We’re Glad to Help!

The Clive, Iowa, Fire Department uses locks in training their personnel, so when one of our former renters, Clive fireman Jeff Price, called to ask if we had any locks we could donate to the department, Jill Madonia, manager at Dino’s Storage at 5327 SE 14th St. in Des Moines, was happy to oblige.

LockGrinderJeff came in and Jill gave him a box of 10 locks, along with what might be a better idea for cutting them open. Jeff showed a video on his phone to illustrate how the department uses a saw to cut different locks. Jill showed him how we cut locks with a grinder. Jeff took a video of our way noting that it is much quicker and easier than using the saw. He’s suggesting to his captain that a grinder be carried on the fire truck.

CliveFIremenAs always, community service is a top priority with Dino’s and it’s great to have the opportunity to help out those who put their lives on the line to protect our lives and property.

Dino’s has three locations in the Des Moines metro. The others are at 2725 2nd Ave. In Des Moines and at 411 Brick St. In Bondurant.

Fahrenheit or Celsius?

Nearly every country on earth – aside from the United States – measures temperature in Celsius. Celsius is a reasonable scale that assigns freezing and boiling points of water with round numbers, zero and 100. In Fahrenheit, those are 32 and 212.

Only four other nations join the United States and its territories in using Fahrenheit – The Bahamas, Belize, the Cayman Islands and Palau. Canada sometimes uses Fahrenheit, but the official temperature scale is Celsius.

temperatureAmerica’s stubborn unwillingness to get rid of Fahrenheit temperatures is part of its refusal to change over to the metric system, which has real-world consequences. One conversion error between U.S. and metric measurements sent a $125 million NASA probe to its fiery death in Mars’ atmosphere.

Why does the United States cling to its antiquated system of measurement? Blame two of history’s all-time greatest villains: British colonialism and the U.S. Congress.

Back in the early 18th century, the Fahrenheit measurement system was actually pretty useful. It comes from Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit, a German scientist born in Poland in 1686. As a young man, Fahrenheit became obsessed with thermometers. Measuring temperature was a big problem at the time. No one had invented a consistent, reliable way to measure temperature objectively. “Fahrenheit was still only twenty-eight years old when he stunned the world by making a pair of thermometers that both gave the same reading,” the University of Houston’s John Lienhard writes. “No one had ever managed to do that before.”

Fahrenheit set zero at the lowest temperature he could get a water and salt mixture to reach. He then used a slightly incorrect measurement of the average human body temperature, 96 degrees, as the second fixed point in the system. The resulting schema set the boiling point of water at 212 degrees, and the freezing point at 32 degrees.

In 1724, Fahrenheit was inducted into the British Royal Society, and his system caught on in the British Empire. As Britain conquered huge chunks of the globe in the 18th and 19th centuries, it brought the Fahrenheit system, and some other peculiar Imperial measurements, such as feet and ounces, along with it. Fahrenheit became a standard temperature in much of the globe.

By the mid-20th century, most of the world adopted Celsius, the popular means of measuring temperature in the modern metric system. Celsius was invented in 1742 by Swedish astronomer Anders Celsius. “Celsius should be recognized as the first to perform and publish careful experiments aiming at the definition of an international temperature scale on scientific grounds,” Uppsala University’s Olof Beckman writes.

Around 1790, Celsius was integrated into the metric system – itself an outgrowth of the French revolution’s desire to unify the country at the national level. The metric system’s simplicity and scientific utility helped spread it, and celsius, throughout the world.

The Anglophone countries finally caved in the second half of the 20th century. The UK itself began metrication, the process of switching all measurements to the metric system, in 1965. It still hasn’t fully completed metrication, but the modern UK is an overwhelmingly metric country.

Virtually every other former British colony switched over as well. Some, including India, did so before even the UK and others, including Canada, Australia and South Africa, after. These changes, all around the same time, prompted the U.S. to consider going metric. Congress passed a law, the 1975 Metric Conversion Act, that was supposed to begin the process of metrication. It set up a Metric Board to supervise the transition.

The law failed in its objective because it made metrication voluntary, rather than mandatory, the public had a major say in the matter. And lots of people didn’t want to have to learn new systems for temperatures or weights.

“Motorists rebelled at the idea of highway signs in kilometers, weather watchers blanched at the notion of reading a forecast in Celsius and consumers balked at the prospect of buying poultry by the kilogram,” Jason Zengerle writes in Mother Jones. Organized labor fought it as well, according to Zengerle, so workers wouldn’t have to retrain to learn the new measures.

President Reagan dismantled the Metric Board in 1982, its work in tatters. Today, only the U.S., Liberia and Burma remain off the metric system, and Burma announced its intent to metricate in 2013.

