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Caravan Storage – How to prepare

Purchasing a caravan is a great investment and fun for the whole family to jump in for a little getaway. However, failing to prepare for caravan storage during the off season can lead to costly damage. We have previously looked at vehicle and caravan storage options while it is not in use. Now lets look at how to prepare your caravan for storage and the steps you should take to protect it.

Clean Inside the Caravan

Empty the contents for caravan storage

Empty all personal and food items from the caravan. Closely check all of the cupboards, drawers, under furniture and beds to ensure you have completely emptied the caravan. Remove used tea towels, bed sheets and towels to wash so they are clean and fresh for next time. Store expensive items like a TV, laptop or other appliances in a locked cupboard, or alternatively take them out. This will prevent your caravan from being a target for break ins whilst in self storage. Remove any food items in the cupboards that may leave mouldy smells or attract unwanted pests. Make a list of everything you have removed or need to replace to ensure you don’t forget anything on your next trip.

Scrub and vacuum interior for caravan storage

Thoroughly clean inside your caravan from top to bottom prior to putting it in self storage. Scrub and wipe down any surfaces and empty cupboards. Vacuum the carpets, couches and any corners to eliminate dust build up and traces of food. Food will attract rodents and pests which can cause damage to your caravan. Cleaning the interior of your caravan will ensure that it stays in great condition whilst in caravan storage and is always ready to go for the next trip.

Clean the fridge and freezer

Defrost the fridge and freezer and empty the contents from both. Give them a good clean to ensure they don’t smell of last nights dinner. Ensure the interior is dry after cleaning and leave both the fridge and the freezer doors ajar to avoid any mould build up. Additionally, place a box of baking soda or dry sac in the fridge to draw out excess moisture.

Close windows, vents and blinds

Protect your caravan from letting any unwanted weather in. Just like water damage, direct sunlight can damage the interior of your caravan during storage. So it’s just as important to close blinds as it is to make sure all windows are closed and locked. To prevent mould forming from excess moisture make sure all caravan awnings are dry and rolled up tightly. This is also a great opportunity to check your caravans seals to ensure that they are 100% weather proof, especially when it comes to washing the outside of your caravan.

Clean the Outside of your Caravan

Clean and dry exterior

Time to give the outside some TCL. Invest in a soft-bristle brush attached to a long broom handle so it is easy to reach the high and awkward spots. Clean the outside of the caravan with your preferred washing solution. Retreat Caravans say that using dish soap can strip the paint of wax and protective coatings, leaving it vulnerable to scratching and sun damage. For best results wash your caravan with a car washing detergent. Use a small step ladder to get access to the roof of your caravan to get any tough spots like dried bird droppings. Simply rinse off with a hose or bucket. High pressure cleaners may cause damage to the paint work. 

Cover your caravan

The minimum step you should take to protect your caravan whilst in outdoor storage is to invest in a caravan cover. This will not only make sure the exterior is protected from the weather but it will also keep your caravan looking good for longer. Again, make sure your caravan is completely dry before covering to prevent moisture build up. Also, ensure the cover is breathable, this too helps prevent condensation.

Keep air circulating

Leave air vents in your caravan uncovered so air can circulate inside the caravan. This will ensure your caravan is not stuffy and stale when you take it out again. Circulation of air will filter your air or clean the air. It will also help diffuse or spread any pollutants added to the air, like any food smells.

Mechanical Checks Before Storing your Caravan

Disconnect the battery

Caravans have batteries to power the appliances when your caravan is not plugged into an electrical source. Having your battery disconnected whilst in storage will save your electrical items from draining the battery whilst it is not being used. The last thing you need is to get to your destination and find out the fridge or lights are not working because the battery has been drained.

Only disconnect the battery once it has been fully charged. Never leave it fully drained. It is also important that your check the battery every couple of months whilst it is in storage. This will ensure the battery does not drain. A fully charged battery can prevent deterioration and will ensure your house on wheels is ready when you are.

Check the tyres before and after caravan storage

A quick trip to the service station to check your tyre pressure before storing. This will save you time in the long run. Depending on how long your caravan will be sitting in storage, it is a good idea to pump the tyres to the optimum pressure. Your tyres will naturally lose pressure while it’s in caravan storage. Alternatively, if you know your caravan will be in storage for an extended period of time, jack it up to take the pressure off the tyres. Cover the tyres to protect them from the elements and to avoid deterioration.

Grease trailer hitches

Trailer hitches will need to be lubricated before storage and again when you pick it up after being in caravan storage. Apart from the general wear and tear this will prevent, it will also eliminate the awful sound of metal scrapping on metal when you turn a corner and any friction this can cause. Once you have lubricated the hitch ball cover it. Now that your caravan is ready to be rested and stored after it’s big trip don’t forget to check on it every now and again. This will assist in picking up any issues well before your next caravan getaway.

