Deciding on the right storage option for those possessions that won’t fit in your home can be a challenge. Clearly you want something affordable and secure that might also need to be easy to access, if that’s necessary to meet your needs.
What you want to store will make a difference to the option you end up taking – that’s fairly obvious. Clearly some seasonal items like an outdoor table, chairs and parasol, paddling pool and table tennis table will be fine in the garden shed over the winter with a sturdy lock fitted. But other seasonal items like camping gear might be too bulky not to mention too valuable to just leave in a flimsy shed for months on end. You may also have valuable sports gear like surf boards and wet suits or ski and snowboard gear that just can’t be squeezed in at home.
Those of you with a spacious double garage and only one car might wonder what all the fuss is about but many homes, especially more modern homes don’t have a garage at all (or only a very small one). Many homes have little room for a shed in the garden and we don’t all have the benefit of an easy to access loft. So the issue of storage is a very real one that we struggle with on a day-to-day basis.
It’s all very well the decluttering brigade telling us we will be happier and calmer with less clutter around us but much of the stuff we need to store is not clutter – take that camping gear or surf board, for instance. Infrequently used but important even so. It most definitely isn’t clutter but just an abundance of possessions that we need to live our lives the way we want to – items that allow us to indulge our passion for the great outdoors, for instance, when the British weather allows. Or a passion for collecting wine, or vintage china – there are so many popular collectibles that give people pleasure and the possibility of increasing their investment. Collectors need space so are often left pondering what exactly to do with all of this stuff, where to store it in a protected area.
So what can be stored in sheds, lofts and garages and when does a self storage unit start to become a necessity or, quite simply, the easiest and best option? Let’s weigh up the pros and cons.
Sheds are a popular option for storing excess items provided they are not too high in value and not too fragile or susceptible to changing temperature and humidity. They are right there on your property so you can access your items whenever you want – you have complete control over who can access your belongings and when. It is also very affordable because you may already have a shed and if you haven’t they are relatively inexpensive to buy and useful for storing all sorts of things. No need to worry about contracts or additional insurance.
But there are some downsides to storing in a wooden or man-made shed that you do need to take into account. Perhaps the most obvious being that they are not particularly secure – even if you buy a strong lock the door hinges and windows on sheds are easily broken. There is little point to a strong lock if the door can be broken on the hinge side – that rather defeats the object.
But another concern is their construction – they are exposed to the elements and water ingress is a very real worry so they are not the ideal place for something that could easily be damaged. So if you are thinking about storing that lovely sofa in a shed until you move to a larger home please don’t.
Another downside when considering your shed for storage is what about all the items that should typically be stored in the shed? You lawn mower, garden furniture, plant pots and garden tools, bicycles – if you fill the shed to the brim with too much stuff it will make accessing everything difficult or impractical.
Garages come in all shapes and sizes and are constructed differently so it really depends on the size and construction if your garage is suitable for long term storage. A well-constructed brick built garage with a high quality roof and a damp proof course would be perfect for storage of many things. And the people who have garages like these are the lucky few. Many garages are poorly constructed with corrugated roofs and certainly not ideal for keeping out the damp. Depending on where they are facing (North, South, East, West) and whether they are afforded some protection for the elements they can have fairly constant temperature and humidity but these sorts of garages are few and far between.
So, typically, a garage may be perfectly adequate for storing bikes, surf boards, ski gear, camping gear but would not be recommended for, yet again, that gorgeous sofa you are saving for a larger home. They are free (we like that) and either right on your property or close by in a block. Just check they are damp-free before you make your decision to store stuff in there and don’t forget security – many standard garage locks are easy to break through.
I love my loft – it is high, very spacious, has a window at each end for ventilation and lovely views to the nearby woods (one day I hope to convert it into a fabulous master suite to escape the kids – but I digress). It would be the perfect place to store all my things that I don’t use on a regular basis except for one major shortcoming. The size of the loft hatch – which seriously limits what I can heft up there – oh for a staircase to my loft!
But it is useful for some things – boxes of books, empty boxes for things like the computer, hi-fi and speakers just in case I ever move house again. It’s also good for those precious keepsakes from when the children were young. But apart from that it isn’t much good – too much temperature variation for my wine collection that’s for sure.
Self Storage Units
Finally, self storage units are a fantastic option for storing your possessions – you knew I was going to say that, of course but bear with me. If you are storing items of great sentimental or financial value then you really can’t beat renting a storage unit. They are in a dry, warm environment protected from the elements of our beautiful country (but do just double check that as some are storage containers in open yards – good in their own right but not perfect for everyone or everything).
Self storage units are generally more secure than the average home too with CCTV, controlled entry, perimeter fencing etc.
There are drawbacks but that mostly comes down to the cost, however, choosing a unit that is just the right size may not be as expensive as you think and if it gives you peace of mind that your possessions are secure and well-protected then it is a price worth paying for that peace of mind.
There is no right or wrong decision when deciding where to store your possessions – it’s a very personal decision – but don’t risk damaging or destroying precious items for the sake of a few pounds per week. Whatever you decide – Happy Storing!