Northern and Midwestern winters can be tough, so many folks in these areas fly south during the colder months. These “snowbirds” typically spend anywhere from 2-5 months each year away from home, basking in the sunny confines of Florida, Arizona or another warm state until spring’s arrival. These folks often rent their homes to short-term tenants, hire a caretaker or ask a friend or family member to house sit until the snowbirds fly back home again.

No matter what arrangements a winter traveler might make for the season, renting an offsite storage space is often a good idea. Here are some reasons why:

  1. Protection against theft: With nobody home, a snowbird’s house becomes a prime target for burglars. A thief can strike and be long gone before a caretaker notices and reports the break-in.
  2. Protection against damage: Bad winter weather can cause leaks and burst pipes. Without the presence of a housesitter or tenant who can take immediate action, weather damage can ruin furniture and other belongings.iStock_000015995908XSmall
  3. Forced downsizing: Many people own too much stuff. Snowbirds can use the time spent packing things up for storage to evaluate possessions and decide what to keep, what to give to family, and what should be thrown away or donated to charity.
  4. Easy access: This primarily affects snowbirds who rent out their homes or hire a full time housesitter. Sometimes the homeowner (or a family) needs access to possessions left in the house. This requires negotiations with the current tenant or housesitter. Offsite storage protects a housesitter/tenant’s privacy while giving the snowbird and his or her family members freedom to do what they like with the snowbird’s possessions.
  5. Protecting relationships: Damaged or missing items can cause hard feelings between snowbirds and their tenants or housesitters. Unfortunately, accidents happen and guests of even the most trustworthy tenants or house sitters may not be as honorable. Renting a storage facility is a small investment in maintaining good relationships with loved ones.

Are you a snowbird? Do you ever use off-site storage for your things while you are away from home?

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Lainie Petersen is a guest writer for Storage.com. She works full time as a freelance writer and researcher, blogging for MoneyCrashers.com, LainieSips.com (a tea blog), VirtualVocations.com and several other online publications. She lives in Chicago with Ned, her very large orange tabby cat.