You’re moving or downsizing and you know you’re going to need to rent a storage space. Regardless of where you live, the chances are good that you have several choices. If you’ve never rented a storage space before, you may wonder what criteria to use when making your decision. Is it better to rent a heated space than one that isn’t heated? How much space do you need? This article will help walk you through the decision-making process so you can be sure to get the right space for your storage needs.
How Much Space Is Enough?
Let’s start with the obvious – how much space do you need? Since renting a storage unit is an added expense, you might be tempted to get the smallest possible space in the hope of saving money. However, it is important to remember that it is likely that you’ll need to get something from your space at some point during your tenure there, and you’ll want to be able to do it without having to remove everything that’s in there.
The ideal space is one that will allow you to store everything in such a way that you can get to what you need, when you need it. If you estimate that your belongings will fill a 5’ by 10’ space, you should get a space that’s a little larger than that so you can get in and out easily. You may also want to consider the particular dimensions of your space. In a tall space, you can stack items high, thus leaving floor space free. In a unit with a low ceiling, you will likely end up using more floor space and thus may need a larger unit.
Do You Need Air Conditioning or Air Cooling?
The next thing to consider is whether you need air conditioning or air cooling. There are two primary factors that will determine what you need:
- What you will be storing
- What the climate is like where you live
For example, if you plan on storing paperwork and books and you live in a wet climate like the Pacific Northwest, you will want a heated unit to ensure that your papers don’t mildew. If you live in a hot, dry climate like the Southwest, you may want an air cooled unit if you plan on storing furniture that might otherwise dry out or crack in the heat.
Air conditioned spaces tend to be a bit more expensive than those without, but the extra expense is worth it if you want to ensure that your belongings remain in good condition.
In addition to the size and cooling options, there are a few other things to consider when choosing a storage space.
- Will your homeowners or rental insurance cover your belongings in storage? If not, can you add a rider? Most storage facilities require insurance, and the one you choose may offer it as an add-on to your monthly bill. It pays to shop around and get the best deal you can get.
- How convenient is your storage space to where you live? If you think you will need to visit it often, it makes sense to minimize the amount of time you have to spend driving.
- What security measures are in place? Many storage facilities have security gates, codes, and other precautions to ensure that their clients’ belongings are secure. Ask questions and make sure you are comfortable with the situation.
- What are your contractual obligations? Read your contract thoroughly and make sure you understand when payments are due, what late fees will be charged, and how soon the facility will auction your belongings if you do not pay.
- Are there any special amenities or options available? Some facilities provide carts that you can use to move items from your car or truck to your space. Others offer free use of a truck when you move in. If these things are important to you, shop around for a place that offers them.
The bottom line is that you want to choose a storage space that is affordable, convenient, and safe. If you follow these guidelines, you can rent a space secure in the knowledge that your belongings will be there – and in good condition – when you need them.