This guide will help you find the right storage unit at a facility conveniently located near you. Learn what to look for in a good facility, review self-storage options, and find out how to choose a location.
Sometimes it is better to find a storage location close by, but if you do not expect to access belongings frequently, look farther out, especially if rental prices are more expensive near you.
Units in highly populated urban areas are more expensive, but they can also be more convenient since they are often situated near freeways and public transportation. If budget is more important, you can save money by renting a unit in a rural area. Whether choosing an urban or rural facility location, be sure to consider the convenience of the location based on your needs.
Here are some common reasons for storing, and recommendations on maximum distance to travel to the storage unit.
When there is a major life change, such as moving or downsizing, you may need to store items that you do not plan to access regularly. In this case, broaden your search area to include storage facilities located up to 45 minutes away from home.
If you need frequent access to stored belongings, select a convenient, easily accessible facility that is five to ten minutes from your home or business
Use the checklist below as a guide for finding a clean and secure facility that can be trusted to protect important belongings.
Self-storage companies should earn your business by taking building maintenance seriously. When touring the facility, ask yourself if:
Security measures are essential for protecting yourself and items in storage. When you talk to the facility manager, ask if:
Finding a facility with a courteous and helpful staff is important. The facility manager and other staff not only help you select a unit, sign your lease and get settled in, they also take care of the facility and keep your valuables secure when you are not around.
Build a rapport with the staff before committing to the location. If possible, meet with someone at the facility before move-in day. If you cannot meet in person, communicate by telephone before making your final choice. Look for the following traits in the facility staff:
A site manager should be professional and knowledgeable. The manager should guide you through the unit rental process and make you feel at home at the facility. Properly trained facility staff members can help you select the right size and type of storage unit. They also keep working for you long after that by maintaining a clean, pest-free, fully functioning and secure storage facility.
Facility staff members should understand that the items you are storing are important to you because they will be part of your bright future. Good facility managers care about helping you protect valuable belongings.
Look for courteous, helpful staff members who take pride in their work and appreciate your business. Good facility staff will make time to answer any questions about the property, recommend moving supplies, connect you with that moving cart you need, and give you a tour of the facility. You should feel welcomed and at ease when visiting your unit!
Before reserving a unit, decide which storage option fits your needs. Each type of unit has advantages. A drive-up unit allows for pulling a vehicle directly in front of a unit’s door to load, while an indoor unit offers more protection from the elements. An outdoor unit provides economical storage for vehicles, trailers, boats and RVs, and it may feature a metal roof for added protection. Explore which option is best for you.
Drive-up storage units are convenient if you need to move several bulky or heavy items, but they cost more than first-floor walk-in units. They are typically the size of a one-car garage and feature large roll-up doors, but smaller drive-up units may also be available.
Indoor storage units are offered in a variety of sizes and prices, and they provide protection from the elements while you are accessing belongings. Indoor units also typically have an option for climate control.
Outdoor storage units are an affordable option for extra parking. They can help you comply with neighborhood parking regulations, or even save money over other parking options in urban areas.
Choosing outdoor storage for boats and RVs can be a smart move. There are several advantages to using outdoor storage for watercraft and recreational vehicles:
Temperature extremes and humidity can damage sensitive items like antiques and furniture. If you are storing climate-sensitive belongings, protect them with climate control, and you will also be more comfortable when visiting the unit. While renting a storage unit with climate control is more expensive, it is a small price to pay for saving valuable belongings!
Typical gate access hours for facilities are from 6 am to 10 pm. Before spending more to have 24-hour access, consider how often you will actually need to get that box out of storage at midnight. If 24-hour access is important, look for a facility that offers that benefit, and ask about the additional cost.
When choosing a storage facility, take into account how you will make payments. Not all companies offer the most convenient payment options. Here are some payment options offered by self-storage companies:
Larger units have many of the same features as smaller units, but you pay more for the added space. To save money, do not rent a larger unit than you need. Unit sizes vary by location, but in general, expect to find these sizes:
Tip: Make use of the vertical storage space as well. Most units have high ceilings, allowing you to stack items. Contact the store manager for specifics on how high the ceilings are for a unit.
Storage facility managers are excellent resources for getting the most out of your storage unit. Be sure to ask them for additional information and guidance for the best way to store your furniture.
Talk with the facility manager about your needs, and ask to see the location of the storage unit before leasing it. If you are moving several oversized items, choose a unit location that will facilitate your move. The most convenient units are near loading docks and elevators. The location of the unit within the facility affects the price of the rental, but the extra convenience that comes with the price increase may be worth it.
First-floor storage units offer direct access from ground level with no need to load belongings into an elevator to store them, but they are more expensive than second-floor units. If you are storing several bulky items, a first-floor unit is ideal. When moving in or out, or just accessing belongings, having a first-floor unit saves time. Also, consider that if you are paying movers to put items into your unit, it will take them less time to fill a first-floor unit, potentially saving you money on moving costs.
If you do not mind taking an elevator, consider renting on the second floor. It can save you money. On average, if you rent a large second-floor indoor storage unit each month instead of a large first-floor unit, you’ll save somewhere around $16 a month. Would you rather save time when visiting your unit, or have a little extra cash each month?
For everyone’s safety, storage facilities have restrictions on what you can store. The best way to ensure you can store something is to ask the facility manager. Perishable foods and flammable items like gas are among the items that are not allowed in storage units. Learn more about what can be stored in a unit.
Self storage helps to create the space you need. Everyone needs storage at some point. Many people use it for the first time while moving, but movers are not the only ones renting units.
During a move, storage units provide a secure temporary home for belongings. Larger units can hold the contents of an entire house! When downsizing, apartment dwellers and homeowners rely on storage units to protect important belongings for the future, and to store items that will be sold later.
Homeowners in the middle of remodeling projects or major repairs must remove and store belongings to give installers or construction workers proper access. Whether they are packing up the kitchen for remodeling, removing all the furniture for new flooring, or waiting on the completion of major construction after a disaster, homeowners find safe storage for belongings at storage facilities. Plus, when it is time to stage a home for sale, homeowners make their houses appear more spacious and tidy by storing furniture, packed boxes and other belongings.
Many people who rent storage units rotate items on a seasonal basis, storing cold-weather items in the summer, and warm-weather items in the winter. Small units work well as an extra closet for lawn equipment, garden tools and other items that are not used year-round. Homeowners with units can indulge in decorating for the holidays without worrying about having space in the attic for seasonal decorations.
Hobbyists, musicians and artists with units have the freedom to enjoy activities they might otherwise have to skip due to lack of space at home. Art supplies, musical instruments and sports equipment are just a few examples of things protected at storage facilities. Collectors often select climate controlled storage units to safely store wine, antiques, comic books, records and other valuables.
Businesses use storage units for inventory, signage, documents and equipment. It is often more affordable for businesses to rent a unit than it is to rent larger retail spaces. Sales representatives may use storage for keeping supplies and samples, while entrepreneurs who sell items online use their units to keep their homes free of clutter from business inventory.
During any life transition, storage units can provide a safe temporary home for belongings, including family heirlooms, furniture, appliances and vehicles. Military personnel, college students and long-term travelers use storage units to store many of their belongings while they are away. People who are temporarily moving in with family, going through a divorce, or dealing with a death in the family also find that units provide needed storage space during their transitions.
The professionals at Extra Space Storage care about helping you protect important belongings so you can use them in the future. They can help you find the right size and type of storage unit and your best storage location at a well-maintained and secure facility.