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How To Store Cushions, Hammocks & Umbrellas in Brewer Maine

Proper Cleaning and Storage of Cushions, Hammocks and Umbrellas in Brewer Maine.

How Do You Clean and Store Patio Cushions, Hammocks and Umbrellas in Brewer, Maine?

Living in Brewer, Maine has its challenges especially when it comes to your outdoor living time. The season for patio and outdoor living in Brewer last about five months which means your patio furniture is stored appropriately seven months of the year. Ever take your patio furniture out of  storage and find mold and mildew have taken up residence on your cushions, hammock or umbrella material? Preventing this phenomenon starts before putting your patio furniture in self storage. Simple cleaning tips for optimum self storage of your outdoor living investment can help prevent damage during it’s off season time.

Cushion Care:

No list of cleaning tips would be complete without discussing the cushions used to create your comfortable patio or deck space. Cushions are either removable or not. The removable cushion covers can often be washed in a washing machine with any laundry detergent. Cleaning your cushion covers by hand is the best way to  give them a really deep cleaning. First remove the foam core, then remove any loose dirt by brushing the cover. Next soak the covers in a bucket of warm soapy water, then scrub with a soft bristled brush. Cleaning Tip: Scrub the inside of the cover as well, to remove stubborn or deep stains.  Then rinse with clean water and allow to air dry thoroughly before reinserting the foam cores. 

Non removable cushions are almost as easily cleaned. Sponge on the warm soapy water and rub to create a foamy coating on your cushions. Scrub any extra dirty spots with a soft bristled brush until the dirt is gone. Use a high pressure setting on your hose nozzle to rinse the foam and all soap residue from the cushions. Squeeze excess water from the cushions and allow them to thoroughly dry. 

Cleaning tip: If your cushions already have some mold and mildew, mix a solution of 1 gallon of water, 1 cup of bleach and ¼ cup of mild detergent. Using a spray bottle, spray onto the affected area, allow to soak in for 15 minutes or so then use a soft bristled brush on the area until the mold and mildew are gone. A sponge or cloth will work equally as well to remove the mold or mildew stain.  Storage tip: Place thoroughly dry cushions in plastic bags to protect them during storage. Garbage bags work great for storing cushions. Add a strong scented dryer sheet for fresh smelling cushions in the Spring plus mice dislike strong odors which will help protect your cushions from rodent damage while being stored. Keep your cushions off the floor especially if it’s a concrete floor. Moisture is the leading cause of damage to stored cushions. 

Hammock Care:

Remove the hammock from its frame, lay on a tarp and sweep off any surface debris. Wet the entire hammock with a hose. Using a mixture of warm water and dish soap sponge clean all surfaces of the hammock. Rinse all soap from the hammock and dry thoroughly. Cleaning tip: If mold and mildew have stained your hammock material use full strength white vinegar and scrub the area using a hand brush, allow to sit for 10 minutes or so then rinse and allow to dry before storage. Once dry, fold and store in a contractors garbage bag or wrap in plastic to protect the hammock during storage. Storage tip: if your hammock frame is easily disassembled place it in the same bag. This will make finding all the pieces easy when you are ready to relax on your patio again next summer!

Umbrella Care:

The fabric of your umbrella is easily cleaned once you remove it from it’s frame and lay it out on a tarp to protect it from grass and dirt while cleaning it. Sweep the loose debris from the fabric, scrub any mold or mildew areas with a dry brush, then wet with a hose until all the fabric is wet. Mix a cleaning solution of 2 cups of warm water, 2 cups of white vinegar and a tablespoon of dish detergent (Dawn cuts grease). Scrub the umbrella fabric with a hand held brush and the cleaning solution until the entire umbrella is covered. Let the solution set for 10 minutes then rinse with a hose to remove all of the cleaning solution. Allow to air dry thoroughly.Cleaning tip: Treating the umbrella fabric for mold and mildew before storage will help protect it during the months stored. If after cleaning you see additional mold and mildew stains wet the fabric and scrub using a hard brush and full strength white vinegar, allow to sit for 10 minutes, rinse clean and allow to dry.  Storage Tip: Place a clean and dry umbrella in a bag and tie to the cleaned umbrella frame. 

