Basic Tips for Keeping Clothes in Storage

Basic Tips for Keeping Clothes in StorageWhen the closet becomes full and room for new clothes is scarce, a self-storage unit can be just what you need for the clothes you’re not wearing but still wish to keep in a safe place. When placing clothing items in a self-storage unit, it is necessary to take every precaution to prevent your clothes from damage, whether by weather or pests. No matter if you’re storing your clothes for thirty days or one year, follow these tips to keep your clothes in great condition until you are ready to wear them again.

Clean all garments thoroughly before storage. For long-term storage, don’t use starch or any other form of fragrance on the clothes as it will attract moths or other pests. The place where you store your garments should be cool, dry, and dark. Sunlight, extreme heat, and moisture might damage your clothing. Extra care should be taken when keeping garments in regions with high temperatures, perhaps in these places, a temperature or climate controlled unit would be best.

Try not to leave clothing in storage without reviewing its condition on at least a quarterly basis. Leaving your clothes sitting for months-on-end could promote the growth of mold, especially if they don’t have access to appropriate ventilation. This is particularly true in regions of high moisture. Using silica gel is a fantastic way to mitigate humidity in these kinds of environments. And for moths, cedar cubes are a great, all natural method to discourage them. These will offer protection for the garments without the lingering odor of mothballs or other chemical pest control items.

When utilizing hangers, nonmetallic hangers are best because they won’t rust, and be specific when labeling storage containers. This will help retain the integrity of every item and protect against mildew or dye transfer between clothes, as will storing clothes with as few folds as possible.

Whatever you do, a bit of research can’t make your situation worse. Before you put your clothes in storage, being prepared with all the relevant information will make it anxiety-free and worthwhile.

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8 Tips to Get Your Budget on Track

8 Tips to Get Your Budget on TrackGetting back on track with your budget can be disheartening, if not a source of anxiety. How will you eat out four times a week if you’re putting all the money you make away for twenty years? Well, it doesn’t have to be that way. Heed the following reasonable, simple steps to get back on track with your budget.

Set a Goal

Your goal must be realistic, measurable, achievable, and timely. Are you aiming to have just $50 at the end of every week? Want to save $100 for the holidays? Do you plan to move when the lease is up and hope to put money down on a house? Think about your future, what you’d like to achieve or obtain, and set a timespan in which you can reach your goal, and measure your progress as you go along.

Monitor What You’re Spending Monthly

Begin your budget by maintaining detailed records of your expenses for 30 days. Track every purchase down to the cent. This will help you win back control of your budget by knowing exactly where your paycheck is being spent, and it’ll provide a guide to set a realistic spending budget with. It’ll also give you indications where you can change your spending behavior.

Set a Spending Budget

You now know where all your money is going, so setting a realistic spending budget will be easier. You will have to make adjustments to understand what will work best for your way of life, so do not be afraid of change, yet also don’t be afraid of sacrificing immediate pleasure for long-term gain. You won’t have to cut out all the fun stuff, but sticking to your spending budget will assist you in reaching your goals.

Choose a Savings Account Thoughtfully

Savings accounts can differ greatly with regards to interest, fees, and minimum balance requirements, so do your homework and find the account that’s best suited for you.

Save Automatically

All of us have weak moments when we intend to put money into savings, but something comes up. Maybe that birthday you forgot about, or your car gets a flat tire. Avoid the situation three months from now when you look at your savings to discover you only have $10 in it by making your contributions automatic, establish direct deposit from your payroll and avoid a saving’s plan derailment. You may also have it automatically drafted from your bank account into your savings via  tools on your bank’s website.

Establish an Emergency Fund

What would you do if you lost your job or were in an accident causing extended hospitalization? Do you have enough money to get you through if have to take off work for a few months? While your savings account could be utilized for a significant purchase like a brand new car or a down payment on a brand new home, an emergency fund is an account you fund and don’t touch unless there’s an actual emergency. Financial experts say you should have four to seven months’ worth of expenses in your emergency fund.

Be a Clever Shopper

Look for ways to save. Sign up for rewards or programs loyalty, shop at the warehouse and club stores, use coupons and plan your trips strategically to take advantage of the best offers. When shopping online utilize cost comparison websites.

Get App Savvy

You’ll find an application for almost everything. So look for applications that can help you be a better saver. There are budgeting applications, ones that assist you in finding the best local deals and applications which will help you to sell your old items to other people. Consider YNAB (You Need a Budget), although coming at a price of $50 a year, it connects to your bank account and updates your charges from your budget automatically, and it is totally customizable.

