Storage Resolutions

We’re now almost three months into the new year, is it still a new you? Sticking to your resolutions and building new, better habits? We talked about some simple steps to help get off on the right foot but if it hasn’t gone the best here are a few things Allstate Self-Storage can help you conquer!

If the big goal was to minimize your life clutter and live a more harmonious existence, then a storage space will be a big step in the right direction. We’ve previously mentioned keeping the excess stored away in one of our units but what if you know it’s all ‘stuff’ you don’t need? Humans tend to invest our things with emotional value that we have a hard time breaking. Taking the first step of moving it out of the house and into a separate space may be the step needed. Then, after a bit of time, you’ll be able to go back through it with clearer eyes and keep, donate, sell, or junk whatever is necessary.

Most resolutions fall into two camps, do less of a ‘bad’ thing or more of a ‘good’ thing. Exercise, eat fewer sweets, eat more vegetables, that sort of thing. It might be ‘learn _____, ’ and that means creating a new habit. While it may be a new year, chances are you’re still under the same pressures from work and life, and if those are in a rut, you may be finding yourself coming home and sticking to the familiar, plopping down in the living room and binging Netflix for 8 hours (It’s ok! We’ve all done it!) If that is the case, perhaps your environment is setting you up for failure. Why not move the TV/Entertainment set up into temporary storage while you build new habits and new hobbies, then reintroduce the old entertainment options back into your life. It may seem silly to rent a small space just to store your things you’ll want again in three months, but if it helps you stick to your knitting or reading then maybe it is worth a shot?

Alright, that’s the last we’ll talk about the New Year, at this point is decidedly THE year, we wish you the best in your continued efforts to better yourself and remember January 1st isn’t the only time to begin to start changing your life. If you need some space solutions in those plans, you know who to call.

The World’s Most Secure Sites

Last time on the Blog we talked about the future of locks and how that is materializing in the present. This time we want to go one step further and talk about some of the most secure sites on the globe! What follows, in no particular order, are the most secure, locked down areas of humanity, most (not surprisingly) operated by the U.S. government.

Fort Knox

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Fort Knox, the site best known as the storage facility for a large percentage of the U.S. official gold reserves. Surrounded by four fences, half of which are electrified, a military base, 4 feet thick concrete walls, and dozens of locked doors and hallways requiring multiple people with multiple codes, few places are as safe. No wonder it has been seen prominently in fiction as The Most Secure site.

Cheyenne Mountain

The military installation in Colorado Springs, CO built 2000 feet into the mountain. The doors, two 25-ton behemoths can withstand a 30-megaton blast. It houses NORAD and the US Missile Warning Center. With that history, Cheyenne Mountain has featured in plenty of fiction as the place to be when it all hits the fan, whether by nuclear war, the uploading of a human hunting AI, or alien attack.

Svalbard Global Seed Vault

Another site buried deep into a mountain side, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault houses over a half million specimens of the world’s plant species. Safe from the ravages of a nuclear Armageddon (sensing a pattern here?) the hope is to prevent any accidental loss of genetic diversity in traditional genebanks. Only ~600 miles from the north pole, and protected by miles and miles of oceans, the Svalbard bank is exceptionally remote.

No matter how secure these places are, they’re unfortunately not open for our spare furniture or motorcycles the spouse doesn’t want around the house. For those things, traditional self-storage will just have to do.

All About Locks

Previously on the Allstate Self-Storage blog we discussed the long and varied history of lock making and types. From those ancient Egyptian rope and wood pin locks to the trusty industry standard disc lock that is no doubt securing your unit as we speak! The lock is the hinge on which this whole industry revolves, without a strong lock there is no security and without security would anyone store their belongings out of eyesight? This time, we’re jumping to the Future! With fingerprint features and Bluetooth enabled locks that Future is today!

Electronic Access Locks

Electronic access everything is quickly becoming the norm, so its no surprise that tech is making it’s way to padlocks. Through smart phones or other Bluetooth enabled devices you can open the lock with a swipe of the finger. With being digital, this also means you can give out access to others, setting permissions based on family, friends, coworkers, and even by the time of day.

Fingerprint Padlocks

Another futurelock, are those utilizing the unique key of your fingerprint. Locks such as the recent Tapplock can open in lightning speed with just the touch of your key finger. The Tapplock in particular also looks to have similar features to the electronic access locks mentioned earlier, with smart device utility.

But is the new tech as secure as those of the past? Well, both of these types of locks have that weakness we discussed previously in padlocks. They have the vulnerability of the exposed shackle inherent in padlocks. Some users of older types of electronics locks have also reported malfunctions causing the locks to seize entirely. For the time being, we’d still put our money on the tried and true disc lock, but we are as excited as anybody to see what the future holds when it comes to security.

The Disc Lock

When you imagine the lock on a storage unit, you are likely thinking of a disc lock. A circular hunk of metal with a bar that runs through the latch, these were originally invented by Emil Henriksson in 1907.

