DAK is a privately owned self storage facility, not just a franchise in a large chain. As such, we know what it means to care for the belongings of entrepreneurs who store with us. Our security features include:
- Fence enclosed facility
- Accessible by keypad gate only, during operating hours
- 24/7 video surveillance system that uses over 20 cameras
- Every storage unit protected by a tamper resistant lock
- Additional keypad access on indoor units
- Affordable self storage insurance
Entrepreneurs in Berks County can be confident that we take as many precautions as possible, including offering independent storage insurance. However, how you organize and pack your items for storage is up to you. Some items can be prone to damage if the proper attention is not given to store them correctly. We offer our best advice and tips to store merchandise for optimal quality and preservation.
Clothing and Garment Storage
- Avoid plastic bags
- Choose plastic or padded hangers over wooden and wire
- Keep fabric away from light and heat
- Always clean before storing
If your merchandise is shipped from a manufacturer, it probably comes in plastic bags. Remove the items from the packaging as soon as possible because plastic bags trap moisture that can cause mold, smells, or discoloring.
Avoid cardboard boxes in less you are storing items extremely short term (a few days to a week) as this material is acidic and can attract bugs. Place clothes that can be folded neatly in a sealable plastic container or bin to avoid distortion. Balance the weight by keeping some heavy and some light items in each bin as the weight of large sweaters and coats can quickly add up. Arrange heavier and bulkier items in the bottom and lighter items on top. Choose plastic or padded hangers for other garments because wooden and wire hangers can stretch and misshapen. Wrap particularly fragile items in unbleached muslin or sheets of acid-free tissue paper.
Keep garments out of the light and away from heat. All storage are units are windowless, but some outdoor units may be exposed to heat. Choose indoor units when storing long term, during the hottest time of the year, or particularly fragile items. Indoor units allow you to control the temperature and humidity level to keep garments optimally preserved.
Clean items before storing if you operate a consignment shop, vintage store, or produce your own items. Any stains or leftover oils that appear invisible can spread or darken during the time in storage.
Homemade Furniture Storage
- Rent an indoor unit to stop heat damage
- Properly clean furniture before placing in storage
- Avoid using plastic covers on furniture
A common mistake people make when storing furniture is not cleaning it first. Storing furniture that hasn’t been cleaned has a greater chance of growing mold, causing odor, and attracting bugs. This happens because of bacteria and body oils leftover on the furniture.
Use sheets, blankets, and cloth covers to protect your furniture from dust. Using plastic materials to cover furniture will minimize airflow and cause moisture and odor.
Airflow around furniture is very important in preserving it and preventing damage. For best results, make sure your storage unit is large enough for there to be walking space between each item.
Secondhand Book Storage
- Use plastic bins to transport books
- Pack books by stacking them or standing them upright
- If using a cardboard box, tape the top and bottom to prevent breakage
- Store in cool, dry environment
When transporting or storing two or more books, it is best to use small plastic bins instead of cardboard boxes. By using plastic, you avoid the possibility of the box breaking from the weight of the books and the books will be better protected against damage.
To protect your books from bending and tearing during transportation, pack them by stacking them on top of one another or by standing them individually up right. To stop books from moving around, fill up empty space with bubble wrap or foam peanuts. You can also use acid-free paper or cardboard as a barrier between books to prevent rub off damage or dents.
If you don’t have access to plastic bins and are limited to a cardboard box, you want to securely tape the top and bottom of the boxes to make them stronger and help prevent the books from falling through.
For optimal preservation, store your books in a cool, dry environment. If your books will be stored for long term, you should consider keeping them in a climate-controlled storage unit.
Tech and Electronic Merchandise Storage
- Keep items upright and against a wall
- Cover with a sheet or blanket
- Never lie flat or place anything on top
Computers, televisions, DVD players and other electronic items are fairly easy to store. Generally this type of merchandise is fine in an outdoor unit, but use your discretion. Items that are sensitive to heat or will be stored long term should be place in an indoor unit. Place merchandise towards the back and up against a wall if possible. Position items upright and avoid placing anything on top. Cover with a sheet for protection.
Fragile Merchandise Storage
- Choose a climate-controlled indoor unit
- Use sturdy containers and wrap items
- Don’t overpack but fill empty space with material
Choose the sturdiest container possible and consider purchasing bins specifically shaped for this type of item. For regular plastic containers or boxes, line the sides with a filler material such as bubble wrap, newspaper, or tissue paper and line the bottom with packing peanuts or towels. Cardboard or plastic dividers can help keep items steady. Wrap items and place upright in the container.
Be careful not to overpack containers as the weight can add up. At the same time, fill any empty space with material to avoid balance issues or items that shift in transit.
Your closet can easily become an unorganized, jumbled mess. It holds all sorts of clothes, from t-shirts to formal wear, and cozy sweaters to tank tops. Don’t forget about shoes and accessories like belts, hats, purses, and scarves. For some of us, it’s also a place to store random items that we aren’t sure where else to keep.