Mold and Mildew Removal:

A generic mold and mildew cleaning solution that will work on most surfaces is a 50/50 mixture of water and white vinegar. Spray on the surface of your furniture, let it set 30 minutes before rinsing. Follow with a towel drying and then allow to thoroughly air dry. For extensive mold and mildew removal especially on fabrics like cushions, hammocks and umbrellas, dry brush the area to remove surface mold, rinse and allow to dry. Scrub using a hand brush and full strength white vinegar completely soak and scrub the affected area, let sit for 10 minutes then rinse off with clean water and let dry. Protecting your outdoor living and patio furniture from mold and mildew is important to prolonging the life of your investment.

Cleaning your furniture properly before putting it in self storage is the best way to protect it. An additional step would be to add strong scented dryer sheets in the bags to prevent rodent invasion. They dislike strong odors. Check with the storage facility to be sure they have pest control methods in place. With regular cleaning and proper storage you can enjoy your patio living space for years to come. 

Find a local plumber in Brewer, Maine

How to find a local plumber in Brewer, Maine!

How to find a local plumber

Moving has many challenges including finding service people, especially a good local plumber, to help keep your new home in Brewer, Maine running smoothly. Finding a good local plumber before an emergency strikes can make the difference between minor damages or a total catastrophe.  When finding a local plumber your first resource could be the previous home owner. If they had a local plumber you could ask who they used and how they felt about their service. But what if they didn’t have a plumber or didn’t like the plumber they had? Here are some important questions and considerations when searching for a good local plumber. 

Referrals:

If you have family or friends who live close by, ask for a referral. Ask if the company or plumber provides emergency services, as we all know emergencies rarely happen during regular business hours. Still research the referral they may or may not be a fit for you. If you don’t have family or friends close by, use the Internet and search for “Local plumbers near me” read the reviews, both the positive and negative ones. Pay attention to how the owner or plumber responded to the negative reviews. Was the issue resolved, did the company respond compassionately or defensively. These would be a huge consideration when choosing a local plumber. Also use the Better Business Bureau, on the BBB website you can look up the rating for a company.

Communication:

Communication is one of the most important aspects of any business relationship. Your first contact with the local plumbing company or plumber will help you determine the likelihood of a good fit. The initial contact can be a huge clue as to the level of communication you can expect if you become a client. Where they courteous or curt, do you feel like all your questions were answered or not? These are some things to think about after your conversation. 

Licensing and Certifications:

All states require some form of licensing or certification to become a plumber, be sure to ask for their license number and verify it. Your State’s government website has a “verify a license” tool, easily accessible via a web search for <Maine (or your state) plumbing license lookup>.  The tool is easy to use and will verify the plumber’s license! Ask if all their employees have a license and if you can request a master plumber if you feel the job requires their expert knowledge.  A master plumber has years of experience and even though their hourly rate is generally much higher than a journeyman’s rate they could save you time and money with their extra knowledge. 

Insurance and Bonded Company:

You should ask about the type of insurances they hold. As a business they are required to carry some form of liability insurance to cover you if there is an issue. They should also carry Workers Comp Insurance to protect their workers from any injury they incur. If they don’t have workers comp insurance be aware that you will be held responsible for any and all injuries that happen while working on your house. The next type of insurance is bonding. Bonded means a bonding company has set aside a certain amount of money in the event a customer files a claim against the plumbing company. The state holds control of these funds not the plumbing company. You should check to verify they are actually bonded as well. 

If you choose a company that isn’t bonded and insured and something happens while they are on your property you accept all the responsibility for any injury or damage. It’s not worth taking the risk for a cheaper rate. You could ultimately lose everything because you chose a company that was uninsured and not bonded.

Emergency or After Hours Service:

One very important consideration when choosing a local plumber is; Do they have an “on call” service? Do they provide assistance when an emergency arises at 2am on a Sunday morning? Most companies will only take on your emergency if you are already a customer. It is recommended that you schedule a routine service call to establish that relationship. Walk through your home, take note of any leaky faucets, low pressure in your shower head or sinks, drains that are not going down well, etc and call to set up an appointment. This will establish your relationship.

Rates:

Rate comparison may be the most confusing aspect of finding a local plumber. There are many variables to a rate. Some companies have a flat rate for a certain service and an hourly rate for others. It’s important to find out as much as you can about how they bill to avoid a shock after a service call. Ask the following questions:

  1. Do they bill for travel time?
  2. Do they have a minimum charge rate? IE will they bill you for an hour even if the tech is only there for 30 minutes
  3. How do they bill if it goes over the minimum time? Some bill by the 15 minute increments after the first hour and some in 30 minute increments.
  4. What is their rate for a master plumber, a journeyman, or an apprentice?
  5. What is the emergency rate? Most places have a different rate for emergencies
  6. Can I request a certain plumber? This is important if it’s not a single person business.

