Monthly Archives: January 2017

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.

New Year, New You

The New Year, the start time of self improvement efforts across the globe! (We know, we’re a few days behind on this one but those blogs on packing up after the holidays were time sensitive!) One of the most common resolutions for folks is to revamp their living spaces completely. Keep them cleaner, less cluttered, or pare down to the ever popular minimalist approach. Here is how a self storage unit like those offered by All State can help you reach those goals!

The big hurdle with resolutions is consistency. Sticking to them for the year, and hopefully for the rest of your life, making that permanent change can be tough! If your goal is to declutter your home, the first thought is to throw everything away or give it all to charity. But then the first hurdle jumps in your path “What if I need this later?” and so the whole process of renewal is hampered before it can even begin. Here’s the key work around. You might actually need that thing later, so why not store it somewhere NOT in your living room? And thus, the storage unit enters the scene bringing with it salvation and prosperity.

Gather up all those belongings you don’t use weekly, or monthly, or whatever criteria you decide, (this is your resolution after all) and bring them to an All State Self Storage facility to embolden your resolution. You’ll have a decluttered home, pared down to only what you need on a daily basis, but still have access to all your family keepsakes, extra furniture, or yard tools when you need them but not cluttering up your living space. To use a storage unit almost seems like a way to cheat the whole minimalism game but hey, if it enables you to reach your goals then why not?

Happy New Year from all of us at All State Self Storage! May you stick to all your resolutions, whatever they are!

Repacking the Holidays Part Deux

Last time we discussed getting rid of excess decorations and some tips for how to optimize space when packing the remainders away. Today we are picking up right where we left off with some more space savers.

3) “Unpack First Box”

The folks over at Real Simple.com suggest this one. Essentially this box is where you’re going to put the key pieces of decorations, the one you always go to first when setting up. Not special ornaments for the tree or leftover wrapping paper, those both can be found later. This box will have that favorite wreath or the welcome mat that kick off the entire holiday cheer.With this fix, you won’t find yourself scouring through the pyramid pile of party pieces looking for that singular item you couldn’t decide where to pack last year.

4) Packing to Protect

If your winter holiday of choice is Christmas, chances are you have lots of special ornaments to display each year. These fragile, meaningful tokens require special care in packing lest anything shift and you find you precious pieces smashed. Try packing the ornaments using egg cartons to keep them spaced out and secure.

5) Seriously, De clutter

We mentioned it first, but it bears repeating. In the process of deciding on the essentials for your Unpack First Box, you no doubt made some value judgments on the rest of your decorations. If there is anything broken, you find ugly now, or pieces you annually make excuses to ignore and not set out, now is the time to remove them from the entire process.

With these tips put to use, Future You will be thanking Current You for making the holiday less stressful, and more immediately festive. The whole rest of your year will benefit from this planning as well; your storage organization will make all of the other hundreds of things in your busy year easier to tackle.

Repacking the Holidays

The winter holidays have come and gone, and if you’re feeling particularly proactive, you might already be taking the lights down and switching out the decor of your home. For many that means “Doing it right this time.” Making it, so next year isn’t such a hassle to get to what you need and when you do have the boxes in hand they’ll be easy to use. Here are some tips to put to work now, so later isn’t such a hassle.

1) Get Rid of Excess

We know, a storage facility telling you to get rid of the excess seems like heresy, but we’re in the business of storing your valuables, not enabling hoarders. As it is every season as the stores convert to the holidays, folks find newer decorations, new light formations or yard pieces, and every year more items find they have no place to go on your home. As you’re packing away what you used this year, take inventory. If it didn’t get used this winter, chances are you won’t be putting it up next year either. Donate the excess decorations to make sure you’re only holding on to things you will be using!

2) Pack it Away Neat

It always starts out as priority number one, but as the days wind on, you find yourself stuck with two half full containers of decorations, and this weekend is the only time you can get to the unit, and dangit, well it’s easy to see how it turns into shoveling everything into cubish shapes and calling it a day. But with a bit of pre planning, you can make sure that this time it goes smooth. For storing artificial trees, bloggers recommend using old belts to cinch the branches in tight, minimizing space needed. For lights, open up old coffee cans and spiral them inside. Cans will keep individual strands from tangling into a real Gordian knot. Packing the cylinders is then easy-peasy.

Come back next time for more Holiday Repacking tips! Don’t let this opportunity to get your decorations under control pass you by.