As you get your budget on track, don’t be discouraged by hiccups along the way. The great thing about a budget is it’s flexible, and you actually have built-in safeguards for emergencies and unexpected events. If you get anxious, just put more money toward those areas for a while. Getting back on track with your budget will save you time, money, and put you in the best position to succeed in the future.

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7 Quick Ways to Conserve Energy and Save Money

7 Quick Ways to Conserve Energy and Save MoneyWith so many things to do in a day, the idea of having to worry about saving energy in addition to everything else just isn’t attractive. So what happens? Many people pay it no attention. Yet, energy conservation is important as it helps the environment. As much of our current energy sources are created from dirty sources like fossil fuels, daily energy use produces pollution. Saving energy reduces energy demand and therefore lowers the amount of pollution generated. To begin is really quite easy, just follow these 7 tips to get started!

  • Regularly inspect areas inside your house such as hoses, connectors, and taps to check for any leaks. Repair as needed. Particularly ensure you have no leaky faucets. Even a slow drip of warm water can add a great deal to your monthly energy bill.
  • Place open water containers outside and use them for a wide range of outdoor maintenance activities like watering plants, washing concrete surfaces, outdoor tools, and the like.
  • Take showers instead of baths. Not only will this use less warm water, which requires more energy, but less water generally. Secondly, take shorter showers, and utilize a low-flow shower head. Have a faucet aerator in each faucet to conserve water and heat and maintain high water pressure.
  • Wash garments and dishes with cold water whenever possible.
  • Unplug appliances when not in use, to reduce ghost power usage, also called standby power, that uses energy even when the appliance is not in use. One way to do this is to connect all appliances to an intelligent power strip. Then when you use a certain appliance just switch the strip on, and when you’re finished turn it off and don’t worry about it.
  • Use compact fluorescent light bulbs. They utilize 70-90% percent less electricity than incandescent light bulbs, last 10 to 25 times longer, and save $30 to $80 in power cost in their lifetime, according to the ENERGY STAR government site. Similarly, use products that have earned the ENERGY STAR certificates meeting strict energy efficiency recommendations.
  • Insulate your water heater to prevent any loss of heat. This may retain heat for a longer period of time for the water inside and reduce the amount spent on energy monthly. Insulate the connecting pipes as well to further prevent the loss of heat.

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Natural Solutions for Cleaning Your Kitchen

Natural Solutions for Cleaning Your KitchenMost of us want to make cleaning as painless and as inexpensive as possible. The kitchen particularly is a unique challenge due to the variety of cleaning demands.  Now you can have an easy day of cleaning without using toxic cleaners. Almost all of these guidelines use things you’ll find around your house. Expensive cleaners aren’t necessary in most cases. And the best part is, by using non-toxic cleaning supplies, you can also get the children involved!

The Stove Top – Clean up grease by throwing a little bit of cornstarch or baking soda on it, wiping it away after you clean up the rest of the kitchen. Auto wax will make the surface sleek, smooth, and simple to clean.

Oven and Microwave Cleaning – To clean the microwave, place a sponge soaked with white vinegar or lemon juice in the microwave, heating it for a couple of minutes. Don’t open the microwave for about five minutes. The stuck on food should slide off. The same procedure can be used on ovens except, without a sponge, using a shallow pan together with a few cups of white vinegar. Heat for five to ten minutes and allow the oven to cool for approximately half an hour. Food will slide right off.

Red Dye Spots – For red meals dye stains on counters, such as those left by drinks, use straight rubbing alcohol, enough to cover the stain. Leave it for a few minutes and wipe away. Use a sudsy cleaner on the counter after.

Tarnished Silverware – For tarnished silverware, heat 2 water cups and add 2 tbsp of baking soda. Put silverware on a sheet of aluminum foil in a pan, making sure the silverware is in contact on the foil. A combination of metal and baking soft drink will cause the tarnish to disappear.

Of course, there are many other tips and tricks for cleaning around the kitchen. Don’t be afraid to try new things, and share your solutions on Facebook!

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4 Apartment Warming Gift Ideas

4 Apartment Warming Gift Ideas

Moving into an apartment can be thrilling, exhilarating, and slightly frightening particularly if you’re a first time renter. To celebrate the move, apartment warming celebrations thrown by family and friends are becoming more and more common. The following are several gift ideas that are great for people who rent apartments!

Gifts for Emergencies

Everyone should be prepared for emergencies. When coming up with gift ideas, a fireproof box along with a basket of emergency supplies is a good gift for practical people. The fireproof box will protect important paperwork and sentimental items in case of emergencies like fires, floods, and severe weather. And the basket of emergency supplies will come in handy in case of a power outage.

A wireless security alarm is also a pragmatic gift and, most importantly, offers some peace of mind. Some alarms activate when doors or windows are opened, others will turn lights off and on when the apartment is vacant. Prices vary from about $25 and up.

