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Storing Possessions When Away from Home

By: Sarah Knowles BA, MA - Updated: 6 Mar 2013 | comments*Discuss
Abroad Secure Storage Travelling

Packing for a career break abroad is the easy part. Often, all necessary items you’ll need when you’re away can fit into one or two suitcases. The difficulty is what to do with worldly treasures you won’t be needing while you’re away, especially if you plan to be gone for several months - or even years.

Your furniture, clothes, photos and personal and household items are safely stored at home behind locked doors and perhaps even an alarm. When you’re not around to protect your possessions, there’s no reason they shouldn’t be equally safe. Get the right storage facility and the right personal possessions insurance, and you should be able to travel abroad with complete peace of mind.

De-Cluttering and Giving Things Away

Travelling abroad can be a liberating experience, and coming back home should be one too. Nobody wants to return to a pile of unwanted junk and clutter, so utilise this time to get rid of any unnecessary items you don’t need. After all, why pay to store things you don’t really want?

Many places are available to unload unwanted items. If your friends, family or local charity shop isn’t interested, try to sell things on ebay, have a care boot sale, donate to a neighbourhood charity or dump things on freecycle, especially large items that are still in good nick. To do a thorough clear-out, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Have I worn it in the last two years?
  • Do I really love this picture frame/soft toy/antique fork?
  • Do I have a similar item that is much better?
  • Does it still work?
  • Will I really have room for it when I return?
  • Does it have sentimental value?
  • Does it make me feel sad/angry/guilty/miserable when I see it?
  • Is it junk?
  • Finding Storage that’s Right for You

    Once you’ve decided to stash the stuff you really want to keep, decide where to put it. If you’re considering putting all your possessions with a friend who has an empty basement or loft, think carefully. It may seem like the cheaper option, but make sure the area is watertight, secure and free of moths, dust mites and other vermin. Also, if something goes wrong, you’ll probably be left empty-handed.

    A better option, especially if you are storing the entire contents of a flat or house for a lengthy period of time while you’re abroad, is to rent out a secure storage unit or several secure storage containers. Whether you are renting out your flat furnished and need to store just a few boxes or are selling your home and need to store everything you own, choosing the right storage facility is vital. To make sure you do, ask the following questions:

    • What size storage facility do I need? If you are storing furniture as well as worldly goods, you’ll obviously need something a lot larger.
    • What are the rental costs? These vary from facility to facility, so ask around for the best deal.
    • Is the storage facility safe from heat and water damage? Don’t rent out a locker on the ground floor in a flood area, and don’t choose the containers right next to the facility’s main heating units. Check things carefully before signing on the dotted line.
    • Is the facility protected from all insect damage? Keep in mind that the simple moth can wreak havoc on clothes, carpets and all other textile items.
    • Is the storage facility secure? From sensor lights to gates to burglar alarms, a decent storage unit will offer a variety of ways to keep your stuff safe.
    • How close are the storage units from car parking, and are trolleys available? Don’t underestimate the importance of having access at your fingertips.

    Planning for a career break broad is more difficult than you might think, as you need to prepare not only for going away, but also for coming back. Making sure you have your personal possessions stored in a safe, convenient and affordable unit is key to making the transition easier when you come home.

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