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Find the Best Self Storage For Your Needs

Everything you need to know about how self storage works, what you can expect to pay, who are the best self storage companies near you and how to save time, money and damage when moving your goods into storage.

Find the Best Self Storage For Your Needs

Common reasons for using storage units

Muval provides 1,000's of removalist quotes every month where our customers are also requiring storage. The requests come from people who are renovating their home and need to find an easy way to move goods out of their home to people who just want to de-clutter their life but don't want to throw out certain items at this point in time. Below we've listed the top 10 reasons we see for why it can be a good idea to hire a storage unit.

  1. A safe and secure place to store items while you figure out the logistics of your new home
  2. A safe and secure place to store your goods while you search for a new home
  3. A way to get a head start on a move you know is coming, pack and store items early to give yourself more space
  4. Gives you some time to plan without worrying about moving things to temporary unsecured premises
  5. It can take away your clutter before showing people through your home to sell, makes a home more spacious for the viewer
  6. Less upkeep keeping the place neat for inspections.
  7. Gives the ability to complete your move in "stages".
  8. Helps you determine what items you own are important via a process of elimination.
  9. Gives you time to complete DIY or renovation projects or cleaning on the new home before you fully move in.
  10. A safe and secure place to store extra valuable items that you may not want moved with everything else for fear of damage or loss.

What are the different types of storage?

Containerised

container storage

Basically this is a solution where you rent a container to have your belongings packed into by professional packers who take an inventory of the items packed for your records. The container is then security-sealed and stored within a secure storage facility, often a warehouse, alongside other containers. The main benefit of container storage is that it protects your things from the elements and reduces the handling of your stuff, therefore lessening the likelihood for damage. The drawback being you don't get access to your things easily like you do with self-storage.

Self-storage (indoor and outdoor)

storage units

Self storage facilities provide a way to store your possessions in a safe and secure away from the family home for a while. Quite often storage facilities allow access to your household contents at convenient times. Where these places are valuable is when you or your family are in transition and require the household possessions to be stored in secure area which provides convenient and timely access to your stuff. Self-storage facilities can almost be thought of as another person in your moving team, and they can be totally invaluable to the whole process. You are generally responsible for arranging for your belonging to moving in and out of the facility, however you can ask your removalists if they offer this as a service.

Mobile Storage / Portable Storage

mobile storage containers

This is a relatively new type of service where companies will bring the storage container to your house for you to pack up the goods yourself and storage items on your preferred site. This means you can take the clutter out of your existing home or if you are renovating, you can store your goods on site at a cheaper price than going to a nearby facility. The down sides are that you have to pack all the goods yourself, it’s a bit ugly to have big containers on your lawn / on your property and can cause damage to gardens, grass if left for too long in one spot.

Share-storage

Share-storage is an option in which two or more parties may enter as an agreement for a variety of reasons. Some of the advantages of entering such an arrangement include reducing the rent payments for storage, shared responsibility for maintaining the unit and the goods stored therein (cleaning etc.) and when only a small amount of extra space is required. Disadvantages associated with share-storage include not having full control over the unit and splitting costs can cause troubles sometimes.

Storage-in-transit

Storage in transit, for most people is a decision to store items during a move which is made well before their moving date. Most times people are required to leave their prior residence but are unable to unpack the contents of the old home. Other times it may be due to ongoing renovations or staying in a temporary residence whilst waiting for a new home to be built.

Long Term storage

People often have a variety of reasons for long term storage, including working or travelling abroad, saving furniture or goods for your children, storing special items inherited such as antique furniture which are not currently suitable for the house or a business storing seasonal goods or company records.

Wine Storage

You can store wine in perfect conditions. Ideal conditions are provided to make wine suitable for drinking or selling, for all enthusiasts. Storage companies offer varying levels of wine storage ranging from managed cellarage and private vault collections.

Car, Boat, Trailer, Caravan, Vehicle Storage

You can arrange for short term automobile storage for interstate moving through to long term storage required for a variety of personal reasons. Storage is offered with a few different options depending on needs of the person storing the car. e.g. parking space, outdoor covered parking and dedicated automobile storage units. Depending on the particular storage company automobile removalists can be coordinated to move your car in a safe and efficient manner.

Can you use self storage units instead of a carpark?

