Storage Miscellany

From the throne of England to a storage container in Winchester City Museum?

The fact that items can be put into storage containers and forgotten about for decades never fails to amaze us, but even more incredible is when it’s revealed that important historical finds have been locked away for years because someone’s neglected to leave documentation or records that they’re in the building.

It happens more often than you’d think, which is ridiculous really – you can’t imagine that when archaeologists discovered the remains of Richard III in 2013, they’d have put them in a box and forgotten about carbon-dating them or testing them to see if they were real. However, it turns out that the bones of another royal figure may have been languishing in a box because scientists didn’t realise who they might have come from.

King Alfred the Great, an Anglo-Saxon ruler who died in the year 899, was thought to have been buried in an unmarked grave, though scientists had failed to find any likely skeletal candidates at St. Bartholomew’s Church inWinchester. However, a pelvis bone that had been in storage at Winchester City Museum since its discovery in another excavation in the late 1990s (it hadn’t been analysed due to a lack of evidence about its historical significance and a lack of funding) was rediscovered, and carbon dating analysis has shown that it dates back to between 895-1017 and belonged to a man aged between 26 and 45 at the time of death.

Due to the time period the bone dates from, the age of the man they belonged to and the specific positioning of the bone, below what would have been the high altar of an abbey previously located on the site (historical record tells us that Alfred and his son, Edward, were buried there), the probability is that the bone comes from one of the two men, though this hasn’t yet been proved. If it turns out that it the bone is Alfred or Edward’s, it’ll have been an ignominious couple of decades for it.

In addition, nine of the Dead Sea Scrolls, ancient documents which date back more than two millenniums, have recently been rediscovered in an Israel Antiquities Authority storeroom after having been archived and forgotten about sixty years after they were originally found. Scientists now face the tricky task of unravelling them (they’re the size of pennies, which might have been a contributing factor in their misplacement) to see what they say.

You’d think that when archaeologists make a potentially important discovery, they’d follow it up and examine it, rather than putting it away and not doing anything with it. However, it just goes to show that everyone gets sidetracked and forgets what they’re supposed to be doing. Don’t make the same mistake with the things you have in storage – it’d be terrible if you lost potentially precious possessions because you forgot to pay your rent…

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Why run a business from a self storage unit?

Although self storage units were originally created to give exasperated homeowners somewhere to store the things that were taking up too much space at home but which they didn’t want to get rid of, they can fulfil a number of other functions as long as you’re prepared to pay the rent on them.

While you can use them to escape the hassle of daily life to read, relax or sleep (though it’s frowned upon to move into a storage unit), there has been a rise in the amount of small and medium-sized businesses using them as bases to work out of. There are a number of reasons why it makes sense on pretty much every level to work this way if it’s logistically feasible for you to do so.

Storage unit rental prices are cheap

The number-one concern, to be honest, is the price – the bigger the space you’re hiring, the more expensive the rent will be, but there’s no council tax or overheads that need to be considered so it’s generally a win-win situation as far as your finances are concerned.

Contract flexibility is a key consideration

There’s usually only a month’s notice that needs to be given by either party, so if things aren’t going well or you decide you want to make a change with regard to the way the business is being run, you can do so with the minimum of fuss.

They’re perfect for mail-order businesses

If you’re a mail-order business, you don’t need a shop or actual premises (you could run it out of your home if you wanted to) and since you’ll be storing your stock in the unit indefinitely anyway, it makes sense for you to use the unit to package them up and keep them until you have to send them off to customers who have ordered something.

You’re not restricted on size

If you start out in a small unit, that’s fine – that might be all you need to start off with. However, if the business grows, it’s good to know that there are bigger units in the same complex you’ll be able to move into if you want to. Conversely, if the business doesn’t grow and you need to downsize, you can move into a smaller unit as well. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen, though.

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Decomposing, explosive and downright creepy: notorious storage unit finds

For many people, buying up the contents of storage units is one of the riskiest and, therefore, thrilling ways of making a living. You never know what you’re going to find inside a unit that someone’s neglected to make payments on – is that piece of paper that’s been scribbled on a child’s drawing or a long-lost Picasso sketch? It’s a minefield, but that big payoff could make years of struggle worth it.

However, even though massive storage unit finds have been documented in the past, there have been a much greater number of stories about people who found things they weren’t expecting and would probably rather not have come across in storage units they’ve acquired. Because many owners simply rent out the space and don’t monitor what their tenants are storing, pretty much anything goes. Here are three of the most notorious storage unit finds of recent years.

