The last thing you want to be fretting about when you’re away on the trip of a lifetime is what’s happening to stuff at home. Many people choose to rent out their home, either to tenants on a conventional lease agreement or by making their home available to holidaymakers. Others choose a house swap as a way to travel. Whether you want to completely clear the house or simply stow some of your most valuable items, the question of storage looms large.
Making Lists and Calculating Space
Plan home security alongside planning the trip. Make lists of your valuable items, and prioritise the most important ones. Start with items that are top of mind, such as large screen TVs and computer equipment, then move down to family heirlooms or valuable jewellery.
Armed with a complete list of all items you want to store, next comes figuring out how much space you need. There are two main options for storage: either ask friends to look after items for you or rent a self storage room. There is a huge range of room sizes available with self storage, from large lockers right up to warehouse sized spaces, and terms are flexible making it ideal for people who are not sure how long they’ll be away. If you find it difficult to visualise size and space, self storage companies will happily advise or show you some examples.
Packing For Safety
If you don’t have the original packaging for electrical items, purpose made boxes are available to buy. For other items, it’s best to have more small boxes than just a few large ones, as it’s easy to overfill big boxes and risk the bottoms falling out when you lift them. Have plenty of bubble wrap, tissue or newspapers to pack around fragile items, or use fabrics such as tea towels for padding. If you’re storing valuable works of art or other large items such as mirrors, cardboard corners will help protect these vulnerable areas.
Label the boxes so you remember what’s inside them, and indicate which way up the ones containing fragile items should go. When it comes to stacking boxes, make sure the largest ones are at the bottom and don’t build towers so high they’re at risk of toppling.
Dismantling and Preparing Items for Store
It’s a good idea to break down large items of furniture as far as possible to save space. You could, for instance, take the legs off dining tables or disassemble flatpack items. Make putting them back together easier by storing fixings in a plastic bag and taping this to the piece they came from.
If you are storing mechanical items or garden machinery, keep everything in good working order by cleaning it thoroughly first, especially moving or sharp areas such as mower blades. A quick wipe down with a greasy rag after cleaning will keep metal items free from tarnish.
Organising the Logistics
Consider the timing for moving things into store. You don’t want to be without creature comforts for any length of time, but neither do you want to leave everything until the last minute. Unless work commitments prevent it, moving items into storage or taking them over to friends the day before you leave is a good idea. If you need to move items out several days before you leave, figure out beforehand how things could possibly double up. You could, for instance, watch TV on your laptop or tablet if your main TV has been packed away. The alternative is to prepare the house then arrange to stay with friends or at a hotel until you depart on the trip.
Similar organisation is needed when you return. Stay in touch with everyone, including storage companies or letting agencies, keeping them informed of your arrival dates and times, including any delays.
It’s a little more work than simply packing a suitcase and jetting off for a couple of weeks, but you’ll enjoy the experience far more knowing that everything back home is safe and secure. And have a little extra spending money thanks to income your house will generate.