When we talk about the safest way to store your stuff in the self storage industry, we’re thinking of two things.
First, there’s keeping your valuables safe from potential theft. The fact is, self storage facilities have much better security than your home, but no security is foolproof. Because of that, it’s a good idea to know what to look for in storage security and to know what steps you can take.
Second, safety in a storage locker means your stuff remains in good shape. For this, you’ll want to look at the features storage companies offer and what you can do to protect your valuables.
Check the Security
When you’re ready to get a storage unit, find a few nearby facilities and compare them. Ask about their security features.
Most facilities will give a free tour, so this is not only a good time to ask, but to have a look around their offerings.
Every facility should have gated, coded access, 24-hour camera surveillance, good lighting everywhere, and an alarm system.
Improvements would include a high stone or concrete wall rather than a fence, a resident manager, individually-alarmed units, and the Nokē Smart Entry system.
If a facility has any one of these, let alone several or all, they deserve bonus marks as they’ve brought their security up a level.
Pick the Right Lock
Now, we come to one way you can personally keep your valuables safe, and that’s to use a strong lock. There are two excellent types available. One works on all doors, while the other works on most roll-up doors.
Disc locks are the first type. These are, as you would expect, shaped like a disc with a keyhole in the center of the circle. The bar is curved and short. It’s easy to put these on the lock plate. However, it’s difficult to get bolt cutters onto them. While it is possible, it would take a thief extra time to do so. This is likely to deter them or see them caught or chased off before they can cut the bolt.
Cylinder locks are the second type. These insert into part of the lock plate on most roll-up doors. As such, there’s no bolt to cut.
We mentioned Nokē Smart Entry. This system by Janus International allows access to your unit via Bluetooth.
You simply use an app on your phone to enter the gate and your unit. There’s no bolt to cut, so this system is more secure than physical locks. So far few facilities have moved to this system, but we expect more to in the future.
As for your key or your Nokē password, only share these with someone you absolutely trust or no one at all.
Make an Inventory
It will take a bit of time to pack your stuff for storage right. We have dozens of articles covering how to do this in general and for specific items.
If you want to ensure you know exactly what you’ve stored, we encourage you to make an inventory as you go. This involves writing down what’s in each box and transferring that information to a spreadsheet. You can then easily search it when you want to retrieve a particular item or if you just want to know if you put that one dress shirt in storage.
This is also important for insurance purposes. In the unlikely case where your stuff gets damaged in a disaster or stolen, you’ll be able to show your storage insurance company exactly what you lost.
Get Storage Insurance
That leads right into the importance of getting good storage insurance and not skimping on it. You will want the value of all your things covered, something else that an inventory can help you calculate.
Most facilities require a minimum amount of insurance and will provide the opportunity to sign up for it with their company of choice. Sign up for it and make sure it’s enough to cover your stuff. You can also get supplemental storage insurance on your own, or get that before you store so you can simply show the facility that you’re covered.
Your homeowners or renters insurance probably doesn’t cover your storage unit. You may be able to have them add a rider to your policy that does. If not, there are lots of storage insurance companies out there that you can use.
Hide Your Valuables
When thieves do manage to break into a storage unit, they’re in a rush. They grab a few items from the front and flee.
Because of this, we recommend storing your really valuable things in the back. Jewelry and other valuables can go in inconspicuous boxes behind everything else, making it highly unlikely that a thief would find them.
Rent a Unit with Climate Control
Now, we finally come to how to keep your valuables in good condition, the second aspect of self storage safety.
You’ll want to make sure everything you store is clean and dry. That way, they won’t attract pests and won’t encourage the growth of mold and mildew.
You should also rent a unit with climate control, especially anywhere the weather gets hot and humid or cold and dry.
This will keep the temperature in the unit between about 50 and 80 degrees, and between 30% and 50% humidity, safe conditions for most of your stuff. This helps prevent wood and paper from getting too damp and expanding or too dry and cracking. It prevents metals from warping and discourages mold growth on art and other items.
These measures will ensure the safest environment for your valuables, whether you plan to store them short-term or long-term.