Grandma 

It’s pretty heartless to keep the remains of a relative in a storage unit, but that’s exactly what some people have done – urns containing human ashes have been found in a number of storage units, but the winner of this grisly prize has to go to the family who owned a storage unit in Florida and decided that it would be a good idea to keep their grandmother’s body in a casket for seventeen years! The body had been embalmed, so there was no smell to alert anyone to its presence, and it was only discovered when the family was informed that the storage unit’s contents would have to be put up for sale because they hadn’t paid the rent on it, to which they replied that the owner couldn’t possibly sell contents that included a human body…

Live explosives

It’s not particularly unusual to find weapons or ammunition stored in a unit, especially inAmerica. Many people have them as a matter of course, and collectors will often have to move some of their pieces out of the house to create some space. However, the weapons are usually safe, whether they’ve been deactivated or unloaded. Spare a thought, then, for the man who bought a storage unit inMichiganonly to discover that his job lot of goods included a live hand grenade. The local bomb squad was hastily called to deactivate it and make it safe, but there were probably a few nervous minutes before the unlucky owner realised it wasn’t about to explode in his face!

Serial killer kit

Unless you’re a fan (well, you’d have to be a massive fan) of Madonna, the name Robert Dewey Hoskins probably won’t make much of an impression on you. For those who don’t remember him, he was convicted of stalking the singer (and actressHalleBerry) and sentenced to ten years in prison. However, he also had a storage locker inLong Beach,California, the contents of which were auctioned off in 2012. Inside were a creepy clown mask, a creepy headless baby doll, condoms, a number of butcher’s knives, a Bible and a ton of Madonna memorabilia – basically, it was creepy. Because there were no cases pending against him at the time, the police didn’t take any of it in as evidence. We can’t imagine the buyer kept it too long either…

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Storage 24: a review

There aren’t many films set in storage facilities. We have no idea why – they’re incredibly evocative places. You can practically smell the memories and heritage of the items stored within the different units whenever you walk into one. Unfortunately, the impression most people have of storage facilities is what they’ve gleaned from the TV programme Storage Wars, where a bunch of wallies in baseball caps with stupid catchphrases try to outbid each other on the contents of units at auction in the hope that they might contain the last surviving pair of George Washington’s 350-year-old underwear or a pot filled with Otto von Bismarck’s moustache clippings.

There was hope, though, that that impression might be challenged with the release of the film Storage 24, written by and starring Noel Clarke from Kidulthood and Doctor Who. The film’s premise is simple: a military plane carrying unknown cargo crashes into London, spewing its contents all over the city. At a self-storage facility, several people are left trapped with a creature from another planet which is, to say the least, a tad irritated with the situation. What follows is an Alien-style, suspense-filled horror film where the audience doesn’t know which of the human characters is destined to live, and which will be creature-fodder before the lights come up.

 In basic terms, it’s an interesting idea – you can see how a deserted storage facility could be claustrophobic, creepy and provide a myriad of possibilities for Clarke to get jumps and scares out of his audience. It’s similar to the relatively successful Creep, which saw a woman stalked through the tunnels of the London Underground by a deformed killer. However, Storage 24, while making good use of the setting, got too bogged down in an uninteresting relationship subplot between Clarke’s character, his best friend and his ex-girlfriend obviously intended to give the characters some depth and make us care about them, but ultimately delaying the thrills the audience want and expect.

Even though it’s obviously a completely unrealistic situation to be in, hopefully the film won’t put anyone off using storage facilities – we don’t let anyone stay overnight for security reasons, but we do check that nobody’s still using a unit before we lock up! Ultimately, Storage 24 is a relatively impressive achievement for a film with a fraction of the budget of most movies, and it’s worth catching on DVD if you can…we just hope you’ll be able to sleep after seeing it!

What can’t I keep in a Lok’nstore unit?

 

You’d be forgiven for thinking that there was nothing you couldn’t keep in a storage facility, and you’d almost be right. All sorts of things can be kept in storage units, from cars and beds to smaller, less valuable items like old toys and books that you don’t have space for but don’t want to throw out completely – what can we say, we’re a species that likes to hoard!

However, there are certain things that you can’t store in a Lok’nstore unit – it should be fairly obvious why but it’s worth going through the list anyway, just so you’re not surprised when we have to turn down something down!

Common sense should guide you when you’re thinking about what you’d like to store. What are the chances that we’d agree to store a live (or even deactivated) grenade that might potentially blow the whole facility up? Pretty non-existent, to be honest. We won’t store anything illegal (so if your name’s Walter White, we don’t want to see any crystal meth or drug money coming through, OK?) or anything that could potentially be dangerous in the way of chemicals or flammable items (and that includes gas and fireworks).