These locks work by having a special key that when insert turns the discs like the tumblers of another lock. However, this lock doesn’t utilize springs making them the preferred for harsher conditions that their lesser lock family. This resilience makes the disc lock the industry standard when it comes to storage.

In addition to being resilient to harsher climate, the lock is not easily pickable. While not impossible, it requires dedicated, professionally made tools, and unlike other locks will stand up to a brute attempt at breaking it such as a hammer. The locking system can be destroyed by drilling into the lock directly, but anti-drill plates on the side will easily prevent this. The thief could attempt to grind the lock off, but that would alert anyone nearby at the facility.

There aren’t many negative to the disc lock, at least when it comes to storage. It can’t be cut with bolt cutters, smashed with a hammer, or easily picked. Any move to remove it will generate enough attention to deter thieves from the attempt.

Be careful, though, cheaper locks might be made from inferior materials and allow for the security to be subverted via various means that a well-made lock would otherwise easily prevent.

Regardless of the few possible vulnerabilities in a disc lock, and reputable storage facility will offer several security features to help the cause. Most Allstate facilities, for instance, offer video surveillance, gate coded access, and on site, staff to ensure your belongings are secure and provide you with peace of mind.

We hope you have enjoyed these informational lock lessons, after all, it is a small part of the process but perhaps the most important when it comes to the security of your belongings.

Types of Locks

The past two entries on the Allstate Blog have talked about the history of the lock. During those we spat out a lot of name of types of locks, and if you’re like us, you may have only recognized two or three of them most — including the almighty padlock! Let’s go over some of those types of locks we mentioned recently.

Pin Locks

Also known as the Yale lock or pin tumbler lock. This lock functions using pins of different lengths to prevent the lock from opening. These are found in cylinder locks, where the cylinders can be removed from the framework of whatever they are securing. The vulnerability here is obvious; the lock cylinder can be removed entirely.

Warded Locks

These locks work with obstructions (or wards) that prevent opening. However, these locks have several vulnerabilities making their use generally for low security purposes. A well-made skeleton key can get around most of these wards, and with the limited number of unique possible keys, keys meant for other doors can open others as well.

Lever Locks

A lever lock uses a set of levers (in case it isn’t clear, lock naming is not as creative as the smithing of them) that prevent a bolt from moving. A key will be entered, turned, and in turn lift the levers to a height that allows the bolt to pass through.

Chubb Detector Lock

This lock is a variation on the lever tumbler lock. If someone attempts to open it using the wrong key or pick the lock, it self-jams in a locked state, notifying the owner that it had been tampered with. The self-jam occurs by any of the levers being lifted higher than necessary for the bolt to be removed. Originally it required a special resetting key, but later advancements removed this need.

Next time we’ll talk about the lock securing belongings everywhere, and what features make for the best one. Next time, the disc lock.

History of the Lock Part II: Modern Era

Last month we talked about storage units themselves, this month it’s the locks that secure that unit. Last time on the blog we discussed locks of antiquity, and how they first came about. Of course, all of this is very much a low-level overview of everything, books have been written about the subject matter, but we are just trying to give a general look at the history of securing your belongings.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, locksmithing stagnated for a time until the late 18th century and that mighty time, the Industrial Revolution. With the Revolution, precise engineering and standardization of components, lock technology began to flourish with smaller and sturdier mechanisms.

This era brought us the lever tumbler lock from Robert Barron in 1778, also known as the double lever lock. 40 years later saw more innovation to the lever tumbler lock from Jeremiah Chubb. These new additions (called a detector lock) detected and alerted the owners to any complications or attempts to open the lock without the correct key. Jeremiah joined his brother Charles in the founding a lock company of their own, Chubb.

Over the next century locksmithing flourished. The Bramah lock in 1784 that was unpickable for 67 years. The first combination lock and timelock were made by James Sargent in 1857 and 1873 respectively. The Yale lock of 1843. The first jemmy-proof (a jemmy is a short crowbar) lock in 1916, and finally, the first padlock by Harry Soref in 1924.

Locksmithing hasn’t stagnated in the last hundred years, oh no. It, like so many other industries, has gone digital! With electric locks, key cards, fobs, circuitry, battery backups and all sorts of security measures taking securing of goods into the new millennium.

History of the Lock Part I

Over the next couple of entries here on the Allstate Self Storage Blog, we’ll be talking about something we all use every day, several times a day. They’re on our phones, our houses, our vehicles, at work, and yes, on our storage units. We’re talking about locks. That’s right, those hunks of metal we trust to protect all our valuables of all types. First a little history on locks and keys.

As long as humans have amassed belongings, they have desired to secure them from would be thieves. Originally these existed as simple knots from ropes, leather, and other materials. But that simple line of defense wasn’t enough to be certain your stuff would still be there when you came back. And thus the lock was born.
The earliest known lock was found in the ruins of the ancient capital of Assyria, Nineveh. Wooden pin locks were then developed in Egypt. These worked by pin mechanisms, as you may have guessed, that when a key was inserted pushed the pins out of the bolt allowing it to move. When the key was not present, the pins fall partially into the bolt and immobilize it.

