Whether you’re downsizing, renovating or relocating, renting a storage unit is an efficient way of housing your belongings for any period of time. However, if you’ve never rented a storage unit, you might be feeling a bit intimidated by the whole process, your head buzzing with questions. Below are some useful tips for first-time renters that will surely help you with making the right decision.
Pick The Storage Unit That Meets Your Needs
Let’s assume that you’ve already decided what you want to put in storage, the next step is to inform yourself on different types of storage and choosing the right fit. Additionally, before renting a storage unit you might want to research the features that different storage facilities offer. This way you will be free to organize your moving without worrying about the safety of your valuable belongings.
Amenities to look for in a storage
- Size – Before choosing the size of your storage, anticipate what needs storing down the road. If you are renting long-term storage, a little extra space can be useful in the future. Ask the facility manager to give you a tour of the available units so that you have the proper idea of the space at your disposal.
- Indoor vs. Outdoor – This choice comes down to whether the items you’re storing are sensitive to high/low temperature or moisture. Indoor storages are located within the building, so not only are they safer, but the temperature will also be more stable than in outdoor units. On the other side, the benefit of outdoor storage is that you can easily load and unload items by driving right next to your unit. Which brings us to…
- Drive-up access – This is surely one of the most convenient storage solutions out there. Consider hiring local movers to help you with the heavy items. Look for moving companies with an experience like ASAP MOVERS LCC to ensure that your transfer of goods goes by smoothly.
- Climate control – When storing temperature-sensitive items such as wooden furniture, electronics or artwork, opt for climate-controlled units. Keep in mind that these units are more expensive, in some cases even 10%-20% more than non-climate-controlled ones.
- Security – When storing expensive items, make sure the facility has surveillance cameras or security alarms. Furthermore, you can inspect the locks used on storage units. The best advice is to stay away from facilities that only have padlocks, as they are easily cut by bolt cutters.
Know The Limitations When Renting A Storage Unit
While most items can be stored inside storage units, you should know that there are some things that are unwelcome. This can speed up the relocation process since you will know on time what to do with the unacceptable items instead of being unpleasantly surprised on a moving day. Here’s a short list of storage don’ts to having in mind when renting a storage unit:
- Dangerous, toxic or flammable material – Anything that might endanger the safety of your or other people’s items stays out of the unit.
- Unregistered or nonoperational vehicles – Some storages will allow you to store vehicles, but they must be fully functioning and registered. Furthermore, most storages will let you store up to four tires only.
- Perishable food – This includes animal food as well.
- Living things – In case it needs to be said, you cannot keep your pet in storage for the afternoon. The dark, airless space inside storage units is far from ideal animal housing. This stands for plants as well, as they will die due to lack of sunlight and water.
Protect Your Belongings
So your storage unit has all the right features, but is there anything else you can do to keep your belongings safe? What happens in case of theft, floods or any other damage? Don’t worry, that’s what storage insurance is for. However, the coverage will depend on the policy, so make sure to bring this topic to the storage manager. Don’t forget to ask about the exclusions as well!
While insurance is great to have, there are a couple of things you can do to minimize the risk of damage. Firstly, try not to keep extremely valuable items such as jewelry in storage units. They are not the perfect storage candidates, plus insurance policies usually don’t cover items of such high value. Secondly, be smart about how you store items. Use pellets to keep the items off the ground and cover them with plastic sheets to protect them against moisture and dust. If storing furniture, make sure to thoroughly clean it with a suitable polish or wax.
Make your storage unit accessible
If you thought to downsize your home will be the end of your worries, try decluttering an overpacked storage unit. To avoid such complications, we advise you to organize your storage for frequent access. To start off, labeling moving boxes will save you hours of mindless searching, so it’s important to do it right. Make sure to attach the labels both on top and on all sides of the boxes. Another great tip is to use a color system so they are easier to spot. Another great way to make your unit accessible is to make an inventory list. It’s a great way to keep track of what stuff you have in storage and will come in handy when you are searching for a specific item.
But, all the labeling won’t matter if you can’t reach your boxes, right? When renting a storage unit, most people just want to get rid of their surplus belongings. They end up throwing the boxes in without rhyme or reason and regret it only later. To avoid these mistakes, take some time aside to think about storage space organization. For example, use heavy boxes as a foundation and stack lighter boxes on top of them. Keep a step stool in the unit in case you need to retrieve the items on the top. Another important trick is to leave a pathway to get in and look around the back of your unit. Not only will you be making things easier for yourself, but your items will also be much safer when stored properly.