Yes, there many options that let you do this at similar rates to what you would get when booking standard self storage. You can find places that will allow you to drive in and drive out with security to match. Be mindful that these places aren’t typically like a carpark, so, you can find yourself waiting for someone else to get out of the way of the driveway gate if you are in a rush. Also – you will be paying on a monthly level and ask to make sure you can access as many times as you like as part of the standard cost.

How to best calculate the storage space you'll need

If you are booking a removalist it is likely you have already broken your life down into cubic metres for the items that you need to book space on a truck for.

You can find a handy guide for helping you calculate your cubic metre space here.

Using the same method, you can also estimate how much space you will need for the items that you are wanting to move into storage. This is the first and most important step in the process as it will determine what type of storage you need and how much it will cost. Depending on how much space you need you may need to decide on what is the best storage solution for your needs and budget: containerised, short or long-term storage, etc.

Each of the storage companies offer great ways to visualise how much space you'll need which can range from:

  • Small 1 x 1.3m Units – usually on upper levels
  • Mobile container – 1 box will have enough space for a 1 bedroom apartment
  • Medium 3x3.6m Units – this will fit a 1 bed apartment and up to 2 bedroom home
  • Large 3 x 6.3m Units – this will suit from 3 bedroom home up to 5 bed home.

How much does storage cost?

Obviously the cost of your storage will be determined by the amount of space you require to store your belongings. There may be other individual factors that influence the price too, such as the length of your storage contract or any additional add-on services you agree to when you book. Location of the facility can also determine if the cost is higher or lower per unit due to market forces like population density versus demand for space in the area, and the value of the land where the facility is located pushing up rent.

Nationally, the average cost of renting a self-storage unit starts as little as $80 a month and goes well up to $500 per month.

It does pay to shop around as you will find many “buy 1 month get the next month free” types of offers.

Also – depending on the company you are considering, many smaller independent franchisee’s will happily negotiate on price if they are short on demand. You may find bigger companies have a stock standard pricing that isn’t as flexible.

Typically outdoor storage facilities are cheaper than indoor ones but are not suitable for all items and mainly cater for vehicles, boats and occasionally office files and equipment. Customers can drive to the unit to access their belongings and can sometimes be more convenient.

Important questions to ask before you book self storage

Depending on exactly what you're storing and how much you care about the safety and security of your goods, we've compiled some key questions to ask prior to clicking the book now button.

• Is the facility big enough for your truck, van or removalist service to be able to easily access?
• Does the facility offer insurance or will you need to arrange insurance separately?
• Do you need 24 hour access to your storage unit?
• Is the facility dust-free and climate controlled?
• Is the facility secure from unauthorised public access?
• Does the facility have 24/7 security monitoring, fire monitoring and control systems?
• Is the area where the facility is located not prone to flooding?
• Is the facility weatherproof?
• Is the facility pest managed and free of vermin?

When you compare services, be aware that you should compare similar storage solution options - you can't compare apples and oranges - and the same is true with the different options available - they can be vastly different in nature and therefore the range of cost and services should be compared with those offering the same criteria.

What things are allowed / not allowed to go into storage?

As a general rule, so long as it is packed correctly, most things can go into storage that are not on the forbidden list.

The prohibited items are not allowed because they post an unacceptable risk in storage.

Items that CANNOT go into storage such as foodstuffs and dangerous goods (corrosive, flammable, explosive, spontaneously combustible, toxic, oxidising or water-reactive goods). If these items are stored and cause damage it could invalidate your insurance.

It's always best to find out more detail from the company you end up choosing.

How to pack and prepare your goods for storage

We have all the tips for packing to move to your new home, the same rules can apply when packing to send to a storage unit, here is our list of links for all things packing and moving!

Bonus tips for storing your items safely!

Don't damage the storage space

Keep the space protected as you move things in or out and shuffle items around, self-storage facilities will often charge a penalty rate for damage incurred during your lease. Depending on what you are choosing to store, you may like to hang plastic (industrial strength is best) on the walls to protect from any scuffs etc.

Consider your storage footprint

Depending on how much space you have leased and how much stuff you have, you may need to consider how you will best pack the unit to ensure you get everything in neatly, securely, but also so that it is accessible should you need to find anything down the track. Assess the wall space and estimate mathematically how objects would fit, it may remind you a bit of playing Tetris, but it's a good mindset to develop at the beginning of the process. Long items like bed frames and mattresses are best stacked vertically along the walls to consider this first, mattresses are also good buffers against damaging the unit's walls when moving items in and out.

