Fall Indoor and Outdoor Cleaning Tips

Fall Cleaning outdoors-Photo courtesy of home.howstuffworks.comThe change in season is a perfect time to finish up the spring and summer cleaning projects that you kept putting off as well as implement decluttering and reorganization projects before the holiday season. Set aside a weekend for fall cleaning to make sure that the inside and outside of your home is clean for the winter months. Now is the time to take advantage of good weather to do the cleaning projects and get prepared for family activities during the holidays. We spend more time indoors during the winter, so you want to make sure that everything is clean and fresh for as long as possible.

7 Outside Fall Clean-up Tips

Cleaning, prepping and organizing the outside of the home is just as important as indoor cleaning projects. Doing the outdoor fall clean-up projects now, will help keep your outdoor patio furniture, grills and lawn equipment ready to be used again in the spring!

  1. Clean and store patio furniture, grills, table umbrellas, lawn equipment and children’s summer toys for the winter.
  2. Touch-up trim, railings and decks with paint.
  3. Install weather stripping around windows and door thresholds to prevent cold breezes from entering the home.
  4. Have the chimney and flues inspected and cleaned. This is an important fire safety step that should be done on a yearly basis.
  5. Clean out the gutters!
  6. Fertilize your lawn to help maintain its root health over the winter dormant months. Also, don’t forget to water your outdoor plants.
  7. Don’t forget about cleaning and organizing your garage, so you can park your car inside during the winter months.

 10 Indoor Fall House Cleaning Tips

  1. Focus on cleaning specific high-traffic and highly visited rooms, such as the living room family room, guest bedrooms and bathrooms.
  2. Clean the rooms from top to bottom including vacuuming drapes and window treatments and dusting baseboards and corners.
  3. Clean all bedding including mattress pads, pillows, duvets, blankets and comforters.
  4. Turn the mattress front-to-back and end to end to equalize the wear.
  5. Schedule professional carpet cleaners to clean the carpets before the busy holiday season.
  6. Clean and organize the kitchen cabinets to prepare for holiday baking and cooking. Dispose of expired food. Stock up on the dry goods that you will need for the holidays.
  7. Check the cleaning supplies under your sink for expired items.
  8. Clean the refrigerator inside and out. Remove the contents, shelves, rack and bins and wash them with anti-bacterial cleaner. Clean behind the refrigerator and vacuum the condenser coils.
  9. Replace your furnace filter.
  10. Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms. The best time to do this is when the time “falls back” in the beginning of November.

As you are working through your fall cleaning checklist, make sure that you have the proper cleaning and organizing supplies. If you are working on decluttering a space as you are cleaning, make sure that you have moving and packing supplies to pack up the items for storage, donation or to be thrown away.

 

10 Tips for RV Winter Storage

RV parking at ezStorage

 

The falling leaves and cooler temperatures signal the end of the official travel season for the eastern United States. Before it gets too cold and you get too busy with the holidays, it is time to start making preparations to store your camper, trailer or recreational vehicle (RV) for the winter months. Parking these vehicles in the driveway or in large garages is one option for storage.  If you don’t have enough room at home, then parking the RV, trailer or camper at an RV storage facility is a perfect winter storage solution.

RV Winterizing Checklist

  1. The most important thing to do when preparing your RV for winter storage is to make sure that your registration, insurance and license plates are current and renewed. You will need to show proof of these documents when you are storing the vehicles at a storage facility.
  2. Drive the vehicle that you are storing to the storage location prior to completing the rental agreement to ensure that the vehicle will actually fit in the spot.
  3. Take the vehicle out for one last drive before you park the RV at a self storage facility. Listen for any engine problems, knocks, pings or other unusual or unfamiliar noises.
  4. Walk around the vehicle, inspect underneath the RV and climb on to the roof to look for broken antennae, awnings, seals, windows, etc. Make repairs to the problems that you find before you place the vehicle in storage.
  5. Thoroughly clean the RV inside and out. Remove all food from the vehicle. Vacuum the interior of the RV, wipe down the counters and inside the cabinets. Defrost and clean out the refrigerator. During storage, leave the refrigerator door open to allow for air circulation.
  6. Close the windows and blinds in the vehicle to prevent sun exposure that can damage the fabrics and fade the carpets.
  7. Disconnect all air conditioning connects and clean out the air filters.
  8. If you are storing for an extended period of time, remove the battery from the vehicle and put it on a maintenance charger in a dry, cool, and ventilated place. If you are keeping the battery inside the vehicle, then it is a good idea to start the engine every couple of months to prevent moisture build-up.
  9. Right before you store the vehicle, change the oil and oil filter. Next, fill the fuel tank and add a fuel stabilizer recommended by the vehicle’s manufacturer.
  10. Cover the tires with protective tarps and then cover the entire vehicle with a breathable tarp that is specially made for the vehicle. The coverings will help protect the RV from the elements during the winter months.

