Tips for Staging a Home During the Winter

Tips for Staging a Home in Winter MonthsThe busy house buying and selling season begins to get going during the spring and is extremely busy during the summer months.  January, February and March are the slowest months for buying and selling homes. Because of a sudden job change or a life changing event, a family might have to put their home up for sale during the winter months. During the “off-season” months, the seller will need to extenuate the strengths of the home and downplay the weaknesses in order to attract potential buyers. In order to get more offers and sell the home quicker, realtors encourage “staging” a home for sale.  Home staging is the process of decluttering, painting, re-decorating and in some cases upgrading the home to make it appeal to buyers. This can be done by the homeowner, the realtor or staging companies. The goal of staging a home is to make the home welcoming during anytime of the year, but more so during the winter months. A clean, clutter-free home will be more attractive to potential buyers and could sell faster and for more money.

Staging companies and realtors recommend renting a self storage unit to help you with the staging process. Renting a self storage until can be done on a month-by-month basis, which is great for staging opportunities.  A self storage unit is a perfect place to store large bulky furniture that might clutter up a room or place for the boxes of a toy collection. A self storage unit is also the place to put those personal items that are not needed in a home when you are trying to sell it. Box up and place in storage collectible items, personal artwork and photos and music collections.  A buyer wants to try to imagine a home as they would want to decorate it, so it is important to make the home as neutral as possible.

Staging a Home During the Winter Months

Staging a home during the winter months might be a bit more challenging due to dreary weather. Below are seven winter staging tips to follow to help your home look its best and attract the right buyer and the right price:

  1. For home staging, the most important thing to do is de-clutter your home. Make sure that you go room-by-room to de-clutter. Have packing supplies on hand to properly store your excess items. Stop N Stor offers packing and moving supplies from boxes to newsprint to packaging tape to help you get your items ready for storage.
  2. Make the home visually appealing. This involves cleaning, repairing problems, dusting, vacuuming and painting rooms a more neutral color. Make sure to keep on top of the maintenance projects, if it is taking longer for your home to sell.
  3. Even though realtors recommend removing personal photos during home staging, it is actually a good idea to have photos (or at least a photo album) of the home during the spring and summer months, so potential buyers can see what the landscaping, flowers, patio and garden looks when everything is in full bloom.
  4. A home’s curb appeal is vital to make the home look inviting and welcoming to potential buyers. The outside of the home is the first impression that a potential buyer has when seeing visiting a home that they are interested in buying. Keep up with outdoor projects such as raking the leaves, cleaning out the gutters, sweeping down porches and repairing and replacing any exterior lighting problems.
  5. During the winter months, it gets darker much earlier. It is important to make good use of the natural lighting in your home as much as possible. Open up the drapes and blinds to let the natural light in the home during daytime showings. If you have to show the home in the evening, make sure that all exterior and interior lights are on and working properly. Replace light bulbs with a higher wattage and warmer hues to make the rooms more inviting.
  6. Keep the temperature of the home at a comfortable setting. If you have a fireplace, add a fire during the home showing hours. Use battery powered candles to add warmth and light to the room. But, do not use an overpowering scent for the candles as that can turn away potential buyers.
  7. Paint the walls for the rooms in your home a neutral color and have similar colors for your furniture. Then add colorful seasonal accessories such as rugs, pillows and throws to give an added “pop” to the rooms.

Business Document Storage Tips

Business Document and Filing Storage TipsBusiness files and documents can take up a large amount of valuable space in an office.  If business files, document and paper seem to be taking over your office or if paper is stacked up on desks and workspaces leaving little room for the workers, then you are running out of storage space in your office!  It is time to think about gathering your business documents and storing them in an off-site storage facility. Self storage and business storage actually work hand-in-hand. Storing documents in self storage helps to reduce the clutter in your office, while increasing work space and productivity!

