5 Tips For Storing Photos In A Snap

A picture may be worth a thousand words—but that moment frozen in time is priceless. The art of print photographs has been steadily declining since digital cameras joined the scene, but nothing has been as detrimental to photography printing than the smartphone. It’s not hard to see why when you consider that over 1.2 trillion pictures are taken every year with a smartphone. Years ago, you had to print your pictures to find out if there were any “keepers,” but now you can simply take another one…or 50. And thanks to social media and cloud storage, these memories can be stored digitally, if not physically.

But what about the pictures you, your family, your friends, and even your ancestors took the time to develop? The ones that only exist as a single photograph, with no way to recover if they’re lost or damaged? Those pictures need to be preserved properly today to stand the test of time tomorrow—here are five tips on how:

  1. Safety First. Avoid storing your pictures any place they would be vulnerable to things outside your control. Does your basement flood in bad storms? Is your attic home to the neighborhood’s critters? Don’t keep your pictures in potentially-hazardous places and risk losing them forever.
  2. Location, Location, Location. When stored improperly, your precious mementos can degrade over time. Photographs are printed on paper with ink and pigments, all of which need optimal humidity, temperature, and light conditions to retain their quality. In a humid environment, your prints are subject to mold and moisture, which can make ink run and cause them to stick to one another. Storage temperature should remain below 23 degree Celsius and stay consistent throughout the year. They should also be kept in a dark location to avoid fading, especially from UV and florescent lights.
  3. Be Positive About Negatives. If you’re lucky enough to still have the negatives to your pictures, consider them a valuable back-up method that can’t be recovered if treated improperly. You should always handle your negatives with clean hands, free of even lotion, and touch only the edges, as the natural oils in your skin can cause irreparable damage.
  4. Contain Your Memories. Whether you choose to collect your pictures in a box or display them in an album, it’s important to choose the correct type. Look for special photo boxes and albums that state they are acid-, lignin-, and PVC-free. Avoid using tape or glue, mounting to anything other than archival paper, using paperclips or rubber bands to hold together, storing in envelopes, and writing on the back of pictures.
  5. Go Digital. While having the originals of your pictures—especially ones that have been handed down generations—is the purest way to enjoy them, there’s nothing wrong with having a back-up system…or two…in place in case the worst happens. Scan your pictures into a secure database and also save the digital files to at least one flash drive, so you can enjoy access to your best memories no matter what life throws at you.

Now you understand how to properly preserve your cherished memories, but what if you don’t have the space to keep hundreds or even thousands of photographs? Contact the storage professionals at Secure Self Storage for a safe, secure, climate-controlled solution to your picture storage needs.

Clean Out Your Storage Unit With These 5 Tips

Cleaning out a storage unit can be a physically and mentally grueling task. If you are planning on emptying your unit, whether to make more room, move locations, or get rid of things you don’t need, just thinking about it might be stressful. Here are a few useful tips that will make the process of cleaning out your unit as smooth as possible.  

  1. Don’t Tackle It All at Once. Depending on what you have in your storage unit, you might need to divide the job into a few different trips. Plan your time accordingly! This way, the move is more manageable and you won’t be as overwhelmed. If you devote an entire day to cleaning out an especially full storage unit, you’ll quickly run out of steam.
  2. Ask for Help. Cleaning out a storage unit is a big job and often too much for one person to handle. Get together a team to help you out and create a game plan with a job for each helper. You’ll be most productive when everyone knows what they have to do. Eventually, you’ll get into the swing of things and before you know it, you’re done! Make sure to provide water and light snacks as you work, and remember, nothing says “thank you” like pizza!
  3. Take Inventory. Make sure nothing gets lost in the process of cleaning out when you make an inventory of all the items in the unit. Cross check the list regularly and re-label boxes for easy identification. This way, your belongings will be handled correctly and will stay safe during transfer.
  4. Leave It the Way You Found It. If you are moving all your belongings to another location, remember to clean your unit before you head off. Sweep or mop your unit, especially if it’s dusty or if it fell victim to some spills. Lastly, don’t leave anything behind, even if you don’t want or need it anymore.
  5. Plan Your Next Move. If you are moving your belongings to another storage facility, take advantage of offers like a full-size truck on your move-in day. Otherwise, arrange for a donation pick-up ahead of time or ensure you have a vehicle with enough space to transport your items. If none of these are an option, it might be best to do multiple trips instead of trying to stuff everything in one vehicle.

