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Guide to Renting Storage Unit for the First Time

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It’s time to rent a storage unit. You need space and organization. Where do you even start, though? The good thing is that it can be quick and easy to rent your first storage unit, and when you do, you’ll have as much of the space and room you need to make life a bit more organized.

How Do I Determine My Storage Needs?

Before renting a storage unit, it's crucial to assess your storage requirements thoroughly. Start by creating a comprehensive inventory of the items you plan to store. Categorize these belongings based on their type and size, as this will aid in efficient organization. Estimate the overall volume needed for storage, either by measuring the dimensions of larger items or approximating the number of boxes required. While accounting for your current possessions, also consider potential future acquisitions to ensure your storage unit accommodates changing needs.

Additionally, ponder how frequently you'll need access to your stored items. If you anticipate frequent visits, allocate ample space for easy navigation within the unit and position frequently needed items near the entrance. Identify any special items that may demand specific storage conditions, such as climate control for delicate electronics or artwork. Seasonal variations should also factor into your planning, as certain items like winter sports gear or holiday decorations might require varying amounts of space at different times of the year. This is also an ideal opportunity to declutter and downsize, removing items you no longer need to reduce your overall storage needs.

What Do You Need to Rent a Storage Unit?

Renting a storage unit is a process that involves coming to an agreement with the storage unit owner. There are a few steps to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

First, you’ll need to provide your identification. This helps ensure that the storage unit owner has the information needed to rent the space to you. Typically, if you are storing a vehicle in a storage unit, you’ll need to bring three documents with you:

• A government-issued identification card, like a driver’s license or passport

• Vehicle registration

• Proof of insurance

Once you provide that information for verification, the process is likely to take a few minutes to set up.

The Difference between Renting Online and In Person

You can often rent a storage unit online without having to go into the actual location to do so. This is perhaps the easiest and simplest way to set up your storage unit (it takes no time at all to do so online). Some storage companies will offer a discount to you if you set it up online because that means no one has to come up to the location to handle the process.

If you need clarification on things like the amount of space you need or the overall size of the unit, you can visit in person to request this information and see the unit before you actually rent it. Since this is your first time renting a storage unit, this can prove to be a valuable move.

Access Hours and Limitations

One of the first things to do when considering renting a storage unit is to have a good understanding of the rules for using the space. You’ll have a contract that explains all of these details to you. One of the components of that contract will be information about access.

This will include the hours that you can access the storage unit. Some are available 24 hours a day, allowing you to use them whenever you have time. You may have to pay an additional fee to have this convenience. Others have limited times for access. This is often due to security issues and ensuring that the area is properly staffed when people are onsite.

Consider what is important to you. Do you think you’ll need to be able to visit in the late evening hours or very early in the morning? Do you need to have access on a Sunday afternoon? The key is to make sure the storage unit offers the flexibility that fits your life.

Choose the Right Type of Storage Unit

The next consideration for your storage unit is the type. Ultimately, what you plan to store will determine the best type of storage unit for your needs.

Indoor storage units

If you want to walk into a building to access a storage unit, indoor units are an option. They tend to be a bit more affordable since they are a bit less accessible overall. Most of the time, though, indoor units will range in size, giving you as much access as you need.

Some indoor storage units are in buildings with multiple floors. These can be tricky if you are using them for larger items, though there are elevators available.

Drive-up Storage Units

An option for those storing larger items is a drive-up unit. There you are able to drive up to and access without having to step into a space. They are often larger, though smaller options exist as well. You’ll find these to be an easy option overall for use since you have direct access to them.

Climate Controlled Storage Units

Some interior units are climate controlled, which means they are much like your home in terms of heating and cooling. That doesn’t mean you can always set the temperature within that space, but they are less prone to big fluctuations, which can be dangerous for some items.

How Long Can I Rent a Storage Unit For?

This is really up to the storage unit company and your needs. It is possible to choose a long-term lease, but most are offered on a month-to-month basis. That allows you to end your contract at any time you need to do so. Talk to the storage unit provider about your options. Be sure you know how long your contract is for and any limitations on renewing it.

Do I Need Insurance to Store My Belongings?

Typically, insurance is always a good idea. There is no way to make sure that every building is always safe, but insurance can give you peace of mind. Most of the time, storage facilities will offer a protection plan. This allows you to easily get the level of protection you need for your belongings. However, you can also bring your own insurance with you. For example, you can choose another provider that offers storage unit rental insurance to ensure you choose a policy that fits your needs. Just be sure it covers offsite storage.

What Do I Do To Make Sure My Belongings are Store Properly?

Safeguarding the condition of your stored belongings is paramount, and regular maintenance plays a pivotal role in achieving this. Establishing a routine of periodic checkups is essential. These visits enable you to assess both the state of your items and the unit itself. In cases where a climate-controlled unit is utilized, diligent monitoring of temperature and humidity settings is crucial to prevent potential damage to sensitive possessions.

Furthermore, ensuring proper ventilation within the storage space is vital in preventing the growth of mold or mildew, especially in areas with fluctuating weather conditions. Vigilance in terms of pest control is also essential; regular inspections and preventive measures can save your belongings from unwanted intruders.

When conducting maintenance, pay close attention to the condition of your stored items. Over extended periods, especially for long-term storage, items can be affected by environmental factors. Properly functioning security measures, including locks and alarms, should be confirmed during each visit to provide peace of mind. Moreover, consider reorganizing the layout of your unit as you access items. This not only ensures continued ease of access but also maximizes the efficient use of available space.

Documentation should never be overlooked. Keeping a detailed record of what you've stored and any changes made during maintenance visits can prove invaluable. Regular upkeep doesn't just protect your belongings; it safeguards your investment in the storage unit itself and ensures that your items remain in optimal condition throughout their time in storage.

What Do I Do When I’m Done With My Storage Unit?

Concluding your storage unit rental involves a series of steps for a smooth departure:

1. Notice: Provide timely notice to the facility about your move-out plans.

2. Clear Out: Empty the unit entirely and ensure no item is left behind.

3. Clean and Repair: Clean the unit thoroughly and attend to minor repairs.

4. Document: Take photos to document the emptied unit's condition.

5. Return Access: Give back access devices like keys or codes.

6. Inform Facility: Notify the facility about your completed move-out.

7. Settle Finances: Clear any outstanding payments or fees.

8. Security Deposit: Inquire about the return of your security deposit.

9. Show Appreciation: Express gratitude to facility staff for their assistance.

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All offers subject to change without notice. All fees are non-refundable. Special and discount pricing offered only on selected units and subject to availability. Special offer applies only to the rental fee. Other restrictions, taxes, tenant protection and fees, including an administrative fee, apply. See lease for full details. Special or discount pricing good for new customers only. Not available on transfers or additional spaces. Reservation and paid reservation fee required to guarantee price. Actual unit sizes may vary from approximate size estimate on website. Please inspect any unit before renting. Online pricing available only for online reservations and rentals. Lease is a month to month lease prorated the first month only, the final month runs until last day of the month.

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