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Across the UK and Europe large, brightly coloured buildings are springing up advertising themselves as “Self Storage” facilities. So what on earth is self storage and is it any use to an expat!

Self storage is a very new way of looking at storage for both homes and businesses - providing affordable space in a clean, secure, modern building where everything is based around the customer and their convenience.

Within a self storage facility there are hundreds of private storage units available in a wide range of sizes. You can store anything from a few boxes to the entire contents of a large house for as long or short as you like. Each unit is individually locked, only the customer holds the key, and if required there is free unlimited access during long opening hours. For extra peace of mind, stores will typically incorporate state of the art CCTV and alarm systems and in some cases temperature and humidity control.

Self storage is rapidly growing in popularity in part because so many people need storage for such a variety of reasons. In the UK, houses are getting smaller and people are moving house more often. Furthermore, (unfortunately) divorce is more commonplace and the population as a whole is more transient with people moving jobs and indeed countries with greater regularity. Businesses also benefit from self storage storing stock, samples for sales representatives, archive filing and so on.

How is self storage beneficial to an expat?
During my time at Extra Room Self Storage I have seen expats making use of self storage space for all sorts of reasons but amongst the most common include:

1) Space to “test the water”
Many customers at Extra Room have left the UK to “test the water” as life as an expat. Meanwhile they have either rented out or sold their property in the UK and put their personal possessions into temporary storage. This affords them the time to 1) find out what life is really like and if the grass really is greener, and 2) find the right property for them, in the right location and importantly as a cash buyer at the right price.

2) Space to relocate gradually
Moving house is still, allegedly, the second most stressful activity - next to divorce - that a family can expose itself to. Moving house thousands of miles away to a relatively unknown country even for the most organised amongst us is particularly stressful. Temporary storage for some home comforts that you simply can’t go without in the long term but aren’t imperative in the short term whilst things get settled in your new home and surroundings can help alleviate a lot of the stress.

3) Space for security
Leaving a UK property empty for long periods of time whilst abroad presents obvious security issues for household items left behind. Putting them into secure offsite storage can offer an affordable solution.

4) Space for furniture to rent out a property
Many people who work or live abroad keep a property in the UK and rent it out. Unfurnished properties are usually more saleable than furnished, in which case self storage can provide a home for the furniture. Alternatively Extra Room has been made us of to store delicate or sentimental possessions from a rented, furnished property.

5) Space for inheritance
Dealing with inherited goods in the UK when you live in another country can present a real headache. A temporary solution might be to put the goods into storage whilst arrangements are made to sort things out in your own time.

How can Extra Room Self Storage help?
Over time we have come to specialise in providing high quality, affordable, hassle free storage services for expatriates. If you can’t get your goods to our state-of-the-art self storage facility yourself; from our central location in the UK, we can organise collections from properties anywhere in the UK. We can also help suggest some good overseas removal and shipping companies and co-ordinate the move out of storage.

Please do not hesitate to contact us for advice. Our contact details are on the website www.extraroomselfstorage.co.uk .

Article Mark Simpson September 2007
Extra Room Self Storage ● Tel: +44 (0)1827 722122

Posted 14SEP07