waster can be when you can’t find the items you are looking for. For instance, if you have kids, it can be especially helpful to label where things belong and encourage them to place them back in the same spot every time to prevent searching for misplaced or lost items. In your kitchen, bathroom, and office, this can be a good rule for adults too. Knowing where things go prevents spending mental energy on remembering where you put them. It can even save you time when you’re cleaning your home.

Think “Do I really need this?”

It might be tempting to hold onto clothing or kitchenware that you might use “someday,” but it all contributes to clutter. Have you ever heard of the 80/20 rule? 80% of the time we probably use 20% of the clothing, kitchen items, etc. in our homes. 

  • Look through your kitchen: Do you have duplicate items? Dishes that you use once a year? Way more pots and pans than you really need?
  • Look through your bathroom: Do you have personal care products that are outdated, or that you have been hanging onto, but will probably never use?
  • Look through your closet: Can you donate anything right now? Turn your hangers in a single direction, as you wear items, turn the hook in the opposite direction. The items you haven’t worn after three months (maybe with the exception of evening wear or special occasion clothing) is probably a candidate to donate.

Use the One-In-One-Out Guideline

When you shop, think about if you truly need or want an item enough to donate one already in your home. If you don’t then it will probably only contribute to clutter and more stuff accumulating in your home.

Buy Organization Tools

Bins, shelving units, hooks; these items will all help you get organized. Stock up on these organizational tools at the store and use them to bring some order to a room that may need it. Bins and hooks can organize items in the kitchen and bathroom, shelving units can bring a touch of sophistication to a living room or bedroom. Use them generously!

Go Digital

If you’re a music, movie, or book lover (or perhaps all three) consider going digital for new purchases. There are many options to stream music and movies, and also read books on your phone, tablet, or desktop computer. Check them out to see if one of these options is right for you and your family. 

  • For music: Apple Music, Google Music, and Spotify
  • For movies: Netflix, Crave, Amazon, Disney+
  • For books: Audible, Kobo, and Google Books

While you’re decluttering, you might notice that you need some extra storage space. We have residential storage units of varying sizes to accommodate your decluttering and removing the chaos of disorganization.

The garage is one of the worst areas for organizational issues in a home. It can end up being a catchall for storing unused furniture, tools, and equipment. It can become a real mess if it is not properly organized. U•STORE•IT has some tips to help get that garage in order and organize it like a pro.

You Need to Categorize

You may have heard of the three pile system when moving or organizing the interior of your home. You designate one pile to keep, one to sell, and one to donate. We recommend adding two more categories: one pile for items to repair and another for items to go into a storage unit if required. Put all the items in your garage into these five piles and then act on it.

Create Zones

Assign areas of the garage for certain items. Have a boat? Have a motorcycle? Have a snowmobile? Have sports equipment? Put all of the items with a similar use close together and create zones to make everything easier to find and bring a more strategic approach to where things live in your garage.

You Need Shelving

Have no shelving on the walls? This can mean that all of your belongings are on the concrete floor. Installing wire shelving is easy and cost-effective and can create more storage space in space in your garage to work with. Even plastic and metal shelving can work as well if you want the option to move your shelving around to find the configuration that works for you.

You Need Storage Bins/Totes

The garage is not one of the most sealed-off areas of your home. The cold of the winter months and rodents and/or bugs might get into your garage and wreak havoc on your stored items. Consider plastic bins or totes for any items that might be vulnerable to changes in temperature, humidity, or vermin such as extra clothing, linens, and winter items. Make sure these items are stored in bins with a lid to minimize the possibility of damage. You could even consider installing ceiling track storage for your bins to create more space!

Add Tool Racks

Purchase or build racks for your garden tools such as shovel, rake, broom, hose, etc. Ensure that you size for the tallest item to avoid any installation errors. You can even put up a pegboard to store smaller tools such as hammers, saws, screwdrivers, and wrenches. 

You Need Labels

The first step to keeping a space organized is to know where everything is and where it should be returned to after it’s used. A labelling system for bins, tools, and small items can go a long way in keeping you in line with your own organization system and allow other people in your household to quickly see where items belong.

If you’re cleaning out your garage and find that you need a storage unit, U•STORE•IT has a variety of sizes in locations in Edmonton, St. Albert, and Red Deer to serve you.

