The average vacation lasts for only four days. That’s barely enough time to enjoy your destination!
But you have responsibilities: a job to get back to, an apartment, social obligations. So, what happens when you decide to take a longer trip? Say, for several months at a time?
While we can’t tell you how your boss will handle it, we can help you keep your belongings safe. It’s called long-term storage.
And while the storage units themselves will keep your possessions secure, you still need to get those items ready. Otherwise, you’ll come home to damaged furniture and broken valuables.
Here are a few simple tips to help you get your belongings ready for long term storage so you can enjoy your travels.
1. Declutter Your Home First
Whether you rent or own your home, you’ll probably want to move the majority of your stuff out before you leave.
That means it’s the perfect time to sort through your stuff and get rid of clutter. Remember, the less stuff you have to pack up, the easier it is.
Look around your house and go through items room by room. If you haven’t used something in over a year, get rid of it. If you don’t think you’ll need it after you get back from your travels, give it away.
You can also make a little extra cash by having a garage sale before you leave. Just think…decluttering AND adding to your vacation funds! Does it get any better?
2. Find the Right Size Unit
Once you get rid of items you don’t want to keep, you can start looking for a storage unit. Units come in different sizes ranging from small spaces perfect for clearing out closets to large units ideal for storing several rooms of furniture.
The right size depends on how much stuff you’re keeping. If you’re getting rid of most of your furniture, save money by choosing a smaller unit.
Don’t be afraid to ask for advice at the storage facility. If you tell them what size house or apartment you’re moving out of, they’ll be able to suggest the right self-storage units for your needs.
3. Consider Climate Control
If you’re using the storage unit for a month, you should be fine with an outdoor unit. But if you’re planning on using it for long term storage, you need to protect your stuff from the elements.
Regular outdoor units are not insulated or temperature controlled. This means your stuff gets hot in summer and cold in winter anytime the weather changes.
Those temperature changes can wreak havoc on fragile items like wood, artwork, and upholstery.
Instead, you may want to invest in a climate-controlled unit. These insulated units use a central HVAC system to keep your items cool in summer and warm in the winter.
4. Pay Attention to the Facility’s Features
When you’re storing things for several months to a year, you want to pick a facility that can keep your items safe.
Tour each one you’re interested in. Ask the staff about their security measures, pest control efforts, and history of break-ins.
Ideally, the facility should monitor the property 24/7. They should also schedule regular preventive pest control appointments to keep rodents and insects off the property.
If a storage facility doesn’t have features that make you feel comfortable leaving your items for months on end, keep searching.
5. Invest in Long Term Storage Insurance
Without homeowners or renters insurance in place, your belongings won’t stay protected from damage.
To keep your stuff safe while you’re gone, invest in storage insurance. These policies help cover the cost of repairs or replacement items if your belongings get damaged while in storage.
For example, if the facility floods or there’s a fire that reaches your unit, the insurance helps pay for the damages.
You’ll be able to buy coverage when you rent your storage unit.
6. Find Someone to Swing By Every Now and Then
Even the most secure storage unit isn’t invulnerable. It’s always a good idea to have a friend or family member stop by the unit every month or two.
This lets them look for signs of theft or vandalism that the facility might have missed. If you’re storing valuables, give your friend a key to the unit and let them check it periodically.
If they notice anything out of place or see signs of damage, they can report it to the facility immediately.
7. Pack the Unit the Right Way
There’s an art to packing a storage unit so it stays organized and secure. Instead of shoving and piling boxes inside, take the time to arrange the unit carefully.
Label each box clearly and only stack boxes that won’t crush down. If you need more vertical storage, add shelving to the unit.
Pad all breakables thoroughly. Cover upholstery and wood furniture with a breathable cotton blanket or sheet and avoid plastic whenever possible. This helps keep mold and mildew from damaging your belongings.
No matter how you arrange your storage unit, make sure it’s organized in a way that makes sense to you. The more organized it is, the easier it’ll be to unpack once you’re done traveling.
8. Set Up Automatic Payments
When you’re on the road, the last thing you want to worry about is paying your bills on time. Save yourself the stress by setting up automatic payments with your storage facility.
They’ll charge your bank account or credit card each month automatically. All you need to do is keep your information up-to-date. If you change credit cards or banks, make sure to call your storage facility to give them your new account information.
Long term storage makes traveling for months at a time possible. When you’re done trekking the globe, your stuff will be waiting for you safe and sound.
When you’re not worrying about your belongings, you’ll enjoy your travels that much more. For more helpful travel hacks, check out our latest posts and make the most of your long term travels wherever they take you.