By Sarah Clark, Certified Self Storage Manager
Self storage is the perfect option for those who are downsizing, moving, have business storage needs or just need some extra room at home. There are a few simple questions (listed below) to ask yourself when considering using self storage. By asking yourself the following questions, choosing the right storage option will be an easy and stress-free experience!
- What type of storage unit would best benefit me?
- What size storage unit is ideal for me?
- What are the key features to look for at a storage facility?
Drive up units are exterior units you can drive right up to and unload. This type unit is usually the least expensive option. Keep in mind these unit types are exposed to the outside temperatures and humidity year round. They are ideal for items such as lawn equipment, patio furniture, plastic children’s toys and holiday decorations. If you are storing items such as wooden and fabric furniture in a drive up unit, it is recommended that the storage is short term to help prevent damage. Wooden furniture can warp or crack if exposed to high heat and humidity then cold temperatures. The temperature change is what causes the issue. Be sure to use covers and wrap items like sofas and mattress for an added layer of protection
An interior unit is a great option for those looking to visit their storage unit frequently but are not in need of temperature control. Interior units are sheltered from the rain, sun and snow, giving you easy access of your storage unit during any weather conditions. Most facilities have lighting in the hallways of the interior buildings that is motion detected, providing visibility at any time. If you have really large bulky items, make sure you get a unit close to the exterior door so you don’t have to haul those around corners and through long halls. Sometimes you need to stick with a drive up unit if the items are too large.
A temperature controlled unit is the best option for long-term storage and for storage of certain sensitive items. These items would include antiques, paper documents, electronics and wooden and fabric furniture to name a few. These units are kept between 55 and 80 degrees year round, which is still much better than most attics, garages and sheds. These units are available mostly with interior access, but some storage facilities offer exterior drive up options as the demand for them increases. These units, although temperature controlled, typically do not offer humidity control, so keep that in mind. Consider using a product like DampRid® to help pull the moisture from the air and away from your items.
The size of storage unit you need is the second most important question to ask yourself. Renting a unit that is too small is a common mistake that is made. Storage units are an approximate size, and it is suggested to rent a unit one size bigger than you think you will need. For example, if you think you need a 10×10, opt for the 10×15 instead. This will ensure you have enough room to safely store your items and still provide easy access to everything. Larger temperature controlled units, such as 10×30 and above, can be uncommon and can also be very costly. Consider renting a larger drive up unit for items that are not temperature sensitive and a smaller temperature controlled units for the items that are temperature sensitive. This will keep the times safe that are too sensitive for temperature swings and high heat or cold, but also give you the large space to store items that will not be affected by those conditions. You get the best of both worlds!
The features offered at a storage facility are also key to picking the right storage option. The safest way to store is to look for a property with camera surveillance, fencing, an electronic gate and lighting. You want the property that is fully fenced and has cameras at several locations throughout the grounds. An electronic gate is also ideal, as that keeps unwanted visitors out at all times.
Access hours can vary for each facility and can range from 24-hour access to restricted access overnight. If you are in a city or urban area with higher crime, you want the restricted access hours for your safety and the safety of your belongings. On the flipside, if you are in a very rural area where fields, farms and tractors are more common than cars and people, you can go for the 24-hour access property.
Look for a facility with a rental office and an experienced property manager on site who an answer any questions you may have. Having a property manager on site is another layer of protection for you and your belongings. Plus, it is very helpful for you when you are on site and have a question or need some supplies. Typically, the rental office will have retail items for sale that are very useful for storage, such as boxes, tape, locks and covers.
Added features such as free moving trucks, online rentals, convenient payment methods and third-party insurance availability are also things to look for when choosing a storage facility. These extra perks can really come in handy during your stay.
By asking yourself these few simple questions and taking note of the answers, you will be sure to rent the perfect unit at the best company for your storage needs. Contact us to speak with an experienced property manager or begin your storage experience by renting a unit online now.