Holiday Craft Storage Tips

holiday craft making with toolsIt’s officially the holiday season, which means crafts are in full swing! The holidays are here and if your craft area looks anything like mine, there’s ribbon and tinsel everywhere and the house always smells faintly of hot glue. One way to make sure all your holiday craft and DIY presents arrive looking like they were made with love and care is by keeping your craft area neat and tidy. Read on for some ideas on how to store and organize everything from leftover glitter – hint: only use it outside or suffer the consequence of having random glitter flecks on you for the next two months – to cardboard elf patterns.

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Taking Memories Into the Digital Age: How To Store and Convert Photos

photo albums

Families tend to reminisce about old memories around the holidays, often digging out photographs and rehashing some of the most embarrassing or important moments in each other’s lives together.  While grandparents – and some parents – may still have boxes and drawers full of old photos, the rest of us have become accustom to just emailing, downloading or transferring photos the digital way. Read on for easy ideas on how to store, convert and share physical photographs to help make the torturing – or rather, reminiscing with family members even easier.

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What Does Your Diaper Bag Say About You?

Babies need stuff.  Lots and lots of stuff.

From cribs to strollers to tricked out containment orbs of safety and entertainment (I’m looking at you, exersaucer), you can tell a lot about the parents of said babies by the choices they make for their cherubs.  With one glance, you can tell if a parent is uber trendy, a hipster, indifferent or the most prepared parent EVURRRR. Continue reading

Things that no one tells you about parenthood

baby with food around mouth

This is what we parents call, “a neat and tidy meal.”

Having a child is the greatest thing that ever happened in my life. I used to hate hearing parents talk about how much their children changed their life. I still do, but now I get to join in the conversation, so it’s not as bad.

However, there are a lot of things that they don’t tell you about parenthood that would be nice to know. I’m not referring to diapers and bottles and crying in the middle of the night.

No, I’m talking about the stuff that really matters. There are some lessons that I have learned in my nineteen months as a dad that I think all prospective parents should know. Continue reading

Craigslist Sucks! Part II: A Dresser’s Tale

Seriously. It just sucks.

The four minutes that I spent superimposing the circle/slash over the Craigslist logo is really paying off.

A few months ago, I wrote a post about Craigslist and how much it sucks. My opinion of Craigslist hasn’t changed much. It’s still a great place to go to get stuff for cheap, and it’s still the definition of caveat emptor. This story proves that Craigslist can only get you so far.

This story is about a dresser. It’s not a particularly nice dresser. It’s not a particularly expensive dresser. It’s basically just a dresser. Continue reading

The 6 Types of Storage Users

man saluting storage unit

Is he saluting the unit, or is he flustered? We may never know…

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…”

With all due respect to Thomas Jefferson, any storage facility manager will tell you that all storage renters are not created equal. In the same way that everyone’s office looks different, their storage lockers look different as well. Follow me to learn about six different types of storage users:

The Neat Freak

The Neat Freak is organized. Ridiculously organized. His co-workers prank him by moving his pen three inches to the left after he leaves for the night. His storage unit is lined with identical modular shelving systems. His shelves are lined with color-coded and carefully packed plastic bins. He has an inventory list that is maintained and regularly double-checked for accuracy. He occasionally wonders whether he should issue QR codes to his belongings in order to more carefully track his items. He sweeps, vacuums, and dusts.

The Newlyweds

The Newlyweds rent a storage unit because Wife is not willing to allow Husband’s furniture in The Newlywed’s house, and Husband is not willing to allow Wife to throw away his stuff. Here you will find a lumpy, well-worn couch and recliner. You will find a coffee table with well worn beer rings. You will find an old mattress from a queen-sized bed. You will find an unopened 1989 Upper Deck set, with Ken Griffey, Jr. rookie card. You will find a carefully alphabetized collection of beer bottles, each unique, from every corner of the world. And you will find cobwebs, because no one will ever visit.

