Clean Desk Policy

Clean desk policies were initially introduced to ensure workspaces were clutter free, making them great looking spaces – ones that would also help increase productivity.  It allowed flexibility of working spaces, making sure desks weren’t purely owned by one person.

With the implementation of GDPR in 2018, it became even more imperative to have a clean desk policy to help keep companies GDPR compliant – ensuring confidential files and information weren’t seen by prying eyes or falling into the wrong hands. 

And now in 2020, a clean desk policy is now imperative – not only to make your business and office compliant with GDPR legislation, but also to make it more hygienic.  If your desk is cluttered with paperwork, post-it notes, mugs and other personal possessions, how can you ensure everything is thoroughly cleaned at the end of the day, ready for any of your staff to use it the following day.

But I’m still working from home – why would I need a clean desk policy?

A clean desk policy doesn’t only relate to those people who are now back in the office.  It’s now becoming clearer that many companies will be adopting new work from home policies for their staff post lockdown.

If you’re one of the many professionals that is still able to work from home, a clean desk policy is not just there simply to provider a clearer space for cleaning.

What would happen if you were to leave a confidential file at home on your desk, and the worst happened – you were broken into and that file was taken?  What would be the legal stance for you, or your company in terms of GDPR?

What if you leave important documents on the kitchen counter and coffee was spilled on them – those ones being the only copy to work from – what do you do?

What if you have an important video call with a colleague or a client and private documents are on display?

A clean desk policy will help you organise your work space – reducing your stress and giving you that peace of mind you need.  With some simple organisation, you can save time finding important documents and know that when you don’t need them, they’re safe and GDPR compliant.

With Flexible Storage Solutions we can offer you Business Document Storage, Financial Document Storage, Legal Document Storage and Medical Document Storage.  We’re fully compliant with GDPR data protection regulations, so you’re in the safest possible hands.  With our online file management service, we can index all of your business documents to make it easy for you to track and retrieve any of your files in storage, allowing you to have your space back at home and adhere to your clean desk policy…..and if the mood takes you, you can give your own workspace a quick wipe down!

The dreaded return to work

So working from home was your dream – no more early starts, the freedom to work in your pyjamas and avoiding the dreaded commute!!

Then lockdown began to ease…

In light of the current situation surrounding Covid-19, it is now more important than ever for those companies who are already open, or beginning to reopen, to implement a clean desk policy, not only for the security of documents but for your own staffs health and safety.

At Flexible Storage Solutions we can help you with the hire of our confidential waste disposal bins.  You can ensure maximum hygiene standards are maintained at all times in the office. A simple slot in the top of the bin allows you to simply drop the documents in, leaving yourself and the bin virus free.  No more office shredders, being operated by multiple people all day. 

We’ll ensure contactless deliveries and collections and replace the waste disposal bags when it’s convenient for you.  GDPR compliance is adhered to at every level; drivers and staff are vetted and DBS checked and your confidential waste has a certificate of destruction for every batch!

The Benefits Of Self Storage When Working From Home

Working from home used to be the dream for many, and now during these troubling times it has become the new normal. The explosion of advertising around technologies to connect teams and create a collaborative working space has made the move from office based work to a home based work environment pretty seamless.

Many workers have reported a better work – life balance, whilst many are happy with saving money on petrol and not being stuck in traffic on a daily basis and eliminating that long commute. Whatever sector you operate in, working from home will certainly have its benefits, and as we all settle in to our new routines, we have seen some issues arise that we feel we are in a position to help with.

We can’t solve every problem that you may encounter during this period. What we can do is give you some guidance on the services that we offer to support you.

Setting Up Your Home Office

With our self storage solutions, you can store whatever you need to create essential space for your new office. Whether its clearing out a room or making space in the shed, storing your belongings is the sensible choice in one of our water and fireproof units.

Our storage facilities give you the freedom to react to any changes that may occur through these troubling times, allowing you to swiftly take advantage of opportunities when they arise or limit damage if the situation is extended. Unlike commercial leases, you are not tied into lengthy contracts but can rent more or less storage units as and when you need to. Our short-term rolling contracts keep costs to a minimum and give you the flexibility to only use the space you need for the exact amount of time you need it.

