• “Out of the Box” Series – Part 1: Is storage necessary?


    Overused cliché? Not so in the moving industry. In this new series, we will share some of our “out of the box” thoughts on a number of relocation issues.

    Our first blog addresses the storage of household goods; expensive but also, not essential.

    Witnessing events surrounding a recent move prompted us to rethink the cost effectiveness of offering storage. In this instance, a family went abroad for 3 years, moved a container of household goods with them and placed well-packed items in storage for the duration of the assignment. Upon their return, the goods from storage arrived first, and after unpacking most of the boxes in the garage, the family realized that:

    – the children (now 3 years older than when they left) no longer wanted their old toys;

    – aunt Mae’s furniture that had previously been moved from home to home was no longer wanted;

    – old pieces (some heirlooms) no longer looked good in their new modern house; and

    – half the driveway was covered with items they forgot they had.

    Then the container arrived and added four times the amount of stuff to sort!

    Long story? Yes, and it was a long…. and unnecessary process.

    The cost of all the activities surrounding the packing and storage of 5,000 lbs of household goods for 3 years is approximately $10,000, a significant amount and somewhat wasteful, if we consider that a good part of the storage was not really required.

    Storage is unavoidable when employees are not taking household goods with them on assignment. But what about when employees are taking a container of goods with them? The problem is that many of us will avoid making the difficult decisions to discard items prior to moving if storage is an option. In reflecting on “how much is too much”, consider the following options:

    1.  If storage is offered, have employees pay a portion of the cost. They will more inclined to carefully evaluate what needs to be stored if there are fees attached.

    2. A variation on 1 above is to place volume limits on the goods that can be moved and stored at corporate expense.

    3. Reduced volume can be achieved by offering ”discard and donate” services, which help families identify items no longer needed and redirect them to a variety of charitable organizations or be sold in yard sales.

    4. Provide cash incentives to employees; instead of offering benefits that enable employees to keep things or avoid making decisions to discard, corporations could pass on to them a portion of the moving/storage savings resulting from their efforts. Everyone wins!

    We’ll be back soon with more in our “Out of the Box” series. Our next issue will address the creative ideas dealing with employees self managing lump sum relocations.