Moving Day – How to pack up your house for storage

So moving day is just around the corner. Your house is sold, you’ve spent months planning the big move and you’ve finally got round to hiring a professional storage facility. All you need to do now is pack up all of your worldly belongings so that they get to your new home or go into storage safely.

It sounds straightforward enough but, as with most things, it’s easier said than done. There are definitely right ways and wrong ways when it comes to packing. Do it right and your personal items with survive the move in one piece; do it wrong and you might have to say goodbye to some of your most treasured possessions.

So how do you go about packing up your house for storage? Let us help you out with our straightforward packing advice.

Understand your storage unit restrictions

Before you start boxing up your stuff, make sure you know the dimensions of your storage unit so you know exactly how much storage space you have to use. As well as knowing how much you can store, you need to know what you can store. Your storage facility should inform you of all the items that cannot be stored in your unit. This will vary between facilities but restricted items will generally include:

  • Hazardous materials – this includes corrosive chemicals, noxious gases, flammable substances or anything that could explodes such as compressed gas. These materials pose serious health risks and you could be liable if any damage occurred as a result of storing dangerous items.
  • Perishable items – this includes pet food as well as other general food items. While canned foods are generally permitted, anything perishable may attract pests such as insects and rodents. This is a health and safety issue and also risks damage to your belongings.
  • Anything living – this includes animals, people and, for the most part, plants too! Although we may offer 24 hour access to our storage units, they are not designed to be lived in.    

Use proper packing materials

If you’re planning on moving important personal items, last Christmas’s gift boxes are probably not going to cut it. To ensure your belongings are as safe and secure as possible, you are going to need plenty of boxes in varying sizes. Reinforced industrial storage boxes are the best but there are plenty of alternatives on the market. As well as boxes, you will need padding in the form of bubble wrap, loose fill foam peanuts or good old-fashioned newspaper. Avoid using plastic bags to protect items as they can attract mildew and – as you’re more than aware – they’re not great for the environment. Remember to use robust packing tape to seal your boxes shut – you don’t want any accidents!

(At Flexible Storage, we can provide you with the best packing materials to ensure your items are safe in transit and in storage. These materials range from bubble wrap to paper furniture covers to packing tape. Contact us today to find out more.)

Label everything clearly

Packing items for storage is no small task. You will be handling and storing hundreds of items in a relatively short space of time. It’s easy to forget what you have packed in each box so remember to label each box with the details of its content. We’ll leave you to decide how specific to get with your labelling but knowing exactly what is in each box will go a long way to avoiding any losses. As you are putting these items into storage for an extended period of time, it’s always better to be overly cautious. Trust us – you’ll be glad of it when the time comes to collect your storage.

Make an inventory of your items

Packing up your house can be a hectic time. With all the people, boxes, dust and bubble wrap, it can be hard to keep track of exactly what you’re packing. As well as labelling your boxes, keep a detailed inventory of your boxes as you pack everything away. We recommend creating at least two copies of your inventory – one for you and one to keep in your storage unit. This way, you’ll always know exactly what possessions are in storage. You’ll save yourself a great deal of time and energy the next time you come to retrieve any of your storage items.

Pack your belongings efficiently

Space is a premium when it comes to packing, so try not to waste any of it. You’ll need to fill up boxes completely to avoid items moving in transit and becoming damaged. However, packing items too tightly can put strain on your boxes and risk damage to your items so stop if you feel like you’re forcing items into boxes. Remember, the key to successful packing is using sufficient amounts of the right packing material. Fill any gaps with soft belongings or padding such as newspaper.

Extra packing tips:

  • Always fill boxes with heavier items first, then pack lighter objects on top.
  • Use larger boxes for lighter items and smaller boxes for heavier items. This will make it a lot easier to transport boxes – your back (or your removal men) can thank us later!
  • Delicate items such as plates and glass should be packed vertically to reduce the risk of breakage.

