What to do with household goods when travelling over a year??

Submitted: Friday, Nov 29, 2013 at 14:41
ThreadID: 105317 Views:2315 Replies:13 FollowUps:6
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Hi Guys,

I hoping for some advice, comments on storing household items while travelling for extended periods of time. Basically we are 4 months away from heading off in the CT and planning to travel of at least one-two years hopefully three or well as long as the mortgage is being paid who’s counting. During this time we will be renting out the house to pay the mortgage and so will need to do something with the contents of the house (ranging from sofas/furniture, TVs, white goods etc.).

I have looked into keeping our belongings in long term storage, however at $3000.00 plus a year it’s a big outlay especially when compared to other options once you get to the two plus year mark. We have also looked at a fully sealed storage container, which we can get for around the same price as one year in storage. Only problem is although we have a large back garden we have no way to get a container down there due to access and unsure if it’s a good idea to keep it on a friends land, as though it maybe convenient now a lot can happen in a year. Another option is to build a shed (waterproof graded) at the bottom of the yard. This would equate to approximately two years storage, but also may add some value to the house. The final option is to sell it all. We don’t really want to do this as we have over the years upgraded furnishing and now have some expensive items that wouldn’t get much second hand but cost a fortune to buy it all new again. This concerns me especially as I imagine once we finish our travels (although we will be working our way around), we won’t have much money in the bank to re-kit a house and starting completely from scratch again is not ideal. However the hubby was told some horror stories by someone stored their items in long term storage and everything was mouldy through and through and had to be chucked, in which case they wished they just sold everything.

If anyone has any experience/advice, other ideas, do and don’t etc, please share take a minute to share.

Frazzled Bean
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Reply By: Member - Grundle (WA) - Friday, Nov 29, 2013 at 14:58

Friday, Nov 29, 2013 at 14:58
The shed sounds the go,make sure its got a bit of a rise from ground level.Cover furniture ect with sheets helps.That way you have it all when finished traverling.

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Reply By: Bushranger1 - Friday, Nov 29, 2013 at 15:37

Friday, Nov 29, 2013 at 15:37
Not sure what state you are in but we used Ron Wilson removals & storage in Victoria. We stored everything for 2 years.
Cant remember the cost but basically they give you a huge wooden storage container that you fill with your goods in a location in their warehouse then when your done they seal it & stack it.
You have to give them a few weeks notice when you want to retrieve the goods but its heaps cheaper than self storage with 24 hr access.
We saved even more by hiring a closed in tandem trailer & loading the box ourselves.
Everything was kept dry & no mould problems at all when we returned.
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Follow Up By: exilebean - Sunday, Dec 01, 2013 at 21:04

Sunday, Dec 01, 2013 at 21:04
Thanks Stu,

Great idea, we're based in Lake Macquarie NSW, however just googled container storage found another company Port Container Services will do the same in our area and looks like they would be under half the price, if their website advertised costs are realistic.
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Reply By: Member - Jack - Friday, Nov 29, 2013 at 16:24

Friday, Nov 29, 2013 at 16:24
Faced with a similar problem I hired a container that I left on my property. Vague on the costs now but it was a lot less than the storage place I had been using.

The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get. (Lewis Carroll-Alice In Wonderland)

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Reply By: wozzie (WA) - Friday, Nov 29, 2013 at 16:38

Friday, Nov 29, 2013 at 16:38
Can you get a large container swung into the backyard by a large crane ?? as they do for swimming pools.

May pay to check out the cost of that.


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Follow Up By: exilebean - Sunday, Dec 01, 2013 at 20:57

Sunday, Dec 01, 2013 at 20:57
Sadly not Wozzie, we have a long block and houses at the other end so even with a crane it's no go.
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Reply By: Iza B - Friday, Nov 29, 2013 at 17:48

Friday, Nov 29, 2013 at 17:48
I have done the paid storage for three years while overseas and got everything back covered in dust and birdpoo. Latest standards seem to be to store everything in sealed box of some sort and that may have a better outcome. The storage environment will determine whether things get mouldy or not; what does the contract say?

Alternatively, a 20 foot container costs about 2 - 2.5 k with ventilators fitted and can be on sold at the end. Pest infestation and mould are the main risks there if you cannot get the thing checked and pest controlled regularly. Shed or container, the likely problems are the same. Shed or container will also probably need council permission.

I would be concerned about selling too much just in case things don't work out and the trip gets cut short. It is a common story in the GN world that plans come crashing down when some medical issue crops up a couple of weeks into a trip.

