Whether you’re renovating, travelling, or tying over two leases or property settlements, you may need to store your home contents temporarily. You have a range of storage options. Your parents, a sibling or your friend has offered to store your items in their garage. Then again, you’ve also been tossing up self-storage either in a module or a storage unit.
The choice to pay for self-storage or to store at a mate’s garage may seem simple, but it’s not! Here is a breakdown of all the things you may not have considered when making this choice.
Damages and Insurance
Most reputable storage companies offer insurance cover for the items you store with them. However, would your items be covered if you store them at a relative’s car garage? Maybe not!
It’s best to double check your own home contents insurance and if your family member or friend has insurance to cover your items. This is very awkward to ask someone who is already doing you the favour of storing your items for you.
The advantage of asking for damage cover from a storage business is that this is a standard question, and they will have a clear policy which will give you peace of mind. Also, bear in mind that insurance can be complicated. Will you and your friend’s insurance cover theft, fire, flood? Storage insurance directly sourced from the business owners can be more straightforward and comprehensive.
When you’re only storing temporarily, you’ll probably want storage that’s close by. It will reduce the moving costs, it’s easier to access if it’s nearby.
Your friends and family’s garage may or may not be in the vicinity. However, if you’re renting a storage unit or module it is easy to find storage spaces that are close to the home you are moving out of or in the suburb you’ll be moving into.
Speaking of access, how often and when you need access will be a big factor in deciding which storage option suits you best. If you are happy to lock away your items for the length of the storage period, then this won’t matter.
However, if you need to pick up some clothes when the season changes or any items for whatever reason, you need easy access. Dropping by the parents’ garage may not be easy if they live far away, or at your friend’s place if they work crazy hours.
If you do decide ready and easy access is what you need, don’t assume self-storage will be the best option either. Many warehouses and storage facilities have access hours and require 24 hours’ notice. Some do offer 24-hour access, but you will probably have to pay a premium for this.
When considering your storage options, it’s highly recommended that you do your research. Access policy is definitely something you'll want to be clear on beforehand!
Security and the hidden benefits of a purpose-built storage facility
Storage modules, units, lockers, or cages are usually housed in purpose-built facilities. Granddad’s garage? Probably not. Surveillance systems, manned security, temperature, and humidity control, these are only a few of the storage services a storage facility can provide. Though you will have to pay for these features, if you’re storing expensive precious items that could be damaged by mold, pests, and others it may be a worthwhile price to pay.
How would you feel taking your household contents out of your friend’s garage to find your items damaged? You couldn’t blame your friends and even if you have insurance, going through a claims process and buying new clothes or furniture is probably the last thing you’ll want to do when your new home is ready to move into.
Storage period and flexibility
How long will you need storage for? Will it be a fixed period or is there a chance you will need to extend or reduce the storage period?
No matter how well you plan, delays in renovation, settlement falling through, or many other unexpected events could happen. Your friend may not be able to lend you their garage for an extra 6 months, but a storage facility will usually switch to a long-term storage plan at a reduced price easily.
On the flipside, your friend may need their garage back or may have to move out and you would have the inconvenience of having to find another storage solution in the middle of the storage period. Whereas this would not happen in a facility built for this purpose.
Size of space required
Is your storage requirement garage sized? If you’re only storing a few suitcases and boxes, you’ll probably be able to store them at your parents’ garage easily and without taking up too much space.
However, often people have started moving items into a garage and slowly realizing that all their items won’t fit. A storage company will have the options to fit all your storage so if there is any doubt that your items will not fit in a garage don’t risk the pain and heartache and go for self-storage.
You may think you’re saving money by storing in a friend’s garage for free instead of paying a monthly storage fee. However, have you considered the hidden costs of storing in a private garage?
We have already mentioned the risk of damages, theft, the time it takes to replace items, and the inconvenience of finding alternative storage solutions. When you pay for self-storage, you’re paying for a purpose-built secure storage module or unit and getting the peace of mind that comes with it.
Of course, if your items are low cost and easily replaced, the price of self-storage may not be worth it. Then there are costs that are neither monetary nor time-related but the cost to your….
Friends and family find it hard to refuse to help you. If you need to extend the storage period or need to move out at an inconvenient time, your sister or friend may begrudgingly agree. Even if the storage is as discussed, your friend or relative may need the space but feel uncomfortable asking you to move out knowing they had promised the space to you. They may feel regret over this or start to resent you.
Sometimes, if you can afford the self-storage, it’s a better option just so you won’t be a burden to any of your loved ones.