Before embarking on a long-term stay abroad, there are a good number of details that you need to take care of: passports, lodging, plane tickets, etc. One of the most important of these details is storage of the stuff that you leave behind. Each aspect of the self storage facility that you choose will determine the condition of your belongings upon return.
Security Measures First
Because your sojourn will require long-term storage, it's smart to pick a very secure storage unit. As you investigate potential storage units, your list of security requirements should include 24-hour surveillance, restricted access by entry code, and experienced personnel. It is well worth it to pay a little more for a unit with higher security measures because, after all, you are storing a large part of you life here.
Get Enough Room For It All
Rental rates for storage are based on the footprint of the unit. When you store your stuff long-term, you'll likely be needing a larger unit. A 10 X 10 unit is perfect for the equivalent of a 2 bedroom apartment; 15 X 20 for a 4 bedroom house.
Be careful in your estimate of your space needs. Try to get a unit that accommodates your belongings exactly. Unused space means you are paying a higher price than you should. It may be tempting to leave enough space to create small paths among your things, but since you won't need to access your unit while away, there is no need.
Keep It Clean and Dry
During your foreign excursion, you will not be able to watch over the things that you place in storage. They need to be kept in the right kind of storage unit--one where there is no risk of ambient damage. Choose a storage facility like Epic Group Inc that has effective prevention against water and humidity built-in such as:
- Sloped roofs
- Ceilings insulated and ventilated against humidity
- Slab foundations situated on a higher plane than the parking lot
- A professionally-designed drainage system
You should also check for dirt and dust barriers. Urban storage facilities are often completely indoors, but most suburban units resemble tiny garages. These can allow dust and grime to penetrate the unit and settle inside your boxes and on your furniture. To avoid this, look for:
- Man doors with rubber sweeps
- Large doors with sealed joints and a recessed track for complete closure
- A newer asphalt parking lot. (Vehicles entering and exiting the facility create less dust on new asphalt. Rule of thumb: if it still appears black, it has been resurfaced recently.)
- Frequent exterior cleaning of the facility
Don't Pay for Utilities You Aren't There to Use
It may seem like a good idea to rent a heated storage unit, but if you are leaving your belongings for an extended stay abroad, the extra cost of heating may be pointless.
Liquids are the only things at risk of freezing in cold temperatures and you shouldn't be storing any liquids with your stuff. Plus, due to OSHA regulations on storage of liquids, many storage facilities prohibit it. Thus heating is unnecessary: your couch and blender won't mind the cold while they wait.
Insurance Is the Best Policy
Self-storage is an "at-your-own-risk" deal. Storage facilities have insurance that only covers their own real estate risk of loss, not your stuff stored within. It's up to you to get an adequate insurance policy. See your insurance agent to get a good personal property storage policy that will pay for full replacement if ever there is a disaster.
Many storage facilities offer decent insurance policies directly to you when you rent a unit. One of these ready-made policies can save you time. However it is still a good idea to compare the coverage and cost with other policies to make sure you are getting the best protection.