Staying Organised And GDPR Compliant

It can be hard to stay organised when working from home, because all of your business things are amongst everything else. Having somewhere separate for your work things can be really useful. A space like self storage where you can visit, get files or information, and switch it with completed work, could be very handy.

Staying on top of your filing is very important, especially if handling documents of a legal nature or those that contains sensitive material. Files will naturally build up over time and our records management, and storage services ensure you are compliant with legal regulations – such as GDPR – as well as provide you with a secure space-saving solution for when your home office has limited space.

No space for stock?

A work from home setup is an excellent solution for running a business remotely, especially if you don’t want to spend that much on a big space lease. Stock can take up a lot of space in the home, so if your work from home situation is causing you to have a lot of stock in your house, a self storage solution may be the perfect fit for you.

Ff you need to buy in bulk then you can have stock delivered to our facility. With our professional setup – which includes 24/7 access, CCTV surveillance and forklift trucks, your potential stock deliveries can be safely moved to your unit with complete peace of mind.

A Solution For Your Business

Our self storage solutions can help you work from home because it gives you room to grow. It enables you to utilise effective storage space without committing to warehouse space or office space. You can instead work from home whilst keeping your stock and other items in an affordable, flexible space.

For more information on how we can help you with your home working situation, get in touch with Flexible Storage Solutions today.

Using Self Storage During Coronavirus

The outbreak of COVID-19 has certainly affected many of us in one way or another, whether you work for a company that has been affected by the pandemic and have been furloughed, or you have your own business and you are still confused about your entitlements and what state the economy is going to end up in. If you or someone you know has been affected by the pandemic then when it comes to storage, Flexible Storage Solutions can assist to help alleviate any unwanted additional pressure that you or your business may be experiencing.

What Do I Do With My UK Bound Delivery?

Due the the pause of many businesses usual day to day running, there have been some situations that have arisen that require some out of the box thinking. If you have made a large order which was due in to the UK, and no businesses, office or shops are open to receive this, what have you done? Flexible Storage Solutions are are able to receive stock and deliveries in to our storage depot, which is fully equipped with 24 hour access and forklift trucks. We have been offering clients short term rentals to help alleviate the worry of longer term rental situations.

Worried about how secure the items on your delivery will be? Don’t be, our storage facility offers a higher level of security than traditional lockups would usually provide. Our containers are water and fireproof and secured with industrial strength locks, we also keep staff on site and have 24/7 CCTV surveillance.

What About Personal Storage During The Coronavirus Pandemic?

With our self storage solutions you can eliminate the worry of where you may have to store furniture and belongings until a future date, keeping you free to concentrate on the things that matter to you at this time.

Our self storage services can help with a multitude of hurdles. For example, we all know that if you are part of a chain when purchasing a house it can be a stressful time period. One of the worries is having to have your belongings out of your current house by a certain time and if this certain time doesn’t align with the next part of the chain it can all start to tumble down like a pack of cards. With a short term self storage service you can move your items into one of our facilities while the house you are moving into frees up. This can be an invaluable option to have and also a well-priced one. 

While we are on the subject of moving, self storage provides the perfect place for unused furniture to be stored if you are short term renting a furnished property. You can either store your belongings while you are in the property or store the current properties belongings here. Our self storage facilities are water and fire protected so you can be sure that none of your belongings will come to any harm.

Often, when removing furniture from a house, you may come across objects that are heavy or awkward to move. This is not a problem our end because we have fork-lift trucks on site to help with anything to cumbersome.

You can not only use our services to store items awaiting their new homes, you can place things here that you are looking to get rid of or sell. Flexible Storage Solutions provides the perfect half way point for belongings that have seized to be useful and are awaiting the move onto their next destination.

With a variety of different sized units you can be sure that you will find the perfect self storage solution for your needs.  We have multiple rates for a huge variation of self storage units and we can cater for nearly every type of use. 

Get in touch with Flexible Storage Solutions to see how our self storage solutions can help you during the coronavirus outbreak.

What Are The Benefits Of Document Storage Over Self Storage?

