When choosing a storage unit, it can be easy to get overwhelmed with all the different features and options. Before you start searching for a storage facility, it may be wise to consider your storage needs first.
Storage Basics Overview
How long will you need storage?
First, determine how long you will need to store your belongings. Depending on the facility you choose, you could receive discounts for longer storage periods or deals on temporary storage.
When will you need access?
Decide if you’re fine with business hours or if you’ll need 24/7 access. You’ll need to consider the hours of operation of each business before officially choosing a facility.
Do you need security?
Most storage facilities will provide basic protection for their units. But, if you have valuable items, you may want to consider additional security measures. Security measures to look for include fencing, cameras, guards, and police presence.
How much space do you need?
You’ll also need to consider how much storage space you need. (Use our online storage calculator if you need help!) This can save you money if you rent the smallest unit that will fit your needs. Some facilities, like Added Space, offer storage for boats, cars, RVs, and other vehicles.
Are your items sensitive to weather?
Keeping your belongings safe should be your first priority. If you have weather-sensitive items, you may need to consider a climate-controlled storage unit. Some common belongings that benefit from climate control include clothing, paintings, antiques, instruments, papers and documents, and electronics.
Will you need mobile storage?
With mobile storage, a unit is brought to your home or business for packing. Once you’ve finished, the unit is removed and taken to store at a facility or other location. This may be a good option if you don’t need regular access to your belongings. Mobile storage prices are usually comparable to regular storage units.
Why Use Self Storage?
Storing your belongings that you don’t frequently use is a great way to declutter your home or office. Consider storing your seasonal items, family heirlooms, and old toys or appliances in a storage unit.
To Increase Safety
You may have items at your home or business that pose a potential threat to family members or young children. For example, if you’re currently making home renovations or enjoy woodworking, you may want to store your power tools, saws, and ladders away from young children. This can reduce the chance of an unwanted accident.
To Have Insurance
Many storage facilities will either require or offer insurance for your belongings. This insurance will cover any costs if your items are stolen or damaged during storage. In some cases, storage insurance may be cheaper than the usual homeowners’ or renters’ insurance.
To Increase Security
In some cases, a storage facility may provide more security than your home or business. At many facilities, including Added Space, your belongings are protected by fencing, cameras, and an on-site manager. These security measures are often more efficient than an in-home security system.
To Have More Space
If you own many larger items, like boats, canoes, or extra cars, you may not have enough space to store them at your home. Instead, you can store them at a storage facility. This will give you more space at home while also providing extra security and protection for your belongings.
Choosing a Storage Facility or Storage Unit
Do you want to pack and store your own items?
If not, you may want to consider hiring a moving company to pack your belongings for you. Professional movers can pack your items and unload them at your storage facility and then pack them and bring them to your new home when you’re ready! Before choosing a mover, make sure you’re hiring a reputable company. Also, remember that some movers will offer insurance at no extra cost to protect your items during the move.
Are your items weather-sensitive?
Sensitive items like documents, antiques, clothing, paintings, and more may benefit from a climate-controlled unit. You can also look into dust-free storage for any important electronics.
Do you need 24/7 access?
Is your storage facility secure?
Be sure to check for basic security measures like security cameras, lights, fences, and alarms. Some facilities may offer stricter security than others, so if this is an important feature for you, you may want to compare the security levels of different facilities.
Do you need extra packing time or need the unit to come to you?
If so, you may prefer mobile storage units. With mobile storage, a unit is brought to your home or business for packing. Once you’ve finished, the unit is taken to your new home where you can begin unpacking. Some companies may charge an additional fee if you want them to assist with packing.
Will you be storing seasonally?
Some clients like to free up space by storing seasonal items like decorations, pool supplies, patio furniture, and more. You may wish to store items like these in the winter and your snow blower and shovels in the summer. Different items will take up different amounts of space, so be sure to consider this when renting a unit.
Will you be storing large items like boats and cars?
Self storage units aren’t just for small items. You can also store large things like cars, campers, and other vehicles. Look for facilities that offer storage for vehicles. Depending on the vehicles you’re storing, you may want to consider a climate-controlled unit.
Self-Storage Packing Tips
Tips to consider while packing:
- Try to use boxes of similar size and shape so they can easily stack.
- Don’t store items in plastic bags. They can contribute to moisture and they’re not durable.
- Completely fill each box to avoid boxes getting crushed. If you’re packing fragile or hard-to-pack items, fill the box with paper and bubble wrap.
- Don’t overstuff your boxes. They may break open.
- Don’t make boxes too heavy.
You still need to move them!Use large boxes for light items and small boxes for heavier items.
- Find the right kind of box for different items. Heavy-duty boxes are perfect for heavy things like books. A cell kit is good for glasses and breakables. Wardrobe boxes are best for packing clothes so they can hang up.
- Stack books to avoid damaging the spines.
- Stack plates on end and wrap each dish individually. Try to group dishes of the same size together. When packing cups, wrap each one individually and then nest them together.
- Framed art should be wrapped in bubble wrap. You can also buy protective covers for the frame corners.
- Place masking tape in an ‘x’ shape across mirrors or artwork that’s covered by glass.
- Pack mirrors, artwork, and photos vertically in boxes instead of horizontally.
- Remember to label your boxes (and put it on more than just one side.) Consider adding a short inventory on each box instead of just a general title. (i.e. “Kitchen: pots, pans, and silverware)
Also, don’t forget to label fragile boxes!
- Try to clean linen items (like bedding, clothing, and blankets) so that you don’t carry germs or odors to your new home or storage unit.
- Polishing wood can provide extra protection from the elements while you move.
- Before storing, treat your leather items with conditioner to keep them in good condition.
- To prevent rust, wipe any metal items with machine oil or any other preventative.
- Disassemble your large furniture (like bed frames) and take off lampshades before moving to limit the risk of anything breaking.
- Cover your furniture with sheets to protect them from damage while moving.
- Start by placing the heaviest items at the bottom of your moving van or unit.
- Put your less-used items in the front of your moving van. This way, they’ll be loaded in the back of your storage unit.
- Store valuables and more important items behind others in your storage unit. This will make them harder to see and less likely to be stolen.
- Put fragile boxes on top.
- If you have sensitive items, consider renting a climate controlled storage unit. Items like documents, antiques, and clothing may do better at a controlled temperature and humidity level. If you don’t want to rent a controlled unit, you may want to buy a dehumidifier for your unit.
- Rent a storage unit that is slightly larger than your belongings. You’ll need space to walk between stacks of your items! This will make it easier to find your stuff after storing. If you leave space between boxes and the wall, it can improve ventilation.
- Come up with a plan and organize before you start packing. This can decrease the likelihood of your items breaking and help you find your stuff after it’s been stored.
- Does my current insurance plan cover stored items? This includes household items or motor vehicles.
- Does my storage facility offer different types of coverage?
- Will my items be covered if there’s an accident that’s the facility’s fault?
- Will my items be covered if there’s a natural disaster?
- Has the storage facility received many claims from other renters?
- Will I have to update my insurance policy when adding/removing items from storage? Keep a list of the items in your unit and their value.
- Am I storing highly valuable or sentimental items? If this is the case, you may want to splurge for a climate controlled unit.