HSC Expert Tips: Cleaning Your Windows in a Flash!

Hey guys! Here at Hollywood Storage Center, I’m often asked all manner of questions from our awesome customers. Naturally, most questions are about storage — but sometimes, a customer has a question on how best to clean different parts of their home. Y’know, especially those outside areas that we (or if we’re lucky, our cleaning service) either don’t have time to do … or are a bit hesitant to tackle. I get it — cleaning outside the house can be a BIG job! Is there any way around spending countless hours on a huge “seasonal spruce-up”? I pride myself on being somewhat of a cleaning “expert” — I took all kinds of cleaning jobs (especially outdoor stuff) to make ends meet during college. Let’s look at one of your home’s most important areas: the windows.

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Clean windows really do make the whole house look better — whether you’re standing inside or outside. My advice: Focus on the outside of your windows, where the most dirt builds up. By using a multi-surface cleaner attached to your garden hose, like this one from Windex, you’ll have really clean windows in no time. And I suggest that — for best results — you choose a wind-free, overcast day. Wind gusts will make you kinda wet and soapy … and if it’s too sunny, the cleaning solution will leave streaks. Trust me — you don’t want either. Anyway, here are my tips:

+ Close all the windows and screens. From the outside (obviously), and using a whisk broom, brush any debris from the screens you can easily reach — no need to take them out — and the window tracks.

+ Attach the Multi-Surface Cleaner to your hose and remove the yellow plug. Turn the dial to “Rinse” and spray your windows through the screens from a couple feet away. Bonus: The power of the stream will let you reach windows on the second floor without a ladder. Move the stream back and forth to shake any extra debris loose, and make sure you hit cobwebs in the corners and those pesky bird droppings on the glass. Also run the stream up and down the window frames.Window Cleaning Tips+ Next, turn the dial to “Clean.” Shoot the soapy suds onto screens and frames. Let the soap sit for 30 seconds, give or take …

+ Turn the dial to “Rinse” again, and spray every screen and frame top to bottom to remove remaining suds.

+ If you’re feeling really gung-ho, push the screens (the ones you can reach, of course) up to expose the window glass. Repeat the “Rinse,” “Clean,” “Rinse” steps above.

+ EXTRA POINTS: If you really wanna make those windows shine, take a few extra minutes to clean the inside of each screen and window. Take a bucket filled with some of the multi-surface cleaner (or a cleaner of your choosing) inside and lay down a plastic sheet to catch drips. Open the windows; dip a cloth into the cleaning solution, wring it out, and wipe the screens. Close the windows — and then with another cloth (dipped and wrung out), wash the windows from the outside corners in, using circular strokes.

Total Time Investment: About 15 minutes per window. That doesn’t sound too hard, right?

This cleaning session should fit your schedule, meet your (certainly high) standards — I can promise, they meet mine — and really let the sun shine in … especially now, during the peak of Summer. And for those among you who really love to clean, instructions for how to go even deeper can be found on the Real Simple website. I’m always down to hear tips from the great clients who rent our low-cost self-storage units — so let us know if you have any quick window cleaning ideas by sharing them below, or on our Facebook page. Catch ya next time!

PHOTO_HSCTO_Will-Schwartz-1690_2015-01-29This was a guest post from Will, a Storage Consultant here at Hollywood Storage Center. Not only is Will an expert on “all things storage,” he prides himself on knowing all the best cleaning tips — especially for the exterior of your home. Thanks so much for these window tips, Will! Readers: Don’t forget to post your favorite window cleaning ideas below, or on Facebook.

Reclaim Your Garage!

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Here at Hollywood Storage Center of Thousand Oaks, we know firsthand how a garage can become overwhelmed with too much stuff, and how quickly you can run out of space.  That’s why we always appreciate Mike’s expert advice.

Well, with all the wonderful weather we’ve had lately, I decided to start my spring cleaning with the garage.  Here are my best tips to help you when you decide to clean and reorganize your own garage.