Because most people probably use their bedroom closet at least once a day, it’s important to keep this space organized. However, this can require a bit of upkeep to maintain, since traffic is high and clothing is so frequently removed and placed into the closet.
What Belongs in My Closet?
The first step to closet organization is to decide what really belongs (and fits) in there. Ask yourself: Is this closet large enough to fit the current season’s clothes and provide storage for summer clothes? Is there enough space for accessories and other items?
Figure out what and how much you can realistically fit and remember that less is more in this case. Less clutter means you will be more easily be able to open your closet and locate what you need. This will result in much simpler and less stressful mornings. For the clothes and items that don’t fit in your closet or you no longer need, designate a box for self storage, to donate to charity, to sell, or send to the dumpster.
How Can I Decide Which Clothes to Keep?
There have been studies that say most people only wear 20 percent of their clothes 80 percent of the time. Why do we keep the rest around? Clothing can sometimes hold sentimental value or retain memories, but with limited closet space, it’s important to keep practicality in mind. Try not to make excuses for keeping clothes that you no longer wear (or have never worn).
For example, you may want to keep clothes around because you hope to someday fit in it or have the confidence to wear it, you think it may come back in style, it was a gift and you feel bad giving it up, or “just in case” you need it. Let go of these thoughts and focus on whether it is an article of clothing you will realistically wear within the next six months.
To help narrow down your clothing, consider removing the following:
- Anything torn, stained, or worn out
- Anything that no longer fits
- Anything that is out of style or you no longer like
- Anything you haven’t worn in the past year
- Anything that still has tags on it and isn’t new
What If I Don’t Want to Part With It?
Here’s an idea if you have clothes that aren’t practical, but you aren’t yet ready to give them up: Place them in a storage bin in self storage or just another room of the house. Wait it out for the next few months. If you find an opportunity to wear something from the bin, great! Pull it out of storage and put it back in your closet. If you realize that you don’t really miss the clothes and may have even forgotten about them, you can then give them up for real. Another idea: If you have t-shirts from special occasions and activities, sew them into a t-shirt quilt.
How Should I Organize My Closet?
Hang like items together, with the most worn items towards the front, and then sort by color. For example, if you work five days a week, you’ll want to see your work shirts first when you open the closet. Hang them all together and organized from lightest to darkest.
To make the closet look more uniform, purge any random wire hangers and invest in plastic hangers of the same color. It may seem like a small thing, but it can actually go a long way in making the closet appear more organized.
Don’t forget about the other stuff: Setup organization tools for accessories: a hook for belts, a basket for purses, and shelving for shoes.
Sweaters and t-shirts are items that would also benefit from a shelving unit. These are made of a more delicate material that can lose its shape and stretch when left on a hanger too long. It’s better to fold these and place on a shelf in the closet or in a drawer.
Check up on the closet organization every time you do laundry. Make sure things are in the right place and your mornings will be much simpler the rest of the week.
How Do I Maintain My Closet Organization?
Once you get rid of the excess items, and you can take inventory and better identify what is missing from your wardrobe. A key to maintaining organization is to limit new clothes you bring in. Think about whether you really need it before buying something new. If you don’t need it, but really want it, consider getting rid of a similar item currently in your closet when you bring in a new purchase. For example, if you find a great pair of jeans on sale, but already have enough jeans, just purge an older pair to make room for the new.
You’ll probably want to repeat this decluttering and organization process once or twice a year. If you have a smaller closet and transition your clothes between seasons, that is the perfect time to also declutter. If you have a bigger closet that can store all your clothes year round, make sure to schedule a time to reorganize.
Has your guest bedroom become a junk room? Unless you put a concentrated effort into preventing it, it is very easy to accumulate a lot of items over the years that create excessive clutter. The bedrooms of the house are easy targets for things to pile up in. Gatherings and parties usually happen downstairs in the living room and kitchen, not upstairs. So naturally, these rooms are kept neat and clean while the random stuff is thrown in an unused bedroom when company arrives.
Sure, placing a few items here and there in the spare bedroom won’t do any harm. If the room is unused the majority of the time, why not keep some things in it that you don’t have a place anywhere else? The problem comes when all that stuff keeps accumulating and the room ends up looking more like a self storage unit than a place to sleep. Or when someone arrives to actually stay overnight and you just end up shuffling the stuff into another room. If you need to reclaim your spare room as a functional bedroom, here are some tips:
Sort Through the Clutter
Plan to take a few hours and really focus on sorting through the stuff in that room. Put on an upbeat, fast paced playlist for motivation to get the job done. Decide what can remain in the room, what can be kept elsewhere in the house, and what can be moved to self storage. It may also be a good time to donate, sell, or recycle unwanted items.
