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Cleaning Out the Basement: How to Clear Out Items for a Loved One

A man clearing out the basement after a death in the familyThe basement is often a messy and cluttered area used to store odds and ends of furniture, electronics, holiday decorations, and other items. While clearing out your own basement can seem like a daunting task, clearing out someone else’s may be even more intimidating.
If an aging family member or friend is planning to downsize homes, move into an assisted living facility, or has recently passed away, you may be needed to either help sort through old items or to you may be tasked with helping to clear out a particular room. If you are in this situation, you may be wondering where to start. We have compiled a list of some of the best tips for helping someone clear out the basement.

5 Tips for Cleaning Out the Basement

  1. Set a Timeline: Don’t let the task drag out. Set a timeline for when you want it to be completed and stick to it. This will help you to keep on track.
  2. Start with a Corner: Pick a corner to start in, and from there, move right to left. This will keep you organized and prevent you from accidentally sorting through the same items twice.
  3. Don’t Leave Boxes or Items for Later: Periodically in your cleaning process, you may reach a box or item that you just don’t know what to do with. Instead of putting it off until later, deal with it at that time. Make decisions as quickly as you can.
  4. Keep, Donate, Throw Out, Give Away: Create piles labeled keep, donate, throw out, and give away. Any items that are no longer wanted but are still usable can be donated. Trash, broken, and unusable items should be thrown out. After clearing out the basement, let any friends or family sort through and take items in which they are interested.
  5. Take Time to Remember: You may be surprised by the items you find when helping to sort through a friend or family member’s basement. Maybe you find some old photographs you have never seen before, an antique furniture piece you’d like in your home, or sentimental items you want to keep. No matter the reason for the change, taking the time to reminisce on old items can help you process the end of a life chapter.

Keep Important Items Close with a Storage Unit Rental

There may be some items you know you can’t keep in your house, but you or your loved one can’t part with just yet. If this is the case, consider renting a storage unit. Renting a storage unit allows you to hold onto items you care about while still clearing out the basement. Self Storage Specialists have storage facilities all throughout Michigan and in Dayton, Ohio. Reserve your storage unit today!

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Sports Equipment Storage Solutions: Storing Baseball, Soccer

Baseball equipment on grass As the weather changes and temperatures start to drop, sports like baseball, soccer, and football begin winding down, and it becomes time to start planning how you will store your sports equipment for the upcoming winter months.
By taking the time to prepare your equipment for the off-season and storage during the cold winter months, you are ensuring that everything will be in the best shape for your next season. Try out these sports equipment cleaning and storage tips!

How to Clean Uniforms and Jerseys

First things first, as soon as the season is over, wash any uniforms, jerseys, and socks to prepare them for the next year. More than likely, these items will be sweaty and stinky so you’ll want to get them clean as quickly as possible. Place all of your clean sportswear in a clear storage bin so that you can find them easily when the season starts up again.

Baseball Equipment Storage Tips

  • Storing a Bat: Your bat is probably caked in dust and dirt from the season. Protect its finish by washing it with a solution of mild soap and water.
  • Storing a Baseball Glove: Take care to remove all sand, dirt, and dust from your baseball glove with either a rag or a brush before storing it. After the visible dirt has been removed, use a leather-safe cleaner to wash your glove, and a glove conditioner to protect and restore it.
  • Storing Baseballs: Before storing your baseballs, clean them with a solution of water and mild soap. Protect them during the off-season by storing them in an air-tight box.

Soccer Ball Storage Tips

  • Storing a Soccer Ball: The best way to store your soccer ball is going to vary with the length of storage time. When storing it for a short period of time, it is acceptable to leave the ball inflated, however, for long-term storage, deflate it to reduce pressure on the seams.

Football Storage Tips

  • Clean all Equipment: Shoulder pads, knee guards, and helmets should all be cleaned using water and a mild soap. To get the smell out of your football equipment, place your equipment in a plastic bag with an open box of baking soda. The baking soda will help to absorb any bacteria.
  • Storing a Football: Use a solution of mild soap and water to remove any grime from your football. Just like when storing your soccer ball, deflate the football slightly before storing it for the off-season.

Climate Controlled Storage for Sport Equipment Storage

When storing your sports equipment, how and where you store it directly impacts its condition for the next season. While many people choose to store their sports equipment in their basement, garage, or back of their vehicle, this is not a good solution for long-term storage. Temperature fluctuations can cause both wood and leather to crack, and replacing equipment can be both a hassle and expensive. Our Self Storage Specialists’ locations in both Michigan and Ohio have climate controlled storage units that are perfect for storing all of your sports equipment! Please either call or stop by one of our locations to choose the unit that is right for you!

