How to Choose Long-Term Self Storage
Written by Martha Lott
15th Feb 2018 (Last updated on 20th Feb 2020) 7 minute read
When moving abroad, you may need to store your belongings in the UK or even internationally. In this guide, Compare My Move provide some advice on how to find storage providers, select storage that is suitable for your specific needs and how much these options will cost.
Many movers will store belongings in the UK when they move abroad, however, there’s also the option of using storage facilities in your new home country whilst you make further arrangements. Here, International Removals specialists Compare My Move explains long term storage in the UK as well as some considerations for storing your belongings abroad.
Long-Term UK Storage
Storing items in the UK can be a good way to keep your belongings both safe and accessible when moving abroad. Finding a reliable, reputable and cost-effective storage facility is a good way to ensure peace of mind at a time when things can be chaotic. Below we have highlighted some tips and considerations on finding long term storage in the UK.
UK Long-Term Storage Costs
Of course, costs widely depend on the amount of storage you need as well as the value of the location in which you are storing your belongings. For example, 100 sq. feet of storage in central London is likely to cost a large amount more than the same amount of storage in the north of the country. It also depends on the amount of time you will be storing, with long-term storage units costing less than short-term stores.
Every storage company is different and will have a different rate that varies greatly depending on where the unit is and who it’s owned by. That being said, most often than not, the bigger the unit, the less you pay per sq. foot.
As an example: If you were storing the contents of a two-bedroom home over a 6-month storage, you would likely need around 100 sq. feet of storage. This could cost around £500-£800 for the full 6 months, although you could easily pay 2-3x more than this for premium areas such as central London.
Tips for Choosing a UK Storage Company
Finding a storage provider can seem pretty simple at first. But the difference between finding a good and bad provider can mean the difference between a useful tool and a potential for a massive amount of hassle. Here are Compare My Move’s UK storage tips:
- Don’t just look locally - Don't get hung-up on the storage unit closest to your home. You’re moving country and the location of the unit won’t matter much once this happens. By looking further afield, you’ll have a chance at getting better deals and more agreeable terms for your move.
- Think about parking - Picking one with easy parking will help with getting your belongings from your home to the unit.
- Check the company’s terms and conditions - When searching out providers, check their terms and make sure they fit with your plans. Ask a few key questions: Is there a minimum or maximum term of storage? Which days and hours are you or someone else able to access the contents? Will others you grant permission to be able to access the unit?
- Look at reviews and ratings - See what others say about the safety and service of the provider. A large amount of concerning reviews can highlight potential issues.
How Much Storage Space Do You Need?
Getting the right estimate for the size storage unit you need can save you a lot of money, reducing the amount of wasted space. To do this correctly, you must first work out exactly what you’ll be putting into storage. Will it be all/the majority of belongings or just a small proportion of them?
On average, a unit that’s 10 sq. feet in size would be ideal for students whilst a 75 sq. foot unit would be most useful for a small 1-2-bedroom flat.
For larger properties, you will need about 100 sq. feet for the contents of a 2-3-bedroom house. You can usually make a good estimate of space based on the items you plan on storing, there are also a number of useful tools online that can help you understand the space needed to store them.
Packing for UK Storage
In usual circumstances, storage units are a mix-match of items that have been thrown in over time to get them out of the way. However, packing your items properly for storage will provide a number of benefits when it comes to keeping your items safe and accessible.
Firstly, your prized belongings should be packed well in order to protect them during the journey, during storage and on the occasion that your belongings need to be sent to your new home. Labelling them well will also allow your removals company, friends or family to easily identify required contents when instructed to do so.
Start by wrapping your contents much like you would for a move. Wrapping delicate items in paper and then into sturdy boxes with padding to keep them in place. You should also ensure that all items are placed into transport or storage based on their weight and how fragile they are to ensure limited damage.
As previously stated, it’s also worth keeping these stored items clearly labelled with what is inside. This will allow for them to be easily found when required.
Managing Your UK Storage While Abroad
Making sure you select a storage unit that lets you delegate access will let you manage stored items whilst you are away. When it comes to getting hold of small items or completing simple tasks, you’ll want to be able to allocate these to friends or family to complete.
However, in the case that large items need to be moved to your new location, you should work with an international removal company to safely do this. Asking the removals company to identify and ship out the required content is going to be the most efficient way to move bulkier items. You will usually need to contact the storage facility ahead of time to let them know that a representative will be turning up to access your storage unit.
How to Find International Storage
On the occasion that you’re moving abroad and your belongings will get there before you do, you are able to use short term in country storage facilities. Getting these booked well in advance can be a good way to lower the pressure and risks associated with being in a new country without any of your belongings.
In this section, we explain the considerations to take when booking storage units abroad.
How to Book Storage Abroad
Booking storage units in your new country of residence can be done in a number of ways.
Firstly, when working with an international removals company, they will often be able to do this on your behalf, tapping into their international network of suppliers to secure your storage space.
If your removals company cannot provide this or you choose to do this yourself, you will then have to go directly to the storage company in the given country. This can be fairly simple if the country speaks the same language as you. You may need to seek some translation support for countries where you do not understand the language or have issues in communicating what you need.
How to Choose Storage Abroad
Similar to picking a storage unit in the UK, finding a quality facility in a different country can often be down to research. This will obviously be difficult in countries where there’s a language barrier. On these occasions, it’s always worth checking for storage facility websites that have an option to read the terms and conditions in English. This will allow you to check crucial details such as potential additional costs, open days/times and notes on security.
Also, when there is an option, it is worth checking out any online reviews. This will highlight any potential issues you may have or poor levels of customer support.
In many countries, there are also useful resources like expat websites that can be used to ask those that have been through a similar process for their recommendations.
The Cost of International Storage
Pricing for units in different countries vary widely based on their location, size and the term for which you will be using them. These can usually only be discovered by searching for facilities in the area you are moving to and contacting them for quotes.
In the case that your international removals company will be finding your storage on your behalf, they should be able to offer you a quote to help you clearly understand how much this might cost. Don’t forget to ask the removals company about their own costs to help you budget for the move.
Compare My Move and International Removals
We hope this guide has covered the important aspects of looking to store your belongings when moving abroad. Whether it be reliable long-term storage in the UK or short/long-term storage abroad, arranging everything is easy when you know how or have an international removals company to help.
Compare My Move can continue to help you with your move abroad with our international guides. When you're ready, you can use our quick and easy form to get connected with up to 6 professional removal companies in your area that will take you abroad with ease.