How to move to an unknown destination w/o losing all my money or mind?
September 25, 2016 7:23 PM   Subscribe

I'll be moving in a few months but don't know where I'll end up. What's the best moving/storage hybrid strategy here?

So I'll be moving out of New Orleans shortly and don't know where I'll end up when I (fingers crossed) settle somewhere for residency. I've sorted through various AskMe questions and around the web but can't figure out what's better: PODS/knock-off with storage for a few months, or self-storage?
Details: I'm looking to hire moving help for both options, and I'll likely be needing storage for 6-7 months. I've got a small one bedroom and not a lot of money. I just want the cheapest, easiest option that will not leave my things destroyed.

Questions: - Do I need to spring for climate controlled storage (looks extra pricey.) Louisiana is prone to a lot of weather mayhem and it's also quite damp in the winter, so I feel like the answer to this is yes.

- If I do go with PODS or Door-to-Door, etc., I can't guarantee that they service my future unknown destination. What happens in this situation? Do I get some other moving company to pick up my stuff from them? Is that even allowed?

- If I go self-storage via UHaul and local movers, what happens on the other end, when I need a cross country move? Can a long distance moving company just go grab my things if I authorize them to?

For those that advise I sell everything - CL is not wonderful here and I've had a hard time selling stuff here in the past. I'd rather just hang onto my stuff that I like anyways.

I know variants of this have been asked in the past but the most relevant posts were from a decade ago so I thought I'd ask again, in case anything has changed. Thanks in advance!
posted by Eudaimonia to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The Uhaul U-box system can deliver to anywhere, or they can get close and you can tow the last mile. They'll store the box until you call for it. If you're in North America, you're covered-- call them and tell them what's up, they can work with you.0
posted by blnkfrnk at 7:50 PM on September 25, 2016

As someone who stored stuff in Texas, you don't need climate-controlled storage as long as you throw out/give away/don't store candles, makeup, most art supplies or related items with volatile oils, vinyl records or plastic/celluloid/magnetic storage media. Uh, also not ammunition? My uncle did not get that memo, and there was a fire...

Furniture and textiles and stuff will be fine; keep the most sensitive stuff touching the floor where it's cooler.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:52 PM on September 25, 2016 [2 favorites]

Having lived in New Orleans during Katrina, I highly recommend any storage system where your stuff is not on the ground floor.

I'd also spend some time doing the math on storing/shipping furniture. We moved from New Orleans to San Francisco, and it was cheaper to sell all our furniture and buy new stuff. We didn't exactly make a ton of money on selling the stuff, but it was also way easier to not have to move furniture. Between Craigslist and word-of-mouth/socail media, we were able to get rid of everything. Either way, you should ruthlessly purge and organize *everything* before you pack it.
posted by radioamy at 8:55 PM on September 25, 2016

I have a friend going through this exact situation and I recommended the U-Pack Relocubes. It's like U-box and Pods but I found U-Pack to be cheaper when I made a cross-country move. I did not use their storage though, so I can't speak to where they stash the cubes and whether it is climate controlled. I would certainly want climate controlled for my things if it were me (I also am in New Orleans), though if the weather changes this week it might not be as big of a concern.
posted by tryniti at 5:53 AM on September 26, 2016

If you choose self-storage be sure to put down pallets between your stuff and the floor. Make sure the storage place has a regular pest treatment service (because all kinds of vermin come with people's stuff and set up shop). And definitely try to be on something other than the first floor.

Personally I like the idea of the PODS/U-Pack system. Self-storage is a good solution when you want to visit your stuff regularly, but just having it tucked away in a large warehouse seems a lot safer to me if you don't need to get to it for a while. Be sure to ask if you are covered by any insurance in the PODS system.

In either case, pack the things that you love to travel with you. Weather events happen. Fires happen. Floods happen. I had a flooding event in one of my storage units. A pipe got a hole knocked in it when some tenants moved out of the unit next to mine. The unit insurance I paid extra for every month managed to weasel out of paying me any damages because it was the building's fault, and the building didn't pay me because I signed something saying I had unit insurance. Nice!
posted by clone boulevard at 7:49 AM on September 26, 2016

My advice is to avoid storage if possible. We stored stuff for a move, and the storage turned from a couple months into over a year one small delay at a time. In the end, we could have replaced everything we stored twice over with what we put towards storage, and that doesn't include paying movers to move it to our new home. I'd advise you to sell/donate everything you can, then get new furniture in the new place. I know it isn't always possible, but it's worth keeping in mind.
posted by Cranialtorque at 8:16 AM on September 26, 2016 [2 favorites]

If you're moving for a job you may be able to take a tax *credit* for the cost of moving, if that helps in the decision making.

That said, my last cross country move I sold all my furniture on Facebook groups, and it was a lot easier than cl, I recommend it. Unless you have heirlooms, you're probably going to come out ahead selling vs. shipping any significant distance, let alone storing stuff, even if you don't get great prices.
posted by momus_window at 4:57 PM on September 26, 2016

Thanks so much, all! I might end up trying to sublet my place to a fellow student so as to have a "free" place to store all my things, and then move it all later when I know where I'm actually going. Maybe I'm kicking the can down the road but thanks to your answers I realized paying to store my (non unique) stuff is silly. Hopefully one way moving my stuff is less terrible (...?) Thanks everyone!
posted by Eudaimonia at 6:13 PM on September 30, 2016

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