When considering storage, you not only need to think about value but convenience. Are you really going to want to stow your stuff somewhere several counties away from where you’re going to be living? That said, what do you do when you’re trying to strike a balance between convenience to the old place and convenience to the new place?
What Should I Look for in a Facility?
First, it’s important to remember that storage facilities vary in many ways: security, cleanliness, customer service, temperature control, and availability of packing materials as well as moving trucks. There are a few questions you need to ask to make sure you’re getting what you need:
- What separates you from the competition?
- What is your attitude toward security, and what measures do you take to prevent criminal activity?
- Exactly what fees will I pay – both upfront and monthly?
- How will you keep my possessions in good condition?
- What rental discounts do you offer?
- What are your staff member’s qualifications?
Once you go to tour the facilities, you’ll want to look for:
- Strong customer service and a friendly, knowledgeable, and hands-on manager.
- Strong security measures and a proactive approach to preventing crime.
- Cleanliness – this is an essential indicator of how your possessions will fare here.
- Following from the above, a pest problem is a no-go – rodents and your stuff don’t mix.
Security is more than a series of measures taken by the facility to prevent break-ins. It’s a commitment to reviewing digital footage and pursuing action against criminals. There is a difference.
Avoid the Discount Shuffle
A move-in discount is great … right? Not necessarily. Some storage facilities will try to get you in at a lower rate, only to raise their prices not long afterward. A few questions to ask in order to avoid this bait-and-switch:
- How often do you raise your rates?
- How long is my rate guaranteed to stay the same?
- Will you put this in writing?
If a facility is unwilling to put their policies in writing, it’s time to look elsewhere. You need a signed agreement, not just a handshake.
Many people find themselves renting more space than they need – and paying for the privilege. Don’t find yourself among these unfortunate numbers. Instead, take these tips to heart:
- Disassemble large items such as tables, chairs, and lawn equipment
- Store chairs inverted, with seat against seat
- Fill spaces such as containers to capacity – that’s space you can use, too
- Store sofas and mattresses on one end, protected by a sheet.
- Perhaps most important of all: throw out or donate anything you don’t need! Be ruthless. All-too-often people pay to store items that ultimately end up at Good Will or in the dumpster.
A few tips on packing items safely:
- Wrap dishes and glasses individually
- Use bubble wrap and packing peanuts as well as tissue paper
- Stack heavier boxes at the bottom; lighter boxes go on top
- Don’t use anything with newsprint on easily stained items
Smart use of your storage space will make your move that much easier. Make sure you take the time and effort necessary to find the right space for your needs – and once you’ve got it, use it as wisely as possible.