Moving and storage go hand in hand. When you move from one location to another, there is always a need to store some bulky items in a storage facility until you find a place to live. Sometimes, you may even have to keep it for a longer period of time, depending on the amount of time it takes for you to settle down in your new place. During your move, you can opt to store your items with your moving company too. But, this is more expensive than renting a self-storage unit and this is the reason many people choose the latter option.
Choosing a Self-storage facility
Choosing the right self-storage facility is important to ensure that your items are in good condition, without any kind of damage. There are many aspects that should be considered before selecting a self-storage unit.
The first aspect is the location of the facility. If you are planning to come to the facility frequently to take your things, then it is a good idea to choose a facility that is close to where you live. This will make it easy for you. It also depends on the kind of items you are planning to store. If it is just your furniture or any bulk item that you may not need for your day-to-day living, then you can choose a facility that is far away. On the other hand, if you are planning to store your daily supplies, then choose one that is closest to your current residence.
The amount of space you need is another factor that can help you to choose the right unit. In general, opt for a smaller space and pack it densely with your stuff. By doing this, you can save on extra space and money that is charged for this space. Many storage units even have mini-storage units and if you can fit all your items in that mini-storage, then that would be the best option for you. So, look for storage units that offer differing sizes of storage.
Security is an important factor because you want your goods to be safe when you come back to get them. Check the security and alarm systems and see if they are in good working condition. If you are planning to store a lot of valuable items like gold or diamond jewelry, cash or any other precious item, then check if they have a unit with concealed walls so that others cannot see what is inside. This may cost you a little extra money, but it is important if you have anything that is valuable. So, depending on what you want to store, look for a facility that has units with concealed walls.
You should be able to access your goods 24/7 for free. Some storage units have restricted times for access and if you want to access at a time when the facility is closed, you have to pay extra. Look for a storage facility that gives you unrestricted access round the clock.
Climate control is another decisive factor. If you are going to store upholstered items or old documents, then it’s important the storage unit is not damp. Even small amounts of humidity can cause damage to these fragile items. Most facilities have specialized units that keep temperature and humidity constant. Look for a facility that has one of these units when you are storing any item that can get damaged.
The units should be clean and well-maintained. If you spot dirt or dust inside the unit, then it is time to move away. Also, the units should be free from pests, small rodents and other insects. Though most professional units are pest-free, it’s a good idea to check the precautions that have been taken to keep these insects and animals at bay.
The final aspect is the area for delivery and pick-up. Only a few storage facilities offer sufficient space for a pick-up truck so that you can drop or pick goods from the unit without too much effort. Most facilities do not have proper parking spaces and so transporting the goods from the truck to the unit and back can be difficult. If you have any health concerns or if you are unable to find any help to move them, look for a unit that offers this feature, even though you may have to pay extra for it. It will be worth the effort.
Finally, before you sign the contract, check through the document to look for any hidden clauses or hidden charges. If you find any, discuss it with the storage unit and get it cleared before you enter into any kind of agreement with them. If the terms are unacceptable to you, never hesitate to look for other facilities.
In short, these are some of the aspects that should be kept in mind while selecting a storage unit.
Packing for a Self-storage facility
Packing is an art by itself. If you are not planning to take professional help, then you should spend considerable time and effort to pack it right. When you pack for a self-storage facility, it’s important you keep certain considerations in mind. As you pack, make markings on the box and make a list of things you have placed in each box. This will make it easy for you to take your things when you need them, without having to empty out the entire place to find one item.
Pick boxes that are of a uniform size because it will help you to stack them better. This will also help you to make optimal use of your available storage space. Make sure that the packing materials are sturdy and of good quality. Try to put as much stuff as possible in boxes as this will make it easy for you to store and remove easily. While packing, fill the boxes to its maximum capacity. At the same, it should not be too heavy because it may be difficult to carry. Also, the box may break due to the excess weight. So, put a good mix of heavy and light items in each box.
Sealed plastic bags are not a good option for storage because they allow humidity and this can cause molds or mildew. Use bubble wrap for fragile items like glasses, dishes or anything that can break easily. This gives an extra padding.
Avoid wet items in the storage unit as this can cause water damage to other goods as well. Refrigerators and freezers should be defrosted to prevent any damage due to mold or mildew. It is a good idea to stack books on top of another for extra space and to prevent them from bending or tearing. Furniture and other upholstered items should be covered with cloth or plastic covers to prevent dust from settling on them. Avoid keeping anything inflammable like oil or gasoline in the unit as this can easily catch fire and destroy the other items in the unit. Finally, make sure you seal all boxes tightly with a packing tape to prevent any dust from entering them.
