Long Distance Moving and Self Storage Tips
Self Storage Space Estimator
The amount of self storage space you will need will depend on how well you pack. This page will give you lots of tips about packing. If you will need self storage for only a month or two while you get organized, consider renting a little more space than you need to give you room to get to things in the back of your storage unit. If you need space for several months or don't plan to move things in or out of your storage space, save money by getting the smallest size unit that will handle your needs. Here are three popular storage space sizes and an estimate of what they will store:
5'x10' Comparable to a large walk in closet Stores 1 room of furniture
10'x10' Comparable to a small bedroom Stores 3 rooms of furniture
10'x20' Comparable to a 1 car garage Stores a small 3 bedroom house
Get Things Organized
We suggest you buy a spiral notebook that you label “Moving and Self Storage” so you can make notes about the details of the move. Gather moving supplies you’ll need such as tape, some markers, and scissors or a pocket knife. Newsprint, which is the same thing as newspaper except it doesn’t have the printing on it, is better to use because it won’t leave ink on your dishes when you pack them. Blankets and old clothes are great for packing between dishes. Towels are also good. Clear plastic bags are better to use than black or white because you can see inside of them. You might want rope or string and a hand truck or dolly so you can move the boxes. If you don't have one, it would be wise to borrow one from a friend or rent one. You can get free sturdy boxes from a supermarket or a liquor store. You can also find free boxes and free packing paper on Craigslist. Ask your grocery store produce manager for apple or pear boxes. They are heavy duty and are great for moving. They don’t have a top to them, but are very solid. One great place to find boxes is a pharmacy. They have heavy duty boxes that they get vials in and they often have boxes with dividers for glasses and small breakable items so that each one is divided into it’s own little pocket. Bookstores also have good solid boxes.
You will save time and money if you organize your things into four categories. The first category is for the things you want to keep with you or move directly to your next home. The second category is for the things that you want to keep, but want in storage so that they are out of your way for now. The third category is for the things you want to sell. The fourth category is for things you are ready to throw away.
Sell Some and Put Some into Self Storage
Think about having a garage sale to clear out some of the things you don’t want or don’t plan to keep. Since Craigslist is free, you can advertise your garage sale on Craigslist instead of putting an ad in the newspaper. Another way to get people to come to your garage sale is to place signs at the end of your block. You can make those yourself out of cardboard and place them close to major streets. If you don't sell all of your good stuff, put it into self storage and you can have another sale in a few months.
Keep Expense Records
You want to keep a detailed record of moving expenses because they may be tax deductible. Donations are also tax deductible. You can donate items to Goodwill Industries. Places like Goodwill have trucks and will come to you to pickup the things that you donate. Take pictures of the things you are donating for a tax deduction. Goodwill Industries will give you a receipt for the donation so you will have evidence of your tax deductible donations.
Get Ready To Move
If you own a computer, it’s a good time to make backups of all of your important files so you can have them just in case, in the move, you have a computer crash. Two weeks before your move, contact utilities – electric, gas, telephone, cable and your newspaper – and let them know what date you will be moving so they can discontinue service. At your new home, you will want to contact the utility companies and begin to give them a start date for your new service. Go to the post office and fill out a change of address form. Call your renters or homeowner’s insurance company and let them know that you’re moving. Decide which items need to go in storage and which items will go with you to your home to be opened. Don't pack things like medications, toiletries, linens, first aid kits, and food. They should go with you to your new home. If you have children, create a special box for them to open when they first arrive which includes photos, their blankets, radio, stuffed animals – things they will want to see and unpack first. A week before your move, call friends and see if you can get some help together. Have tools available, so you can take apart beds and disconnect appliances. Take pictures of the things that you’re going to move, especially things that movers will move for you, so you can have evidence if you ever need it of the condition they were in before movers picked them up. Don't let moving companies pack valuables and things that are emotionally valuable to you, such as family photos, collections, and any documents that you need. Pack these items into your own car and carry them with you.