For more advice on packing things for storage, get in touch with our friendly team today. One of our professional storage consultants can talk you through your self storage options and even provide you with a tailored quote.

Do You Need Self Storage Insurance?

Insurance is one of those things that is only ever really needed in worst-case scenarios. When buildings burn down, when belongings are destroyed, when people pass away – these are the times when insurance policies can really make a difference and compensate the beneficiaries.

However, many people still choose to forgo insurance, either because they don’t think it’s worth the money or because they simply can’t be bothered. The “it will never happen to me” mentality prevents many people from investing in all types of insurance, and sadly many live to regret their decision.

Insurance companies are not without blame either. High premiums, confusing contracts and shady practices have discouraged individuals and businesses alike from insuring themselves and their belongings.

Self Storage Insurance

Insurance in the world of self storage shares the same industry wide problems. Too many people who need it don’t have it and, for those that do, too many of them are being massively overcharged by their self storage company.  

At Flexible Storage, we don’t like to see storage customers being taken advantage of. Nor do we like to see them out of pocket in the very unlikely event that anything should happen to their possessions. That’s why we’re here to set the record straight around self storage insurance and help you decide whether you need to insure your storage items.

What is self storage insurance?

Self storage insurance is an insurance that can be taken out to cover personal and business belongings whilst they are in storage. There are a variety of self storage insurance policies out there and many storage facilities will require you to take out storage insurance before they will accept your items. Some policies even cover your belongings whilst they are in transit to and from the storage facility.

What does self storage insurance cover?

As well as protecting your possessions from theft whilst in storage, most self storage insurance policies will also provide cover for the following:

  •      Fire damage
  •      Water damage, e.g. from storms, floods or sprinklers
  •      Vandalism
  •      Subsidence damage
  •      Insect or vermin damage

What doesn’t self storage insurance cover?

As with all types of insurance, there will be certain limitations to self storage insurance that you need to be fully aware of. While each insurance provider will have slightly different policy conditions, there are some exceptions that are pretty much universal in self storage insurance:

  •      No coverage for storage units containing dangerous contents e.g. flammable liquids or toxic chemicals
  •      No coverage for storage units containing any form of currency e.g. cash, coins, credit cards, cheques, bank drafts, vouchers, lottery tickets, etc.

We can’t stress enough how important it is to clarify with your insurance provider exactly what your policy covers you for AND exactly what it doesn’t. This should all be in the insurance contract so make sure you check the policy wording carefully before you sign on the dotted line.    

Is insurance required for self storage?

In short, it all depends on the storage facility you use. As mentioned above, many facilities will insist on you taking out an insurance policy to cover your goods before they are willing to store them. However, many other storage facilities do not compel you to take out insurance but will strongly recommend it.

For the storage facilities that do enforce compulsory storage insurance, many will only allow customers to take out storage insurance with them or may even sneak it into the overall storage price without even consulting the customer. This lack of choice and blatant exploitation of customers has resulted in self storage customers paying an average of three times more for insurance coverage than they would if they have shopped around. This simply isn’t good enough.

So, do you really need insurance for self storage?

The short answer is – yes. While the vast majority of self storage facilities are incredibly secure with sophisticated surveillance systems and fires are very rare because of strict safety practices and fire regulations, there will always be some risk associated with any stored items.

As the devastating fire at the Shurgard self storage facility at the start of the year demonstrated, responsibility for the safety of possessions ultimately falls to customers. Many customers lost thousands of pounds worth of goods in Shurgard’s Croydon facility fire because they had no insurance or didn’t insure their belongings to their true and correct value, instead opting for the minimum level of coverage.

Storage facilities can do all they can to minimise risk by complying with safety standards and fire regulations but it is in everyone’s interest that storage items are properly insured.

If your personal possessions or business goods are important enough to store in the first place, they should be important enough to insure too. The risk of theft or damage may be miniscule but the fire at Shurgard acts a timely reminder of the real and substantial costs when disaster strikes.

