Top 13 Tips of Self-Storage

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A Brief History

At year-end 2017, a total of between 44,000 and 52,000 self-storage facilities have been developed in the United States on industrial and commercial land parcels.  Are you looking to downsize your home? Do you have extra materials taking up a lot of your backyard but are of no use? Renting a self-storage unit could be the best place to stuff your unnecessary items until need arises. Before selecting a self-storage unit to keep your items, you should undertake concrete research, identifying potential benefits and setbacks of using the unit.  Even after finding the best unit, you should observe several measures to maintain your items. Check out the following tips and tricks to get the most from your self-storage unit.

Digging Deeper

1. Select the Facility Wisely

Example of an older, urban self-storage facility.  Photograph by Downtowngal.

Before renting out a self-storage unit, it is important to check the price estimates and amenities of other nearby units. Apart from local search, you should also check if it is listed with a local self-storage bureau and a member of self-storage units association.  Units listed in such professional organizations have a strict code of ethics, with which they must abide by.

2. Consider External Environment

Based on the conditions of where you live and what you want to store in the unit, think of how the external temperatures can have an impact over it. Extreme heat, for instance, can cause furniture made from wood to warp easily. That said, find a self-storage unit with environmental control equipment. Pest control is another essential thing to look into.

3. Insure the Belongings

If you have valuable items in the store, you should not risk losing them in unexpected disasters such as roof collapse or fires. If you have renter’s or homeowners insurance, consult with the unit’s agent if the items in the self-storage can be covered by your policy. If they cannot, buy cheap insurance offered by the self-storage facility.

4. Clean the Items Thoroughly

A good way of protecting your furniture and other items during storage is ensuring that you do not keep dirty items inside the unit.   Doing so will not only result in offensive odors but also leads to the development of mold and dust in the storage space. Use mild soap and water for wood items and polish metal sections to remove existing oxidation.

5. Pack with Dryer Sheets

As mentioned, it is important to ensure that your belongings are free from pest attacks.  Apart from checking the various pest control measures put by the unit, you should consider placing your items using a dryer sheet to curb any errors made by those constructing the unit. Spiders, rats, and moths always find their way into such units, wreaking havoc. Dryer sheets are the best way to repel them.

6. Stack Items to the Ceiling

When renting out a unit, you should ensure that you maximize the space fully. The smaller the size of the unit you can use, the more the savings. Fitting all your belongings to a small unit comes down to organizing them well. The best way is fitting them in a vertical space. Stack your pre-packed boxes on top of each other to the ceiling. You can also opt for a shelving unit to take advantage of vertical space.

7. Protect Valuable Items

When packing items to put in your storage unit, take extra caution to protect fragile and expensive items. Do not take chances and have fragile items wrapped properly to ensure that they remain intact all through. You might be thinking that they will not be damaged since they remain on top of one another, but moving them around periodically can damage the items.

8. Label all the Boxes

When moving, the first thing to do after packing your items is labeling. This idea applies when working with self-storage units too. You should always label your items. Avoid general labelling but instead, indicate the main components in the box. This will make it easier to retrieve the items later.

9. Disassemble What You Can

The above often applies to furniture. If you have some furniture or assembled items such as tables going to the unit, you should consider disassembling them. Otherwise, they will take up a lot of space. Wrap the various parts together and keep the screws in a bag to avoid losing them.

10. Make Sure Everything is Dry

Among the worst nightmares is walking into a storage unit and finding that everything is wet, which is why you should take proper measures to ensure there is no leaky roof or wet items stored in the unit. Refrigerators and dishwashers can hold water inside.  Therefore, ensure that you defrost the generator and drain the dishwasher before storing them.

11. Make Use of Vacuum Seal Bags

Apart from the use of dryer bags and ensuring wet-free items, the third way of keeping out moisture and pets from your storage unit is by using vacuum seal bags. Store your belongings, including clothes, drapes, beddings, pillows, and blankets in vacuum seal bags. Vacuum seal bags not only protects the items from pests and moisture but also help in saving space.

12. Do not Leave Food Items

When packing your items for storage in a self-storage unit, do not leave any perishable items in the facility. This carelessness will attract unwanted critters and bugs into the unit.  Moreover, ensure that the cardboard used in packing items were not from a grocery store.

13. Raise Furniture Off the Floor

If you are storing furniture that cannot be disassembled, ensure that you keep them off the floor. This tip applies for all units, whether it has climate control or does not. Use pallets and cylinder blocks to raise the floor. You can as well add a layer of protection from the floor to prevent flooding.

Storing your items in a self-storage unit is a prudent idea for those who want to save on space at their homes; however, this process can be quite challenging, especially for novice self-storage users. Succeeding in this starts with selecting an appropriate self-storage size for your items.  You should then conduct the necessary prerequisites before preparing to move your items in. That said, if you are searching for the best self-storage units, consider for your storage needs. The facility features everything to suit your self-storage needs.

Question for students (and subscribers): Do you have any self-storage tips?  Please let us know in the comments section below this article.

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Historical Evidence

For more information, please see…

Helm, Mark.  Creating Wealth Through Self Storage: One Man’s Journey into the World of Self-Storage.  CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2015.

The featured image in this article, a photograph by Hankwang of a corridor with self-storage units (in CityBox Utrecht, Netherlands), is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.


About Author

Abdul Alhazred

“But I don’t want to go among mad people," Alice remarked. "Oh, you can’t help that," said the Cat: "we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad." "How do you know I’m mad?" said Alice. "You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn’t have come here.” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland