A Spooktacular Guide to Halloween 2017 in NYC

There are a million and one great things about living in New York City, one of the biggest being that there are always a million and one things to do here! From the museums, concert venues, art galleries and the bright lights of Broadway to hidden restaurants and bars, an unrivaled nightlife scene and over 1,700 parks, playgrounds, and recreational facilities, you’ll never be bored—especially during Halloween! So, get your jack-o-lanterns, faux spider webs, cauldrons, skeletons and ghoulish costumes out of storage: Here are some handpicked ways for everyone to do the monster mash this October.

For Kids

  • Spooky Fest: Take the whole family to this Tanglewood Nature Preserve event for arts and crafts, spooky (and not-so-spooky) walks, live animal exhibits, face painting and more. October 14-29, $15 all-inclusive admission, $10 non-scary admission.
  • Town Square and Greenpoint Children’s Halloween Parade, Party and Zombie Nerf War: Kids 13 and under will have fun screaming at this parade, with arts and crafts, games, contests, Nerf battles and more! October 21, parade is free, $15 each for Spooktacular Party and Zombie Nerf War, or $20 for both.
  • Astronomy Live: Spooky Astronomy: Kids dressed in an “out-of-this-world” costume earn a special giveaway when they spend the evening navigating the stars and listening to spooky stories. October 31, $15 admission, $13.50 for seniors and students, $12 for American Museum of Natural History members.

For Furry Kids

  • The Annual Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade: Your dog will paws-itively love this Tompkins Square Park costume contest that CNN called “the largest dog costume parade in the world.” October 21, free admission ($5 donation suggested).
  • The 19th Annual Great PUPkin Dog Costume ContestEnjoy some live music, dance workshops, games with giveaways, face painting, a pumpkin patch, creepy-crawlies with the Urban Park Rangers, and the Great PUPkin costume contest for dogs. October 28, free admission.
  • Halloween Harvest Festival: This Socrates Park Halloween festival includes arts and costume-making workshops, face painting, food, live music and a dog costume contest. October 28, free admission.

For Grown-Ups

  • NYC Horror Film Festival (NYCHFF): Watch terrifying short- and feature-length films at this horror film festival. October 26-29, ticket prices vary.
  • 15th Annual Halloween Masquerade Ball: For adults 21 and over, come dressed in your scariest party costume for a night you’ll never forget at this DJ party. October 28, tickets start at $10.
  • Gravesend Inn: This high-tech haunted hotel, produced by students in City Tech’s Theatreworks program, is sure to thrill and chill even the bravest among you! October 19-21 and 26-31, $10 general admission, $5 for students, free for City Tech students.

Once you’ve celebrated a frightfully ghoulish Halloween, contact the experts at Gotham Mini Storage to keep costumes and decorations safe until next year!

7 Ways to Win the Game of Dorms

Whether you’re an incoming freshman or a seasoned on-campus senior, dorm living is a unique experience. Besides a bed, dresser, desk and closet, your dorm room is a blank slate that comes with its share of positives and negatives. Find out how you can turn your home-away-from-home into home-sweet-home.

  1. Don’t rely on dining hall hours.

There are many reasons why you may not be able to depend on the dining hall for all of your meals, from class times and job schedules to limits on your meal plan allowance. Keep hunger at bay with a mini fridge and microwave, and satisfy your caffeine cravings (or fuel an all-nighter) with a personal coffeemaker. Keep a stash of quick food on hand, like cereal, granola bars and fruit. Just don’t forget the ramen noodles—it’s a tradition!

  1. Tune out the noise.

One of the hardest things to acclimate to in communal living is the constant noise. Besides the cacophony of sound throughout the building, you’ll also need to share a small space with (at least) one other person. Keep a steady supply of earbuds for those nights you need to get to bed early or study and they’re binge-watching Netflix. Quality noise-cancelling headphones can tune out their music if they’re a little bit country and you’re a little bit rock ’n’ roll.

  1. Make good use of wall space.

What dorm rooms lack in real estate they make up for in wall space. Use those walls to reflect your personality, and surround yourself with the things you love. Some schools prohibit permanently altering the walls with nails or thumbtacks, so invest in temporary hanging strips and graphic decals to avoid a fine.