Additionally, we won’t store any food or materials that are perishable or keep live animals for you – we’re a storage facility, not a kennel service! If you’ve managed to get your hands on a lion cub and it’s grown too big and vicious for your home, take it to the zoo and let people who know what they’re doing deal with it – don’t bring it here!

 

Apart from that, pretty much anything goes. If you’re not sure about whether your item will be allowed to be stored, get in touch before turning up. Especially if you’re actually planning on bringing a lion. Because we’ll run away.

Turn Your Spare Space In To The Ultimate Man Cave

Have you got a spare room or basement?

How many of you have a spare room or basement that is just filling up with junk after being neglected and unused for years? We think it’s safe to say that a few of us have an attic, a room, loft, garage or basement that is simply gathering dust, but we also think it is safe to suggest that you should do something fantastic with this space.

How can you make good use of this space?

There are tons of different things you can do with a bit of vacant space, but isn’t it about time you did something just for you? Creating a man cave or playroom can be a rewarding process and is of course well worth every penny you spend getting it sorted.

In recent years space has become more precious than ever and more men are demanding a private sanctuary that they can call their own.

Having a space to call your own can boost your relationship

So ladies, if you can’t stand being forced to watch the football, rugby and F1 any longer, then we can help you transform that dusty spare room of yours into a man cave your husband will love. Not only will you have that dreaded clear out you’ve been meaning to have for about two years, but you will also have some football-free space for you to watch Loose Women or Made In Chelsea, or whatever it is you girls watch.

Here’s how…

Having a space of your own is the ultimate gift for partners as it can strengthen a relationship and provide a special place to unwind. This type of freedom and space is the key to a healthy and balanced relationship. For men, a man cave is a place that they can take off their stiff suit, drop it on the floor without it becoming a problem, kick up their heels and relax with an ice cold beverage before having to return to the real world. It is a place for total and utter relaxation… that is until the game starts anyway, but you get the idea.

To help you get started we’ve put together a little project guideline for you to consider. These simple steps will help you to create the perfect man cave for your home.

Step 1. The Clear Out

Before you do anything you need to clear out the rubbish you’ve got hiding away in there. Throw as much away as possible, but if you’ve simply got too much stuff and no where else to store it you might like to consider self storage options. Once you’ve done this you can start by hoovering away those cobwebs and scrubbing the skirting boards.

Step 2. Put A Lock On The Door

Before you go about making this space your own, or your husbands, then be sure to put a lock on the door. Every man cave needs a lock on the door. After all, you don’t want your kids getting hold of the remote control or treading on that dart you failed to get in the board!

Step 3. A Fresh Coat Of Paint

Because of the fact that this is a man cave, it needs to be a reasonably dark room. A new lick of paint will do the room wonders and will transform it into something completely different. Try to stick with dark blues, greys, reds and browns.

Step 4. Pimp It Out

There are several items you need to pimp out your man cave. You need a flat screen TV (essential) to watch the games on, you need a comfy sofa, a pool table, some bean bags and any other boys toys you can think of. Try to keep wooden flooring if possible or put down laminate to stop spillages becoming an issue. However, be sure to add a rug, maybe sheepskin, to keep you snug in the winter.

Step 5. Set The Mood

If your man cave is situated in the basement or loft then it’s likely the lighting is harsh. Lighting is an important element when it comes to setting the mood so try to install a dimmer switch on your lights, this would be ideal for a man cave, but a retro alternative would be large lava lamps.

Step 6. Stock It Up!

Invest in a mini fridge to store beers and pork pies, or whatever it is that tickles your fancy. This way you don’t have to have an argument or repeated rock, paper, scissors every time anyone wants a beer!

Step 7. Break It In

It’s time for you to show off your new creation to all your friends. Hold a cave warming party if you have too, but be prepared for a tiny bit of jealousy amongst the lads.

We can’t wait to see how many people have been inspired by this post. If you’re one of them share your story with us today using the comments section below or via our social media networks. If you want to send us a picture of your man cave make sure you include #lokmancave.


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Forbidden Items In The World Of Self Storage

In the self storage industry we are always talking about all the things that you “can” put into a storage facility – the stuff we can help you with – but what about the things you “can’t” store – the dreaded forbidden items.

1. You will not be able to put something into storage that is stolen

Like this 10-tonne mango that has gone missing from the tourist information centre in Bowen, north Queensland, Australia.  It’s not the size of the gigantic mango that would cause a storage company to refuse entry; it’s the fact that it’s stolen.   This “Mango Unchained” sculpture which is reported to be worth around $90,000 would definitely be a forbidden item and would not get into a quality self storage facility.

