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Summer is known as vacation time, but when you live in one of the most beautiful places on Earth (and the PNW certainly is that!) it may seem silly to leave home for new scenery. There’s more to the state than the Puget Sound and environs though, and you might want to consider checking out parts of the state you might not have seen lately. Here are a few local driving vacations to think about; many of these trips also offer hotels along the way and hiking trails.
1. The Cascade Loop - A 440-mile drive that takes Highway 2 to Leavenworth then Wenatchee; at that point, take Highway 97 north through Chelan. After Chelan, you head east through Methow Valley. Head back over the Cascade Mountains on the North Cascade Highway for a run through Skagit Valley and along Whidbey Island. This trip is so scenic you’ll want to do it every year!
2. Loop Around Olympic Peninsula - You’re going to want to repeat this one, too! Take Highway 101 for the most part, and visit places like Port Townsend, Cape Flattery, Hurricane Ridge, the Hoh Rain Forest, and more. This is about a 300 mile, eight hour drive if you start from Olympia; to go roundtrip from Seattle, add a couple of hours.
3. Washington’s Highway 31- For a really different adventure, this drive through northeastern Washington is a great choice. Start on Highway 31 near the Canadian border; this is known as the Selkirk International Loop, which terminates at Tiger, WA, where it runs into the Pend Oreille Valley Scenic Byway. Places to visit on this route include Crescent Lake, Crawford State Park, the Lion's Club Train scenic railroad, Box Canyon Dam and the Tiger Museum. This trip will also give the opportunity to visit the Colville National Forest, a view of the Salmo-Priest Wilderness Area and Sullivan Lake.
4. White Pass Scenic Byway - A nationally designated Scenic Byway, White Pass offers amazing scenery, from the incredible beauty of Washington’s evergreen forests to the majestic Cascade Mountains, and the Tieton River’s drainage area and it’s rolling sage covered hills on the state’s east side. Wildlife such as elk, bear, and bighorn sheep, plus eagles, red-tailed hawks and osprey are common on this road, so be sure to take your camera.
5. The Columbia River Gorge Loop - For one of the most beautiful and breathtaking trips in Washington, drive the Columbia River Gorge Loop. A short but scenic route if you make no stops, it’s worth the extra time to check this one out. Places to stop and marvel at include the Franz Lake National Wildlife Refuge (drive to the end of Indian Mary Road for the best views), Beacon Rock State Park, the Columbia River Gorge Interpretive Center Museum and the nearby Bridge of the Gods, Bonneville Fish Hatchery, and Vista House. You can then venture further east into the deserts of eastern Washington, cross the river and explore the Oregon side of the river (including Multnomah Falls), or turn around and head home. Begun in 1915, the Oregon side of the Gorge Loop is listed as a National Historic Landmark on the National Register of Historic Places.
Self-storage is everywhere! Most of us probably pass by at least one storage property in our daily comings and goings. But what do we really know about self-storage? Here is some information you probably weren’t aware of.
Self-storage has been around a long time. There is evidence of a type of public storage space being used as far back as 4000 B.C. It wasn’t anything like the secure facilities you see today, of course, but things were stored in pots, buried in the ground, and protected by guards. America’s modern self-storage industry dates back to the latter part of the 1960s. It was around this time that the first storage chain got its start, too.
In the United States, self-storage is big! We’ve got over 2 billion square feet of storage space in approximately 50,000 self-storage facilities; that’s more establishments than all the McDonald’s and Starbucks in America, combined.
Worldwide, there’s less storage, mostly in Europe. The United Kingdom is home to about 1,000 storage properties while France has around 400. Spain, Germany, and Sweden have about 500 sites combined, and another 260 self-storage facilities can be found in The Netherlands.
Self-storage is popular in America. Roughly 10% of American households rent at least one self storage unit, despite the fact that most of them also have a garage, attic, or basement in their homes.
It’s more than just storage, too. Many storage companies offer additional products and services such as mailboxes, packing supplies, fax and copy services, and more. Many of these storage offices also have truck rentals available; it’s not uncommon for new tenants to be offered the free use of one of these trucks for move-in.
In addition to these facts, there is one more thing to know. Security is paramount in self-storage. From video cameras to motion detectors and door alarms, the more security you can find, the better protected your stored property will be. Self-storage companies invest heavily in security and upgrade frequently to keep up with technology.
Small businesses may find that increased success necessitates additional space to keep growing. Find out about solutions to the need for more room.
Once you’ve begun a business, worked hard, and started to succeed, you may find that you face new challenges to continued growth. Storage for files, materials, inventory, and other property is a common concern for a growing business. Let us show you how business storage can be a great, affordable solution for your business’s need for more room.