The final aspect is insurance. Decide if you want to insure your products against any possible loss or damage. It depends to a large extent on the kind of goods that you store and its value. If you anticipate their damage due to fire or floods or theft or any other reason, then it is better to insure them.
When you follow these tips, your boxes are well-packed and you are all set to place them in the storage units. While placing them, stack the boxes on top of each other and allow some walking space. This will help you get to the boxes without trampling on anything else. Also, keep it organized. Make a list of items that you think you may need more immediately and place them on top or in the front so that they are easily accessible. This will avoid a lot of hassle for you when you want to get something out of the unit.
In short, choosing the right storage unit and packing for them can be a cumbersome experience. The above-mentioned tips can go a long way in making this job a lot simpler and easier for you. So, follow these tips and enjoy your move.
Deciding on a self-storage facility
There are several factors, whether personal or practical, that should greatly affect your preference as to where your personal items and possessions should be stored. Here, we will go over a few common considerations that you will almost certainly want to think about.
In your mind, you have to remember that these are your things and you may some day in the future choose to come back for them. Of course, you desire to have them to remain in the same condition, even over the course of time. You do not want your precious items to be damaged in any way.
It is advised that you take a visit to one or more storage facilities. If possible, these facilities should be local or not very far from the place you will be moving into. This will make it convenient for you whenever you decide to check up on or reclaim your goods. When looking over the facilities and observing their practices, you should ask yourself the following questions before making a confident choice:
- Do they offer units that are the correct size? This can vary from one person to the next depending on their particular needs and what types of items they plan to place in self-storage. You may also want to take in mind the possibility that your storage space needs could either increase or decrease in the future.
- Will your goods be secure? In order to decide this, you will want to ask questions about what measures they take to protect the items that are housed within the facility. Ask if they use locks and alarms on each individual unit or if they have cameras and lights placed properly in the area. You can also do some personal observations. Look to see if they have a decent fence placed around the facility. Even better, a secure fence that requires a personal pass code at the gate. At any rate, you can judge for yourself what level of security is needed for the items you want to put into storage.
- Do you have a need for certain climate controls to be used? You may or may not need the temperature of your unit to be monitored or maintained, and should decide well before choosing a facility. For instance, if you plan to have upholstery, business merchandise, or paper documents, you definitely will not want to let them sit in a damp space where they will be soaked and deteriorate.
- Are the facilities sanitary? If you want your goods to stay clean and in good condition, you can’t possibly expect them to do so in an environment that is not. The surroundings that you see when looking over a self-storage facility can serve as a clear indication as to what condition you should expect your items to be in after a few months of sitting in that same storage facility.
- When and how are you allowed to access the facility? This can both be a security and an issue of personal preference. However, you will probably prefer a place where access hours had reasonably few restrictions to the customer, but still worked to keep out those who might seek to steal or damage your items.
- Will you need vehicle access to your self-storage unit? If you are planning to fill up a large volume of space, the answer is probably yes. For example, you might be planning to use a commercial moving van to take items to and later remove them from the facility. If so, you will want to be sure that there is enough access space for the particular vehicle that you plan to use.
- Is there a pest problem? You don’t allow rats and insects to gather on your furniture while it is in your home. It should be no different after you have put these items into storage. The people at a self-storage building should be able to tell you the specific steps that they take in preventing and removing pest populations.
- Are the facilities suitable for the goods you will be placing there? One example that can be given is the storage of high value items. For one, you will more than likely desire a higher level of security in order to protect these goods. A small open fence and a simple padlocked unit door might not be enough.
- Do you agree to the terms of their contract? You will want to know all their terms and agreements before you sign. This might also require that you read the fine print to make sure there is nothing that will come as a surprise later if something goes wrong.
Packing up and preparing
Although it sounds like a simple task, packing for self-storage can end up being more complicated than you would assume. As you must realize by now while reading this guide, it may require some thought and consideration on your part when making choices and taking the necessary steps. You will find that some facilities even offer to take the burden out of your hands and they will provide you with professional packing as an additional service.
But, if you want to take on the task yourself, then there are some basic rules that you will need to take into consideration. For one, you will want to pack in a thoughtful way. You should pack so that it will be easy to gain access to the things you know you will be coming back for. You don’t want to have to dig through every box or empty out your entire self-storage space just to get back at your collection of old baseball cards. You also want to arrange things in an orderly way so that you can easily keep a mental note of what is where.
