To Store or Not To Store: That is the Question

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By REBAC Staff Posted 6/18/2018

Selling your home while buying another one introduces unique challenges. In addition to preparing for a move, you also need to get your current house ready to show to potential buyers. If you’re trying to accomplish these two big goals at the same time, a storage unit may sound like a helpful way to work through the transition. But is it?


Ideally, moving to another home is a perfect opportunity to remove clutter from your life, by selling, donating, or throwing away whatever you don’t need. It’s hard enough to pack up and move the essentials. Why add to your load?

That said, you may be under time constraints that make it impossible to tackle all those decisions. Everyone does whatever is needed to survive a move!

While sorting out alternatives, here are a few considerations to help you determine if using rental storage to facilitate your next move is your best option:

To Store: Advantages of Using a Storage Unit

  1. You can pack up everything that’s not essential to your life now.
  2. It will simplify “staging” your home.
  3. Storing the extra stuff will make your house appear larger, which will help it sell faster.
  4. You can keep your personal stuff personal, while potential buyers are looking through your house.
  5. Out of sight, really is out of mind, and YOUR mind is quite full right now – thank you very much!
  6. You won’t have to make more decisions right now; just put everything in storage and sort it out later.
  7. You can try different pieces of furniture in the new house before making final decisions about selling or keeping furnishings, among other things.

Not To Store: Disadvantages of Using a Storage Unit

  1. It’s yet another moving expense.
  2. It means double-handling all your items, instead of taking things straight from your current house to your new location.
  3. It’s not necessarily secure. Most storage units don’t guarantee your things will be safe, so you may need additional insurance to cover items placed in storage.
  4. Storage encourages delaying decisions about what to keep and what to take, which may result in more procrastination in the future.
  5. People tend to store things they don’t really need, then forget about these items, while continuing to pay monthly rental fees.
  6. When the storage unit is full, you can’t reach the things in the back.
  7. If you have more stuff than you can fit into your new house, either you have selected the wrong house, or you need to pare things down.

A Third Option: Portable Storage Units

In recent years, “moveable” storage units have become popular. Companies such as PODS®, SmartBox®, 800-Pack-Rat, Units® and U-Box® offer moveable storage units that you can pack at your old house, at your desired speed. Once everything is loaded up, ask the company to move the unit to your new home, then pay a daily/weekly/monthly fee until you’ve unpacked everything. 

Some of these units are designed for long-term storage, either at your location or in a secure warehouse. Others are intended for temporary use during moves.

Compared to traditional storage space, a portable unit offers the distinct advantage of packing and unpacking everything once. It eliminates the process of hauling your stuff to a remote location, then hauling everything back to your new home.

On the other hand, portable storage units don’t usually instill the same degree of urgency and rush to get things unloaded that you experience with a self-moving truck or a moving company. The longer it takes to empty the unit, the more you’ll add to your moving expenses.

Moving from one home to another is hard work with very few “perfect” solutions. Whatever you decide, good luck with your move and congratulations on your new home!