New Secure Vehicle Storage Area… NOW OPEN!

Store UR Stuff has extended! We are excited to announce the development of our new vehicle storage area is now open. With 24 hour security monitoring and recorded surveillance. As well as security fencing, PIN coded access and security lighting, you can rest assured your caravan will be safe and secure. To find out how to protect your caravan from theft and break ins contact Store UR Stuff  and reserve your spot today.

Wine Storage

Most of us purchase a bottle of wine to enjoy right away but for those special wines that we want to cellar there are important rules for red and white wine storage to ensure your wines age well and increase in flavour and value.

Wine Storage Environment

Some winemakers have earned a reputation for creating wine worth aging, certain regions and certain type of wine age better than others, but the majority of wines on the market today are manufactured for immediate consumption and are not designed to age.

These wines are still of high quality and can be stored for 8 – 12 months or so without significant loss of quality as long as temperature, humidity and light of the area is considered. Though some wineries have earned a reputation for creating wine worth aging, additionally, certain regions and certain types of wine age better than others.

Temperature for Wine Storage

The ideal temperature to store wine is between 12-14°C. This temperature needs to remain constant all year round for optimal wine storage conditions. It is not recommended to store wine in the kitchen. This is one room in the house where the temperature can vary through out the day. That is when the oven or stove is on the temperature in the kitchen will heat up. If possible, the temperature should not fluctuate more than 2-3°C.

Heat can damage wine with wine show judge, Adam Walls, saying hot temperatures can cook the wine resulting in the wine losing its freshness. Heat can also compromise the seal of the wine which can lead to oxidation. Oxidation allows more air/oxygen into the wine. This can lead to wine evaporating leaving a low fill level and an oxidized flavor. Do not store wine in non insulated sheds or garages due to excessive fluctuations in temperatures. Avoid areas near heat sources such as heaters or electrical items that generate heat. Also high areas, such as on top of a cabinet, where hot air rises.

Wine Storage Humidity

Ideal wine storage conditions would maintain a 50% humidity level. That is humidity below about 50% is getting too dry and levels above 50% too damp. This maybe difficult to achieve. As long as the storage area has relative humidity levels ranging between 60-80% the wine should not spoil.

Dry conditions dry out the cork, causing it to shrink which can lead to oxidation. The majority of wine produced in Australia today are screw cap sealed. This alleviates the risk of the cork drying out. Wine storage areas that are too damp do not necessarily ruin the wine, it can lead to mold and mildew growing. This can ruin the storage area and wine labels.

Moreover, bottles with corks must be stored on their side. Screw caps can be stored in whichever way (standing up or lying down) suits you best.

Wine Storage in the dark

Do not store wine in direct sunlight. According to The Fine Wine Reserve although wine bottles are designed to protect the wine inside, UV light can break down the molecules that create the special flavors of a wine. This occurs more commonly in delicate white wines like Champagne, Pinot Grigio, and Sauvignon Blanc.

Do not store wine on window sills or bench tops. If storing in wine racks ensure they are placed out of direct sunlight. Areas in the house such as under an internal staircase or the bottom shelf of a cupboard or pantry are better.

Wine Self Storage

Your average wine drinker need not be too concerned about climate controlled secure self storage areas for their wine collection if seeking short term storage options. Wine can be stored short term safely in a insulated storage facility. When moving home for example, wine can be stored in wine boxes and placed in your storage unit.

If storage is for an extended period of time, a climate controlled purpose built wine storage facility should be used. This is also the case for collectors and enthusiasts of wine storing and aging fine wines. These places ensure the temperature, humidity and light remain in the optimal range for your special collection.

What does Booze Brothers say about wine storage?

Booze Brothers Bottle Shops are filled with passionate wine enthusiasts and we asked them for some of their top tips on wine storage.

Booze Brothers Manager (at The Duck), Duane says “Wine should be checked and turned regularly. If possible, store red wine in a climate controlled environment like a cellar. Good reds can be stored for up to 10 years, if a wine reaches it’s optimum it will slowly decrease from it’s best potential so remember to drink at special occasions and enjoy the rewards of your cellaring.”

Want to learn more about wine and wine storage?

Hitsa Industry Training and Employment provide a short 2 day course, Provide advice on Australian wines. If you are working in the wine industry, hospitality or just enjoy wine as a personal hobby this course will further your knowledge on handling, storing and evaluating Australian wine products.

Vehicle storage options

There are many different options available when looking for vehicle storage. Choosing the best vehicle storage option depends on budget, the length of time the vehicle will be in storage and the value of the vehicle to mention a few. Below is a description of options available to help you make the right decision.

Outdoor Vehicle Storage

Outdoor Vehicle Storage is the cheapest storage option. This is typically a secure car park area containing designated parking bays.

