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Five Tips for Choosing a Storage Facility

Krista Diamond | September 10, 2018 @ 8:00 AM

We all need to reduce clutter every now and then. That’s where self storage comes in. If you’re looking to rent a storage unit after a move or after a serious spring cleaning session (or for any other reason), it’s important to choose wisely. The right storage facility will keep your stuff safe for however long you need to store it. The wrong storage facility...well, let’s just say the wrong storage facility won't do that.

Doesn’t it kind of seem like there’s a storage facility on every corner? If you’re overwhelmed by options, here’s how to choose the right one.

1. Consider Amenities

These days, a storage unit is more than just a 5x5 space where you keep some of your belongings. The modern storage facility offers way more than just extra space. When choosing a storage facility, consider the various features that are available at each one (pro tip: you can filter your search on StorageFront to browse storage facilities with the features you want).

Here are some self storage amenities you might want:

  • Climate control: This one comes standard at most storage facilities, but it’s still a good idea to make sure you’re choosing a place that offers it. Climate control regulates the temperature and humidity in your storage unit to prevent mold, mildew and other damage.

  • RV/boat/vehicle storage: This can mean an uncovered lot, covered outdoor spaces or individual garage-style units for vehicles. You might even find RV wash bays, dump stations and other additional related amenities.

  • Wine storage: This can be small lockers for private collectors or larger storage units for commercial wine storage. Either way, the focus is on keeping the temperature in the ideal range for wine.

  • Moving supplies: Many storage facilities have on-site retail shops that sell boxes, tape and other moving supplies.

  • Truck rental: If you need to rent a moving truck, renting a storage unit at a facility that does on-site truck rental will save you a trip.

  • Commercial storage: Small business owner? A storage facility that specializes in commercial storage may be willing to accept packages on your behalf and offer storage units with inventory storage in mind.

Keep in mind that there are other less common self storage amenities out there including storage facilities with on-site business centers and even those that let you rent storage units for band practice.

2. Look at Reviews

Does anyone really buy anything without looking at reviews anymore? Consult with Yelp, Google and Facebook before booking a storage unit. Good reviews are essential. Don’t just look at the average rating; take the time to actually read a few reviews. You want to make sure the glowing reviews look legitimate and that the less than flattering reviews aren’t total dealbreakers.

3. Factor in Location

Location, location, location. If you’re looking for a storage unit, the first thing you’re probably looking for is one that’s close by. This is a great start, but don’t be dissuaded if the storage facilities near your home are out of your budget or aren’t appealing to you. Broaden your search to include storage facilities on the outskirts of town. These are typically more affordable than the more convenient options (especially if you live in the center of a city) and will likely have more availability.

4. Do a Tour

We know, we know. Spending Saturday afternoon touring a storage facility isn’t as glamorous as brunching with friends, but it’s worthwhile to tour prospective storage facilities before booking a storage unit. Tours don’t take long, and they allow you to see how clean and safe a storage facility is before you leave your belongings there. Always call a storage facility to inquire about tours as they don’t all offer them.

5. Factor in Fees

Here’s the deal: a storage unit that rents for $45 a month doesn’t always cost $45. You have to factor in fees. This typically includes an administrative fee and/or a security deposit. The storage facility may also require you to buy insurance and purchase a lock. Other fees to look out for down the line may include late rent fees, lock cutting fees if you lose your key, rent increases and cleaning fees if you leave a mess when you move out.

A storage facility that charges some or even all of the above is reasonable, but anything else might not be the best deal. Be sure to factor in storage facilities that can save you money through new tenant promotions, student and military discounts and other deals.

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