Playing host to friends and family during the holidays can be an exciting and rewarding experience. It can also be extremely stressful time having to plan out a full menu while creating extra room in your home to host a large gathering. In addition to cleaning out your refrigerator before the big day, there are a number of things you can do ahead of time to make everything go smoothly. To help you prepare for the big day, here are five space saving tips to successfully host your next holiday party at home.
1. Clear the Table
Everyone loves to decorate for the holidays, but when it comes to hosting at home, less is definitely more. In addition to making sure there aren’t any lingering Halloween decorations to pack away, you can maximize your space by keeping centerpieces and décor to a minimum on your tables and serving areas. This will leave you more room for staging food and more space for your guests to eat.
Pro Tip: When decorating for the holiday season, focus on things you can hang on the wall, instead of taking up table and counter space.
2. Declutter the Kitchen
When it comes to cooking a big holiday dinner, counter space becomes extremely valuable. Spend some time decluttering your kitchen a few days before you plan to cook so you’re not left scrambling for a place to carve a turkey on the big day. Store small appliances, cookbooks, and decorations you won’t be using in a closet or nearby storage unit.
3. Keep Sides Out of the Oven
The star of most holiday meals is usually a large turkey or ham. These dishes can take 3-5 hours to roast inside the typical oven depending on the size. According to Epicurious.com, you should calculate 13 minutes per pound at 350°F for an unstuffed turkey, or 15 minutes per pound for a stuffed turkey.
Because your oven will be in use for most of the day, try to choose appetizers and side dishes that can be made ahead of time and don’t require using your oven to cook. Easy recipe ideas include salads and fresh fruit dishes along with thanksgiving favorites like stuffing.
Pro Tip: Instant mash potatoes can be a fast and easy alternative that can be made on the stove top.
4. Shuffle the Furniture
If you’re hosting friends and family in a small space, every extra inch matters. Before your guests arrive, take some time to organize each room of your home and remove any clutter you find. Rearrange your furniture in a way that allows your guests to easily gather together. Pushing sofas and chairs against the wall can help create more central space for tables .
Pro Tip: It may sound counter-intuitive but consider moving some side tables into storage. Your guests will appreciate the extra room to spread out.
5. Spread Food & Drinks Out
Guests tend to congregate close to where food and drinks are being served. If possible, set up multiple serving areas to help keep guests spread out in different areas. Avoid traffic jams and long lines by serving appetizers and your special holiday punch in different areas.
With a little planning and effort, your home will be ready to host friends and family this holiday season. If you need to make a little extra space, let the team at Personal Mini Storage help with storage spaces of all sizes available at any of our 46 locations across Central Florida.
Once a year, our neighborhoods are taken over by zombies and princesses having a frightful good time. But once trick or treating has come to an end, it’s time to take down the spider webs, unplug the inflatable witches and pack away all of your ghoulish decorations in storage.
Previously, we’ve shared ways you can stay organized during the holiday season, now we’re diving deeper into five of our best Halloween storage hacks to keep your skeletons and bats organized and ready for more scares next year.
1. Plastic Tubs Are Your Friend
Instead of having to find space for dozens of boxes and bags, try consolidating your halloween decor into a few larger bins. Inexpensive plastic tubs will help protect your decorations from annoying bugs and moisture while keeping your things easily accessible. Use a piece of masking tape to label each container with a general idea of what is inside.
Pro Tip: Find containers that offer lids in multiple colors. You can assign different colors for different holidays like Halloween and Christmas which will make organizing and storage all year long even easier.
2. Save (Some) Original Packaging
Totes and bins are a great way to keep your smaller bats and spiders organized, but larger decorations can be too big to fit inside of a plastic container (12 ft. skeleton anyone?). For these items, try to save the original packaging for stress-free storage. This will allow you to easily identify these items when you need to find them inside of your storage unit or garage, and can be stacked alongside your halloween bins.
3. Protect Your Costumes
A good costume can last a lifetime! Protect them during storage by spending some time thoroughly cleaning them up after use. When you’re ready to pack them away, store them inside of a garment bag to keep critters and dirt away. If you have enough costumes to fill multiple bags, label each with what is inside.