If possible and necessary, pack to the ceiling by moving in the large items first and packing the smaller boxes atop of them. You can also use plywood to run across the top of boxes of similar size to create a shelf that will stabilise and distribute the weight of the next row of boxes. Items that a less likely to be required accessibility can be packed further to the back of the unit.

Pallets are great for extra protection

If you can get some cheap and you have the inclination and the time to do so, collect enough shipping pallets to line the floor of the storage unit and pack items on top of them. This will keep your valuables off the floor and if there is heavy rain or a leakage from a nearby unit, your items will be extra protected, they will also keep away the rising damp.

Special pad locks for self storage

If you are moving into self-storage, invest in this! It is the front-line protection against thievery. You will need a pad-lock with a short arm so bolt-cutters can't fit through and get leverage and slice it open. It needs to be an all weather lock.

Best options for moving your goods into storage

Removalists

You may already have booked a removalist and discussed with them what is to go to the new home and what is to go to storage. Be organised and have these items clearly separate from the stuff you are taking to the new place. Create a list for yourself to keep and one to give to the removalists that clearly outlines all the items that are to be dropped off at the storage unit. Make sure you clearly label everything that is to go to storage too, including furniture and white-goods. 

Removalists on Muval offer a minimum 2 hour option which will give you plenty of time if only moving a few heavy items and you can't do it yourself. Eitherway - you can view a range of quotes instantly online for free and book your preferred option as needed. 

All of the Removalists on Muval are used to delivering or picking up from storage facilitities and they can guide you on what to do to make it stress free and easy.

DIY - Do you need to hire a truck, ute or a van?

If you are motivated, you may decide to just do it all yourself. This can save you money, but of course, will take you time and elbow grease. Once you pack it all up, you just need to get it there yourself and pack it all into the facility to the best of your ability and energy levels.

Use a checklist to save time, money when moving into self storage

LIke anything that involves logistics and timing, a good checklist can help keep you on track to make effective use of the space you are booking for storage. Use our checklist below to make sure you've got everthing covered for your storage move.

  1. Make an inventory list of all the belongings you want to store (this may already have been determined when you have done your pre-move purge list).
     
  2. Determine what you have than CANNOT go into storage such as foodstuffs and dangerous goods (corrosive, flammable, explosive, spontaneously combustible, toxic, oxidising or water-reactive goods). If these items are stored and cause damage it could invalidate your insurance.
     
  3. Make sure all important documents are separated away from anything you are moving into storage.
     
  4. Airflow is limited even in the best facilities so it could be a good idea to guard furniture against the risk of humidity, mould or mildew damage and treat timber and leathers before moving them to a facility.
     
  5. Protect the structural integrity of furniture by emptying out drawers and wardrobes. If possible, remove the legs from furniture such as beds, lounges, tables etc.
     
  6. If you are storing fridges, freezers or washing machines, make sure they are cleaned out (vinegar is good for this) and dried thoroughly. Leaving doors slightly ajar prevents musty smells and mildew as well as deterioration of rubber seals if they won't be used for some time.
     
  7. If possible, pack electrical items in their original packaging, or pack them securely in moving boxes with plenty of protective packaging.
     
  8. Label your storage boxes clearly with their contents, on all sides and the top of the box.
     
  9. If you are storing mirrors or artwork it is a good idea to purchase specific flat-pack packing boxes and custom packing material to store these items to keep them safe, particularly if they are valuable.
     
  10. Pack books flat to prevent curvature of the spine.
     
  11. If you need to store clothing, you can get custom packing boxes to hang your clothes like they are in a wardrobe, the space at the bottom of the box is good for storing shoes (preferably in shoe boxes).
     
  12. If you are storing items that are susceptible to extreme heat or cold (such as old photos, books or vinyl records) it is a good idea to double wrap them. Storing these in plastic is also a way of keeping them dry.
     
  13. Keep out dust and insects by wrapping furniture with 'removalist blankets', sometimes these are included free, ask about them when you get quotes.
     
  14. Remove batteries from remotes, toys and other battery operated items so the battery acid doesn't leak and cause irreversible damage.
     
  15. If you are storing lawn mowers or other petrol operated machinery make sure you drain out the petrol and oil to prevent a potential fire hazard.
     
  16. Drain garden hoses and loop them into a coil and secure with zip-ties, use the connectors to clip the ends together and complete the loop.
     
  17. Make a list of everything you are planning to move into storage, this will come in handy for insurance purposes or if you hire professional packers, to compare with their inventory list as a cross check!

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