Follow these five tips and cleaning out your storage unit will be a lot easier. If you’re looking to upgrade to a more convenient and affordable climate-controlled storage unit, contact the storage professionals at Secure Self Storage and find the perfect solution for yourself today.

A Quick Guide Relocating to Canada

Have you decided to join your neighbors to the north and make “O Canada” your new favorite song? Whether it’s for school, work or personal reasons, relocating to a new country can be a very exhilarating—and overwhelming—experience. Before you make any major decisions, you should, of course, do your due diligence and extensive research, but here’s a Canada quick guide to get you started!

  • Citizenship. Relocating to Canada requires more than an interest in hockey and an affinity for moose. There are 10 programs through which you can apply to immigrate:
  1. Quebec-Selected Skilled Worker: Limited to immigrating to Quebec only and subject to the providence’s decision.
  2. Self-Employed: For those self-employed in cultural or athletic activities or farming.
  3. Provincial Nominee: Requires nomination by a Canadian province or territory.
  4. Refugee: Reserved for those who are forced to flee their home.
  5. Express Entry: For skilled immigrants based on their ability to contribute to the economy.
  6. Start-Up Visa: Applicable to those starting a business that will create jobs.
  7. Family Sponsorship: For immigrants with Canadian family members who sponsor them.
  8. Atlantic Immigration Pilot: Reserved for school graduates or workers in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, or Newfoundland and Labrador.
  9. Caregiver: For caregivers of children, the elderly, or those with medical needs.
  10. Immigrant Investor: Requires you to invest in the Canadian economy.
  • Money. Much like the euro, you’ll have to get used to using coins in place of $1 and $2 bills (casually referred to as a “loonie” and a “toonie”, respectively). Working off of the Canadian dollar (CAD), the bills are brightly colored to more easily differentiate their value. The good news is that the U.S. dollar has been stronger than the Canadian dollar for a while—at the time this was written, 1 USD = 1.31 CAD—so you’ll get more bang for your USD buck.
  • Climate. Simply put, the winter is a cold most Americans have never experienced. The interior and Prairie Provinces average a daily temperature near -15° C (5° F), but it can drop below -40° C (-40° F) with wind.
  • Language. With a population around 32 million, the majority of people speak the official Canadian languages of English (59 percent) and French (23 percent). The remaining 18 percent speak other languages.
  • Healthcare. Yes, the rumors are true: Canada offers free healthcare, but it’s not without a catch. Only citizens and permanent residents are eligible, so until your immigration is finalized, you’ll need to purchase your own health insurance. Another negative of free healthcare is how long it takes to be seen by a doctor, and it keeps lengthening. A 2017 study found the average wait time to see a specialist with a referral was a record-high 21.2 weeks, 128 percent longer than 1993’s reported 9.3 weeks.
  • Food. Get ready to adjust your palate and embrace Canada’s favorite fast food chain: Tim Hortons (or Timmies). You’ll find yourself ordering poutine (chips—French fries to you—smothered in gravy and semi-melted cheese curds) buying your milk in bags, adding maple syrup to everything, and craving bannocks (baked or fried bread) and beaver tails (fried pastry dough).
  • Slang. Avoid looking like a tourist by learning local colloquialisms; “toque” is a brimless, cool weather hat; “klick” is short for kilometers; “runners” are sneakers; “what you sayin’” is for when you want to know someone’s plans; “serviette” is a napkin; and, yes, we do say “eh” a lot.

Now that you’ve started a smooth transition to Canadian life, you’ll need a place to keep your belongings when you search for your new home sweet home. Contact the storage professionals at Secure Self Storage in North York or Mississauga and find the safe, affordable, convenient way to store what matters most to you.

Ski & Snowboard Equipment Cheat Sheet

Looking forward to shredding some fresh powder on the mountains this winter? Join the 2.5 million skiers and snowboarders in Canada and make this a season to remember. You already know what gear you need to make it to the top, now learn how to buy the right ski or snowboard equipment to get you to the bottom safely. If this is your first trip on the lift, you probably aren’t planning on spending any serious money on equipment until you know if you like it. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t know what kind of fit you’re looking for in a rental!

