Self-storage is a great option when you’re moving house. Why? Because it helps you break the stressful moving process down into bitesize stages. Not only that, taking things one step at a time is a proven method in preventing stress-overload.
So, we at Macro Removals in Bristol, are explaining everything you need to know about self-storage – and we’ve divided it up into easy-to-read sections to help you make the right decisions:
- What is self-storage?
- Why you might need it?
- How you choose a suitable storage facility
- How to estimate how much space you need
- Packing for self-storage
- Items you can’t put into self-storage
- How to arrange the storage unit
What is Self-Storage?
There are many different types of self-storage to choose from and as this is the first decision you’ll need to make, it’s worth taking the time to consider your options. Naturally, the quantity of belongings you have to store will dictate the size of the unit you select, and these range from small lockers in a warehouse to shipping containers in a compound. Units are designed to be secure areas for both individuals and businesses to use and access to them is arranged for convenient times.
Why You Need It?
So, why might you need to use self-storage in the first place? Here are a number of reasons why we believe self-storage is a great practical solution – and why we also think it provides a stress-free option, too:
It’s a well-known fact that we’re all guilty of accumulating too much stuff. It takes will power to resist buying yet another kitchen gadget or another digital radio, and in this internet-browsing age, it takes as little as one-click and you’ve ordered something, not because you need it but because you can.
Electronics, gadgets, books, vases… these are just a few of the over-bought items we see daily in our house moves.
We’ve talked in our blogs before about the benefits of decluttering when it comes to a house move – but what if you can’t bring yourself to actually pass an item on? Perhaps it’s too cherished, or you don’t have the time right now to sell it or donate it to an appropriate charity? A storage facility provides a stop-gap until you have the time and head-space to decide what to do.
Another reason you might be need to declutter is when you put your house on the market. Paring back what’s in your rooms to create a sense of space is essential if you want to give your home that ‘wow’ factor buyers are looking for. Putting the non-essentials into storage is a fantastic idea.
Perhaps you find yourself in a position where you need to move out of your current home because it has been sold, yet you haven’t found somewhere to buy? This is known as being ‘between houses’ and we see a good number of clients doing just this. Storing your belongings while you move into rented accommodation is often the answer – and your belongings remain safe while you get on with the important business of finding somewhere to buy.
Working Abroad or Travelling
Sometimes opportunities crop up that you just can’t say no to. You’ve been offered a temporary position overseas, or you’ve found yourself in between jobs and you’ve decided to grab a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take a dream trip to Asia for a few months. If this is you, you’ll need somewhere safe to store your belongings. Self-storage is a perfect solution.
So, the time has finally come when you’re able to renovate your house! Yet the thought of all those millions of decisions you’ll need to make during the renovation, as well as the amount of noise and dust created is enough to send you into stress-overload.
And what if the builders can’t do their job with your furniture also being in the house, even if you do try to seal off sofas, wardrobes, a dining table and chairs, and beds?
Putting these items into storage is the answer and will allow your building team to complete their work without anything getting in their way.
How to Choose a Storage Company?
There are several factors to consider in choosing the right storage facility so we at Macro Removals have tried to make this next bit as helpful as possible. You’ll need to consider access, security, protection from the weather – and the all-important cost.
Warehouse vs Container Storage
Do you move your belongings into a warehouse or into a container? As with everything in life, there are pros and cons to both. When compared to a shipping container, a warehouse facility provides added security from possible theft and also protection from the weather. This is because storage rooms are contained within a secured building.
However, these benefits come at a higher cost and access is more difficult, especially if the room is on the third floor at the back of the warehouse.
The advantage of using a container is you can park directly outside it for immediate and easy access. This is also something to consider when booking your removals company: you’ll be charged more for the delivery and collection of your belongings from a warehouse because this will take longer.
Items that can be affected by changes in temperature or humidity need special consideration, like antiques and paintings. Musical instruments also fall into this category, pianos being one of the most common musical instruments to go into storage. Make sure you seek advice from experts who understand exactly how your items can be affected so you can make the best choice of a climate-controlled unit.