Security features vary from facility to facility, PIN coded gates and security cameras will offer the best protection for your vehicle. PIN coded gates leave a record of who is in the facility; particularly important in shared areas. In addition, some facilities have removable or fold down bollards that are locked for added protection.

Another important aspect of outdoor vehicle storage is the area. Ensure there are no hazards that may cause damage to the vehicle, including falling debris from large trees, poor lighting, adequate drainage and damaged surfaces. Bitchumised areas are better. This prevents the possibility of being bogged or flooded in. The area will need to be large enough for large vehicles to get in and out of easily, with multiple entry and exit points a bonus.

If storing your vehicle outdoors, cover your vehicle to prevent rust and corrosion and to protect it from the elements. Consequently your vehicle will keep clean as well as protected. Ensure that windows, doors and sunroofs close and seals intact.

Undercover Vehicle Storage

Undercover vehicle storage comes in many different forms. The type of undercover vehicle storage will determine the price. These include carports or lean-to’s, warehouses, garages and shipping containers. All of these options offer protection against the elements in varying degrees.

Carports or lean-to’s offer a roof over your vehicle. Large warehouses offer a fully enclosed area. These options are secure and in a shared area. The same considerations need to be taken into account as the outdoor vehicle storage as mentioned above.

Fully enclosed garages offer maximum protection. These can be in the form of a shipping container or a specifically designed garage. These are individual and allow you to put your own lock on the door, with vehicles protected against the elements and other vehicles. The added benefit with this option is the there is usually room to store other small belongings around the vehicle.

General Tips

It is important to make some general checks before storing. Lock all doors and do not leave any valuables in the vehicle. For long term vehicle storage consider disconnecting the battery. If storing a caravan, ensure you have secured it properly to prevent it from theft. Wheel clamps and coupling locks are great deterrents.

Also, talk to the staff at the facility. There may be some additional services available to help. Some storage facilities provide a motorised jockey wheel mover to make parking caravans easier. If storing the vehicle long term they may offer a car washing service. Ask if there are jumper leads available or a battery charger just in case it needs a little help starting when you pick your vehicle up.

Protecting UR Self Storage – Security Features

There are many reasons people use self-storage but one of the key reasons people put their stuff into self storage is to keep it clean, safe and secure. To keep your items safe and secure requires action by both the storer and the storage facility. Keep in mind that not all self storage facilities are created equal so it is important to ask the correct questions and make the right observations before you decide which facility is the best for you.

Choosing a Secure Self Storage Facility

Self storage is becoming a popular industry with most Australian states presenting several different options for consumers to choose from. It is important to look at all viable options presented when choosing a facility and comparing the security features they have to help you make up your mind. Security features should not only be present in the facility but also the grounds and surrounds of the facility. You need to ensure that not only your belongings are safe whilst they are there, but that you feel safe whilst you are at the facility.

Security features to check for:

Cameras

Ensure cameras are installed in and around the facility. When visiting a facility, try to locate a camera to ensure that it is not obstructed or covered and that there seems to be sufficient number of cameras so that you know your items are being monitored no matter where they are in the facility. Cameras may not stop criminal activity or thieves from breaking in, but they will assist if a break in does occur

Signs

Ensure there are signs in and around the facility advertising the security features of the facility. This may deter criminals from trying to break into a facility and gives customers the peace of mind that you know what is going on in the facility at all times

Security Monitored Alarms

This is different from just having an alarm in the facility. A monitored alarm is linked to a service that can summon appropriate help when activated. These days most alarms that go off are ignored by the general public, but by having it monitored the facility is paying someone to ensure a response is immediate when it is triggered. You may have to ask the storage facility if their alarm is monitored

Security gates

Ensure there are security gates at both the entry and exit points of the facility. This alone will not prevent criminals entering your site but will make it more difficult. Make sure there is adequate perimeter fencing that is strong, not damaged and high enough to keep intruders out. Fencing with barb wire at the top or gates with spikes on top will also ensure persons who do not have access do not gain access

Lights

Ensure that the facility and car park is well lit at night and that the lights are well positioned. Industrial level security lighting should be used both inside and out and a mixture of permanent and motion sensor lighting should be used. Ensure that the path from your car to your unit is well lit and the surrounding area is lit whilst using your unit

Access Control Systems

This requires customers to use traceable PIN numbers or security swipe cards to access the facility or their units and thus allows management to monitor “who’s inside”. These systems keep a log of all activity, including the date and time PIN numbers/swipe cards have been activated and how long individuals have been on the premise. Some facilities only give customers access when the office is manned, thus eliminating the need of access control systems but also restricting customer convenience

Individual Door Alarms

For optimal security some facilities have each individual unit alarmed so that is an unauthorised person tries to enter a unit an alarm will be triggered. You will need to check with the facility as to how these alarms are monitored

