Updated on 8/3/16 from an article originally published on 5/1/15.
Moving can be a stressful time for any family. In some instances, a practical way to relieve some of that stress is to rent a convenient self storage unit. For a minimal investment, you’ll have access to a secure holding place for all your stuff so you can take care of the business of moving. Sometimes closing dates don’t line up and a storage unit evolves from a practical convenience into a moving necessity.
Whatever your moving dilemma, incorporating a storage unit into your move is more seamless than you’d think. We’ve come up with the top 9 tips to help you effectively acquire storage for moving.
1. Figure Out What Size You Need
How large does your self-storage unit need to be? You want to have one that’s large enough for your belongings, but you don’t want to overpay for something that’s too big. Representatives who work at the self-storage facility can help you determine the size of unit you will need, and you can often find what will fit online by using space estimators.
If you’re moving out of state, see what the facilities in your area have to offer. A 5-by-5 foot unit is perfect if you’re looking to store small items, small boxes, and books. If you need to store a one-bedroom home, consider a unit that’s 10-by-10 feet. If you’re looking to pack away a three or four bedroom home, a 10-by-20 foot unit is a good size. There are also units in other sizes as well as units where you can store vehicles.
2. Consider Climate Control
If you plan to store artwork, electronics, photos, or anything else that might be sentimental, you might want to consider reserving a unit that is climate-controlled.
“Temperature changes and humidity can warp furniture and mildew upholstery,” reports Apartment Therapy. “Take into consideration the duration, time of year, and what you will be storing. If you are spending money to store your possessions, you want to make sure to protect them.”
3. Figure Out When to Reserve Your Unit
One of the best moving tips available is to start early. As soon as you know you’re moving, go ahead and reserve a storage unit. That allows you to start packing right away instead of waiting until the last minute. Whether you need to declutter your home so it sells faster or you need to pack up your apartment so you can thoroughly clean it, having space to put your boxes will help keep your home welcoming and stress-free.
4. Know What to Store and What Not to Store
Anything you can live without during the process of moving should be packed up and stored in your self-storage unit. For example, if you have two sets of pots and pans, pack up one set and keep the other set for use in your kitchen until it’s closer to the date you actually move. Clothes that are out of season can be boxed up and stored as well.
As you pack more and more boxes, you’ll slowly increase what you add to your storage unit. Instead of guessing what will fit, consider staging an area in your home where you can strategize. “Measure a line of painter’s tape the same size of the storage space you’ll be moving into. Say you have four bookshelves, each a foot long. Measure out four feet of tape on the floor and put your books on that line. If it doesn’t fit on the line, donate it,” advises Julia Merz.
5. Learn How to Organize
The moving and storage process can potentially last a while, especially if you’re trying to sell your home first. “Even though you know exactly what you’re putting in your storage unit at the time you open it, that doesn’t mean in six months when you need back in it that you won’t be digging for ages and opening random boxes until you find what you’re after,” writes Apartment Therapy. “Label everything. The hidden, the obvious, and you can even go as far as to make a checklist that hangs inside the door telling you where something might be (back right corner under the desk = cameras to sell on eBay).”
6. Will You Need Vehicle Storage?
If you find yourself in the middle of relocating across the country, you might not know how you’ll get all of your vehicles to your new home. If you’re driving your own moving truck, or if you have only one licensed and insured driver in your party, it’s impossible to drive multiple vehicles to your new home.
Vehicle storage is an option at most self-storage facilities. You can store your passenger vehicle, boat, or even your RV. When the timing is convenient, fly back to your original destination (riding a bus or taking the train works, too). Pick up your vehicle from the self-storage location, and then you can transport it home.
7. Ask Lots of Questions
During your relocation, one of our representatives at your self-storage location can help you with any questions you have about your unit. He or she might also be able to give you some helpful moving tips they’ve learned since working in the business.
A quick phone call should also give you the information you need about climate-control, size, and cost. Remember to ask about accessing the unit at times it’s convenient for you. If you’re nearby, set up a time to tour the facilities.
8. Look at Lease Options
If you’re packing belongings away for long-term storage, a longer lease is the best option for you. If you’re only looking to use your storage unit during the moving process, you’ll most likely need a shorter lease. Explain your needs to the storage facility representative and work together to find a lease that best fits your needs. Month-to-month options might also be available, so don’t forget to ask about that if you need short-term storage.
9. Attain the Proper Insurance
While you’re asking the details about the self-storage property, take a moment to ask about how to acquire proper insurance. Loretta Worters, vice president of the Insurance Information Institute, says a call to your insurance agent will help you determine if your items are insured while they’re in storage. “Typically, standard homeowners and renters insurance policies do include off-premises property protection for theft and damage from fires and other disasters,” she says. “But to what extent the coverage applies to a storage facility really depends on the insurance company.”
Anything you can do to help ease the stress during a move is worth the effort. Being able to put your belongings in self-storage while you pack and move helps reduce the clutter in your home and the stress in your life. In the end, you’ll have more time to look forward to the move and less stress about the moving process when you incorporate a self-storage unit into your moving plans.