Susannah Locke lays out the case for Celsius and the rest of the metric system very persuasively, but here’s a brief recap. The simpler metric scales make basic calculations easier and thus less error-prone. American companies incur extra costs by producing two sets of products, one for the US and one for the metric using world.

American parents and caregivers are more likely to screw up conversion rates when they give out medicine, sending some children, who are more susceptible to overdoses, to the hospital. Further, American students have to be trained on two sets of measurements, making basic science education even more difficult.

It’s Still Winter, But Think Spring!

Forget the snow. Forget the cold. Spring is approaching. Start planning your lawn and landscaping strategy.

To help you out, here are some common myths and myth-busting tips from lawn and landscaping professionals:

Myth #1: You can water your lawn and landscape any time of day.
Reality: Water is a valuable resource; make every drop count! Watering the lawn in the early mornings or evenings after sunset minimizes evaporation. It’s the best time for water to penetrate deep into the soil.

LawnmythsMyth #2: It’s okay to cut the grass very short.
Reality: Most landscape professionals advise against cutting more than one-third of the grass leaf at a time. Mowing at a finished cut height of 3 to 3.5 inches throughout the summer is generally recommended. The lawn will need less water, will be more resistant to weeds and will have a deeper, greener color. Use a sharp mower blade to prevent tearing grass blades. A crisp and clean cut will help prevent a “brown tip” appearance.

Myth #3: It’s best to water your lawn every day.
Reality: Watering your lawn every three days is better than daily watering. Deep, rather than shallow watering of your lawn is recommended to nurture the roots. An inch of water to 12 inches of soil is the preferred ratio for watering actively growing grass.

Myth #4: If you want to replace your lawn, you should do it in the spring when plants get ready to bloom.
Reality: The best time to sow seed is in the late summer and early fall when the temperatures are more consistent and when highly competitive weeds, like crabgrass, are at the end of their life cycle.

Myth #5: Early spring is the best time to fertilize the lawn.
Reality: Since different species of grass prefer nutrients at different times of the year, be sure to use the correct fertilizer, at the right rate, at the right time and in the right place. A slow-release fertilizer allows for more even and consistent feeding over a longer period of time than a quick-release fertilizer. And, remember to use fertilizers responsibly by cleaning up any that lands on streets, sidewalks or driveways where they can be washed into lakes, ponds, rivers and streams.

Myth #6: A garden hose is more cost efficient than installing an irrigation system.
Reality: Many landscape professionals recommend installing an irrigation system with smart controllers which have sensors that water when needed. Smart irrigation can offer a cost savings of 15 to 20 percent on water bills. Converting irrigation spray nozzles from sprinklers to rotating nozzles will spread heavy droplets of water at a slower pace, which makes them more targeted and effective.

Myth #7: You have to irrigate to have a healthy and beautiful lawn.
Reality: Grasses are built to endure long periods of drought by entering a state of dormancy. When temperatures and moisture levels are at their extreme, the growing point of the grass plant, the crown, will shut off the grass blades, turning them brown. In almost all instances, once the heat and drought stresses have gone, the crowns will begin to send up new shoots. There’s nothing wrong with irrigating to avoid dormancy, but “embracing the brown” for a couple of weeks in the summer is just fine too.

Starbucks Drives Home Values

Home owners are always hunting for ways to increase the value of their homes – and interior revamps or full-on remodels may do the trick. Or you could just move near a Starbucks.

starbucksHomes located near a Starbucks coffee shop appreciate at a far faster rate than homes not near a Starbucks, according to experts at real estate database Zillow. Since 1997, houses near a Starbucks appreciated 98 percent while homes farther away appreciated only 65 percent, Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff explains in his new book Zillow Talk.

The reason? One theory is that house hunters may think a Starbucks means the neighborhood is gentrifying. Or maybe it signals that a neighborhood is getting safer, and a safer neighborhood is buyers’ main reason for moving, according to a new survey from analysts at The Demand Institute. A simpler explanation? More than half of home buyers want restaurants and cafes within “a short drive” of their new home, so perhaps Starbucks fits that description.

Whatever the reason, Rascoff makes two things clear: A neighborhood Starbucks isn’t the result of higher home prices; it causes them. And the closer you live to one, the better. After Starbucks opened in a particular neighborhood, nearby homes not only rose in value, but they also appreciated faster the closer they were to the shop. Call it the “Starbucks Effect.”

“Starbucks equates with venti-sized home-value appreciation,” according to a book excerpt on Quartz. “Moreover, Starbucks seems to be fueling – not following – these higher home values.”

So the next time you’ve got an urge to reach for the hammer, just get a latte and house hunt instead. Your home’s value will thank you.

Are Dining Rooms Becoming Extinct?

