Typically when a couple retires, a move is made. Money is saved, business suits and heels get donated, furniture is given away, the rooms get smaller, there is less storage, and HOPEFULLY life becomes simpler. But, in the end most of us have a hard time letting go of “things.” Perhaps your children want your first dining room table or your grandmother’s hope chest. Perhaps you have saved all your china for your daughter’s daughters. Whatever the reason, now you don’t have room to store. Where do you put your extra stuff when you have downsized into your new-to-you retirement home?
Self-storage is a viable option for your dilemma. Understanding renting a storage unit and the process of getting your stuff into storage is a process. Hopefully, we’ll simplify it, today.
First, reconsider the Garage Sale. If you still choose to do it, leave time for planning, setting up and cleaning up the leftovers. Unless you think that you’ll make a lot of money, just donate. They’ll pick it up and you can take a tax deduction: Bonus!
Climate control – is it necessary? There are many benefits in selecting climate controlled over basic storage, but due to the extra costs of climate control, do you really need it? This constant environment resists dust, pests and humidity so it is ideal for computers, photos, antiques, leather furniture, wine, etc. Climate control (can mean anywhere between 50 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit) and doesn’t always mean humidity control, so ask the question. Avoid plastic bags (sealed plastic bags can foster humidity)
Renting a truck on moving day. Make a point to ask if the storage unit offers free or discounted trucks before you rent from another supplier.
Know your insurance plan. It’s crucial to insure your belongings if you’re planning to store for a long term, and especially if you’re keeping expensive items in storage.
Security. Before you commit to a storage facility, take a tour, check out the neighborhood and ask about the security systems (video surveillance, gate access, etc.).
Unit sizing. If you’re storing heavy or large objects, it can often be worth the extra money to rent a unit on the ground floor. If you plan on “visiting” your items often, choose a larger unit to give you walking space.
Know what you can’t store. Perishables, firearms and explosives, and hazardous materials.
How to pack (the truck and the storage unit)
- Load heavy first – and balance the truck by making sure that you place heavy items on both sides of the truck
- Place heavy boxes on top of furniture – not boxes
- Fill in spaces – fill in all empty spaces in the truck so that things don’t shift. Close gaps with fillers (blankets, pillows, etc)
- Finish with fragile on top – and make sure to put the lighter boxes on the top of the stuff in the back of the truck, too, before filling in towards the door
What to bring with you the day you move into storage:
- Packing Tape
- Tool Box (to put stuff back together or fix from moving or to disassemble to save storage space): tape measure, rope, screwdrivers, wrench, scissors, utility knife, and work gloves
- Locks – closed-shackle padlock, disc lock or cylinder lock
Finally, there are a few other questions you might need to ask: Do you need after-hours access? Do you need to store a recreation vehicle or a boat? Do you need drive-up access? Do you need others to be able to access your storage unit? To quickly research what features are available, near where you need storage, consider using SpareFoot. Choose what features you need, type in your zip code, and start comparing.
Storage Regret: We once rented a very large rental unit for 17 months – in the end we missed 3 things. Much of it was donated or thrown out and we felt like we wasted a lot of money.
Do you have any storage regrets?
Have you liked us on Facebook, yet?
Licensed in Virginia with Liz Moore and Associates, 5350 Discovery Park Blvd, Williamsburg, VA 23188
Williamsburg has become a Mecca for retirees over the past dozen years because of its history, charm, vacation amenities, proximity to major cities and airports, and affordable cost of living. Check out www.retiringinwilliamsburg.com for information about the Williamsburg community, lifestyles available, and search for homes for sale.