There’s nothing as exciting as embarking on a long journey. Of course, it also leaves you with a long to-do list of things to get done before you can leave. After getting the bills paid up and planning what to do with the pets, it’s important to give some thought as to what you can do to protect your belongings and valuables while you’re gone.
A self storage facility can be an affordable way to secure your belongings and make sure they won’t be stolen while you travel, or be subject to temperature extremes in your absence. Here are some important tips for renting storage before long-term travel.
Focus on Valuables
Many people make the mistake of hurrying through the packing process and packing away items they don’t really need to secure. Not only does this waste your time; it also wastes money because you end up paying for a larger storage unit than you really need.
Take time to go through everything and pare down to the valuables you most want to protect: electronics are a prime target, and storing your computer can also help protect your privacy: personal information on your hard drive is often more valuable than the computer itself. Do you own an instrument? Guitars, violins, even pianos are susceptible to temperature extremes – and you won’t be home to regulate the environment. And important papers, birth certificates, tax files, etc., are prime targets for identity theft. Anything that isn’t already in a safe deposit box should be considered.
Choose the Right Storage Facility
Once you know what you need and want to store, take the time to find a self storage facility that you feel comfortable with. After all, you will be trusting this company to keep your valuables safe while you’re away. Don’t go with the first facility you find; take the time to tour the facility and make sure it’s clean and secure to deter pests and thieves. A secure facility has fencing as well as security lighting and camera. Make sure the storage units have individual door alarms and locks as well.
Consider the time of year you’ll be gone. Indoor storage units are more secure and you have the option of a climate controlled unit. This is important to avoid damage to temperature and humidity-sensitive items like electronics, photo albums, instruments, and leather. Climate controlled storage units stay within a safe temperature range with an HVAC system.
Organize Your Unit
Whatever you do, don’t just throw your boxes and belongings in your storage unit. It pays to organize your storage unit carefully by loading the heaviest boxes on the bottom and leaving an aisle to walk. Make sure all boxes and containers are labelled on all sides. If you have fragile items or anything with an odd shape, you may want to add a shelving unit to the back of your storage unit.
Prepay the Unit
Finally, if you’re gone for more than a month, arrange to prepay your storage unit so you won’t need to worry about paying your rent while you’re out of the country or out of town. Paying in advance means you won’t miss a payment and risk coming home to find your unit locked or your belongings sold.