Everything You Need to Know to Find a Self Storage Facility
Sometimes, renting a self-storage facility is a necessary part of moving. Whether you’re between homes and living with a friend, if you’re moving into a smaller home for a while or have just run out of storage space, Storage facilities provide security and convenience for times just like these.
Whatever your reason, you will need to know how to choose a self storage facility that suits your needs.
Types of Storage Units
Self storage companies generally have different size rooms with variable options like climate control or outside units to fit the customers’ needs. Self storage units range in size from 10x5 to 20x20. A standard single garage door is usually the point of entry for outside units, which makes loading and unloading the units very easy. To access inside units, you have to first enter a standard door prior to getting to your unit. This makes loading and unloaded a little more difficult but these units usually cost less money. The units usually are lockable from the outside by the tenant. In most cases, you can access your units any time of the day or night. They are generally rented monthly and the company renting them may offer security features including automatic gates, cameras, motion detectors and individual unit alarms. Personal belongs that are sensitive to extreme temperatures and/or humidity can be stored in climate controlled units. These units offer the same features as standard units but with the added benefit of air conditioning.
Similar to self storage in relative size, portable storage units look like small tractor-trailer units. Several companies offer these and will deliver them to a residence or business. Once filled, they can either be locked and left where they are, returned to a central holding facility or shipped to a new location for unloading. These are often used by businesses requiring temporary increases in storage space on-site, and by residents on the move or remodeling. A big benefit to using portable storage is there’s no need to rent a truck. The unit is delivered to your house or business, it's loaded and then picked up by the storage company.
Many consumers need to store vehicles away from the elements and in increased security when not in use. These are generally little more than huge warehouse spaces where the vehicles are parked in numbered spaces until needed. Some facilities do have individual units where more expensive or unique vehicles can be placed away from other cars and trucks for greater protection and security. These are very expensive facilities to rent, but are quite good at protecting and managing vehicle storage.
Things to Consider Before Renting
How much space do you need? Self storage facilities usually offer units in several different sizes. For instance, a small-size storage unit is typically about five feet by ten feet, which would hold the contents of a one bedroom apartment if packed tightly. Ten feet by ten feet is another common size for self storage units, and can hold the contents of a two-bedroom apartment or home.
How long do you need the self storage unit? The length of time you intend to store your items can affect which storage facility you choose. For instance, if you are only going to store your stuff for a couple of months, you will probably want to pay closer attention to rates and contract terms. On the other hand, if you are planning on long-term self storage, then the amenities each facility offers may weigh a little heavier on your decision.
Is the monthly rate a move-in special, or an ongoing rate? Many storage facilities offer move-in specials in order to entice potential customers. Their goal is to make you sign the papers without continuing to shop around. Be sure to keep this mind, and don’t let them trick you: Ask how long the move-in special will last, and how much the regular rate is. If you will need to use the storage unit for more than just a few months, you will probably want to compare regular rates as well as move-in specials.
What amenities does the self storage facility offer? There are a variety of amenities offered by self storage facilities. Some are climate-controlled, meaning that they are kept at a certain temperature (and sometimes a certain humidity, too); this type of environment is perfect for valuable items or collectibles that can be damaged by extremes in temperature or abrupt changes in humidity. Many have fences, gates, and security systems to protect customers’ belongings. Extended hours, special padlocks, and on-site management are other amenities self storage facilities may offer.
What are the terms for moving out? Even if you won’t be moving your stuff out of self storage for a while, you will want to know a facility’s terms before committing to anything. Most self storage facilities rent space month-by-month, which means that you can leave at any time. However, you will usually be required to notify the facility 30 days in advance.