Is renting a storage unit with your significant other as much of a commitment as renting an apartment? Not exactly. After all, you and your partner won’t be living in the storage unit together (at least, you really, really shouldn’t). But it still is a commitment—albeit a month-to-month one—as is everything that you and your boyfriend or girlfriend invest money in together.
If you’ve ever moved in with someone you were dating only to find out that Mr. or Ms. Right was actually Mr. Doesn’t Pay Rent or Ms. Doesn’t Clean the Apartment, you know the risks involved in sharing a space with someone, even someone who seems perfect. And while sharing a storage unit with your significant other is a pretty low-risk commitment, there are still a few things you should know before you sign the lease together.
1. Paying Rent
As we mentioned, most self storage leases are month-to-month. That means rent is due every month, so talk to your significant other about who will pay and how you’ll pay. Make sure that you can both afford the storage unit. If your storage facility offers autopay, make sure that the person whose card is on file is financially responsible. Avoid overly complicated ways of paying for the storage unit, like alternating months or each writing checks for half of the amount.
2. Choosing the Right Size
You might know what size storage unit works best for you as an individual, but if you’re renting a storage unit as a couple, you’ve got to account for both of your stuff. Take an inventory of what you’ll be storing together and use that information to choose the right size storage unit. You might not realize that your significant other has a whole closetful of shoes that need to go into storage. You also should account for whether or not you need climate control or storage insurance. Just because you don’t care about what condition your stuff is in when you take it out of storage doesn’t mean that your partner doesn’t.
3. Storage Practices
From video games to vintage clothing, there’s a right and wrong way to store everything. If you don’t have time to read every single how-to article on our blog, know this: All storage advice has one thing in common, and that one thing is cleanliness. Make sure that you and your significant other take the time to clean any items that are going into storage. That means washing clothing, wiping down furniture and making sure that there isn’t a hidden box of crackers that ended up in that cabinet you’re storing. Dirt, food and moisture can breed mold, cause rust and attract pests to your storage unit—bad news for both of your belongings.
4. How to Use the Facility
Self storage is pretty simple, but that doesn’t mean that people don’t make mistakes when they’re on property. From using the gate code to locking up correctly, make sure you both know what you’re doing. Know how to enter the storage facility, what the hours of operation are, what the office hours are, where your storage unit is and how to lock it up securely. Some other things you should both know: where you can recycle or throw out things you don’t want, what number to call if you need assistance and the basics of self storage etiquette.
5. What Happens if You Break Up
Sure, sure, you’re probably the couple that’s going to stay together forever, so this advice totally doesn’t apply to you, but hypothetically if it did, you’re not going to want to share a storage unit anymore. Fortunately, this is where the month-to-month lease kicks in. Simply wait out the remaining time that you’ve paid for and then one of both of you can move your stuff out of the storage unit. Be sure to have both of your names on your self storage lease, that way in the event of an ugly break up (again, definitely talking about some other couple that isn’t you), you’re both still able to access the storage unit, get your belongings out and move on.