When choosing a self storage facility to store your documents, make sure to pick one that is close to you. If you need to access the files, you do not want to drive across town. A climate controlled storage unit is recommended for business document storage because these types of storage help to protect the documents from damage from extreme heat and humidity. Because you are storing employee and business records, it is crucial to pick a storage facility with very good security measures including video surveillance, computerized gate access and strong locks! Stop N Stor has state-of-the-art security systems, including digital camera systems, gated access and anti-pick locks, and climate controlled storage needs for business storage all in one place. Plus, we have dollies and platform swivel trucks to make moving your business documents into storage much easier.

What Business Documents Should You Keep?

As you are going through your files and documents to decide what you want and need to store, it is good to understand federal and state guidelines for the retention of specific business documents. Companies should save the following types of documents either in the office or in off-site storage based on federal or state law:

Accounting Records:  Financial statements, income tax returns, payroll tax returns, general ledgers, accounts payable and receivable records, expense reports, charge and cash slips, bank deposits, and income tax withholdings.

Corporate Records: Fixed Asset Reports, plans and blueprints, property appraisals and internal audit records.

Human Resources and Payroll: Employee W-2 Forms, Worker’s Compensation benefits, payroll records, attendance records, medical benefits, payroll checks, and personnel records.

Document Storage Tips

When you are packing your files and are ready to place them in a storage facility, there are a few things to keep in as you are preparing you boxes and storage units.

  1. When packing the files and document in boxes, fill the boxes up to the top and add filler material, but do not over stuff the boxes. Do not use newspaper as filler as the print can rub off on the documents.
  2. Raise the document boxes off of the ground on pallets, wood, plastic sheeting or cardboard. The optimum storage would be shelving units.
  3. Store the documents in locked file cabinets or fire safes for extra security.
  4. If possible, use air tight packaging boxes for your documents to protect from water damage in case of a flood or dampness.
  5. Place the boxes with the oldest files towards the back of the storage unit. Place that boxes of files that you might need to access more frequently towards the front.
  6. Label every document box with a list of the contents. Then, create an inventory numbering system for your stored boxes that you can put into a spreadsheet for cross-reference. This will also make it easier to find the documents that you need to find. You can also create a map of your storage unit of where the files are located.
  7. Most importantly, follow the proper guidelines for how long business documents should be stored. The IRS has a great site with tips on how long you should keep certain documents and files.

Self Storage Solutions for Restaurant and Catering Equipment

Self Storage for Restaurants and Caterers

Photo courtesy of chefmom.sheknows.com

Self storage is an easy, safe and convenient way for businesses to store excess office equipment to storing documents.  Every type of business can use self storage for their storage solutions. Retail stores can use self storage for excess inventory and fixture storage. Contractors can store their tools and equipment in self storage.  Storing business items in a self storage unit is easy, safe and gives the renter peace of mind that their items are protected while in storage.

The restaurant or catering industry is another industry where renting a self storage unit is a great off-site storage opportunity! Most restaurants and catering businesses do not have enough storage in their restaurants or kitchens and they can run out of storage room very quickly. They need to have a place to store their extra furniture, supplies, dishes, glassware and holiday displays.  Stop N Stor has a variety of storage units sizes in both climate and non-climate controlled that are great for storing everything for the restaurant or catering industry.

Storage for Catering Businesses         

Self storage is a great option for catering businesses, especially for those that work out of their home!  Most small businesses do not have the room to store excess inventory, furniture and other needed equipment and a catering business is no exception. The busiest seasons for caterers are the summer months (for weddings) and during the holidays. During the “off-season”, caterers and party planners need a place to store their furniture, chairs, tables, decorations, dishes, glassware, silverware, serving utensils, pots, pans, linens and much more. It is much more convenient to store these items together in a secured self storage unit. Caterers can rent a storage unit that is central to their business and their events to make it easier to pick up the supplies when they are needed.

Storage for Restaurants

Restaurants can store excess equipment, chairs, tables, or supplies including flatware, dishes or cutlery in a self storage unit.  A self storage unit is also a great solution to store a restaurant’s outdoor patio furniture during the colder months. When storing patio furniture, stack the chairs whenever possible in order to utilize all the room in the storage unit. A self storage unit is also a great place for restaurants to  store excess pots, pans, dishes and appliances. Make sure that the dishes and glassware are wrapped and packed properly to prevent breaking during storage. Restaurants can store holiday decorations in self storage to relieve the clutter in restaurant storerooms. Store the holiday decorations toward the back of the storage unit until you need to use them again in the next year.

