Self-Storage Tips Straight From the Pros

We wanted to put together a collection of really great self-storage tips and advice, and who knows self-storage better than some of the biggest names in the industry?  We’ve collected all of this information from top sources to put together a guide of how-to’s, what-if’s, and when-should-I’s so that you can make quick, safe, and informed decisions for your self-storage needs.

different storage unitsFirst things first! You need some extra space and there are a number of reasons why. You could be cleaning out your garage, organizing your office space, or even using a storage unit as an office. Self-storage can be used temporarily to store furniture while doing home renovations or storing the contents from your dorm room while school is out for the summer. Speaking of summer, pull out those wakeboards and jet-skis and store your snowboards and snow gear in a unit and vice versa in the winter. Use a storage-unit as an art studio or to work on that badass 69 Camaro SS your wife (or husband) is tired of seeing in the garage.  So what is one of the most important things you should consider when choosing your storage unit? Temperature and humidity, these two play a major role when storing certain types of furniture, electronics or even family photos. Uncle Bobs Self Storage puts it best,

“Climate Controlled storage spaces are cooled in the summer and heated in the winter. These spaces help protect valuables from extreme temperature swings that can damage wood furniture, electronics, and various forms of plastic and wax. Climate controlled spaces are also ideal for the comfort of customers who visit their storage spaces frequently.”              – Uncle Bobs Self Storage

“By controlling and reducing humidity, the likelihood of mold and mildew growth, paper rot or metal corrosion is greatly diminished! This is the perfect choice of storage environments if you are storing fine furniture, electronics or anything else that doesn’t get along with humidity.”  – Uncle Bobs Self Storage

image of locked storage unitThere are many other things to consider when choosing the right storage facility. Security, access hours, and insurance. Yes of course you have locked up your stuff with that shiny new padlock but do you need more? Some facilities have security cameras and electronic keypads to help keep your items safe. No system is perfect however so you might want to think about adding some insurance.

“Whether you are planning to store business or personal belongings it’s important to insure them since items in self storage aren’t generally covered by other policies such as homeowner or rental insurance.” -Extra Space

After taking into consideration the types of items you will be storing remember, size does matter!  Choosing the right size unit for your needs can save you a lot of grief and money in the long run. Our friends over at Extra Space Storage have put together some useful tips that can help.

“Estimating how much space you will need for your storage items can be simple if you know what you want to store. It is always a good idea to visit potential storage units to get a visual sense of the space you will be working with.” –Extra Space

box in storage unitMost storage facility websites have a size unit guides that allow you to get a quick visual of the space you will need. Just remember, you can always save even more space by breaking down large items such as tables, bed frames, and large furniture so the size guide is just an estimate.

While we are on the topic of saving space lets discuss packing your boxes correctly. Everyone knows the basics like don’t stack your heaviest boxes on top, that’s common sense right folks? It’s always a good idea to use smaller boxes for heavier items such as books or dishes, this way you aren’t inclined to over pack a large box that will break your back during your move.

“Packed boxes should not weigh more than you can comfortably lift. And you’ll want to make sure the box remains “square” and not bulging at the top or sides in order to keep them stable when stacking.” –Public Storage

cardboard boxesAlways remember to use good quality tape so that the bottom of your boxes don’t open up on you while carrying them, and label, label, label. Labeling all of your boxes will save you a lot of time when searching for items later on and if you don’t label all sides of the box (which is a great idea) don’t forget to place them label out. For even more great info on packing your boxes right and saving space in your storage unit, check out this great guide Public Storage has put together.

It’s no secret that there are some items that should NOT be packed or stored in a storage unit. Birth Certificates, Social Security cards, and passports are just a few of the sensitive documents that you should keep in your home. Here at INeedStorage a few months back we put together a list of the things you should never have in your unit. Check it out here.

Now that we have our unit picked out, and our items packed up let’s get some good storage-unit organization going. Nobody wants to spend half a day digging out a mountain of stuff to get to that laptop charger you accidentally boxed up. With just a little bit of planning and organization you can optimize your storage unit so that anything can be found in a reasonable amount of time with only a slight bit of effort.  Of course you will want to pack items that you use frequently in the front of your unit but you can even keep the rear accessible by leaving a walking path down the center of your storage space. Devon Self Storage shares quite a few neat tricks on their website to help give you peace of mind when it comes to storing your goods.

“Use valuable space inside dresser drawers and larger appliances, such as stoves and refrigerators, to store small items such as towels, linens and small, fragile items. Secure items in drawer by filling empty spaces with towels or packing paper.” – Devon Self Storage

treasure mapAnother great way to make sure you can locate all of your items quickly is to sketch out a quick map. They have been used for thousands of years. They work. If you don’t frequent your storage space often, a map can help you locate that dresser or washing machine that you have in the back corner surrounded by boxes. If you are a tech junkie, whip out that smartphone and take some pictures. Save them in your phone and access them any time you visit your unit.

Choosing the right Self-Storage facility can seem like an overwhelming task but it’s not, we promise.  All of the companies we have mentioned here as well as many others around the world offer great advice on the web to help get you set up. If you feel like talking to a person, find a facility near you on, get their phone number, and give them a call.


Patrick Sharer

Web hybrid - Design/Development/ContentCreation at Denos Communications

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