There is a lot to be said about self-storage and the ability to utilise off-site space for your business. When it comes to documentation storage though, on most occasions, you will be better off with a dedicated document storage facility.

Any business, no matter what size, will accumulate all types of paperwork that is subject to General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) laws. Managing large amounts of paperwork can become very time consuming and not very cost effective. A dedicated document storage service can help significantly with operations and assist in you remaining compliant. Let’s talk about some of the benefits of our dedicated document storage services.

1: Cost

It is a common misconception that document storage is far more expensive than self-storage services.

This is far from the truth.

Not only are the costs cheaper but there are also added financial benefits to outsourcing your storage and filing systems to a dedicated company. One of the main ones being that you do not have to employ or use existing staff to retrieve the documents. This saves on travel, staff hourly costs and training for the storage systems in place. Our team can have your documentation delivered to you from a simple phone call.

2: Barcoded and tracked boxes

Gone are the days of physical filing systems used to store location data about products and items. Using barcoded and tracked boxes we can efficiently access the location of all your important documents. This is the most effective way to keep track of your documentation. It means that within minutes your documentation can be located and sent for without any confusion or time wastage. Having an effective retrieval process can make the entire process of your important documentation retrieval seamless and hassle free.

3: Water and fire-proof storage

Fire and water damage are a very real risk for any stored items including important documentation. Although with normal items there are insurances and financial reimbursements, this will not cover the loss of the data within your documents. This is a very important factor for any type of document storage.

4: GDPR compliant

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR ) has become a huge part of modern day life within business. It is a term that covers a wide variety of data protection aspects within the industry. All GDPR conditions are met with our secure document storage services.

With data security being at the forefront of information storage we make sure that every aspect of your documentation storage is GDPR compliant. This means you can relax with the knowledge that there will be no data breaches or concerns while you use our premium service.

5: Your boxes and files retrieved as and when you need them

The last thing you want when you need access to important data is a bottleneck in the retrieval process. This is one of the main reasons to use a dedicated documentation storage service. Whatever you need is only a phone call or an email away. Using our top of the line inventory systems means we can retrieve any documentation you require quickly and efficiently in a timely manner. This means that if you have time critical documents that you need to get hold of you will not need to worry about things our end.

6: Up to date inventories

As with any form of data management, quick and hassle free access is a must. We have systems in place to allow for any requisition of data to be prompt and stress free.

We can produce up to date inventories of all your documentation whenever you need them. This service comes with the package and is useful for staying up to date with all your stored documents.

If you have anymore questions regarding storage of your important documentation then contact us today.

Fire at Twinwoods Business Park Provides Another Self Storage Wakeup Call

Companies at Twinwoods Business Park are currently assessing the damage done by a devastating fire that broke out during the afternoon of November 1st.

The blaze started in a polystyrene factory on the Milton Ernest business estate and took over 60 fire-fighters from four counties to get the flames under control. 

The fire rapidly spread to two nearby buildings, sending huge plumes of thick, black smoke into the Bedford sky that could be seen for miles around. The fire even forced workers in the area to flee the business park and local roads were closed.

While the exact cause of the fire is still unknown, Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue have since played down the likelihood of foul play:

“We do not believe the fire has been started deliberately and will now be carrying out further investigations, working both with the insurers and the companies affected,” commented Andy Draper, group commander at Bedford fire service.

Fire protection lessons to be learned 

While it’s fortunate that nobody was hurt during the inferno, the total cost of damage to property and goods is yet to be realised.

One group of people that will be assessing their losses will be customers of whose storage facility was one of the other two buildings to succumb to the flames at Twinwoods Business Park.

In a situation reminiscent of the colossal fire at Shurgard’s Croydon storage depot that saw hundreds of stored belongings go up in smoke, this blaze highlights the importance of using a storage facility that truly prioritises the safety of its customer’s stored items.

How can you protect your storage items from fire damage?