Pro Tip: You can take it a step further and vacuum seal your costumes in plastic bags. This can help you keep them clean and protected while also saving even more space.
4. Pack Items By Room
One of the most convenient ways to pack your Halloween decorations is to organize them by room or area. That way, when you’re ready to bring them back out next year, you won’t need to worry about searching through multiple boxes or tubs as you decorate each area of your home. Be sure to label your containers with a piece of masking tape so you can quickly identify where that box or bin should go.
Pro Tip: DO NOT store any perishable items like leftover candy with your Halloween decorations. Not only will it most likely be expired the next time you go to take them out, it could attract bugs to your boxes and bins.
5. Remove the Batteries
From screaming witches to laughing ghosts, electronic decorations are becoming more popular every year. Before you stuff that dancing skeleton back inside a plastic bin though, make sure to remove any batteries that are found inside. The Florida heat can cause batteries to leak and ruin your giant spiders and plastic pumpkins. Plus, after sitting in storage for the next 12 months, those batteries would probably need to be replaced either way.
Taking the time to organize and store your Halloween decorations properly will save you plenty of time and effort next October. Plus if you’re running out of space to keep your creepy containers at home, renting a storage unit at a nearby Personal Mini Storage could be an affordable alternative.
With temperatures starting to drop, it’s the perfect time of year to get outside, discover a new neighborhood, and enjoy some of the many festivals Florida is famous for. Whether you’re in the mood to sample food from around the world, or looking to scratch your live music itch, there’s something for everyone. Below we’ve compiled seven of our favorite events to add to your bucket list this fall.
Purchase of advanced tickets are required. This popular family-friendly event regularly sells out so be sure to purchase your tickets well in advance. Seasonal offerings include apple cider donuts, craft beer, s’mores, and a wide variety of pumpkins available for sale. Be sure to check out the kid’s zone and all new corn maze added to this year’s event.
This free event brings family and pet friendly arts to the downtown Orlando area. Located around beautiful Lake Eola, you can enjoy dozens of artists, crafters, and food vendors. Parking is a premium during this weekend so be prepared to find paid parking outside of the event and take a 10-15 minute walk.
Pro Tip: Use your favorite rideshare to get close to the event instead of attempting to find parking.
This family friendly event in Dunnellon features rides, games, music, food and fun. Admission to the festival is free and wristbands for rides can be purchased online. Pets and personal coolers are not allowed at the event.
This annual event attracts breweries from across the country to the famous Milk District in Orlando to provide samples of over 200 craft and premium beers to thousands of visitors. You must be at least 21 years old to enter the festival and children are not permitted at the festival. Advanced tickets are required and are available for purchase online.
Now in it’s 42nd year, the Clearwater Jazz Holiday is a world class live music festival that draws thousands of music lovers to Coachman Park with the beautiful gulf waters as a backdrop. General admission and VIP tickets are available for purchase online and children 4 and under are free with a paid ticket.
This award winning event draws a huge crowd every year to the tiny town of Mt. Dora. The streets of downtown are filled with vendors offering various arts and crafts as well as food, beer, wine and music. Parking in the area is extremely limited so be on the lookout for residents offering parking at their homes for a fee.
Planning a move to Central Florida this fall? Our team at Personal Mini Storage is here to help with no long term contracts, plus moving truck rentals and packing supplies available at any of our 46 locations.
As of June 1st, hurricane season is back again. This year, The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration expects an above average season predicting 13-20 named storms. A hurricane can quickly cause widespread devastation, but planning and preparing now, can make a big difference in the case of an emergency later. Our team at Personal Mini Storage compiled a list of 6 important ways you can prepare right now for the 2021 hurricane season.
Plan Your Evacuation Route
If you live in an area that may need to evacuate, especially coastal or low-lying areas, know your evacuation route ahead of time. Florida’s Division of Emergency Management has a website where you can find what roads are used for evacuations during an emergency. It’s still a good idea to be aware of these evacuation routes even if you don’t live in one of these areas. Florida counties also have an emergency shelter list that you can review ahead of time. Be sure to share your evacuation plans with family members so everyone knows where to go.
