Common Mistakes in Downsizing: Acting as if the downsizing is very temporary.

Not Recommended Way of Stacking Your Boxes in Storage Bin

Healthy optimism may dictate you or your client see the downsizing as very temporary.   But this becomes very costly if this means putting a lot in storage for when you return to living in a big house or office.  You or your client may have a financial recovery, but it is rarely worth it to pay monthly storage until that happens.  A 10×20 storage unit is around $170 per month.  That is $2040 per year.  The average storage bin customer has their stuff in storage for 22 months.  At $170 per month that means the average storage customer is paying $3740.  That is why mini storage is quite profitable.
Most of the time, the items stored are not worth $3740.  And guess what?  If they are, then that means you could sell them and pocket hundreds or thousands instead of paying thousands.
It is better for your downsizing client to sell or give away the excess items when downsizing, and use the proceeds and storage savings to buy appropriate furniture and items when she does recover financially.

Mice and Rats in Non Climate-Controlled Storage

For a customer, this weekend we loaded from their non-climate controlled storage unit to their rental truck.  Their household goods had been in the storage unit FOR SIX YEARS !!!
Even though there was no sign of water in the storage unit, and no food—there were many RAT OR MICE DROPPINGS ON THE FLOOR THROUGOUT THE UNIT!  Furthermore, a leather sofa—which for some reason another Moving Mompany had left in the storage unit unpadded—HAD BEEN CHEWED BY THE RATS OR MICE!  There were only very small holes in the walls.  It would seem like mice could not fit through those holes, but they obviously did.
This seems to “give the lie” to my previous argument that non-climate controlled storage is plenty safe, but it’s definitely a matter of how long the items are left in storage!
“Ranking of Items Based on Increasingly Vulnerability to Non-Climate Controlled Storage”

1) Metal Desks, File Cabinets, File Cabinets: Would probably fare pretty well in a nuclear attack as long as simply hit by the radiation and not the fireball or shock wave.  Rats will not eat them, and air moisture will not be absorbed into them.
2) Wood Furniture: Expands and Contracts with changing temperature, and a certain amount of moisture flows through without damage.  Should not be shrink-wrapped while in storage, because when water does get on the furniture, the shrink-wrap will hold it there!
3) Upholstery: The “Archilles Tendon” of non-climate controlled stored furniture.  It is sensitive to moisture, and rats and mice like to chew on them.  Should not be shrink-wrapped while in storage.  Should be Quilt-Padded!

A Customer’s Chaotic Storage Bins

GEP Pic 1GEP Pic 2GEP Pic 3GEP Pic 4

These are pictures of a customer’s storage bins. The customer will remain nameless, but I can say they are a major medical practice! They directed our Moving Company to simply deposit these boxes and miscellaneous equipment in their bins. Some questions come to mind:

1) Are these boxes full of archived records that might need to be located at some time?
2) How do they expect to find anything?
3) Might there be a better way to organize these Storage Bins?

Moving Items to Self-Storage Bins

Ricky Packing a Storage Unit

Ricky Packing a Storage Unit

We will move a customer’s items either to their own storage, or to our storage:

1) If they are using their own storage, we will tell them what size storage bin they need.
2) <a href=”“>Usually climate-controlled storage is not required, though we also offer climate-controlled storage if it is really required.

STORAGE — “Climate-Control” or “Non Climate-Control?”


Climate-Controlled Storage Building

Climate-Controlled Storage Building





Non-Climate-Controlled Storage with External Door

Non-Climate-Controlled Storage with External Door



With apologies to “Public Storage” and other climate-control storage companies—“Climate-Control Storage” is mostly a marketing gimmick and a very Non-Green one at that (think of how much energy they are using cooling and heating all those storage units.  It is a shame to spend all that energy cooling inanimate objects.  The furniture is not going to complain about the heat—I assure you.)  The fact is: in the far majority of cases, non-climate controlled storage works just fine.  You may have heard of furniture sustaining damage in non-climate controlled storage, and that is invariably because WATER GOT INTO THE STORAGE UNIT!  Especially when water got into the unit, and then SHRINK WRAP HELD THE WATER IN PLACE.  This creates mildew and over time it is damaging to both upholstery and wood furniture.  IF IT IS RAINING ON THE DAY FURNITURE IS PUT INTO STORAGE, THEN NO SHRINK WRAP SHOULD BE PUT DIRECTLY ON THE FURNITURE!  The furniture can be padded first and then shrink wrap can be wrapped over the pads to hold them in place.