  •     Avoid warehouse-style storage facilities – the lack of partitions and strong airflow means that fires can spread much easier in open-plan buildings. While most storage facilities prohibit dangerous substances such as flammable liquids, there’s no way to comprehensively check every single item. As such, just one customer’s dangerous or flammable storage item may result in the destruction of all goods in the facility, as they’re all essentially stored in the same room.   
  •     Choose a storage facility that uses fireproof storage containers – steel containers will protect their contents from an external fire whilst also ‘containing’ any fires that may start within them. While storage containers do not guarantee complete protection, they significantly slow down the spread of a fire and give emergency services the precious time they need to get the blaze under control.
  •     Get self storage insurance – while there are some key precautions that you can take to minimise the risk of fire, it’s impossible to reduce the risk completely. It’s therefore very advisable to cover your stored goods with self storage insurance. The vast majority of household insurance policies will not cover your storage items so you’ll need to opt for storage-specific cover. This will protect your belongings from fire, water or any other damage. (Get a self storage insurance quote for your items today.)

A self storage facility you can trust

At Flexible Storage, we store all of our customers’ items in individual 2mm thick steel storage containers that are both water and fireproof. From fireproof file storage to 24 hour CCTV surveillance, we put the safety of your belongings first. Get in touch with one of our team today to discuss your secure storage options further and even receive a tailored quote.

Can you live in a self storage unit?

It’s a thought that crosses the minds of many people who visit a self storage facility – “I wonder if you could live in one of these things”. While most people laugh the idea off after imagining the massive inconvenience, some people have turned it into a reality.

All across the world there have been instances where storage facility staff have been tipped off or stumbled across people living in their storage unit. For example, a man in the US managed to live in a storage unit for two months before being evicted, documenting his intricate setup on his YouTube channel. 

While it may make for interesting viewing, it’s definitely not something we’d recommend at Flexible Storage Solutions. Not only is living in a storage unit illegal, it clearly compromises the security of the storage facility, as well as presents serious health and safety risks.

Can you sleep in a storage unit?

Of course, you CAN sleep in a storage unit but it doesn’t mean you should start living in one.

Many people spend a lot of time in their storage units; running businesses, organising their belongings, working on their artwork, and countless other reasons. While we’re not saying you can’t have a well-earned rest after a hard day’s work, we (and the law) draw the line at actually living in your unit, i.e. staying in your unit overnight is not allowed.

Some people may argue that because they’re renting the unit, surely they can do what they please with the space? Unfortunately, that’s not how storage facilities or the law works. Your rental contract will specify what you can and cannot use your storage unit for, including what items are forbidden, plus that most important of caveats – NO SLEEPING OR LIVING IN YOUR STORAGE UNIT.

The bottom line is that the storage facility is liable for any injuries or damage that may occur on its premises. A person living in a storage unit therefore puts the storage company at risk of legal action, not to mention the person at risk of injury or worse.      

So, let’s take a closer look at the legal side of it…

Is living in a storage unit legal in the UK?

The simple answer is no – it is illegal to live in a storage unit in the UK. The Fitness for Human Habitation Act 2018 is just the latest in a long line of UK laws that specify the legal requirements a building must have in order for it to be inhabitable by humans.

These requirements relate to many aspects of a building, such as its structure and integrity, pests and vermin, and damp and mould growth. When it comes to living in a storage unit, the most relevant aspects of these laws pertain to:

  •     Natural light availability
  •     Ventilation
  •     Hot and cold water supply
  •     Drainage and sanitary facilities

While some storage units may have ventilation systems, the vast majority of units will not meet any of the other legal requirements in order to qualify for human habitation. 

In most cases, a storage unit will be a single room or container and will most probably have an adequate electrical supply. No windows, no water supply, no toilets, no heating. In other words, not fit for a person to live in.

How storage facilities can prevent people living in their storage units

While we understand that some people may think about moving into a storage facility out of desperation, as we’ve explained above, it really isn’t a safe or suitable place for a person to live.

