A Primer for First Time Self Storage Customers

Jon Fesmire |

There are so many reasons people need self storage, it’s no wonder the industry has grown so large. Just how many facilities are there? Well, in the U.S., there are approximately 15,000 Starbucks stores. Compare that to the number of storage facilities: 50,000. You might not start noticing them until you need storage, but they’re everywhere.

You may need storage to keep your business inventory, you may want to use it as an off-season wardrobe closet, or you may have moved into a smaller home and not have space for all your things. In all these cases and more, self storage offers a safe place to keep your things for affordable prices.

When you decide to rent a storage unit for the first time, you’ll want to do it the right way. Here are the steps to take.

Declutter First

It’s amazing how much stuff most people hold onto. You may have old possessions in boxes and not even realize they’re there.

Naturally, since we’re in the self storage business, we want to encourage people to use our services. However, we want you to be happy with that decision, and that means you should store what you need to, not a bunch of old stuff you don’t really want or need anymore.

Go through your home and declutter. In a nutshell, that means separating out what you no longer need from what you do need. Sort them into things you can sell, donate, recycle, and throw out, in that order. With the clutter dealt with, you can then put things you still need, but don’t need to keep in your home, into storage.

Find a Facility

Next, research nearby storage facilities. Ask friends where they store. Read online reviews. When you’ve narrowed the choices down to just a few, visit those facilities and see what you think.

Make sure they have good lighting in the hallways and, at night, outdoors. Make sure they have a modern, monitored camera system and an alarm system. Ideally, each unit will be individually alarmed, but not every facility has this feature, and some very good businesses still don’t. When you feel you’ve found a facility you want to go with, move on to the next step.

Figure Out What Size Unit You’ll Need

Self storage units come in a variety of sizes, usually from 5x5 to about 10x30. Our online size guide will give you a good idea of just how much space you’ll need to store your extras.

Box Your Belongings

We recommend you do this while you’re in the process of looking for a facility. That will make it easier to gauge what size unit you’ll need.

We have tons of advice on how to box and store different items, from books to trampolines. Usually, it comes down to a few steps. Clean the item, make sure it’s dry, package it properly, and put it in storage.

Rent a Unit

Next, rent a unit either in a facility or online. You’ll need to purchase some insurance through the facility; most homeowners and renters policies don’t cover items in a storage unit. Unless you live in an area with mild weather year-round, we encourage you to opt for a unit with climate control. The HVAC systems in these units keep the temperature and humidity at safe levels for your belongings.

Those are the basics! For additional helpful tips, feel free to peruse this blog.