Are You Considering Long Term Storage?
We get a lot of questions in our line of work – people are fascinated by self-storage, especially about our customers who have been with us since the beginning. To be honest, we find them fascinating too because they’re usually very interesting, enterprising people!
When people think of self-storage, they typically think of a temporary solution between moving houses, but self-storage is a useful solution to store belongings throughout the year such as seasonal items, files, equipment, inventory or tools. We’ve had several customers move-in, assuring us it’s just for a few months, and once they realize how convenient our facility is, they keep their unit for years.
Over the years, we’ve learnt a thing or two about storing long-term, because there is a big difference between long-term and short-term storage. Short-term storage? Well, it’s not a problem if you don’t pack your unit very efficiently, or you forget where you put a piece of furniture – because you’re going to move it all again very soon! But long-term storage, well, that’s a different animal. You need to be organized, efficient and smart about long-term storage because it’s an unwritten rule that if you don’t pack your unit well, the thing you need the very most will be in the back, buried under boxes.
Whether your long-term self-storage is planned or accidental, here are some tips to make the most of your experience that we’ve come up with over the years:
- Only store things you care about:
Before you move into your self-storage unit, go through your belongings and lighten up! Donate what you don’t need and only store things that have value to you. It may seem counter-intuitive for a self-storage facility to tell you to purge your belongings, but we don’t want to see customers pay for more space than they need or stuff their self-storage unit to its maximum capacity – store what you need and have enough room to properly organize your self-storage unit so you can access your items.
- Store your belongings carefully:
- Invest in proper supplies to protect your belongings such as mattress covers, sheets and bubble wrap;
- remove batteries from all devices to avoid leakages which could ruin your electronics;
- make sure there is absolutely no moisture in any of your belongings which means defrosting the refrigerator, airing out the washer and ensuring there is ample room for airflow between boxes and items;
- drain all motors of any fuel;
- store sofas on their ends which will save space in your unit;
- don’t use moth balls – these require a well ventilated area and can be very smelly; and
- label everything in your unit.
In the Milton, Mississauga, Oakville, Burlington and Guelph areas, there are a lot of moving companies and companies that sell moving supplies. It’s worth talking to these professionals and asking them what they would recommend to protect your belongings in long-term self-storage. Storage Solutions also offers moving supplies for your convenience and we are happy to help.
- Pack your self-storage unit logically: This is especially true if you’ll be having a friend or family member checking your unit. You might ask them to pull a document from your files and it would be nice if you could easily explain where they might find it! A lot of long-term storers pack their unit according to different rooms so that kitchen boxes are all together, or they pack their unit based on what they think they will need to access the most – so if you’re storing your workshop, maybe you want to keep your small tools towards the front of the unit. Either way, it’s up to you and you should pick a system that will work for your purposes.
- Remember what you put into your self-storage unit: Ever lost something and just cannot find it? It happens all the time – I misplaced my cat this morning – just kidding! In all honesty, it’s hard enough turning your house upside down to try to find a set of keys, but not fun to do this in your self-storage unit, especially after you painstakingly packed boxes and stored them “just so”. Our favourite tricks so you remember what you have in your unit? Take a picture! Make a list! Tell your spouse! Basically, just do something that doesn’t solely rely on your own memory.
- Leave Storage Solutions with your most current contact information, especially an email address, and leave a back-up contact too: Make sure your self-storage facility has your email address so that they can get a hold of you in case your credit card is compromised and payments cannot be put through or if there is an issue with your unit. You should also make sure to update your physical mailing address, because this is the address for notice in all rental agreements at any self-storage facility. We also recommend that our customers leave a back-up contact such as a family member, who would be able to get ahold of you quickly should anything come up.
- Put Storage Solutions into your contacts: Our policy is that only the customer with an access card and the key to the unit can access the unit; however, if you are away, you may need someone to get into your unit on an emergency basis, such as to access personal documents. In this case, make sure you have Storage Solutions’s contact information readily available so you can call the staff and get their help. When in doubt, our email address is email@example.com. We check our email frequently so please don’t hesitate to contact us!
Long-term self-storage has a lot of benefits – it frees up space in your house or garage, it’s a way to store inventory or files, or it can give you a private space for your personal items. Sometimes you don’t realize you’ll be storing your belongings on a long-term basis, so if you switch from being a short-term storer to a long-term storer, it’s not a bad idea to go through your unit and do a little reorganizing at some point!
If you are in the Mississauga, Oakville, Milton, Burlington or Guelph areas, give us a call. We would be happy to talk to you about storage solutions for our long-term self-storage and give you tips on how to maximize your self-storage experience.