There are several things that a storage facility can do to both deter people from living in a unit as well as offering help at the same time:

  •     Make it clear in your rental contract – it should be crystal clear in your agreement that living in storage facilities is strictly forbidden. Emphasise the consequences if this stipulation is not adhered to and get the renter to initial the caveat so that they are fully aware of the expectation.
  •     Use CCTV to keep a watchful eye on your facility – camera surveillance should be used to monitor the entirety of your facility 24/7. Only having cameras monitoring the perimeter of your premises will leave you blind to what’s going on inside.
  •     Conduct regular premises checks – having staff perform regular checks on all storage areas may help pick up on smaller things that a security camera can’t, such as suspicious wiring running out of a unit. Training should be provided so all staff know what to look out for.
  •     Keep leaflets for local shelters/homeless charities in the office – helpful literature such as this may be able to point someone considering moving into their storage in the right direction. Just because it’s illegal doesn’t mean businesses should be insensitive to the unfortunate circumstances of some of its customers.

So, there you have it – now you know the reasons why you can’t live in a storage unit and the precautions that storage facilities can take to prevent it.

At Flexible Storage, we take the safety and security of our facility – and all belongings and people within it – incredibly seriously. With secure water and fireproof steel storage units, 24/7 CCTV surveillance and highly trained staff, you can rest assured that your storage items are in the safest possible hands.

Get in touch with the Flexible Storage team today to learn more about our professional storage facility, or even discuss what tailored storage services will work best for you. 

How to Prevent Mould and Mildew in a Storage Unit

We’ve all been there – opening up a box that’s long been stored under the stairs or in the loft, eagerly hoping to retrieve that vintage jacket or family photo album, only to find it ruined by mould or mildew.

As well as damaging valuable belongings and causing horrible smells, both mould and mildew can damage your health too.

It’s for these reasons that you need to ensure your storage unit is as mould and mildew proof as possible. This post will provide expert storage tips and outline the necessary precautions you should take to keep your belongings safe during long-term storage.  

What exactly are mould and mildew? 

Mould and mildew are both types of fungi that thrive in warm, moist and humid environments. Whilst most commonly found in kitchens and bathrooms, they can and will grow anywhere that is warm and has moisture, including on fabrics, wood, stone and even plastic.

Whilst sharing many similar properties, mould and mildew do have some notable differences:

  •     Mould – a fungus that can be various colours, including brown, blue, green and yellow, but is most typically black. Mould also generally has a furry or slimy texture, and is a bigger threat to human health than mildew.
  •     Mildew – a fungus that is typically grey or white in colour. It generally grows in flat patches, has a powdery texture and a notable musty smell.

Whether it’s mould or mildew, you’ll want to make sure you protect your storage items from all potentially dangers. Let’s start with your storage unit… 

Storage unit considerations 

  •     Airflow – when it comes to preventing mould and mildew in your storage unit, moisture is the enemy. These fungi thrive in moist environments so maintaining proper airflow is crucial in a storage unit. Avoid pushing boxes and larger items against each other and the unit’s walls. Keeping space between items helps air circulate and keeps the storage unit dry. 
  •     Off the floor – this is especially the case if your storage unit has a concrete floor, as concrete is porous and can draw up moisture from the ground. While this is much less of a problem if your storage unit is a metal container (as with Flexible Storage self storage units), it is still advisable to use shelves and cabinets in your unit, as well as covering the floor with wooden pallets. This will keep your stuff off the floor and the air circulating effectively.
  •     Humidity levels – while this may not be as big a consideration in the UK as it is in warmer climates, it’s important to ensure that the humidity level inside your storage unit does not exceed 50%. Keeping a hygrometer in your storage unit and regularly checking it will help you gauge whether you need to take action on warm days, such as using a dehumidifier. 
  •     Regularly check your unit – you should never leave your storage items for long periods of time. Make it a habit to check up on your storage unit at least once a month, assessing your belongings for any early signs of mould or mildew. Even just opening up your storage unit and moving some items around will allow air to flow and help you better inspect your possessions. 