If you have aging parents, you may have to help them with downsizing to a smaller home, an assisted living facility, or unfortunately have to help them deal with the aftermath if one of your parents has passed away. Moving or dealing with the death of a loved one can be a very emotional time, for you and for them, but with a few tips, you can care for your elderly parents during this time.

Start Early

Begin the process of decluttering well in advance of moving day. Start with simple tasks such as shredding old bills, mail, and papers that are not relevant or important anymore. Go through clothing and carefully consider household items to decide which are still being used and justify going along with the move. Also, ensure expired medication and food is thrown out and replaced. The earlier the decluttering process starts, the easier it will be when it comes time to move.

Prepare for Emotions

Elderly people have a lot of memories in their home and attached to belongings they have possessed for a long time. Be prepared to expect emotions from your loved one when they see these items or are asked to choose to discard or donate them. Some elderly people have lived through very frugal times and may resist throwing things away. If a parent has passed and you are helping to sort their belongings this may bring up strong feelings in your surviving parent. Be patient and ready to hear stories and memories. You must be emotionally prepared to discuss and react in appropriate ways to these situations.

Be Systematic and Organized

The principles of an efficient move still apply to downsizing or estate sales. Go through each room systematically; declutter the space; organize everything into piles of keep, donate, discard; and label all boxes and bags with its contents. It might be useful to keep a physical list of the rooms, prioritize them, and list their major contents if your parent(s) could use that organizational help. If your finances allow, there are movers who specialize in relocating seniors.

Get Your Siblings Involved

Some parents love to keep their children’s bedrooms as untouched as possible and will keep all of their childhood items. It might be useful to have your siblings come over and look through their childhood bedrooms to make decisions about what to keep, donate, and discard on behalf of your parent(s) so they don’t have to make these tough decisions all on their own.

Keep it Light

Make the process fun for your parent(s). Play some of their favorite music while you work, take breaks for tea or delicious snacks, and keep it relaxed and comfortable. Also, it is recommended that you limit the 

amount of time you spend each day on organizing and packing so that it doesn’t become overwhelming. 

Make a Plan For Pets

If there is a pet to consider, make sure that they can be put in a crate or placed in a room where they will not be tempted to wander outside during the move. Also, older pets may need some time for adjusting to new surroundings.

If you’re taking care of elderly parents during a downsize or estate sale, you might need a self-storage unit for furniture or items that do not need to be accessed regularly. Call your nearest location to reserve one today.

If you take the time to organize your items and load them onto the truck in a systematic manner, it can make unloading and moving the items into your new home so much easier. Use the tips below to avoid a real-life game of Tetris next time you move and need to fill a moving truck.

Box It Up

The more items you put into similarly sized boxes, the easier it will be for it all to fit in a moving van. Think about how tough it is to deal with oddly shaped items. The more consistent the size and shape of the items the better it will be to stack and fit the items in the moving truck. 

Get Organized

Staying organized is one of the biggest challenges with moving so it’s important that you label your boxes with the room where the contents need to be unpacked: keep all the boxes with kitchen items together, keep all of the boxes with living room items together. Ensure that these boxes are close together when you load the truck. Your unloading and organization at your new home will be so much quicker and smoother if you do this. 

Disassemble Furniture

It might seem inconvenient to disassemble some of your furniture, but it could save you time and prevent the damage of the item in the long run—not to mention saving space in the moving van. Take apart that bed frame, remove dining room table legs, make those larger items as flat and manageable as possible. 

Wrap Your Furniture

All of your wood furniture (including dressers, armoires, desks, dining tables, chairs, etc.) and large electronics (such as your television) should be wrapped with bubble wrap or a moving blanket and secured to prevent movement and shifting during travel. This will prevent damage to your furniture and prevent it from shifting around during the drive. 

Large or Heavy Items Come First

If you own your appliances, you should load those first and put them right up against the front wall of the moving van. Next, you should bring in your box, spring, mattress, headboards, disassembled dining table, and place them against the wall on the longer side of the moving van. Make sure that you use covers to prevent damage and soiling. Anything large and flat that you can lay against the walls is what you’re aiming for here.

Think Large to Small Boxes

Once you have all of the large, heavy, items and furniture in the van, then you can add the rest of your boxes. Use the large-to-small principle here too. As much as possible, try to keep items going to the same room together and pack the boxes from largest to smallest in the van. Place any fragile items on top of all of the boxes to keep them safe during transit.

If you’re moving and need a truck, U•STORE•IT offers Champion Truck Rentals at our locations (based upon availability). Call your nearest location to reserve one today.

U•STORE•IT has many security features to keep our customer’s units safe and secure: gated facilities, fireproof buildings, 24-hour surveillance, a security system, and on-site managers. With these features, some people might wonder “do I really need storage insurance?” While we don’t mandate that our customers must purchase coverage from our facility, there are some reasons why you should still purchase it when you rent a unit.

Storage Insurance Extends Your Coverage

Some homeowners and tenant insurance policies may cover items in storage for up to three months, but after that, you aren’t covered anymore. Having storage insurance after this grace period is over is important to keep your belongings protected. Make sure you check your policy to determine the exact duration and the risks that are covered.

It Protects Your Belongings

If you want the peace of mind that the value of your belongings are protected while they are put away in storage, then storage insurance can relieve some of your concerns. Damage to your belongings, theft, fire, and flooding may be covered under your policy. You’ll have peace of mind that you have recourse to make a claim for the value of those items should exceptional circumstances occur.

It’s Really Convenient

U•STORE•IT offers insurance as an add-on that can be included with your existing self-storage rental. It is charged as one payment, once a month for your convenience. You don’t even have to think about separate payments.

It’s Affordable

The rates for our storage insurance start as low as $7 per month for smaller units. We can help you decide how much coverage you need based on the size of your unit and the particular items you’ll be storing.

If you have any questions about insurance policies or want to inquire about pricing, contact us to get a quote that will cover your belongings while they are in your unit

Everyone is spending so much more time at home because of COVID-19 and with spring just around the corner, you might be using the opportunity to thoroughly clean and organize your home. At U•STORE•IT, we know a clean and organized home can improve its livability and even put you in a better mood. Here are our top tips for spring cleaning.

Be Strategic With Spring Cleaning

The thought of cleaning your house top to bottom might seem daunting, so get yourself organized first. Clear any clutter out of the way and gather all of your cleaning supplies together so you have them at your fingertips as you clean. Use a caddy or basket to carry all of your supplies with you around your house. Also, make a list of all of the tasks you want to accomplish, this will keep you focused and allow you to delegate to family members. Another trick to keep in mind is that it’s more time-efficient to concentrate on one task at a time, and not think of your cleaning routine on a room-by-room basis. For example, vacuuming will probably be on your to-do list, so vacuum the whole house at the same time. If you have two washrooms, clean both on the same day in quick succession. Be strategic and you’ll get your spring cleaning done in no time!

Declutter & Organize

Before you can really do a deep clean, you have to declutter and organize your house. A great way to go about this is to go through closets, cupboards, and drawers and think objectively about the items stored there. Have they have been used within the last 3-6 months? If you can’t remember the last time you’ve worn a piece of clothing, played that board game, saw your child play with a toy, or have used a specific tool in the garage, it might be time to let it go or put it into storage. Donate anything useful and gently used to a thrift shop or to an organization that may need the items. In your closets, make use of organizers and hanger holders.

Organizing the Kitchen: Go through all of your cupboards and drawers one by one. You may have excess kitchen utensils, pots, and pans or containers without lids that can be dealt with during your spring clean. Take this time to reconsider where items live to maximize the space and make cooking more efficient. Take the time to reorganize your pantry better with clear containers, hooks, and alligator clips. For more tips on organizing your kitchen, check out this article.

Organizing the Bathroom: One of the most common complaints about bathrooms is that there is never enough counter space. Make more room by using drawer organizers, wall shelving or hanging caddies, and tall narrow cupboards to provide more storage and keep things tidy on a daily basis. For more tips on organizing your bathroom, check out this article.

Organizing the Living Room: It can be difficult to keep this room clean because it is where the entire family relaxes, watches TV, and reads. There may be books, movies, and toys and games galore in the living room. Utilizing nesting tables, coffee or end tables with drawers, vertical shelving, and towers, and even moving play spaces to children’s rooms (if possible) will help keep this common area more organized. For more tips on organizing your living room, check out this article.