The average range for the hourly rate goes from $45/hour to $150/hour. The higher end of the rate scale is for the master plumber or the emergency rate. Remember the hourly rate is only part of the equation for your total bill, included will be travel time(if charged),  materials, parts and supplies if used. 

Finding a good local plumber can take a little time but when an emergency does happen you will be glad you made the effort and are already a customer. One call and your plumber is on the way hopefully before any real damage occurs. If the unthinkable does happen remember to use self storage while the damage is being repaired!

What will fit in a Self Storage Unit in Bangor, Maine?

If you are like most of us square footage means nothing. Short of pulling out the tape measure and measuring out the area of a self storage unit in Bangor, Maine and visualizing if what you have will fit into that space. It’s hard to imagine. Then take into account the height of the self storage unit this will also influence what will fit.  Choosing a self storage unit that is appropriate for your needs can be easy by using the size guide below and utilizing the knowledgeable staff in Bangor. Safety tip: boxes and totes should not be stacked higher than your shoulders. Lifting heavy items from over your head can lead to injury so use care when stacking your boxes and totes in self storage. 

The self storage industry uses standard size guides to help determine what will fit into a designated size unit. Take into consideration if your items are larger or smaller than the standard size when making a decision on a unit. Between the size and height of a unit and the measurements of the items going into storage, you can see how tricky it can be to choose the right size for your needs. Self storage facilities have a simple size guide that can assist you in choosing the correct unit. This size guide will provide you with a general idea of what will fit in a self storage unit based on the size.

5×5 Size Guide:

A 5×5 self storage unit is like a small closet, great for storing a small dresser, a twin mattress and several small boxes. It is also perfect for seasonal decorations, clothing, sports equipment, lawn and garden tools or just a little extra storage space if you have a small apartment. Looking to store old files from your office? 40 standard file boxes will fit in this size unit.

5×10 Size Guide:

A 5×10 self storage unit is like a walk in closet. This size is great for a couch, chair, standard bureau and some small boxes. For an office looking for some off site storage 85 standard file boxes will fit.

10x10 Size Guide:

A 10×10 self storage unit is equivalent to an average bedroom. This size will hold the standard furnishings from a one bedroom apartment. For off site storage for standard file boxes it will hold about 170 standard sized boxes.

10×15 Size Guide:

A 10×15 self storage unit is equivalent to a large bedroom. This size will hold the furnishings from a 2 bedroom apartment or a small house. Offices needing off site storage will be able to store 290 standard sized file boxes.  A two door small car can be stored in a 10×15 unit.

10×20 Size Guide

A 10×20 self storage unit is like a large one car garage. This size will hold furnishings from a 3 or 4 bedroom apartment or house. A car, truck or small tow-behind camper can be stored in a 10×20 unit.

10×30 Size Guide:

A 10×30 self storage unit has the capacity to hold a 5 to 7 bedroom house. This unit can easily hold a car or truck plus the furnishings from a small house. This size unit is great for a large tow-behind camper or a small RV. The size of the RV or camper is limited by the height of the door for access and the length of the vehicle. 

If the simple guide above doesn’t clarify the size needed we have three resources available to assist in a decision on the appropriate size. The first is our Size Guide , the Space Estimator and our friendly, professional staff who are always ready to help you. 

What if I choose the wrong size and realize it after I’ve rented the unit? If you find you need a larger space the facility manager will be able to easily assist you. What will fit in a self storage unit can vary depending on your packing and stacking skills. A nicely packed unit will hold more than one that is unorganized. Tip: consider using a moving company to move your items into storage, they pack and stack for a living!  

Ten Easy House Staging Tips for Bangor Maine!

10 easy house staging tips for Bangor Maine
Staging your home in 10 easy steps

Ten Easy House Staging Tips!

Everyone’s heard of curb appeal but does it stop there? The outside is manicured to catch a potential buyer’s attention but is it enough?  The answer is simple; No. It’s like buying a cake because the frosting is so appealing but when you cut into the cake and it is not that great inside. The inside needs to be special as well, to entice an offer. This is called staging and depending on your market can put your house far ahead of the competition especially in Bangor Maine and the surrounding areas.  

If you have a limited budget to work with, there are still many simple things you can do that will improve the appearance of your home. Staging your home can make the difference between a sale and your home sitting on the market for a long time. Following are the ten basic areas that can make a difference when selling your home. Plus utilizing self storage will help you towards your goal of selling your home. 