Fire and Smoke Alarms

Ensure fire and smoke alarms are present. You should be able to see the fire equipment around the facility. Ask facility staff to explain fire emergency procedures and ensure you are aware where your closest fire exit is from your unit. Also check to see if the facility is a smoke free environment, thus eliminating any potential risks of fire

Facility Audits

Facility audits should be a part of the facilities daily checklist. This audit can include lock integrity checks and will bring to your attention any signs of forced entering or tampering of locks immediately. It will ensure that if there was any criminal activity in the facility, management or the staff will be aware of it as soon as possible and action can be made immediately and security practices can be updated if needed. You may have to ask the facility manager if these are being carried out and how often

Padlock

Most self storage facilities require you to supply your own padlock. This is so you have total control over your storage and you are the only one who can access your storage unit. Most facilities will not hold any keys to your padlocks and therefore cannot enter or gain entry into your storage unit. At Store UR Stuff we say “It’s UR padlock, UR key and UR in control”.

Tips for Storing Clothes Long Term

Self storage tips

Whilst on annual leave recently, I finally took the opportunity to sort through my sons stuff. I still had all of his baby clothes mixed in with the clothes he is currently in. I was going to pop them in a garbage bag or cardboard box and put them in the shed. However, after going into the shed I discovered that all of the cardboard boxes we had in the shed had been chewed to pieces by rats and mice! I really wanted to keep most of his baby clothes, just in case, so I researched the best way to store and protect clothes whilst they are in storage in the shed.

After scouring the internet I discovered that most of them advise the following 6 simple steps and measures you should take when storing clothes long term.

1. Wash your clothes before storing

Wash and iron your clothes before storing. Surfaces stains and dirt will set into the clothing overtime and when you do finally get them out of storage to use again the stain will be difficult to remove.  Dirty clothing can also attract vermin and insects which may also damage your clothing. Wash all items as per their washing instructions and any dry cleanable items should be dry cleaned prior to storing. Make sure the clothes are rinsed properly before drying and storing to ensure that all bleaches, chemicals and detergents are washed out.  This will not only make sure that your clothes are safe during storage, they will also be clean and ready to wear when you need them.

2. To vacuum seal or not to vacuum seal

There is a large range of vacuum seal bags out on the market, which are great space savers. There is a lot of speculation out there, however, that over a long period of time, storing your clothing in these bags could damage your clothes. The reasoning is that most natural fiber cloth needs air to maintain its structure and integrity and that by sucking all of the air out of the bag, you are compressing the garments and compressing the fibers. When removed from these bags, it takes a long time for the fibers to uncompress with one person with a PhD in Fiber and Polymer Science even suggesting that the item will take the same amount of time to uncompress to the amount of time it was in the space saver bag. I have used these bags in the past for seasonal clothing, thus the articles are only in the bag for a period of months and not years, and I have not had a problem. For any heirlooms, real expensive or sentimental items I would probably not run the risk.

3. Say no to plastic bags and cardboard boxes

Air tight plastic containers with a lid is the best thing to pack your clothes into. This will keep your clothes dry and stop the growth of mould and mildew, in most cases. If using plastic containers, ensure they are clean, dry and line them old (but clean) cotton sheets.  Avoid plastic bags as these can trap moisture and cause mildew to form or cause the yellowing of fabrics. Packing your clothing in a cardboard box will not protect them against vermin as rats and mice can easily chew through the cardboard. Again depending on the expense and sentimental value of the item, acid free boxes and tissue paper should be used especially for heirloom items as not all plastic boxes are safe as they release chemicals which could have subtle to grossly negative effects on the clothing.

4. Mothballs

Not only do mothballs leave your clothes smelling terrible, they are not 100% effective and can be potentially dangerous if found bye children or pets. A much more appealing alternative are the natural wooden cedar balls. They not only smell better, they are just as effective as moth balls and are even more effective if used in conjunction with all of the tips mentioned.  When using either moth balls or wooden camphor make sure that they not placed on the garments and are placed at the top of your storage container for further protection.

5. Clean, cool, dark and dry

The atmospheric conditions and environment you are storing your items in can cause damage if extreme. Ideally it is suggested that clothing should be stored in conditions that do not exceed 23°C with a relatively humidity of 55%. However, I would only follow this guide line if I was storing any heirlooms or expensive sentimental items. As long as the space is clean and protects the box the items are stored in from the elements they should be safe. For people like me that are storing items in their own personal space, just keep in mind that attics and garages can be home to fuels, grease and many other flammable items and may be damp and have vermin unlike a self storage facility.

6. Check and do not protect!

It is important to check on your items in storage, wherever and whatever you are storing. If you check your items once a year, you will minimize the risk of the items getting damaged and may save them before they do. This point is especially important to me as I forget everything and I will forget that I have even stored the clothing in the first place!