Thank You for Donating to the 2014 Toys for Toys Campaign

 

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ezStorage is proud to be a participating sponsor for the 2014 Toys for Tots holiday campaign. For the 2014 program, 38 ezStorage  locations were  designated toy collection drop off points.  Our Westminster location at 1200 Baltimore Ave in Westminster, Maryland donated a 10×30 storage unit to be used as a collection point for this year’s campaign. We have had a very nice year of donations for this worthwhile cause.

Holiday Toy Donations

The Toys for Tots 2014 Holiday Toy Campaign will be wrapping up on December 17th, so the toys can be collected and sent to distribution centers in the Baltimore area. The toys are then sorted and split up to be given to the many community organizations that Toys for Tots partners with to give toys to children in need. Toys for Tots partners with local social welfare agencies, church groups and other local community agencies to distribute the toys to the children for Christmas. Since the program’s inception in the 1940’s, the United States Marine Corp. Reserves has distributed over 452 million toys to more than 209 million children.

Even though the toy campaign is ending on December 17th, you can still make donations to the organization throughout the year. Through December 17th, you can drop off your unwrapped toy donations to the following ezStorage facilities in the Baltimore and Northern Virginia areas:

In Maryland:

Annapolis                                       Germantown

Beltsville                                         Lanham

Bethesda                                        Odenton

Bowie                                             Pasadena

Brentwood                                      Rockville

Capitol Heights                              South Bowie

Dale City                                       Takoma Park

Gaithersburg                                  Westminster

In Virginia:

Chantilly                                        Sterling

Gainesville                                    Woodbridge

Reston

ezStorage thanks everyone for their donations to this great and worthwhile organization that helped to make the 2014 Toys for Tots campaign at ezStorage a success!

 

 

12 Days of Holiday Decoration Storage Infographic

“The stockings were hung by the chimney with care….” By now, families are decorating their homes and preparing for the busy holiday season ahead. The house is aglow with lights and candles and holiday spirit. The Christmas tree is up and decorated and the stockings are hung in hopes that St. Nicolaus will soon be there. There are also shopping bags, boxes, tissue paper, wrapping paper, and ribbons covering every empty surface (and hiding places) in your home.

Every home can have a variety of holiday decorations from menorahs to traditional greenery to blow-up outdoor decorations. Christmas tree ornaments come in all shapes, sizes and colors. They can be hand-made from a friend or family member or store-bought. Some of these ornaments hold memories of special family moments and are cherished and passed on from generation to generation. All of our holiday decorations are special to us and need to be treated with extra care when storing, so they can be continued to be shared with future generations.

The actual task of decorating and then un-decorating the home after the New Year can be quite a hassle every year. There are many memories of a family member struggling to put the tree up or to wrap a strand of lights on the tree.  Then after the holidays, it is the chore of taking down the tree and figuring out how (and where) to place the Christmas tree in storage. Christmas tree ornaments and lights are usually very delicate and can easily be broken. It is important to know how to properly store Christmas ornaments and holiday indoor/outdoor lights.

By using some simple DIY storage and packing tips, holiday decoration storage can be much easier, so the lights, candles, ornaments, Christmas trees, holiday dishes, and lawn decorations can be used for many years to come. ezStorage has created an Infographic for the 12 Days of Holiday Storage to help you figure out how to store all of your holiday items. Sing along with us!

 

12 Days of Holiday Storage Tips

What’s in your Favorite TV Character Self Storage Unit?

Storage Unit Size Guide

 

We are at the midway mark of the fall television season and most shows have been airing their fall finales.  What if some of your beloved TV characters need to rent a storage unit? What sort of items would they store? Would their belongings require a climate controlled storage unit? Would they need to use the unit for business storage or household storage?  TV character are just like you and m, also need to de-clutter their homes. And just like us, they could be in the process of moving or need extra room to store their business items.  Let’s take a peak to see what some of your favorite TV characters could be storing:

Phil Dunphy-Modern Family

Phil Dunphy owns his own real estate company and needs the extra space to store his “For Sale” signs and other business equipment. Phil also uses a self storage unit to store belongings for his clients when he recommends staging their home for sale.

