When your closets are overflowing with camping gear and your bedroom is a vault for files, albums, and who-knows-what … it’s time for a storage unit.
Lack of space is one of the most acute problems in our hectic modern-day world. Quite often, people find their homes packed and crammed with all kinds of items they don’t want to part with, but don’t have the room to keep either.
Especially when downsizing to a smaller home, moving in with a partner, or remodeling your place, the question of what to do with all the miscellaneous items that don’t fit may become a very troublesome issue.
Under such circumstances, your most viable option is to find a convenient and trustworthy storage facility where your belongings will be safe and accessible. But how do you choose the right one? Here are some essential factors to consider when looking for a self-storage facility — besides an affordable price.
Before you can go hunting for a suitable storage facility, you need to specify your needs and requirements.
- Storage unit size. Determining what size storage unit you need can be a bit tricky. If you rent a unit that’s too big, you’ll be wasting your money; if you opt for too small a space, your belongings won’t fit in. To avoid such predicaments, prepare a detailed list of the items you intend to put in storage, and ask several storage company specialists for advice and quotes.
- Climate control. Climate-controlled units are somewhat expensive to rent, but if you need long-term storage for delicate items, or if you live in an area with extreme temperature fluctuations, you should consider paying a little more to ensure the safety of your prized possessions.
Storage facilities that are conveniently located within the city limits tend to be more expensive than remote ones. However, if you need regular access to your stored belongings, choosing a storage facility that is far away from your home may turn out to be a bad decision. Not only will you waste a lot of time on the road, but you will also have to pay for the fuel and the additional wear-and-tear on your vehicle.
On the other hand, if you are going to need your stored items only on rare occasions, a good self-storage facility in a more affordable area can be a very cost-effective and beneficial choice.
Depending on how often and at what times you are likely to need access to your storage unit, standard weekday access may or may not be enough for you. Not every storage facility is open 24/7, so it’s a good idea to research the accessibility conditions offered by different storage companies before making your final choice. Find out if the business hours of the facility you are considering fit your schedule, and if on-demand access is possible.
If you are willing to pay to store your items, then they must be valuable to you. In this case, you will certainly want them to be safe and secure. To successfully prevent accidents, theft and other potential damage to the stored goods, a storage facility should be equipped with certain security features:
- Surveillance system
➟➟There should be modern alarm systems and security cameras installed in the facility to monitor and record any activities around the exterior of the complex, as well as inside the storage buildings, so that no illegal action goes unnoticed.
➟➟The entire complex should be surrounded with a strong fence in good repair.
➟➟In order to keep unauthorized persons away, the facility should have a keypad-equipped gate that can be unlocked only with the right access code.
- Live guards
➟➟Live security guards provide the best possible protection against any ill-intentioned acts.
- Fire prevention equipment
➟➟Smoke detectors, fire alarms, and sprinkler systems should be installed within the facility to reduce the risk of fire.
- Storage unit features
➟➟There should be an efficient ventilation system in the storage units, or suitable gaps at the top of the walls, to enable air circulation and prevent the buildup of mildew. The floor should be slightly raised to keep water out of the unit, and the door should be solid and equipped with a sturdy latch where you can place your own personal lock.
5. Facility condition
The excellent condition of a storage facility is a clear sign that the storage company is trustworthy and your experience with them will be problem-free. So, when researching a storage facility, confirm that:
👉The storage buildings are in good shape with no structural damage. Any holes or cracks in the foundations, walls, or roofs can be a sign of leaks, pest infestation, or other problems.
👉The premises are clean, tidy, and well-kept. Scattered trash, dirty surfaces, and messy driveways mean lower maintenance standards, increased fire hazard, and other potential risk.
👉There are loading docks and other helpful equipment available for the clients to use.
👉There are plenty of convenient parking places with direct access to the storage units.
👉The illumination is sufficient and provides a good level of visibility at any time of the day and night, so that you have no problems when handling your stuff.
👉There aren’t too many empty storage cells. Low occupancy is often a red flag indicating that something may be wrong with the facility.
👉The on-site staff and manager are responsive, courteous, and well-informed about the facility’s operations.
Remember that you must never select a self-storage facility without having first visited it in person to find out all its strong and weak points. Only then will you be able to reach an informed decision and make sure that your cherished possessions will be in good hands.
Last but not least: To ensure your peace of mind, verify that the storage company provides adequate theft and damage insurance coverage for your possessions.