Moving and Storage Services: What You Need To Know in Canada

When moving from one place to another you may find that you need to store some or all of your stuff for a period of time. Or you may be downsizing and don’t want to get rid of or throw away your additional stuff. Either way, finding the right storage solution can be as challenging as finding a moving company, which adds unwanted stress to your move.

One common problem many homeowners in Canada have is determining the right type and size of storage they require. There are two main types of storage services: permanent storage and storage in transit. When it comes to permanent storage. Of course, nobody wants to pay extra, but at the same time, you don’t want a storage unit so small that you have to unload it every time you need to take something out.

Another factor that poses a challenge is in actually picking the right units. With so many companies, locations, and different services, finding a good storage can require a lot of legwork. And it is definitely recommended to visit not only the storage company but also the specific storage unit you are looking to rent. We will talk about this and other factors you should consider when looking for a storage solution in today’s post, and hopefully, you can be closer to figuring out what works best for you.

How To Prepare Your Stuff For Storage

The main thing you can do as a homeowner and a potential storage company customer is to plan to the best of your ability. The more of an idea you have about the amount of stuff you have, its size and weight, and any special consideration it requires, the more productive your dialogue with the moving and storage companies will be. Make an inventoried list of everything that will be moved and stored. It will help you keep track of all your stuff and make sure nothing is left behind.

Permanent Storage vs. Storage In Transit (SIT)

One of the first things you’ll have to decide is what kind of storage service you require.

If you are downsizing or just looking for additional space to store your stuff you will likely be looking into a local permanent storage solution like a storage locker. The important thing that comes into play with permanent storage is how long you are looking to store your stuff for.

If you are looking to store your stuff somewhere between moving out of the old place and moving into the new place you are likely looking for a storage in transit (SIT) solution. Storage in transit can mean that your stuff gets unloaded from the truck and stored in a facility. It may also be that remains packed in a truck while the truck is parked somewhere. Another option for storage in transit is the use of a moving container. These different options all have their own advantages and disadvantages, and obviously, have different costs associated with them. Most moving companies in Canada provide SIT services, so you can often shop in one place without having to find two different companies to move and store your stuff.

These two types of storages are also priced differently. Permanent storage is usually priced based on the size of the unit. Weight becomes a factor in the pricing if the stuff has to be moved or put in a container or a truck. That’s why storage in transit is often priced by the weight and size of the stuff, rather than the size of the space.

How are storage costs calculated?

There is a good chance that the final cost will play a big role in determining which moving or storage company you decide to choose. But how can you pick a company without knowing what you can expect to pay for the different services associated with storage and moving? Check out these price ranges to help you along.

Storage in transit services are often associated with long-distance moving. In this case, your stuff will usually be weighed and priced for the move according to the weight. That’s why storage costs associated with SIT are often just an additional number if the company will be keeping your stuff in the truck or container. Storage costs associated with long distance moving can range between $250-750 depending on the weight and volume of your stuff. Some companies also offer the first month of storage for free.

If your stuff requires additional loading and unloading or packing while it is being stored in transit you may incur additional costs for these services. Depending on the amount of stuff that needs to be unloaded or packed, this can range between $100-500.

For permanent storage solutions, the size of the storage space and the length of the term you will rent it for will determine how the cost is calculated. Keep in mind different companies have differently sized units, so there is a good chance you can find a unit that fits all your stuff perfectly with a little room for you to access things. Keep in mind, a lot of companies will offer a cheap rate for the first month of storage only to increase it in subsequent months. Short term storage will also be more expensive, while it may be easier to get a lower rate for a long-term storage rental. Check out these approximate prices different size storage solutions:

5X5 fits few items, up to 1 room of household (not large items) $120-150 /Month Or part of the month
5X10 fits up to small 1 BR (apartment/condo) household items on average $190-220 /Month Or part of the month
10X10 fits up to 1.5 (1+den) BR household items on average $280-310 /Month Or part of the month
10X15 fits up to 2 BR household items on average $ 350-400/Month Or part of the month
10X20 fits up to 3 BR household items on average $420-450 /Month Or part of the month
10X30 fits up to 4 BR household items on average $550-600 /Month Or part of the month

Residential Storage and Moving: How Much Does All My Stuff Weigh?