Now that you know the things to look out for regarding your storage unit, here are some professional packing tips to protect your belongings from mould and mildew…

Packing considerations

  •     Proper storage materials – unfortunately, if you want to ensure your items are as safe as possible, plastic bin bags or old delivery boxes just aren’t going to cut it. The only way to guarantee the maximum amount of protection is to use purpose-built storage materials such as robust cardboard boxes, industrial bubble wrap and hardy furniture covers.  
  •     Dry items thoroughly – it’s imperative that every item you put into storage is 100% dry. Just one small damp item could spell disaster for your entire storage unit, as mould and mildew will quickly contaminate other items. Clothing and upholstery are particularly at risk as they can easily retain moisture. Be vigilant when cleaning your belongings before putting them into long-term storage, and give them plenty of time to dry.
  •     Pack desiccators – one of the best ways to minimise the levels of moisture in your storage unit is to utilise moisture-absorbing agents called desiccators. The most commonly used desiccators are silica gel packets, but can also include salt, rice and even cat litter. Desiccators should be packed alongside the contents of boxes and cabinets, as well as placed freely in an open container inside the storage unit.     
  •     Avoid plastic covers – many people make the mistake of covering storage items in plastic covers. While they may be useful to protect clothes in your wardrobe from dust, they tend to trap moisture, which is terrible for long-term storage. Cardboard or paper covers are much more preferable as they allow air to circulate, helping your storage items breathe.

Choose your storage unit with care

So there you have it – top tips on how to prevent mould and mildew in a storage unit. Where you store your belongings is just as important as how you pack them. It’s crucial that you choose a storage facility that has your best interests at heart.

At Flexible Storage, we always put the safety of our customer’s belongings first. Our fire and waterproof steel self storage units will keep your possessions safe, while our professional packing materials can help keep them in the best possible condition. With 24-7 CCTV surveillance and 365 day customer access, all eyes will be on your stored items to provide the maximum level of protection.

For more advice on how to pack a storage unit, 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 I have to pay business rates for storage?

Every business strives to keep costs low. Whether it’s wages, utilities, rent or advertising, the vast majority of businesses have to make sure they cover these costs at the end of each month. One cost that unites all businesses – no matter the size or sector – is tax.

As Benjamin Franklin once famously wrote: “nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”.  

While taxation on businesses is without doubt a certainty in the modern world, there are ways that businesses can reduce their tax bill with the help of a storage facility.

To be clear, the advice in the following article is all legally above board and will not leave you in hot water with the Inland Revenue, if followed correctly.     

So, do you have to pay business rates for storage?

The short answer is – no. This is because the Valuation Office Agency (which gives the government property advice when it comes to taxation) says that the tax burden falls on the self storage facility itself.

The VOA says: “We normally assess self storage facilities as a warehouse and the operator of the self storage facility will generally be liable for the payment of rates.”

If you’re unsure whether your business qualifies for business rate relief, contact your local council.

What about VAT?

Good question – it’s true that the Finance Act 2012 introduced VAT on storage space. This brought the growing self storage industry in line with more traditional storage suppliers like removal companies, who were already paying VAT on their supplies of storage.

Now, while this expansion of VAT in storage has pushed up prices for domestic storage users, businesses are able to claim it back.

VAT can typically be reclaimed on goods and services that are used solely for business reasons. That means you can’t fill up a storage unit with personal belongings and then request the VAT back on your storage bill. If your storage items have nothing to do with your business then I’m afraid you’re just going to have to bite that VAT bullet.

Storage Tax Tip

Always remember to keep any business records relating to tax in a safe space that is easily accessible. If you’re using a self storage facility for business purposes, you will need to support your claim for VAT relief with the appropriate documents.

A good rule of thumb when it comes to organising and storing documents is: if you’re unsure of the importance of a document, keep hold of it. An extra bit of paperwork is not going to take up that much space while a lost or destroyed important document will likely lead to long delays and added costs, something that no business needs.

Everything else will need to be securely shredded to ensure no confidential documents fall into the wrong hands.

How to keep your business documents safe

Self storage facilities are not just a great way to avoid business rates and lower your tax bill, they can also ensure your business documents are safe and your company is fully GDPR compliant.

At Flexible Storage, as well as accessible and cost-effective self storage services, we also offer GDPR compliant document storage services too. Keep your costs down and your business documents secure at our professional self storage facility. Get in touch today to find out more.

“Going Once. Twice. SOLD!” – Storage Auctions in the UK

Have you ever wondered what happens to the contents of storage units when their owners abandon them or default on rent payments?