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2018 Fall Festivals in Michigan

Young kids enjoy a fall festival in MichiganAs the air starts to get cooler and the leaves start to turn, we look forward to pumpkin carving, Halloween and spending the day at fall festivals in Michigan. Are you looking for a fall festival near you? Then you’ve come to the right place! We compiled a list of some of the best autumn festivals near Detroit, Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor. From face paintings to carnival rides and a Great Pumpkin contest, there’s something for everyone at these fall festivals. Check them out!

Harvest Festivals in Michigan Near Ann Arbor and Detroit

Ann Arbor Harvest Festival

September 16th
This year marks the 10th Annual Pittsfield Township Harvest Festival. At the festival, visitors can learn about the historical significance of the Sugarland-Wilson Farm and family. There will also be face painting, a performance by the Saline Fiddlers and Silver Strings Dulcimer Society, a petting farm, hay rides, lawn games and more.

Clinton Fall Festival

September 28th-September 30th
This year is the 45th Annual Clinton Fall Festival! At the Clinton fall festival, there will be arts and crafts, live entertainment, carnival rides, a rodeo, a classic car show and more! Also, make sure to stick around on Sunday for the Grand Parade!

South Lyon Area Pumpkinfest

September 28th-September 30th
Pumpkinfest is an annual event taking place in Downtown South Lyon. While there are many events and booths, the focus of Pumpkinfest has always been on the non-profit organizations. The festival has given thousands back to churches, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, youth athletics and other non-profit organizations. There will be a Great Pumpkin contest, a pie eating contest, inflatables, Air Dogs and more.

Harvest Festivals Near Grand Rapids

Michigan Apple Fest

September 22nd
Michigan Apple Fest is only a few years old, but it has grown into a popular event visitors look forward to all year! This event features Michigan apples in the food and beverages sold by local restaurants. There will also be apple cider, donuts, kids’ games and more!

Zeeland’s Pumpkinfest 2018

October 5th and 6th
This year is the 34th Annual Pumpkinfest! This event will feature fall activities, a large parade, and lots of entertainment. The theme for the event is “Pumpkinfest Sets Sail!”

Storage Units for Seasonal Items in Grand Rapids, Detroit and Ann Arbor

There’s nothing like the fall in Michigan. And unfortunately, it doesn’t last forever. Once fall is over, it’s time to start putting out the Christmas decorations. But what do you do with your Halloween lights, festive gourds and other décor once the season is over? Well, if you have a storage unit rental, you’re able to easily transition out your fall items for Christmas decorations.

Self Storage Specialists has storage facilities in the Detroit, Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids area. For storage of seasonal items, consider a 5×5 or 5×10 storage unit. Reserve your storage unit today!

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Preparing for Baby: Getting the House Ready for the Baby

A young mother comforts her child after taking steps to get the house ready for the babyIf you’re reading this post, congratulations! You are about to start a new and exciting chapter in your life as you await the birth of your first child. Before you bring your baby home, it is important that you correctly prep your home for your new baby.

While some of these tips might not be entirely necessary until your child starts crawling around, it is never too early to start. Time flies, and before you know it, your child will be mobile. Follow these baby proofing tips below!

Things to Do Before Baby Arrives Checklist

  1. Prepare Your Vehicle for the Baby: A few weeks before your due date, clean out your car and install the baby seat in your vehicle. This way, your seat will be ready for you when it’s time to bring the baby home.
  2. Assess the Safety of Your House: Give your house a thorough safety inspection. While you will have months between bringing your baby home and he or she becoming mobile, those months will fly by. Secure all cleaning products, medications, and any other hazardous materials in locked cabinets or out-of-reach storage spaces. Magnetic locks are also a good idea on any other cabinet or door the baby may be able to open.
  3. Reduce Toxins and Chemicals in the House: While toxins and chemicals are bad for everyone, these are much worse for a baby. Take a look at your air fresheners, candles, and cleaning supplies and determine which ones need to go. Always be conscious of healthier swaps. For example, use essential oils in place of air fresheners.
  4. Prepare Meals: You won’t have a lot of time to cook during the first few weeks with your baby. Ahead of your due date, buy frozen meals, canned goods, and gift cards. It’s also never a bad idea to make your own meals to freeze and eat later.
  5. Secure Furniture to the Wall: Anchor all dressers, televisions, and other tippable furniture pieces to the wall. This will prevent the furniture from tipping and injuring your child as soon as he or she begins crawling around.
  6. Look High and Low for Hazards: Even the most innocent item can pose a hazard to your child. Cover all outlets with box covers, use cordless blinds, and keep all electrical cords away from the crib.
  7. Check Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors: Do a thorough inspection of your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors to ensure they are in working condition. If you see any problems, address them immediately.