RV Storage Facility

It is important to take the time to follow all the necessary steps in the RV winterization checklist to properly place your RV in storage for the off months.  Before you know it; it will be time to count down the days until you can take the RV back out on the road! Several ezStorage locations, listed below, offer RV storage solutions. The parking spaces can accommodate storage for RVs, campers and trailers that will not fit into a garage or have room to be kept in the driveway at a home.  Stop in to any of the facilities listed below to find out more about ezStorage’s RV, camper and trailer winter storage solutions.

Arbutus/Maiden Choice      

Bel Air/Abingdon

Highlandtown/Canton    

Owings Mills/Reisterstown

Randallstown    

Rosedale/White Marsh/Essex

South Bowie/Upper Marlboro

 

Celebrate Fall at Fall Festivals in Maryland and Northern Virginia

Fall Festivals in Maryland and Northern VirginiaOctober is the month of fall festivals throughout the Maryland and Northern Virginia area. These festivals include everything from arts and crafts fairs to harvest festivals at local farms. Later in the month, some of the farms will offer Halloween events (more on that in a future post!) With the weather turning a bit cooler and crisper, it is a great time to get out and enjoy family fun in pumpkin patches and festivals in the region.

Fall Festivals in Northern Virginia

There are many fall festivals taking place in Northern Virginia in October. If you venture outside of the area, there are many fall festivals throughout Virginia to explore and visit during the month.

Leesburg Pumpkin Village Fall Fest

Leesburg is hosting the Pumpkin Village Fall Festival, the largest fall festival in Loudon County, at Leesburg Animal Park. The festival kicked off September 20th and runs through November 4th. The festival runs every day with special events on the weekend. The Pumpkin Village Fall Festival features giant hill slides, hay rides, moon bounces, a petting and feeding zoo, pony and camel rides, and much more. There are special family events and entertainment on the weekends.

Arcadia Farm Fall Festival

The Arcadia Farm in Alexandria, Virginia hosts their free Fall Farm Festival on October 19th from 1pm to 5pm. There will be cake walks, old-fashioned games, a pie eating contest, a pumpkin patch and much more fun for the entire family. There will be a chance to be “up-close and personal” with chickens and experience daily farm life. Bring a picnic with you and make an afternoon of fall celebrations with your family.

 Mount Vernon Fall Family Harvest

Mount Vernon celebrates the fall harvest with Fall Harvest Family Days on October 25th and 26th. There will be wagon rides, a straw bale maze, 18th century dancing demonstrations, apple-roasting and other 18th century fall harvest activities. Step back to colonial harvest times during this fall festival.

 Fall Festivals, Pumpkin Patches & Hayrides in Maryland

There are many fall festivals being held in Maryland in October. Many local farms are hosting special fall events from the end of September through the beginning of November. Plus, there are also arts and crafts festivals that will help you get ready for the holidays. Listed below are just a few of the festivals in Maryland that are great outdoor fun, including hayrides and pumpkin patches, and indoor fun for the entire family.

Sugarloaf Craft Festival

The Sugarloaf Crafts Festival takes place October 10th to 12th at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium, Maryland. Over 250 top artisans will be showcasing and selling their unique designs in pottery, sculpture, photography, glass, jewelry, fashion, home decorations, furniture and much more. There will also be interactive demonstrations with the artisans, live music, a kid’s crafts area, food and much more.

Butler’s Orchard

Butler’s Orchard in Germantown, Maryland hosts its annual Pumpkin Festival every weekend in October. Visitors can pick out the perfect pumpkin, explore the hay mazes, take a hayride and enjoy crafts food and other family activities.