  • Clear Out & Sort Stuff – The real trick here is sorting items into the right groups. As I pulled my stuff out of my garage, I piled them together like tools, yard & pool toys, sports equipment, holiday decorations, auto care, keepsakes & family heirlooms, recyclable electronics, items to donate, and stuff to throw out.

Cleaning garage floor

  • Clean – As a member of The Clean Team™ here at the Hollywood Storage Center, I found cleaning the garage to be very satisfying.
    • First, I started with the vacuum cleaner going after dust bunnies, cobwebs, dead insects, and the dust that outlined where the boxes sat.
    • Next, I turned my attention towards some stubborn stains. To clean the oil marks, I used a laundry detergent mixed with warm water (one-third cup detergent for each gallon of water) for the small stains.  For the larger stains, I used the detergent mix first, but then added a thin layer of kitty litter (which helps draw the oil out of the floor) and let it sit overnight.  This worked well, but you may want to use a concrete degreaser if the stain persists.
    • Finally, I got the hose and sprayed down the whole garage floor, starting in the back and working my way up front. To help the garage dry out more quickly, I used an old broom to sweep the excess water out.

Peg board with tools and hard hat

  • “Store Smart” – Before I started putting everything back in the garage, I made a plan of where everything would go.
    • First, I chose areas for different types of items so that I could make the garage fit my needs. I outlined the floor space but also included the wall and ceiling space, using every space so that I “stored smart”.
    • Next, I created functional spaces for different types of items. I used heavy steel hooks to hang the bikes from the central post in the garage.  I created a Tool Wall by using a peg board for my tools (which you can also outline with a black marker the location of each tool).  I added a rack to hang the larger tools on the wall.  I used bins for the different types of outdoor toys for the kids.  And, I marked the boxes for the different holidays and brought them over to my Thousand Oaks Self Storage unit.

Neat garage tool hanging storage

  • Celebrate – A job well done deserves a moment of satisfaction, so I celebrated by rolling out my BBQ and cooking a meal for my family. The feeling was fantastic, knowing that once the evening was done, I could put everything back into my garage and in its right place.

I hope these tips help you when you decide to clear out your own garage and organize the space for your needs.  You’ll be glad you did.

PHOTO_HSCTO_Mike-Torres-1564_2015-01-29This was a guest post from Mike, a member of The Clean Team™ here at Hollywood Storage Center of Thousand Oaks.  Mike is an expert on “all things storage” and he prides himself on providing the best customer service.  Thanks, Mike!

Readers: Post your own favorite garage cleaning tips below, or on Facebook.

Clutter Busting Tips

Man facing a cluttered kitchen

Here at Hollywood Storage Center of Thousand Oaks, we don’t like clutter!  That’s why we always appreciate Dion’s expert advice.

So, you know by now that I’m the clean one in my house. But, it’s still a constant battle to keep things from piling up and messing up our rather limited living space. Sometimes the stuff seems like it’s living there more than we are!

So, I did some research and tested out some ways to de-clutter, free up space in the house, and feel a lot better. Even my girlfriend and roommates got on board with it.

Here are the top seven clutter busting tips I use, and I hope you can put them into action too:

  1. Find a place for every item – One reason things pile up on counters, tables, and floors is that they have no “home”.  Make sure everything lives somewhere.  Do you have a lot of important files you need to keep, but don’t have room? Then, you might want to consider a safe off-site location.
  2. Play Clutter Cop – Scan your home for clutter hot spots and spend some time figuring out why stuff accumulates there.  The better you are about keeping things out of these hot spots, the less likely things will pile up.  (Hint: If you’re a collector and are running out of room to keep or display your stuff, you might want to consider storing some of it in a climate controlled storage facility and rotating the items you want to show).

 Messy closet in bedroom overstuffed with clothes, hats, woman's apperal.

