Moving to Chicago
— Extended-Stay Hotel
Extended-stay hotels vary considerably in their room types and amenities, but they always have guest laundry facilities on site, guestrooms (also called suites) with full kitchens and kitchen utensils. This option usually offers discounts for extended stays. Some extended-stay hotels have only studio suites while others offer larger one- or two-bedroom/two-bathroom suites. Available amenities can include free breakfast buffets, evening receptions or grocery shopping service. Housekeeping service can range from once per week to daily.

— Working With a Real Estate Agent
Many people who relocate prefer to rent instead of immediately buying a home because they want to get a feel for the area and perhaps didn’t have much advance preparation time to visit the area and preselect a home and neighborhood. In this case, working with a real estate agent to rent a home is a great option. The agent will be familiar with master-planned communities and other neighborhoods and know about the availability and price of rentals.

TEMPORARY STORAGE
Temporary storage is convenient if you find yourself in a sudden move or a short-term relocation. Self- and warehouse-storage space is available in all sections of the city. Check on security arrangements at specific storage units, liability for loss or damage and availability of units.

— Selecting a Self-Storage Space
According to the Self Storage Association, it’s important to carefully read the contract you are asked to sign. If there are provisions that you don’t understand, ask the manager to explain them. If you still don’t understand or don’t feel comfortable with the explanation, don’t sign the rental agreement, which is a legal contract. Make sure there are no blank spaces and that any verbal promises made by the manager or staff are in the written rental agreement. Also do the following before signing anything:
  • Visit the self-storage facility and ask to see a space of the size you think you may need. If climate-controlled space is available, compare the climate-controlled space to the nonclimate-controlled space.
  • Check for cleanliness, convenience and security.
  • Ask about the office’s operating hours.
  • Keep a copy of the written rental agreement.
  • Obtain and read a copy of the rules and regulations of the facility, if any.
  • Insurance is the responsibility of the customer, and storage facilities are generally not responsible for the contents of your unit. It is always a good idea to insure the goods you are intending to store, and it should be offered to you at the time you rent your unit. Sometimes the facility collects the premium from you directly. Before you buy insurance from the manager, check with your own agent because sometimes your homeowners or renters policy will cover you at no extra cost.

— Important Guidelines
  • Ask the self-storage company if they are a member of the Texas Self Storage Association; it ensures the company is operating professionally.
  • Use the best lock possible to protect your valuables.
  • Purchase insurance on your property, either through the facility or with your own agent. Remember that the storage operator does not insure your goods.
  • Prepare to give at least 10 days’ written notice before you plan to move out of your unit. This is required by the contract you sign.
  • Don’t store prohibited items, such as tires, food or flammable items. Check the storage facility’s rules or your contract for a complete list.
  • Your property could be sold at a public auction if you stop paying rent on your unit. Texas Property Code Chapters 59 and 70 dictate the state’s rules for self-storage operators.

— General Storage Information
  • Do not store hazardous or toxic materials, flammable liquids or gases or foods. If you are not sure you should store something, ask the staff.
  • Do not store any combustibles. Do not store items, such as propane tanks, old paint, cleaning fluids, gasoline or other things that might create or intensify a fire. Why risk your possessions just to keep a few cents’ worth of leftovers?
  • You alone are responsible for providing insurance on your property. You must buy insurance coverage yourself and you must pay the premium yourself; the operator does not insure your goods.
  • Only the tenant is legally entitled to enter the storage space unless other arrangements have been made with the self-storage facility; for example, if you want friends and members of your family to use your storage space, you must list them under access rights on the rental agreement.
  • Visit your self-storage space on occasion to check the condition of your possessions; occasionally move or shift your goods so that you see all sides of them. Report any problems immediately.
  • When moving out of storage, give at least 10 days written notice. Take everything, and don’t leave any trash. Leave the unit in broom-clean condition. Remove your lock.
  • If storing bedding, clothing or furniture covered in fabric or property that may be affected by changes in temperature, it may be wiser to rent climate-controlled space to provide a better storage environment for your personal possessions. Be certain that everything stored is dry because any moisture may cause mildew. If you move during rain, dry off your goods before placing them into storage. Do not store anything that is wet; moisture is bad for virtually all property or goods.