For any business, but more so for those who need restaurant storage and catering storage,  it is important to keep a running inventory list in the storage unit as well as at your business of the items that you have in storage. This helps you keep track of what you have and what you might need for future engagements. Stop in to Stop N Stor to see how we can help with your restaurant or catering business storage needs.

 

Tips for Getting Started on Spring and Summer Home Improvement Projects

15th Annual Low Country Home and Garden Show

Photo courtesy of stayinsavannah.com

We are in the midst of winter and the coldest months of the year. It is hard to actually think about the spring flowers, planting gardens and remodeling projects around the home when it is cold and dreary outside. The winter months are popular months for Home and Remodeling Shows throughout the country and the Savannah area is no exception.  The family friendly interactive trade shows are great guides to see the latest information, products, styles and technologies and tools in home renovation, remodeling and decoration. With the housing market on the upswing, people are working on projects to improve their homes.  The home, garden and remodeling shows are a great way to get pointers and tips for future projects from a whole range of experts from contractors to interior designers. According to the Census Bureau, homeowners spent over $359 Billion on home improvement projects from 2009-2011. The largest amount of money was spent on renovating the kitchen.  37% of those surveyed did the project on their own, while 63% hired professionals. In 2013, it was projected that homeowners would spend over $550 Billion dollars on home improvement projects!

2015 Low Country Home and Garden Show

The 15th Annual Low Country Home and Garden Show  will be at the Savannah International Trade & Convention Center from Friday, February 6th through Sunday, February 8th. The show has over 4000 square feet of displays and exhibitions including gardens, landscapes and water features. There will be exhibits for kitchen design, pools and outdoor living, and interior design and home accessories. There will also be DIY seminars on three different stages: Celebrity Stage, Garden Stage and Kids Stage throughout the weekend. Celebrity design expert John Gidding from HGTV’s Curb Appeal  will be hosting demonstrations and discussions throughout the weekend. The Garden Stage will have experts who will share how to make the most of your outdoor living and gardening spaces. The Home and Garden Show will be filled with exhibitors that will be able to help you with ideas for improvements inside and outside your home. The show has it all from gardens and landscapes to interior design ideas and daily live plant and tree sales. There is an interactive Kids Zone area sponsored by Lowes with demonstrations and hands-on demonstrations, a pet area and wine tasting. Enter to win plants from local garden centers, gift cards and much more throughout the weekend.

Self Storage and Home Improvement

After you have visited the Savannah Home and Garden Show and gathered all of the tips for your remodeling or renovation projects, it is time to start planning the projects for spring and summer. The quicker that you plan the projects, the quicker you can enjoy your new room.  The first thing that you need to do when you decided to do a home improvement project is to create a detailed plan with a budget, schedule and a list of the materials that you will need. Create “alternate” areas to use as back-up for the room(s) that you are working on. For example, if you are renovating a bathroom, make sure that you have another bathroom in the home that can be used during construction.

Next, remove all of the items from the room that you are working in to protect them from damage during construction. Renting a self storage unit during a renovation/remodeling process is a smart choice to protect your personal items and furniture from dirt, dust, paint drips and damage during a renovation project. Putting a paint tarp over items will really not protect furniture and personal items from damage and large furniture can take up valuable work space.  If the remodeling project allows you got get new furniture, then keep the older furniture in a storage unit until you decide to sell, donate or throw away these belongings. Now, you can get started on your spring and summer home improvement projects!

Stop N Stor has a variety of climate and non-climate controlled storage units that can fit all of your storage needs from storing tools to storing all of the furniture in a bedroom or living room! Our friendly and professional staff can help you with your storage needs from packing and moving supplies to temporary storage for your renovation project. Stop in when you need help finding the right storage space for your renovation projects!