What 5 Things Should I Know Before Leasing a Storage Unit?
1. Will my belongings be safe, and will I feel secure when visiting?
You can feel safer and better protect your belongings from vandalism and theft by selecting a brightly lit storage facility with security features. Security features to look for are:
- Brightly lit exterior
- Fenced perimeters
- Electronic gates with individualized entry codes
- On-site managers
- Individually alarmed units
- Security cameras
Don’t forget to buy your own lock, and engage it whenever you leave your storage unit.
Tip: It’s up to you to protect your belongings with storage insurance. Your storage facility’s insurance will not cover your belongings, but some storage facilities offer storage insurance for purchase. Insurance coverage is often required.
2. Will the location fit my needs?
Consider how often you’ll visit your storage unit. If you’ll access your storage unit often, choose a convenient location. If you select a location near your home, school, business or place of work, you can save time and fuel.
Tip: Location affects price. If you won’t need to visit your storage unit often, consider a less expensive storage property that may not be as convenient.
3. Is the facility and storage unit clean and pest free?
When it comes to cleanliness and absence of pests, not all storage facilities are created equally! Choose a storage company with a reputation for providing clean and secure storage units. You should never have to clean out your storage unit before moving in.
Tip: Take a tour of the facility and your future storage unit before signing your contract.
4. Will I be able to access my storage unit when I need to?
Make sure the access offered by the storage facility will meet your needs. Gate hours typically run from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Some storage facilities offer 24-hour access, but you may pay more for it.
Tip: Don’t confuse gate hours with office hours. You’ll be able to visit your storage unit even when the office is closed. However, unless you have 24/7 access, there will be times when you cannot enter your storage unit.
5. Does this storage property offer the type and size of storage unit I need?
The hardest part is figuring out what you need! Research the features and advantages of indoor, outdoor and drive-up storage units, and make a quick list of what you’re storing. Then use an online storage unit calculator to find the best size storage unit for your needs, or ask your storage manager to help you.
When storing larger items, don’t forget to account for the size of the storage unit door. If you’re storing climate-sensitive items, choose a facility that offers climate control storage for protection from extreme temperatures and humidity.
Once you know what you need, reserve your storage unit online and then visit in person to meet the storage manager, ask questions and tour your storage unit before signing your lease.
Tip: Indoor storage units that are less conveniently located (further from the elevator, etc.) may lease for a lower rate.
For more helpful storage tips
Know Your Type: Indoor, Outdoor or Drive-up Storage Units
Indoor Storage Units
If you’re looking for a storage unit that seems more like a small house, then indoor storage may be for you. Indoor storage units with brightly lit hallways are pleasant to visit, but moving in may require more time and effort, particularly if you need to take an elevator to access your storage unit. However, indoor storage units boost advantages you can’t find with other types of storage. Indoor storage is more protected from dust, pests and humidity, and is more comfortable to visit.
Indoor Storage Units with Climate Control
When storing climate-sensitive belongings like clothing or artwork, indoor storage with climate control is your best option. Climate control offers protection from damage like cracking or warping of wood, and mildew or mold on fabrics. With the steady temperature of climate control, your belongings will stay protected from temperature extremes and humidity, and you’ll be more comfortable when visiting!
For more information about climate controlled storage
Drive-up Storage Units
Drive-up storage units are located on the ground floor, and offer the convenience of direct access from an exterior entrance. As the name implies, you can drive right up to them, which saves time when moving in! Drive-up storage units are usually the size of a one-car garage, and they typically feature a roll-up door. Roll-up doors allow you to maximize your usable storage space, and they also make it easier to move items into your storage unit.
Outdoor Storage Units
Outdoor storage units aren’t enclosed, but they may be covered. This storage option is great for vehicles, boats, trailers, motorcycles and RVs. Yet, classic car collectors and other auto enthusiasts sometimes opt for an enclosed drive-up storage unit for vehicle storage. Outdoor storage is often the most affordable type of storage. It’s ideal if you simply need a secure parking spot!
For more information on how to find your ideal storage unit
Pack Your Storage Unit Like a Pro in Three Steps
Step One: Gear Up with Great Boxes
Before you move your belongings into your storage unit, buy some sturdy moving boxes for packing. Resist the urge to store things inside plastic bags, which are not stackable and can trap moisture, causing mildew. Protect fragile belongings with plenty of bubble wrap or packing paper (not newspaper which can transfer ink), and fill boxes completely full. Don’t forget to label!
Step Two: Prepare to Move In
Ask your storage manager for a dolly or moving cart to use when moving in. Most facilities offer them for use without charge. Your storage manager may also offer pallets to stack your boxes on to help protect them against pests and water damage.
Step Three: Plan to Stay Organized and Maximize Storage Space
When packing your storage unit, it’s essential to have a plan. It will save you time, headaches and backaches! Follow these tips for efficiently packing your storage unit:
- Place the largest items against the far wall and along the sides of your storage unit. Place items you’ll access often near the entrance.
- Leave an aisle for accessing your belongings. Create aisles between furniture and stacks of boxes, or arrange your belongings in a “U” shape with open space for accessing items.
- Store big pieces of furniture vertically when possible.
- Stack chairs seat to seat.
- Disassemble furniture, such as tables and bed frames. Place screws and bolts in a bag and store them with the furniture.
- Stack boxes so that you can see the labels, and place the heavy boxes on the bottom of stacks.
- Store framed artwork and mirrors on end. Never store them flat.
- Use the storage space inside furniture drawers and wardrobes and other hollow items, even the dryer!
Self Storage Packing Tips from the Pro’s.
Not everyone can be an expert on packing for your storage unit, but now you don’t have to be! We want your items to last as much as you do. Here are some Packing Tips from the Pro’s to help make your storing experience stress-free.
1. Use good quality, strong, stackable boxes and containers.
The strength of your boxes will degrade with use. Similar sized boxes will make it easier to stack them, and will save you space. Do not use masking tape or cellophane tape. These tapes do not provide the strength necessary for secure closures.
2. Fill boxes completely to keep them from collapsing and damaging your belongings.
Make sure half empty boxes are on top of the stack, and heavier boxes on the bottom. Pack books and particularly heavy items in smaller boxes for easier lifting.
3. Label each box on several sides and indicate fragile boxes.
Each box’s label should be facing out so you can easily find what you’re looking for. Each box should also be labeled by what room they belong in. Each room’s belongings should be stacked in the same area so you can conveniently locate your items.
4. Clean your items before you store them!
Wipe all metal surfaces with a rag containing a few drops of machine oil to combat rust. Bedding linens should be cleaned or dry cleaned. Any crumbs or stains should be removed from your items to avoid attracting pests.
5. Make the best use of your space.
Utilize your area by using the tops of dressers and tables to stack boxes. Drawers are a good place for linens and smaller items. Mattresses should be standing flat, on end and not leaned to prevent lumps and damage to your mattress. Mirrors, windows, doors and screens, however, should be stored on edge and not flat.