SELF-STORAGE PACKING TIPS

  • Fill boxes to capacity: Partially full or bulging boxes may collapse or tip over while stored.
  • Label your cartons and goods: This will make accessing items much easier.
  • Books and documents: Pack books flat to protect spines; use small boxes to avoid cartons that are too heavy to move easily. Put heavy items on the bottom.
  • Dishes and glassware: Glass items should be individually wrapped; use blank wrapping paper for best results; “nest” cups and bowls, stand plates and platters; fill air pockets with wrapping paper or foam peanuts; don’t put breakables under other boxes.
  • Mirrors, windows and screens: Wrap all glass well; store it on edge, not flat.
  • Lamps: Pack lampshades separately; use blank paper to wrap lampshades and other property that may be damaged by ink stains from regular newsprint.
  • Furniture: Stand sofas and mattresses on end; disassemble beds and tables; wrap legs in wrapping paper; keep upholstery off the floor; place loose, light plastic dust covers or sheets over furniture.
  • Appliances and electronics: Clean appliances thoroughly. Refrigerators and freezers must be defrosted and dry, and washing machines must be completely drained. Remove doors of appliances and store them separately; desiccants (drying agents) should be used and containers checked and emptied regularly. Take apart lawn mowers and snow blowers, making sure all fuel is completely drained.
  • Bicycles: Wipe a few drops of oil on bicycles and tools to prevent rusting, then store these items away from furniture to avoid oil staining.
  • Clothes: Wardrobe boxes allow you to store your clothing on hangers. Shoes can be stored in the bottom of the wardrobe boxes while folded clothing can be stored in boxes or dresser drawers.
  • Raise the floor: Put pallets or a grid of 2 x 3s on the unit floor to give better air circulation under goods; leave a walkway or aisle to the rear of the unit. Don’t overpack the unit!

— Determining the Right Storage Unit for Your Needs
  • Unit Size: 5' x 5'
    • Equivalent: 25 square feet; hall closet, small bedroom or office
    • What Will Fit*: Boxes, clothing, small furniture, toys, business records or about 50 file boxes
  • Unit Size: 5' x 10'
    • Equivalent: 50 square feet; Walk-in closet
    • What Will Fit*: Mattress set, sofa, chest of drawers, dining room set or about 100 file boxes
  • Unit Size: 7.5' x 10'
    • Room Equivalent: 75 square feet; Large walk-in closet
    • What Will Fit*: The furnishings of a one-bedroom apartment: Desk, patio furniture, washer and dryer stacked, boxes and miscellaneous items or about 150 file boxes
  • Unit Size: 10' x 10'
    • Equivalent: 100 square feet; Average-size bedroom
    • What Will Fit*: The furnishings of a one-bedroom apartment with refrigerator, washer and dryer and patio furniture or about 200 file boxes.
  • Unit Size: 10' x 15'
    • Equivalent: 150 square feet; Large bedroom
    • What Will Fit*: The furnishings of a two-bedroom apartment or small house with refrigerator, washer and dryer, yard furniture, boxes, and miscellaneous items or about 300 file boxes
  • Unit Size: 10' x 20'
    • Equivalent: 200 square feet; One-car garage
    • What Will Fit*: The furnishings of a three- or four-bedroom house with major appliances, garage extras, boxes and miscellaneous items or business files and inventory
  • Unit Size: 10' x 30'
    • Equivalent: 300 square feet; Extra-large garage
    • What Will Fit*: The furnishings of a four- or five-bedroom house with major appliances, boxes and miscellaneous items or business files and inventory

*Actual contents will vary based on the size of your belongings.
Source: Self Storage Association (
www.selfstorage.org)

UTILITIES
— Electric
In the Chicagoland area, the main electric service provider is Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd). To start service, visit www.comed.com and fill out the online service request form. You also can contact ComEd at (800) 334-7661. Monthly payment options include Automatic Payment Plan, E-Bill, Credit ATM/Debit Card and E-Check and paying by mail, phone or at pay centers.

   
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