How to Choose The Right Self-Storage

Sep 11, 2012

storageRunning out of space? Too much stuff? Old records or keepsakes you need, but don’t want in your home? There are many different reasons you may need storage and there are many different storage solutions out there. We want to help you navigate your options to ensure you find the right storage option for you.

Accessibility: One thing you should consider is how accessible you need your self-storage unit to be. If you need easy access, look into an outdoor unit that you can pull your vehicle up to. If you are going to move into your storage with a rental truck, check if there is a loading dock to save you some labor. Also check the size of doors and elevators against the item you wish to store, especially if you are moving large or oddly shaped items. If you are storing your items in a multi-level self-storage facility, make sure you know whether there are stairs or an elevator, and where they are located in relation to the entrance. Some storage locations will have carts available for you to use for indoor self-storage units. Ask the facility if these will be available to you.

Availability: Check the hours you will have access to your storage. Many smaller self-storage facilities may have limited hours or may be closed one or more days a week. Some self-storage facilities have 24 hour access so you can get to your stored items whenever you need them.

Size: Does the self-storage facility have the right size units for the items you want to store? Storage units can range in size from the tiniest locker all the way up to something that could store a whole home’s worth of possessions and more. Carefully consider how much stuff you will be storing, and then be sure to give yourself a bit extra room to move around while accessing your belongings, or in case you need to store more as time goes on.

Security: Even if you are in a safe neighborhood, it doesn’t hurt to have safety precautions, such as access cards or codes and video surveillance. Is the facility gated? Will there be staff on the premises? Most facilities are not responsible for losses or damage due to theft so you may want to check with your homeowners insurance or purchase a separate policy offered by the self-storage facility.

Climate Control: The importance of climate control can depend on what you plan on storing and the climate you live in. Even if air conditioning or heating is advertised by the storage facility you may want to check if they guarantee a temperature range. An air conditioner or a heater does no good if the facility never turns it on. If you have more exacting needs you may also want to ask if there is humidity control or for the enophiles there are some storage facilities that have temperature-controlled wine storage.

Location: Location is always important. How far are you willing to drive to get to your storage unit? Is the storage facility in a neighborhood that you trust? Services like can help you find and map locations near you, both from smaller independent facilities and the larger U-Haul locations, or you can always use the U-Haul self-storage location finder. If you need something really close you may also want to look into portable storage.

storagePortable Storage: If you want your storage at your door or to load at your leisure then portable storage is the way to go. Portable storage is great if you need to store something temporarily, or want to move your items as well as store them. U-Haul U-Box containers can either be delivered to you, or you can pick them up on a trailer if you have a vehicle that can tow.  If you think  you will need to access your items while they are in storage, verify that you will have access your items in the warehouse, and ask if your portable storage provider has a temperature controlled warehouse.

Automotive Storage: Many storage facilities also offer boat, RV or automotive storage. U-Haul allows you to search specifically for facilities with boat and RV storage. You may want to check whether it is a covered space or not if you are worried about damage from the sun or weather.

Students: College students have to move constantly, and most dorms will not let you store your stuff over the summer. Collegeboxes has a service that will ship you boxes to be stored. They can be picked up and delivered to your dorms, or elsewhere in the world, whether you are studying abroad or just leaving for the summer or winter breaks.

Everyone has very different needs when it comes to storage, and as a result there are a wide variety of options when it comes to storing your possessions. Think about what you are going to store, and how that matches up with the different criteria in this article.  Once you figure out what is important to you it becomes much easier to choose the right storage option.

Are you looking for self-storage options? Let us know if you have any questions! 


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