How to Choose Your Storage Facility

By Staff

Mobile storage is yet another offering: a large, portable container is dropped off at your home, you load it, and the container is either stored on your property or at a large facility.

Location Location Location
If self-storage is your choice, consider a facility close to home. This will save money and time if you make frequent visits.

With all options, be sure to take note of access times for your stuff. Some offer 24-hour access, others have more normal business hours, and some facilities, like mobile storage centers, require 24-hour notice to access your unit. So if you’re having a 70s party, you might not be able to get your hands on that lava lamp in time unless you plan ahead.

Discuss your specific current and future needs with the storage facility. This will help companies offer you the most suitable unit for your budget.

Investigate the security measures for the facility you wish to choose. How do they intend to store your goods within the unit itself? Are the security measures different during regular business hours versus after-hours? What kind of neighborhood is the storage facility in? Would you feel comfortable visiting at off-hours?

It depends on size, storage period, and any special needs. Special offers and discounts from the storage facilities will be fewer during busy periods, and storage companies will try to offer incentives to persuade you to commit to a longer rental period. You’ll often find deals for the first month free; shop around.

Don’t choose just on price; security and other factors are important as well. Get recommendations from friends and family, and check with the Better Business Bureau for any complaints about a company.

Insurance is an important issue to investigate, especially if you plan to store high-value items. Storage companies offer their own insurance, and it is recommended to find out about the facility's procedures in cases such as fire, flood, etc. Make sure you fully understand how the insurance they are offering will cover any potential damage. Also, check with your own agent to see if you renters insurance or homeowners insurance will cover you.

Before the storage company accepts your goods, they will supply you with a written estimate upon your request. The written estimate is usually free, but ask. The warehouse operator must inspect the items to be stored physically, and issue you a copy of the estimate.

Do I Need It?
When deciding whether to store your items, consider what you really need to keep, what can go and what may be needed some day. Keeping only what you really need will reduce storage costs and you won't have to move them again later. Here are some of the questions you should ask yourself:
Do I need it?
When did I use it last?
Does it have sentimental value?
Will I ever use it again?
Will you really ever repair the items that need to be repaired?
Clothing items -- if you have not worn a specific garment, will you ever wear it?

Throw It Away, Give It Away, or Sell It

After you make your final decision regarding the items, think about how to dispose of everything you have decided you don't need and will not store. Throw the items out, give them away, or donate them to various charities.

Remember to get a receipt for tax purposes. Another option is to hold a garage sale.