Whether you are preparing to move or you just have so much stuff that you need a little extra space, self-storage units are a great way to safely and securely get your belonging out of your way.
If, of course, you know what you’re doing.
Nothing is worse than taking your items out of self-storage only to find them damaged by weather or pests. But this shouldn’t deter you from storing your things. Just remember to do your research and follow these few simple tips and you will be able to store your items with peace of mind.
What Kind of Storage Do You Need?
The first thing you need to figure out is what kind of unit and how much space you will need, because there is a big difference between storing a few pieces of furniture and an entire three-bedroom house.
When choosing a unit, don’t take one that is just big enough to hold your stuff. You want to take yourself into account and choose one that has a little wriggle room so you can move around easily, in case you need to get one specific item from the back.
But size isn’t the only concern. If you have items that must be kept at a certain temperature, then you need to look for indoor or climate-controlled units. Wooden furniture, books, some appliances and even musical instruments may be sensitive to swings in temperature, so think about what you’re storing. Also, if you are storing valuables, you need to make sure the unit and the entire operation is very secure. You may want to insure the unit as well.
Visit the Unit
Before signing the contract to your new storage space, you need to visit the unit. You will quickly be able to tell whether this is the right place to keep your belonging or not.
As you enter the facility, look around to see if the doors are secure. Keypads and doors that require keys to enter are a good sign and some facilities even have guards on duty. Pay attention to the upkeep, as well. If it’s outdoors, check to see the conditions of the aisles and even the landscaping. If it’s indoors, see what condition the flooring is in. These are easy things to spot and will give you a sense of the owner’s commitment to providing good service.
Check the unit itself, as well. Look for wet spots or rusted areas, as that is a sure sign of weather damage. Make sure the door and lock to your unit work perfectly, as well.
Never settle for a unit. A quick look at public storage Houston will show you that there’s plenty of spaces out there, so choose the right one.
Pack Your Things Correctly
Prepare your items for storage by packing them safely. Use bubble wrap and tape for valuable breakables like collector’s items and sentimental trinkets.
Never use plastic to cover large pieces of furniture: plastic retains moisture and can allow mold to grow. If something needs to be covers, use a blanket or sheet instead. If you need to take things apart for storage, like electronics perhaps, then label all of the parts to make reassembling them easier.
For metal items, you can help prevent rusting by rubbing a little mineral oil on them. While you should have chosen a unit that doesn’t leak, accidents can occur and you should still take precaution. Make sure you clean them thoroughly first, so the oil will stay on.
Finally, don’t over pack boxes: you don’t want to hurt yourself while moving.
Money should be a big concern when choosing a storage unit. If you spend too much, you may find yourself unable to keep up with the payments.. If you spend too little, you may not have all of the space you need to store your items.
Don’t waste money by getting more options than you need. If you’re just storing junk or items that aren’t that valuable, security may not be as important to you. Also, don’t choose a climate-controlled unit just for the sake of it: you will pay an extra fee for a control unit that is just as big — or even smaller — than a regular unit.
Set a budget and stick to it. If you’re late on payments, the facility can seize your possessions and auction them off.
Follow these pointers and you should be able to find an affordable storage unit that works for you.
Alice Farrell is an Army Wife and can’t begin to count how many times she has moved the family over the last 15 years. She writes about family life on and off base for a variety of lifestyle blogs.