Long term storage differs from short term storage in a number of ways. We’ll teach you the right way to store your belongings for an extended period.

Using a long term storage unit when abroad or traveling

There are many different scenarios where people need to store their belongings for a long period. Sometimes you might need to put away one item, like a classic car. Other times, people pack up their entire lives and store it for reasons like long term travel, deployment, or living abroad for a set period.

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 United States, worrying about your belongings in long term storage is the last thing we want you to do.

Depending on your circumstances, it might make the most sense to get rid of your residence and keep all your belongings in a long term storage unit. In fact, there are many benefits to renting storage space to secure your items for an extended length of 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.

Packing Tips for Long Term Storage

1. Ask yourself how much stuff you need to store.

When deciding what to do with your stuff while you’re away, first and foremost, consider your needs. Do you need a small unit to store your unsecured outdoor equipment while you travel? Would you prefer to store all your belongings to eliminate having to pay rent for your apartment? Storage units come in all sizes to fit your circumstances, but the unit you end up renting needs to make sense. Consult our size estimator to be sure you rent enough space to fit everything in the unit comfortably.

2. Make sure long term storage items are properly packed.

Properly packing and storing your belongings will help make sure they’re secure while you’re away. Taking time to pack well seems like a simple enough tip, but it cannot be emphasized enough. Make sure breakables are well packed, and boxes are stacked correctly. Keep boxes and furniture off the floor whenever possible. Improperly storing your items, even for the short term, can result in unnecessary damage and stress.

A few resources you may find helpful while packing:

3. Use a climate controlled storage unit when necessary.

Belongings that are climate sensitive, such as electronics or wood furniture, should be stored in a climate-controlled unit. These do 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 away. If you will be away for more than one season, it’s recommended to keep your items in a climate controlled unit. Storing an entire household worth of belongings through extreme temperature changes and weather has its own set of risks to consider.

Read Also: Benefits of Climate Controlled Storage and Why You Should Upgrade

4. Purchase travel and storage insurance just in case.

To add another layer of security, look into insurance for the items you store while you’re away. Research your current policy guidelines to determine if any additional insurance is required when you rent your unit. You’ll want to make sure your policy covers belongings that are stored off-site and within a long term storage unit.

Read Also: 5 Simple Tips for Safe Storage

5. Appoint someone to check in on your belongings now and then.

You might want to appoint a local person who can visit the storage unit on your behalf if the need arises. This person would be able to ship an item to you from your storage unit if you decide you need it while you’re away. He or she would also be able to respond quickly if there were any problem that needs to be addressed at the moment. This is especially important 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.

Read Also: 5 Tips for Seasonal and Long-Term Classic Car Storage

6. Set up your storage rent on autopay.

When it comes to paying your self-storage bill while you’re away from home, you can set it up on auto-debit, or you can use your bank’s bill payment feature and pay it online. This way you can enjoy yourself and have one less thing you need to think about. This tip goes for other bills you might have too while you’re away, like cable or Netflix.

About the Author

Lauren Thomann

Lauren Thomann has written about self storage and moving since 2015, making her our storage expert. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in English and Linguistics and has published over 150 articles on moving, storage, and home organization. She is also a contributing writer at The Spruce and Martha Stewart.

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