Sheldon Cooper and Leonard Hofstadter-The Big Bang Theory

Sheldon and his roommate, Leonard, are big collectors of comic books and anything sci-fi. As their apartment gets more and more cluttered, they need to find room for some of their collection! That is where self storage comes in! They can purchase specially designed comic book plastic coverings and acid free boxes to store their precious collections in self storage.

The Doctor-Doctor Who

You never know in what place, time or planet the Doctor and his companion will appear. When the Doctor is out saving the universe, he could store the Tardis, shaped as an old-fashioned British police box, in a 10×30 storage unit.

Ichabod Crane-Sleepy Hollow

Ichabod Crane is a man out of time in the 21st century. He doesn’t have many belongings in this century, but he did recently discover the wonders of driving and riding a motorcycle.So, he could use self storage for his motorcycle in the off-season or use a self storage unit to store history books.

Joey, Rachel and Monica-Friends

What would a few of our favorite Friends characters need to store in a storage unit? Monica worked as a chef and caterer on the show. Self storage is a great place to store restaurant and catering items. She could store chairs, linens, dishes, glassware, and other supplies including pots, pans, silverware and cooking utensils. Rachel appeared on the first episode after she ran away from her wedding. She could place her wedding dress or the clothes that she has helped design at Polo in a storage unit. That leaves us with Joey.  Joey, as the aspiring actor, could have props and other memorabilia that he has collected from his many acting jobs stored in a storage unit.

Belle and Rumplestilskin-Once Upon a Time

In the modern town of Storybrook live many fantasy and fairy tale characters that have been displaced from their own time and place to modern times. Belle and Rumplestilskin are the “Beauty and the Beast” of fairy tales with Belle being a librarian and Rumplestilskin owning a pawn shop. Belle could store her prized collection of books in self storage while Rumplestilskin could store excess inventory from his pawn shop business in a self storage unit.

As you can see from the examples above, there is no end to the need for self storage for our favorite television characters!  Self storage is a great option for home, business, retail and even restaurant storage!

 

 

7 Tips for How to Store a Mattress

Tips for moving a mattress and bed setIt is hard to believe, but we spend over one-third of our lives sleeping! Having a good bed, bed springs and mattress is an investment that could last a very long time. A good bed set, including the headboard, box springs and mattress can cost thousands of dollars, so it is important to protect your investment. If properly maintained, a good bed set can last decades and mattresses and box springs can last at least 10 to 15 years.  Even if you are an empty nester, and cleaning out a child’s bedroom, it might still be a good idea to keep their mattress for future needs.

Tips for Mattress Storage

What are the best ways to keep a mattress in good condition during moving or storage? Below are some tips for mattress storage.

  1. Avoid storing mattresses in the basement. Basements can be damp, which could damage the mattress. Also, keep mattresses away from pets and sharp objects.
  2. Before moving or storing a mattress, be sure to thoroughly clean the mattress. Use upholstery cleaner on the actual mattress and then vacuum both sides.
  3. Disassemble the bed for moving or placing it in storage. Keep all screws/nuts/bolts in a plastic bag taped to the frame or headboard for safe keeping. Cover the bed frame and headboard with old blankets during transit and during storage to protect from dust.
  4. Invest in a mattress cover to protect the mattress in storage. Use a light, breathable plastic cover to cover the entire mattress. These usually cost $20 or less at stores. Secure the cover with tape and cover any holes or tears in the cover.
  5. If you are storing a mattress on a long-term basis, then store it flat in the storage unit. This is actually opposite from what you read in most storage tips. It is okay to move the mattress on its side, but for storage, it is better to store flat as the coils and inner workings could shift by storing it on its side over a long period of time. When storing on the ground in a storage unit, lay a tarp on the ground first. You can also store the mattress on top of flat furniture.
  6. Do not store anything on top of a mattress. Heavy items can cause damage to the mattress material as well as possibly damaging the mattress springs.
  7. Once you are ready to remove the mattress from storage, freshen up the mattress before use. Sprinkle baking soda on both sides allowing the baking soda to absorb any odors and then remove via a vacuum.

