With the rising costs of home and office spaces, and with increasing space constraints worldwide, more and more people are turning to self-storage solutions to house, their goods and belongings. Also known as do-it-yourself storage and self-service storage, self-storage allows people to rent storage space in specialized facilities where the services offered far exceed those offered by conventional warehouses.
The greatest users of self-storage are people moving from a large house to a smaller unit, expatriates whose new abode is too small to store all of their belongings, foreign workers who are looking for a cost-effective way to store their possessions while they are away on assignment, and people who are renovating.
Typically, self-storage facilities are used to house items such as household goods, personal effects, furniture, documents, and business products. However as the self-storage industry continues to evolve, new services have been emerging in order to accommodate the diverse needs of users and cater to niche user groups. For example, many self-storage facilities now boast an internally controlled environment, such as air-conditioned units designed to protect and preserve paintings, antiques, musical instruments, and electric equipment. There are even specialized wine units, which are temperature controlled at 13 degrees Celsius and 65% -75% humidity in order to accommodate the needs of wine dealers and collectors.
For people who are moving or temporarily relocating overseas, self-storage solutions are great for reducing costs, eliminating the need to ship all of one’s possessions and pay the accompanying shipping costs, duty fees, taxes, etc. Depending on the destination country, overseas shipping can run up a hefty bill, including the costs of insurance and professional packing services, not to mention the mound of paperwork required for items to go through customs clearance.
Similarly, self-storage allows one to temporarily downsize and lower the cost of living by renting a smaller or furnished property without having to discard or sell all of one’s possessions. To accommodate the increasing number of customers, today’s self-storage units come in an array of sizes, while facilities offer insurance, a range of security standards (from basic security cameras and guards to restricted access by means of a key card, digital pin number, or biometric fingerprint), pest and climate control, and more.
Furthermore, while conventional warehouse leases typically require customers to be locked in for a minimum of two to three years, self-storage users can decide for themselves how long to store their belongings, starting at minimum two weeks, with options to renew a lease monthly or annually. Nowadays, users can choose between over 80 different sizes of self-storage units, while many self-storage providers sell supplies such as boxes, tape, bubble wrap, corrugated boards, padlocks, cling films, and dehumidifiers.
Finally, another great advantage of self-storage facilities is that they can be accessed at any time of day or night and are deliberately set up near commercialized/residential areas or close to major highways and train stations, providing maximum convenience and ease of accessibility for users.
If you are moving overseas temporarily and plan to use self-storage, follow these expert tips:
- Look for a facility which provides insurance and offers high security standards
- Be sure the facility can accommodate sensitive items such as art or electronics
- Label all boxes and organize them well inside the storage unit
- Clean items before packing them
- Do not wrap items in sealed plastic bags, which invite mold and mildew
Einat Mazafi is the owner of NY International Shipping, an International Shipping and moving company based in New York. She is also a specialist in providing the best relocation solutions to clients worldwide.