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Renting Local Storage Units at ezStorageThere are many different reasons that people decide to rent a self-storage unit from personal reasons to business needs. And storage requirements for personal items may be different that storage requirement for business reasons. Do your research and be ready to ask questions when you rent a storage unit. If you are a first time renter, you might have many questions before you rent a self-storage unit. Prior to choosing a storage facility, keep the following in mind before making your final decision.

Finding the Best Self-Storage Facility for Your Storage Needs

First and foremost, you should make sure that the facility meets all of your storage needs:

1. Local Storage Units - Choose a local storage facility. If you need to retrieve items from your storage unit on a regular basis, then it would be ideal to choose a facility that is close to your home or business. If you are a sales representative, you want to have your samples or inventory in a centrally located to your sales region.

2. What do you need to store? - Ask yourself what will you be storing? If you are storing the contents of an apartment, then you need a larger storage unit. If you are just storing business files, then you might only need a closet-size storage unit.

3. Secure Self-Storage - A safe and secure self-storage facility is always a primary concern. Make sure the self-storage facility is well-lit, gated, has computer keypad access and video surveillance cameras. These security measures will help provide the peace-of-mind that your stored belongings are safe.

4. Access to your storage unit - Finding a self storage facility that caters to your schedule is important. There are some facilities that are only open during specific hours while others offer 24 hour gate access. Another aspect to consider is the office hours and management availability if you have questions or need to purchase packing or moving supplies.

What Type of Storage Space Do You Need?

Self-storage facilities offer a variety of storage unit types and sizes. To determine the best size storage unit, take an inventory of the items that you need to store. ezStorage has created a storage unit size guide to help our customers visualize the amount of storage space that will be required based on what you are storing. Certain stored items might need to be placed in a climate controlled environment. ezStorage offers both climate and non-climate controlled storage units in a variety of sizes from 5x5 to 10x30.

Once you have defined the storage unit size that you will need for your belongings, visit the storage facility and inspect both the facility and the storage unit. Ask the storage professionals their opinion on the storage unit size that’s right for you

Moving Belongings into Your Local Storage Unit

Once you are ready to pack your items for storage, follow the self-storage packing tips to make sure that your items will be stored correctly. How you pack your storage unit will depend on how long you plan to store your items. If you’re storage needs are relatively short-term, it’s okay to pack the items closer together. However, if you will be storing long-term, then you should allow extra space for easy access when you are packing the storage unit. For long-term storage, leave an aisle within the unit so you can get the items that you need and arrange larger items, such as appliances and large furniture, and off-season items towards the back of the storage unit. Keep the belongings that you will need to access more often towards the front of the storage unit, so you won’t have to dig through the entire storage unit looking for them.  

ezStorage professionals are on-hand to assist you in choosing the right storage unit size for your business or personal storage needs. We have 46 state-of-the-art self-storage facilities in the Baltimore, Northern Virginia and Washington D.C. areas so you can find the right local storage unit for your belongings.

 

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National Mall MuseumsThe winter months are a great time to take a one-day trip from Baltimore to explore the many museums on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The National Mall is a two-mile park that runs from Capitol Hill to the Lincoln Memorial. Home to the many institutions of the Smithsonian, the Mall offers a collection of the best free museums in the world and is one of the most visited places in the United States. The museums of the National Mall are easily accessible from Union Station or various Metro train lines including the Smithsonian stop.  It’s an easy drive to the Greenbelt, Silver Spring, Rockville or Landover, Maryland Metro train stations from Baltimore so you don’t have to drive to downtown D.C.

Visiting the Museums in Washington, D.C.

Visiting the many museums in Washington, D.C. is a perfect way to spend a cold winter’s day. You can spend a lot of time exploring the different exhibits and displays at each of the National Mall museums. There are nineteen Smithsonian-sponsored museums, with a majority of them on the National Mall. The Smithsonian Museum’s collections range from American history, including air and space, to plant conservation to contemporary art and everything in between. There is no comparison to the amount of history, art and information that is shared by this vast collection of free museums.

Planning a Trip to the National Mall Museums

If you only have the time for a one-day trip to the National Mall, pick the museum(s) that interest you the most. This will save you from wandering around the museums and only seeing a small fraction of the exhibits. Families with children will likely be drawn to the Natural History Museum, the National Air and Space Museum or the American History Museum. Art lovers may be more interested in visiting the National Gallery of Art, the Hirshorn Museum or the smaller contemporary art museums on the Mall. All of the museums on the mall are open between 10 am or 11 am to 5:30 pm daily. They are open 364 days a year, closing only on Christmas Day. Check out a selection of some of the museums on the Mall that will be perfect to visit for a one-day trip.

United States Botanic Garden

Escape the cold, snow or rain by spending the day exploring the United States Botanic Garden. Located near the Capitol Building, this institution is a living plant and conservation museum that offers great seasonal displays and attractions. The glass conservatory is also a historic building housing two courtyard gardens and ten glass-covered garden rooms.