Stock Up Your Pantry
Once a hurricane is approaching, items like bottled water and canned goods tend to fly off store shelves. Many stores run out of supplies quickly, and you may not be able to get them if you wait until the last minute. Since stores are currently stocked up, grab water, canned foods and non-perishable goods the next time you head to the grocery or convenience store. Experts recommend having 7 days of supplies available for your family during an emergency.
Gather Emergency Supplies
Gathering emergency supplies in advance is another important step you should take before a hurricane arrives. Stock up on flashlights, candles, matches, first aid kits, a radio, toiletries, batteries, portable phone chargers, and blankets. Organize your supplies and keep them stored in the garage or nearby storage unit for easy access. Ready.gov has a full list of emergency supplies to have on hand. If you have any important medications or medical equipment, make sure your prescriptions are up to date and you have enough on hand.
Organize Important Documents
If an evacuation is mandatory, or if you are choosing to evacuate, you may be in a hurry to grab your stuff and hit the road. Taking important paper documents with you is extremely important. Get a folder or some type of storage, preferably one that is waterproof, for your paperwork and gather all your documents ahead of time. In addition to birth certificates, passports and social security cards, print extra copies of documents like your health insurance, homeowners insurance, bank information and an emergency contact list. Keep some extra cash in with these documents too, as it may come in handy if you evacuate.
Check Your Insurance
Insurance plays a huge factor into the aftermath of hurricane destruction. It’s best to review all details of your insurance before a hurricane hits, so you know exactly what kind of coverage you have as well as the insurance company’s specific storm policies. Home or renter’s insurance is most important, but don’t forget to check on health insurance, car insurance, storage unit insurance, flood insurance. and any other insurance you may have.
Prepare Your Home
If your home could possibly be damaged by a hurricane, it’s a good plan to stock up early on items like sandbags and plywood to cover windows. A storage unit is a great option to keep items like these packed away year round so they’re not taking up space in your garage. For inside your home, invest in surge protectors so your electronics don’t get fried in the event of a power outage. Outside, check that all your drains and gutters are cleared out so they are draining correctly and won’t create more flooding. If you have items like patio furniture, potted plants, flagpoles or any other items that may need to be put in before a hurricane comes, make sure you’ve cleared some room in your garage, attic, spare room or storage unit.
While we all hope this hurricane season will be more calm than last year, you never know what mother nature has in store this season. Remember, safety is most important, and you should always listen to government guidelines and mandates. Utilize these tips so you can be prepared ahead of time and have a safe game plan during the 2021 hurricane season!
Can you believe the official start of summer is only weeks away? With covid restrictions easing in many places, we are all eager to get back to vacations, beach days, and kids camps. Getting prepared now can help make your summer a relaxing and stress-free time. Here are 5 ways to make sure you are organized and ready for all of the summer fun.
1. Build A Car Kit
Nothing is worse than getting to the beach or pool and realizing you forgot the sunscreen or towels. With a Summer car kit, you won’t have to worry if you left something at home. Fill a tote bin or container with outdoor necessities like extra clothes, hats, sunscreen, snacks, hand sanitizer, first aid kid, and any other items needed on your day trips. Keep the bin in your trunk or back seat so your kit is with you wherever you go.
2. Make Plans With A Checklist
If you’re a busy parent with kids, welcoming back a college student on break, or just trying to take advantage of the long summer days – it can be hard to keep track of all of your plans. Daily and weekly checklists are a great way to remember your gym classes, sports practices, birthday parties, and all of the things you and your family have planned. A printable summer workbook checklist can keep yourself accountable and on track to meet your goals and events.
3. Create Fast Snack Options
Time flies when you’re having fun and sometimes hunger can hit when you least expect it. Instead of heading to the nearest drive-thru, prep some freezer friendly foods that you can take out and make in a few minutes. For breakfast, smoothie packs are great on-the-go options. For snacks, easy frozen yogurt bites or DIY freezer Uncrustable sandwiches are popular with everyone and easy to take with you.
