You may be moving into a smaller home, taking an extended trip, or recently undertaking a decluttering exercise in your home to put it in order. These situations can leave most of your items displaced, leaving you to wonder how to store them safely without damage. The answer to this challenge is long-term storage! This article explores the difference between long-term and short-term storage, its benefits, the need for long-term storage, and other relevant information you would need before you commit to this storage plan.


Long-term vs short-term storage

The difference between long-term and short-term self-storage lies in the time available to store your items. Long-term storage is the practice of storing items in either a self-storage facility, basement, or garage for an extended period, often for more than three months and, in some cases, for years. It is usually a suitable option for storing items in winter and summer. The purpose of long-term self-storage units is to help you safely keep items you may not use or need immediately. 


On the other hand, short-term storage is the option of storing your items for three months or less. It is the preferable option of self-storage if you’re preparing for a move or storing away furniture while your home is being renovated. This is because this storage option gives you sufficient flexibility making it the ideal immediate storage solution. 


The choice between short-term and long-term shortage would depend on the items you’re keeping in storage and the reasons for keeping them. 


The Need For Long-Term Storage

Now that you better understand what long-term storage is, you may be wondering how to identify if this storage plan is ideal for you. There are several situations in which choosing long-term self-storage would be ideal. Below are a few:


  • Downsizing or moving:  When downsizing or moving, either your home or business, a challenge you may face is finding a place to store valuable items without risking cluttering your space. When this happens, you may want to consider long-term self-storage units to keep these items. 


  • Travelling for a long period: Assuming you are moving away to study or going on a long holiday, you may not want to leave your items at home, where they may be unsafe. Moving it to a long-term storage facility makes it easier to prevent your items from being ruined by various elements such as mildew and provides security. 


  • To keep items during the off-season: There are several items in your home or business that are only needed per the season. A common one is your vehicle. For many, driving in the colder months is not ideal. However, simply leaving your car in the snow can expose it to harsh conditions that may be damaging. In that case, opting for long-term storage is ideal.


  • For business storage: There are several reasons why businesses need storage space, such as for inventory, storing unused furniture and equipment, and freeing up space. Long-term storage units allow businesses to do this without worrying about relocating or incurring the cost of extending their available space. 

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Benefits of long-term storage 

Are you still unconvinced that you need to get long-term storage units? Then there are some benefits of long-term storage you may want to consider to help you decide:


  • It offers convenience and accessibility


The convenience associated with long-term storage is endless. For instance, since you can store your items away for a limitless period, you can move about, either travelling or relocating, without worrying about your stuff. Another form of flexibility this storage option offers is that you can move things out at your own pace. Due to the extended period (usually determined by the contract), you can take your time removing your items without worrying about breaching your contract. Additionally, this storage option allows for accessibility. Most long-term self-storage offers 24/7 access to your storage unit. This takes away the stress and fear of being unable to access items, such as documents, you may need immediately.  


  • Preserves your items


Some items cannot be left in your home or office space. Family heirlooms hold pictures, antiques, collectables, and other valuable items that can easily get lost or damaged if left in your home or office space. Long-term storage keeps these valuable items safe from factors that may cause damage, such as pests, moisture, and dust. This is because most long-term storage units are climate-controlled, eliminating these factors.


  • Optimises your space to store your items

In addition to making your space look disorganised and unclean, clutter also creates health hazards such as allergies, increases the risk of trips and falls, and restricts movement. You may often notice that the clutter building in your home or office mostly comprises items you rarely use. With long-term storage solutions, you can free up someplace and effectively declutter your home by storing away these items. As you can select your preferred storage size, you can find options that satisfy the space required to store away your items.  


  • Enhanced security


The last thing you want is to be worried about your items in a storage unit, especially if it’s for the long term. Fortunately, long-term storage facilities understand that your items are of value to you. Therefore, the storage facilities have implemented enhanced security measures such as high-quality cameras, fencing, alarm systems, and round-the-clock security personnel. You can be at peace knowing your items receive reliable security, so feel free to consider this.


  • Cost-effective solution


Because of the cost, several people avoid storage units, especially long-term storage solutions. However, long-term storage solutions are a cost-effective option worth considering. Additional costs, such as hiring a moving service or renting a truck, are expenses you don’t need to worry about. As your storage cost would depend on the size of your storage unit, you are bound to find one that better suits your budget. 


Choosing to use long-term storage is always a great idea! These benefits should give you enough insight to consider this option the next time you think about storage. 

Factors to consider when choosing a long-term storage facility

To ensure that you benefit from the above benefits, you must choose a long-term storage solution that satisfies essential requirements. Here are a few factors you should consider before selecting a long-term storage facility: 

  • The facility’s location and distance from your home: Although location and proximity to your home may not sound important for long-term storage, it is. Having your storage facility close by is convenient to avoid making long (and expensive) trips whenever you need something.


  • Price and payment plan: It is vital to know the price and payment plan of the facility before you commit to it. Knowing these bits of information makes it easier to plan your budget and prevent defaulting on payments. Get this information from various long-term storage solutions to find one that suits you. 


  • Available size: Size is another important factor when finding the right long-term storage facility. The sizes of storage units for each facility. Therefore, getting a better idea of the options available at your preferred facility is vital. A great way of doing this is to physically visit the facility.


  • Ask for recommendations: Recommendations from trusted family and friends are very helpful. For one, this saves you the time of looking for suitable facilities on your own. Additionally, these recommendations are followed by the pros and cons of the unit. Again, this helps you make an informed decision. 


  • Read-up reviews: Comments left from previous or existing customers are also helpful to better understand the facility and the services they offer. If you are using their services, that would be ideal for you.


  • Hours of operation: As noted earlier, some storage facilities offer 24/7 access. However, as this is not the case for every facility, it is vital to check their operating hours before using their services. This would ensure you select one that doesn’t conflict with your needs, so feel free to consider this.

Dos and Don’ts of Long-term Storage 

Here are a few tips on how you should organise your items and successfully use your long-term storage unit:


The “Dos”

  • Use sturdy boxes, bubble wrap, and other high-quality products to properly store and pack your items. 
  • Labelling these boxes and your items clearly makes for easy identification. Additionally, you should list the items in storage to keep tabs on what’s in the unit.
  • Get insurance coverage to cover damages to your most valuable items.
  • Regularly clean and carry out maintenance checks on your storage items. Doing this would prevent further issues or identify issues to bring to the storage facility’s Management.

The “Don’ts”

  • Avoid storing flammable and hazardous items such as gas or paint in your storage unit
  • Be sure not to overpack the boxes to avoid fragile items from breaking
  • Do not store perishables such as plants and food in your long-term storage unit.
  • Try not to practise “out of mind, out of sight.” Take regular visits to your unit to check on it.