Make Room for the Baby with a Storage Unit Rental

If your storage room has become the baby nursery, you may be looking for some extra storage space. A storage unit allows you to declutter your home while still keeping necessary items close to your home. Self Storage Specialists has storage facilities with 5×5, 5×10 and 10×10 storage units in both Michigan and Ohio! Reserve your storage unit today!

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How to be a Good College Roommate

Two college roommates glare at each otherThe new school season is here, and for college kids, this might mean you’re moving out of the nest and into a dorm. This can be a scary step in your life! Although having a roommate that is also going through the same situation can help, living with someone in close quarters can also be a challenge – whether it’s a friend you’ve known for years or someone new. The last thing you want is to add stress to your school year with a rocky roommate situation. Follow these four college roommate tips in order to have a great semester with your roomie.

4 Must-Follow College Roommate Tips

1. Spend Time Getting to Know Your Roommate

If you are a college freshman, you likely chose, or were assigned, a random roommate. During the first few weeks of college, spend time getting to know your new roommate. Ask them about their likes, dislikes, and pet peeves. This not only forms a base to your relationship, but it can also help you to understand how to get along with them.

2. Create a List of Rules

During your first few weeks living together, create a list of ground rules. Divvy up the chores and decide who is responsible for taking out the trash, vacuuming, and cleaning the bathroom. If your roommate isn’t pulling their weight later on, address the list of rules you created together.

3. Be the Kind of Roommate You Would Want

Before having your best friend from high school stay with you multiple nights in a row, playing music at 1:00 a.m., and not taking your trash out for a week and a half, think about how you would feel if your roommate did that to you. If you wouldn’t want your roommate doing it to you, don’t do it to them.

4. Bring Problems Up as they Arise

There’s a fine line between bringing up every small problem and brushing important issues under the rug. Generally, it’s best to bring up problems as they arise as opposed to letting them fester. When bringing a problem up to your roommate, keep your tone in check. Even if you planned on bringing the issue up casually, a disrespectful tone can lead to further issues.

We can Help You Keep the Peace with Affordable Student Storage Solutions

One thing roommates commonly argue over is a lack of space. Thankfully, when you rent a storage unit, this problem can easily be resolved. A storage unit will allow you to keep your items close to campus while not crowding your dorm. This is a great solution for storing old textbooks, bulky winter items, and other items that you don’t want crowding your dorm. Self Storage Specialists have storage facilities near major college campuses like: the University of Michigan, Kalamazoo College, Calvin College, and the University of Dayton. Save some dorm room space and reserve your storage unit today!

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Tips for Moving a Refrigerator into Storage

Two men moving a refrigerator into storage If you’re moving or renovating your home, you may be tasked with moving your refrigerator. The fridge is a big-ticket item that you’ll want to make sure is kept in good condition, whether you’re simply moving it from one location to another or placing it in a storage unit. In this post, we’ll share some tips to ensure you know how to properly move and store your refrigerator.

The Top 6 Tips for Moving a Refrigerator

Tip Number 1: Purge the Fridge and the Freezer: During the weeks leading up to your move, concentrate on using as many of the items in your fridge and freezer as possible. Once you begin defrosting your appliance, it will be very difficult to keep any items cold.

Tip Number 2: Defrost the Refrigerator and Freezer: Start defrosting your refrigerator at least 3 to 5 days before moving.

Tip Number 3: Empty Out the Freezer and Refrigerator: Remove any food that is remaining in your refrigerator and freezer.

Tip Number 4: Clean the Fridge: Before moving your fridge, take the time to really clean it. Scrub the shelves, drawers, and walls of the fridge with a solution of baking soda and water, which will soak up any unpleasant smells that could be left in there. This step is especially important if you are planning on storing your fridge after you move it.

Tip Number 5: Use a Dolly to Move the Fridge and Freezer: The best way to move either a fridge or a freezer is to place it on an appliance dolly and to secure it with bungee cords.

Tip Number 6: Keep the Refrigerator Upright: Moving the refrigerator on its side can result in the oil from the compressor flowing into the cooling tubes. If this happens, it won’t be able to properly cool itself once it’s turned back on. Avoid a failed compressor system by always keeping the refrigerator and freezer upright when you are moving it.

