This guest post is by freelance writer John Kramer.
New to the college experience and you’re nervous about leaving home?
Totally understandable and even if Mom and Dad mean well, they might decide that your room would be great to convert into a home office or they could get tired of having your classic T-Bird collecting dust in the garage and decide it’s better off parked in the driveway. Thankfully, you’re not completely at a loss when it comes to keeping your stuff safe from a situation like “Mom and Dad cleaned up my room and threw away my collection of classic comic books” (I’ve heard that story before, unfortunately). Not to mention, you may not want to lug that massive TV or desk across the country and figure out how to shoehorn it into a tiny dorm room.
Getting a self-storage unit is generally a pretty solid idea for this kind of situation, but before you make a commitment, you should definitely think about how you plan on storing your stuff for the 4 years or longer that you may be away.
Finding a self-storage facility is obviously the first step in the process. Fortunately, in the age of the Internet, you can easily find plenty of websites like USStorageSearch.com that offer a quick and easy way to locate the nearest self-storage facility in your area so you can narrow your choices down with just a few clicks.
Once you get a self-storage facility picked out, you’ll need to decide what can stay at home and what absolutely has to be protected from the unfortunate possibilities listed above. In other words – how much space are you going to need? If you just need to store some boxes and other assorted small items, you might be able to get by with a tiny 5×5 square foot unit. If you have a car or something equally big, self-storage units generally range up to 10×30 square feet (just about the size of my first studio apartment after college).
Naturally, you probably shouldn’t expect to lock your stuff up and expect it to be safe and sound for 4 years without checking on it. 4 years is plenty of time for something to happen if you’re not careful about how you stored your things for the long-term. Anything that could be damaged by moisture or bugs (paper, clothes, etc.) should be placed in tight-sealing containers at the very least. Fragile items should be packed in sturdy boxes with plenty of padding to keep them from moving around or being crushed. If you’re going to store a car, consider disconnecting the battery and draining the gas/oil so they don’t corrode the engine or turn into sludge.
Security at a self-storage facility can definitely vary, so bear in mind how much security you want for your things. At the least, make sure you get a good lock for the door and keep the key in a safe place where it won’t get lost. The storage facility should have a fence around it and a locked gate to keep just anyone from wandering in, but they might. In the event that things turn pear-shaped (such as a fire that burns down the self-storage facility), you might also want to look into buying insurance from the management since they’re typically not liable for anything that happens otherwise.
John Kramer is a freelance writer who blogs on various subjects like home improvement, saving money and much more. Connect with him on Twitter!
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