  1. Take control of the temperature.

Most dorm rooms don’t have adjustable thermostats, so you’re at the mercy of whoever has control over them in the building. While the heat could be too low in the winter, it could also be too high, and the likelihood is you won’t be enjoying any AC in your room. Buying a fan and a space heater (if your school allows) are easy ways to stay comfortable in all seasons.

  1. Rise up…your bedframe.

Take storage wherever you can find it. Bed risers are an inexpensive way to give yourself an extra 4 to 6 inches under your bed. You may even want to take it a step further and invest in risers that have built-in outlets and USB ports for charging your phone, laptop and tablet.

  1. Get comfy.

College beds are known for their odd length (who came up with extra-long twin beds, anyway?)—not their comfort. A simple mattress topper can make the difference between tossing and turning all night and waking refreshed in the morning…or afternoon.

  1. Stay healthy.

College dorms are breeding grounds for communal illnesses. In addition to the small space you occupy with your roommate(s), you also share the bathrooms, showers, dining halls, stairs, elevators, etc. with every other student in your building. Clean your room with disinfectant wipes often, especially if your roommate is sick, up your vitamin game and remember to wear flip-flops in the shower to avoid spending all semester at the health center.

Now that you’ve successfully decked out your room, you may notice you don’t have space to keep everything you brought from home. Store your off-season clothes, extra blankets and other nonessentials to keep your room clutter-free. Contact the experts at Gotham Mini Storage and move your belongings into a secure, climate-controlled unit today!

How to Keep Your Camping Gear Newer, Longer

Camping is an increasingly popular way to vacation now, with 75 million active camper households in the U.S.! If you took advantage of our equipment tips in Conquer the Great Outdoors with These Six Camping Must-Haves and are ready to pack up your gear until next time, read on to find the best tips for successful storage.

  1. Treat your gear like your clothes. You don’t put laundry away while it’s dirty and wet, do you? The same applies for camping gear. Set up your tent when you get home in your yard—or living room for city-dwellers—and give it a thorough cleaning with soap and water, then let it air dry before packing it away to ensure it doesn’t develop mildew. You can even throw a few dryer sheets in the tent and sleeping bags to keep them smelling fresh.
  1. Take back the power. Remove batteries from flashlights, lanterns, radios and other equipment that you’re putting in long-term storage to avoid corrosion and leakage. Keep them stored in a plastic bag and tape the bag to the item so you don’t have to go crazy looking for batteries before your next trip.
  1. Get tote-al storage. Storing your camping equipment in totes not only protects it from moisture, bugs and other unwelcome critters, it also makes it that much easier to transport and stack. Transparent totes are ideal so you can see what’s in each without digging around, but it’s wise to label each with a packing list that’s taped to the outside to make things easier.
  1. Utilize the Russian nesting doll practice. The only thing better than totes is totes (and bags) in totes. Put like items, such as bug spray, citronella and anti-itch cream, together in quality, zipper-sealed bags, then label them something appropriate, like “mosquitos,” and put them in totes with other grouped bags. Not only will it make your storage more organized, it will make finding exactly what you’re looking for on your next outing a snap!
  1. Use it! The best way to keep your camping gear in fighting shape is to take it camping! Not only will this ensure it doesn’t degrade due to misuse, but it will also give you a better idea of what needs to be replaced or upgraded.

Now that you know the right way to treat your camping gear after your trip’s over, find a safe, convenient place to store it. No garage or attic? No problem. Contact the experts at Gotham Mini Storage and move your belongings into a secure, climate-controlled unit today!

Conquer the Great Outdoors with These Six Camping Must-Haves

Are you looking to get in touch with nature on your next vacation? Camping may be the adventure you’re looking for! More and more people are opting to skip the hotel and instead get some fresh air. A 2017 study estimates that 13 million U.S. households plan to camp more in 2017, and more than 1 million new households have started camping each year since 2014. If you want to join their ranks, you’ll need the right gear first.