The Hoarder

The Hoarder is a special breed. They had a plan. Really, they did. They would stack a few things away in the storage unit, just to free up a little space at home. Just a few things, really. But then it became a few more things, then a few more, then two adjacent units, then a third. Opening the door has become difficult without being buried in an avalanche of musical playbills from 1974-1989, a collection of bowling trophies from every state, the cutest pot holder that you’ve ever seen, and seven very confused mice. This storage locker gets paid for every month because no one in the family has the heart to tell Grandma / Mom / Sister / Aunt that there’s no purpose in keeping any of these items. It’s just not worth the fight over those “his and hers” wicker wastebaskets from that great flea market in 1993.

The Businessman

The businessman has two types of units. Businessman 1 (B1) has a unit to keep surplus inventory. It’s organized with shelving units and labels. Businessman 2 (B2) has a unit to clear out space in his office or store room. This unit is filled with boxes of paper and files. There is an old office chair teetering dangerously on another old office chair. There are three boxes of 2009 calendars that never quite got mailed out to clients. B1 and B2 may very well be business partners and friends, but they definitely don’t share an office.

The Student

The Student will only be gone for a few months, so you would think that this unit would be extremely organized. Not so. This unit is filled with hastily packed boxes and gym bags sitting on one old couch, with a TV leaning precariously against the arm. The boxes are primarily labeled, “MISC.” because what else do you label a box that contains two sweatshirts, the remote controls, about ⅔ of the silverware, and all of the spare toiletries? The Student shares this unit with two other Students, who all used the same “system” to pack, and complain about how messy the others are.

The New Parents

The New Parent storage locker is an interesting place to be. All comers recognize immediately that something significant has changed. The New Parent storage locker is the remains of the man cave that has now become the playroom. In this locker, you’ll find a foosball table with dart boards stacked carefully on top. In the corner, you’ll find the handmade bar that New Dad built when they first bought the house, and the set of matching bar stools. Neon Budweiser signs long to be plugged in to flicker once again. All that’s missing is the big screen TV, which was left in place to replay Sponge Bob DVDs, SportsCenter. New Mom loves the new playroom. New Dad loves the new playroom, but secretly misses his man cave. This is actually the Newlyweds a few years later, but now New Dad/Husband has officially lost the war.

The Wrap

This is not all… not by a long shot. There are as many types of storage users as there are storage users. To bring things full circle, let’s hear what Thomas Jefferson might have said about modern storage users: “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are… is that a leather couch? Because I’ve been looking for one and I would love to… I mean, if you are thinking about selling it, I don’t want to step on your toes or anything, but if you would consider selling… or a swap? I’ve got a nice TV stand that I could part with…”

A Satire: Self-Storage In American History

fred merkle chicago cubs 1908

Read below to learn about how this gentleman would have benefitted from a self-storage unit.

The United States of America.

Excited yet?

Good.

The self-storage industry got its start in this country more than fifty years ago, but I’ve often spent late nights with old friends drinking fine whiskey, smoking fine cigars, and contemplating how our world might be different with a few conveniently placed historical storage units. And now, dear reader, I share these nuggets with you.

No need to thank me.

You’re welcome.

Roanoke Island

In 1585, a group of Englishmen from, well, England, decided to brave the Atlantic to found a new colony at Roanoke Island. To make a long story short, along the way, one of their ships hit a shoal (whatever that is, amiright?) and ruined most of the food supply.

Pay no heed, though. These brave (and clearly stupid) Englishmen pushed on ahead. Who needs food, anyway?

To make this already shortened story from getting any longer, here’s the cliffsnotes of the rest: after 1587, no one ever heard from the colonists again. They had vanished completely. No sign they had ever been there. Today, nearly four thousand years later (approximately), I’m left wondering: if they had had the foresight to rent a POD, fill it with porridge or curds and whey or Slim Jims or whatever they ate in those days, and send it ahead of them, would they have disappeared into thin air? I think not. And if they had made it, we’d all be speaking English today. Let that sink in for a minute.

