Whether it is for work or vacation, a long-term trip would mean that you will need a safe place where you can store your belongings that will be left behind.
The truth is, you can have an option or two. However, your safest bet would be having a self-storage unit.
If you are fine with that idea, we have listed down some must-know tips on how you should store your belongings while living internationally or while on a long-term vacation:
1. Decide which items to store
First thing first, you need to decide which items you would like to bring with you and which ones you would like to store. Doing so allows you to execute two things:
Keep in mind that having a storage unit comes with a price, and know that not all of your items are worth the storage cost.
That said, it is advisable to go through your possession first and assess whether it fits any of the following categories:
- To bring
- To keep or store
- To donate or give away
Anything that does not fit in any of these categories, you can consider discarding them. You may even opt to sell some of them for extra pocket money that you can use for your long-term trip or vacation.
2. Pack items properly
Once you have determined which items you will bring and which one to store, the next step is to pack your items properly.
It may sound simple, but it is imperative to know the different ways of packing, say, your dishes and other chinaware. If you will place your items in a box, make sure that they are stacked properly and wrapped adequately. Otherwise, your items might get broken or damaged.
As for your furniture, it is advised to cover it with a clean 100% white cotton sheet. Dark-colored sheets can bleed color to your items eventually, more so if there is moisture in your storage unit.
And if possible, keep your boxes and pieces of furniture off the floor. That way, pests and vermin will be less likely to creep in. Although a top-notch facility will ensure that it will not happen as they employ professional pest control services, it is still best to keep your belongings as safe as possible.
Remember: Packing your items properly will give you the peace of mind knowing that your belongings are secured.
3. Avoid plastic bags
Speaking of packing your items properly for long-term storage, you should not keep your belongings in a plastic bag.
Although it appears that plastic bags can repel water, what you do not know is that it can induce moisture build-up inside. Not to mention that moisture can easily get inside a plastic bag or container that is not well-ventilated.
This can damage your things and also give it a strong musty smell caused by the combination of moisture and being kept in storage without being aired out for a long while. Plus, it can cause mold and mildew to grow on your stuff, and nobody wants that!
So, use sturdy boxes instead. If you will be storing fragile items, wrap them in bubble wrap first before placing them in a box with fillers like packing peanuts or torn up pieces of newspaper.
Meanwhile, you may use vacuum-sealed bags to store your clothes, linen, and other fabrics. Unlike an airtight package, vacuum-sealed bags keep the mold and mildew from growing completely. Nowadays, vacuum-sealed bags, as well as portable vacuum sealers, are easy to locate and purchase. Consider investing one, as you will not only be able to use it for the stuff you will be packing for storage, but the stuff you will be packing to take with you as well.
4. Use new sturdy boxes
It is common for cardboard boxes to wear and tear over time, as such boxes are often exposed to different elements. Hence, you should use new, sturdy boxes when storing your items for safekeeping. Because they are new and therefore more durable, you’ll be sure that your boxes will last for months. And because it can last longer, you can be sure that these new boxes will be able to protect your stored items throughout your long-term trip, and possibly some time after you return.
Another reason to use new boxes is to keep unwanted odours off your stuff. It is possible that the old boxes that you are planning on using were previously used to store food or other items that have strong odours. Cardboard boxes can absorb all kinds of odours, and can transfer it to whatever item you will store in it. Not to mention that it can attract pests and vermin that can damage your stored items.
If you are not sure where to find new, sturdy boxes, you may want to check out our Packing Boxes and Moving Supply Shop.
5. Make sure to label your boxes
Once you are back from your long-term trip or vacation, it is possible that you have forgotten which items are stored in which boxes. Hence, it is imperative that you label your boxes on all four sides. Doing so will make it easy for you to identify what you packed and where everything is, while also making sure that the process of unpacking them when you return will be as smooth and as easy as possible.
PRO TIP: Make a master list of all the items that you will leave for long-term storage. You should also make a list of what items you stored in each box, and then pack it in with the rest of your stuff. That way, when you unpack them in the future, you will know whether you are missing an item or not.
6. Consider the best self-storage facility for you
Storage units allow you to have anything and everything all in one place, regardless of whether you are moving to a new home, in need of some extra storage space, or on a vacation for at least two weeks. Whatever the case, self-storage allows you to keep your stuff safe and secure, no matter how long you need them to.
However, since each self-storage customer usually stores a wide array of items in their respective storage units, storage facilities have created units that are equipped with different features such as moisture lock, temperature control, 24/7 CCTV coverage, automated security, and many more. It is, then, up to you to decide which features you will want your storage unit to have in order to make sure that your things are as safe and as secured as possible.
It is also important to note that self-storage facilities will never have access to your storage unit. This means the only person who can get into your unit is you, and whoever else you authorize to do so. As your stuff will definitely be kept safe while you are away, you may leave your stuff at the back of your mind for the rest of your trip!
Whether you are headed to a month-long trip, crossing European borders from one country to another, or are temporarily moving to the other side of the world for school or for work, worrying about storing your belongings for the long-term is the last thing you want to do. So, be sure to consider all your options and make sure to choose the best one for you.