So, you don’t have a lot of experience with self storage and you’re wondering how to make the experience a cinch from the beginning. Let these words of experience guide you by helping you avoid some potential pitfalls and giving you some tips.
Search and Compare
Before you rent a unit, compare facilities. Don’t look at prices alone. See what the facilities in your area have to offer. Do they sell supplies on-site? Are their security systems effective? Is the staff friendly? You can learn quite a bit without even going in, by checking Yelp and Google reviews. Make sure that the facility you pick has the services you need, such as climate control, and the size unit you need.
Before you even rent your unit, figure out the size you’ll need. Do you need a 5x5, which is the size of a large closet, a 10x20, which can hold the contents of a two-bedroom apartment, or something in between? Once you know, draw the shape of it on a piece of graph paper, and sketch in where you think your boxed items, furniture, and so on will fit. This sort of visualization can help a lot when you actually start filling the unit.
One Stop Solution
When possible, rent at a facility that sells storage supplies on-site. That includes a variety of boxes for different purposes, such as boxes for books, drinking or wine glasses, and so on, plus tape, locks, hand carts, packing materials, and more. Depending on what you’re storing, you might be able to rent your unit and get the majority of your storage supplies all at once.
Not all facilities keep the same hours. Many close around 6:00 or 7:00 in the evening, and others stay open until 10:00 or even midnight. Those with later hours can be much more convenient. For example, you may want to pick something up from your unit after work, but many of us commute in heavy traffic. You’ll want the facility to still be open when you get there.
Stay On Your Feet
Most self storage unit floors are made of concrete, and wet concrete can be slippery. Consider getting rubber floor tiles for your unit. These have a grip to them, and can help you keep from falling, even if you spill something on the floor or it otherwise gets wet.
Speaking of floors getting wet, if the facility is in an area prone to flooding, it’s a good idea to get wooden pallets to stack your boxes on.
Use a Cylinder Lock
If your unit has a roll-up door, consider getting a cylinder lock instead of a padlock. Cylinder locks fit into the latch plates in such a way that they work like an ordinary door lock. They’re very secure, easy to use, and cost about the same amount as a circular padlock.
If you don’t have much to store, and don’t want to bother going to a facility, consider valet storage.
Here’s how it works: The valet storage company brings you however many boxes or bins you need to pack what you want to store. You pack, and they take the bins to their facility and store them for you securely. When you need a box back, you schedule a drop-off. It’s incredibly convenient, especially for people who live in cities where many people use mass transit instead of cars.
These tips should help you not only choose a great facility, but make the most of your self storage experience. For more helpful advice on everything from how to store specific types of items to ways to better organize your home, peruse our articles in The Renter’s Bent Blog.