Organizing Bedrooms: Your bedroom is where you sleep, so you don’t want it cluttered and disorganized. Organize your closet and dressers with containers and dividers. Use a bench at the foot of the bed that has storage space for blankets and bed linens. Make use of nightstands with drawers. All of these methods will help keep bedrooms tidy. For more tips on organizing bedrooms, check out this article.

The key takeaways:

  • Caddies and containers are your friends when you’re organizing a room.
  • Think vertical shelving to create more space.
  • Find a place for important items to live and put the item away in the same spot consistently.

Deep Cleaning

Now that the clutter is out of the way, it’s time to clean and sanitize. Common cleaning tasks such as sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming the floors will likely need to be done. If you have hardwood floors, take some time to polish them up with some specialized floor cleaner. Also, move furniture and make sure you vacuum underneath, move appliances (such as your stove, fridge, washer, and dryer) and clean in these areas that are covered but do collect dirt and grime over months. Think about adding tasks that are done infrequently to your list such as:

All of that work will be worth it because it feels awesome to have an organized and clean home! After all of that decluttering, organization, and spring cleaning if you have items you need to put into self-storage, U•STORE•IT has residential units in various sizes to store your belongings. We wish everyone a clean and healthy spring.

Winter is coming to an end, and it’s time to start thinking about what to do with all that winter gear and toys that you won’t need so readily available as the weather heats up. U•STORE•IT has some tips for how you can prepare all of your winter items for storage over the spring and summer months, so they are ready to go and in great condition when the snow falls again.

Snowmobiles/Ski-Doos

Before you put your snowmobile/ski-doo away in self-storage for the spring and summer there are several things you should consider doing.

  • Choosing the right fuel: If you use fuel that contains ethanol, consider draining it and replacing it with non-ethanol fuel. Ethanol fuel can be harsh on rubber lines and gaskets. Don’t put your sled away with an empty tank though!  Your gaskets (also called O-rings) could begin to dry out and become brittle.
  • Lubricating parts: Greasing zerks in your rear and front suspension, steering, and drive train is an essential part of snowmobile maintenance and will help get rid of buildup from a winter of riding. Check your owner’s manual for recommendations about brands to use.
  • Removing the battery: It’s recommended that you keep your snowmobile battery from drastic temperature changes. If you don’t have a heated unit, it might be worth it to remove it and store it in a warmer, dry place.
  • Removing the belt: You may have heard the advice that you have to remove the belt during the winter, but you shouldn’t have to in our storage units if it is on a stand and you come to start your snowmobile during the summer.
  • Clean your sled: Start with warm soapy water and a microfibre cloth to prevent taking off that shine! Go in with a degreaser or take it to a car wash if there are particularly stubborn spots. After you clean your sled do an inspection for cracks and damage.
  • Put it on a stand: This is optional if you currently have a stand it’s not a bad idea to put your sled on it until winter. Generally, only if your store your snowmobile outside will rusting be an issue, but releasing the stress and pressure on the springs and shocks is a benefit.
  • Cover it: Find a tight-fitting cover to keep moisture and dust off of your snowmobile.

Snow Clearing Equipment

You depend on your snow clearing equipment to keep your sidewalks and driveways clear from snow. Make sure they have the longest lifespan possible by storing them properly.

  • Shovels: Clean and wipe down your shovels and make sure they are dry. This will be especially important for metal shovels as they could rust if not taken care of.
  • Snow Blowers: Make sure you inspect your snowblower, clean it from dirt and grime, and wipe down the blades so there is no moisture. On a safety note, make sure the machine is off and not plugged in before doing so.
  • Sand, salt, snow removal chemicals: You should keep any leftovers of these items in a secure location to prevent them from being ruined by moisture or from being spilled, causing a mess.
  • Snow melting mats: If you lay down snow melting mats in your driveway or sidewalk, you can easily clean and roll or fold them to be put away in your storage unit for the warmer months.

Winter Tires

Oh, the routine of changing out winter tires! A yearly ordeal. You can free up room in your garage by putting them into storage during the warmer months.

  • Clean them up: Get rid of the dirt and grime from a winter of driving with warm, soapy water, or even pressure wash your tires. Make sure you dry them off too.
  • Bag them: Place them into a plastic bag and tape them closed. It prevents oil evaporation and keeps them out of direct sunlight.