Properly weighing your stuff to prepare it for storage is one of the more challenging things for the homeowner to do on their own. A good moving or storage company will help you with determining the weight of all your size. What’s more important is that the weight doesn’t change between the time you sign the contract and the time you have to pay for the service, and that you pay for the amount you were initially quoted on. Of course, every household is different, but if weight plays into pricing your move or storage service consider these approximate weight numbers for different dwellings in Canada.

A one-bedroom apartment has an average of 2000 lbs. of stuff.

A two-bedroom apartment has an average of 3000 lbs.

A three-bedroom apartment has an average of 4000 lbs.

A two-bedroom house has about 4000 lbs. of stuff.

A three-bedroom house has approximately 6000 lbs. of stuff.

A four-bedroom house has an average 8000 lbs. of stuff.

What to Consider When Picking a Storage Service

Follow these tips when looking for a storage space to get the most out of the service:

  • Visit the storage unit. Even within one company there will be numerous locations and different units. You want to see a specific unit in the specific location before putting pen to paper. Look for signs of water penetration, exposure to the elements, any flaws in security or protection.
  • Find out what the accessibility is like. Not all storage places are open 24/7. It’s all about how often, and when you need to access your storage unit, and there is a company out there that offers that service.
  • Physical accessibility is also important to consider. Is the place well lit? Can you get through the entryways and hallways with ease? Are there exposed pipes or wiring that can cause damage to your belongings?
  • Check out what the security in the place is like. Is there someone present on site at all times? Are there video cameras not just at the entrance, but throughout the storage areas? How well are the premises protected in general? What kind of locks are used on the unit? Padlocks are easy to cut or break, look for a storage unit with cylinder locks.
  • Is the unit climate controlled? Some types of wood and furniture benefit from being stored in climate controlled environment. Even if you don’t have specialty furniture or items you may benefit from a climate controlled unit because they are often less prone to having mould or allergens.
  • What is the insurance like? Most places don’t offer protection on your belongings outright but often have an option to purchase additional insurance or protection against damage or theft. Not all, but some home insurance can also cover your stuff while it’s in storage so be sure to find out from your home insurance provider.

Check out the Industry Canada Checklist To Picking A Moving Company

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Storage Unit

Storage unit cost is determined by the size of the unit, so of course you want to use as little space as possible and be efficient with it. Check out these easy tips to maximize your storage space and keep things organized.

  • As much as possible, take apart the big items like beds and tables.
  • Leave a walkway in the middle of the unit so you can come in and grab stuff as needed.
  • Keep frequently used things towards the front so you don’t have to go rummaging for them.
  • Store long furniture like sofas vertically if possible. Keep chairs on top of each other, inverted
  • Stack boxes where possible. Keep lighter boxes toward the top. Make sure the boxes are properly labeled so you can quickly see what is what.
  • Fill up dresser drawers where you can.
  • Wrap up and protect all the glass and fragile items in containers as much as possible.
  • Pack heavier things into small boxes so they can be rearranged or moved easily.

Portable Storage Containers or Truck Rental

As we mentioned above you often have several options for the kind of service you need for your storage in transit. A moving company will often load and unload your stuff into a truck and offers packing services at an extra cost. With a storage container, the company will deliver the container to your driveway and pick it up when you are done packing. This has an advantage because it gives you as much time as you need to pack your belongings. The downside of containers is that they aren’t always stored in climate-controlled environments so it may not be the best long-term solution.

In conclusion, once you recognize the kind of storage service you require, and how much stuff you have to store, you can start narrowing down a list of companies. Remember, as with anything, you should get 4-5 quotes if you are getting a storage company separately from a moving company. Plan as much as you can ahead of time and you make sure to physically see the place before renting it and you should have no problem finding a reliable storage service company.