Montpelier Farms Fall Festival

Montpelier Farms in Upper Marlboro, Maryland hosts its annual Fall Festival every weekend in September and October. The farm features corn, grass and straw bale mazes, hay rides, a petting zoo, hill slides, a corn crib, and a corn tepee. There are special family events and activities every weekend of the event.

Summers Farm Pumpkinland

In Frederick, Maryland, Summers Farm’s Pumpkinland Festival opened September 20th and runs through November 4th. There are a cornfield maze, hay rides, pig races, hay slides, farm animals and of course a pumpkin patch.

Crumland Farms

Also in Frederick, Maryland, Crumland Farms’ fall festival opened September 27th and runs through November 1st. There is a pumpkin patch, corn maze, pedal carts, hay jumps, a giant slide, train rides for children, a haunted hayride and many other family friendly activities.

Shlagel Farms

Shlagel Farms in Waldorf, Maryland, will have fall fun and activities every weekend through October from 9am to 5pm. You can pick out your Halloween pumpkin, take a wagon ride, kids can visit the petting zoo or try to find their way through the straw maze for children. The farm also offers educational tours for schools and private groups during October.

Kinder Farm Park

Kinder Farm Park’s Fall Harvest Festival takes place during the entire month of October. There are hay rides, children’s games and activities, farm animals, a scarecrow making contest and much more for the entire family.

 Sykesville Fall Festival

Every October, historic downtown Sykesville celebrates fall with the Sykesville Fall Festival. Local artisans and craftspeople line the streets alongside local businesses, vendors and food tents. There are children’s activities, food and entertainment for the entire family.

The fall festivals in Northern Virginia and Maryland help celebrate the fall harvest and the abundance of produce from local farms. The fall festivals lead up to Halloween activities and before you know it, Thanksgiving and Christmas events! ezStorage is very proud to be located in communities that host the various Maryland fall festivals. Stop by any of our storage units in Maryland to find out how we can help you with all of your storage needs.

Tips for Outdoor Grills and Patio Furniture Storage

Grill and Patio Storage Tips

Photo courtesy of homeideafinder.com.

Autumn marks the beginning of cooler weather, leaves falling from the trees, and pumpkin-flavored coffee. It’s time to think about moving seasonal items like patio furniture, and outdoor grills into storage. Fall is a great time to prep these items and place them in storage for the winter months. If you prepare them properly, then you will be able to immediately use these items again in the spring. Before you place your outdoor grill or patio furniture in storage, take a good look at them to see if anything is broken or needs repair before going into storage. If the grill or patio furniture appears broken beyond repair, then this is the time to dispose of them.

Storing Patio Furniture

If you decide to keep the patio furniture outside throughout the winter months, it is important to have it covered with water tight coverings. Remove the fabric cushions and place them in a fully sealed outdoor storage container. As an alternative, putting your patio furniture into a self storage unit and keeping it out of the elements will help prolong its life.

Thoroughly clean your patio furniture before placing it in your self storage unit. Remove and wash the cushions and wipe down all surfaces of the chairs and tables. Wash wicker, mesh or plastic and wrought iron chairs with a solution of dishwater soap and water. For wooden furniture, use wood oil soap. Let the furniture dry completely after rinsing off the cleaning solution. To keep the furniture protected, wipe the wicker or wood furniture with a furniture grade wax.  Clean the fabric or canvas cushions with a solution of Lysol and hot water. Make sure that the cushions are completely dry before placing in storage.  In a storage unit, stack patio furniture chairs on top of one another to gain extra storage space. To give more storage space in the unit, remove the legs of the patio table and keep all screws and nuts together in a plastic bag attached to the legs.

Storing Grills or Barbecues

If you cannot move the grill to indoor storage, then, it is important to have it covered with water tight coverings. You do not need to disconnect the propane tank, but make sure that the tank is completely shut off.