Other gift ideas for first time apartment tenants include gifts of convenience.

Who wouldn’t like to relax on the couch while the floors are cleaned by robot vacuums? These vacuums, like iRobot’s Roomba, clean at the push of a button and some can be scheduled to automatically run during certain hours of the day. There are various types to select from depending on what you’d like it to do and what kind of floor it’ll clean. The price depends on these factors and the model that you choose.

Whether they’d admit it or not, a lot of people love singing in the shower. That means sometimes getting lost in song and losing track of time. Mull over the idea of gifting a shower radio with a clock display. With this gift, your friend can listen to their favorite songs, sing along, and be on time for work.

So long as you put thought into it, a good present isn’t determined by the amount of money you spend. When considering first time renters, think of presents that will be useful and appreciated, and you’ll be sure to gift good presents at the next apartment warming party you attend.

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How to Create and Securely Store Strong Passwords

In today’s world, it’s more important than ever to create and securely store passwords. Each year hundreds of millions of consumer accounts are hacked, thanks to passwords that were easily guessed or reused after they were revealed following large information breaches. The solution, of course, is to create strong and unique passwords regularly. And the easiest way to do this is by using a password management program. Management programs not only help mitigate the worst of our habits, preventing us from reusing the same password over and over with simple variations like character substitutions rather than character strings that are  arbitrary, but they are also the most secure for this task, as they are specifically designed and encrypted for password storage.

Password managers can generate secure passwords for every site you use and put them in a list. The only catch is you have to create a master password to have access to this list. Security researcher and creator of Have I Been Pwned? Troy Hunt says that, when developing a master password, it must be strong. What does this look like? Human behavior, even faulty behavior, follows certain patterns and rules. So the main thing is to create a password that will come to you unnaturally and will require memorization. Secure passwords have plenty of things in common: they are long, distinctive, involve a character mixture, and avoid hints and references to our personal lives.

Lorrie Faith Cranor of Carnegie Mellon University says people are predictable. They place their unique characters at the start and end of passwords rather than mixing them up in the center, or use common phrases and patterns, such as iloveyou. In addition, people frequently choose passwords which are too short. For a secure master password, at least 12 characters long is a good rule of thumb. For Lorrie, the key measure of password security is entropy. “This, in computer science terms, is a measurement of how unpredictable a password is based on how long it’d take an attacker to work it out by making a guess at each character.”

By this standard, longer passwords are more secure. Nevertheless, people are bad at being arbitrary. So it’s best to find a good password program that will store and create unique, difficult-to-guess passwords for you, like 1Password.

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How to Store Paint

How to Store PaintWe all know the situation. You buy a few gallons of paint to paint a room. You proceed to paint the room. And then you have a few gallons of paint left over. Where and how should you store it all?

Storage

The first thing you’ll want to do is seal the can of paint. Do this by wiping the edges of the lid, making sure no paint will stick between the lid and the can’s seal. Next you’ll want to press the lid down. Do this by either using a mallet to tap the lid down, or cover the lid with a piece of wood and tap the piece of wood with a hammer. Never hit the lid directly with something dense like a hammer, as this could cause bends and breaks in the lid, preventing a secure seal.

Next, store the paint cans in an environment not susceptible to extreme changes in heat. Cold air can cause latex paint to separate and heat can cause it dry out. If moisture is consistently present in the environment, elevate the paint cans to keep them dry.

Quick Test to Determine if Paint is Good after Storage

Reopening paint cans is an awful experience for most, especially if left to their own devices. You’ll definitely want to avoid using screwdrivers and hammers because if you bend the lid, you might not get a good seal in the future. Rather, purchase a paint can opener. Then reopening won’t be such a huge deal.

Lowe’s recommends the following, to test your paint.

If you have latex, smell it. If it emits a rancid odor, it’s bad. Secondly, if film is on the top, remove it. Stir the paint. Then test the paint by brushing it on newspaper to discover whether it is clumpy. If it is, then it’s bad.

If you have an oil-based paint, it is good for up to fifteen years so long as it hasn’t been exposed to extreme temperatures and was sealed adequately.

That’s it! It’s pretty simple. Follow these tips to know how to store paint and whether paint you’ve retrieved from storage is good or bad!

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The Best Container for Coffee: According to the NCA

What’s worse than waking up in the morning to a sour cup of coffee: a cup of coffee that, for all the routines and tasks for which you need it to energize you, you cannot stomach? The National Coffee Association gives us a few tips on how to store coffee, in order that your storing techniques won’t contribute to an awful morning coffee experience.

“Your beans’ greatest enemies are air, moisture, heat, and light.”

