Basements: One of the World’s Oldest Storage Facilities

Basements have been are for as long as people have been building homes. Greek ruins often have basements built into them. The Egyptian pyramids are built over massive basements, some as large as a football field. We have always known that basements are great places to store things. For some reason, home in Arizona are almost never build with basements. Because of this you might not be as familiar with them as you should be. Today, we are going to fix that!

Types of Basements

There are several types of basements, a fact that may come as surprise to many. Daylight basements are common with houses built on slopes. The lower part of the basement is exposed to the outside, while the ‘upslope’ part is underground. Daylight basements usually have exterior access and can be used as garages, storage locations, or even living spaces.

Look-out basements commonly appear in large cities. The walls of a look-out basement extend above ground level, usually just enough for occupants to look out a small window. This allows natural light in, curing the room of that dark/dreary vibe so often associated with basements.

Walk-up basements are built fully underground, but have exterior access. Because they are not readily accessible from inside the house, they are almost always used just for storage.
Crawl spaces are the area between the foundation of the home, and the floor of the house. Although they are not technically basements, although they can fill some of the same functions. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, based off of the name, but crawl spaces are usually much smaller than basements and do not afford any room for standing up and walking around. Because of this, their primary function is usually that of storage.

Organizing Your Storage Unit

We might be storage nerds, but for us, moving into a new storage unit is always exciting. It is a chance to totally declutter our lives. A chance to take all of the things we don’t use on a daily basis, and put them somewhere safe, secure, and most importantly, out of the way. However, on moving day, we can’t let our excitement get the best of us. It is important to stay focused, and to stay organized.

Planning your Move

Before you pack a single item or lift a single box, you need to plan your move. This can actually be a lot of fun. We like to sit down with a piece of paper and diagram out our storage unit. We make a list of everything we are going to be moving in, and try to fit it all into our paper diagram. It is like a puzzle, and is usually helps identify possible difficulties ahead of time.

Packing for your Move

Once you have a good plan, it is time to start packing. All small items need to go into boxes. Keep these boxes organized and well labelled. You are going to be happy you took this step when it comes time to unpack and move out several months down the line. Seal the boxes with packing tape and organize them by size.

Making the Move

So you have arrived at your storage unit. This is when the real fun begins. You want to organize around the largest items you are storing, typically furniture. Get these items in first and fill in around them. Always do your best to leave a walkway in the middle of the unit. You don’t want to get trapped! Boxes are stable and easy to pack. Don’t be afraid to stack them towards the ceiling.

Tips for Document Storage

Electric document storage is all the rage these days. People can store millions of documents on their home computer. If you feel like paying for cloud based storage, you can keep terabytes of data locked away somewhere on the internet.

For us, electric storage has always felt tenuous. If you are keeping your documents on your home computer, they are susceptible to hardware failure and viruses. Data kept on the internet is likewise vulnerable. You know what isn’t vulnerable to hackers, viruses, or power surges? Paper documents.

What Should I Be Storing?

Some documents should be stored permanently. Financial paperwork such as annual tax returns, and stocks and bonds could become relevant far down the road. Birth certificates, death certificates, health records, wills, and powers of attorney should be included in your ‘keep forever’ pile. Don’t forget to add the deed of ownership for you home and the title for your car.

Other documents should be stored temporarily. In this pile you can add paycheck stubs, bills, W-2s, 1099 forms, and monthly mortgage statements.

How to Store Your Documents

Most of the documents, particularly the ones that you need to store forever, need to be handled carefully. Paper is sensitive to temperature, light, and humidity. If your documents degrade to the point they are illegible, than what use are they at all?

Clear, air tight plastic containers are good for the documents you are never going to be getting rid of. They will be protected from humidity and temperature, and you will be able to easily identify what is in them. Make sure you store this container away from direct sunlight.

For documents you are going to be storing for several years and that you may need occasional access to, a filling cabinet is ideal. This will give you a way to protect your document and keep them organized. If for some reason the IRS decides to audit you, you will have your tax documents readily at hand!

Learning about Locks

Locks are absolutely crucial to our business. Without locks, self-storage facilities would basically just be, well they would probably be empty. Because everyone would have stolen everything. Or maybe not, maybe people are better than that. But why risk finding out? How about we agree to believe people are good, while quietly locking out self-storage units up, nice and tight.

Padlocks – Padlocks are commonly used with self-storage units because they are not permanent. Sure a deadbolt is extremely secure, but you can’t take a deadbolt with you when you are done locking a room up. Padlocks can come with keys or combinations. For use with self-storage facilities, we usually recommend you use a padlock with a key.