The dining room appears to be going out of fashion. Meals are eaten in the kitchen, at the island or table or, perhaps, on a coffee table at an hour our grandparents would probably consider to be “bedtime.” We’re all busier than ever, working longer than ever.

VintageDiningRoomThe formal dining room is used perhaps two or three times a year – Thanksgiving, maybe the holidays. But the rest of the time it serves as a museum for china and glassware, or simply a reminder of how families used to eat.


IslandDiningBlogger Pam Kueber of Retro Renovation has a theory behind the demise of the dining room. “In the early 20th century and prior, many homes had servants,” she writes. “The kitchen was their separate domain, while the family ate in the dining room. As that tradition died away – and as Mom began to do all the kitchen work herself – we wanted to hang with her and she wanted to hang with us, so the lines between kitchen and dining room began to blur and design evolved towards the ‘open concept’ kitchen so popular today.”

Despite the declining use of the dining room, it remains a fixture in modern day homes. According to a U.S. Census survey that focused on the evolution of new American homes by decade, 46.9 percent of homes constructed before 1960 had dining rooms, compared to 50.6 percent of homes constructed between 2005 and 2009. Keuber chalks up these numbers to the fantasy that often is involved with decorating and designing a new home.

“We buy and furnish our home the way we imagine we want to live,” Kueber says. “Today, I think people still like the idea of a separate dining room because of idyllic visions of Thanksgiving Day and big family gatherings that rarely end up happening.”

A Quicker Stroll?

If you have ever been walking down the street and thought, “Gee, I wish I could get to my destination quicker,” a French company called Rollkers thinks it has a solution.

rollkersInspired by the moving walkways found in airports, Rollkers clip onto your shoe, much like the old roller skates, and use a small motor to help you walk at speeds up to 7 miles per hour, about twice as fast as your normal rate.

According to Rollkers, there is no training needed. They’re “self-balancing,” so you just walk like you normally do. The device was on display this month at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. And while the model displayed was clunky and heavy, the company says the final product, due out early next year, will be much lighter. They will cost around $400.

If You’re Planning a Move, Call Movers Early

MovingCompanyReviews.com, which provides consumers with information about moving companies, recently predicted how housing trends will impact the moving industry in the year ahead.

Among MCR’s predictions:

1. Mover availability is likely to be tight in the spring and summer months. Consumers are urged to book a moving company as soon as they know their moving date. A shortage of nationwide truck drivers is expected in the spring and summer months, according to MCR. The average consumer books the mover only two weeks in advance. But the busiest times of year are between Memorial Day and Labor Day, with moves peaking in August, according to MCR.

MovingTrends2. Major metros will be popular moving destinations. MCR reported the highest number of moves in the nation’s largest cities in 2014, including Chicago, Atlanta, Houston, Denver and Dallas. MCR expects continued urban population growth and the return of post-recession new construction will continue to make these major moving destinations in 2015. Also, MCR anticipates growth in some midsize cities, such as Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham and Nashville. MCR advises consumers moving in or to such areas to book a mover at least one month ahead of their move.

3. Square footage will flatten. In 2014, MCR reported that more movers upgraded their home sizes by a median of 628 square feet. But MCR is projecting that trend won’t continue in 2015 with significant upgrades to square footage from movers. Also, MCR’s forecast projects that the rental market will remain strong with many moves being into rentals.

4. Mover scams remain a threat but will moderate some. The past two years has seen the rise of illegitimate moving companies that offer consumers low prices and then scam them by drastically increasing the rate at the point of delivery or even holding their items hostage. The American Moving and Storage Association and state moving associations issued warnings to consumers in 2014 to watch for such scams and urged consumers to more carefully vet their movers and look for a licensed one.

In 2014, MCR reports the top five states that most consumers moved to were:
1. Florida
2. Texas
3. California
4. New York
5. North Carolina

BlackBeltMirrorAt Dino’s we unhesitatingly recommend Black Belt Movers to our Des Moines and Omaha area customers. The Omaha-based company also serves Lincoln, Denver, Phoenix, Kansas City, Sioux City and San Diego. They do an outstanding job and are top-ranked by the Better Business Bureau. You can call them in Omaha at 402-709-0970 or in Des Moines at 515-393-4253.

Read more at: MovingCompanyReviews.com

Study Suggests Winter Is Best Time to Sell a Home

Forget conventional wisdom. The housing market doesn’t hibernate in the winter.

A study by real estate brokerage Redfin finds that sellers who list and buyers who buy often find the winter season the most advantageous time to make a move in real estate, The winter season officially takes place between Dec. 21 and March 20, and it is a season that brings out more focused and active sellers and buyers and fewer tire-kickers looking for home design ideas.