#1 House Staging Tip: Brighten your Exterior

This will be the first thing a potential homeowner sees. It may be the one thing that determines their interest on the inside. Spend some extra time making sure your lawn, trees, hedges and other plants are well-maintained. Trim, prune and eliminate any weeds in your yard. Add color with some flower boxes and brighten your windows with a good cleaning.

Inexpensive Touch: Purchase new door mats for the doors to add a fresh clean look to the entrance way. 

Pro Tip: Pressure wash the exterior of your home to give it a freshly painted look.

#2 House Staging Tip: Clean your Home

Make sure your rooms sparkle, take extra care in the kitchen and bathrooms! If you can’t replace your kitchen appliances, make sure the ones you have are immaculate. No one wants to see crumbs, spaghetti splatter or grease in their potential home. Pay extra attention when cleaning your shower, tub and those hidden places behind the toilet. Your goal is to make it all look new. 

Inexpensive Touch: Replace the shower curtain to freshen up the bathroom, keep it to a neutral color, no prints. 

Pro Tip: Replace the kitchen appliances, buyers are looking for new appliances that come with a home.

#3 House Staging Tip: Declutter your Space

Clutter distracts buyers from seeing your home’s great features. The other aspect is it gives the illusion your home doesn’t have enough space or storage. Remove all knick knacks and non essential items. Remember that buyers will be checking out your closets so finding a self storage unit to store these treasures in will benefit you two ways. It will declutter your home and give you a head start on your packing after your home sells.

Inexpensive Touch: Put all non essential items in self storage, throw away things you won’t be taking to a new home because it’s beyond its prime. Hold a yard sale or donate the other things that still have value to them. 

Pro Tip: Hire a moving company to come pack up your home except for the basics.

#4 House Staging Tip: Depersonalize your Home

This may sound harsh but buyers need to visualize their possessions in your space. Remove all family photos, refrigerator art and items of a personal nature. Put away the children’s toys and anything else that is highly personal. 

Inexpensive Touch: Add these to the boxes in your self storage unit to keep the house more impersonal. 

Pro Tip: Use a moving company to pack up your belongings.

#5 House Staging Tip: Remove Odors from your Home

Any potential buyer will be put off by odors in your home. Identify odors and remove their source. As we are immune to our home’s smell, ask a friend to help you. Deep cleaning will eliminate a lot of the smells.

Inexpensive Touch: Just before showing your home bake apples with cinnamon or cookies to fill your home with their inviting aroma. Burn scented candles with a homey feel and grind a lemon in your garbage disposal. Remove any garbage and open the windows for some fresh air. 

Pro Tip: Hire a cleaning company to shampoo your carpets and deodorize your home. This is recommended if you smoke inside your home. Start going outside to smoke to keep your home fresh smelling.

#6 House Staging Tip: Wallpaper and Paint Tips 

Fresh warm neutral tones on the walls helps a buyer envision their own decor in the rooms. Remove all wallpaper or custom paints, each person has their own taste in decorating and custom paints and wallpaper may put off a buyer because their taste is totally different. 

Inexpensive Touch: Remove wallpaper and freshen walls with warm neutral colors. DO NOT paint over wallpaper. 

Pro Tip: Hire a painter to freshen the paint in your home.

#7 House Staging Tips: Lighting is Everything 

Show off your home’s beauty, open the curtains and let the natural light in. Supplement this with additional lighting where necessary.  Your freshly cleaned windows will add sparkle as well. 

Inexpensive Touch: Wash all fixtures and replace any broken or damaged ones.

Pro Tip: Upgrade any outdated fixtures with fresh warm lighting to add to the ambience. 

#8 House Staging Tips: Flooring 

Dirty rugs and linoleum will deter a potential buyer from your home. Consider which rooms would benefit the most from a flooring upgrade and consider hardwood floors for added value. If a carpet can be easily cleaned rent a carpet cleaner and freshen the rugs. 

Inexpensive Touch: Upgrade the bathroom floors, they have relatively small areas therefore are the least expensive to do. Use high-quality vinyl flooring that mimic ceramic or stone tiles.

Pro Tip: Replace bad flooring with hardwood floors, ceramic or stone tiles to add long term value to your home.

#9 House Staging Tip: The Furniture

Use the right size furniture to give your space the homey feel. Too much furniture will create a small, cluttered looking space. Using furniture that is too small will make a space feel cold and impersonal. The goal is a warm and inviting living space. 