Interchangeable Core Cylinders – Another common lock type used at self-storage facilities. With interchangeable core cylinders, the lock is built into the wall or door, with an open space left for an interchangeable core. This core comes with a key specifically made for it. This means if ownership of a storage unit changes, all the owners need to swap out, is the core and the key.

Electromagnetic Locks – futuristic single door locks that are attached to a security system. They use electromagnetic force to keep the door closed. They can have a ‘dynamic holding force’ of up to 2000 pounds, making them even more secure than padlock. Best part, they can be programmed to respond to individual keycards. Don’t expect to see these at a storage facility, unless you are looking around at NASA.

Crucial Wine Storage Tips

Previously we have discussed a few of the major outside elements that can influence, either negatively or positively, the development of wine. Light, temperature, and humidity all have a direct impact on the way wine ages. So what are the proper ways to store wine? Can we get creative? Today we are going to discuss specific tips for wine storage.

In An Ideal World

There is a perfect place to store wine. This isn’t a secret. For optimal storage, wine should always be kept in a wine cellar. Wine cellars allow you to carefully control temperature, humidity and light, creating the perfect environment for your wine to develop. Unfortunately, not everyone has several thousands of dollars to spend on building a wine cellar, so most of us are going to have to find an alternative.


Wine cellars are quiet, cool, temperature controlled, indoor locations. That sounds like we are describing something else, something eerily familiar… oh, that sounds like a self-storage location! An indoor self-storage unit is the next best place to store wine outside of a wine cellar. The best part about a self-storage unit? You are not going have to tear up your home and spend thousands of dollars! That sounds like a good deal to us.

Alternative Home Storage

So, for some reason you have ruled out building a wine cellar, and you have decided that a self-store unit isn’t right for you. That is okay, we are a little offended, but you will still help you out anyway. A small wine rack is perfect for an amateur wine enthusiast. A good wine rack should orient the bottles so that they are facing cork down. This is to preserve the cork and keep it from drying out. When you are deciding where to put you wine wrack, remember the factors we have previously discussed. Put is somewhere cool, out of direct sunlight.
Well, there we go. Your wine should now be properly stores. Cheers everyone!

Learning about Wine Storage

After water, wine is one of the most widely consumed beverages on the planet. It is clear, people really love their wine. One if the incredible things about wine, is that it only gets better with age. The older a good wine gets, richer, more complex, and powerful its flavor becomes. Today we are going to talk about the number of factors that can impact the way a wine ages.


Temperature control is one of the most important considerations when it comes to storing wine. Wine is very sensitive to temperature change. Most wines will go bad if they are exposed to temperatures above 77 degrees for a prolonged period of time. Repeated dramatic temperature changes, such refrigerator removal and replacement, can also damage wine. For ideal development, wine should be kept somewhere cool. The colder the location, the slower the wine will develop, so balance is key. 55 degrees is often discussed as an optimal temperature.


Wine contains something things phenolic compounds which reacted poorly when exposed to direct sunlight. For this reason, wine bottles are often made out of darkly tinted glass. This is often is not enough protection, especially if bottles are colored light green or blue. For best aging results, wine should be stored somewhere away from direct sunlight.


In large part, wine is protected from humidity by the wine bottle. There is only one point of weakness – the cork. If wine is stored somewhere were humidity is extremely low, the cork could dry out and deteriorate. If this happens, oxygen could end up finding its way into the wine bottle. This could result in oxidation and spoiling. Additionally, excessive humidity can damage wine labels. If we lose the label, we won’t know which wine is which! How else are we supposed to know which bottle is valuable and which is full of two-buck chuck. We need our labels to help us quantify our wine experience!

Preparing for an Emergency

Being properly prepared for an emergency is a matter of storage. You want to have the right items set aside so you can be prepared if a disaster does strike. In Arizona we are rather lucky, we don’t have to worry about hurricanes or blizzards, but that doesn’t mean we are immune to all natural disasters. Today we will talk about what you should have stored to be properly prepared in the event of an emergency. Don’t worry, we aren’t going to turn you into a doomsday prepper or anything!

Lighting and Fuel

Usually the first thing to go during a disaster is the power. Some Phoenicians experienced prolonged power outages just this summer as the result of a powerful monsoon. Put a few flashlights and headlamps in labeled box and keep it in an easy to reach location in the closet. Make sure they are loaded with fresh, long lasting batteries.
Gasoline is a versatile and powerful fuel source. The American Petroleum Institute has stated that gasoline can be safely store in approved containers of less than 5 gallons. It can be used to power vehicles and generators.