No matter what your enterprise may be, success means you’ll find one day that you need additional space for equipment, production materials, files, or whatever other items your business needs. Your nearby self-storage facility can offer solutions to your storage needs while also offering additional advantages you may not realize you can use.
- SECURITY - Self-storage companies are constantly updating their security features to include the latest technology; this means that not only is your business property safe, it gets safer over time. Whether you’re storing last year’s files or your saleable stock, self-storage security will give you peace of mind, knowing that your business is well protected.
- LOW COST PER SQUARE FOOT - Retail and commercial real estate are not cheap; business space leases can be long term and very expensive. Self-storage for your small business is much more affordable than the average cost of retail space. Since you’ll be storing things, rather than presenting them for sale, there’s no reason to pay premium price for a retail space, electricity, and the incidental costs associated with commercial rental. You’re likely to find that the storage space you need is much less costly than the storefront or warehouse you don’t.
- HEATED/CLIMATE CONTROLLED STORAGE - If you’re needing a place to keep documents, files, manufacturing materials, and inventory, you need to ensure that your items are not damaged by weather. A heated or climate controlled storage space can help keep your property dry and free from moisture damage. In addition, stored liquids won’t freeze and vehicles and machinery are ready to go despite outside temperatures.
- BUSINESS SERVICES AND PERKS - Many self-storage companies offer services and products specifically tailored to small businesses. For instance, if your expanding business uses machinery or requires large quantities of production materials, a contractor spaces often include power and lighting in the unit, in addition to being larger than other spaces. Your storage facility may also offer sales of file storage boxes, shelving rental to keep your unit organized, fax and copy services, and acceptance of deliveries of all kinds. A storage company that also offers mailboxes can provide your home business with a separate mailing address, as well.
- CONVENIENCE - These days you’ll find self-storage in many neighborhoods and most cities; chances are there’s a self-storage facility within a few short miles of where you are right now! This means that keeping your business property in self-storage is not a major hassle and can be quite convenient. The idea of storing things away from you may seem like a lot of hassle, but when you can keep your current space clutter-free and usable, while also keeping your business property in a secure, nearby, easily accessible facility, it’s really not a problem. If your storage company offers spaces with 24-hour access, and it gets even better.
From home contractors of all types to Etsy craft store operators, you’ve got things taking up room in your home or other space. Whether it’s a spareroom or a small office, a growing enterprise will soon exceed the space originally allotted to it. Unless you want to move all the kids into one bedroom, or sleep in the couch and convert your own room into a warehouse, you might want to consider all that self-storage can offer your small business.
Call your local self-storage company and ask how they can help you keep your small business growing and thriving.
When you’re in the market for a self-storage unit, whether it’s for a month or a year or longer, you want to find a facility that offers value in not only price, but in their way of doing business. A company that has these key traits is a company that will meet your needs and give you peace of mind while you store.
Is your self-storage facility affordable for you? This doesn’t necessarily mean the lowest priced unit in town; sometimes you give up a lot to get that cheap space and besides, affordability is a different thing altogether.
Consider the price of your storage unit, of course. But also consider other things, like:
Security - More features are always better, but cameras and keypads are the barest minimum you should accept. Unique gate codes, individually alarmed units, security patrols, and more, are all value-adds for your storage dollar.
Lighting - Particularly in winter, when the days are shorter and the sun doesn’t always shine, you need to be able to see clearly. Whether opening your unit, loading or unloading it, or adding to it, good lighting is not just convenient, it’s also a matter of safety.
Hours - It doesn’t matter how inexpensive your storage unit is if you can’t get into it. Ask what days your storage facility is open and ask about both office hours and access/gate hours, and consider these carefully when renting a storage unit.
Access - Is your storage unit indoors or outdoors? Does it have a large, roll-up door or a regular door for entry? Can you drive up to the space or is it only accessible on foot? If you can’t reasonably get into or out of your unit, or if the things you’re storing won’t fit in the hallways and driveways, then it’s not worth renting no matter what the price.
Staff - Your storage staff should be professional, friendly, knowledgeable, and ready to help. When you need information on units or aren’t sure what size of space will work best for you, or if you have questions about security, pricing, and service, your storage facility staff should be able to help you. An understaffed office, or one with untrained employees who aren’t customer focused, is not a place you want to have to work with.
When these things are considered, in addition to price, you end up with a self storage unit that won’t break the bank, but which offers you everything you need and want when storing your property. Affordability is about getting the right storage unit with the right features and people, at the right price.
Trustworthiness and Reliability
A self-storage facility is a human-centered business. What they do is store your stuff, but what they are is a service, and service is all about the people. You want to work with people you can count on, and who you can believe when they talk to you. It’s vital that your chosen storage company be accountable, dependable, and honest.
