Self-storage is a mainly American industry which involves the rental of storage units on a usually short-term basis. Both businesses and individuals rent such spaces. Most individuals use them to store household items while they move or to house things if they move to a smaller home. Businesses tend to use them for excess inventory or records. If you’re new to the concept, you probably have some questions. Here are seven things you need to know about self-storage units.
Not all storage facilities are the same
You may think that any storage unit facility is the same as another. However, there may be differences even in units owned by the same company. Cleanliness, temperature control, security and customer services can vary. Some companies will help you pack and move while others won’t. For example, if you do business with Clutter storage units, they pack your items and photograph and catalog them before transporting them to a secure facility which is closed to the public. When you want to get your items back, they deliver them to your doorstep. Not every provider offers such a comprehensive service.
You may need to get your own insurance
Some storage facilities don’t take responsibility for the items in your storage unit. If they get stolen or damaged, you may have to foot the bill for replacing or repairing them. You may be offered the option of insurance when you rent your space, but this may not be the most cost-effective option. Speak with your home insurer or another insurance agent to find out the options available to you.
Security practices vary
Some storage units are simply secured with a padlock. Others have newer cylinder locks which can’t be cut with a bolt cutter. However, you should also inquire about whether alarms are installed on every door and if records are kept of every time units are accessed. Video cameras and on-site security personnel are also featured you should ask about.
There are rules about what you can and can’t store
You may believe that if you rent a unit, you can store whatever you want but this isn’t the case. Different facilities will have different rules but you generally shouldn’t store anything that can hurt people or damage your belongings or those of others. Firearms, flammable substances, and hazardous materials won’t be allowed. Food items or animal products may also be banned. Be sure to check the rules before you move in.
Climate control can be worth the expense
Renting a climate-controlled unit may cost more but depending on what you’re storing, it may be worth it. Clothing, furniture, electronics, and antique items can be adversely affected by extreme temperatures. If you have delicate items, you want to have a climate-controlled atmosphere.
You may not need as much space as you think you do
Sure, you have lots of stuff but you may still be considering a space that’s too large. Consider disassembling furniture, equipment, and other items which can be taken apart. You can also use drawers in dressers or tables to store clothing or other small items. Chairs should also be stacked seat to seat if their shape allows it.
Not all storage facilities allow 24/7 access
Will you need to add or remove things from your unit outside of business hours? If so, you need to ask specifically about 24/7 access. Not all facilities are open 24 hours. Some close on Sundays and holidays or close at 5 pm. Look into this when you are shortlisting your storage facility.
If you need to store your possessions for any reason, it is important that you choose your storage facility carefully. Since not all facilities are the same, you need to think about your needs before you hand over the first month’s rent.