2. You cannot put illegal items into self storage

Yes duuudddeee, that does include your herbal cannabis. Dutch drug dealers tried to use shipping containers full of potted plants to smuggle in £2.7 million of drugs into Felixstowe in 2013.  Eagle-eyed Border Force officers used hi-tech equipment to sniff out this shipment. Drugs are illegal and therefore absolutely cannot be put into self storage.  Most staff at good storage centres are trained to be on the look-out for illegal items and would not hesitate to call the police should they think their premises were being used for illegal purposes.

3. Fireworks – NO!

As much as a good storage company would try to help any business customer with their storage needs, the storage of fireworks is a big no-no.  In 2013 a blast at a fireworks factory in Thanh Ba district,Vietnam, killed at least 21 people and injured another 98, with residents for 10 miles around having to be evacuated. Modern storage facilities are very safe when it comes to risk of fire, but they wouldn’t accept fireworks.

4. You cannot put live, dead or even just resting animals into storage

Come on folks, we’re not running a farm or a zoo in the storage industry.  This is one of those forbidden items that has probably never been put into storage, but never-the-less, it has to be pointed out for the benefit of certain people.  No you cannot put live animals or Polly the Parrot into a self storage centre and if you tried to we would question your sanity.

5. You cannot store dangerous chemicals

As much as you need that vat of sulphuric acid for your furniture stripping business, storage companies won’t want it in their premises. Businesses will be welcomed by any good self storage company and they should do their best to help help you find a subtitle alternative facility for chemical storage.

6. You cannot store gas canisters or any flammable items

Gas bottles or anything obviously flammable has to be on the forbidden list for any good storage company.  As with dangerous chemicals, most storage companies will help you to find a subtitle alternate facility of these items.

7. You cannot store perishable foods or materials

Imagine what that van load of mackerel that you bought cheap at the market will smell like after it’s been in storage for a few days.  Anything organic that is going to give off a foul smell or odour as it rots is obviously not going to be very nice for the other customers at a storage centre.  For this reason food and perishable goods are also on the forbidden list.

That’s it.  These are the forbidden items that you cannot store with a storage company.  It’s not a particularly long list which is good news because it means that the list of things you can store is huge.  If you do need storage for some of the banned items listed above it’s worth giving your local self storage facility a call regardless.  Most of the people in the industry are very experienced and they will no doubt have contacts in other areas who may be able to solve or help with your problem.

Mayor Opens new Maidenhead Lok’nStore

Lok'nStore Maidenhead opening Jan 2014
Lok'nStore Maidenhead

Lok'nStore's brand new store in Maidenhead

The Mayor of Maidenhead and Windsor, Cllr Andrew Jenner opened Lok’nStore’s newest bright orange, self-storage centre last week in Stafferton Way, Maidenhead.  Filmed by the BBC, he cut the ribbon at 11am  on the 29th January and the store was officially open for business, serving customers – 7 days a week – for self-storage and for sales of boxes & packing materials.

Lok'nStore Maidenhead opening Jan 2014

Self-storage is a rapidly growing service in the UK. It allows householders and businesses to rent storage space by the week with unit sizes ranging from a small cupboard up to a large garage size.  This allows customers to rent exactly the size they require for exactly the length of time they need, so saving themselves money and giving them a high level of flexibility. While in storage they can freely access their goods at any time during normal business hours including weekends.

Joining the Mayor at the celebrations were Lok’nStore executives, friends & family, local representatives from the business community and Lok’nStore’s chosen local charity the Alexandra Devine Children’s Hospice Service.

Lok’nStore is the only national storage company to open a self-storage centre in Maidenhead. The company has developed the 60,000 square foot store, turning a derelict eyesore into a smart new retail facility. The prominent orange building shares the development site with the supermarket chain Lidl, who are to open their store later in the spring. Neil Newman, Sales Director for Lok’nStore said:

Lok'nStore Maidenhead Loading bay

“We are really excited to be opening our new flagship centre in Maidenhead.  We have had a fantastic response from local householders and businesses, with hundreds of enquiries about renting space. Our Maidenhead manager, and his team have done a great job to get the store ready and we are looking forward to working hard to help Maidenhead with its storage needs.”

Self-storage is a rapidly expanding business in the UK and the BBC was filming today at the opening. They are featuring Lok’nStore in an up-coming documentary about the growth of self-storage. The BBC thinks that Lok’nStore is a great example of a storage industry success story. Watch out for this programme this spring.

For more details contact the centre manager and his team on 01628 627 380 or via email on maidenhead@loknstore.co.uk or visit the Lok’nStore website www.loknstore.co.uk