There are always times when you need to consider storing some or even all your household or belongings in a safe, secure environment. Perhaps you're moving house with some days, weeks or months between having to move out, and moving into your new home. Maybe you are taking a sabbatical, a short overseas contract or a gap year travelling. Or, you might just have run out of storage space, loft room and more in your house. Divorce and bereavement are other times when you might need a temporary space for  household goods.  Students also need storage for belongings during the holidays, when on work placements or on a year abroad.

Sometimes the only way to keep a chain going is to compromise. Your buyer may be chomping at the bit to move in to your home, but your dream home's current owners are not ready to move yet. Yes, it's a pain. You might have a period of a couple of months between homes. The good news is, you have the cash from your sale available and gathering interest, before you have to pay for the new purchase in full. Some of this, if you made a good profit, can be freed up for the costs of storage and renting a temporary home.

Self storage is a superb option, though it can work out to be expensive. Storage in London does cost a little more – but there's also a lot more choice so by shopping around, you could save a great deal. You can rent space for items of any size, from just a box to your whole house contents. There are choices from a locker alone to several 40-foot shipping-sized containers. Most people rent about 8 square foot, but small containers can costs as little as a fiver. Prepare to pay around £40.00 per year for a square foot in London.

Also consider storing OUT of London, especially if you're going to need the facility for some time. Weigh up the cost of moving your belongings out of the city against the savings per square metre. The truth is, land costs less outside of the capital and so companies, even within a 45 minute drive, are able to offer better rates. With more than 350 self storage firms and over 800 facilities where you can store your goods. It's a relatively new industry, getting to the UK in the 1980s, but it's growing annually by about ten percent, so prices get more and more keen through competition all the time, benefiting you as the consumer.

In London, you want to be sure you are getting a reliable and safe facility. The best place to start looking is not through the Yellow Pages or even on internet listings, but with the professional body. The Self Storage Association (SSA) has stringent standards and membership criteria, so you know you'll be getting someone reputable. Their directory of members which can be searched by postcode is online at Look for those with excellent security, 24 hour CCTV, privacy, watertight containers and where you get to have access whenever you need it, day or night, 365 days of the year, at short notice if needs be.

Self storage is easy, and some ¼ million people have already used it. Gated and secure, it's a walk or drive in DIY space that you rent for a given period and that only you hold the keys to. Some places are like a dry warehouse; other like a huge car park filled with shipping containers. Since all companies have stringent security measures which they must comply with, you can rest assured that your valuables will be safe, dry and protected. Pack them well too, and ensure that you have insurance in case an absolute disaster occurs.