Deciding on a self-storage facility
There are several factors, whether personal or practical, that should greatly affect your preference as to where your personal items and possessions should be stored. Here, we will go over a few common considerations that you will almost certainly want to think about.
In your mind, you have to remember that these are your things and you may some day in the future choose to come back for them. Of course, you desire to have them to remain in the same condition, even over the course of time. You do not want your precious items to be damaged in any way.
It is advised that you take a visit to one or more storage facilities. If possible, these facilities should be local or not very far from the place you will be moving into. This will make it convenient for you whenever you decide to check up on or reclaim your goods. When looking over the facilities and observing their practices, you should ask yourself the following questions before making a confident choice:
- Do they offer units that are the correct size? This can vary from one person to the next depending on their particular needs and what types of items they plan to place in self-storage. You may also want to take in mind the possibility that your storage space needs could either increase or decrease in the future.
- Will your goods be secure? In order to decide this, you will want to ask questions about what measures they take to protect the items that are housed within the facility. Ask if they use locks and alarms on each individual unit or if they have cameras and lights placed properly in the area. You can also do some personal observations. Look to see if they have a decent fence placed around the facility. Even better, a secure fence that requires a personal pass code at the gate. At any rate, you can judge for yourself what level of security is needed for the items you want to put into storage.
- Do you have a need for certain climate controls to be used? You may or may not need the temperature of your unit to be monitored or maintained, and should decide well before choosing a facility. For instance, if you plan to have upholstery, business merchandise, or paper documents, you definitely will not want to let them sit in a damp space where they will be soaked and deteriorate.
- Are the facilities sanitary? If you want your goods to stay clean and in good condition, you can’t possibly expect them to do so in an environment that is not. The surroundings that you see when looking over a self-storage facility can serve as a clear indication as to what condition you should expect your items to be in after a few months of sitting in that same storage facility.
- When and how are you allowed to access the facility? This can both be a security and an issue of personal preference. However, you will probably prefer a place where access hours had reasonably few restrictions to the customer, but still worked to keep out those who might seek to steal or damage your items.
- Will you need vehicle access to your self-storage unit? If you are planning to fill up a large volume of space, the answer is probably yes. For example, you might be planning to use a commercial moving van to take items to and later remove them from the facility. If so, you will want to be sure that there is enough access space for the particular vehicle that you plan to use.
- Is there a pest problem? You don’t allow rats and insects to gather on your furniture while it is in your home. It should be no different after you have put these items into storage. The people at a self-storage building should be able to tell you the specific steps that they take in preventing and removing pest populations.
- Are the facilities suitable for the goods you will be placing there? One example that can be given is the storage of high value items. For one, you will more than likely desire a higher level of security in order to protect these goods. A small open fence and a simple padlocked unit door might not be enough.
- Do you agree to the terms of their contract? You will want to know all their terms and agreements before you sign. This might also require that you read the fine print to make sure there is nothing that will come as a surprise later if something goes wrong.
Packing up and preparing
Although it sounds like a simple task, packing for self-storage can end up being more complicated than you would assume. As you must realize by now while reading this guide, it may require some thought and consideration on your part when making choices and taking the necessary steps. You will find that some facilities even offer to take the burden out of your hands and they will provide you with professional packing as an additional service.
But, if you want to take on the task yourself, then there are some basic rules that you will need to take into consideration. For one, you will want to pack in a thoughtful way. You should pack so that it will be easy to gain access to the things you know you will be coming back for. You don’t want to have to dig through every box or empty out your entire self-storage space just to get back at your collection of old baseball cards. You also want to arrange things in an orderly way so that you can easily keep a mental note of what is where.
Aside from the above suggestions, you can also take the following steps in order to maximize the effectiveness of your packing:
- Purchase high quality boxes and packing materials to keep your valuables in. The boxes should be roughly the same size so that they can be stacked easily and securely.
- Make an account as to the value of each item you place in storage. This will help you to fill out the insurance policy just in case something gets damaged.
