Choosing a storage facility is easy. Choosing the right storage facility is a bit more complicated. There are so many good facilities available that you need a system to help narrow down the competition. The demand for storage is substantial, and storage providers are working hard to meet this demand.
There are many life transitions that prompt the need for extra storage space: moving, remodeling, marriage, downsizing, and new business, to name a few. Typically, you don’t start thinking about additional storage until it becomes essential. You then make the mistake of visiting or calling the most convenient location without giving much thought to services and amenities. The following tips and suggestions will help you to organize your ideas, prioritize your needs, and find storage that is the best fit for you.
- Be Specific About Your Needs
Think about what you’re storing and how long you plan to store these items. With so many available options, it should be easy to find what you need if you understand exactly what your needs are.
- Make an inventory list of all the items you plan to store.
- Identify the items that you may need to access while they are in storage.
- Measure and estimate the collective packing size of the items you plan to store.
- Account for extra space to provide ventilation and ease of access.
When storing items for short periods of time, it’s fine to pack everything close together. If you’re storing for a longer time, provide extra space for ventilation and for an aisle so that you can access belongings that you may need regularly. Think about arranging for easy access.
- Decide Whether You Need a Climate-Controlled Unit
Climate-controlled spaces keep the temperature and humidity within a specific range. This can be dependent on the climate in which you’re storing your items. For example, dry climates could cause wood to crack and split and humid climates can cause mold and mildew. Take the time to research, based on the value of your belongings and the cost of the unit. Climate-controlled units can be more expensive but worth the cost over time.
- Think About Location
How many times will you need to visit your storage facility? If you’re going to be needing regular access, a convenient location is important. However, be aware that a facility located in the heart of the city will be more expensive that one outside of town. If you don’t need quick access to your items, a facility farther from the city will be less costly.
- Consider Unit Size Options
Self-storage units are available in a wide range of sizes and configurations. Naturally, larger units cost more per month, so it’s a smart to have an overall idea of how much space you’ll need. You don’t want to pay for extra, unused space unless you’re planning to store more items over time. Another factor to consider is the design of the space. Some units are narrow but have a lot of vertical space; others are wider with lower ceilings. In some cases, one layout is preferable.
- Storage Facility Cost Can Vary Considerably
Because many storage facilities are independently owned, business owners have the option of setting their own prices. It’s always smart to shop around because you may be able to find a better deal by making a few phone calls. Storage companies frequently offer promotions. If your preferred facility isn’t offering any deals, it pays to ask. You can also mention a competitor’s promotion; they may be willing to match the deal.
- Verify Security
Cost, however, should not be your only consideration. You need a reputable company with state-of-the-art security, a variety of customer amenities, and a range of unit sizes that will be a good fit for your needs. Look for video surveillance, perimeter fencing, security locks, and electronic access. You’ll also want a knowledgeable management team that is willing to provide you with answers to your questions and a tour of the property.
- Check Insurance
If you have homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, call your agent to verify that your stored belongings are covered under your present policy. You may find that your facility must provide specific security elements for your items to be covered. If your policy does not cover stored items, you should be able to purchase insurance from your preferred storage company.
Whatever you do, choose carefully. It’s worth the time and effort to find the facility that is the best option for your needs. Once you’ve moved your belongings into a unit, it’s highly unlikely that you will want to switch facilities.