  1. Hold off on container shopping – Clutter victims often think the first thing they need is organizing products. STOP and do some de-cluttering first. Get rid of the things you absolutely hate or will never use. Then get some good storage containers for sentimental items you want to keep but don’t have a lot of room for and things you only use periodically. These are perfect to keep in a Newbury Park storage unit.
  2. Dump duplicates – Why have two power saws when one is enough?  Why have six flashlights or 17 coffee mugs?  Throwing out or donating duplicates is one of the easiest ways to get rid of clutter.

 Couple in cluttered living room

  1. Look for simple clutter control solutions – Do you run a home business and keep a lot of samples, supplies, equipment, or inventory?  Storing these items outside of your home will be a lot easier and make your business more manageable.

 Family helping to clear a garage

  1. Weed out your wardrobe – Odds are your closet is filled with stuff you rarely wear. Sort through your clothes, decide what you want to keep and donate the rest.  If you have seasonal clothes or things you’ll fit into again soon, you might want to use wardrobe boxes and other types of specialty storage boxes to hold onto them.

 Woman looking through closet

  1. Stick to a schedule – Some spaces need daily de-cluttering (refer to Tip 2). But, others can be tackled weekly or monthly. Put your periodic de-cluttering tasks on your calendar just like other appointments.

Remember, it’s all about the attitude. It’s OK to be the “Clutter Cop” around your house. Everyone will be happier-really. See you soon!

Dion-Coleman-Hollywood Storage CenterThis was a guest post from Dion, a member of The Clean Team™ here at Hollywood Storage Center.  Dion is an expert on “all things storage” and he prides himself on learning the best home cleaning tips.  Thanks, Dion!  Readers: Post you own favorite de-cluttering tips below, or on Facebook!

HSC Expert Tips: Easy Winter Cleaning

Man cleaning the gutter

I can’t imagine a better place for winter than the Conejo Valley.  A little bit of rain, and a lot of 70 degree temps!  However, it is still cold & flu season, so it’s a great time to avoid germs by doing some winter cleaning.  We were talking about this here at the Hollywood Storage Center of Thousand Oaks with The Clean Team™, so I thought I’d pass along my top five tips.

+ Check your rain gutters and clear them of leaves, twigs, and debris.  It’s important to keep gutters clean so they won’t clog and drive water under the house eaves… and into your walls.  That’s a recipe for unhealthy mold and yuck!

+ Dust the heating vents and even unused fans around the house.  This will help make sure the air in your home is nice and clean.  Oh, and don’t forget to replace the furnace filter while you’re at it!  Air filters for furnaces are rated by level of efficiency.  The higher the rating, the better the filter is at removing dirt, mold spores, and pet dander.

+ Clean your mattresses to get rid of the sweat, mildew, dirt, oils, trace chemicals, and even pollen that collects in there when we don’t even realize it.  Start by vacuuming the top and then sprinkling it well with baking soda.  Rub it in with a stiff-bristled brush, let it sit for 10 minutes, and then vacuum it up.  Next, flip the mattress and do the same on the other side.  When you’re done, I suggest getting washable mattress covers.  It makes cleaning much easier and prevents icky substances from absorbing into the mattress in the first place!

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+ Wash the blankets that everyone likes to throw on the couch and take a vacuum to the couch itself (a HEPA-filter one, if possible).  Remember to vacuum underneath the couch, where lots of dust typically collects.


man disinfecting phone

+ Wipe your cell phone with an antibacterial wipe that has alcohol and benzethonium chloride — a combo that works super-well against nasty stuff like staph and salmonella. And wipe down those TV remotes too.

Oh, and don’t forget: Keeping your home free of clutter keeps everything cleaner and is healthy for your state of mind too! So, if you need some breathing room to rotate belongings or hold onto items that you don’t use every day, come by and take a look at one of our clean, affordable storage units. We’ll help you pick the best space for your needs, and beat all storage deals everyday. Have a happy, healthy year!

This was a guest post from Dion, a member of The Clean Team™ here at Hollywood Storage Center. Dion an expert on “all things storage” and he prides himself on learning the best home cleaning tips. Thanks, Dion! Readers: Post your own favorite seasonal cleaning ideas below, or on Facebook!