How to Store a Refrigerator

Improperly storing your fridge and freezer can lead to having to replace it. Avoid this from happening by following these tips for storing it:

Tip Number 1: Always Keep the Door Open: When storing a refrigerator, it is important to always keep the door open. This will prevent moisture from getting trapped inside of the appliance.

Tip Number 2: Use a Box of Baking Soda: Place a box of baking soda in your fridge to absorb any moisture.

Tip Number 3: Use Climate-Controlled Storage: It is important to store your refrigerator in a location free from fluctuations in temperature, and unfortunately, this means that a garage and basement are not good locations for storing your appliances If you do not have a location in which you can both monitor and maintain the temperature, consider renting a climate-controlled storage unit at any of our convenient locations!

Self Storage Specialists Has Household Storage Solutions

Self Storage Specialists have climate-controlled storage units in our Detroit, Ann Arbor, and Grand Rapids locations. Whether you’re looking for either a long-term or short-term storage solution, we have the perfect space for you. Contact us to rent a storage unit today!

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The Best Home Improvement Projects to Add Value to Your Home

A woman follows the best home improvement projects and re-paints her wall before selling her homeIf you’re thinking about selling your home anytime within the next few years, now is the time to start planning some renovations to increase the value before you list it. Thankfully, small renovations can actually go a long way. In this post, we compiled a list of the best home improvement projects to add value to your home.

Add Value to Your Home with These 4 Home Renovation Projects

  1. Concentrate on the Kitchen: The kitchen can make or break the sale of your house. After all, it is the gathering spot during holidays and family get-togethers, so it is important that it is up to par. The good news is you don’t have to strip the flooring, cupboards, and appliances to add value to your home. Repaint your cupboards to make them shine and consider updating your appliances. If you have a plastic laminate countertop, consider upgrading it to either quartz or granite. When done correctly, upgrading your kitchen is one of the best home renovation projects that can bump the sales price of your home 3 to 5 percent.
  2. Evaluate Your Energy Efficiency: Potential buyers want to know how much they can expect to spend on energy per month. It isn’t uncommon to be asked to provide one to two years’ worth of utility payments. To Increase your energy efficiency, invest in LED lights and consider replacing your old water heater.
  3. Give it a Fresh Coat of Paint: Never underestimate the value of a fresh coat of paint. Repaint the front door, your bedroom, and any other walls that may need it. When repainting your home, choose a color that will appeal to your buyers. You can never go wrong with whites, off-whites, and neutral colors.
  4. Give Attention to the Outdoors: Don’t forget to assess your outdoor space. In the past, it was said that the best way to add value to your backyard was to get a pool, however, recent home buying trends indicate this is no longer the case. Instead, create curb appeal by planting flowers, trimming overgrown shrubs, and repairing bald spots in your lawn. For bonus points, consider adding a fire pit to your backyard. Something small like this doesn’t cost very much, but it helps the buyers picture themselves in your home.

Self Storage Specialist Has Household Storage Solutions

Renovating a home can be a lot of work, and the last thing you want is to damage some of your items in the process. Renting a storage unit to store items during a renovation also gives you a head start on staging your home to sell. It also allows you to declutter your home and only keep items inside that buyers would want to see.

Self Storage Specialists has storage units near you in the Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, and Detroit areas. Whether you are just looking to get a few items out of the way or need space for an entire room of items, Self Storage Specialists has a storage unit for you! Contact us to rent a storage unit today!

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Moving with Children: Tips for Breaking the News and Helping them Adjust

A family moving with children happily unloads boxes into their new homeMoving into a new home with new possibilities is an exciting time, but if you have children, they might not see it this way. Even if your kids are old enough to understand the move, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be happy about it. It’s important to keep in mind that your children may be moving away from the neighborhood in which they’ve grown up, possibly leaving behind their best friends, and they might be nervous about how they fit into a new place.

Making the Move Easier When Moving with Kids

There are a few things you can do to ease some of the stress and uncertainty your kids are facing after you move. Keep these tips for moving with kids in mind:

Tip Number 1: Allow Your Children Time to Process

Your kids will process the moving news differently based on their age. Make sure you’re giving your children the right amount of time to process the news, but not too much time. If you have younger kids, tell them about the move about a month before it happens. On the other hand, tell older kids about it as soon as you know it’s final. This is important because older kids may react poorly to information being kept from them, and it gives them time to process it.

Tip Number 2: Address Any Concerns

No matter the age of your children, they will likely have concerns about moving. The last thing you want to do is to not listen or address their concerns. Be prepared to answer questions and concerns in the days and weeks after you break the news.