It is critical to protect your bed set, box springs and mattresses, while moving or in storage, so you will be able to use the items for many years to come. Self storage is a great home storage solution to keep these items protected until you need them again.

 

2014 Holiday Craft Shows and Light Displays in Baltimore, Northern Virginia and Washington D.C. Areas

Holiday Lights and Craft Shows in Baltimore, Northern Virginia and Washington DC

 

 

The holiday season is in full swing in the Baltimore, Northern Virginia and Washington D.C. areas. There are many different ways to celebrate the holidays from going to craft shows to taking a stroll or drive-through Christmas light displays around the Baltimore area.

Holiday Craft Shows in Maryland, Northern Virginia and Washington D.C.

A good majority of holiday craft shows took place earlier in the fall, but there are still some ongoing shows and markets where you can find great locally produced arts, crafts and gifts.

Holiday Craft Shows and Markets in Washington D.C.

The Downtown Washington D.C. Holiday Market opened November 28th and runs to December 23rd on the sidewalk on F Street between 7th and 8th Streets in front of the National Gallery. The show runs daily from noon to 8pm and features over 180 exhibitors and artisans of fine art, jewelry, pottery, clothing, photography, and more. There will also be local musicians offering a variety of musical styles from choral to rock ‘n’ roll.

Holiday Craft Shows and Markets in Northern Virginia

The McLean Holiday Craft Show runs December 5th to 7th at the McLean Community Center. There will be over 70 fine artisans from across the country. The show features fiber arts, wood, ceramics, pottery, jewelry, glass, holiday décor, gourmet foods, paper art, photography and much more. Entertainment will be provided by local school choral and musical groups.

Alexandria’s Holiday Market opens this weekend on John Carlyle Street in Alexandria, Virginia. The market runs every weekend (and more) through the holidays.  The market transforms the Carlyle District to a traditional European festival straight out of France or Germany. Unique arts and crafts items will be featured along with live entertainment and European food and sweets. The Alexandria Holiday Market supports the Holiday Sharing Toy Drive program and the Hunger Free Alexandria initiative.

Tysons Corner Center Holiday Market  is a unique Christmas Market and Winterfest in the heart of the Tysons Corner Center. The market opens December 5th and will be open to December 24th. There will be arts and crafts, food, drink, music and an ice rink. There are special events scheduled throughout the month.

Leesburg Holiday Fine Arts & Crafts Show  features over 90 artisans with homemade creations and products. The show runs December 6th and 7th at the Ida Lee Park Recreation Center in Leesburg, Virginia.

Holiday Craft Shows and Markets in Maryland

Charles County Fairgrounds is hosting the 2014 Kris Kringle Christmas Market on December 5th and 6th. The market is modeled after German holiday markets. There will be holiday light displays, holiday food, local handmade arts and crafts, children’s activities, entertainment, shopping and much more. Santa arrives at the market on Friday, December 5th during the official tree lighting ceremony.

Christmas Village at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is back again for the holiday season. The market is set up as a traditional German style market. Wander through the market with 40 vendors selling traditional European crafts, arts, and jewelry and holiday gifts. There are two Christmas trees and thousands of lights. The market is open every day. There is free admission during the week and paid admission on the weekends.

Christmas Light Displays in Baltimore and Northern Virginia

There are many great holiday light displays in the Baltimore and Northern Virginia area this season that you can tour by foot or via a car.

Holiday Lights in Baltimore Area

Winter Lights at Seneca Creek State Park returns for another season of holiday display in Gaithersburg, Maryland.  The park is open nightly from November 28th to December 31st for a 3.5 mile drive through an enchanted holiday forest with many different holiday themes and over 365 illuminated displays. The proceeds of the Winter Lights festival benefit local charities.

Winter Festival of Lights at Watkins Regional Park returns for another season of holiday delights in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.  The drive-through light display features over one million lights and many new holiday displays.

The 21st Annual Symphony of Lights in Columbia, Maryland opened for the season on November 15th with a fun run/walk  and events continue through January 4th.  There are over 70 larger-than-life animated and stationary illuminated displays. The Symphony of Lights is the largest annual fundraiser for the Howard County General Hospital.

