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The Facts About Storage – Part Two

How to pick the correct-sized storage unit and other tips!

In our first article, we addressed the difference between storing items at a moving company warehouse, versus a mini-storage unit. Another common question we get is, “What size storage unit do I need?” If you are choosing to store your items with a moving company, the answer is easy – you will not need to know. The salesperson/coordinator at the moving company should be able to inventory what you are moving to storage and give you an estimate of cost based on this. 

If you are storing at a storage unit, the answer is a bit more complicated. Typically, there are different-sized units available such as –

Examples of sizes of mini-storage units

The next question to ask, is how tall the units are. Items can usually not be stacked much taller than 5 or 6 ft. We will take the most popular size, 10ftx10ft, and assume items can be stacked 5ft tall. 10 multiplied by 10 multiplied by 5 is 500 cubic feet (10x10x5=500). Each cubic foot holds 7lbs, thus a 10×10 unit holds about 3500lbs (500ft3multiplied by 7). An average room holds about 1500lbs, thus 3500lbs will be the equivalent to a 2bedroom apartment. 

Things to consider that may affect the size space you need, would be how ‘stackable’ are the items. Is this a lot of furniture that is square, ,like end tables and night stands, or bulky, like a sofa or sectional? Are you moving a lot of boxes and totes, that are easy to stack, or rather items that cannot be stacked, such as garden tools and floor lamps?

If you are planning to use a mini-storage, and plan to do the move without the assistance of a moving company here are some tips:

  • Don’t lay a TV on its side, it will affect the electrical components
  • Don’t pack with newspaper, the print will rub off and dirty items and your hands while unpacking.
  • Empty all appliances of water, and let them dry, and tape down loose parts.
  • Stack heavy boxes/items on bottom and light on top.
  • Think about moisture, and use pallets on the ground, and moving pads to protect.
  • Cardboard boxes placed on furniture can scratch the surface (small particles on bottom can rub). Use pads in between
  • Place items in front that you will need access to – such as décor for holidays, vacations, etc.
  • If you have shelves, make them functional and use them to stack boxes and smaller items.

If you plan to use a moving company to assist with the move out of the mini-storage, consider the access to the unit. Especially if you are moving long-distance, it would be advantageous to be able to fit a semi-truck in, to load up. If not, there is the potential a smaller truck would be needed to move the larger truck, and the cost will be higher due to extra handling. 

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The Facts about Storage – Part One

Everything you need to know about storage (and probably more than you wanted to)!

A consideration prior to beginning this discussion – make sure you are not using storage as a way to postpone making decisions about your items. To save time and money (lots of money in the long-term), make sure to go through all of your items, and that you are keeping only those items that you need, love, and will use in the future. We caution clients to store with a purpose in mind, and an end date. An example; you have a family member that is buying a house, but it will not be ready for a couple of months, and they would like some of your furniture and household goods. This is storage with a purpose, and end-date in mind.

There are two different ways to store your excess items. One, is at the warehouse of a moving company. This type of storage is an excellent choice if you are going to be using a moving company to move you into storage, and then eventually to your new place. One reason is the continuity of valuation (mover’s term for insurance). If you are using the same company to move your items into storage, there will be coverage on these items through the duration of the move, storage, and move back out. Another positive is that the crew will load the storage crates using the same moving pads and protection they used in picking the items up. The crates will be loaded by a professional mover, so that all items will be properly protected. One negative to storing at a warehouse, is there will likely be a charge for accessing the items. If you want access, this will need to be scheduled ahead of time, so the warehouse can make your crates accessible. And there will likely be an hourly charge for a crew member to help you navigate the crate and your belongings.

Storage crates at a moving company warehouse

This brings us to the other option for storing, a mini-storage unit. The major positive being unlimited and free access to your items. The negatives include a disruption in the protection of your items, removal of pads and protection by the moving company, and uncertainty of safety. Certain things can vary based on the mini-storage facility selected, however, if you use a moving company to move your items into the unit, their insurance of your items will end upon them leaving the unit. Separate insurance would then need to be purchased from the mini-storage. Also, the moving company will remove their moving pads upon delivery, thus moving pads will need to be purchased prior to the move, or from the moving company. Without pads, the items will not be able to be stacked effectively, and a larger unit will be needed.

Example of a mini-storage unit

Stay tuned for our next article, addressing the amount of storage space that will be needed and tips for prepping the items you are storing.