There are many situations when people need long-term storage solutions for their belongings. Sometimes a single item like a classic car needs storing. Other times, people need whole house storage for long–term travel, deployment, or temporarily living abroad.
Unfortunately, determining what to do with your stuff while you’re away from home for months or years can be stressful. Whether you’re headed on a European adventure or an RV trip across the country, the last thing you want to do is worry about your belongings in a storage unit.
Depending on your circumstances, the natural solution may be removing your residence and keeping all your belongings in a long–term storage unit. There are many benefits to renting storage space to secure your items for an extended time. Saving money and gaining peace of mind are the two most important advantages of self-storage. But before you throw everything into the unit and take off, read these long–term storage tips first.
What is long-term storage?
Long-term storage refers to using storage services for a period of time longer than three months. It’s common for people to use long-term storage to keep items they don’t have room for at home or, in this case, when you will be away from home for a long time. On the other hand, short-term storage units are available to rent for three months or less.
1. Determine How Much You Need To Store
When deciding what to do with your stuff while you’re away, consider your needs first. Do you need a small unit to store your unsecured outdoor equipment while you travel? Would you prefer to store all your belongings to avoid paying rent for your apartment?
Storage unit sizes vary to fit your circumstances, but the unit you rent needs to make sense. Consult our size estimator to be sure you rent the correct unit size to fit everything comfortably.
2. Properly Pack Long-Term Storage Items
Properly packing and storing your belongings will ensure they’re secure while you’re away. Taking time to pack well seems like a simple enough tip, but it cannot be emphasized enough. Breakable items such as china should be securely packed, with boxes stacked correctly.
Keep all moving boxes, containers, and furniture off the floor whenever possible. Improperly storing your items, even for the short term, can result in unnecessary damage.
Is bubble wrap safe for long-term storage?
Yes, bubble wrap is safe for long-term storage, and it’s highly recommended. For breakable items such as dishes, vases, or home decor, bubble wrap is light and easy to use. You’ll find excellent protection for your much-loved items when using bubble wrap.
Can I store clothes in plastic boxes?
Yes, storing clothing in plastic boxes or containers is a great method for keeping your items safe. Plastic containers are also easy to stack, making them a perfect long-term storage solution. On the other hand, you want to avoid using plastic bags or cardboard as these could trap moisture and become damaged.
Helpful packing resources:
- How to Pack Dishes and Breakables for Moving and Shipping
- How to Protect Furniture Going In and Out of Storage
- How to Pack an Organized Storage Unit
3. Consider A Climate-Controlled Storage Unit
Belongings that are sensitive to temperature changes, such as electronics or wood furniture, should be stored in a climate-controlled unit. These storage facilities cost a little more, but the increased cost may bring peace of mind knowing your belongings won’t be subjected to extreme temperatures while you’re gone. If you’ll be away for more than one season, keeping your items in a climate–controlled unit is recommended.
Related Article: Benefits of Climate-Controlled Storage and Why You Should Upgrade
4. Purchase Travel And Storage Insurance
To add an extra layer of security, look into insurance for the items you store while you’re away. Research your current policy guidelines to determine if additional insurance is required when renting your unit. You’ll want to make sure your policy covers belongings that are stored off-site and within a long–term storage unit. It would be worth considering this to ensure you’re enabling safe storage solutions.
5. Appoint A Check-In Person
If you can, it’s a good idea to appoint a local person who can visit the storage unit on your behalf. This person can ship an item to you from your storage unit if you decide you need it while you’re away. They would also be able to respond quickly to any problems requiring immediate attention.
Having a check-in person is essential if you’re storing a car for a few months. If the tires are still in place and the battery is in the car, taking the car for a spin can help ward off premature damage from sitting.
Related Article: 5 Tips for Seasonal and Long-Term Classic Car Storage
6. Set Up Autopay For Your Unit
When paying your self-storage bill while you’re away from home, you can set it up on autopay. You can use your bank’s bill payment feature or pay it online through the storage unit. With autopay in place, you can enjoy yourself and have one less thing you need to think about. When shopping around for long-term storage options, ask how they process payment, so you know it will work for your needs.
No matter why you require a long-term storage solution, these tips will help alleviate your moving stress. You likely have many other things on your mind, but safely storing your items doesn’t have to be one of them.
This post originally appeared on the Life Storage Blog on 12/9/15 and was revised on 12/1/17 & 7/13/23 to provide new information.