By Terry Dowling, Certified Self Storage Manager
The time has come when all the kids went on their own way; either off to college or a new job or marriage. You have tried really hard to stay in your big home that is filled with wonderful and sad memories from years and years of family living. But now you realize it’s just too much space to handle, and too much work. You’re not able to mow the grass or shovel the walkways or driveway like before. You sit down and think how can this be? What am I going to do now? And you come to realize that now is the time to downsize to a smaller home or even an apartment.
You find the perfect size apartment, condo or townhouse with no mowing or shoveling involved. Everything you need is on one floor or maybe two. You already know you need to get rid of a lot of furniture because you are going from say three or four bedrooms to one or two, and also less overall living space. Your new home is great, but you realize there is very little storage space. You now have no garage and no basement, and fewer closets. Where are you going to put all the things you can’t even think of throwing away? Things like bedroom furniture from your grandmother, your kids’ books and school projects, and even the spare living room set from your basement den. That is when you realize you can save all these valuables for your children or simply to go through later when you are ready, by placing them into a storage unit!
First step is to find the best storage company in your new community. You visit a few of them, call others, ask questions. Make sure to find out if they offer electronic access gates, fencing around the property, security cameras and a property manager who will be on site at least five days a week. Find out if they offer drive-up storage units or temperature control – whatever you are looking for. We suggest that you actually visit the storage properties you are interested in before making a decision. Walk around the property and see if it is well cared for and if the buildings and doors are in good shape. Check out the rental office; does it smell fresh, are supplies available for sale, does the property manager seem knowledgeable? Ask to see inside the storage unit you are considering. Make sure it is clean and the door opens and closes easily and the door hasp is not broken or damaged. While you are touring each property or shortly afterwards, make a list of pros and cons so you can compare them. You want to ensure you are comfortable with the property you select.
Moving can be so overwhelming. But you can limit your stress with a little planning. As you go through your belongings, you need to figure out what goes into your storage unit, what goes to the new home and what you plan to donate or throw away. Go through each room of your home and make a list for all the furniture, lamps and so forth. You can tag items as you go if that is easier. Keep the list for each room in the room, to prevent misplacing it. These lists will come in handy as you begin to pack.
Next on the agenda is to gather packing supplies. We have a fully stocked retail shop in every rental office for your convenience. We keep dust covers in stock for twin, full, queen and king mattresses, sofas, chairs and more. We also offer a large variety of boxes that are specially treated for storage to prevent crushing and mildew growth. You can also find packing tape, tape guns, rope, bubble wrap and more in our retail shops.
Once you finish going through each room, you can begin packing. The bed mattress and box frames should be wrapped in plastic dust covers. Be sure to wrap your extra furniture in dust covers as well. It’s a good idea to disassemble any large or awkwardly shaped furniture like desks, TV stands and hutches. Place all the nuts, bolts and other hardware in a Ziploc baggie and tape it to the underside of the furniture to keep them together. You can even place an index card in the baggie with the name of the furniture too, just in case they get separated during the move. When you pack up glass items, wrap them in bubble wrap or packing paper and stuff packing paper in extra spaces in the box to prevent the fragile items from shifting around. For more detailed information on packing, read our previous blog, “Moving Tips: Learn How to Move with Efficiency and Precision”.
You also need to think about how to pack the moving truck as well as the best way to pack your storage unit to maximize space and provide easy access to your items. Learn “Helpful Tips to Pack the Moving Truck and Your Storage Unit” in a prior blog. You can also learn about “Storage Unit Tetris – Making Your Stuff Fit” from a previous blog as well. We offer a great deal of tips and advice on packing, moving and storing in our “You Herd It Here” blog.
We do recommend that you take separate trips to your new home and your storage unit with the moving truck. This will prevent you from accidentally taking something to the wrong location. Moving things into your new home should be your first priority. Then you can make sure everything fits that you want to keep. If not, you can load it back on the moving truck to place into your storage unit.
Making the move from your large family home into a smaller new dream home can be a stressful time. Use these tips to help minimize that stress as much as you can. Also take joy in knowing that a new family will be able to make great memories in your old home, just like you and your family did over the years. And, all the items you end up donating to a local shelter or mission or the Salvation Army will benefit many families in need in your community. And, find the excitement in the whole moving process and knowing that you will soon be making new memories in your new home! Start a new tradition like a monthly family dinner with your grown children or a book club every two weeks with your new neighbors.
If you have any questions about downsizing and using self storage to help you with your move, contact us or reach out to any of our knowledgeable property managers. And, if you are ready to start the downsizing process and you need a self storage unit, you can rent one online 24/7.