Lights on the Bay at Sandy Point State Park is a scenic drive through a 2 mile holiday light spectacle along the Chesapeake Bay near Annapolis. There are over 60 holiday light displays with themes ranging from dinosaurs to winter fairies. The show runs November 22nd to January 1st. The holiday light show is sponsored by the Anne Arundel Medical Center.

Last, but definitely not least, is Miracle on 34th Street  in the Hampden neighborhood in Baltimore. Miracle on 34th Street started in 1947 and is currently in its 67th year. The lights officially turned on this year on November 29th and will run to January 1, 2015. The lights are on every evening from dusk to 11pm. The row of houses in the neighborhood from the 700 block of 34th Street between Kenwick Road and Chestnut Street are decorated in all styles and traditions. The displays range from trains, animated figures, Walt Disney characters, artwork, Hanukkah menorahs and holiday symbols. It is definitely a sight not to be missed!

There is so much to see and do during the holiday season in the Baltimore, Northern Virginia, and Washington D.C. areas. Once you have bought those great holiday gifts at the arts and craft shows, you will need a place to store them until Christmas.  ezStorage has a variety of storage unit sizes that can help with any storage need. Stop in to any of our 46 self storage facilities to see how we can help! Happy Holidays from ezStorage!

 

Holiday Fire Safety Tips

holiday fire safety tips

As the song goes, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”! There are holiday decorations, Christmas trees and holiday cheer all around. As you are putting up your decorations both indoors and outdoors or choosing your live Christmas tree, there are certain holiday fire safety tips that you should follow to make sure that your home is safe from fire hazards. According to the National Fire Protection Association,  between 2007 and 2011, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 230 home fires per year that started with Christmas trees resulting in over $18.3 million in direct property damage. One of every three Christmas tree fires is started by electrical issues, such as lighting. Keep your family and home safe this holiday season by following these simple steps for candles, holiday lights and Christmas trees:

Christmas Fire Safety Tips

Candles

  • Fire safety experts recommend not using flame candles for holiday decorations. Use battery-operated candles in their place.
  • If using flame candles, place them away from combustible items such as decorations, greenery, and wrapping paper.
  • Put candle displays in places where they can’t be knocked over. Do not place them on a table in a high traffic area.
  • Never keep an open flame unattended. Always keep a burning candle within your sight.

 

Indoor and Outdoor Lights

  • Use lights that have been tested for safety from an independent testing laboratory.
  • Check lights for broken or cracked sockets, frayed wires or loose connections. Throw away the damaged lights or repair them before use.
  • Fasten outdoor lights firmly to the trees or the house.
  • Periodically check the light wires. The wires should not be warm to the touch when in use.
  • Use no more than 3 standard sets of lights per one extension cord.
  • Before decorating, determine how many outlets are available in the room and where they are located. Then, plan your decoration placement according to the outlets.
  • Use LED lights, which use less energy and run cooler than traditional incandescent lights.

 

Artificial and Real Christmas Trees

  • Many artificial trees are fire resistant. Check the label on the tree to make sure that the trees have this designation.
  • A fresh tree will stay green longer and will be less of a fire hazard than a dry one. Fresh trees are green, the needles are hard to pull off and the trunk is sticky with resin.
  • Cut off 2 inches of the trunk to expose fresh wood for better water absorption. Place the live tree in a sturdy stand with wide-spread feet. Keep the stand filled with water the entire time that the tree is indoors.
  • Do NOT place Christmas trees in high traffic areas of the home, near fireplaces, radiators, or any other heat sources.
  • For a live tree, make sure to add water daily to the tree stand, so the tree does not dry out.
  • When a tree starts to drop needles, it means that it is drying out and that it is time to get rid of it.
  • Never use candles to light up a Christmas tree.

 

ezStorage wants to help keep your family safe this holiday season. After the holidays, when you are ready to store holiday decorations, remember to properly store them in self storage. Self storage is also a great solution for artificial Christmas tree storage, which can help keep your home clutter free for the New Year! ezStorage has 46 locations in the Baltimore, Northern Virginia and Washington D.C. areas to help with your storage needs.