Storing items during a move can be a balancing act. You’ve got the movers on one hand and the storage facility on the other. Everything has to come together just right or you’ll run into big—and potentially costly—issues.

Even if you are downsizing or storing items short-term, the help of a moving company can make it easier to transport your items to a self-storage facility. Most consumers choose to take a do-it-yourself approach to storage, but if you are storing your whole house in between moves then using movers to stash your household goods is a bright idea.

If you opt to have movers load your household items into a storage unit, here are some helpful pointers to help the moving process go smoothly.

Know What the Movers Will Bring on Moving Day

Before renting a storage unit, get a firm answer from the moving company about what type of vehicle the movers will be using. Many companies use moving trucks, while others use everything from a trailer pulled by a pickup truck to an 18-wheeler. Verify the vehicle type then get the dimensions—width, length, height, and weight at maximum capacity.

Remember to clearly mark any fragile items to let movers know which boxes to handle with extra care.

Find Out Whether the Moving Truck Will Fit

Now that you know what type of moving vehicle that’ll be used, you need to ensure that it can get into the storage facility and to your unit.

If you’ve ever been to a storage facility, you’ve probably noticed some areas can be a little tight. Storage facilities make money renting out space, so they understandably maximize the number of buildings and units. This can result in tight turns and becomes challenging to navigate, especially for 18-wheelers.

If you find out on moving day that the vehicle won’t fit in the facility, it usually means two things—both of them bad. First, a shuttle truck may have to be used, which costs more money. Second, the movers will be forced to touch everything twice, doubling the chances of something going awry.

When considering your storage options, ask about clearance heights and widths for getting into the facility and to your self storage unit. You’ll also want to find out how trucks access the property and whether there are any load maximums. Use the truck dimensions provided by the movers to figure out whether you’ll have enough space.

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Give the Movers Unloading Directions

Professional movers are the expert unloaders, but you’re the boss on moving day. It’s best to let them know how you want things arranged in the unit before unloading begins.

It’s especially important to speak up if you want to move around and look for certain items later on. This takes some thought and planning before the unit starts getting filled. Aisles will need to be created and boxes will need to be arranged so that all labels are visible. You should direct the movers whether you want furniture to be stacked.

Secure Enough Space for Your Stuff

It can be tricky figuring out how much storage space you need. If your belongings already are organized and boxed up, this is easier to determine. But when in doubt, get advice from the facility. If you cut it too close and your belongings won’t fit, you’ll have two options (and none of them good):

  • Check with the facility about renting a second, smaller unit for the overflow.
  • Return the overflow items to the moving truck and take them to a family member’s garage or friend’s attic.

If you’re not sure everything will fit into your storage unit, order a size bigger than you think you need. Having a backup plan will reduce stress and minimize cost, particularly if the movers are working by the hour.

Avoid Peak Hours

Typically, people move their things into or visit their storage units on the weekends or after work on weekdays. This might be the only time that fits into your schedule, but if you’re paying movers by the hour, you could cut down on the cost by moving during work hours on a weekday when fewer people are around to get in their way.

Moving into Storage

When moving things into a self storage unit,  here are some more things to keep in mind:

  • Your homeowners or renters insurance may cover some of your goods.
  • Additional insurance may be offered by the storage facility when you sign a contract.
  • Be sure to handle all of the paperwork and details before move in day to avoid any confusion.
  • Find self-storage units online and compare pricing. Find one you like and book them in advance.
  • In some cases you can complete paperwork online as well. This will help you get a self-storage unit in another town or city you are moving to. Share your gate code with the moving company.
  • Talk to the manager of the storage company about locking up the unit and keeping a key for you until you arrive. Or give the moving company a lock for your storage unit in advance.

At a self-storage facility, you can store your items indefinitely until you are ready to transport them to your new house. For long-term storage, consider renting a unit with climate-control to protect your goods from mildew or heat damage.

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