Store your grill or barbecue in your storage unit to keep it in optimal shape for usage the next spring. Like the other outdoor items, make sure it’s thoroughly cleaned and wiped down before placing it in storage. Use a wire brush or steel wool to clean off any cooked-on food or grease. Clean and empty the ash pan, drip pan and burner shield. The grill needs to be thoroughly dry before you place it in storage. If you are storing a charcoal grill, remove and properly dispose of the charcoal before storing. For gas grills, consult the owner’s manual before disconnecting the propane tank from the grill. Always shut off the gas source before removing the tank from the grill.  As a safety precaution, propane tanks should not be stored in enclosed areas and cannot be stored in storage units. For winter storage, disconnect the tank and store it outside of your home in an upright position away from dryer and furnace vents and children’s play areas. Cover the stored grills with protective grill covers while in storage.

ezStorage has a variety of self storage units, climate controlled and non-climate controlled, in sizes ranging from 5×5 to 10×30 for all of your household storage needs.

 

2014 Baltimore Oktoberfest

Das Best Oktoberfest Baltimore

History of Oktoberfest

The end of September to early October is prime Oktoberfest celebration time. Festival goers throughout the world raise a mug to celebrate this 200 year old annual event. Oktoberfest is based from a wedding celebration for King Louis 1st of Bavaria to Princess Therese in Munich in 1810. The wedding was celebrated with horse races and feasts on large fields named, “Theresienwiese” after the king’s bride. The festivities were repeated the next year and gave rise to the annual Munich Oktoberfest celebrations that we know today. The Munich Oktoberfest is the largest festival in the world attracting more than six million people per year. Today’s festival takes place under big tents erected on the same fields where the king’s wedding is celebrated with millions of gallons of specially brewed Oktoberfest beer, great food (especially pretzels), and music. German immigrants brought the traditions of Oktoberfest around the world. In the United States, the biggest Oktoberfest celebration is in Cincinnati, Ohio (actually the sister city of Munich) at the end of September. This festival draws over 650,000 revelers every year!

Baltimore’s Oktoberfest

As part of Baltimore’s cultural and ethnic festivals, Das Best Oktoberfest will be held at the M & T Stadium Parking Lots on Saturday, October 11th.  Baltimore’s Das Best Oktoberfest is rain or shine under the tents in the parking lots with events kicking off for VIPs at noon and to the public at 2pm. As you enter the festival, you will receive a souvenir tasting glass, so you will be able to sample some of the over 150 international, domestic and local Maryland beers, domestic wines and schnapps that will be showcased during Oktoberfest.  There will also be several food vendors throughout the event offering the best in bratwurst, sausages and other German food!

It wouldn’t be an Oktoberfest in Baltimore without great entertainment including Oompah bands and live music. Traditional German music as well as current pop music will be featured during the festival. There will also be special contest on the main stage including the Miss Oktoberfest Competition and the Best Beer Belly Competition. (These two competitions will have nothing to do with one another!)

Das Best Oktoberfest kicks of Baltimore Beer Week with the tapping of the keg event. Local Baltimore breweries have come together to celebrate beer during the yearly beer week celebrations. There will be beer tastings, special menus and other related events at venues throughout the city from October 10th to 19th.

ezStorage is proud to be part of Baltimore’s ethnically and culturally diverse community! Visit one of our 15 Baltimore self storage locations to find out how we can help you with your storage needs!

 

10 Tips for Moving and Storing a Washer and Dryer

Tips for Moving and Storing a Washer and Dryer

Household appliances are very expensive. If you are moving appliances to a new home or placing them in storage for future use, you want to make sure that you keep the appliances in good shape and working order so you can continue to use the appliances for many years. Every appliance will require different steps to get them ready for moving. Preparing a washer and dryer for moving and storage is going to be different than preparing a stove or refrigerator. If the washer and dryer are in the basement moving the appliances up and down stairs can be difficult if you have not planned ahead.  It is very important to properly prepare washers and dryers for storage in order to keep them protected from damage during moving and while in storage. With any appliance, consult the owner’s manual for specific manufacturer instructions on transporting a washer or dryer. Below are tips on how to move or store a washer and dryer.

