Long term self storage and the things you need to consider

long term self storage map pin markerWe’re heading to the end of the year and for some this will be the prompt to have a clear out. You may well be thinking it’s time to get rid of some of the clutter around you and that will make a great New Year’s resolution. For others the New Year will bring change or maybe adventure; a house move, a long trip or a change of job. If any of these things are ringing true for you, then you may well be considering long term self storage as an option for keeping your possessions clean, dry and secure. If this is the case, there are questions that need answering and not just by your self storage facility; you will need to ask yourself a few questions too!

Lets’ start with some key questions for your self storage facility

Is my contract subject to price changes?
Some facilities do not guarantee that your rental price will remain unchanged for the term of your contract. If you’re storing because you’re away from the area, how will you be notified of any price change and how will you make sure any change in your weekly or monthly rental fees are applied?

Are my goods insured?
Many self storage centres do not include insurance as standard; it is an extra. Review what you are storing and make sure you have sufficient insurance cover should the worst happen. Always check any home insurance policy you have and don’t assume it will cover your goods while they are in long term storage – many don’t.

What am I allowed to store?
This may sound like a strange question to ask, but there are things you are not allowed to store by law. Gas canisters, flammable liquids etc. are not allowed, so you can’t just pack up your BBQ gas bottle or petrol lawn mower and load them into your unit. In addition, some self storage facilities may have their own additional restrictions. If you are storing things that are not allowed, and the worst happens not only will your own insurance be invalid but you could be open to action from the facility provider if they’ve incurred damage.

Now let’s move on to some questions that you need to ask and answer yourself. Some of these are never considered until it’s too late causing all sorts of problems.

How much self storage space do I need?
It’s essential to have some idea of this if you are not going to pay too much for your unit. If you’re storing long term you want the best price and shouldn’t be paying for space you don’t need. Take a look at what you’ve got and work out how it will be packed – remember, the way it looks scattered around your house will not be the way it’s stored and you will not need a storage space the size of your home. If you’re finding it difficult to visualise talk to the self storage providers you are considering using. They should be able to guide and advise you; good ones will even let you visit to view the different types and size of unit available.

How will I arrange for any price changes to be actioned?
Often, people using long term storage while they travel do not consider this. You will need to make sure the self storage centre has a way of contacting you to advise of any contractual changes and that you have a way of dealing with them. If you are renting a property while your goods are in storage and need to move properties (quite common when people are bridging a gap between selling their house and buying another), remember to let your centre know your new address.

Who should the centre contact in the event of an emergency?
Again, another question that’s often overlooked. If you’re living close by it’s unlikely this will be a problem, but if you’re travelling or are living a long way from your storage centre it could be. In part, this is also linked to the question above. If for any reason your payments stop, and the centre get no reply to letters sent or calls made, you could lose your property. It could be that there is a problem at the centre which requires them to move you to another unit – if they can’t get hold of you, again, your goods could be at risk. If you know you are going to be away long term, arrange for someone to be an emergency contact in the event the centre cannot get hold of you.

Where should I leave my key?
When you rent a self storage unit, normally you are the only person with a key to the lock on the unit. If you are travelling there is a risk it could get lost. Consider leaving it with that emergency contact mentioned above and make sure the centre has their contact details too. If there’s any possibility that you may need to ask someone to access your unit contents for you always let the centre know who that person is. There may be an impact on your insurance cover if you are allowing a third party access to your unit and it might be a requirement that the third party is named on your rental agreement.

If you’re considering using long term self storage and still have unanswered questions, talk to the storage centres that you are considering using; they should be able to put your mind at ease.

If you need self storage in Gloucester, Bristol or Stroud get in touch. Our staff will be happy to discuss your needs and advise you on the best way to store your items long term to keep them in good condition. We are also happy for you to visit our sites to see the different storage units we provide.