  1. A place to rest your head at night. Unsurprisingly, a tent and sleeping bag are number one on the list. When picking a tent, consider if you’ll be sharing with a partner, kids, pets or if you feel uncomfortable in tight places, and when you’ll be camping—tents come in 3-Season, 3-4 Season and 4-Season varieties. Sleeping bags follow the same reasoning: summer bags are lightweight and ideal for temperatures of 30 degrees and higher, 3-Season bags are for spring and fall, when temperatures are 20 degrees or higher, and winter bags have more insulation for those 20 degrees and lower nights. Don’t forget an air mattress (or inflatable pool toy if you’re on a budget!) to avoid sleeping directly on the ground.
  1. Comfy camping chairs. It’s all in the name on this one. Consider how you’d feel spending extended periods of time at a wooden picnic table all vacation, and that’s assuming your camp site would even provide one. A quality chair with cup holders and side pockets (some even have built-in coolers!) is a small price to pay for comfort.
  1. A way to light up your life. You’d be surprised how quickly the night turns dark when there are no street lights or house lights emanating a soft glow. Everyone in your camping party should have durable, high-quality flashlights (plus batteries to spare) and battery-powered lanterns for their tents. When you’re trying to find the campground bathroom or hear a strange noise outside your tent, you’ll want all the light you can get!
  1. Portable propane grill. I know, you probably scoff at the idea of bringing a grill when there will be a perfectly good fire to cook your meals over! Consider the limitations of a fire, though, especially if you don’t have your boy/girl scout’s fire badge. Not only can wet firewood, strong winds, poor kindling, rain and inexperience make building a fire challenging, it also severely limits the food you can easily make without buying a camping-specific cookware set. A propane grill frees you to make hot dogs, burgers, grilled cheese, eggs, bacon, spaghetti and more, all with just one pot and pan. You can even boil water for that much-needed first cup of coffee or tea!
  1. A fridge away from home. Don’t forget a few high-quality coolers to store all your perishables. You’ll need to replace the ice bags every day, so make sure yours have spouts for draining. Pack your raw meats and drinks separately—limiting the possibility of contamination and frequency of opening the cooler with the other food—and pack all food in leak-proof containers. Remember, cold food stays cool longer, so don’t put anything you bought off-the-shelf in your cooler, try to only add things that have already been refrigerated. Just make sure to put the cooler in the car each night, or bring rope to hang it from a high tree branch so you don’t attract any unwanted, wild visitors!
  1. First aid kit. Even if you’re going “glamping,” you should always have a first aid kit at your site. Make sure you have plenty of band aids, bacitracin, aspirin, antiseptic wipes, blister cream, allergy medicine, gauze, tape, scissors, tweezers and, of course, bug spray and sunscreen.

Once you’ve braved the wilderness—or at least a family-friendly campground—you’ll need somewhere to store all of your essential camping gear. Check out our blog on camping storage tips to learn how to store your equipment correctly. No garage or attic? No problem. Contact the experts at Gotham Mini Storage and move your belongings into a secure, climate-controlled unit today!

5 Ways to Turn a Cluttered Kitchen from Messy to Immaculate

When renting an apartment in New York City, the size of the kitchen may not hvae been a concern or consideration. But now that you’ve moved in, you’re quickly realize how frustrating it is to get even the basics, like a pot, a pan and a few utensils, to fit in it. Before you turn your oven into shoe storage and become Seamless’ customer of the year, read these four tips from the storage services experts at Gotham Mini Storage on how your New York City kitchen can go from frustrating to functional, so the only thing boiling is the water on top of your stove.

  1. Use not-so-obvious spaces. The area above and below your cabinets can be a great way to save countertop, cabinet and pantry space. Perfect items for on top of your cabinets include wines and liquors, bottles of cooking oil and balsamic vinegars or for displaying personal touches such as vintage cookie jars or vases. To take advantage of space under your cabinets, install a rail that can hold items such as pots, pans or to hang cooking utensils or wire baskets for spices.
  2. Reuse other home organizers. Using something like a filing rack can be an easy and affordable way to divide some of your kitchen items. For example, place a filing rack inside of your cabinets to organize your baking sheets, frying pans and cutting boards.
  3. Let (certain) items double as décor. Some kitchen items can be stored in a way that makes them look like chic decorative touches. For instance, hanging your wooden cutting boards or coffee mugs on your wall can add a unique flair. If you have stylish kitchen canisters, display these on your counter and use them to store flour, pastas, rice or coffee—freeing up some cabinet space while adding personal touches to your countertop.
  4. Store large appliances. Bulky pieces, such as a stand mixer, slow cooker and panini press, can be hard to wrangle and even harder to maneuver around if countertop space is limited. It’s best to keep them out of sight in an as-easy-as-possible-to-access location. If you don’t use your oven much, consider storing one or two of these items in there (just remember to remove it before use the oven, of course). If you don’t have enough space in your NYC apartment these larger must-have appliances, consider placing them in a personal mini storage unit—it’s a small change that can make a huge impact on your kitchen’s space.

