What do you need to know about self storage?
Many people use self storage for just as many reasons, making renting a storage unit a solid solution for a large number of situations. Apartment renters and homeowners can use a storage facility to maximize their living space—from opening up that walk-in closet filled with Christmas decorations to getting that old boat out of the driveaway.
But self storage can also be used for so much more than giving you free space. Out-of-state college students use it to make packing up and heading home over summer easier and lighter by leaving bulky furniture and out of season clothing near campus. Deployed military members often put all their belongings in a storage unit, which can be large enough to hold all the contents of a house. Even small and large business owners benefit from the large inventory storage space found in self storage.
Here are 10 common questions about self storage you may want the answers to.
What are the basics of self storage?
The first thing many people need to know about storage units is the variety of sizes, ranging from 2x3 mini storage lockers to 10x30 garage-sized units. Most who use self storage to maximize their living space in an apartment or house go with a 5x5 or 5x10 storage unit. These units are comparable to a spare walk-in closet, with ceilings around 10 feet high.
When it comes to rent, the majority of self storage units are rented on a month-to-month basis, making them widely available on both short- and long-term leasing, with no obligation to rent longer than your first month. In most cases, the monthly rent will be due each month on your anniversary date. Also, do not be surprised by a one-time administration fee when signing the lease agreement. Lastly, the storage facilities may require your stored items and belongings are insure, which can be done with some homeowner policies, facility-offered insurance, or be self-insured.
How do I find the best storage unit for my needs?
When renting self storage there are many other factors to consider when searching for the unit best for your situation. For instance, those renting a storage unit in the Midwest, which can experience hot and humid summers along with cold, frigid winters, should consider using the climate control feature. Climate controlled units maintain a constant temperature and humidity level, protecting sensitive materials such as wood, plastic, and even fabrics as well as sensitive items such as electronics.
Other features include:
- Security features such as electronic gate access, which requires a keycode to enter the facility, as well as video surveillance and onsite management.
- 24-hour access allows you to get to your items at any time of day. This feature is key for business owners who may need to get to their inventory at odd hours that don’t fall within traditional business hours.
- Electrical access is a feature that is growing in popularity around the country. Essentially, your storage unit comes equipped with an electrical outlet. This feature is ideal for items that may need to maintain a charge, such as a car battery on a trickle charger.
- Drive-up access is ideal when storing larger sized items or high quantities, such as business inventory or the contents of your home during relocation. This feature allows you to pull your car, truck, or trailer directly to the unit for easy pickup and dropoff.
- Vehicle storage is also available and comes in three forms: outside and uncovered parking in a fenced-in area, covered parking under an awning, and fully enclosed parking in a drive-up unit. This is often used in cities with limited parking as well as military members own long-term deployments.
Does self storage come in a mobile pod?
Mobile self storage has become a popular and convenient trend, especially when relocating to different cities, as it allows you to load up all your belongings in a pod that is easily picked up and transported to your destination. These mobile storage containers are relatively secure and much more flexible than a brick and mortar storage facility. That being said, mobile storage pods are not self storage units.
Portable storage containers are great for those who need a safe place to keep their belongings for a short period of time or are relocating, but a self storage unit is more suitable for those who need to store their belongings in a more secure spot on a potentially semi-permanent basis.
Another point of fact is mobile storage cannot offer the many storage features a storage facility provides. For instance, most storage facilities today offer the climate control feature to protect against weather-related damages. A portable shell cannot provide this important protection for sensitive materials and items.
What can you store in a storage unit?
When it comes time to declutter your home or expand your workspace without raising your overhead, you may find yourself asking what exactly you can place in a storage unit—an ideal question to ask prior to renting your unit. Fortunately, you can safely store a large variety of items, which include:
- Clothing is one of the most common items stored, though climate control is recommended in areas with high seasonal humidity to prevent mildew growth.
- Furniture is another highly common type of item found in storage, and again, climate control is recommended, as well as strong security features such as video surveillance. Drive-up access can also make the storage experience easier.
- Electronics such as computers, televisions, gaming systems, and musical equipment are often placed in storage. Protect such items using security features and climate control.
- Paper items such as books, newspapers, and even paintings can be safely storage and preserved with proper practices and key features such as climate control.
The list can go on an on, but to make things simple and quick, any safe item can be secured and protected in a storage unit—from that dusty box of family photos in your closet to the excess chairs and desks taking up space at your office.
What can’t you store in a storage unit
If you can store any safe item in a storage unit, assume that you cannot store dangerous or (at the least) unsafe items, as well as anything alive—from plants to humans.
Dangerous items such as fertilizers or gasoline should need no explanation as to the dangers they pose, being highly flammable. And while storing a live plant may seem like no risk, such biological materials can lead to mold growth or attract pests to the inside of the unit. A more surprising item to avoid storing is scented candles, which can attract vermin or bugs with its sweet smell.
At the end of the day, if you have to question the safety of your item, then call your storage facility operator and ask for their rules on your particular item.
Is self storage short term or long term?
As we mentioned earlier, most storage facilities are available in month-to-month rentals and short-term leasing, making your time in a storage unit as long or as short as you need. For instance, a common reason to use self storage is during a relocation to a house that’s being constructed. Should your new home construction be delayed, there is no harm in needing another month in your storage unit. On the other hand, if you’re a college student stashing your dorm room furniture in a nearby storage unit as you head home and out of state of the summer, you only need to pay rent on a storage unit for those summer months you’re gone.
What’s the easiest way to find a storage facility?
Sure, when you’re driving around town, you may begin noticing storage facilities here and there—but how can you see what features they offer or rates you’ll pay? Storage.com allows you to do your search from the convenience of your home. Plus, our strong search filters allow you to hone in on the best self storage facility for your particular situation, finding facilities by location, price, features and more. You can even read up reviews of past and current renters to get a more accurate and informed picture of the particular facility.
Then, when you’re ready you can reserve directly online. In short, we help you not only find you the best self storage, but we make it easy too.
What happens when you stop paying for rent on a storage unit?
Essentially, not paying the rent on your storage unit puts your items at risk of being sold at auction or thrown out completely. Sure, storage auctions aren’t as common as television programs may make them out to be, but a facility will not keep your things safe and snug when you’re paying for the room. The rent protects theses items, and it also prevents fees on late payments.
It’s common practice for storage facility operators to charge fees on late payments. Paying your rent early is always a good idea to avoid a late fee, as it allows you some cushion on that due date.
Do I need to reserve a storage unit to rent?
While you don’t necessarily need a reservation, reserving your storage unit ahead of time is always the best practice. A reservation locks in the right size, location, price, and features you know you need ahead of time, while showing up without a reservation leads you at the mercy of what is available at the time—and that’s assuming that a single unit is available.
Again, we make the reservation process a breeze as you can filter your results to your specific needs and lock-in that unit long before you arrive at the facility.
What documentation is needed to rent self storage?
Documentation is essential when making a reservation and renting a storage unit. That being said, the documentation isn’t often specific. Most storage facilities just require verified identification such as a driver’s license, state ID card, or even a passport. Some facilities in higher populated cities may require a criminal background, but this is not as common.
If you’re still unsure of which documentation is acceptable or needed, it’s always a good idea to call ahead and ask the storage facility operator what they all require when storing with them.