How can Flexible Storage help?

At Flexible Storage, we recommend that all of our self storage customers insure their items. However, while we encourage insurance coverage, it is not compulsory. Instead, we offer specialist storage insurance through our partner NSIP Services. Their policies are varied, flexible and competitively priced to ensure you are getting the best deal possible. Get in touch with us today for a free insurance quote or to discuss your self storage options.

London Area Tradespeople: Keep Your Tools Safe With Self Storage

Keeping your tools safe and secure when not in use is something that almost every tradesperson worries about. Investing in a large van that can accommodate all of your equipment might seem like the most straightforward solution but it can often be far from the most secure. Storing your tools in a work van around the clock puts your expensive equipment at serious risk of theft. It’s a classic case of putting all of your eggs in one basket and tool thieves are very much aware of the easy pickings to be had.

With tool thefts on the rise, choosing to use a self-storage unit is a more effective way to protect your tools and and your trade. In fact, according to the Self Storage Association, more than 70% of those who use the facilities own a business with ten employees or less, proving how useful they have become for tradespeople, sole traders and small businesses.

Rising Crime

Van tool security is a major concern for tradespeople in London. A report by Simply Business claimed that 98% of those working in a trade were worried about the potential for theft from their unattended vans. It was estimated that in 2016 alone, tool thefts cost UK workmen a total of £94,521,600 – money that most honest, hard-working traders can’t afford to lose.

The staggering figure was discovered by Trade Direct Insurance, who claimed that tool theft was more of an issue for the self-employed than late payments and tax rises. They also estimated that around 215 tradespeople were a victim of theft each day in the UK.

Alternative Solutions to Van Tool Security

Self-storage units – such as the ones provided by Flexible Storage – are the most secure solution. With security features including CCTV surveillance, industrial strength locks and access-controlled gates, our service offers excellent peace of mind for those workers who require maximum protection for their expensive equipment.

They also have some other great business benefits too…

London’s New Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ)

For example, from 8 April 2019 April, vans in London emissions zones will be subject to even tighter restrictions in the city than have previously been enforced. If you don’t have to use your van to store your entire tool catalogue, you should consider downsizing your work vehicle to one that meets the new emission standards, so that you won’t have to pay a daily charge to travel between jobs in the City.

Smaller businesses may even be able to take part in the Mayor of London’s new scrappage scheme, which has funding in place to enable those workers who regularly drive vans in London emissions zones to switch their heavily polluting vehicles for electric cars. In the new ULEZ rules that are attempting to reduce the pollution levels in the heart of the city, vans with high pollution emissions will have to pay £12.50 a day. This poses a significant potential financial hit for many tradespeople who spend the majority of their time in London. However, if successful, the new scrappage scheme will benefit both London’s tradespeople and the wider environment, which can only be a good thing.

Easily Accessible for Tradespeople in London

Another great advantage of self-storage is that it gives you an accessible place to pick-up your tools at any time of the day or night. Coded access gates allow customers to access their tools 24/7 while water and fireproof units keep them protected from the elements, which is essential in order to keep them in the best working order. From electricians and plumbers to builders and decorators, most tradespeople do not require all of their tools on every job they do. As such, tradespeople require quick and easy access to their equipment while also knowing that any tools in storage are safe and maintained in the best possible condition.

When you do need to grab your tools for a job or store them away for the night, you can drive your vehicle right up to your unit and load it up, making the transition easy and fuss-free.

A Cost-Effective Tool Storage Solution

While it is impossible to put a price on the safety of your livelihood, renting a storage unit might not be as expensive as you think. Most contracts are flexible, so that you can upgrade and downsize your unit as necessary, depending on the seasonal demand or the growth of your business.

You might even choose to team up with another tradesperson, hiring a unit together in order to keep costs down. Cheaper than building your own version of Fort Knox in your back garden and safer than keeping tools in your van, contact the Flexible Storage team today to receive a quote for your tools.