National Gallery of Art

Art lovers will enjoy exploring the National Gallery of Art, which is nested in two buildings; East and West. Both buildings contain a vast collection of art treasures, from European paintings and sculptures to impressionist and modern works of art. Must-sees include the only Leonardo da Vinci painting in the Western Hemisphere, the largest Calder mobile and a light sculpture by Leo Villareal.

National Museum of Natural History

The National Museum of Natural History, with a collection of over 127 million items, is the most visited national history museum in the world. The museum houses the largest exhibits of complete dinosaur fossils in addition to displays of earth sciences, meteorites, minerals, gems (including the Hope Diamond), evolution and world cultures.

National Museum of American History

To find American historical and pop culture artifacts, you shouldn’t miss visiting the National Museum of American History. You can wander around this museum for hours and still not see everything they have on display. The museum houses the flag that was the inspiration of the “Star Spangled Banner,” the gowns of the First Ladies dating back over 200 years, Abraham Lincoln’s top hat and much more. It is also the home of many iconic pop culture items, from Dorothy’s ruby red slippers to Kermit the Frog to Indiana Jones’ jacket and fedora.

National Air and Space Museum

One of the most visited museums on the National Mall is the National Air and Space Museum. The museum spotlights the history of human flight from the Wright Brothers to space flight. Exhibits include Kitty Hawk, capsules from the Apollo space missions and much, much more. The National Air and Space Museum holds the largest collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft in the world.

National Museum of the American Indian

The newest museum on the Mall is the National Museum of the American Indian. The museum, which opened in 2004, explains and shares the life, history, languages and culture of Native Americans from North, Central and South America.

Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

The Smithsonian’s modern and contemporary art collection is housed in and around the futurist building of the Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. The museum has works from Pablo Picasso to Henry Moore to Jeff Koons. The round building was built in the 1960s to perfectly showcase modern art classics. If you’re a fan of sculpture, this is the museum to visit!

No matter where you decide to spend your winter’s day, you will always find more that you want to visit and explore at the museums in Washington, D.C. Stop in and explore the culture and the history of the many cultural institutions and museums in D.C. on the National Mall.

Looking for storage solutions in the D.C. area? ezStorage has five convenient Washington, D.C. self-storage locations. Stop in to find out how we can help you with all of your storage needs.  

 

Small Business Document ManagementJanuary is a busy time of year for businesses; it is when they need to start organizing business files and documents for the tax preparation season. Tax filing deadlines will be here before you know it and companies need to start to organize their business files now in order to have the correct documents to properly prepare their tax returns. Companies need to go through their documents for the previous year, and then organize and determine what files need to stay in an office and what should be placed in business document storage in a self-storage unit.  

Business Documents Needed for Tax Preparation

Tax preparation services such as TurboTax have provided a handy small business tax planning checklist for the documents that are needed to fill out tax forms. The IRS also has a website to help small company owners and those who are self-employed with their tax preparation needs. Appropriate documentation is required to support income and expenses reported on annual filings.  If you are uncertain as to what is required, it is best you consult a tax professional to assist you.

Keeping Important Business Documents

After businesses have prepared their tax forms, documents should be organized and stored in a central area either in an office or in a self-storage unit. Small business document management is crucial to comply with document regulations. Federal and state laws require the retention of specific business documents ranging from accounting records to personnel records. The majority of the documents that are listed below are required to be kept by all businesses and they are also needed for tax preparation.  Of course, you should always consult a tax or law professional to determine exactly what your particular business document retention policy should be. 

Accounting Records - Financial statements, income tax returns, payroll tax returns, general ledgers, accounts payable and receivable records, expense reports, charge and cash slips, bank deposits and income tax withholdings.

Corporate Records - Fixed Asset Reports, property appraisals and internal audit records just to name a few.

Human Resources and Payroll - Employee W-2 Forms, Worker’s Compensation benefits, payroll records, attendance records, medical benefits, payroll checks, and personnel records.

Small Business Document Management

Every business, small and large, should be able to easily manage the documents listed above. A tip to start organizing your business files would be to sort the paperwork into what needs to be kept at the office and what can be placed into archival storage. Some documents need to be kept for many years, while others may be retained for as little as two years. Business files for the past two years should be kept within the office and then stored outside the office after that time. Most corporate and fixed asset records need to be retained permanently. Accounting records such as financial statements, check registers, general ledgers and income tax returns need to be kept permanently as well. Other accounting documents such as accounts payable or receivables, bank statements, expense reports or charge and cash slips can be shredded after seven years. Once again, retention policies vary depending on industry and jurisdiction so if you are uncertain, it pays to consult a tax or legal professional.

Business File Self-Storage Solutions

Renting a self storage unit is a great place to store excess business equipment, files and documents. Keeping archived business files stored in a self-storage unit will keep your office space un-cluttered and reduce stress levels, while increasing work space and productivity! ezStorage offers many business storage solutions at all of our 46 locations within Baltimore, Northern Virginia and Washington D.C. Our storage professionals can help determine the best storage unit size for your business storage needs.

 

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