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At Storage West, we operate dozens of self-storage facilities across the Southwestern United States.  We have storage facilities in Texas, Arizona, Nevada & California.  But what does self-storage mean?

Potential tenants sometimes ask us for clarification, and we decided to provide an explanation. Here’s what you need to know.

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A Self-Storage Definition

We think the primary reason that people are sometimes bewildered by the word “self-storage” is that it is, itself, a truncated version of a slightly longer phrase. Self-storage is short for “self-service storage,” and the addition of that extra word makes a big difference in comprehension.

Self-storage is storage that you pay for on (usually) a month-to-month basis. As a tenant, it’s your responsibility to:

  • Pack your belongings properly for storage
  • Move your belongings into the storage space
  • Secure your belongings with a lock
  • Pay your monthly rent on time
  • Purchase insurance for your belongings
  • Adhere to all rental requirements and safety guidelines

In other words, you are the person who’s responsible for moving, storing, and securing what you store. Most storage facilities have security systems in place, including 24-hour camera surveillance. However, it’s typical for tenants to buy their own insurance because the owner of the storage facility is not responsible for theft or damage to the items being stored.

Many self-storage facilities, including Storage West, sell packing supplies and offer the free use of a truck when you move into your storage unit. These services are there to provide you with a smooth and enjoyable storage experience.

Why Do People Choose Self-Storage?

In the self-storage industry, we understand that sometimes, life circumstances require people to store their belongings for a while. We sometimes refer to the four Ds of self-storage, which are:

  • Death
  • Divorce
  • Dislocation
  • Downsizing

For example, if someone dies, their executor or a family member may not be prepared to deal with their belongings immediately. Self-storage offers the opportunity to keep their belongings safe and deal with them later.

Divorce is self-explanatory, but dislocation is a term that can refer to any major life change. For example, someone might relocate for a job and need a storage space while they search for a house or apartment.

Some people in the industry use other things in place of downsizing, such as disaster or density, but we feel that a disaster could fall under the umbrella of dislocation, and density and downsizing are clearly related. If you have too many belongings for your living space, you may need to rely on self-storage if you’re not prepared to sell or donate your things.

Tips for Successful Self-Storage

If you decide that self-storage is for you, here are some tips to help you have a good experience.

  1. Choose a reputable self-storage company with years of experience and a stellar reputation. At Storage West, we have been providing first-class self-storage for over 40 years.
  2. Pack your belongings appropriately to keep them in good condition. You can access our full library of packing tips here.
  3. Secure your belongings with a quality lock and keep the key in your possession. Do not duplicate your key or share it with anybody you don’t trust.
  4. Get to know your storage neighbors. We pride ourselves on creating storage communities where neighbors look out for one another.
  5. Purchase adequate insurance for your belongings. 
  6. Check your stored items regularly.

These tips will ensure that you have a positive self-storage experience, and that your belongings are in good condition when you’re ready to move them out of storage.

Are you in the market for a storage unit? Storage West can help! Click here to check out our available units and learn more.

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