It’s not a common occurrence but, from time to time, self storage facilities find themselves lumbered with the abandoned belongings of ex-customers, despite persistent efforts to contact their owners.

 In these situations the contents of the storage units need to be removed so that the storage facility can let the space out to new customers. This process can be very time-consuming and the costs of clearance and disposal only add to the financial losses of the already unpaid rental bills.

However, there are ways for storage facilities to limit the amount of financial damage they sustain in these situations. In this article, we’ll take a look at an innovative yet misunderstood solution that has grown in popularity over recent years, one that has crossed the Atlantic on a wave of TV success.

Storage Unit Auctions As A Last Resort

Mostly due to the success of shows such as Storage Wars and Storage Hunters UK, there has been a growing interest in the world of abandoned self storage units in the UK. While these TV shows are no doubt entertaining, they don’t accurately reflect what typically happens to deserted units in the UK.

In the first instance, these shows pit a group of potential buyers against each other as they vie for the contents of around five storage units per episode. That’s a lot of abandoned storage units. In reality, most storage facilities may only have to deal with one or two deserted units per year, and many will go years without having to deal with any.

It’s not surprising really when you consider that people care a lot about the items them keep in storage units, so naturally they don’t want to lose them. However, in rare circumstances and for various reasons, storage facilities may have no choice but to reclaim the abandoned unit.

In the majority of cases though, self storage facilities will make every effort to contact the owner of the storage items. This grace period can be anything between ten days to three months, and will typically involve a letter being sent by recorded delivery to both the customer’s main and alternate address.

While it is very rare for storage facilities to resort to getting rid of people’s abandoned belongings, it can sometimes be the only recourse. Which brings us to…

Abandoned Storage Unit Auctions in the UK

 After the grace period has ended and the storage facility’s letters, emails and calls have gone unanswered, they can regain access to the unit to assess the contents. Depending on the facilities general policy and the value of the items, the storage facility may simply dispose of the contents or put them up for sale to cover their losses (this is known as ’lien’ in legal terms).

Here is where we see another difference with the TV shows. While the show depicts auction-bidders standing outside a locked unit, loudly speculating and bidding on its mysterious contents, the reality in the UK is a little less dramatic.

Firstly, storage unit auctions are, for the most part, conducted online, typically on auction sites such as Ebay. Some facilities may even have mailing lists of prospective bidders who they can alert when a storage unit comes up for sale.

While the storage facility can choose to keep the contents of the unit a mystery, most will upload pictures of the contents or even list the storage items one-by-one. Not quite the tension that TV producers are looking for!

Personal Data and Privacy Concerns

 Before a storage unit (or any items therein) is sold, storage facility staff will inspect the contents to ensure that all confidential information has been removed. This may include documents, photos, IDs, CDs, computers or any other items that could be or hold personal data.

 These sensitive items will either be forwarded on to the previous customer or, if they are still unresponsive, will be securely destroyed to ensure that data protection laws and GDPR regulations are upheld. The storage facility should also retain a certificate of destruction that can be presented to the previous owner or any government inspectors on request.

Avoid This Situation With A Reliable, Cost-Effective Storage Facility

 While storage units are occasionally abandoned and some customers may default on rent payments, the reality is that the vast majority of these situations could be avoided with proper communication and an adaptable storage company.

 At Flexible Storage, we go the extra mile to build relationships with our customers to ensure that they receive the best possible service. We regularly remind customers to check their contact information is up-to-date, as well as keep our prices as competitive as possible so that our units are affordable for all. We have a multitude of self storage services available to ensure you’re only paying for the storage you need. Contact our friendly team today for a free consultation on your storage needs.

Looking After Your Literature – The best way to pack books for storage

Despite living in an increasingly digitised world, books are still some of our most treasured possessions. From personal collections to student literature to business stock, there are many reasons why people need to store large quantities of books.

While storing books at home may be a viable option if your collection is small or you’re lucky enough to have the available space, for most people, there just isn’t enough room.

The urge to stuff them in the garage and forget about them can be strong but – as you will soon find out – the effects of improperly storing your books can be disastrous and result in your books becoming damaged beyond repair.

But, before we jump into the dangers, let’s first take a look at the main reasons why people need to properly store their books.     

