Moving is stressful. There’s no way around that. In fact, behind death and divorce, experts say it’s the third most stressful life event any of us will face.
In the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, moving is quite common, according to Mike Nowicki, an area manager for Uncle Bob’s. Twenty percent of Nowicki’s customers are military service members, who sometimes will “have days, maybe hours, to find storage,” he says, before leaving the country for four to six months.
Now that is stressful.
Whether you’re in the military, retiring or studying abroad, or relocating overseas for a job, using self storage and following a few tried-and-true practices can make your move much easier.
- Leave things behind. You can’t take everything with you. Not only is it impractical, but international shipping is very expensive. It’s so expensive, in fact, that it’s often cheaper to leave larger items behind and just buy something else in your new country.
“By using self storage, you’ll have less work packing. You only have to consolidate enough to put in a storage space,” Nowicki says. “Shipping requires more consolidation, the cost of packaging, the cost of shipping and potential damage during shipping.”
- Determine your length of stay. If you’ll only be gone a couple months, you can probably get by with a traditional storage unit. But for longer stays, invest in a climate-controlled unit.
“Climate control will protect valuables by keeping your goods at a reasonable, constant temperature,” Nowicki says.
- Insure your items. Nowicki recommends purchasing insurance to protect yourself.
To make things easier, he points out that some clients choose to set up automatic payments or pay for the entire storage term up front. But if you choose auto-payments, remember to check the expiration on the credit card you use—having a declined card would cause serious headaches.
- Protect your storage unit. Nowicki suggests that a contact be designated in case of emergency.If possible, identify an alternate person that can access the space if need be. In other words, leave a key with your mom, sister or best friend—someone you trust that can check on your self-storage unit periodically and retrieve something from it if you need it.
- Organize. If you’ve ever been sent to retrieve something from a friend’s house, you know how annoying it is to find something in a haphazard maze of clutter. So, do everyone a favor: Since you won’t be around to sort through stuff, make it as easy as possible for whoever will be.
Label storage bins clearly, and make sure they are secure. (You don’t want things toppling over when you’re gone.) Place smaller things or things you would be more likely to need closer to the door. If you have enough time, even consider walking your contact person around the storage unit and pointing out where things are located.
All that’s left to do is buy your plane ticket and find your new place! Hopefully these tips can help make your overseas move a little less stressful.
Where are you moving? And what are some tips you have to make it as easy as possible? Share them with me on Twitter at @JennyStorage.