It's a beautiful world we live in: in one direction, we can reach world famous California beaches, sun, surf, beautifully tanned beach goers, the quintessential care-free vibe. In the other direction, we have access to snowcapped mountains for the thrill seekers, and tap into the little adrenaline seeker in all of us. We are surrounded by convenience, world class delicious dining, and with just a little gas in the tank, access to numerous national parks, monuments, and forests. There truly is something for everyone in beautiful Southern California.
However, the mesh of beauty, entertainment, and convenience comes with a price. I know I am not alone in saying that to live in such luxury comes with a price, and that price is our time. We have to work long, hard hours sometimes just to make ends meet. At one time personally, I worked up to three jobs at once because employment opportunities were so hard to find for a new grad with minimal work experience. And those jobs I had? I would sometimes work sixteen hours a day; if I was lucky I'd get a couple hours break in between jobs, but sometimes I didn't.
These long, arduous hours inspired my boyfriend and I to take to the road: give up our apartment (goodbye expensive rent!), rent a self storage unit for all our almost all of our belongings (hello affordable rent!), and live out of his car traveling across the United States. So far it has been the adventure of a lifetime. I'll admit, giving up the luxury of having a place to call your own (that wasn't on wheels) was difficult, and at times it still is, but not having to pay for a life in an expensive town has given me the opportunity to explore much of the United States that I never thought would be possible. This whole journey was expedited to fruition with self storage. I'm not sure how we would have managed to make this trip successful without renting a storage unit.
One of the biggest challenges you may face when renting a unit is finding time to move everything. If, like the majority of residents, you are working those long hard hours, finding free time can be challenging. The entire moving process, no matter how big your house or apartment is, is stressful for so many reasons. If you have to rent a moving van or beg a friend with a truck, you need to work efficiently and be aware of time. Timing the move can be hard, but I found it easiest to make smaller trips throughout the week after work, and then when the time came where we HAD to be out of our apartment, that's when we rented a moving truck for an afternoon and only had a few items remaining. (NOTE: If you choose a Smart Self Storage facility, ask about their free moving truck policy. Free moving trucks are available at most Smart Self Storage facilities.)
We started out by moving our living room into the storage unit first. That included items that we didn't really need to use on a daily basis: books, shelving, and some smaller miscellaneous items that we fit into one large box. That alone filled up the car. However, since it was only one car load and a relatively small number of items (four to be exact- two stand-alone shelves and two boxes), it didn't take long to place everything into the unit. The following week, after work each day, we would make a similar trip to our storage unit. A car full of bigger items that didn't take much time unloading allowed us to maximize storage space, and minimize the amount of time spent organizing and moving.
The last items we moved into the unit were the bigger things that didn't fit in the car, and packed up and sealed boxes of items that we used every day (mainly kitchen appliances).
Storage units do have time constraints. For instance, it's rare that you'll find a place that offers 24-hour access. If you did find a place like that, I'd be wary. I was fortunate enough to have a fairly free schedule during the last couple weeks of my time spent in San Diego before we left for our trip, and my boyfriend had given notice at his job and also had unrestricted time. I recognize that we were fortunate in having the open time to move, which made the whole process very peaceful. Not all people have that luxury of free time.
If you are cramped for time, consider packing your car the night before work, then making a trip to the storage unit immediately after work before the facility closes. You may only have to do this for a week or less, and then on your day off, rent or borrow a moving van to finish the process. (NOTE: If you choose a Smart Self Storage facility, ask about their free moving truck policy. Free moving trucks are available at most Smart Self Storage facilities.)
Another option is to ask for time off work, if that's possible for you in your job situation. Moving is a difficult process, and I have found (from moving each year of college while holding down a full-time job), that many employers are empathetic about the situation. If you have a good employee-employer work relationship, be open and honest with your boss or supervisor, and feel no shame in asking for an afternoon or whole day off to move. After telling employers about my anticipated move, they immediately jumped on the phone asking for people to cover my shifts, and even extended deadlines for certain projects, without me having to ask for any favors other than getting a little time off. I have had wonderful experiences with employers helping me move, one even offered me the use of her truck! (I respectfully declined, as at the time I had a truck of my own).
Michelle is a self-storage enthusiast and freelance writer who enjoys traveling the world. An expert at getting the most out of the self-storage experience, please check back regularly for more about Michelle’s adventure and how self-storage helped her dream of travel come true.