Finding a storage unit can be an overwhelming task, especially if you aren’t familiar with all of the options and features available. It’s best to assess all of your storage needs before you even search for a local storage facility.
If this is your first time storing? Do you consider yourself to be a storage expert? Our storage tips could help you along your storage journey. If you want to store with us, we recommend taking a look at our information to learn about storage insurance and more.
Consider how long you might need the storage unit. Many facilities offer discounts for long-term storage, but some may also have specials for temporary rentals.
Estimate how much space you will require. Save money by only renting the space you need. Feel free to use the self storage calculator to help you. Many facilities will store larger items including cars, camper and other motorized vehicles.
How often will you need to access the unit? Some facilities are accessible 24/7 and may even have drive-up access. Hours of operations range from facility to facility and should be taken into consideration depending on your needs.
Are any of the items you plan to store sensitive to temperature or humidity? If so, you will most likely need a climate-controlled storage unit. Typically the following items need to be stored indoors with some type of climate-control: leathers, furs, clothing, paintings, film, photographs, furniture, antiques, musical instruments, wine, paper, software, DVDs, CDs and electronics.
All storage facilities should have secure units, but if you require additional security for your possessions ask the facility if they have any of the following: fencing, surveillance cameras, motion lights, alarms, guards or a police presence.
You may also want to consider mobile storage for your items. If you decide to use mobile storage, a unit will be brought to you and removed after you have packed it. The unit will be stored at the facility or can be shipped to another location. The cost and features of mobile storage are comparable to self-storage but if you require regular access to your belongings, it may not be the best option for your needs.
Check out more detailed storage tips on the left hand side of this page. There’s a storage solution for every situation.
Why use self storage
Renting a self storage unit can be a great way to reduce clutter and free up needed space at the home or office. A storage unit is a smart place to keep a few boxes, old appliances, memorabilia, heirlooms and old toys.
Often self storage units offer more security than homes. Self storage facilities provide security features not normally found on homes. In addition to a lock, facilities are often protected by a security fence, surveillance cameras, a gated entry, limited entry after hours, exterior lighting and possibly security guards or onsite management. You may choose to purchase an in-home security system for your home. While this may protect the items stored in your home, will it protect items left in your yard? What about that backyard storage shed? Self storage units give you the benefits of both extra storage space and added security.
Some items pose potential hazards at home and need to be placed in a secure area to ensure the safety of your family. You may be handy around the house and enjoy renovation projects, but between jobs a self storage unit can keep those power tools, ladders, saws and drills away from curious children and, thereby, reduce the risk of possible accidents around the house.
Homes often do not have the storage space to hold large items. For instance, if you have ski boats, canoes or vintage cars, you may not have room for them in your garage or driveway. A self storage unit could give you a place to store such items that provides protection from the weather and some added security. If your garage has slowly filled with things like your exercise equipment and camping supplies and you want to reclaim it for your car, a self storage unit may be a perfect solution.
When renting a unit you may be required or at least offered insurance. Insurance will replace your valuables if they are stolen or damaged while in storage. Self storage insurance may be cheaper than homeowner’s or renter’s insurance.
Choosing a storage facility or storage unit
If moving, do you want to pack and store items yourself or hire someone to do it for you?
If you value ease and saving time over saving money, you may want to hire professional movers who will come and pack up your belongings, move your items to their company-run storage site and then pack them up again and move them to your new destination. Make sure that you do your homework before hiring a mover. You’ll want to know that the company you hire is a reputable one before you entrust them with your valuables. Another thing to consider is that if you pack and store the items yourself you will have to pay for insurance, which can be costly. When hiring someone to do the work for you, insurance is often included in the cost of their services.
Do you need more time to pack, or want closer proximity to stored items?
You also may opt to rent a mobile storage unit. The mobile storage company will bring the storage unit to your house where you can pack it at your own pace. Then, they will move it to your new destination where you can unpack at your own pace. Some companies also offer to help with the packing for an added fee.
Are the items you wish to store sensitive to cold, heat, moisture or dust?
If you are storing valuable items such as documents, furs, electronics, computer equipment, stereos or television sets you may want to opt for a climate-controlled unit. Many storage facilities also offer dust-free storage for your sensitive electronics.
Will want to switch out the storage contents seasonally?
Often you will want to store your summer wardrobe or seasonal household items such as swimming pool equipment or patio furniture during the winter months. During the summer you may want to store your family’s skis, snowmobile, snow blower and shovels. Space may vary for these items and perhaps even the need for climate or dust control. Make sure that you consider all your possible needs before renting your unit.
Do you need 24 hour tenant access?
Be aware that not all facilities will allow you access to the unit during any given time of the day or night. Rules vary from one facility to the next. While some units are accessible 24 hours a day, other facilities have limited hours of operation that limit access to your belongings. Check the rules before signing a contract if round-the-clock access is important to you.
Is the storage facility you chose secure?
Compare the safety and security features of facilities before renting. Ask if there are security cameras on the premises. Is the facility equipped with motion lights or otherwise well lit? Some storage facilities offer security alarms and security fences. Still other locations have an onsite manager living on the premises who will keep an eye on whose coming and going. They will alert the police of any suspicious activity.