External storage facilities can come in handy. Maybe you’re moving and need a temporary location to stash surplus belongings. Maybe you have furniture or small vehicles you need to store full-time. Or maybe you’re a college student looking for summer storage solutions. Regardless, renting a storage unit can be the answer.
It is important to remember that not all storage units are created equal. They vary in terms of their size and dimensions. They can also differ in their amenities, such as climate control. The question is, how do you select the most cost-effective storage facility to meet your needs?
In this post, we’ll offer our tips for how to choose a storage unit.
Think About Length of Time
One of the first things to consider is how long you’ll need to use the storage unit. This can impact your decision in a number of ways.
Say you only need to store your belongings for a few weeks. In this scenario, it’s okay for you to pack stuff close together. There’s not much need to leave a pathway to walk around. You may not need to worry about ventilation, either.
If you’re storing your belongings for an extended period of time, it’s different. Accessibility is a foremost concern. You will want to leave space to ensure you can retrieve items as needed. You may also wish to leave more space around your items to ensure ventilation.
The bottom line: It’s important to know how long you’ll need the unit. This can determine how much space you require.
Consider Different Sizes
Next, it’s important to think about how much storage space you need. Most storage companies offer spaces in several different dimensions. Obviously, you want to ensure sufficient space without overpaying for space you don’t need. Choosing the right size is crucial.
The specific sizes available will vary according to storage company. Here are some of the standard sizes you’re most likely to see.
- 5 x 7: This is usually the smallest space you’ll find. This is perfect for college students looking for summer storage. Usually, it’s about enough space for the contents of one full room. You’ll likely have room for some boxes, bookcases, and small furniture. Don’t expect space for vehicles or oversize furniture.
- 5 x 10: The next size up will definitely offer you enough space for the contents of one bedroom. You can usually fit a few pieces of furniture here.
- 10 x 10: When you choose a 10 x 10, you’re getting a pretty good amount of space. This is the unit you need if you want to store more than one room’s worth of furniture. You will also have enough space for some appliances or even a motorcycle.
- 10 x 15: This is enough storage space to fit the contents of a two-bedroom apartment. You’ll have a lot of room for boxes and appliances in this unit.
- 10 x 20: This is the unit to get if you need to store the contents of a four-bedroom apartment. It’s about as much room as you’d find in a single car garage. Indeed, you’ll be able to fit one car into this unit.
- 10 x 25 or 10 x 30: Some facilities will offer these larger unit sizes. This is the storage unit you need for the contents of a full home. You might also choose this unit if you have a boat or something pretty big that needs to be stored.
Determining the size storage unit you require is an essential step in the process. Reach out to our storage company if you have any questions about the dimensions available.
What Type of Storage Unit Should You Get?
The next step is to think about the type of storage unit you require. Storage units come in two basic kinds: Outdoor self-storage and indoor self-storage. Both options have pros and cons. Make sure you do your due diligence and pick the units that are best for your needs.
Outdoor Self-Storage Units
Outdoor units are basically like garages. It’s important to know that these units are seldom climate controlled. And, you may not get much security beyond a simple lock. If your items require greater security than that, this probably isn’t the best option for you.
However, for certain types of items, an outdoor storage facility can be perfect. Choose a storage facility that’s outside if you’re storing items like these:
- Lawn furniture
- Sports equipment
- Yard tools
Such items likely aren’t big targets for theft. And, they are not super sensitive to temperature or to moisture. As such, you probably don’t need an inside unit.
Note that, if you live in an area with extreme weather, there is always a risk of tracking water into your outdoor unit. As such, you’ll want to make sure not to select outside storage units for items that are more delicate in nature.
Indoor Self-Storage Units
The alternative is to look at indoor storage units. Here you are more likely to get heightened security. You may have an option of climate control. And you’ll have many options for unit size.
Indoor storage units are usually better options for any items that are delicate or valuable. You also may need an indoor unit for seasonal clothing items. You may not access these items often, but when you do, you want to find them the way you left them.
Are there any downsides to picking indoor storage units? One issue is that an indoor storage unit will often have multiple floors. So, you may wind up with a unit that’s on the second or third level. This can make it a little tougher to move furniture and other large items in or out. A big part of choosing the right storage unit is asking what floor it will be on, and how close to the elevator.
Also, be careful to find storage spaces that are properly secured. This means ensuring the hallways, stairways, and elevator areas are properly lit. Also, be sure you can contact a staff member at any hour, should you have a hard time accessing the items in your unit.
Other Factors to Consider
To find storage solutions that are right for you, keep a few additional guidelines in mind:
- Think about proximity to your home: How often will you be going to the storage unit? If you think you’ll need to retrieve items often, you may want something close to home. This is purely a matter of convenience. If you won’t be accessing your items often, proximity may be less of a concern. You may find it worthwhile to venture across town for a unit that’s more secure, or more affordable.
- Ask to see the specific storage unit you’ll be renting: When you go to look at your unit, make sure it’s actually the place where your items will be stores. Sometimes, facility managers show off units that are clean and convenient, but actually rent out facilities that are dingy or less accessible.
- Inquire about special discounts: Sometimes, a storage provider will offer a special discount. This may mean getting your first month free if you sign on for a longer time period. Such discounts can make your storage unit more affordable. It never hurts to ask.
- Understand all the payment terms: Before you choose a unit, ask about payment policies. What options do you have for making payments? An online portal? Automated bank drafts? At what point are your payments considered late? And what are the penalties for late payment? It’s crucial to understand all the terms before you move your items in.
- Verify the rules: Always make sure you know which items are and are not allowed in the unit. Usually, the restrictions are common sense. You won’t be allowed to store fireworks or weapons. You won’t be allowed to store tanks of gasoline or toxic chemicals. A few similar regulations may be in place. It’s important to be clear on these rules, and to know of any items that are prohibited.
- Do some measurements: One of the trickiest aspects in this process is picking the correct unit size. Sometimes you can just “eyeball it” and tell whether it’s going to work. But most of the time, you’ll want to take measurements. Specifically, measure any large or oversize furniture pieces. Double check that they will fit inside the unit size you’ve selected. The last thing you want is to have to switch units because your items don’t fit.
- Seek a storage company that offers impressive customer service: A final tip is to be attentive to the customer service you’re offered. Are the people who manage the facility approachable? Are they pleasant to work with? Are they helpful? Do they communicate in a clear, transparent way? If you get a bad feeling about the people you speak with, that’s reason enough to look elsewhere.
These are just a few considerations to make as you look for the self-store facility that’s right for you.
Recap: How to Pick the Right Unit
In summary, here are the most important tips for picking a self-store facility:
- Think about the length of time you’ll need it for
- Consider different sizes; measure your items as needed
- Weigh the pros and cons of inside and outside spaces
- Make sure you know the rules, especially regarding prohibited items
- Also be sure you know the payment terms and conditions
- Look for a company that extend excellent customer service
By following these tips, you can identify a solution that’s perfect for you. If you have any additional questions, reach out to us. We’re happy to help with any of your self-store questions or needs.