How to Choose a Storage Unit
When you search for a storage unit, you want to find the one that’s right for you. Once you know what to look for, it becomes much easier. The most important factors are location, security, unit size, affordability, and whether or not you need climate control. Let’s look at these in detail.
Ideally, you’ll find a self storage facility near where you live with great security and low prices. With storage facilities being so ubiquitous these days, you just might get lucky. However, it’s a good idea to compare.
You’ll also want to feel comfortable with the neighborhood. We’ll get into security in a moment, but even if the facility has top-of-the-line security, and the neighborhood feels sketchy to you, you might want to consider looking elsewhere.
Once you find a few facilities you feel comfortable with, ask for a tour. On the tour, ask about their security features. At the least, each facility should have a wall around it, gated access, a camera system, good lighting and an alarm system at the gate. The self storage facility should get extra points if each unit is individually alarmed.
Some facilities may have a manager who lives on-site, or even a security team.
The unit size you choose will depend on how much you have to store. Sizes range from 5x5 and below (great for storing your off-season wardrobe, boxes of books, or the like) to 10x20 and over, which is large enough to hold the contents of a two-bedroom apartment.
For a comprehensive look at unit sizes, check out our size guide videos.
Once you know what size you will need, it’s time to compare the prices at the facilities you’ve found. The amount it costs you to rent a unit should be one of the factors you consider, but not the only one. For example, you may find a unit at Facility A that is the same size but rents for $10 less than one at Facility B. However, Facility B may be in a nicer neighborhood and at a cleaner facility. Use your best judgment when picking where you want to rent.
Before you make your final choice, there’s one more important factor to consider, and that’s climate control. If the weather in your area ever gets hot and humid or cold and dry, you may need it to best protect your belongings. Humidity can encourage mold growth and warp wood. Dryness can cause various items to crack or simply dry out.
Climate controlled units rent for 25% to 30% more than standard units, but in some areas you wouldn’t want to store your belongings without it.
When touring the facility, ask any other questions you may have. You might want to ask how they handle pests, especially if you live in an area with bug or rodent problems. Ask what you are and aren’t allowed to store. Also, make sure you know the office hours, and the facility hours. The office may close at 6:00, but the rest of the facility may stay open until 8:00. Ask if there are options to pay your bill online or if you have to come in with a check.
Now, go out and find that ideal unit.