Asking questions of several different people is a great way to gauge the reliability of the information you receive from your storage staff. You don’t want to sign a rental agreement and then find out that everyone in the store is giving out different answers to the same question!
There are other things you can look at to determine reliability, too. Are the hours actually observed, or does the store often open late or close early? Is the unit in the same condition as you were told it would be? Do the staff seem positive and friendly or do they appear discontent or disinterested? Are there hidden or unexpected fees that weren’t initially mentioned when you inquired about storage? These things can indicate a storage facility that you may not be able to relax with.
Self-storage is much more than just storage spaces and padlocks! It’s a growing, changing, evolving service that should be keeping up with the times to make it that much easier for you.
For instance, are units at a facility simply padlocked, or does the company give their customers secure, tamper-resistant locks to use? Is the entry gate electronically controlled or does everyone get a key? The more up-to-date and modern features like these are, the more likely it is that this facility continually works to make improvements.
A big aspect of this is having an online presence. Not only should a storage company have a website and a social media presence; Facebook, Google+, and Pinterest, at the very least. You should be able to get information on their units, pricing, and more through these venues, and to pay your monthly rent online, too. Being present across multiple devices is a big plus, too! The internet makes it easy for self-storage to offer you convenience and savings.
A business that involves itself and its staff in the community is a business that is committed to the people it serves. Participation in community events like parades, joining civic organizations, working with charities and schools; these kind of activities make a business of any type a part of the town or neighborhood they serve. A self-storage company that engages with its community is one that can be relied upon to support that community. Community involvement by a your self storage company means they value their customers and the place they live, and they are a contributing member of that place.
Whether you need to store just a few things, a whole house full of furniture, or a vehicle, you want to find the best storage facility around. It should be reliable, innovative and affordable, as well as being a good citizen of its city or neighborhood. And once you’ve found that place, you’ll find that storing your belongings is not just easy, but that it’s a positive experience for you.
Self-storage doesn’t have to be a years’ long commitment and it doesn’t have to be a major inconvenience. Today’s self-storage facilities offer options for lease terms, unit sizes, and more, to make your experience easier than you might imagine, even if it’s just for a month or two.
There are many reasons why temporary storage can be a benefit to you. But whatever reason you decide to store just a few things or an entire houseful, you can relax, knowing that the modern security measures implemented by most storage companies will protect your belongings and keep them safe until you take them home again.
So, why would you want temporary storage? These five reasons may be the most common, but there are many more times when self-storage can be a great help in your life.
Moving. There are, of course, many reasons for moving. Relocating for a job, military orders, or retirement, for instance. But no matter why you’re moving, self-storage can help. You may need to send your belongings ahead to your new location while you take a vacation on your way to your next home. Conversely, you might find that you have to leave vehicles, boats, or RVs behind for a time until you can retrieve them, or you might need to live in temporary housing before you move into your new abode. No matter what why you’re moving, self-storage is an invaluable help. When you’re away from your property, self storage offers security and protection for your peace of mind.
Remodeling/Repairing. Houses are an investment that require upkeep and maintenance, but even if the house or apartment you live in is rented, there will still be times that you need to have your furniture and belongings out of the way. Whether you’re painting the entire house or just one room, replacing carpeting, or upgrading your kitchen and bathroom, having sofas, and the like out of the way can be very helpful. Self-storage doesn’t have to be a long-term commitment, so even if your project is only going to take a few weeks, you can protect your belongings while you finish the job.
Downsizing. Empty nest? Retiring? Moving in or out of a shared living situation? There are many things that happen in life that might require us to live in less space than we’re used to. Whatever the reason, when you need to have fewer possessions in your living space for a few weeks or even longer, self-storage is the answer.
Seasonal vehicles. Your RV, boat, motorcycle, canoe, snowmobile, or any other seasonal conveyance can be stored in self storage during the “off” season. Consider the advantages to having these items out of the way, rather than taking up all the space in your garage or shed! You can rent storage or a parking space for almost any of your large seasonal equipment, keeping it secure when it’s not in use and convenient to retrieve when you’re ready.
- College. It's not always convenient to carry all of your belongings and furniture home for the summer, then back with you in fall. But a great many colleges reassign residences every year; if you’ve been living off campus, it’s not sensible to pay rent while you’re away for several months in the summer. It is far more cost effective and convenient to rent a storage unit to hold your belongings during the summer break, and it will be easily accessible when you return in the fall. To make it even better, share a unit with friends to save money! Whatever your reasons for using self-storage, be sure your property is secure and safe. Look for good security (the more, the better!) and a well-maintained property. It's important to be able to relax while you're home for the summer, knowing that your belongings are safe and protected.