Redfin researchers studied nationwide home listings, sales prices and time-on-market data from 2010 through October 2014. The study found that February is “historically the best month to list, with an average of 66 percent of homes listed then selling within 90 days,” according to Redfin’s research.

WinterSoldWhat’s more, the study found that winter tends to net sellers’ more than their asking price during the months of December, January, February and March than listings from June through November.

Researchers say the winter market is less competitive for sellers since many people tend to wait until the spring to list. The smaller inventory of active listings help sellers get more attention from buyers on their properties. And the research showed that many corporations transfer employees or hire new ones early in the year, creating opportunities for winter sellers from very motivated purchasers.

Sellers shouldn’t worry about the holidays hampering their chances either. A 2011 study conducted by realtor.com® found that 60 percent of real estate professionals advise their sellers to list a home during the holidays because they believe it’s an opportune time to sell.

Here are a few tips for selling a home in the winter:

Stage it. Stagers can arrange furniture so that selling-points in a home don’t get overlooked, paint rooms inviting colors and have the know-how to give a home a cozy winter feel. Display photos of the home that also show it in warmer summer months. And don’t forget to turn up the thermostat in the home so buyers are comfortable from the moment they step through the door.

Price it right. “If it’s priced properly, it will sell any day of the year,” Katie Severance, a broker for RE/MAX in Upper Montclair, N.J., told The Associated Press.

Show the way. Keep sidewalks and driveways clear of snow, ice and leaves – giving potential buyers a clear path to your front door.

Light it up. There’s less daylight in the winter months so it’s even more important to keep all the lights on as well as open blinds and drapes for natural light. Keep the home well-lit even when you’re not there so the home still looks inviting to passersby who drive by in the evenings after work.

Clear the Clutter. Open up the space and enhance the home’s appearance by removing excess belongings. That’s where Dino’s Storage comes in. We have great storage facilities and reasonable rates for you to store those out-of-season and overwhelming belongings.

Hoarder Nation: America’s Self-storage Industry Is Booming

BulgingHouseIt’s the time of year when American households are filling up with stuff. Your living room is piled with boxes from your Black Friday haul, or your porch is creaking under the weight of UPS deliveries. While retail analysts are obsessively tracking buyer behavior to gauge the impact of Cyber Monday on store earnings, Business Week reports one industry that will surely benefit from the binge – eventually – is the storage business.

The country’s accumulation of things is outpacing our capacity to keep them in our homes, as the growth of mini-warehouses attests. The number of self-storage establishments more than doubled, to 15,000, from 1998 to 2012, according to Census data, dotting the landscape with buildings full of objects we don’t want to see but can’t bear to toss.

Enough Space for Every Man, Woman and Child

The Census data may actually underestimate the industry. According to the Self-Storage Association, the U.S. had 48,500 mini-warehouse facilities last year. Combined, they amount to 2.3 billion square feet of space for lease – enough, in the trade group’s unnerving formulation, to warehouse every man, woman and child in the country.

Self-storage companies generated $24 billion in revenue last year, according to the SSA, an amount that gets divvied up among a handful of large companies – such as CubeSmart and Sovran Self Storage, which operates a chain called Uncle Bob’s, and 30,000 smaller entrepreneurs.

It’s unlikely that Americans are spending the weeks before Christmas loading up their cars or trucks with their old stuff to clear room for the new. New houses keep getting bigger. Storage sales generally fall off at the end of the calendar year and pick up in the summer, which is also the busiest time for U.S. moving companies.

Four Ds Drive Storage Business

FourHorsemenDemand for storage units is driven by what Ronald Havner, chief executive of self-storage giant Public Storage, calls the four Ds: death, divorce, disaster and dislocation. “People moving, people changing their lives in terms of death or divorce. Hurricanes, tornadoes upset people’s lives and require storage facilities,” he said.

Put that way, the storage business is a darker reflection of the retail economy. Shopping and exchanging holiday gifts is, ostensibly, joyous, but those objects are often deposited in storage units in sadder times. For our stuff, though, the journey may be a homecoming of sorts. Products that enter the consumer world from, say, an Amazon.com warehouse, leave it for a temperature-controlled chamber at Uncle Bob’s.

Dino’s Ready for You

DinosWarehouseAt Dino’s, we’re ready for your stuff any time of year. Just give us a call at any of our locations and come on out to any of our locations in Omaha, Des Moines or Winnipeg.

Dino’s Helping with Toy Drive




No child should go without during the holidays.

That’s why Dino’s Storage has teamed up with the Salvation Army and KMTV 3 News to collect toys for needy children.

Drop off new unwrapped toy donations at the KMTV Studio or any Omaha-area Dino’s Storage location through Dec. 12.



Your donation will help provide needy children toys this Christmas.

And, it will bring some huge smiles as well!