Inexpensive Touch: Rent nice furniture to stage your home. This will give it a new bright look without breaking your wallet with new furniture.

Pro Tip: Hire someone to stage your home to give it a homey feel. 

#10 House Staging Tip: Define your Rooms

Make sure each room has it’s single defined purpose. This helps buyers see how to maximize the home to it’s best potential. If you have finished rooms you are using for storage, clean them out and turn them into an office or another simple bedroom. Utilize every space to it’s potential giving the buyer an overall experience that will have them submitting an offer so they can put their decorating twist on the house. 

Just before an open house or showing, make sure your staging efforts have the maximum impact. Use some last minute touches to create a warm and inviting atmosphere. Fresh air and cut flowers are the top two last minute touches that can put your efforts over the top. Open your windows at least 15 minutes prior to a showing! Another tip is the fresh baked smell of cookies, it conveys the warm home feel that often leads to an offer. Purchase some “slice and bake” cookie dough, bake and let the aroma fill your home.  Overall you want your potential buyer to visualize themselves in this space.  Specifically, to get the most out of your staging efforts your home should appeal to a broad range of buyers. The more people it appeals to the more offers you will receive for your home.

Avoid These 3 Moving Mistakes

Moving Mistakes to Avoid

Moving to Ellsworth Maine, Avoid 3 Most Common Moving Mistakes!

Moving is ranked in the top 10 most stressful events in life and can be the single most stressful event when things go wrong. It can be a logistical nightmare! There’s not a lot of room for mistakes when moving. First, it’s finding the right place, then packing and unpacking, finding new schools, shops and other services.  In addition, there is also the financial stress and emotional aspect, especially if you’ve been in a place for a long time. Starting fresh in a new neighborhood, city or even country can be extremely stressful. 

Getting ready to move to or from Ellsworth, Maine, and need some moving tips to help you stay on the right track?  Avoid the three most common mistakes made while moving to help avoid a disaster and prevent unnecessary stress in your life. The following tips can help you  plus utilizing self storage can be a huge stress reliever!

Avoid the Three Most Common Mistakes!

Poor Time Management: Waiting Until the Last Minute

Procrastinating will only make things harder on you, leading to unnecessary stress. It’s best to start planning your move ahead of time, as in weeks and even months beforehand. Waiting until the last minute may cause you to forget important details that can quickly escalate into an epic disaster. Waiting until the last minute can create a nightmare when you unpack.

Packing Tip #1: Start packing as soon as possible. Start with non essential items, sort belongings, pack them a little at a time. Label boxes well to save you time when it comes time to unpack! Put yourself in a prime position to have everything ready to go on time. Storing these non essential boxes in Self Storage will help keep your house neat and make it easier to finish packing.

Keeping Things You Don’t Really Need

A list of moving tips wouldn’t be complete without talking about clutter. Whether you’ve been in your current place a year or twenty years, we all accumulate things, now is the best time to downsize. It’s easy to start throwing everything you own into boxes and loading them onto a truck. But once you’re at your new place, you’re stuck with things that you don’t really need! The extra work when unpacking can add unnecessary stress to an already stressful situation.  Take a little extra time now, it will be worth it.

Packing Tip #2: Go through your things critically. Decide what you should and shouldn’t keep. Make separate piles, consider donating your excess belongings, having a yard sale to earn some extra moving cash, and disposing of things that are beyond their prime. Only keep what you need in your new place. 

Packing Without the Right Supplies

Before you begin packing, it’s crucial to have packing supplies on hand. Packing will go smoother for you and everyone involved if you have all the right materials. You might only think about boxes and tape, but also consider how you will pack fragile items.  Plan for your larger items, how will you move larger items in your home. Having all the correct supplies on hand for moving day will help for a smooth transition. 

Packing Tip #3: Use carts and dollies to move heavy items. Have bubble wrap and packing peanuts on hand to protect your breakable items. Mattress and furniture covers are invaluable for protecting your possessions during transport. You can use old blankets to protect furniture as well.  

Storage Units Make Packing and Moving Easier

Moving in Maine is hard enough; don’t make it harder on yourself by waiting until the last minute or packing without having the right supplies. Avoid some of these common packing and moving mistakes by planning ahead, banishing the clutter, and using self storage units to your advantage. With storage space in Ellsworth, Maine, you can place your items in a unit before moving to help alleviate the stress of stumbling around stacked boxes.  Once you move to your new location you can bring them home as you need them, thus keeping loads of boxes out of your way as you prepare to move into your new home.