Contemplating self storage

By Vince Mancuso,

Your first time renting a storage unit can seem like a daunting experience; most people are unaware of just how many choices you have when it comes to self storage. With an array of factors to consider, such as size, features, and prices, there are things you need to know about your storage facility.

Here are some of the top questions to ask when renting self storage:

1. What size storage unit do I need?

This is a question both new and previous storage renters often have: how much stuff can I fit into how much size? Most storage facility managers have years of experience when it comes to the storage industry and should be happy and able to direct you to the right size based upon your needs.

That being said, it’s important to know what you’ll be storing ahead of time. For instance, if you’re only needing space to store seasonal clothing, a 5×5 unit should do the trick. However, if you need a place to store all of your furniture and appliances during a housing remodel, then you’ll need a 10×20 or 10×30 storage unit.

2. What sort of security do you offer?

The top concern for most storage renters is security, and it is natural to want to know your belongings will be safe while in storage. And while most storage facilities offer security, not all security features are created equal as there are basic and more advanced features.

Choosing between high end or basic security depends on what you’re storing. For instance, Christmas decorations may not need advanced protection, so basic security features such as electronic gate access or video surveillance should be enough. However, if you’re temporarily storing high-end electronics or irreplaceable antiques, you’re likely going to want more advanced features such as individually-alarmed units and on-site management.

3. Do your storage units protect against weather?

Most regions in the United States experience some sort of extreme seasonal weather, whether it be summer humidity, frigid winters, or even desert dryness. If you’re storing weather-sensitive items such as electronics, wood furniture, or financial and personal documents and photos, ask if your facility has climate control.

Most first-time storage renters are unaware of the climate control feature. This amenity maintains a moderate temperature and humidity level throughout the seasons within the storage unit to prevent electronics from frying, wood from warping, and documents and photos from fading.

4. When can I access my storage unit?

Most storage facilities have regular business hours for access, which is typically 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and while this may be acceptable for some, it’s not acceptable for all. If you’re one who has irregular work hours or may need something from your storage unit at any given point in time, ask about the access hours.

Some storage facilities have extended access hours, which allows you access until roughly 10 p.m., while others have 24-hour access, giving you anytime access to your items in storage. A point worth noting: if you’re planning on late-night access, make sure you have a facility with strong security features and is well lit.

5. Do I need to sign a long-term contract?

Sometimes you just need some temporary space, so why get caught up in a long-term commitment? Ask whether or not your facility offers short-term leasing or month-to-month rentals, as most do. This way, you can use your storage unit as long as you need without paying for more time than what you’re actually using.

6. Are there any discounts or specials available?

Many storage facilities have special offers with new storage rentals, such as a free moving truck rental, free lock for your unit, or $1 for your first month’s rent, just to name a few. Additionally, many storage facilities offer military or senior-citizen discounts, so be sure to check with your storage facility to receive such offers.

7. Can you help me move in?

Most storage facilities appreciate knowing when your move-in date will be, but not for the sake of business. Storage facilities often offer items such as moving-truck rentals and moving supplies, such as boxes and tape, for sale. It’s also worth checking to see if your facility has drive-up access, which allows you to park your vehicle directly at the storage unit for easy drop-off and pick-up. If drive-up access is not available, check to see if handcarts or dollies are available to help haul your items in.

8. Can you store vehicles?

Many storage facilities offer auto, boat, and RV storage. However, it’s also important to ask what kind of storage your facility can provide for these vehicles. There are three types of vehicle storage: outdoor, covered, and enclosed.

Outdoor vehicle storage is the most popular and least expensive as it is large parking space in a fenced-in area. This is typically used for RV and large boat storage. Covered vehicle storage that has an awning or some other form of covering and will provide protection again precipitation such as severe rain, hail, and snow, and is good for all forms of vehicle storage. Indoor vehicle storage is typically a large storage unit with drive-up access, and provides completely enclosed protection from both weather and other threats. This option is ideal for auto storage, such as sports and vintage vehicles, as well as boat storage.

Storage facility managers are well experienced with most storage situations and will be happy to help you with advice and insight on your storage needs, all you need to do is ask. In the mean time, you can use our storage directories as a way to point you in the right direction toward your storage facility.