4. Pull Seasonal Items Out of Storage
Some of your favorite summer items like swimsuits, bikes, warm weather clothing, or pool toys, may be stored away in places like a storage unit. Don’t wait until the last minute to get the summer items you need out of storage. While you’re at it, take cooler weather items you won’t be using for a while and put them away in storage to give yourself more space.
5. Plastic Bins Are Your Best Friend
Stay clutter free this summer by stocking up on inexpensive bins or baskets. Place the bins in your backyard to keep gardening equipment organized for your summer garden, in the garage to store outdoor toys, or inside your home to keep flip flops in one spot. The possibilities are endless with bins or baskets, and you don’t have to break the bank to do so.
Whether your summer is jam packed with plans, or you just see yourself spending some time going to the beach or hanging out with friends or family, make your summer that much better by getting organized ahead of time!
Need space to store your winter gear? Personal Mini Storage has self storage locations across mid Florida with convenient sizes to fit your needs. Find a facility near you and get up to 1 month free rent.
got your marigold seeds, columbine, and blanket flowers all ready to put in the
ground. If only you could find your spade, trowel, and shovel. They’re probably
piled up in the garage, under the bicycles, and other stuff taking up space. By
the time you’ve dug out all the rusty tools, you’re probably too tired to dig
in the garden.
If you live on a small lot, storing yard and garden equipment at home may be inconvenient (especially because you only use these items a few months out of the year). Renting a storage unit will keep your stuff out of the way until it is time to dig, plant, weed, feed, and water. It will keep you from stepping on the prongs of your rake, and it will keep your tools from rusting.
your way through summer’s gardening season with these helpful hints.
Where Does Your Garden Grow?
you dig up the yard for a garden, keep in mind: Not everything grows perfectly
everywhere. Flower and vegetable plots must soak up at least six hours of
sunlight every day. The plot should also be near a water source (hoses and
sprinklers are easier than carrying buckets back and forth). Test the soil to
find out what nutrients it needs. You can get a kit at your local garden store
or take a sample to the Orange County plant
through the University of Florida’s county extension office.
Seeds or Seedlings?
stores are teeming with seeds for whatever flowers, fruits, and veggies strike
your fancy. If you go the seed route, note that some types such as tomatoes,
peppers, beans, and broccoli are stronger when started in small containers and
then transplanted into the ground. Corn, pumpkins, cucumbers, and other “large”
seed kernels do well when directly placed into soil beds. You can also buy
small seedlings (and larger stems) to place directly into your garden. Don’t
throw those plastic trays and pots away when you’re done. Put them in your
storage unit for next year.
What to Grow
heat and humidity of Orlando summers determine the types of flowers and
vegetables that will thrive. Flowers
that can handle Orlando’s summertime heat come in a variety of colors, from
annuals to perennials. Summer bedding plants to consider? Torenia and
zinnias are colorful annuals that stand out against pretty foliage. Scarlet
salvia is a perennial that does well in tropical climates. Pentas lanceolata keeps its bright colors in summer
while producing pink, red, and white blooms to attract hummingbirds and
Vegetables that can handle high temperatures include:
need a weekly tune-up to stay productive. If you care for it while you’re caring for your Orlando
they’ll add to your curb appeal and increase your property value. Keep in mind:
The curb appeal drops if you leave the garden tools scattered on the lawn.
and watering are the main tasks, and it is a good idea to pinch off dead blooms
and leaves. While you’re caring for the lawn and garden, take care of yourself
by wearing a sunhat, sunscreen, gloves, and insect repellant. Drink a lot of
water and take shade breaks.
Ready For Summer?
With so many things on your to-do list, getting organized before summer can help you get started gardening a lot sooner. Plus, with that stuff you’re not using — such as your wheelbarrow and rakes– in storage, there’s less clutter and more chance you’ll find what you need when you need it. You dig?
