By Molly Hammond, USstoragesearch.com
When most people think of a storage unit, they picture drive-up access (or at least a ground-level unit) because self storage units are often treated as additional garages. While it’s true that these units exist in huge numbers and are perfect for renters looking to store a vehicle, recreational equipment, or a whole house’s furnishings, there’s another unit option: upper-level units.
Tenants may opt for units with drive-up access because the opportunity to back a moving truck right up to the unit is incredibly convenient. However, first-floor units with drive-up access generally only come in the larger sizes, which could mean that you’re paying for space you won’t use if you’re only storing a few items. Opting for an upper-level unit ensures you only pay for room that you actually use.
Upper-level units are an efficient way to use space in a facility, so you’re more likely to see them in urban areas, which means that the extra security provided by these kinds of units is an important feature. Units above ground-level aren’t subjected to the same weather concerns as first-floor units, meaning there are fewer chances of damage by flooding.
Upper-level units are also less likely to have trouble with unwanted visitors (human or animal) since they’re more difficult to access, giving you peace of mind. Of course, you should always store at a facility where you feel comfortable—if you don’t feel like your belongings would be safe in the facility, that won’t change simply by going up a flight of stairs.
Assess the Amenities
Before committing to an upper-level unit, you’ll want to understand just how your move-in process will work. You should tour any facility before deciding to rent there. On your walk-through, be sure to note how far your unit is from the stairwell, or if the facility has an elevator. If you bank on the elevator, is it big enough to accommodate the things you intend to move?
If you aren’t able to do an in-person tour of the facility before renting, simply call the facility and ask the manager what kind of accommodations they have for upper-level tenants. If you’re picturing available dollies and freight elevators when all they have is steep stairs, you could be in trouble!
Don’t forget to look into the facility’s hours as well. Facilities with 24-hour access are perfect for moving in items at any time of day or night, but a facility with standard 9-5 hours could throw a wrench in your plans to get everything moved in without missing a day of work. You can make either scenario work for you; the key is to avoid surprises.
Since it’s likely that your upper-level unit is on the smaller side, it’s important to keep organization in mind. Use pallets or portable shelving to create an orderly area inside your storage unit—this makes moving out or finding a specific item much easier on you later. Plastic bins are durable, and being able to see what’s where is a huge advantage to storing in a smaller space. Placing like items together in the unit or creating a list of what’s stored are other easy ways to keep chaos at bay.
Whether you’ll be moving boxes and bins up flights of stairs or taking the elevator, you’ll want to account for the size and weight of the items you need to get from point A to point B. Packing moving boxes to the brim with heavy items like books or shoes may save you space in the van, but they’ll be difficult to haul, stack, and can even break in transit. You may have to make a few more trips, but packing items in manageable quantities will be better for you and your stuff in the long run.
If you don’t need the space to store a whole house or a car, an upper-level unit can be the perfect way to save money and keep your things safe and easy to find.