Why store books? 

  •     Personal Collection – it’s surprising how quickly a personal book collection can build up, even for the most casual reader. From the dozens of cookery books you receive every Christmas to those classics that you’ll get round to reading one day, they all need to be kept somewhere safe and not cluttering up your home.
  •     Students – from the first days of primary school to deep into a university degree, compiling books is part and parcel of being a student. Many of these books are expensive so they’ll need to be taken care of. Likewise, many academic books can be re-sold or handed down to friends and family in future years so they’ll need to be stored to maintain their condition.
  •     Business – many independent bookshops struggle to find a cost-effective solution to their book storage needs. There’s only so much space in a shop and renting more retail space can be very expensive. Having a cheap and accessible storage space makes it easier to manage stock and keep costs down. This is particularly relevant to online bookselling businesses that need a secure space to store and manage their stock.
  •     Moving House – moving house can be a great opportunity to de-clutter your home and take advantage of alternative storage spaces. This is especially the case for people who are downsizing and want to keep their treasured book collection but will struggle to find the space.

What are the dangers to your books?

  •     Climate – like most things, books don’t like extreme temperatures. They should be kept in a storage space that has a relatively steady temperature and humidity. Too much humidity can result in mould and foxing of pages while too little can make books brittle. Some of the worst places for climate control in homes include garages and lofts, which should be reserved for your car and Christmas decorations, not your delicate books. 
  •     Sunlight – exposure to direct sunlight will cause your books to deteriorate over time. UV radiation not only damages the integral structure of books but it will also cause the jacket and spine to fade in colour and the pages to yellow.
  •     Pests – mice, cockroaches, silverfish, beetles and literal bookworms, they have all been known to feast on the glue and paper that make up books. While pests do not pose a threat in many cases, the risk of damage to your books increases if they are stored improperly in places that are easily accessible to these critters.

How to pack books for storage

Now that you know why people need proper storage solutions for their books and the dangers they face if improperly stored, it’s time for some tried and tested tips on the best way to pack books for storage.

  1.     Make sure all of your books are clean and free from dust and dirt. Once in storage, any dirt or grime on a book will continue to damage it over time and potentially damage other books in its vicinity. As an extra precaution, individually wrapping each both in protective cloth will ensure they are kept in the best possible condition (ideal for rare, limited edition or particularly treasured books).
  2.     Pack books in small to medium sized cardboard boxes or plastic containers. Ideally these boxes would be sturdy document storage boxes that are purposefully built to hold delicate paper-based items.
  3.     Don’t wrap books in anything plastic, including plastic bags or wrap. Plastic can trap moisture which, as we have explained above, can lead to paper crinkling and mould. Storing books in storage boxes allows air to circulate and prevents moisture from building up.
  4.     Don’t pack books with spines up or down. The weight of the book and any other books on top will crack the binding of the book’s spine over time. Pack books either upright or flat to prevent this deterioration.
  5.     Keep an inventory – it’s the Golden Rule of storage. Knowing what books are in storage and in which boxes will save you a great deal of time and effort when you come to retrieve your stuff. Label each box with its contents and make sure you keep the inventory in a safe place.

How to pack books for long-term storage in a storage unit

A self storage unit is one of the best places to store your books. With a consistent climate, high security and the space to meet your exact demands, a storage facility can look after your literature properly, all at a very competitive price.

When putting books into long-term storage it’s important that you pack them properly to ensure they stay in the best possible condition. Below are some storage tips for storing books in a storage unit:

  •     Don’t overload your storage boxes as your books could become deformed or damaged.
  •     Pack heavier books at the bottom of storage boxes and lighter books on top.
  •     Always use proper storage boxes, preferably made of robust cardboard.
  •     Ideally keep books and boxes off the floor using shelves or lining the floor of the storage unit with wooden pallets.
  •     Don’t stack storage boxes above shoulder height to avoid any accidents.

If you’re looking for a safe, accessible but cost-effective way to store your books, get in touch with the Flexible Storage team to see how we can help. With our years of experience, secure storage facility and vast supply of specialist storage materials, we can provide the best solution to your book storage needs.