For many people, extended trips are the realization of a dream and hold the promise of great adventure. But if you’re a renter leaving the country for a few months or more, one of the many conundrums you’ll face is what to do with your belongings while you’re gone. It’s usually not worth it to keep renting an apartment or house. A more practical (and cheaper) option is self storage.
A standard storage unit is a fraction of the cost of renting living space. It’s worth it, however, to do some research and understand your storage needs before you commit to any storage facility. Here are a few tips to make your transition to self storage renting a breeze.
- First, make a list of everything you need to store. Don’t forget to list appliances, files, and furniture. If you’re planning to sell some items, divide your list into items you want to keep and ones you want to sell or give away. Be ruthless. Storage facilities charge you by the size of the unit you rent, so the smaller the unit, the less you’ll pay in monthly rent.
- Once your list of stored items is ready, use a handy storage calculator to determine the size of storage unit you’ll need. The calculator lets you enter each item and the number of boxes you’ll store. This calculator will even create printable packing labels for you to use.
- Next, use a mini storage facility listing site to locate the storage facilities in your area. Consider whether you’d prefer to store at a facility close to your current home, or close to a friend or relative who might be willing to check on the unit for you occasionally. Another option is to store items in a neighborhood you may be moving to when you get back from your trip, so that unpacking the unit and moving its contents isn’t too painful.
- Make a list of a few facilities you’d like to visit, and go visit them. It’s hard to know much about a storage facility without visiting it in person. You’ll want to feel that your belongings are safe and sound, especially when you’re out of the country. Ask to see the storage unit you’d be assigned, and check that it’s clean and dry.
- Compare deals. Some facilities offer a discount on rent if you commit to a certain contract length. Find out what your options are. It might make the difference between renting at one facility or another. If you don’t own a large vehicle, look for facilities that offer new renters the (complimentary) use of a truck for moving in.