Historians are unsure which ancient civilization created the first mechanical locks, as the Egyptians, Greek, and Romans may have all developed these skills independently of each other. According to the website History of Keys, the next major development was the Roman’s use of metals. This innovation allowed for stronger protection against brute attempts (unlike the knots and wooden locks of yore) but also smaller keys. Some Romans utilized keys with built-in rings allowing them to keep their key always handy but also mark them as people of worth. Not quite the same mentality we have today it?

With that, we’ll close up this time on the Allstate Blog, next time we’ll be moving towards the modern era of locks.

Moving Stats of Interest

Did you know nearly half of all moves take place in the summer, between May and Labor day? A half of the moves in a quarter of the time! We can say from experience that is moving in Arizona during the summer is the absolute worst time to do it, but nearly half do! While we’re all bundled up safe and warm indoors, here are a few fun moving facts and statistics. Pull up your blanket and cup of coffee and learn with us!

• According to the United States Census Bureau, the percentage of Americans moving has hit an all time low, dropping to 11.2 percent in 2016.
• Roughly one third of renters move every year.
• Americans in the Northeastern United States move the least, while our Western neighbors move the most.
• The average mover is a couple, between the ages of 25-44 with one or two children aged between 2-11.
• The average American will have moved roughly 12 times in their lifetime. How many times have you?
• According to the Employee Relocation Council, moving is the third most stressful event in a person’s life, following death and divorce.
• Roughly 40% of moves are for job related reasons.
• Convenience to work is the most common reason people choose their new neighborhood (at 31 percent).
• Within five years of graduation from university, 30% of students will live in a different state. 35% will be living somewhere other than where they went to high school.
• The average weight of household possessions moved is almost three and a half tons! So much for packing light!
• A whopping almost 20% of moves are for government or military-related relocations.

Well, that is it for this time on the All State Self-Storage blog. We will catch you next time with more of the news fit to pack up and store.

Winterize Your Motorbike

Last time on the blog we discussed winterizing your storage unit proper. This time we’ll talk about something much more specific. If you don’t happen to have a two wheeled vehicle, you can probably skip this one! Today we’re talking motorcycles!

If you utilize any of our locations in the South West, then the riding season continues, and you don’t have any concerns, but those of our friends in the Mid-West winter has come, and your leathers are hung up til the season’s change. If you’re looking to put your bike into a storage unit (which is a totally good idea) here are some steps to take first!

1) The Battery

Make sure your battery is charged before it spends several months in storage. There are two schools of thought when it comes to batteries in storage; some say to use trickle chargers or battery maintainers while others suggest otherwise. Look into the pros and cons of each and decide for yourself. Trickle chargers and maintainers need to be hooked into an outlet so see if the unit accommodates this or prepare to keep it at home.

2) Freshen Up Your Fluids

Antifreeze, despite its name, can freeze if its gone bad and the temps drop too low. Replace the anti-freeze, oil, brake fluids,etc. so that they will keep through the winter and be good to go come spring. Adding a fuel stabilizer to the gas tank and run the engine for a few minutes to ensure the stabilizer makes its way into the system.

3) Wash Your Motorcycle

Bug guts are gonna be a bigger pain to clean off after settling and freezing for several months. So before you roll that beautiful bike into the unit give it a good scrub down and waxing.

4) Cover That Bike

Even if your bike is indoors, a cover can keep the dust (and anything else that might work its way into your unit) off and your bike protected.

With these boxes checked you can pull your bike into it’s new winter home and feel confident that come warmer weather, it will be ready to roar.

Winterizing Your Storage

If our last blog got you in the door and you’re getting your storage unit game on, then it’s important to know these tips for the winter months. If you’re already storing things… well… hopefully, the winter hasn’t been too harsh, or you have already prepared adequately! Depending on the facility, the units themselves may be climate controlled. If that is the case, you will have less to worry about when it comes to winter.

While the unit is still empty, sweep the interior. Look for anything unusual. During that check look for evidence of water and how it may have found its way into the unit. Cracks in the foundation or the walls will let in moisture which can obviously cause problems for your belongings down the line. Obviously, this is something the facility staff will be keeping an eye out for, but it never hurts to have an extra pair.

When it comes to your actual things, keep an eye on any items or containers that appear to be cracking. The low temperatures can weaken the materials further, and the last thing anyone wants is for their belongings to go spilling out all over their storage unit (that’s why we spend so much time here on the blog with organization tips!) and possibly being damaged.
While you can’t insulate the walls of your unit, you can insulate smaller boxes. With that in mind make sure any temperature sensitive items like musical instruments are wrapped in insulating materials like paper or fabrics to prevent any damage.

As always, feel free to ask the facility manager for anything specific you may need to know, they’re the front line resource for all your storage needs. If you’re just moving into your unit or switching things out for the season, be sure to take the necessary steps to keep your belongings safe.