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Everything You Need to Know About Using a Storage Unit

A man in front of a storage unit
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When it comes to decluttering your home or office, a storage unit can be a lifesaver. These units provide a safe and secure place to store your items, whether you’re moving, downsizing, or just need some extra space. But before you rent a unit, there are a few things you should know to make sure you get the most out of your experience.

Pick a Size

A row of storage units
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Most storage facilities offer various sizes of units, ranging from small lockers to large garages. Large units will cost more to rent than small ones. You don’t want to get a unit that is larger than necessary, but you also don’t want to rent a unit that can’t fit all of your stuff.

Before picking a storage unit, carefully examine all of the items that you need to store. Do your best to figure out the square footage it will take to store those items, taking into account how long, wide, and tall the unit is.

You should also think about whether or not you plan to add items to your unit over time. It may be worth getting a larger unit to avoid having to move everything later on, but this will also create an added cost.

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Consider Cost

A couple is planning financially

The cost of a storage unit depends on several factors, including the size, location, and features of the unit. In general, a standard 10- by 10-foot unit can cost anywhere from $50 to $200 per month.

Although cost is an important factor, some added features may be worth the money. If you are storing items that can be damaged by humidity or temperature, it will be necessary to find a storage unit that is climate-controlled. Think about what you’re storing and the environment those items need to be in to stay in good condition.

Before signing a rental agreement, make sure to consider the length of time you’ll need the unit and whether there are any discounts or promotions available. It’s always worth it to ask someone in person about discounts.

Think About What You’re Storing

A man puts boxes in a storage unit

It’s important to consider the items you’ll be storing in your unit. Some items, like electronics and sensitive documents, may require a climate-controlled unit, while others may only need a standard unit.

When storing wine, for example, you will need a unit that is kept between 45 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid affecting the flavor and quality of your wine. Art, books, and other items that can be damaged by humidity or extreme temperatures will also need to be kept in a climate-controlled unit.

It’s also important to be aware of the storage facility’s policy regarding what items can be stored, as some items, like hazardous materials, may be prohibited. You can find this information on the website of the storage facility or by speaking with an employee.

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Another great option for storage.

Look at Features

The inside of a storage facility
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When choosing a storage facility, consider the features it offers. A climate-controlled unit will keep your items at a consistent temperature and protect them from damage caused by extreme weather conditions.

Other features to look for include 24-hour access and on-site management. Security is also an important factor you’ll want to consider, especially if you are storing valuable items.

Storage facilities with the best security will have cameras placed around the facility and near each storage unit. Ideally, there should also be an entrance gate that requires a personal code or key to enter, as well as security guards on-site to address any concerns. Finally, the entire facility should be well-lit and easy to get around.

You may want to tour several storage facilities before choosing one. Regardless of the features you choose for your unit, you should pick a place that makes you feel comfortable and secure.

Read Through the Rental Agreement

A rental agreement
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Many storage units require a minimum monthly commitment and require you to sign a rental agreement before you can use the facilities. Be sure to read through this agreement carefully to ensure that you’re not agreeing to any policies that you don’t know about.

The rental agreement should address your exact monthly cost, what you can store in your unit, how to access the facilities, and if there are fees for breaking any of the rules. It should also be clear about when you can begin using the facilities and how long the contract will last before you need to renew.

Don’t hesitate to bring up any concerns with the property manager before signing. You should treat renting a storage unit like you would treat renting an apartment. If you don’t feel totally comfortable with the contract or facility, it’s best to look at other options.

Storage units are a convenient and cost-effective solution if you need extra space to store your belongings. Whether you’re preparing for a move or just have too much stuff, here’s everything you need to know about renting a storage unit.

Anne Taylor Anne Taylor
Anne Taylor is a writer with a BA in Journalism and a passion for storytelling. Her work has been published on a variety of websites including Mental Floss and Well + Good, and she recently published her first novel, What it Takes to Lose. When she's not writing, Anne loves to travel (19 countries and counting), spend time outside, and play with her dog, Pepper. Read Full Bio »
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