For more tips on how to organize your (tiny) NYC kitchen, contact the team at Gotham Mini Storage.

4 Ways to Transform a Loft Apartment from Cold to Cozy

Loft apartments in Manhattan can be great—high ceilings, open floor plans, spectacular windows—but they can also give off a cold, industrial vibe that can make the space feel unwelcoming. How do you make sure your loft doesn’t give off the same standoffish vibes as a fashion magazine editrix? The storage services and organization experts at Gotham Mini Storage have four tips to help transform your New York City loft into a comfy, chic apartment that feels like home.

  1. Opt for a loft bed. A loft bed can do wonders for a one-dimensional loft space. Not only will you be able to utilize the space underneath it for a desk, dresser, clothes rod or vanity, but it’ll also add dimension to your space. Since your loft bed will be higher than other pieces of furniture, it’ll break up the space and give it a nice variety. Loft beds come in a variety of styles and sizes, so no need for uncomfortable climbs in and out in the middle of the night.
  2. Get creative with furniture placement. Just as a loft bed creates dimension, other furniture pieces, when positioned in an untraditional way, can break up the expansive loft layout. For example, position an armoire perpendicular to the wall, rather than flush against it, to create the feeling of a room on either side. This modular wall can move as the mood strikes you. To create a mock living room space, put your couch along the wall and a large TV stand across from it. This way, the TV stand gives the illusion of a wall while also giving you additional cabinet space.
  3. Utilize every inch of wall space. Typically, loft apartments don’t have walls separating one room from another. While this makes them feel more spacious than traditional apartments, it also means noises echo and little to no storage space. To cut back on the cacophony of sounds, hang large art pieces, tapestries or create a gallery wall; the art will help absorb the sound while giving your loft the très chic urban look. For storage, consider dedicating one wall to a shelving unit, cabinets or closet system. jYou’re not relegated to ugly plastic bins; since everyone else in NYC is constantly on the hunt for more storage solutions, home designers have listened and responded with modular solutions and even modern furniture that lifts up for storing clothes. Looking for additional personal self storage space, but not willing to clutter your sloft pace? Opt for a mini storage unit that offers around-the-clock security and a free van to help you move in.
  4. Incorporate tons of textiles. Many times, loft apartments have been converted from an industrial environment, leaving you with gorgeous brick walls, exposed ceiling beams and ductwork. While these elements can be chic, they can sometimes feel dark and chilly. To warm up your loft’s atmosphere, consider using a white shag rug under a brass coffee table, velvet pillows in light colors on a leather couch or soft linen curtains in neutral or pastel shades around the windows.

For more ways to make your NYC loft feel like home, contact the storage team at Gotham Mini Storage, located in Chelsea.

5 Steps to a Successful NYC Stoop Sale

With the long winter behind us and warmer days ahead, the next endeavor many of us tackle on our to-do list is an annual favorite: spring cleaning. But what do you do with all of things you don’t have room to keep? Host a yard sale or stoop sale, where you can find them a new home—and find you some extra cash to kick your summer off right! Yard sales are a great way to declutter your apartment, give your neighbors great deals on your gently used items, and take a real inventory of what you can—and can’t—live without. Though the prep for your stoop sale might be minimal, for success, you need to take the time to do it right.

