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Self-storage 101: Basic Things You should Know when Moving

Moving to a new city or across town can be a hassle if you do not know what to do with your possessions. For example, you may be moving from a house to an apartment and do not have the immediate space to have all of your keepsakes under one roof. Worse, you have to move property for a loved one from a house so they can continue seeking care in a nursing home or respite facilities. Of course, for anyone moving across the country, knowing about self-storage units and the breadth of their capabilities can be a true life-saver. This is especially true if the move is sudden due to a new job and doing a big move is simply too much of a hassle to do all at once.

relocating to a new home

How moving actually works for most people

When most people move to a new city or state, they are usually following a job. While many positions can give advanced warning, having a month or less to find a home for you or your family without being able to travel back and forth leaves a person with several unique moving problems. Naturally, it would be nice to have lots of extra money to take several flights to house hunt and stay in hotels while you do it, but most people forgo this because it is not cost-effective. In most cases, people moving out of their immediate area will put the bulk of their possessions in a storage unit and move into temporary housing in their new location. When the dust has settled and a permanent home is found, the items stored in the storage unit can be retrieved.

Advantages of self-storage rentals versus moving trucks

Unfortunately, during certain times of the year, moving trucks and services are more expensive. When you are following a career, this can end up costing you thousands of extra dollars. If this is the case for your family and it is an expense you cannot afford, consider putting most of your items in storage until the prices sink for moving van companies. In particular, peak times of the year for moving companies will be summer and the winter holidays. In these situations, a month-to-month lease may be preferred for storage units as opposed to a six-month or year-long lease.

Why consider self-storage over a relative’s basement?

Sadly, if you do not employ a professional storage system for keeping your possessions, you will not be able to recoup any losses if they become damaged. In other words, if you keep your possessions in the basement, garage, shed or attic on relative’s property, you will lose it all if there is a fire, theft or act of nature that involves your items because they will not be covered by insurance. Alternatively, if you keep your items in a self-storage facility, your insurance or their insurance will cover your possessions if they become damaged due to no fault of yours.

Things to consider when choosing self-storage facilities

In most cases, people that are moving will use the self-storage units closest to their location that has the most affordable pricing. Besides renting a truck to transport the items and having a few friends over to help you move the items into the truck, few other considerations are usually made about the storage unit. Despite this, it is worth considering other features that the storage unit might offer. Good examples are temperature control, pest control and moisture control. Regardless, the ultimate deciding factor for many renters is a storage facility with the proper layers of security.

Choose a self-storage unit that has extra security

When you leave your items in the hands of someone else for several months, you want to be sure they are keeping them safe. For this reason, it pays to investigate the property before renting to see what types of security they are using. For instance, if they have security cameras, where is the information viewed or recorded (and how long are these records kept)? Other things to consider are whether or not there is a gate with security code access and also a sturdy lock on the storage unit door. Finally, there should be an attendant at the storage facility that regularly checks the units for signs of break-ins or damage.

You will not be able to store certain items

One of the drawbacks to using storage facilities is that there will be restrictions on certain items. For example, any machinery or vehicle that contains combustible items like gasoline will be banned from any self-storage unit. There will also be restrictions on items that will attract bugs, rats or other pests. To help with this process, the self-storage facility employee will go through your boxes before you store them. If anything flies under the radar such as a giant bag of popcorn inside of plastic bin, you can get sussed out if your storage unit is the only one attracting pests. For this reason, be sure to pack carefully and adhere to the list of restricted items.

Find a place to donate for tax benefits

When you are considering the costs of a self-storage unit during a move, consider the fact that your move is a tax write-off, and donating extra items to charity also shaves down your tax bill each year. For example, when you are ready to prepare your taxes online, the deluxe versions often allow you to itemize all of the household goods or clothing you donated to a charity. In many cases, even a few bags of clothing can give you deductions comparable to the amount you pay for annual self-storage costs. On top of being able to give to charity, you will also benefit from donating unwanted items by renting a smaller space and saving more money.

Unique ways to save money with moving and using self-storage units

Although it is not always the case, it pays to ask the self-storage facility if they have any benefits for their customers. For example, they might offer a reduced price on locks, packing tape or boxes. One big help for many customers using self-storage for moving is discounted-price moving trucks or vans. Usually, storage units will have tools that help movers such as heavy-duty dollies, and these can help reduce the number of helpers you need to hire to help move your possessions in-town. While some offer you the option of taking the dollies off-site, most require a fee unless it is used at the storage unit facility. In some cases, self-storage facilities also offer P.O. boxes for movers that also have more options than the typical rentals at a US Post Office.