That’s enough sinking in.

Valley Forge

During the American Revolution (which the Roanoke settlers did not participate in for reasons that have yet to be fully explained), a Virginian dandy with wooden teeth and wearing tights was put in charge of the American army. His name was George Washington.

Anyhow, during the winter of 1777-8, ol’ George had his army holed up at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. It ended up being one of the worst winters in memory in Pennsylvania. And if you’ve ever spent a winter near Philadelphia, you know that’s saying something. And this is before Benjamin Franklin invented fire by flying his kite in a lightning storm in order to prove that he wasn’t as smart as everyone thought.

Regardless, more than 2500 brave and undersupplied Americans died that winter, and many more deserted. And that’s with one s, not two, so it’s not the good kind. How much do you think Washington would have paid to have a local Uncle Bob’s filled with sweaters, bratwursts, and charcoal briquets that they could raid?

Yeah, a bunch, I bet. Like more than ten bucks. Like, a lot more.

Gettysburg

This, perhaps ironically, is a case when a storage unit actually WAS available and… well… sit back, children, and I’ll spin you a tale.

The year was 1863. The location, again, was Pennsylvania. Because, where else would it be? Right. Nowhere. So, as a reminder, we’re in Pennsylvania and it’s 1863. Ok, back to it.

General Lee (not a car) was leading the Confederate Army north to try to cause enough damage to eliminate support for the Civil War in the North. He had his eye on a Union supply depot with clothing and shoes, which were much needed for his men. At the same time, General Meade (also not a car) saw an opportunity. Again in the interest of time, the cliffsnotes: Lee took his eye off the prize and ran headfirst into the incredibly obvious and stupid trap that Meade had set for him. Then, he did it for a second day. And a third day.

Nearly 50,000 dead and the end of Lee’s ambition to win the war in 1863. And Lincoln could only muster a couple of hundred words on it. No wonder he never amounted to much.

If Lee had simply avoided a three day long brain fart, those 50,000 soldiers might still be alive today. But instead, he decided to skip the storage unit and head to good ol’ Gettysburg. That’s right: Lee’s brain fart killed 50,000 men. That’s a serious fart.

Merkel’s Boner

Now, you might be surprised that I just used the word “boner” in an intellectual, academic historical journal such as this. Men, please help the ladies who fainted return to their seats. There is nothing untoward occurring in this corner of the ol’ internet.

Unless you consider stupid baserunning to be untoward. If so, protect the women and children because it’s about to get crazy untoward up in here.

The date was September 23, 1908. New York Giants starting 1st baseman Fred Tenney woke up with a case of lumbago (I already did the Google search: it’s lower back pain). In his place, a 19-year-old named Fred Merkle started for first game against the feared Chicago Cubs (the Giants always kept at least two Freds on the roster, just in case). The Cubs and the Giants were tied in first and blah blah blah. Let’s get to the boner, amiright?!

It was the 9th inning and there were men on first and third, with Merkle on first. Al Bridwell drove the ball into center field, sending McCormick home from third to score the winning run. The game was over. Fans started to swarm on to the field, because they had to walk across the field to leave the stadium (just like today) and Merkle turned around to go back to the dugout without ever touching second. He was called out and the run didn’t count. The game was tied. The Giants lost the game to the Cubs, and ended up the season one game behind them.

How could storage have helped? I’m pretty sure that Merkel would have loved a place to hide his with his boner.

Wait.

Let me try that again.

I’m pretty sure that Merkel would have loved a place to hide away after committing his boner. That’ll have to work.

The Wrap

Clearly, self-storage has had an important role to play in American history. Its absence has caused famines and embarrassed boners, and its presence has led to fatal brain farts. Self-storage: how could it have helped your favorite historical figure?