  1. Know your laws. Many areas now require a permit to operate a yard sale, mandate that you charge sales tax and may even require you to report earnings on your taxes. While you may be tempted to roll the dice because you don’t think there’s a likelihood you would get caught, ask yourself if the amount of money your stoop sale may earn would be worth a potential ticket. It’s always better to stay on the safe side, so see if your city is one of these areas or you could face some hefty fines. Fortunately, NYC dwellers don’t need a permit for a pop-up yard sale.
  2. Pick a convenient day and time. Saturday and Sunday are popular days for obvious reasons, but don’t forget that nearly 30 percent of people work on the weekend. An early evening sale on a weekday may draw more people than you think. For weekend sales, there are pros to both starting early or waiting until late afternoon. A morning sale means it won’t be too hot outside, but it might attract early birds who think nothing of ringing your buzzer at 6 a.m. Afternoon sales mean more heat, but can also mean more foot traffic, as more people are up and out and about.
  3. Advertise! It’s a basic understanding that, with the exception of neighbors or people who are walking or driving by, people won’t come to your yard sale if they don’t know you’re having one. While the tried-and-true method of putting up signs around the neighborhood and at local stores is still a solid way to draw crowds, it’s not the only one. Post an ad with at least three online sources, such as Craigslist, Yard Sale Search, Garage Sale Hunter, Yard Hopper, and Garage Sale Source.
  4. Prepare for cash and card payments. “Cash only” can be the kiss of death in a time when only 24 percent of Americans predominantly use cash. That’s not to say you should ignore that 24 percent, though. You don’t want to miss out of sales because someone pays cash, but you can’t make change. The ideal way to cater all buyers is to have a change drawer of at least $75 total in 10s, 5s, and 1s, as well as $20 in quarters (just make sure your prices are either full dollar amounts or in $0.25 increments). And for the 76 percent of credit and debit card users, you may want to consider a payment app like Venmo, PayPal or Square Cash for secure, instant transactions.
  5. Set realistic prices. The purpose of a stoop sale is to declutter your apartment while earning some extra cash. But just because an item has sentimental value  or cost a lot when you originally purchased it doesn’t mean people will be willing to hand over top dollar. Try to put yourself in the buyer’s shoes and ask what you’d pay for such an item at another person’s tag sale. Then price accordingly. And be prepared for haggling and bargaining. For any pieces that may have collector’s value or other hidden value, take those items to a professional to be appraised; otherwise, you might part with a mirror worth $25,000 for a mere $2!

Once you’ve held your successfully coordinated stoop sale, donate what you don’t want to a local charity. Still squeezed for space? Contact the storage experts at Gotham Mini Storage, and move your belongings into a secure, climate-controlled unit today.

Closets Bursting at the Seams? How to Get the Most Out of Your Storage Space

If New York City apartments are said to be the size of shoeboxes, what does that say about the size of the closet? Nothing good. Luckily, there are ways to free up your closet space to get the most out of its small dimensions. From the hanger selection to creative use of the walls, getting creative with the space inside your closet can help open it up and stop any clothes, shoes or accessories from overflowing into the rest of your apartment. Here are five tips from the self-storage option experts at Gotham Mini Storage on how you can get the most of your closet space.

  1. Purge outdated possessions. This doesn’t just refer to those jelly shoes or harem pants. Anything that’s either too small, too big or hasn’t been worn in two years or more should be donated. And those shirts with the embarrassing pit stains? You can just go ahead and throw those out.
  2. Give your closet the upper hand. The space above your built-in hanging bar can be an important asset. If your closet already has an shelf, then start prioritizing items: most used items hang at eye level, less used are piled on the floor and least used should go on this shelf. If your closets has no shelving, not to fret; adding one isn’t a huge undertaking and can be completed in an afternoon.
  3. Floors made for more than walking. Like an upper shelf, using your closet’s floor space can be a huge help when it comes to maximizing storage space. Generally, shoes are best kept here (to keep mud, dirt and other city germs away from your hanging clothes), and a tiered shoe rack will give you the most bang for your buck. As stated in tip #2, this space is also good for your “less used” items. Unlike upper shelf items where you may need either a step ladder to reach or your “Go-Go Gadget” arms, floor items are more easily accessible.
  4. Use a tie hanger in a new way. Since tie hangers are longer than they are wide, they’re a great way maximize the limited space on the hanging bar in your closet. And just because they’re technically made for ties doesn’t mean that’s all they can hold. Belts, scarves, handbags, backpacks and other similar accessories are easy to add.
  5. Declutter the mess. If you went to the dry cleaner a month ago and the clothes are still wrapped in the plastic bags, it’s time to discard them. Voila! Already more space. Shoeboxes can also clutter your closet, so whether they’re empty or full, go through them with a critical eye and decide if you want to keep, donate or store them. Not ready to get rid of those unworn shoes that you know will kill your feet? Don’t worry. Storing seasonal items (like those poufy down jackets) or anything you’re unsure about (like those killer strappy heels) in a personal storage unit is an easy, space saving solution.

