There are many reasons we might find the need to hire the services of a storage company.
Perhaps you’re new to the city and need a temporary space to hold your bags before you settle in. Or maybe you are in the military or someone traveling to a new state/country on a transient job with no plans for permanent residence.
The need to declutter is another common one among Americans, especially in this Marie Kondo era, as is the need to have more space in the home.
You could also be downsizing and need a temporary place to hold your extra stuff or maybe selling a home and looking for a storage space to keep clunky items off-site during the staging process.
Others do it to free up space for renovations, while there are those who want a safe facility to keep valuable assets in.
Whatever the reason may be, there is no shortage of storage facilities around. Now, choosing a storage facility to keep your possessions is easy, but choosing the right one is a bit more complicated.
Make sure to set aside time to research the things you should know before renting a storage unit.
Following are some important tips to help you in this regard.
Figure out what needs storing
The first thing you need to do when choosing a storage facility is deciding how much space you need so you can go searching for a facility that offers the ideal kind of unit.
Is it paperwork or antiques? Luggage or furniture? Gym equipment or some electronics from the office? Maybe a vehicle or boat?
The items you’re storing will determine the type of storage you require. For example, in the case of artwork and antiques, you will need climate-controlled facilities. But your RV will do just fine with outdoor storage.
Accessibility and security
Storage facilities differ when it comes to the accessibility they provide their customers. Some are only accessible during business hours while others grant 24-hour access.
The security of the facility should also be top of the list of your evaluation criteria. A fenced facility with top security features including security cameras should be a bare minimum.
What’s their policy?
Facilities differ in terms of policy rules. Some offer month-to-month rentals, while others offer a definitive contracted period.
There is also a restriction on the items you can store at any given facility, so orient yourself with their list of excluded items when evaluating the companies.
Check insurance requirements
Stuff happens, even with the best storage units. To be on the safe side, it’s important to insure your items against unwanted possibilities – theft, bad weather, bug infestation etc.
Check the type of coverage the storage facility provides and what it covers, but more often than not, it might be best to purchase a third-party policy from an insurance company.
Consider the location
This is especially a crucial factor when you’re storing items you’ll need access to on a regular. Ideally, you want a facility where you can walk in at 3am in the morning without any safety concerns.
You also don’t want to be driving half-way across town to get to the facility, so convenience is key.
Decide if you need any extras
Services like climate control are often extra services that need to be paid for separately.
Depending on the sensitivity of the items you’re storing, consider if this will be essential.
Inquire about any specials and know their late payment policy
Inquire if the storage company has any specials you should know about – a discount on the first month or on the length of storage, for example.
Additionally, make sure you ask about the company’s late payment policy if you think you might forget paying your bill. Some companies or states allow for auctioning of unit contents even within a few days past the payment date.
Find out if automatic payments are an option and consider this kind of arrangement.
User reviews, especially on social media, can reveal a lot about the storage company.
Check out what previous customers have to say about the company you’re considering before signing up.
Consider visiting the facility in person before committing
Seeing the facility and storage units in person gives you a good glimpse of the place you’ll be keeping your valuables.
Most companies will be happy to show you the options they have, but make sure to check the unit you will actually be renting to make sure it’s clean and well ventilated.
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