If you are having a difficult time figuring out which items to let go of, follow these guidelines:
- Anything you use or plan to use on a fairly regular basis should be kept in the house
- Anything you use only a few times a year or during a certain season (clothing, for example) should be kept in self storage
- Anything you haven’t used in over a year should be given away.
- Sentimental items (photos, books, wedding dress) should be kept in the house if you have the room, and put in self storage if you do not
Limit the Amount of Stuff
Ideally, the room will resemble a typical bedroom and feature only a bed, nightstand, dresser, chair ect., with limited clutter. However, your guests will probably understand this is not a hotel and a few boxes or random items kept in the corner is completely acceptable. The important part is to remember to stop at just a few items. Too much clutter can make it a stressful place to sleep!
Use Furniture as Strategic Storage
A good way to make sure your guests experience very little visible clutter is to strategically store things in the room. For example, always take advantage of the space under the bed. Use long and flat rolling storage containers designed specifically to fit in that space. It’s also a great place to store wrapping paper for birthdays or leftover from Christmas. You can even purchase bed risers at any home goods store if you need more room. Just make sure you have a bed skirt long enough to hide your secret storage space!
Some other furniture storage ideas:
- Find a headboard that includes a bookcase to keep your old books or photo albums
- Use a chest that can double as a seat
- If you have a closet and a dresser in the room, choose one for storage and leave the other empty for guests to utilize
Use a Room Divider
Still need more storage space in that room after using furniture strategically? Consider a tall room divider for a bedroom that is fairly large. Designate half the room as a clean and neat place for guests and the other half for storage. This is the best of both worlds: You have a functional place for guests to stay in without compromising your spare room storage. Make a promise to always keep the clutter behind the divider.
Follow this advice and you can turn your junk room back into a guest bedroom in no time! Have any other tips for tidying up a spare room or ideas for strategic storage? Share it with us in the comments.
So you’ve recently made the decision to rent a self storage unit. Now you just need to choose a self storage center. We’ve compiled the most frequently asked questions from first-time renters here at DAK Self Storage for you to ask when choosing your self storage center.
If you are local, we’ve included the answers for prospective DAK renters. DAK is located in Leesport, PA, great for residents of Berks County, Reading, Fleetwood, and surrounding towns. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any more questions!
How Accessible is the unit?
Most self storage centers are not open 24 hours a day, so make sure you find out when your unit will be accessible.
For example, DAK is open 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week.
Find out if the facility is locally-owned and how helpful staff are. One way to find out is to call your facility and find out if the customer service representative is on premises or answering from a call center in another time zone.
How are customer reviews?
Take the time to google the self storage center and find out how customers feel about it. Check Angie’s List, Yelp, and social media pages to get a feel for the place.
How secure are the units?
No self storage facility can guarantee perfect security, but there are multiple measures they can take to deter potential foul play. A quality self storage center will have security cameras, 24/7 surveillance, perimeter fencing, and a well-lit facility.
Our security efforts include:
- Fence enclosed facility
- Units accessible by keypad gate only, during operating hours
- 24/7 video surveillance system that uses over 20 cameras
- Every storage unit protected by a tamper resistant lock
- Additional keypad access on indoor units
Rental agreements are generally on a month-to-month basis without a long-term commitment. Make sure to confirm this with your self storage center and read your contract carefully.
What will fit in each storage unit?
Choose your unit size based on the type and amount of items you will be storing. Keep in mind that price goes up with size and not all unit sizes may be available at any given time.
Here are the breakdowns of four popular storage sizes, so you can get an idea of how much each will fit:
- 5′ x 5′ (25 sq. ft.): Approximately the size of a small sofa. Great for boxes, small items, lamps, garden tools, and seasonal decorative items.
- 5′ x 10′ (50 sq. ft.):Approximately the size of two sofas. Great for boxes and small furniture.
- 10′ x 15′ (150 sq. ft.): Approximately the size of three bedroom sets. Great for large items such as pianos and workout equipment.
- 10′ x 20′ (200 sq. ft.):Approximately the size of five very large bedroom sets. Great for bulky items such as washers, dryers, and living room furniture.
How much does storage cost?
There are many factors that contribute to the price of self storage, including storage unit size, facility location, and unit availability. Costs can vary greatly at different self storage centers.
We strive to keep costs affordable at DAK. Current outdoor units rates range from $38 to $95 per month, depending on size. Climate-controlled indoor unit rates range from $49 to $151 per month, depending on size.
Is storage insurance required?
Find out if the facility requires you have insurance for your items and if they offer an affordable option. Even if insurance is not required, it is generally a good idea to purchase it just in case, especially if you plan to store valuable items.
When and how do I pay my bill?
Make sure you know when and how you are expected to pay your bill. Most self storage facilities charge rent monthly, as is the case at DAK.
We accept payment in-person (cash, check, and credit card), through the mail (cash and check), or online (credit card only).