Paid storage may just become the cost of doing business and you need to protect yourself by ensuring the contract looks after your stuff. Renting the house should more than cover the costs of storage and the only issue then is the mortgage.

At some point you just have to do it or things may get put off for a long time.


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Reply By: Member - John and Lynne - Friday, Nov 29, 2013 at 17:51

Friday, Nov 29, 2013 at 17:51
It would be worth checking storage arrangements in more detail. There are cheaper options around that might suit - especially with some smaller companies. The advantage of a licensed commercial storage place is that you will be covered by insurance and the place should be free of damp or vermin. To build a shed on your property will involve you in town planning and other council permits, negotiating with a builder etc etc. It could take a lot of time, effort and expense and then you might have insurance problems so you would have to check this out as well. Unlikely to be finished in 4 months unless you have a remarkable council and builder. If you let your house good tenants might be put off by an ugly container or locked shed on the property they are renting. Then if you end up with poor tenants they might help themselves or their mates to your gear.
We are considering leaving our house for a long period and have looked into some of the options. We have decided we would go for a smaller storage company with a good track record and seriously cull our possessions. We would get rid of as much as possible and would only pay storage on really loved treasures and furniture in excellent condition. Reducing volume is the best way to cut costs! We would not pay storage on old kitchen china, tatty chests of drawers we have had since kids were young etc. We would take the opportunity to bequeath the kids a lot of things we hardly use and sell off or lend out the fridge and freezer as they often don't do well in storage. In the past we have stored goods for lengthy periods while working overseas. We found then that if we did not like something much when we packed it we would hate when we returned to unpack it! Living in a caravan gets you used to living with less stuff too! Good luck! Lynne
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Reply By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Friday, Nov 29, 2013 at 17:59

Friday, Nov 29, 2013 at 17:59
"However the hubby was told some horror stories by someone stored their items in long term storage and everything was mouldy through and through and had to be chucked, in which case they wished they just sold everything. "

Had this happen to some friends - if you do this, MAKE SURE your insurance is, to excuse the pun, watertight and covers you for the whole period.
AnswerID: 522342

Reply By: Tony F8 - Friday, Nov 29, 2013 at 20:33

Friday, Nov 29, 2013 at 20:33
If your going the way of a container, look at a out of service reefer container, ($30/ week) insulated and ribbed floor, will maitain a more even temp inside. Go to your local container mob on a summer day, step into a std container, then an out of service reefer an feel the diference. Otherwise check with your renters if they don't need the 3rd or 4th bedroom, store it in there, might be a squeeze, but you will be surprised. Did the big one for 2 years in 97-98 and it worked for us.
Cheers Tony
AnswerID: 522352

Reply By: allein m - Saturday, Nov 30, 2013 at 18:46

Saturday, Nov 30, 2013 at 18:46
Friends in wagga wagga went to the UK for 2 years they rented out there home and bought a very large shipping container and packed every thing up with plastic and such and put it on a friends property just out of town it was raised off the ground

cost bottle of scotch on return from duty free
I think they did a few things to the container to keep moisture and dirt out

AnswerID: 522384

Follow Up By: SDG - Saturday, Nov 30, 2013 at 22:13

Saturday, Nov 30, 2013 at 22:13
Properties around Wagga now need permits to have a container on their property. Parents just sold theirs to another property owner who found this out. Apparently he is just going to risk getting caught with it
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Reply By: allein m - Sunday, Dec 01, 2013 at 09:58

Sunday, Dec 01, 2013 at 09:58
The typical of government intervention where it is not needed. there is no risk to any one out of town

when we lived there they had just brought in a law regarding the tipping of old fridges you have to have the old gas removed and signed by fridge mechanic

we lived next to to a fridge mechanic from B &W appliances and got a brand new fridge for doing some work for him

so took our old fridge to the tip and it was refused went back to our friend no one in the shire had approached him regarding this new law

and he said if they want him to certify every fridge people some one is going to have to pay for his time as he was just so busy not sure what happens now if this is still the norm in wagga wagga Broken hill you just drop it off in a set area for metal products.
AnswerID: 522405

Follow Up By: Member - Boo Boo (NSW) - Sunday, Dec 01, 2013 at 16:15

Sunday, Dec 01, 2013 at 16:15

Many, many years ago it was standard practice to sell the washing machine, refrigerator, and freezer rather than store them.

Something to do with mould and a tendency to deteriorate when not being used.