Moving Washer and Dryer Tips

  1. A week before you need to move the appliance, run a clean rinse in the washer to remove any detergent in the washer. If there is harder-to-remove detergent, run a vinegar solution through with the rinse cycle. For the dryer, remove any debris and lint left over from the last load of laundry.
  2. After you run the last rinse cycle, shut off the cold and hot water valves from the wall. If the appliances are hooked up to gas power, turn off the gas and remove the hose very carefully from the wall. You should always consult a professional if you are not certain about disconnecting from gas. Don’t forget to switch off the washer and dryer’s circuit breakers.
  3. Remove the lint traps and other removable parts from the dryer. Wash them using a mild mixture of soap and water. Make sure that all washer and dryer parts that you removed are also dry to prevent the accumulation of mold and rust.
  4. Allow the washer and dryer to thoroughly dry after you clean them. Leave the washing machine door open for a few days to ensure it is completely dry.
  5. Remove the hoses from the wall and place them within the appliances. Also, place electrical wiring inside the appliance, so you will not lose them in transit.
  6. Place the appliance on a moving dolly. Secure the appliance to the dolly with bungee cords or rope.
  7. Transporting the washing machine and dryer should be done very carefully in order to prevent scratches, broken doors and hinges. Use strong tape to hold the doors and latches shut during travel. Wrap blankets around the appliance to help prevent scratches.
  8. Load the washer and dryer last into the moving truck. They will be the first items removed when you are at your new home or storage unit.
  9. If you are putting the washer and dryer in storage, keep the doors slightly ajar to assure air flow. You can use the dryer for additional storage of linens, pillows and blankets while in the storage unit.
  10. While in storage, place a blanket or cotton sheet over the washer and dryer. Do not use a plastic tarp or cover as that can block air flow.

Following these general guidelines on how to move a washer and dryer, can help preserve your washer and dryer longer. ezStorage offers many household storage solutions for all of your storage needs from holiday decorations to furniture to household appliances.

 

Micro Apartment Living in Big Cities

Micro Apartment set up

Micro Apartment example

 

Based on the increased need for urban housing, many large cities across the globe have housing in short supply.  The rent in the big cities, such as Los Angeles, New York City or San Francisco is extremely high. There has been a trend for these cities to design and build apartments consisting mostly of micro apartments which range in size from 220 square feet to 300 square feet. The smaller or micro units are rented at a lower amount, making it more affordable for recent college graduates or young professionals to live in apartments in the city. Washington D.C. has recently joined the micro apartment trend with the opening of The Harper Building, this past summer, and there are more projects in the works. These apartments are close to major business areas, restaurants and transportation in the city. The new micro apartment buildings offer common areas, such as workout rooms and pools where the young professionals can meet and “hang-out”.  This is a perfect choice for millennials who would rather not have the extra space or a roommate.

A micro apartment by definition is any apartment less than 500 square feet that is designed for efficiency. The micro apartments average 350 square feet with some spaces actually being even smaller.  Having the correct layout for the apartment and the renter’s needs is very important. This will help create no wasted space in the living space. The micro apartments usually have a kitchen, living space and a bathroom in different configurations. With micro apartments or even studio apartments, you will need to be very creative with your furniture, storage and belongings. Furniture will need to serve multiple purposes in the room. A micro apartment dweller will need to be very organized and use every nook and cranny in the allotted space. You will not be able to clutter the spaces in these apartments with a lot of “stuff”.

Tips for Living in Micro Apartments

Each piece of furniture or storage cupboard in the space will have to be functional as well as decorative in small apartments. Create zones in your room for sleeping, eating and entertaining. Use as much vertical storage that you can. This is especially important in the bathroom where you can use vertical storage units above the toilet. In the closet, use ultra-thin hangers to hang clothing as they take up less space and add shelves in the top of the closet. In the kitchen, only buy essential utensils and accessories. You will not have room to store your larger kitchen accessories in such a small space. Do not clutter your counters and kitchen sink with dirty dishes. Wash the dishes and pans soon after use and return them to their proper storage area. Organization and tidiness will go a long way to making your micro living space appear much bigger than it actually is!

 Storage Solutions for Micro Apartment Dwellers

So, what do you do with the belongings that won’t fit into a micro apartment? Renting a storage unit in D.C. is a great option for the small apartment residents.  It is important to find a storage facility that is near your apartment so you can easily access your items. Storage units are perfect to store clothes, suitcases, larger kitchen accessories that you don’t have room for, and boxes of personal belongings that you cannot throw away.  ezStorage has locations in the Washington D.C. area that are great storage options for these new urban apartment dwellers.