Caroline Gray is a
freelance journalist who balances writing for newspapers and blogs with taking
care of a 5-acre ranch. She finds it tough to part with any of her garden tools
but says it can’t be hoarding if they’re all meticulously placed on pegboard
The annual tradition of spring cleaning is here. Our team at Personal Mini Storage has already covered 4 Tips for Tackling Your Garage in a previous post, but one appliance that can easily get overlooked this time of year is the refrigerator. Over time, spills and crumbs can add up, contaminating the fresh food you store inside. Below are 3 steps you can take to deep clean your fridge fast and efficiently.
1. Take (Literally) Everything Out
The easiest and fastest way to finish this project is to get
everything (and we do mean EVERYTHING) out of the way including food, removable
shelves, and drawers. This makes them easier to deep clean and scrub from top
to bottom. According to Bon
Appetit, using a 1:1 mixture of white vinegar and water is a safe, and
effective all-purpose cleaner.
Pro tip: Have a cooler handy to store temperature
sensitive food like meat and seafood during the cleaning process.
2. Don’t Forget the Outside
It’s not just the inside of your fridge that needs a thorough cleaning every year. Unplug it and move it out from the wall carefully to find the refrigerator coils. Use a vacuum brush attachment to clean off any built-up dust or dirt. If you have an ice and water dispenser, you’ll want to take time to deep clean those as well. HuffPost has a useful guide on tackling this unique challenge.
Pro tip: If the coils are not easily visible on the
back side, check the bottom and top of the appliance as different brands may
have these coils placed in different locations.
3. Control Future Odors
Now that you’re starting fresh with a clean refrigerator, you’ll want to keep it fresh as long as possible. Leaving an open box of baking soda inside your fridge can help to neutralize strong odors. Another suggestion from RealSimple.com is to soak cotton balls in vanilla and place them in an inconspicuous area to tackle tough smells.
Pro tip: After a deep clean, take advantage of an
empty fridge and organize your food as you move everything back. Check out this
guide from Martha Stewart on the best way to organize your fridge.
Looking for more cleaning and storage advice? Check out our storage blog for tips, tricks, and hacks to make your life easier and let us know when you are ready to reserve a storage unit at one of our 46 locations!
Between social distancing and virtual classes, it’s been a very unusual year for college students. As the spring semester comes to a close, it’s time to start thinking about how and where to store your belongings over summer break. The good news is that with a little planning, summer storage can be much easier than final exams, and simple enough to leave extra time to safely celebrate the end of the semester.
1. Start Early
Most busy college students don’t have a whole day to devote to packing. Plan to start a week or two in advance of moving day. A good place to begin is with out-of-season clothes that you won’t need anytime soon, like coats and sweaters. Continue to spend a little bit of time each day going through your belongings and packing them in labeled boxes. For the final few days before summer vacation, keep out only what you will need. Think of it like packing for a weekend trip, only you are packing everything but tomorrow’s outfit, a toothbrush, bedding, and other essentials.
As you pack your belongings, don’t just shove everything into a box. Go through items and ask yourself: Is this something I’ve used in the past six months? While you may want to keep some textbooks, consider selling those you won’t need again to earn extra cash. Unwanted clothes or dorm decor can also be donated to a local charity like Goodwill Industries.
It’s a terrible feeling to arrive home for the summer and begin searching for your favorite video game or comfy pillow only to realize that you left it packed up with your things in a storage facility nine states away. To avoid this, spend some time thinking about your summer plans, and what you will need to take home with you. From hair dryers to bathing suits, make sure you don’t leave anything important behind.
4. Work Together
Don’t have much stuff? Instead of filling up half of a storage unit, consider sharing one with another person you trust to save on costs. You should also consider renting a small truck or moving van to cut down on the number of trips you’ll need to take.
Make sure you choose a self storage facility that offers plenty of features. Look for facilities that offer comprehensive security measures, strategies to control pests that could damage your belongings and generous access hours to your unit.
Pro Tip: National trade associations, such as the U.S. Trade Association’s Self Storage Association can be a useful source of information for first-time renters. Learn more about how to pack your unit strategically here.
