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Finding the right storage facility – what you should look for

10th December 2020
Finding the right storage facility – what you should look for

When it comes to storing fine art, furniture, antiques and other valuable items, it’s imperative to select the right storage facility. There are a lot of considerations; the type of item, the quantity of items and the value of the items being stored will all help inform your decision.

When moving home in London, you may require the use of a storage facility in the short term. However, collectors may be looking for a longer-term storage solution for their assets. In this article, we explore some of the factors that should be considered when it comes to finding the right storage facility for your needs.

Types of Storage Facility

Different facilities offer different types of storage areas; sometimes there will be multiple options within one unit, depending on your requirements and budget. Self-storage units are ones that you can access yourself on-site, with your belongings stored in an individual rented unit. While there is a certain convenience with these types of units, they are mostly of use for short-term storage or for storing items that don’t require a controlled environment. It’s not wise to use these units for valuable, precious or delicate items.

Managed storage areas are controlled vaults, far more suited to high-value collections and assets. Racked storage areas offer larger-space storage for artwork, antiques and interior design objects. While standard storage areas suit many individuals, racked storage can better meet the requirements of dealers, interior designers and larger collections, with flexible arrangements. Managed vaults are best for those who don’t need regular access to their items, for example if your items are being kept in another country to your current residence.

If your collection requires ongoing access and management, private rooms might be more suitable than storage vaults. These are usually available in a range of sizes, to meet your needs. If needed, some private rooms are temperature controlled, which is suitable for more sensitive items such as antiques, furniture or musical instruments. As they are more accessible, they are also suitable for things like wine or wardrobe collections.

London Storage services and considerations

As well as the storage space itself, there are other things to consider when choosing a storage unit. For example, do you require ongoing inventory of your items? This can be useful if you have a large-scale collection of artworks or antiques, for example. Ask your storage facility what kind of inventory service it can offer you. An online inventory management service will enable you to view your collection assets at any time, via a secure and encrypted web page. Depending on the inventory service used, this can give you detailed information on the location of your assets (if you have items stored in multi-national locations), the physical condition of each item, quantities, images and values. This can be exceptionally useful for when you might want to sell, move or check out a particular item.

When looking at storage units, find out what kind of viewing facilities are available. There should be a way for you to view and examine your items at any time. This gives you an opportunity to check the condition of an item or take additional photographs as required.

Another thing to consider is whether your chosen storage unit meets insurance requirements. Check with your insurance provider to see what criteria they set out for storing items. This might include things like having a back-up generator in case of a power cut, to ensure that security systems and temperature controls are maintained. Find out how your storage provider handles things like collection, delivery and packing – is this included in your storage costs? Do the team have experience in handling valuable assets? What insurance is in place to assure the protection of your collection?

Your choice of storage facility may also depend on what it is you want to store. Some items, for example furniture, large sculptures or a piano, might not fit in a standard storage area or private storage room. In this case, you should see whether over-size item storage is available. Find out how this is assigned and charged; this is often done by square foot, as required.

Security checks

All managed storage options are worked by an experienced team who ensure your items are stored safely. If you’re storing artwork, one thing to consider is how much experience the management team have with handling valuable artworks. This should include experience in moving items with care, and storing them in an appropriate manner. All staff should also have undergone background checks before working with items of high value. There should also be guidance around client confidentiality at all stages of moving and storing any items.

The facility itself should have state-of-the-art security systems that are suitable to the relative value of your assets. A good storage facility will have undergone a rigorous risk assessment and be managed in line with the highest national standards. For example, GRASP is a sophisticated web-based risk assessment and management tool that can be used to evaluate facilities that store and handle high value works of art. Security systems should include intruder alarms, fire protection systems, movement detection and a controlled environment, all of which is continuously monitored.

Cadogan Tate offers London removals and storage services, and has high-specification storage facilities in London, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Paris, and the Côte d’Azur. Please contact us today to find out more about what we can offer and to discuss your requirements.

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