Storage facilities offer many different unit options because everyone’s need or purpose for renting a unit is unique to their specific situation and lifestyle. Whereas some clients may only need to store seasonal items, sporting or camping gear, or items they simply don’t need on a regular basis, others need to store an entire house while relocating or selling a home.
Because of the unique uses and requirements of these units, storage facilities offer many different options to be accommodating to their clients and better satisfy their needs. So selecting the right unit to fit your needs can greatly influence your experience with a storage facility.
The selection process of a storage unit and facility can be broken down into 3 easy steps:
Decide what to store and the unit size needed
Consider how often you’ll need access to the unit
Select a storage facility based on security features
First, consider the items you intend on storing in your unit to aid in determining what unit size you’ll need.
The storage unit will need to be large enough to house all your items with some room to navigate inside the unit for easy retrieval of specific items later. Making efficient use of your unit helps you not only rent the smallest size you’ll need but will save you money as well. To determine the unit size needed, make a list of all items and factor in how many boxes or containers you think you’ll need for packing them. Measure your larger items such as furniture and appliances to calculate the total space needed. Many storage facilities offer unit calculators or size guides on their website.
Next, consider how often you will need access to your unit and how long you’ll need the storage unit for.
If you are only storing seasonal and other items that you won’t need routine access to, you might consider a unit on an upper level or farther from an entrance or elevator as this could save you money each month. However, if you will need to access your unit on a regular basis, storing on a main floor, closer to an entrance, or even selecting a drive up unit may make more sense.
Also take into consideration the access hours of the facility you plan to store with. Most storage facilities offer extended access hours beyond normal business hours, so if you will need access on the weekends or before and after work, make sure the facility has access hours to accommodate this. For business and commercial storage customers, this can be very important as you may be primarily starting or ending your day at the storage facility and need access earlier and later.
Some facilities offer incentives for both short-term and long-term storage needs. For example, if you will only need the storage unit for a short time, there may be a monthly discount and if you will be needing the unit long-term there may be an incentive for prepaying. The facility managers should be able to answer your questions regarding these incentives.
Finally, become familiar with the safety and security features of your storage facility
You will want to consider the value of the items you will be placing into storage and check with your homeowners insurance to see if it covers offsite storage. Most facilities require insurance, so it’s a good idea to check in advance. If your items are not covered by your policy, the storage facility may offer inexpensive coverage.
Some security features to look for in a self storage facility are:
Gated perimeter with computerized gate access
Individually alarmed units
On-site facility managers
Additional facility features to look for may include:
Residential and business storage
Covered RV/Boat/Auto storage
Boxes & moving supplies
Tenant property insurance
Monthly rentals/no deposit
Open 7 days a week
These are usually standard at most facilities, but it’s a good idea to check the facility website and/or call to find out exactly what they offer.
Good questions to ask yourself before selecting a unit or storage facility are:
How many items am I looking to store?
What size are the items I need to pack away?
How far am I willing to drive to get to my unit?
How long will I need a storage unit?
Do I require a temperature-controlled storage unit?
What security and other features are available?