Always double-check what the access arrangements are to the storage facility you choose. Many people wrongly assume they can get round-the-clock access when, in fact, it’s available 8am – late. If you know you’ll need to dip in and out of the unit to access stored equipment because you need them occasionally, ensure the storage unit will accommodate this type of request.
So you know the weekly or monthly charge but what you don’t know is for how long you’ll need to use the storage facility.
Naturally, costs will vary between companies and it’s worth looking at any low introductory charges they offer and see how much they rise after the initial low-charge period ends. A bit like credit cards, prices can really go up.
If you need long-term storage, you might be better off opting for a more modest weekly or monthly charge that stays constant throughout. Often, local companies which are smaller in size offer more competitive rates and in Bristol, for example, you can find farms in the surrounding area with converted barns or out-properties that are now used as storage. These out-of-town facilities avoid the high business costs associated with towns and cities.
Whilst we’re in the subject of costs, a great method of reducing your overall expenditure is to hunt down free packing materials such as boxes and crates.
What Size Storage Unit Do You Need?
Unless you work in the removals industry, it’s almost impossible to know what size storage unit you’ll need. It’s a question we’re asked time and time again and our answer is as follows:
- 1 Bed Flat = 50 – 75 sq ft (1 x Luton Van)
- 2 Bed Flat or House = 75 – 150 sq ft (1 – 2 x Luton Vans)
- 3 Bed House = 150 – 225 sq ft (2 – 3 x Luton Vans)
- 4 Bed House = 225 – 300 sq ft (3 – 4 x Luton Vans)
How to Pack for Storage?
There is no one-rule-fits-all here so we’ve provided a breakdown of how to pack items typically found in a home:
Anything that can be dismantled, should be. Beds, wardrobes, desks, bookcases – consider furniture that is difficult to move in one piece. Doing this will assist in an easier move and it will also help with the all-important task of reducing the amount of space needed to store them.
If you do decide to choose a warehouse as your storage facility, packing your clothes into furniture drawers is a quick-win hack to save you space. Remember to vacuum-pack your clothes, too, because this will protect them from moisture and damp.
Packing the Boxes
When packing smaller items, such as books, vases and CDs, as well as those fiddly, assorted trinkets found on windowsills, try to use every square inch of space so you are packing as efficiently as you can.
Take the time to protect your electrical items by securing them in bubble wrap and boxing them up. Televisions and computers will have been packed originally in polystyrene within a box, and if you’ve been methodical in your approach, no doubt the original packing is still in the loft or garage. Now’s the time to fish them out and re-use – saving you both time and money.
Mattresses and Sofas
It’s essential that mattresses and sofas are covered in eco-pallet wrapping and that you leave nothing exposed. This will give your furniture maximum protection against dirt and dust, as a storage facility is not home-from-home, and cleanliness is not a top priority!
Make a List
We always stress the importance of making a list so you know exactly what you’re going to put in storage, and if you choose to get something out, you have a log of what you’ve removed. You don’t want to be in the position of forgetting where your items are.
What Not to Store?
Make sure you check exactly what is allowed to be stored and what isn’t. Storage companies will each have their own policies and here’s a very general list of what you can’t store:
- Gas canisters
- Drugs and other illegal substances
How to Arrange the Storage Unit?
So you’ve made a list of what you’re taking, you’ve dismantled the larger items and you’ve packed efficiently the smaller pieces. Now you need to think carefully about which of those items, if any, you’ll potentially need to access while they are in storage. These will need to be kept in the front area of the unit, by the door. If you’re going to be renting a large unit, you may want to consider creating a central walkway where you can access items on both sides.
We’ve tried to explain all you need to know about choosing a storage facility and how to use one wisely. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have more questions, or if you’d like to enquire about our home or office removal service, or our packing service. We’re here to help!
Edited by Greer Glover Editorial, based in Thame.
Disclaimer – This blog should only be viewed as a guide. Macro Removals Ltd cannot be held responsible for any injuries, loss of earnings, or death as a result of following this guide.