Having just moved our furniture into storage a few weeks ago I have to agree with another reply. Get rid of anything that you don't really need.

Nothing is moving from the garage into the new house (6 mths away) unless it is really useful.

Well that my hope anyway. LOL
FollowupID: 803480

Reply By: exilebean - Sunday, Dec 01, 2013 at 20:55

Sunday, Dec 01, 2013 at 20:55
Hi Guys,

Thank you all for your replies and advice, you have certainly given me some food for thought. Although tempted to sell it all, I’m a bit of a realist and want to keep some furnishing incase were not in the situation to but everything again or something happens. I also have previously sold almost everything once before and we moved over here 6 years ago and there are some items we’ve said in hindsight we wouldn’t of sold. But armed with my trusty camera I will be trying to sell basically sell everything but keep essential basic furnishing such as one bed, a sofa etc. All we need to set up again quickly if need be.

I like the idea of storing the items in one room of the house, however we really need to get the top rent to cover the mortgage and doubt we’d get it if we rented it with one less room. I still like the storage container, however again still unsure of keeping it on someone else’s land, especially don’t want to be in the middle of woop woop to be told their selling and we have to find somewhere new to put it and we have no family over here so that’s not an option either. But I do like that we could sell if off when finished and have some cash back for it. So I am now looking at the option of using someone like Port Container Services, who will store container too. I’ve requested a quote and we post what I get back as it maybe useful so others. The shed is still a possibility (the size where looking at doesn’t need any council approval) however liking PCS option, if it’s as good as it looks on the website. Once I get more info I post it to this tread, as they are Australia wide apparently.

Thanks again guys for sharing your wisdom.
AnswerID: 522433

Follow Up By: JimDi - Sunday, Dec 01, 2013 at 22:55

Sunday, Dec 01, 2013 at 22:55
Hi Exilebean,
We left home in 2009, sorted out what we wanted to keep and put the rest into storage. We pull in occasionally and check the storage out and so far its all okay.
But looking at it I am not sure we even need all of what we kept. Its just family items that we cannot part with, I really have no idea why but neither my wife or I want to part with the items.

It is one of those half size garages with a roller door. Its professionally run and altho costs have risen to over a couple of grand a year we find it is far better than relying on a relative or friend etc.

The reason we arrived at this method is because we had friends who tried the build a shed method etc and it did not work out. In general terms the rental system is okay as its looked after by the onsite manager,its secure and well ventilated. As I said above so far so good. The cost is something you will have to learn to live with but it gives you peace of mind and no phone calls from unhappy tenants relatives etc.

As for keeping the basics like beds etc I decided not to. When I tried to sell them in Brisbane at the time I could not find any takers. So I decided to ring a charity and give them away. After talking to no less than five charities it was six weeks before one turned up to collect a good quality, lounge suite, dining room set and beds. Imported furniture is cheap these days even the "good quality stuff".

To finish off I will add that if you are looking for long term storage whilst travelling it does not need to be necessarily near where you live. We have rented our unit out in Brisbane but inner city storage is far too expensive so we went way way out and found it far cheaper.
FollowupID: 803518

Reply By: exilebean - Sunday, Dec 01, 2013 at 21:09

Sunday, Dec 01, 2013 at 21:09
"Many, many years ago it was standard practice to sell the washing machine, refrigerator, and freezer rather than store them.

Something to do with mould and a tendency to deteriorate when not being used."

Thanks Boo Boo, I have heard this somewhere before. Wondering if this is still the case??

AnswerID: 522434

Follow Up By: Member - John and Lynne - Monday, Dec 02, 2013 at 08:28

Monday, Dec 02, 2013 at 08:28
Even if stored as dry as possible with doors strapped open for ventilation fridges are likely to become very mouldy and the smell is hard to remove. Seals can also become hard and ineffective and may be difficult and expensive to replace. We have lost two fridges this way. Front loading washing machines can be the same and probably top loaders too. Cabinets of electrical goods can also rust and they are easily damaged in transit. I would not pay a lot of money, and these items take up a lot of space, to store these appliances again. If you have reasonably good ones they should be saleable. Lynne
FollowupID: 803524

Reply By: Steve D1 - Monday, Dec 02, 2013 at 10:46

Monday, Dec 02, 2013 at 10:46
Depends on your home obviously, But I'm building a wall down the middle of the double garage. All mine on one side, ( away from the direct access to house ), lock garage door, and rent home as single garage only. Couple of hundered for the wall, and I dont have to move anything twice.

AnswerID: 522457

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