For more ways on how to get the most out of your closet space, contact the team at Gotham Mini Storage, located at the corner of 38th Street and 10th Avenue in NYC.

How to Store Sports Equipment in a Mini Storage Unit

Space is hard to come by in New York City apartments, so if you live an active lifestyle—but are tired of tripping over your equipment as you stumble out of bed every morning—then here’s your Hail Mary: mini storage units. Whether you’re a snow bunny who likes to hit the slopes in winter, a surfer who enjoys riding the waves in summer, or a family whose kids play every sport under the sun, utilizing a mini storage unit is the perfect solution for New Yorkers. Here are five tips for storing your sports equipment in a storage unit, so you can curtail the clutter in your apartment.

  1. Control the climate. Choose a storage facility that offers climate control; it should be top priority. Golf clubs, skis, snowboards, skateboards and surfboards are all negatively affected by heat and moisture, so keep them in tip-top shape by storing them in a climate-controlled facility.
  2. Clean before you store. No matter what sporting equipment you wish to store, cleaning it is step one. Scrape off any grass, mud or dirt, and wipe the equipment clean. To avoid mildew, ensure your equipment is completely dry before placing it in its container or bag for storage.
  3. Preserve the shape. To ensure items such as snow boot liners, baseball mitts, cleats or hockey pads keep their shape, fill them with newspaper. This way, your equipment will be ready for action when you are.
  4. Take the stink out. If you’re storing things such as football gear, helmets or skiing/snowboarding boots, wash the pieces before storing, if possible. If the items can’t be thrown in a washing machine or dishwasher, sprinkle the equipment with baking soda—it absorbs lingering odors.
  5. Extra effort goes a long way. You don’t give it 50 percent when you’re flying down the trails, so don’t give 50 percent when storing your equipment. For skis and snowboards, wax them before storing to prevent rusting. To avoid scratches or dings, invest in specialty bags, such as a rain bag for golf clubs or an insulated bag for stand-up paddleboards.

To learn how to which mini storage unit is your perfect fit, contact Gotham Mini Storage. We offer a free truck at move-in so you’re not schlepping those skis, clubs, protective gear or surfboard on the subway.

Living Small in the Big Apple: Tips for Manhattan’s Micro Apartments

While living space has always been at a premium in Manhattan, the opening of New York City’s first official micro apartment building in mid-2016 takes the concept to a whole new level—and gives all of us some great tips for making the most of our own small places, even if they aren’t officially “micro.”

Located in Kips Bay, Carmel Place features apartments ranging in size from 260 to 360 square feet, which is slightly larger than the average one-car garage at 200 square feet—and roughly half the size of the average Manhattan studio. What do these expensive shoeboxes have that yours doesn’t? The ultimate in professional minimalist design. But you can have it, too, albeit on a slightly more modest scale. Here are some tips for making your NYC studio feel more spacious.

  1. White, light and bright. From windows to wall color, the lighter and brighter you can make your small space, the better. So, pass on that burgundy or dark grey paint chips. Light colors will just make your place feel
  2. Convertible furniture. And this doesn’t just mean install a Murphy bed (although it helps). Look for furniture that can serve more the one purpose: the futon that goes from sofa to bed, the workstation that doubles as dining table, the couch whose cushions lift up to reveal storage underneath, niche shelving and removable partitions.
  3. Shelves, shelves and more shelves. While a Carmel Place micro apartment comes with built-in shelving, you can always add your own shelves and bookcases (floor to ceiling, if you can) to create more places to put your stuff. And they don’t have to be from a Swedish DIY store—searching online for “apartment-size furniture” results in more options.
  4. An eye for organization. There’s no such thing as being too organized when you’re living small. Remember what your mom told you: there’s a place for everything—and everything in its place. Stores that specialize in organization solutions usually have a holder for just about everything and in a variety of sizes, from over-the-door shoe organizers to kitchen tool setups.

While you may not have a professional design team helping you make the most of your NYC micro apartment, a little tough love where your possessions are concerned can go a long way. If you don’t use it, lose it—or at least move it to a secure self storage facility like Gotham Mini Storage. Conveniently located in Midtown Manhattan, Gotham offers a range of storage unit sizes—and a free truck on move-in day—which can make freeing up your living space (no matter how limited) just a little easier.