Packing For Moving or Self Storage
Keep boxes to about 35 or 40 lbs. They are much easier to handle and lighter boxes are less likely to tear. Put heavy items, like books, in small boxes and lay books flat in the bottom of a box. You can put light items such as stuffed teddy bears, bedding, and pillows in large boxes. If you use regular printed newspaper, first wrap your dishes in saran wrap and then wrap them in newspaper. Mark your boxes by room so you’ll know where to put things that go to the bedroom or the bathroom or the kitchen. Mark the word “Fragile” in large bold letters on boxes that contain breakables and be sure to stack these boxes in a separate place so that they are well cared for. Always pack pictures with glass on the front standing up just like they hang; don’t lay them flat. As you’re packing boxes, be sure that you pack them full, even if you have to put crumpled paper or packing peanuts on the top. If you don’t fill them up, as you stack other boxes on top of them, the top will collapse and the boxes don’t stack very well and may fall. Plastic grocery store bags make great padding between dishes and around the inside of the box. Make sure that all boxes can close properly and be sealed so that the tops are flat. If you over pack a box, you are going to risk damaging the contents and it makes them stack poorly. Use boxes with strong bottoms. You don’t want to pack something that’s heavy into a box and then have the bottom fall out. Be sure to label all boxes and draw an arrow to designate the top of the box and write not only what room it goes into but some of the important contents of the box. Write “Open First” on cartons containing essential items that you’re going to need like cooking utensils, toiletries, towels and paper goods.
Don't Pack or Put in Self Storage
Things that you should never pack are explosives such as ammunition or combustibles like gasoline, carburetor cleaners and paint. Any kind of food other than canned food should not be packed. Be very cautious of packing liquids that can possibly spill inside the box and weaken the bottom of the box. Don’t pack your pets foods unless it is in a can. Other items you don’t put in self storage are rice, flour, bagged foods (even if they are sealed in plastic), bags of candy, sugar, boxes of macaroni, or bags of spaghetti. Carry these things with you.
Moving Large Furniture and Preparing it for Self Storage
Tie bed frames together and mark each part so you know how to put them back together. Place any bolts or nuts in a small plastic bag and tape it to the bed frame so it is not lost in the shuffle. The same goes for tables. Most tables have legs that remove. If you can unbolt the legs, it really makes the table fit in a lot smaller space and put the nuts and bolts in a small bag and tape it under the table. Be sure to pad the legs with bubble wrap. This is an excellent time to defrost your refrigerator and freezer. It’s helpful to rinse them out with a water hose as they are outside. To clean them even further put some baking soda in water and wipe the inside completely. You’ll be pleased with the cleanliness of the freezer and refrigerator when you get to your new location. If you’ve saved the original box from your computers and televisions, use them because the boxes have the styrofoam already in them that holds them securely. Loosen the handle bar on bicycles and turn the handle bars sideways so it fits against a wall easily. For lawnmowers, edgers, or anything with a gas motor in it, empty the gasoline out of the tank. If they sit too long with gasoline in the tank, it will clog your carburetor and will be very difficult for you to start next time. It’s unsafe and illegal to store lawn mowers with gasoline in storage units. When you’re moving a dresser from one home to the other and not going to put it in storage, leave the drawers full. As you move the dresser, take the drawers out to make the dresser less heavy, then when it gets into the moving truck, put the drawers back in.
An important tip about packing dishes is to pack them on an edge. Never pack them flat because they are more likely to break. Wrap each piece with either towels or bubble wrap or newsprint and put them on their edge with the cups and bowls around the outside or in separate boxes. Be sure to tape the bottom of all boxes with three pieces of tape. One goes across the middle seam and the other two go down both side seems so that the tape looks like a letter 'H'.
Use a large wardrobe box that has a hanger in it if you have clothing to put in self storage. These are great for moving clothing and keeping them from getting wrinkled. Use wardrobe boxes for moving and storing any drapes from your windows. As you’re packing, be sure you have plenty of garbage cans or garbage bags in each room. It makes sense, as you’re going through your things and packing them, to decide which things you can throw or give away. Once you’ve finished your move and no longer need your boxes and the wrapping paper and dish crates, advertise those items on craigslist for free and people will come and pick them up. You won’t have to throw them away and you‘ve helped someone else.
We hope that we have helped you become more informed about self storage, and packing for moving across town or a long distance move. If you use even a few of the moving and storage tips mentioned here, you will lessen your stress and be pleased with how much smoother your move will go.
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