Planning your storage requirements in advance is very important. What type of storage do you require and how much space will you need?
Think about how much furniture you have and how many boxes and containers you may need to pack all of your items. You will also need to decide if you will require access to your storage or not.
There are several things you need to consider before you choose a storage company. These include:
- Working out how much storage you will need, and for how long
- Arranging the date you need the facility from (it's best to organise everything as far in advance as possible)
- Defining your packing requirements and ensuring you have enough boxes, containers and packing material
- Deciding how you will transport your goods (hired van or a removal company)
- Understanding the type of storage you need and whether access is required
How much storage will you need?
Here is a simple guide to help you estimate the space you might need for your furniture and effects. Once you have an idea of the sort of space you will need, it is best to obtain quotes from three or four storage companies. They will also talk through with you the sort of furniture you own, the dates and length of storage time you might need and the kind of access you might be looking for.
A bedsit or studio flat
You will need approximately 35-50 sq ft of space. This includes approximately 10-12 medium boxes, double bed, bedside table, carpet, lamp, bike, chair and TV.
A two bedroom house or flat
You will need approximately 75-100 sq ft of space. This will include beds, kitchen furniture, dining room table and chairs, garden furniture and equipment, TV, carpets, white goods and about 20 medium boxes.
An average three bedroom house
An average three bedroom house will fill in the region of 130-180 sq ft. Included in this are beds, kitchen furniture, dining furniture, white goods, lounge furniture, audio and video equipment, garden furniture and approximately 20 medium boxes.
Discuss your removal requirements with your storage company as they may be able to assist you in choosing someone to help you move. Removal companies often provide storage solutions. However, much of this is offsite and inaccessible for the duration of storage. If you need to access your storage, a self storage solution may be a better option.
You may decide that you would like the removal company to pack your things for you. They will provide all the packing materials and ensure that all breakables and valuables are packed and stored safely and correctly. If you're going to pack yourself, there are a several things you will need to do, such as:
- Ensuring that you obtain strong boxes (the storage company will be able to sell/supply you with the appropriate boxes)
- Making sure you have enough packing tape and several thick black marker pens (this makes labelling boxes easy and visible, especially if you are storing goods where you will need to access them)
- Making a list of all your boxes and their contents, either in a numerical order or by room (this makes it much easier to locate items you might need whilst the boxes are in storage)
- Avoiding making boxes too heavy, as you might have to carry them yourself
- Disassemble larger pieces of furniture (they will take up less space and make transportation easier)
- Protecting any polished surfaces with blankets or some sort of protective layer
- Making sure breakables, such as china and glass, are wrapped individually in paper or bubble wrap
- Using bedding and linen to pack items that require extra protection
- Packing books and magazines in smaller boxes as, collectively, they can be very heavy
- Storing televisions, audio equipment and computers in their original boxes (if you have them), otherwise bubble wrap is the next best alternative
- Preparing white goods by emptying, defrosting (if required) and cleaning them (store them with their doors open to prevent mould)
- Cleaning cookers prior to storage
- Checking with your storage company about items they do not allow for storage (perishable goods, inflammable items, chemicals, illegal items or live animals)
If you are instructing a professional removal company, they will give you advice and send out a surveyor who will ensure you have the correct amount of storage space and send out the correctly sized vehicle.
If you have decided to do it yourself, ensure you have the correct van size, discuss this with the van rental company and always allow for some extra space.
If you are moving locally, you can use a smaller van and make several trips. However, if you're moving far away, or multiple trips are likely, use a much larger van. Ensure that you have reserved any car parking space you might require outside your property, which may involve paying the council a small fee.
There are a few fundamental principles to loading your van, which will make it easier when you unload. These include:
- Loading the biggest items first
- Stacking solid items on top of each other
- Placing fragile or delicate items, such as chairs with legs and pictures, on top of solid items
- Ensuring everything is tied down and doesn't move or slide about
- Using mattresses to protect fragile items
- Remembering to keep documents and any other important items such as bags and keys separate (place them in your car or in the cab of the van)
The storage unit
The principles for packing the van are the same for packing your storage unit:
- Put larger items in first and solid items on top of each other
- Pack boxes inside cupboards and make use of all available space
- If you know you are going to need to access certain boxes or items, ensure they are easily accessible
- Cover all items with something like a dust sheet to ensure everything remains clean