- Try to box everything that can fit into a box. This will serve to protect it from dust or the elements.
- Place labels on the outside of the boxes so as to identify what you have placed inside. If you have glass or other types of breakable items in a box, be sure to mark it as “Fragile.”
- Fill up your boxes to their capacity, but be careful not to damage, over fill, or make them too heavy. This will help prevent accidents, collapse, and damage especially when you are stacking the boxes or top of one another.
- Do not completely fill up a large box with heavy items such as books. Use a smaller and sturdy box for this. Save the larger boxes for the less weighty goods.
- Don’t seal up your items in any type of plastic. Doing this could cause moisture to gather, creating water damage and mildew.
- If you have fragile and breakable goods such as glasses, dishes, or ornaments, you should pack all those things separately from your other items. They will need special care. Put either paper or bubble wrap around each individual piece. You never want to place heavy items on top of a box with fragile goods.
- Using wardrobe or clothes boxes for your garments would be best. This will prevent moisture from ruining them.
- Larger appliances may require specific care. If you are storing a fridge or freezer, be sure to thoroughly defrost it to prevent water from leaking out and onto your other nearby items. You should also leave the doors slightly open once it is in the storage space. This will help in preventing water condensation. Washing machines will need to be drained. The point is to have everything dry and clean when it goes in the facility.
- Take lampshades off and wrap the lamp bases. Keep the shade separate afterward.
- You should wrap your mirrors and pictures in bubble wrap in order to protect them. You should not store them flat. Place them on their ends and mark them as “Fragile.”
- You can give some extra protection to upholstery. Mattresses can easily be stored on their ends. Do the same for your sofas if possible and try to put both of these products off the storage space floor and on top of protective sheeting. It is also wise to make use of various covers, bags, and sheeting. This may be provided by the storage facility along with other helpful storage items.
- Place a dustsheet between furniture items when storing them on top of each other to minimize things like scratching or rubbing damage.
- Stack your chairs set to set and cover their legs with some type of protective wrapping.
- Dismantle whatever can be taken apart. This will save you a lot of space. This includes things such as tables, beds, shelves, and other types of furniture. Just be careful to wrap and cover the sections and mark them and place them with each other. Screws and bolts can be placed in a plastic bag.
- Spray all your wood furniture with protective furniture spray prior to storage.
- Before storing in a facility, drain anything that has a fuel tank. Lawn mowers and cars, for instance. For obvious reasons, fuel is not allowed in storage facilities.
- Place electronics in their original boxes if you still have them. If not, try to find boxes that are nearest to the correct size and fill the empty space with paper or wrap.
- Clean and dry all metal objects and surfaces in order to prevent rust.
- Take the bags off your vacuum cleaners
- Temperature damage can easily result when storing photographs. The best precaution is to make sure the facility has climate controls. If not, you might want to keep them out of storage.
- Tie long-handled items and tools in bundles. Store brushes on their backs, not their bristles.
- Place treatments and conditioners on your leather items.
- Being creative can help you to maximize space potential. Furniture drawers are very good for fragile items. You can even use stoves and fridges the same way.
- After you are done boxing, seal the containers with protective tape.
Self-storage unit organization
The larger the storage unit space you rent, the more you will pay. If you desire to save a little money, you will have to make the most out of space. Doing a little planning can help you to place a lot of material in the least possible space.
There are a few things to remember when making these sorts of plans. First of all, you will want to arrange things so that they are accessible. After that you want to make sure your items are well protected.
- Unless it is a very small storage space, you should try to make at least one aisle in order to get into the space.
- Place your largest items at the back of the storage unit.
- When stacking items and boxes, place those that are of similar sizes together and be sure to place the heavier ones on the bottom of the pile.
- Avoid placing your furniture against the walls of the unit.
- If you know you will need to gain access to something later, place it at the very front of the storage space.
- Fill up any empty space. Don’t be afraid to put small items in washing machines, drawers, fridges, and ovens.