As more evidence against climate-controlled storage, think of this:  When the sofa is made in the factory, is the factory climate-controlled?  No.  When the sofa is driven in the truck to “Havertys,”  is the truck climate-controlled?  No.  When the sofa is stored in Haverty’s warehouse, is the warehouse climate-controlled?  No.  It is only when the sofa gets to Haverty’s showroom that it becomes climate-controlled.  When it is sold it is then transported once again in a non-climate controlled truck.

It is true that the units in a climate-controlled building are down the hall away from the outside door, thus protecting against water entry.  But it is also true that non-climate-controlled units at their door—slope up into the unit, thus preventing the inflow of water.  And I can assure you, the warehouses of the major Van Lines—United, Mayflower etc. are not climate-controlled.

Wood furniture, upholstery:  as long as there is no water present—stores fine in non-climate-controlled storage units.  Mattresses and box springs also do fine as long as they are dry and have a pad or blanket to rest on, but I think it is worth it to put them into mattress boxes—they just stay clean that way, and off the concrete floor.

Now I wouldn’t store the “Mona Lisa” in non-climate controlled storage.  Nor would I store the original US Constitution in non-climate controlled storage.  Probably I also wouldn’t store a 16th Century French Sofa in non-climate controlled storage.  Climate-controlled storage sometimes costs twice as much as regular storage.  If a furniture piece or artwork belongs in an art museum, then go with the expensive climate-control.  Otherwise save your money . . . and the electricity.

The Problem with “PODS”

P-O-D-S are a very mixed bag.  These are steel boxes, and there are wood versions, which are dropped off at your client’s home, and then the client gets them loaded somehow, and the PODS company comes back and picks them up and delivers them to the destination.

My experience with PODS is they only pay off for the customer IF THE CUSTOMER IS DOING THE LOADING AND LOADING THEMSELVES!  If you were going to put some boxes and garage items and wooden chairs in a pod, and ship it somewhere or store it—Fine.  But when you try to plan a major move, here are the problems:

1) There is no effective insurance {PODS won’t pay for “normal breakage, and the Mover won’t be responsible for items after they are loaded into a POD.}
2) There are very limited ways to tie-down the furniture {No slats and certainly no “E-Track”}
3) There are no decent pads to protect the furniture
4) The PODS are irregular sizes and the PODS incoming sales people frequently underestimate how many you need and then you need to call and order additonal PODS, and get an upcharge once you are already committed. What looked like a good deal renting two PODS, may no longer look so cheap if have to rent four PODS!

PODS and wood crates can help with “sideline storage,” but they are not effective for moving a high-value, high-volume house.

As a Moving Company, we have been called out to unload PODS which someone else unloaded, and when we opened the doors, the furniture was laying broken in a heap in the middle of the POD.

Even if we made the customer sign a waiver, before loading the PODS, we do not want to be associated with unhappy customers. So we could not take on the job of Loading the PODS in the situation of a high-value, high volume load.

But PODS are effective with smaller, lower volume loads. And we don’t have a problem with unloading PODS because the customer then doesn’t think us responsible or hold us responsible for damage. We have a customer who works for Coca-Cola and moves around the country, and uses a single POD each time. She has it loaded “to the gills” and then leaves whatever doesn’t fit. If you can fill the POD to the brim, then you can often get away with not tying down the load. But on a big load which requires three and one-half PODS, what do you do about the last POD which is only half full? You don’t want the customer at destination to open it up and find everything in a heap!