All you have to do is put your stuff into your storage unit, lock it up and drive away, right? It’s so simple! While that’s technically true, there are still a number of mistakes—10 to be exact— that you might be making that could affect your belongings, your safety and your overall self storage experience. Here’s what you’re doing wrong:
1. Not Placing Expensive Items in the Back of Your Unit
Storage facilities have excellent security measures in place like 24 hour surveillance cameras, gated access and on-site management, but it never hurts to take a few steps of your own to protect your belongings in the rare event of a break-in. Placing your most expensive and irreplaceable items in the back of your unit will limit a burglar’s ability to make off with the good stuff, as they’ll most likely be in a hurry to grab whatever they see first.
2. Putting Moisture Sensitive Items on the Floor of Your Unit
If you’re storing something that you know will be totally destroyed by a little water, don’t place it directly on the floor of your unit. You never know if the person in the unit next to you is storing a fridge that hasn’t been defrosted or if that summer thunderstorm is going to turn into a flash flood. Buy a wood pallet to elevate your items, or place your more delicate belongings on top of those plastic storage containers or that beat up piece of furniture you don’t care about anyway.
3. Ignoring Facility Hours
A quick phone call or visit to your storage facility’s website before you go will eliminate the annoyance of getting there and finding yourself locked out. You might assume that most storage facilities can be accessed 24 hours a day, but that’s actually not a very common feature. While it might be tempting to contact on-site management after-hours and ask to be let in, take a moment to consider how you feel when you’re woken up in the middle of the night.
4. Forgetting to Update Your Contact Information
Got a new number? Moved to a new address? Tell your storage facility. If someone on staff needs to contact you about a missed payment or an issue with your unit, they won’t be able to if they don’t have your correct contact information. Like most of life’s problems, most self storage dilemmas are often solved pretty quickly with a little communication.
5. Not Taking Advantage of Online Bill-Pay
Quite possibly the best thing about being alive in 2016 is the ability to take care of business without ever having to put pants on. If your facility offers online bill-pay, you’re doing yourself a serious disservice by not adding it to the list of matters that you conduct from the comfort of your couch.
6. Tailgating Into the Property
But you’re a tenant! It doesn’t matter if you enter the facility by driving in behind someone else who just entered their gate code! Sorry to break it to you, but in addition to potentially causing damage to your vehicle, you might trigger something in the facility’s security system by doing so. You might not actually be a shady character, but tailgating to get into the property kind of makes you look like one.
7. Leaving Stuff Behind After You Move Out
Even if you’re leaving that antique table behind as a gift, the storage facility cannot accept it as one. Leaving items in your storage unit after you move out could result in a cleaning fee too, which is never fun. Instead of ditching your stuff, ask your facility manager about charities or recycling centers in the area that might accept your unwanted belongings.
8. Not Reporting Sketchy Behavior
Think there’s someone living in the storage unit next to yours? Noticed people hopping over the fence at night? Drop by the office and give the facility manager a heads up. You’ll be doing your fellow tenants a huge favor and looking out for your own safety as well.
9. Bringing Your Dog to the Facility
Obviously if it’s a service dog, this doesn’t apply. But if it’s just regular old Fido, you might want to reconsider. Even if you’re using outside, drive-up storage, you shouldn’t bring your fur baby. Other tenants might not love your dog as much as you do and because your storage facility is liable for any dog-related mishaps that could occur, they’d prefer you to leave him at home too.
10. Storing Dirty Items
We’re not talking dirty items as in those old hiking boots that are caked in mud, smelly and falling apart. We’re talking about the things that look clean enough but haven’t actually been washed or wiped down in months. Before you store anything, take the time to clean it. A tiny wine stain on a wedding dress can eat away at delicate lace, a child’s backpack with unseen crumbs at the bottom can attract ants. Take it from us, a little spot cleaning can make a huge difference.