What Are My Storage Options?
When you start researching the different public storage options out there, you’ll quickly notice that these services can be divided into 2 main categories:
When you rent from a self-storage facility, you do all the heavy lifting. You pack up your belongings and bring them to your self-storage unit yourself. Obviously this costs you more time and effort, but it’s the way to go if you’re looking for affordable storage since self-storage facilities are often significantly less expensive than the full-service alternatives. Self-storage facilities also have the advantage of being accessible whenever you want (within open-gate hours if not 24/7). Full-service public storage companies don’t allow you to visit your storage units at all. Instead, you have to pay for delivery and pickups, adding to the price of your rental unit.
Self-storage units usually come with a variety of additional benefits like easy access, moving supplies, and flexible contracts.
Full-service storage companies offer the works. They’ll come to your home or place of business, pack up your belongings, and transport them to the best storage units they have. When you want an item, these storage companies go to your unit, pick up the item, and deliver it to your door. This is the option for those who value extreme convenience, and minimal time and labor investment. Of course, you’ll have to pay more for this type of storage solution, but that’s the price of convenience.
There is one other category that you might notice called pod storage units. This neat innovation is basically a storage unit on wheels. You’ll get a storage container that is planted on the back of a truck. Pod storage companies deliver a portable container to your home. You fill it up with your belongings and store the pod in your driveway, at another location, or within the storage company’s secure facilities. Because they are portable, pods are the best storage containers for moving. You can load/reload it over an extended period of time as and when it suits you, then keep it at your home until you’re ready to unload it in your new location. Pod storage units are not a good option for long-term storage.
What Type of Storage Units Are There?
In addition to the types of storage companies available, there are different types of units including:
Indoor storage units are more secure and the better option if you have delicate items that could be damaged by being left in the more exposed outdoor storage units. Indoor storage units usually have the option of climate-control. This is an important feature for fragile items including photos, film, electronic equipment, cameras, wine, certain materials, record albums, musical instruments, antiques, artworks, and other sensitive belongings. Climate-controlled units protect your items from the possible damage caused by heat, humidity, and cold.
Indoor full-service and self-storage units are more secure since they’re stored inside a building (that’s usually protected by a full security system).
Outdoor storage units are also good options, especially if you are storing bulkier items. These units aren’t actually outdoors, think of them as large motel-like structures that you have private access to. You can access the outdoor unit from outside, hence the name. These public storage units come with benefits like drive-up accessibility (easier for loading and loading), on-site managers, and video surveillance.
What Features Should I Look for in a Storage Unit?
The features that make up the best storage units for you will vary depending on your needs and personal preferences. For example, if you want to be able to access your storage unit whenever you want, bring things to the unit, take things out of the unit, and basically have more control over your belongings, then self-serve storage services are a better bet for you.
Alternatively, if you generally hate the idea of lugging your belongings in and out of places and are looking for professionals to take care of everything for you, the full-service storage units are going to be more your speed.
Trying to narrow down the best storage units for you? As with any service, read up on public storage reviews before investing in a unit. Also compare the following features:
Is there 24/7 security? What type of security system is in place? Are there video cameras, electric gates, code access, on-site managers?
As mentioned, this is an important feature if you have sensitive belongings. Make sure your self-storage units will protect your items.
Some storage companies offer you unlimited access to your self-storage unit while others are more exclusive about their accessibility. Some self-storage facilities require you to make an appointment to drop off or retrieve items to and from your storage unit. If you plan on taking things out, or adding to, the unit regularly, accessibility is an important feature to consider.
Storage unit pricing is generally based on the amount of space you need. The storage service will offer units ranging in size measured in square footage. You choose the size of unit you think will hold the amount of stuff you want stored (e.g., 5′x5′ [25 square feet], 10′x10′ [100 square feet], etc.). Good storage services allow you to upgrade or downgrade easily without having to start a whole new registration process.
If you’re looking for affordable local storage companies, you can do a quick Google search for “storage units near me.” Prices are generally not displayed though. You’ll need to put in a zip code and/or contact the company directly.
Is there a long contract requirement? Month-to-month? Can you set up autopay?
Also find out if you’ll be able to get additional materials from the storage service. Things like packing materials, labels, markers, boxes, bubble wrap, and more can often be purchased for a discounted rate from these services as they buy them in bulk. So ask before buying packing materials on your own.
Do I Need to Pay to Insure My Belongings in a Storage Unit?
Professional storage companies require you to have some sort of insurance for the items you are storing with them. This is a precautionary measure, and anyway, it’s a good idea for the owners as well. Good news is that insurance is easy to come by. Most people are already insured through their home-owners insurance. But you should check your policy to see the exact terms and whether or not your stored belongings are covered. If you are covered by some other type of insurance, be sure to bring a copy of the policy with you when you go to rent your unit in case they ask for it.
If you aren’t covered by an existing insurance policy, most public storage facilities will have insurance coverage available for purchase. These policies will usually offer an amount of coverage (up to $1,000, up to $2,000 etc.) for a monthly fee. Some really great storage companies also include basic coverage for free within the rental agreement. You can opt to upgrade your insurance policy for higher coverage amounts if you choose. This is recommended since the basic coverage is usually a fraction of the actual value of the items.
The Best Storage Units Are Just a Click Away
The best storage facilities offer a fully online rental process. You can reserve, sign up, and pay for your storage unit without coming into contact with anyone. This is something to consider, particularly in today’s current health climate. Avoiding excess public exposure and contact is always a plus.
Selecting the right storage solution for you comes down to knowing exactly what your needs are, in terms of space, cost, and level of service. Think carefully about how you will use your storage space before deciding which company will best fulfill those requirements. Happily, there are many flexible, affordable, and professional options out there to choose from.