Storage seems like a simple concept. Rent a space for your clutter, load it in, and forget about it. Easy enough, right?
Well, yes and no. While storage services may seem straightforward, there are some different factors to consider when choosing the best one for your belongings.
For one thing, you have to consider what you plan on storing. If it’s just boxes and old furniture, then yes, any old storage facility could do. But what about family heirlooms, antiques, valuables, or sensitive documents? That’s where climate-controlled storage units and 24-hour-secured facilities come into play.
And then there are the questions of self-storage vs. full-service storage, and long-term vs. short-term storage. Do you want to load it yourself, or have someone do it for you? How often will you need to access your belongings?
Storage may be simple, but our relationship with our possessions is complex. So before you settle on any old storage unit, here are some ways to determine which space is best for your belongings.
The best storage facility for you will largely depend on the size, quality, and value of your belongings. Here’s a breakdown of key considerations to make when searching for the right storage facility.
First of all, you need to determine the right size storage unit. Storage units are usually rented out by square footage. If you have trouble visualizing how much space your things will take up, most storage company websites have online guides that will give you an idea of how many boxes or objects can fit in each size. It’s also helpful to consider whether you’ll be adding more as time goes on, in which case you’ll want to opt for a slightly larger space than what you currently need.
Our personal belongings are an extension of us. Storage companies understand this, which is why they often enforce strict security measures. It’s a good idea to pay attention to this, especially if you’ll be storing anything of value. A good storage facility will have gated access, security cameras, and even a 24-hour guard on duty. Of course, if you’re storing things of little worth, security may not be as important, and you can save money opting for a less-secure facility.
You’ve already lugged everything from your basement into your car or truck, so the last thing you want to do is have to do more work getting it into your storage unit. A good storage facility will have drive-up loading docks and plenty of dollies and carts to transport your things. If there are multiple floors, make sure there are ramps and freight elevators available for use.
Many storage facilities offer climate-controlled units, which may cost a little more but are important if you’re storing valuable furniture or other belongings that can become damaged by moisture or heat. The structural make-up of your belongings, the climate in the area, and the length of time you’re storing them can all help determine whether or not you should opt for a climate-controlled storage unit.
If you’re a college student looking to store your furniture for 3 months while you head home for the summer, then chances are you won’t want to sign a year-long lease on a storage unit. If you’re storing things for an indeterminate amount of time, however, then a longer lease may be preferable and even get you better rates. Think about how long you’ll need your unit and then make sure the facility can accommodate your requirements.
Self-storage facilities are the ones most of us are probably familiar with. With self-storage, it’s up to you to move your things inside. While this requires more labor on your part, it’s advantageous especially if you want to be able to access your stuff at any time. If you’ll be constantly moving things in and out of your unit, self-storage is probably the better choice.
Full-service storage is a service that promises less labor, but also less access. Typically, movers will pick up your belongings and put them into storage for you. While this minimizes the amount of work you have to do, it also means you’ll need to call them everytime you want to retrieve or add something. Full-service storage might be better if you’re storing large objects that you won’t need to access frequently.