7 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE RENTING A STORAGE UNIT
Whether you’re moving or just need to free up some valuable space around your home or office,
here are few very important tips that will help ensure that your storage experience is a pleasant one:
TIP # 1
UNDERSTAND THAT ALL STORAGE FACILITIES ARE NOT THE SAME
Remember that no two storage facilities are alike, even within the same company. There are vast differences
between facilities in security measures, cleanliness, temperature control, customer service, and availability of
moving trucks and packing materials. Keeping these issues in the forefront of your mind will greatly help you choose the right storage facility.
TIP # 2
REMEMBER THAT SECURITY GATES AND PADLOCKS DON’T NECESSARILY STOP BURGLARIES FROM HAPPENING
Studies show that most self-storage burglaries are the result of an “inside job” by criminals masquerading as
customers. Traditionally, burglars rent a storage unit just like you’re about to do, then wait for an opportune time to
go to work. Once inside, they will usually cut a number of padlocks with bolt cutters, take what they want from
unsuspecting customers under the nose of an unsuspecting manager, then replace the locks they cut with their
own so they can access the burglarized units again at a later date, if needed. And the burglar is able to enter the
property through the security gate with his confidential gate code, just like any other customer can do.
So what can you do to avoid a nightmare like this? First, ask each storage facility you talk to if they allow their
customers to use padlocks, or if they are using the newer generation “cylinder locks” which have no exposed hasp to be cut by bolt cutters.
Also, check to see if the facility you are talking to has installed alarms on each and every door in their facility, so
they can know the exact time of day that every storage unit is accessed. To de-activate the alarm on a unit, the
customer keys in their personal passcode. If an unauthorized entry occurs, the alarm will sound, immediately identifying which unit has been entered.
Most facilities these days have at least a few video cameras on the site. Make sure that the facility you rent from
has more than just a few (at least 12), and that their cameras are covering as much of the property as possible. Finally, make sure that they are digitally recording the video 24 hours a day.
Asking questions regarding these matters will tell you a lot about each facility’s commitment to your peace of mind
. If your questions are not answered sufficiently, you may be better off looking elsewhere.
TIP # 3
BEWARE OF THE “MOVE-IN DISCOUNT”
Some facilities make it a practice to move you in at a low rate only to raise the rent a couple of months later.
Before you decide to rent, ask the manager how often they raise their rates, and for how long they will guarantee
your rent not to change. If the answer sounds good to you, ask them to put it in writing. If they are not willing to do this, you might be better off looking elsewhere.
TIP # 4
“CLIMATE CONTROLLED” STORAGE PROTECTS YOUR GOODS FROM EXTREME TEXAS WEATHER
You know what they say, “If you don’t like the weather in Texas, wait 15 minutes.” The constant changes in
temperature and humidity are the main culprits when it comes to damaging wooden furniture, fabrics, and other
items. It is not unusual to find wood that has warped or fabric that has mildewed after having been stored outside in
a standard storage unit. To protect your items from the extreme temperature changes that are prevalent in Texas,
consider using “Climate Controlled” storage. “Climate Controlled” storage utilizes air conditioning and heating units
that keep a more consistent climate in the building than what you will find outdoors. The goods you are storing will be inside, making them less likely to be damaged by the elements.
TIP # 5
CAREFUL PLANNING WILL SAVE YOU MONEY, SPACE, AND HEARTACHE
Many people rent more space than is really necessary. Since storage units come in a variety of sizes, you should
do all you possibly can to pay for only the space you need, especially if you do not need frequent access to the space.
Use the chart on the following page to help determine the size of the space you will need.
Here are some more valuable space-saving tips:
- Tables, beds, lawnmowers, and other large items should be disassembled, if possible.
- Leave a center aisle for easy access to your goods.
- Store frequently used items at the front of your unit so you can get to them easily.
- Stand sofas and mattresses on end on a pallet or a plastic sheet, and use protective covers.
- Stack boxes on dressers and use dresser drawers for folded clothing and smaller delicate items.
- Store chairs inverted seat-to-seat.
- Fill containers to capacity or fill extra pockets of space with packing material.
The better prepared you are for your move into a storage unit, the better the chance you have of preventing items
from being broken or damaged. Here are a few packing tips to help you avoid breaking fragile items and damaging other valuables:
- Wrap glasses and dishes individually and use special dishpack boxes.
- Utilize bubblewrap, foam sheets, packing peanuts and paper when packing any other glass items such as mirrors, lamps, figurines, etc.
- Pack heavy items such as books in smaller boxes because of their weight.
- Make sure heavier boxes are at the bottom of any stacking you do.
- Remember to keep refrigerator doors slightly ajar, with an open box of baking soda inside.
- Keep greasy items such as tools, lawnmowers, etc. away from furniture to avoid oil staining.
- Do not use newsprint to pack anything that could be stained by the ink.
- Stack lighter boxes on top of bigger, heavier ones.
TIP # 6
LOOK FOR DISCOUNTS ON MOVING TRUCKS
If you do not have access to a moving truck, you will probably have to rent one. Some facilities offer rental trucks to
their customers. Since it is they who are renting you the vehicle, it never hurts to ask for a discount on the rental of
the truck. If they want your business badly enough, they might even consider giving you a credit for free miles, or at best, have a free truck rental program.
TIP # 7
INSURANCE IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE CUSTOMER
Storage facilities are generally not responsible for the contents of your unit. It is always a good idea to insure the
goods you are intending to store. Storage insurance is almost always available to you at the time you rent your unit
. Sometimes the facility collects the premium from you directly. When they do this, they usually have a financial
interest in doing so. Before you buy insurance from the manager, check with your own agent, because sometimes your homeowner’s or renter’s policy will cover you for no extra cost.