Austin, TX: Top Things to Know About Storage

Krista Diamond | Apr 13, 2016 @ 11:22 AM

Awesomeness Comes at a Price But Storage Doesn’t Have To

Unless middle school geography failed you horribly, you’re probably aware that Austin, as progressive as it may be, is still in Texas. That means Texas labor laws and Texas wages. The $7.25 minimum wage doesn’t sound that bad (okay, yes it does) if you’re not factoring in the average rent of a one bedroom apartment: $1,200. Sure, rent prices aren’t tragically high, but we’ll ask the question you’re probably already asking yourself: Can you even afford storage? The short answer is yes, you can. And if the above average cost of living has forced you into a tiny place that’s jam packed with roommates, you probably need it. Decide on how much you’re willing to spend on a storage unit ($70 a month is a safe middle ground) and calculate how much space you actually need. If you only need a generous closet’s worth of extra room, you’ll be fine with a 5 x 5 unit or smaller. Facilities like Watson and Taylor Self Storage in South Austin can hook you up with a non-climate controlled unit for $59 a month and will only charge you an extra six bucks for climate control. At Great Value Storage you can get an even bigger 5 x 10 unit for just $57 a month. And don’t forget that most facilities will let you share a unit with a friend which will keep the cost even lower.

So if storage isn’t as crazy expensive as everything else in Austin, what’s the catch? Well, an estimated 110 people move to Austin every day and while it’s true that you can expect new storage facilities to pop up and existing ones to renovate in order to accommodate more tenants, it’s challenging for any business to keep up with the influx of new folks. That means less square footage per person and less availability of desirable unit sizes. We suggest finding your way around roadblocks like this by expanding your search radius to include the outskirts of the city. Try not to rent close to downtown or near The University of Texas. This advice is especially relevant if you’ll only be visiting your storage unit a few times a year.  For example, If you live in North Austin but the cheapest storage unit with the amenities you want is in East Austin, is a little bit of traffic and a half hour commute twice a year going to kill you? We think not. Use the money you save to buy yourself some Lone Star and breakfast tacos and celebrate how thrifty you are.

You Will Work for a Startup

But will your startup need commercial storage? If you have some kind of inventory, chances are that the small (but hip) office you’re working out of could benefit from a little breathing room. There are many benefits to utilizing commercial storage. Many facilities offer business centers and will be happy to accept deliveries on your behalf. They also offer a level of protection for your items that your office or home probably can’t match. Common storage facility security features include 24 hour cameras, gated access and reliable locks. Storage facilities typically limit access to units based on who is actually on the lease and who has permission to enter, so you can be sure that the only individuals coming into contact with your inventory are the people you trust. And hey, if you’re as tech-savvy as everyone else in Austin is, look for a facility that offers online bill pay so that you can pay for your storage unit just as easily as you pay for your Uber ride.

I-35 Will Make You Cry

When it comes to choosing a storage unit, it’s easy to overlook how you’re going to to actually get to your storage unit. Unless you’re a sorcerer of traffic magic, taking I-35 is inevitable. Like most overgrown cities, traffic in Austin is bad. On I-35, it’s really, really bad, especially if you’ve chosen to live in North Austin. The solution? Choose a facility that offers 24 hour access if you’re going to be taking items in and out of your storage unit on a regular basis. And of course, plan accordingly. Google Maps is shockingly accurate when it comes to telling you how long it’s going to take you to get somewhere in current traffic, so as long as you know when your storage facility closes, you’ll know whether or not you’re going to make it and how much time you’ll have there. If you’re moving a small item in or out of your storage unit, you can always save yourself a headache and utilize Austin’s decent public transportation. It runs 24 hours a day, it’s cheap and some buses even have wifi. Thanks to Austin’s tech-savvy reputation, rideshare services like Uber and Lyft can help get you to your storage unit even if you don’t have a car. Or you can just be like that weird guy who rides his horse around traffic. That works too.

Music Storage in the Live Music Capital of the World

Austin City Limits and South by Southwest are huge music events in Austin (okay, that last one is about other stuff too), but if you’ve been in town for over five minutes, you probably know that live music in Austin is a year round thing. If you’re thinking of joining the ranks of Willie Nelson, Hank Williams, Elvis and Janis Joplin and playing some music in Austin, you’ll benefit from putting your instruments and equipment in storage when they’re not in use. Learn how to properly store these items before you find a unit so that you know what to do once you’ve locked down a space and so you know what you’re looking for in a facility. You’ll want a climate controlled unit to combat that Texas humidity, which can damage electronic equipment, rust metal and warp wood. You’ll also want to consider an inside unit as Austin is subject to occasional flooding and water has an annoying habit of finding its way under the doors of outside units. And last, if you’re going to be bringing equipment back to your storage unit after gigs (or having your roadie do it for you), you’ll want a facility that offers 24 hour access.