  • Snowboarders
    • There’s a weird (but effective) way to determine if you’re goofy (right foot forward) or regular (left foot forward) so your bindings can be set correctly: Simply let someone give you a quick shove from behind and see which foot you put out first to catch yourself.
    • Boards come in different lengths based on height, weight, and snow conditions. Ideally, your board should land between your nose and chin when stand up. You may find yourself wanting a different size once you get a feel for what’s comfortable, but a snowboard size chart is a good place to start.
    • Snowboard boots should be a snug, but comfortable fit. In the right size, your toes will barely touch the front of the boot and be free to wiggle side to side, while your heel remains in place even when your knees are bent.
  • Skiers
    • Similar to snowboards, ski size is dependent on your height, weight, and the snow quality. Shorter skis are typically recommended for beginners and thinner-than-average skiers. Long skis are ideal for aggressive, fast skiers, and those over an average weight. Consult a ski size chart to find the right fit for you.
    • When trying on ski boots, your toes will go all the way to the front of the boot until you bend your knees and your heel slides back. This is expected; if your toes don’t touch when you’re stranding straight up, the boots may be too large.

Now that you know how to find the perfect fit for the perfect equipment, you’re ready to hop on the lift with the rest of Canada! When the mountains close for the season, you’ll need someplace safe and convenient to keep your stuff until next winter starts. Contact the storage professionals at Secure Self Storage and find the perfect place for all your equipment and gear this year.

Ski & Snowboard Gear 101

Winters in Canada are usually met with dread and a yearning to hibernate until spring—no more! There are many fun and exciting ways to spend these cold months, but perhaps the most exciting of them all is hitting the fresh winter snow on the slopes. Before you spring for that season lift ticket, you have to get the right equipment and clothing to stay warm and safe. Follow this handy guide and you’ll go from bunny hills to black diamonds before the ground starts to thaw!

  • Layers are the name of the game. With local temperatures as low as -31° C, you’re used to the cold. But being cold on your four-minute walk from the work parking lot and being cold for eight hours on a mountain are two different things. Invest in quality, sweat-wicking long underwear to stay warm and dry and layer with a comfortable long-sleeved shirt and active-wear pants. And remember, when it comes to warmth and comfort, jeans are not your friend.
  • Protect your head. Concussions and skull fractures aren’t limited to football players. When you’re going down a hill 5kph, it’s easy to wipe, hit a hidden patch of ice, or simply lose your balance. Don’t let the image of fluffy white snow fool you, hitting your head will hurt and can cause serious damage. Play it safe and strap on a helmet before you push off—a bruised ego is better than a bruised skull.
  • See things clearly. Between snow rushing at your face and the harsh glare of the winter sun off pristine white, it can be difficult to see well on a slope. Not only will the right pair of goggles provide protection from the sun and snow, they will stop your eyes from watering due to wind and momentum.
  • Pick the right jacket and snow pants. Waterproof, waterproof, waterproof. If you’re a novice skier or boarder, you’re going to spend a lot of time on your back and knees! What level of insulation you want is really a personal preference and depends on how warm your inner layers keep you. Leave some extra room to accommodate those layers—or better yet, wear the layers when you go shopping—and make sure you have full range of motion without an oversized, baggy feeling.
  • Keep your digits warm. Don’t make this the winter you get frostbite: Get a high-quality pair of waterproof gloves. While mittens will keep your hands warmer, they’ll limit your ability to adjust your gear or strap in on your board. If you still struggle with dexterity and coldness, add a layer of liner gloves beneath your normal ones.
  • Make your feet comfortable. Believe it or not, thicker socks are not ideal with ski or snowboard boots. Opt for socks that are thin, so they don’t bunch up; high, so they don’t slip into your boot; and sweat-wicking, because your feet will get very hot.

Now that you know how to pick the right accessories for your mountain adventures, you’re ready to hit the trail with the pros. If you find yourself lovin’ life on the mountain, it may be time to leave rentals behind and buy your own equipment. When the snow finally lets up, you’ll need someplace safe and convenient to keep your stuff until next season starts. Contact the storage professionals at Secure Self Storage and find the perfect place for all your gear this year.