While packing up and storing your dorm room belongings for the summer may not be the most fun part of college, with a clear plan, it can be quick and easy experience.
Flowers are blooming, temperatures are rising and that means the annual tradition of spring cleaning is right around the corner. One space that seems to be the most daunting for many is the garage. We’ve compiled a list of useful tips below to help you clear out the clutter and make space in your garage to store a car (or two) again.
1. Get Everything Out!
While it may seem daunting at first, the best way to clean
and organize your garage is to move everything (and we do mean EVERYTHING) out.
This includes all boxes, bikes, and shelving that isn’t bolted to the wall.
Once you’ve gotten everything out of the way, take the time to wipe down the
walls and floor removing any dust, dirt, and grime built up over the past year.
This will give you a clean slate to start organizing your new garage!
2. Create Categories
Our next tip for a successful garage spring cleaning is to
separate your items into groups. Start by breaking down your things into three
Garage Storage: These are items that are used on a daily, weekly or monthly basis and need to continue to be stored inside your garage. Examples may include tools, lawn mowers, and bicycles.
Other Storage: Belongings you don’t want to get rid of, but you don’t necessarily need daily access to can be moved to another space like a nearby self-storage unit. These can include seasonal items such as holiday decorations, and sports equipment like water skis or surfing gear.
Donate or Toss: Set aside items you no longer use or need that may have been piling up for years. Find local organizations that accept donations like Goodwill of Central Florida and review their list of approved items they accept. Some items will not be accepted and should be thrown away instead.
3. Use Vertical Space
Sometimes the best place to go for extra storage in your garage is up! Utilize your wall space by organizing and hanging items on the wall instead of taking up valuable ground space. Home improvement stores like Home Depot offer plenty of wall organization and shelving options to fit your needs. Bikes and tools can be placed on hooks while extra shelves and baskets can hold small tools and accessories. This will allow you to leave floor space for larger items and vehicles.
4. Find Alternative Storage
So you’ve cleared out enough space to park your car inside the garage again. But what about all of your stuff you don’t want to get rid of? Renting a storage unit is a convenient and inexpensive way to keep your belongings out of the garage and within reach. Personal Mini Storage offers 46 convenient storage locations across Central Florida with options ranging from drive-up units to A/C storage depending on your needs.
Looking for more information about your self-storage
options? Check out our Self Storage FAQ
page for answers to some of the most common questions and let us know when
you’re ready to reserve a unit
Valentine’s day is right around the corner and many of us
are still searching for the perfect gift. You could go for one of the classics like
flowers or chocolate but why not take a different approach this year? Here are
a few unique ideas to make you a hero on the most romantic day of the year.
#1: Organize A Cluttered Room
A well-organized living space can instantly put a smile on anyone’s face. Choose a room in your home to declutter and organize on your own. Dedicating your time and energy into a home project is a great (and affordable) way to show how much you listen and care. It may be difficult to keep this gift a secret so instead, be creative! You can build suspense by hanging a sign on the door asking your partner to “Keep Closed Until Valentine’s Day”. Renting a self-storage unit at one of our 46 locations can help get the clutter out of the house and out of sight.
#2: Surprise Them With a “Me” Day
Give your significant other a break from the daily grind by
offering to handle their family responsibilities and chores for a day. Allow
them time and space to relax and unwind while you handle picking up the kids,
cooking dinner, and getting everyone to bed on time. Looking to take it a step
further? Include a gift certificate to a local spa or favorite salon to use
during their free day.
#3 The Gift of More Space
Having to part with sentimental items can take an emotional
toll. Spare your partner from having to make those tough choices by renting a
storage unit they can use all year long to keep cherished items in. They’ll definitely
appreciate the thoughtful gift when spring cleaning comes around and feel less
pressure when deciding what to keep and what to get rid of.
Ready to book a unique Valentine’s Day gift? Personal Mini Storage has locations across Central Florida with plenty of storage unit sizes to fit your needs. Contact us today to get started!