Food and Water

The necessities of life. If the power goes out for an extended period of time, the perishable food in your refrigerator is going to go bad quickly. Create a reserve of nonperishable food to last you for a week or two. Pasta, beans, rice, canned meat, soup, honey, peanut butter, and nuts all have very long shelf lives. You aren’t going to be eating any gourmet meals if the power goes out for a week, but at least you won’t be starving.
Even more important than food, is water. You want to store several gallons per person per day, with enough to last up to a week. Remember, the odds of a disaster striking are very low, but being properly prepared is about accounting for worst case scenarios. Hopefully you can prepare these emergency supplies and never look at them again.

Creating a Better Organized Closet

Do not be daunted. This is going to be a massive undertaking, but it will be worth it when you are done. A clean well organized closet is one of the best sights in the world. Life is always going to be full of chaos, but your closet doesn’t have to be. Take control! Organize your closet! Show that thing who is boss!

Step One: Gutting Your Closet

To truly and properly organize your closet, you are going to want to start from scratch. This means taking every single item out of your closet and placing it in a staging area nearby. Every hanger, every sock, every coat, every tie needs to go.

Step Two: Organizing Your Belongings

Now your closet is bare and you have probably made a startling mess of your bedroom. Time to start cleaning that mess up! Organize everything you have taken out of your closet. Separate like items into piles; shoes go with other shoes, toys with other toys, etc. This good time to identify things you do not need anymore. Create a ‘donate’ pile and add all of these items to it. This is process can be very tough. Be realistic with yourself. If you have not worn a particular shirt in over 4 years, do you really need to keep it?

Step Three: Restoring

Now it is time to get everything back into your closet, but this time in a neat, precise, well-organized way. Don’t discount the value of organizational accessories. A hanging shoe rack could be invaluable. A set of cubbies could create invaluable space. Don’t ignore the door. You can mount several hangers there which will be a perfect place to store purses and bags. Utilize every inch you can while avoiding overcrowding. Opt for an organizational style that works best for you. Some people like to sort clothing by color or style. Others prefer to sort based on season. The important thing is that you have a plan and you stick to it.

Classic Keepsakes

It is one of the funny things about being human, we associate emotions and memories with physical items. Why do we do this? Scientists and psychologist have been exploring the phenomenon for decades, and have yet to come up with a concrete answer. Sometimes, we just have trouble throwing things away. It is because these treasure possessions have become more than just ‘things,’ they have become physical manifestations of memories, they have become part of us, they have become keepsakes.

Cuddly Childhood Keepsakes

These are probably some of the most common items people refuse part with. Cuddly childhood keepsakes like blankies, or stuffed teddy bears are associated with some of the happiest times in our lives. When we were kids, things were easy. Comfort was all around us. Mom and Dad took care of everything. When we look at our old blankets or stuffed animals, we remember this time. Discarding these items would be like discarding these precious memories.

The Written Word

Who doesn’t have a box stashed away somewhere full of old notebooks, diaries, or just simple scribbles from when they were a child. These represent priceless snapshots of our past. The things we wrote in these old, yellow pages show us exactly what we were thinking and feeling on these lost days so long ago. If we were to casually toss out old diaries, these memories would be lost forever. Even old spelling tests or elementary school worksheet hold value. They are time capsules preserving the incremental stepswe took on our path into adulthood.

Storing Your Precious Keepsakes

If you have valued keepsakes like blankets, diaries, or stuffed animals, you want to make sure they stay with you for as long as possible. It is important that you store them properly. Protected them from the ravages of time. Come to All States Self Storage, where we can help you preserve your precious keepsakes forever.

What to Store At Home

Self-storage facilities are convenient and easy to use. Most facilities offer constant access, day or night, and let renters come and go as they please. It may take just 20 or 30 minutes to get something out of storage of you live nearby. That is perfect for most items you don’t need immediate access to. Some items, however, you may want to store at home, where you can have them at a moment’s notice.

Personal Identification Documents

Important personal identification documents should be kept somewhere safe at home, especially if they are unique, or original copies. Your social security card is linked to your very identity. If you have extra copies of your social security card, you should keep them somewhere safe and inconspicuous. The original should ideally be kept in a lockbox or a safe. The same goes for passports and birth certificates. New copies of these items can be obtained if they are lost, but that is often a difficult process. If you keep them safe at home, you never need to worry about that happening!

Important Documents

Documents such as living wills, powers of attorney, and those with financial importance should also be kept at home. Many individuals like to keep these documents in a well-organized locking safe. Others prefer to use less conspicuous means of storage. Not only do you want to have these readily available, you also want to protect the information on them. Keeping them inside your home can accomplish that, and give you some piece of mind as well. Deeds to vehicles can also be kept with these important documents
Speaking of vehicles, spare keys should also be kept at home. This may seem like common sense, but some individuals store spare keys in storage units, then discover their inability to get to those keys when they lose their master copy!

What you store, and where you store it is always up to you. But keep your safety, and they safety of your belongings in mind at all times.