The school year is off to its usual confusing start. Fall is a few weeks away, and family gatherings, overnight guests, celebrations, and holiday decorating are closer than you think. Look around your home. Do you have enough space for these events? Is the guest room overflowing with stuff that you have no place for, is the kitchen in need of an update, and are the main rooms crowded with too much furniture? Did you ever think about renting a storage facility as a solution to all of these problems?
The demand for self storage is high, and storage providers are working hard to meet this demand. Renting a facility is as easy as making a phone call or locating a website and clicking a “Reserve” button. There are so many great facilities available that you might need a system to help narrow down the competition.
The following tips and suggestions will help you organize your ideas, prioritize your needs, and find storage that is the best fit for you.
Find the Perfect Self Storage Solution
Understand Your Needs
Think about what you’re storing and how long you plan to store these items.
- Make an inventory of all the items you plan to store.
- Identify the items that you might 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.
Arrange your belongings for easy 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.
Decide Whether You Need a Climate-Controlled Unit
Climate-controlled spaces keep the temperature and humidity within a specific range.
Whether or not you need a climate-controlled unit depends on the climate in which you’re storing your items. For example, dry climates can cause wood to crack and split, and humid climates can cause mold and mildew. Make your choice 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 need regular access, a convenient location is important. Be aware that a facility located in the heart of the city will be more expensive than 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 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 may be 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; the facility of your choice may be willing to match the deal.
Cost 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, a tour of the property, and a professional level of customer service.
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 features in order 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.
Tenant Protection Plan
Some facilities offer a tenant protection plan. This plan is not insurance but a contractual agreement between the facility and the tenant, with the facility assuming limited responsibility for the tenant’s belongings while they are stored in a locked unit. In other words, operators agree to pay customers for damages to belongings up to a specified dollar amount. These plans are typically offered in several coverage options and paid for along with monthly rent. They’re inexpensive and add an extra layer of protection to already existing security systems. It’s worth a discussion with the facility manager.
Whatever you do, choose carefully. It’s worth the time and effort to find the facility that is your best option. Once you’ve moved your belongings into a unit, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll want to take the time and trouble to switch facilities.