Tip Number 3: Remove the Mystery

If possible, take your children on a tour of the house before you move in. When you’re touring the house, point out things that will matter to your kids. For example, show them where their bedroom will be as well as the new playground out back. But don’t stop there. After touring the house, show them exciting places around town. The local ice cream shop, movie theater, and soccer fields are sites that will excite your kids.

Tip Number 4: Let Your Children Take the Reigns

Give your children as much control as you can. Let them choose the new colors for their bedroom and how they want to decorate it. This will give them something to be excited about.

Tip Number 5: Keep in Touch with Old Friends

Your children may need help keeping in touch with their old friends. In the weeks after your move, remind your kids to call or video chat with their friends. This will help them to feel a sense of security until they start making new friends.

Self Storage Specialists Has Moving Solutions for Your Family

If you’re looking for a way to make moving easier, consider renting a storage unit. Renting one allows you to move out of your old home even if your new home isn’t move-in ready. For full household storage needs, consider renting either a 10×20 or a 10×30 storage unit. Our locations also carry a full line of packing, moving, and storing supplies. Contact us or stop by to either rent a unit or to pick up supplies today!

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Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids Campgrounds

A family enjoys camping at an Ann Arbor or Grand Rapids CampsiteFrom boating to kayaking, and hiking to camping, there’s never a shortage of exciting outdoor things to do in Michigan. Luckily, when you go camping in either the Grand Rapids or Ann Arbor areas, it is possible to combine all of these activities. Check out these campsites in both the Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor areas for some camping fun!

Detroit and Ann Arbor Camping

Brighton State Recreation Area
Brighton State Recreation Area is located in Howell, MI, just north of Ann Arbor. There are many fun things to do in and around the campgrounds. Visitors can enjoy boat rentals, disc golf, equestrian rides, fishing, geocaches, metal detecting, mountain biking, swimming, and hiking.

Hideaway Campground
Hideaway Campground is located in Grass Lake, MI, just east of Ann Arbor. This campsite is known for being more private and secluded than most other campgrounds. The camp-site includes a playground and a pool. For longer stays, the campground also has a laundry room.

Indian Creek Camp and Conference Center
Indian Creek Reservation is a pet-friendly campground located south of Ann Arbor. Special activities for the grounds are included in the cost of your campsite. Both the on-site shower house and the laundry facility are newly renovated and clean. The campsite includes a heated pool and wagon rides.

Camping Near Grand Rapids, MI

Steamboat Park Campground
Steamboat Park Campground is located just 7 miles from downtown Grand Rapids. Camping at Steamboat Park Campgrounds is both a smart and affordable option because of the festivals and events in downtown Grand Rapids. Steamboat Park Campground has kayaking, fishing, swimming, golf, and a riverboat ride.

Bazan Baldwin Oaks Family Campgrounds, LLC
Baldwin Oaks Campgrounds is located west of Grand Rapids, close to Allendale, MI. This location has many amenities, making it an attractive option for families. The grounds are pet-friendly and have weekly activities, basketball, a pool, tetherball, and various events.

Indian Valley Campgrounds and Canoe Livery
The Indian Valley Campgrounds and Canoe Livery is located south of Grand Rapids, in Middleville, MI. This campground has an indoor heated pool, beach, playground, volleyball, fishing, canoeing, and kayaking. When you visit the campsite, be sure to check out the other nearby attractions including golf, horseback riding, and museums.

Self Storage Specialists Has Camping Storage Solutions

Once your big camping trip is over, what do you do with your camping supplies to keep them in the best shape possible for your next trip? Many people have benefited from using a storage unit to store their tents, sleeping bags, coolers, and other camping supplies both during the off-season and between trips. Self Storage Specialists have storage facilities in the Grand Rapids, Detroit, and Ann Arbor areas. Our storage facilities have a variety of storage unit sizes including 5×5, 5×10 and 10×10 units, with the 5×5 storage unit being ideal for the storing of camping gear! Contact us today to secure YOUR unit!

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National Storage Center Alpine is Re-Opened After Fire

Great Lakes Capital

July 10, 2018

Great Lakes Capital owns the National Storage Centers located at 4000 Alpine Ave. NW in Comstock Park, MI.  This facility consists of 289 storage units within two single-story buildings.

We are grateful to all of the first responders from the Alpine Township, Walker and Plainfield Township fire departments who quickly contained and extinguished the fire. While there were staff members working on site that afternoon, there were no injuries. The area of the property that sustained the most significant damage was located in building D. The remaining 2 buildings remain accessible and the facility is open to customers.

At this time we cannot yet confirm the cause of the fire, but are working closely with the Alpine Township Fire Department. We will provide updates as more information becomes available.


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