Winter Toys

They bring you so much joy when snow is on the ground, but your winter toys need care before you put them away until the next snowy season.

  • Skis: To prepare skis for storage make sure you get the edges sharpened for the next season, clean and wax them, and strap them together. Make sure they are dry before putting them into storage.
  • Skates: Similarly to skis, it’s a good idea to get your skates sharpened so they are ready to go for next winter, clean them up and make sure they are dry before putting them away for the season.
  • Sleds: Clean up sleds with a plastic cleaner, dry it off, and it’s ready to be stored until next winter.

Clothing

Winter clothing items can be big, bulky, and take up a lot of space in your home. Here are some tips to store all your winter clothing and outerwear.

  • Any winter sweaters and clothing should be freshly washed before putting it away to prevent musty odors.
  • Take winter coats to the dry cleaners if required.
  • Look through your winter clothing for missing cloves, pieces that need to be mended and ensure they are fixed before putting them away.
  • Consider donating items that haven’t been used that winter.
  • Clean salt, dirt, and mud off of winter boots.

Also, here are some useful tips for packing up winter clothing.

  • Use vacuum bags to reduce the volume of puffy jackets, snow pants, and wool items.
  • Make use of luggage that isn’t utilized very often to store winter items.
  • Hanger caddies and organizers are abundant these days, make use of them to make more space in your unit or at home.

Do you have a bunch of winter gear that you want to put into storage? U•STORE•IT has many residential self-storage options to choose from that will ensure all of your winter toys and clothing are safe until the snow falls again.

COVID-19 has impacted the lives of all Albertans, and we’re adapting to protect our clients and staff during this difficult time. Your health and safety are our number one priority.

We recognize that our storage solutions are vital to many families and businesses. You depend on us for safe and secure access to your valued possessions.

That’s why, at this time, we’re remaining open for business. Our facilities are closely adhering to the recommendations set out by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and Alberta Health Services (AHS). We’re ready to respond to any changes in legislation, including possible closures.

To protect your safety and health, we’re launching rigorous social distancing protocols:

  • Taking credit card payments over the phone
  • Assisting only one client at a time in our offices
  • Encouraging at least 2 meters of distance for all interactions
  • Mandating any staff who display symptoms to stay home from work
  • Asking clients who are at risk or who display symptoms to stay home
  • Directing clients to our online services wherever we can
  • Ensuring only clients touch products during a purchase
  • Ensuring only clients hold their personal ID when moving in

If you have any questions about our COVID-19 procedures, be sure to call our head office at (780) 469-7867. Check back to this blog post for our latest updates on this evolving situation.

Take care, be safe and visit alberta.ca/COVID19 to stay informed on public health orders and self-isolation advice.

Surprisingly, U•STORE•IT gets the question “can I live in a storage unit?” more often than you might think! We know the economy has been tough for people recently, but we want to make it clear that living in a storage unit is incredibly risky for you, and it is also illegal for a storage unit provider to allow it, here’s why.

It’s Not Climate-controlled for Living

While U•STORE•IT does have climate-controlled units, they are not on the level that would be required for people to live in the space full time. We live in Alberta and the temperatures can fluctuate from -30°C in winter to +30°C in the summer.  A self-storage unit would not protect you properly from the elements and changing seasonal temperatures.

It’s Unsanitary

Regular access to a bathroom and water is essential to keep our bodies clean and healthy. A storage unit does not provide 24/7 access to sanitation and running water and can lead to very dirty living conditions.

It’s Uncomfortable

You will be incredibly uncomfortable living in a storage unit! Electricity is not readily available, there is limited natural light because there are no windows inside the unit, and you can even suffer psychological effects from living in such a small, enclosed space.

It’s Unsafe

Storage units are designed to be opened from the outside and there is the possibility you could become trapped inside the unit if you lived in one. This could be incredibly dangerous if it got extremely cold or there was a fire.

It’s Illegal

U•STORE•IT is a self-storage business that is responsible for keeping the belongings of all of our customers secure. If you are found on our property outside of business hours, that would be considered trespassing and we would be within rights to call the police.

U•STORE•IT would not allow anyone to live in one of our rental units for the risks highlighted above. If you do require access to affordable housing, we highly recommend you check out the City of Edmonton website or the City of Red Deer website for assistance.