HSC Day Trips: Summertime in Hollywood!

Hi everyone! Summer is finally here! Now don’t get me wrong — I actually love the other seasons too, but there’s just something so fun and carefree about summer. It’s great to have BBQs with the family and spend time with visiting relatives.

PHOTO_HSCTO_Hollywood-Blvd-Sign_2015-06-29

While I do fancy myself a bit of an expert in all things Conejo Valley, I also know a bit about our neighbors to the south… Hollywood! I mean, we are called Hollywood Storage Center for a reason! And, if you’ve got family in town, a day trip to “Tinseltown” should definitely be on your agenda.

Besides the fact that the family who owns our Conejo Valley storage facility also founded the Hollywood Wax Museum, we are all movie and TV buffs — so I compiled a list of great places to go in Hollywood … my favorites, as well as some awesome ideas from my co-workers (you know, those storage unit consultants and Hollywood Storage Center Clean Team guys!)

Hollywood Wax Museum+ For celebrity lovers, take ’em to the Hollywood Wax Museum on Hollywood Boulevard — located right on the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame. This cool museum literally puts you “up close and personal” with seriously realistic wax replicas of TV and movie icons! And as I realized when I took my visiting aunt there last year, nothing makes a fan happier than standing face-to-face with a wax version of Johnny Depp!

Guinness World of Records+ Right across the street from the Hollywood Wax Museum is more family fun: The Guinness World Record Museum. Also located on the Walk of Fame, you can try to break a real world record with official Guinness World Record adjudicators (judges) right there to stake your claim to fame! This museum also lets you do stuff like check your weight against the world’s heaviest person; compare your height with the world’s tallest man; and challenge your world record knowledge against the Quizbot and your friends.

El Capitan Theatre+ Just down the street from both attractions is the El Capitan Theatre; first built in 1926, it was refurbished by The Walt Disney Company back in the early ’90s and is now showing Disney/Pixar’s Inside Out. Can’t wait to see it! BONUS: The exterior of the El Cap was used in both recent Muppet movies: The Muppets and Muppets Most Wanted! It’s also right next door to Jimmy Kimmel Live, which shoots every weeknight. Totally fun to get free tickets to see a live taping!

Musso and Frank Grill+ Finally, at the end of your Hollywood day, take your guests to one of the oldest, coolest restaurants in all of LA! Musso and Frank Grill opened in 1919 (can you believe that?!) and used to be frequented by famous folks like Charlie Chaplin, Orson Welles, and Marilyn Monroe. I guarantee your visitors will love it! I’ve been a few times, and my favorite dish is the actually their hot pastrami on rye (served with fresh potato chips).

Don’t forget — if you have guests coming sometime during summer, or if you’ve got family planning to stay a while, make room for all the merriment in your home by storing that unused stuff right here at Hollywood Storage Center (3425 Old Conejo Road in Newbury Park)! And please tell us all about your summertime Hollywood adventures…

PHOTO_HSCTO_Lindsay-Cochran-1612_2015-01-29This was a guest post from Lindsay, one of Hollywood Storage Center’s storage consultants! She’s a friendly face you might see when you stop by to find out about our fantastic, low-priced storage units. She always knows what’s going on around the Conejo Valley … but she’s also up on all things SoCal! Thanks for these Hollywood tips, Lindsay! Readers: Do you have a favorite place in Hollywood to take out-of-town guests? Post about it below.

HSC Organizing Ideas: Packing Tips for Summer Travel!

Hi everyone! Are you going on a summer vacation? I am — I’m visiting family that I haven’t seen in a while, and I’m so excited! The only problem is … packing. Traveling itself can be pretty stressful — and checking luggage is no fun at all. But how do you fit everything you need into one tiny carry-on bag?

Packing Tips for Holiday TravelThankfully, I work with a ton of organizing geniuses (and I’m not so bad myself!) here at Hollywood Storage Center of Thousand Oaks — so I not only asked around, but I also uncovered some great ideas and tips — all to make you a “star traveler” this summer!

+ Make sure that your carry-on suitcase meets the height and size requirements for your particular airline; check their website before you start packing.

+ Try to pick luggage that has multiple compartments that will allow you to separate different items.

+ Generally speaking, passengers are allowed two carry-on items: one for the overhead compartments, and a smaller “personal item” to be stowed under your seat. I suggest using either a tote bag or a backpack (with several compartments) for your smaller carry-on. This is a great place to keep your personal items like wallet, cellphone, and passport.

+ The easiest and most efficient way to make space in your luggage is by rolling your clothes — not folding them. It saves space, and keeps ’em from getting wrinkled.

Carry-On luggage+ Check the weather at your travel destination and bring clothes that can work for day and night (and yes, this is important for guys too!). Also, lay your bulky items on top before zipping up.

+ Remember to measure out liquids (like shampoo or mouthwash) in small clear containers that you can label. You’ll want to keep these together in plastic zip-lock bags (in case they leak). Pack these in an accessible place, since you’ll have to put them in a bin container while going through the security checkpoint.

+ If you’re bringing a coat or other bulkier items, I suggest actually wearing them on your travel days — when possible — to save space.

+ Take time to consider your “case layout.” What might slide to the bottom of your suitcase when it’s in its upright position? Items you’re worried about breaking should be wrapped in-between layers of clothes (and maybe some bubble wrap) if necessary.

+ No one enjoys wondering if they forgot anything while on the way to the airport. Don’t skip the ever-important “checklist” — one that covers toiletries, clothing, and special needs for the trip (like medications).

If you’re still not left with enough room after all that packing — and don’t want to brave checking luggage — might I suggest shipping a box of your non-essential, heavier items? This is actually a cost-efficient way to get stuff to your destination.

And don’t forget — you can find all the packing and shipping supplies you’ll ever need in both our Hollywood Storage Center self-storage lobby on Old Conejo Road AND at our U.S. Post Office counter! Our self storage units also make a great place to store your pieces of luggage and other large travel accessories in-between vacations. See you soon!

This was a guest post from Will, a friendly, knowledgeable storage consultant at Hollywood Storage Center — your Newbury Park storage facility. Thanks, Will! These are amazing packing ideas that will help in organizing for summer travel! Readers: What are some of your foolproof packing tips? Post about them below, or over at Facebook.

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.

PHOTO_Cleaning-Window_2015-5-5
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!

PHOTO_HSCTO_Blog-Post_Garage-Door-Open-with-Copy_04-01-2015

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.