Aside from the above suggestions, you can also take the following steps in order to maximize the effectiveness of your packing:
- Purchase high quality boxes and packing materials to keep your valuables in. The boxes should be roughly the same size so that they can be stacked easily and securely.
- Make an account as to the value of each item you place in storage. This will help you to fill out the insurance policy just in case something gets damaged.
- Try to box everything that can fit into a box. This will serve to protect it from dust or the elements.
- Place labels on the outside of the boxes so as to identify what you have placed inside. If you have glass or other types of breakable items in a box, be sure to mark it as “Fragile.”
- Fill up your boxes to their capacity, but be careful not to damage, over fill, or make them too heavy. This will help prevent accidents, collapse, and damage especially when you are stacking the boxes or top of one another.
- Do not completely fill up a large box with heavy items such as books. Use a smaller and sturdy box for this. Save the larger boxes for the less weighty goods.
- Don’t seal up your items in any type of plastic. Doing this could cause moisture to gather, creating water damage and mildew.
- If you have fragile and breakable goods such as glasses, dishes, or ornaments, you should pack all those things separately from your other items. They will need special care. Put either paper or bubble wrap around each individual piece. You never want to place heavy items on top of a box with fragile goods.
- Using wardrobe or clothes boxes for your garments would be best. This will prevent moisture from ruining them.
- Larger appliances may require specific care. If you are storing a fridge or freezer, be sure to thoroughly defrost it to prevent water from leaking out and onto your other nearby items. You should also leave the doors slightly open once it is in the storage space. This will help in preventing water condensation. Washing machines will need to be drained. The point is to have everything dry and clean when it goes in the facility.
- Take lampshades off and wrap the lamp bases. Keep the shade separate afterward.
- You should wrap your mirrors and pictures in bubble wrap in order to protect them. You should not store them flat. Place them on their ends and mark them as “Fragile.”
- You can give some extra protection to upholstery. Mattresses can easily be stored on their ends. Do the same for your sofas if possible and try to put both of these products off the storage space floor and on top of protective sheeting. It is also wise to make use of various covers, bags, and sheeting. This may be provided by the storage facility along with other helpful storage items.
- Place a dustsheet between furniture items when storing them on top of each other to minimize things like scratching or rubbing damage.
- Stack your chairs set to set and cover their legs with some type of protective wrapping.
- Dismantle whatever can be taken apart. This will save you a lot of space. This includes things such as tables, beds, shelves, and other types of furniture. Just be careful to wrap and cover the sections and mark them and place them with each other. Screws and bolts can be placed in a plastic bag.
- Spray all your wood furniture with protective furniture spray prior to storage.
- Before storing in a facility, drain anything that has a fuel tank. Lawn mowers and cars, for instance. For obvious reasons, fuel is not allowed in storage facilities.
- Place electronics in their original boxes if you still have them. If not, try to find boxes that are nearest to the correct size and fill the empty space with paper or wrap.
- Clean and dry all metal objects and surfaces in order to prevent rust.
- Take the bags off your vacuum cleaners
- Temperature damage can easily result when storing photographs. The best precaution is to make sure the facility has climate controls. If not, you might want to keep them out of storage.
- Tie long-handled items and tools in bundles. Store brushes on their backs, not their bristles.
- Place treatments and conditioners on your leather items.
- Being creative can help you to maximize space potential. Furniture drawers are very good for fragile items. You can even use stoves and fridges the same way.
- After you are done boxing, seal the containers with protective tape.
Self-storage unit organization
The larger the storage unit space you rent, the more you will pay. If you desire to save a little money, you will have to make the most out of space. Doing a little planning can help you to place a lot of material in the least possible space.
There are a few things to remember when making these sorts of plans. First of all, you will want to arrange things so that they are accessible. After that you want to make sure your items are well protected.
- Unless it is a very small storage space, you should try to make at least one aisle in order to get into the space.
- Place your largest items at the back of the storage unit.
- When stacking items and boxes, place those that are of similar sizes together and be sure to place the heavier ones on the bottom of the pile.
- Avoid placing your furniture against the walls of the unit.
- If you know you will need to gain access to something later, place it at the very front of the storage space.
- Fill up any empty space. Don’t be afraid to put small items in washing machines, drawers, fridges, and ovens.