Whenever you’re changing homes, you have a lot to think about. Let Storage.com help you navigate the process with tips on buying, selling, or renting, or with some additional space to help along the way.
One of the inevitable truths about moving is that the cost of living—and the affordability of spacious housing—varies from city to city. The cost of renting a home or apartment in a metropolis like Chicago or New York will naturally be much higher than the cost of renting the same amount of space in a suburb. Not to mention you’ll also have to make up for the higher costs of groceries, utilities, and other regular living expenses when moving to a larger city. In order to accommodate the higher costs of living, most people downsize to a smaller residence.
However, downsizing might leave you with very little at-home storage space. Instead of selling possessions or immediately upgrading to a larger home (which costs more), have you considered moving your additional possessions into a self storage unit? Here are some of the ways self storage can be of service when downsizing your home.
Use Self Storage to Make Up for Lost Square Footage
One thing to remember about downsizing your home is that losing a couple hundred square feet is a much bigger loss than it sounds. If you go from a 2,000-square-foot suburban home to a 900-square-foot apartment in the city, you’re losing several room’s worth of storage space. If your old place had a basement or attic, you can count on losing that, as that is usually the first extra room to go in smaller residences. Now all of those storage items you had before need a new place to stay.
This is where self storage becomes handy. A 5×10 storage unit can accommodate a mattress and dressers–basically, an entire bedroom’s worth of belongings. If your loss amounts to, say, three rooms’ worth of space, you’ll want to rent a 10×15 or larger. If your new place is half the size of your old one, a 10×20 might be more suiting. In any event, be sure to check out our Self Storage Size Guide to determine the amount of space you’ll need.
With your storage unit, you can keep related items grouped together (keeping an inventory of your storage items helps.) The beauty of the situation is that you’ll have all of these items handy until you can afford a larger living space.
Store Items You Only Need Occasionally
Before you start downsizing your home, you need to decide which items you want to put into storage. In doing so, the best place to start is picking out anything you do not use on a day-to-day basis, such as seasonal items. You only need your winter clothing and gear for a few months out of the year, and they’ll only take up closet space afterward. The same applies for your summer clothes and sporting equipment. With self storage, not only can you remove unneeded seasonal items from your household, but you can also swap them out as the seasons change. This swapping technique will also save you cost in storage, as you can now settle for a smaller storage unit.
How about recreational equipment? You’ll certainly want to have your golf clubs handy on a day set aside for fun, but these items will only take up space whenever you’re not using them. With a self storage unit, however, you can easily move these out of your place of residence and still have no trouble accessing them whenever you want to have some fun outdoors. Downsizing your home will likely result in either downsizing your garage space or losing it altogether, so having a self storage unit to store your giant garage toys (ATVs, snowmobiles, boats, etc.) is also useful.
Speaking of the garage, don’t forget: owning a home or apartment with a garage typically adds a little more to your expenditures. With automobile storage, however, you can store your vehicle and still have regular access to it. If the facility is located close to where you live, it’s not much different than parking your car in an off-site garage, except for less money! Most self storage facilities can accommodate vehicles of all sizes, from ATVs to full-sized boats and RVs.
You obviously don’t want to throw away your trophies, family photo albums, heirlooms, or any belonging with a personal, sentimental history to it. At the same time, though, keeping them in a cluttered household only increases the chance of your personal belongings becoming damaged or destroyed. Items such as these are also nice to show off at parties and gatherings, but you don’t need them out on display all the time. If you have a unit at a well-equipped storage facility, you can move your sentimental belongings into a safe, secure location where they will be preserved until you need them or until you can afford a larger living space.
Useful Amenities to Have When Downsizing
When storing personal belongings, especially items of a sentimental nature, guaranteeing their security is an absolute must. So be on the lookout for storage operators who can provide amenities such as video surveillance, on-site management, individually alarmed units, and gated access. Delicate items such as photographs, electronics, cotton clothing, and wooden furniture do not fare well in harsh temperatures, so invest in a climate-controlled storage unit to make sure that the unit remains between 55-85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Despite the fact that your storage unit will be separate from your residence, it would benefit you to have it located close to where you live. If your storage unit is a short distance away, you can access it more regularly.
Seeing plentiful space go away is probably the most staggering change when downsizing a home, but with self storage, you can make up for this. With adequate space and convenient location, it’s not much different than having a basement separate from your home.