This post was updated on September 14, 2022.
Moving is all about the when, where, what, and how of getting your stuff from point A to point B. All of these logistics can be hard to balance — especially during times of uncertainty (like a cloudy housing market). But using storage when moving can make everything much easier. And sometimes? It’s just unavoidable.
|Need to store your furniture between moves? PODS makes it simple. Have as many containers as you need delivered to your front door, load them up, then have them sent either to your next home or to a secure Storage Center.|
People use storage and moving services for many different reasons, but these are a few of the main ones:
- To store their possessions while they wait for their new house or apartment to be available
- To move in stages or over time, rather than all at once (which helps to reduce stress and maintain flexibility)
- To store their stuff because they’re downsizing
- To store furniture, appliances, and other things while remodeling their new home
You have a few storage options when you’re moving: portable containers, full-service moving and storage, and local self-storage units. Let’s talk about the pros and cons of each type, so you can figure out which one best meets your specific moving and storing needs.
1. Moving and storage services with portable containers
You’ve probably seen these giant boxes on the back of large trucks or parked in front of homes. These portable storage containers can be used to both move and store your stuff in an affordable and convenient way.
|Did you know? PODS is the #1 moving and storage container company of 2022. No one understands complex moves and storage needs like we do. That’s why Move.org recognized PODS as this year’s best moving and storage container company. *From pay-as-you-go pricing to changing your dates with ease, our flexible and convenient solutions were designed with you in mind.|
These are some of the main benefits of using moving and storage container companies like PODS:
- Flexibility: Containers make complex moves and storage projects simple. A company like PODS will deliver the container to you, and from there you can send it wherever it needs to go. Sending furniture to the kids? No problem. Have a month before closing on your new home? Keep the stuff in the container until then.
- One-time loading: If you’re moving and storing around the same time, you can save yourself a ton of effort with PODS. Rather than loading, unloading, and then loading your stuff again at a self-storage unit, you just need to load and unload one time.
- No driving: The toughest part about storage is the need to drive back and forth between your unit and your home. PODS eliminates that since they do all the driving. Just load it and tell PODS where you need it go and they will handle the rest.
If you need help loading your container, you can easily hire hourly moving help to take care of the heavy lifting — and even the packing and unpacking. The best part? You’ll only pay for the services you need. For example, you might want help loading the container, but once it’s delivered, you just want assistance with a few large pieces because you want to take your time sorting through and organizing everything else room by room.
Bonus advice: Hourly help can do as much or as little as you would like them to. For additional advice on how to vet your help and ensure you’re getting the most value possible — see our guide on getting accurate moving cost estimates.
2. Full-service movers with storage
Full-service movers, on the other hand, take care of it all — sometimes including storage. For folks who want to be as hands-off with their moving process as possible and don’t mind shelling out some serious cash, hiring full-service movers that also offer storage may be an option.
Full-service movers will do everything for you: disassemble, load, drive, unload, reassemble, and take your leftover stuff to storage. You can even pay extra to have movers pack your boxes for you. Obviously, that sounds great. But there are some potential downsides to using full-service movers.
The biggest barrier for most people will be cost. Full-service moving and storage services can easily cost $10,000 or more for cross-country trips. You can buy a decent used car for that much moolah!
Aside from cost, the full-service option comes with some risks:
- Other people will handle your stuff: This poses the risk of damaged and lost goods.
- You may not have easy access to your stuff in storage: Many full-service movers don’t provide a way for you to get to your belongings while it’s in their warehouse.
- Your possessions may be mixed in with others’: Yep. With storage containers, your stuff is all together in one box, inside a storage center, which provides a double layer of protection. But full-service movers will sometimes mix multiple customers’ things on the truck during transit or within a warehouse or single storage unit.
- You’re stuck to the movers’ schedule: Should you need (or just want!) an extra day or two to pack up your things, you’ll find yourself out of luck with full-service movers.
|Q: How much does it cost to store furniture between moves?|
A: We’ve mentioned that some moving and storing solutions are cheaper than others. But just what kind of prices are we talking about? Renting a local storage unit can cost anywhere from the mid-fifties to just over a hundred bucks a month for the first month, depending on the size. If you use a container service, like PODS, you’ll pay in the higher range of self-storage units. But with that comes time-saving flexibility and peace of mind that you don’t have to schlep all your stuff across town into a standard storage unit. Since the type of storage provided directly by movers varies significantly, check with your mover for their storage rates.
3. Self-storage unit
On the surface, the cheapest option for storage is to go with an old-fashioned local storage unit. And if you live in a metropolitan area, there are probably several storage locations nearby.
The advantage of using a storage unit is, of course, the low cost. But it also offers you autonomy. You can load and unload your storage unit at your own leisure, whenever you want. It’s also a great option for those who are just storing stuff and not moving at the same time.
The disadvantage? It takes a lot of work. Not only do you have to load your stuff into a truck (and rent a truck if you don’t have one), but then you have to unload it at the storage unit. Then, when you’re ready to move into your new place, you need to do it all over again.
If you want to avoid the hassle of lugging all your stuff around multiple times, a portable storage container may be a better option.
|Q: What should I put in storage when moving?|
A: You can put lots of different things in storage when you’re moving, but some of the most common items include:Tables, chairs, and other bulky furniture itemsMattresses and bedsSeasonal items like holiday decorations and warm winter clothesLarge appliances and kitchenwareBooks, art, and files (Note: Don’t put high-cost items or important documents in storage) In general, it makes sense to store things that you don’t need every day. That way, you can prioritize unloading and unpacking essential items (like your toothbrush and your ultra-deluxe waffle-maker).
Storing furniture between moves
So the options for where to store furniture in between moves are clear. But do you know how to safely pack your furniture away before it actually goes into storage? It’s easy to assume that your things will be protected because they’re covered, but just because it’s in storage doesn’t mean it’s in the creel. You’ll need to take the following precautions before you officially leave everything:
Clean Each Piece
One of the easiest ways to damage your furniture is to pack it up when it’s dirty. Not only can odors build up, but food or other debris can cause a lot of trouble for the material itself. Thoroughly wiping down and vacuuming anything that’s going into storage is the best way to prevent this (and a potentially harmful mess).
Take Everything Apart
Once you’ve cleaned up, it’s time to take it apart. This can usually be done with desks, tables, chairs, shelves, and the like. Not only is this extra step going to make it easier to pack, but it’ll also reduce the chances of things getting broken or scratched. Remember to keep all the screws, washers, and other small items in a safe place (like taped to one of the pieces)!
Wrap It Up
Gather all your old sheets, blankets, and drop cloths to cover the floor and the furniture that’s going inside the unit. You can also lay plastic sheeting on the floor to prevent moisture from making its way inside. Just be sure not to wrap your big furniture items in it. This can result in trapped moisture and mold inside your furniture. Cloth covers, on the other hand, are breathable, so you don’t have to worry about those.
Lift Everything Up
When you’re storing things without climate control, you want to make sure nothing can get ruined by being placed directly onto the floor. Using pallets is a great way to add an extra layer of protection against flooding or other unexpected events.
Don’t Overstuff Your Storage
Finally, be careful not to overdo it. This is a surefire way to break things. Instead, take a second to organize your unit for easy access and unloading. Start with the biggest pieces and work down to the smallest, making sure to leave an aisle or two to walk down.
Choosing the right storage company
Once you’ve figured out what kind of moving and storage services you want to use, it’s time to find the right company. Our main advice? Be sure you use an established and reputable company (they’ll be handling your beloved possessions, after all!).
Here are a few tips to help:
- Look at online reviews to see what previous customers have said about the company
- Read all contracts and agreements carefully before signing
- Compare prices before making a choice, so you don’t overpay
For more moving and storage tips and tricks, check out the PODS Blog.
|Ready to get a quote from a moving and storage company? You might be surprised to see how affordable moving and storage services from PODS can be. Visit PODS for local moving and storage, or call 877-350-7637 for a long-distance moving quote.|
*Move.org’s rankings for Best Moving and Storage Container Companies were released on April 18, 2022.
Easton Smith works as a freelance writer and researcher, reviewing technology trends and the moving industry. He moved all around the continent, from New York to California, before landing back in his hometown of Salt Lake City.