Tips for Self-Storage

Whether you’re a pack-rat with many possessions or looking to downsize your dwelling, self-storage may soon become necessary. While you might select the nearest storage locker for convenience, realize you’ve got to consider several factors before packing up your items.
Picking Out the Right Storage Unit
Not all units and storage companies are the same – down to price and conditions. For a reputable company, make sure to look for a member of the Self Storage Association, which requires all businesses to follow high standards. Also, be sure to get multiple price quotes to see which fits your budget.
As you look at different facilities, you will also want to research the following:

  • Hours – If you need to access your belongings, make sure the facility’s hours fit your schedule.
  • Security – Is both the unit and facility secure? If you notice loose doors and no alarms, your belongings may be more vulnerable to damage and theft.
  • Temperature – Your unit’s temperature can affect how well your belongings will hold up. If it’s too hot, anything wood may warp. If it’s damp, mildew and mold could damage your possessions. Ideally, the storage company offers environmentally controlled units, which are a bit warmer in winter and cooler in summer.
  • Pest Control – You don’t want rats, mice or insects building nests in your boxes or tearing apart your belongings, so inquire about a facility’s pest control strategy.

Does your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy apply to your immediate dwelling and to storage? Find out in advance before packing your belongings. Should your policy be insufficient, you have two options:

  • Reworking or adding an extension to your existing policy to cover storage.
  • Purchasing insurance offered by the storage facility. Generally, expect to pay around $10 per month for a couple thousand dollars’ worth of coverage.

Once you’ve picked out the ideal unit and made sure your items are insured, pack up your belongings and organize the space to get the most out of its square footage:

  • Pack as many items as you can in boxes and bins from home. Purchasing containers from the storage company often costs extra.
  • Boxes are better than plastic bags, which have a greater chance of developing mildew.
  • Anything made out of cloth, including clothing, linens and drapes should be cleaned first, then folded and stored in a box.
  • If you expect to need access to an item more often, place it toward the front of the unit for easy access.
  • If you’re packing away fragile items, keep them in padded, cushioned containers and store them toward the top of the unit. Make sure the box is clearly labeled “fragile” on the top and sides.
  • Label each carton and keep a detailed list of all possessions, including where to find them in the unit. Ideally, include the replacement value of each item on this list.
  • To avoid placing your items on the floor, consider using pallets. If melting snow is a concern, keeping your items elevated means that anything on the lowest level won’t soak up the moisture and get ruined.

Need to update your current insurance policy before placing items in storage? To review your homeowner’s coverage, give us a call at 203.729.5261.