Renting A Storage Unit

Those downsizing their living space might consider renting a storage unit to accommodate their stuff. While understandable, it makes very little financial sense. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars per month on a unit, why not just put the money towards a larger living space?

storage-unitsRenting a portable unit is a better alternative for temporary storage. The company will pick it at your house, store it, and bring it back. This is far less work, plus you won’t have to worry about someone breaking in and stealing your stuff.

The Cost of Renting A Unit

Think about the long-term cost of renting storage. Let’s say you pay $300 per month. That equals $3600 per year. Over a 10 year period, that’s $36,000. That’s a lot of money just to store some stuff.

When is renting justifiable? When you have tons of business and personal documents that must be kept, or just need some storage temporarily.

When staging a home, some people rent a storage unit until their house sells. This is money well spent because it’s for the purpose of staging, which could result in a quicker sale or a higher price. Plus, it’s only temporary, which means it won’t cost very much in the grand scheme of things.

Long-term storage however is difficult to justify. If you have more stuff that your home can hold, then seriously evaluate whether or not some possessions are worth keeping.

Ultimately, the choice is yours. If you think renting a unit is worth the money, then go for it.

Choosing a Storage Unit

Some units are as small as lockers, while others are as large as a warehouses. Look for quality units that have climate control. Electronics and appliances can get damaged if exposed to extreme hot or cold temperatures if held in an outdoor storage unit. Indoor units provide better protection, but are more expensive.

  • Will you receive compensation if the storage unit leaks and causes damage?
  • How secure is the facility? Do they have break-ins very often?
  • Is insurance coverage offered?
  • Will the rent stay the same or can it be increased at some point?

Most storage facilities will ask for first and last month’s rent upfront. You will also be responsible for buying your own lock as well. Some moving companies offer to pay one month’s worth of rent if you use their services.

To find local storage units, do a Google search and look in the yellow pages. lists facilities in various states. Demand for storage is highest during the summer months.

Preparing Goods For Storage

Whether you’re renting a truck or hiring movers, the stuff going to the storage unit should be packed last. This way, it can be dropped off at the facility first. The boxes should be properly labeled so you can find what you’re looking for quickly.

  • place clothing in plastic bags for added protection
  • don’t store highly valuable possessions or documents
  • only store paintings, instruments, and electronics in climate controlled units
  • use a highly secure lock
  • cover furniture with old sheets or blankets
  • don’t store any liquids or foods
  • don’t store hazardous materials
  • drain gas tanks of motorized equipment
  • buy insurance
  • place items on top of pallets to prevent water damage and allow air to circulate freely
  • use one cup of baking soda and a gallon of water to clean inside of appliances; let them air out for 24 hours
  • keep refrigerator and freezer doors slightly open when stored (electrical cord can be used)

Cardboard boxes are fine for storage, but plastic bins are probably best, especially if you’re storing documents. They’re more sturdy will better protect against moisture.

Loading A Storage Unit

Stack furniture and mattresses against the walls of the unit. Place crated items between mattresses. All boxes can be stacked in a row right down the middle. This creates an aisle on both sides of the boxes. The items that you will access most often should be placed conveniently near the front. Make sure the boxes are stacked so you can see the labels.

Make a list of every item going to storage. Have two copies of the list: one for the unit, one to keep with you. Since a lot of units don’t have lighting, consider buying a lantern so you can see in the dark.

If Moving Overseas

Bring as much stuff as possible with you personally. Your stuff might take a long time to past through customs, as you may be required to become a resident before getting them. Plus, items could get damaged or lost while being shipped overseas. Bring the largest suitcases that airline allows.

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