The best container is light-proof and air-proof. Light will diminish or change the flavor of your coffee, and has the greatest effect on your beans directly after roasting. Light actually causes coffee beans to go stale. So the best container will be one you do not open often and that houses the beans in total darkness. For the chemical changes light causes, take a look at eLightBulbs’ blog.

Another coffee killer is air. This is because carbon dioxide is responsible for most of the aroma and flavor aspects, according to The Atlantic. As carbon dioxide leaves the coffee beans, oxidation begins, which “degrades quality by altering coffee’s essential oils and aromatic components….” Although it is pleasing to smell the bright coffee aroma as you open the sealed container, each time you do diminishes the quality of coffee you can brew.

In fact, all of these elements: air, moisture, heat, and light contribute to the oxidation process, and that’s why the best coffee container blocks these elements.

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Tips for Storing Financial Documents

Tips for Storing Financial Documents

As you move from apartment to apartment, the task of storing financial documents can seem daunting at first, not only because some documents might be relevant in the foreseeable future while others virtually useless, but because typically financial documents include sensitive personal information. On top of a good organization system, storing financial documents requires a certain level of security not usually demanded of other kinds of storage. Read the following tips to get on you on the right track.

First thing’s first, for documents you don’t want to keep, destroy them: do not simply recycle or toss them in the trash. Because these documents contain sensitive information, the only safe way to dispose of these is through a shredder or incineration. If you don’t have a shredder, and don’t care about incineration, just visit Office Depot, or other office supply stores, to shred documents, as these businesses usually offer shredding services.

Physical Storage

For financial documents you won’t need access to, but should still keep in storage, just place them in filing boxes. To keep it simple and easy for the future, you might name boxes by category. For  security, a filing cabinet with a lock is the best direction to go, or even a locker where you can stack the boxes on top of each other.

On the other hand, if you want certain financial documents accessible, there are a few things you can do. Of course a filing cabinet is optimal, and then categorizing financial document types by file color. Also breaking down categories by date needed or date received could be useful.

Other, long-term financial-relevant documents you might need, like birth certificates, you can store at a safe deposit at your local bank, or purchase a safe for their keeping to protect it from possible future damages.

Digital Storage

A good way to keep your financial documents accessible while also adding an element of security is to purchase a small external hard drive. You probably won’t need more than 5 or 10 GBs, given how little space documents themselves take up, when compared to pictures and videos. With an external hard drive you can add a password protection. Another advantage is you won’t have your financial documents directly on the computer designated for everyday use. This will keep your sensitive files out of the hands of hackers and, maybe, your children. You won’t have to worry about accidentally sending the files or deleting them, as they’ll always be on the external hard drive, which you can disconnect from all devices when you don’t need access to the files stored there.

Another easy way to store sensitive documents is through the cloud, which will enable you to have access to these documents on any network-connected device. A free option is Google Drive, but there are other services like iCloud that provide similar services. You might also just want to look into getting a sensitive document storage program.

Whatever you do, remember to balance security and accessibility.

How to Avoid 3 Common Moving Scams

How to Avoid 3 Common Moving ScamsThe three most common moving scams all involve money. Before you continue to read about the common scams of moving companies, just know that all can be avoided, quite simply, if you sign a contract before you officially decide to hire or use moving services.

  1. Inflating Prices after Packing All Your Belongings

One thing you want to watch out for is hiring a moving company without having a contract with an established, agreed upon price for the move. If you don’t have a contract, some rogue moving companies will pack all your belongings and then require that you pay a fee two or three times larger than estimate or refuse to unpack your stuff. This is a terrible situation: avoid it at all costs!

  1. Inflating Prices after Giving an Estimate

Some dubious movers will just glance at all your belongings and give a “rough” estimate of how much moving fees and services will cost. Do not trust this, and do not base your final decision on the estimate being true. Rather, if you receive an estimate or not, do not agree to use the services of a moving company without signing a contract with an agreed upon price.

  1. Deposit Required before Moving

Lastly, unscrupulous moving companies might require a deposit before showing up to move your stuff. Never do this. This is the sure sign of a scam. Scammers will just take your deposit money and never show up. Then you’ll be out of both movers and out of money.

Signing a contract is the best way to avoid the scams listed above. But there is also more you can do to protect yourself. First of all, never give a deposit. The only time this might be necessary is if you move on a holiday, but otherwise virtually no reputable moving company will require one of you. Another thing you can do is ensure the moving company is licensed by the Department of Transportation. Simply visit their website and do some research on your movers. Additionally, the Department provides a checklist brochure so you’ll never be in the dark about whether your movers are legitimate or not. Lastly, you can always check online reviews. Chances are, if they’re scammers, other people have already reported them.