The Dos and Dont's of Self-Storage

The dos and don'ts of renting a storage unit from a self-storage facility.

Are you running out of storage space in your home? Do you need to store your valuable items somewhere? Regardless of the reason, you may have a need for storage. When it comes to renting a storage unit for the first time, there are a few things that you should know before you move in. Follow our simple dos and don’ts of self-storage to ensure that you have a positive and smooth experience using U-Haul for your storage needs.

Do: Find a Self-Storage Facility Close to You

Determine whether you need a storage unit close to work or home before you start searching. This means assessing your needs and the frequency that you’ll want to visit the facility, Next, decide what kind of features you’ll need, whether it’s 24/7 access, climate control, drive up accessibility, etc. With the most coverage in North America, it's easy to find a U-Haul Self-Storage Facility that is convenient for you.

Do: Research Storage Unit Sizes Ahead of Time

Once you have a location in mind, make sure that it has the size and type of unit you need available. With a variety of options to choose from, knowing what you’re after is important. Sizes can range from 5’ x 5’ to 10’ x 30’. Use our Self-Storage Size Guide to help you determine the self-storage unit that will be perfect for your storage needs. There are also a variety of types of storage to choose from, including climate controlled rooms, outdoor or drive-up access, wine storage, vehicle storage, RV/boat storage, and more.

Pro-Tip: You can always upgrade your room size during move-in if it’s available. Most of the U-Haul Storage Centers have sample rooms to inspect and decide on a size that is right for you. Just ask!

Find Storage

Do: Reserve Your Self-Storage Unit Online

When you reserve online, you can view the rates and reviews provided by other customers for a particular self-storage facility. You can also preview the storage locations that interest you, with images, unit sizes, and features available online for viewing. Plus, your reservation can be changed at any time. Make sure that you print out your reservation confirmation and bring it with you to the self-storage location, where you will sign the necessary paperwork before moving in.

Do: Take Note of Storage Facility Office Hours and Access Hours

Be aware that there is a difference between office hours and access hours. Office hours are times and days of the week when someone is on premise to assist you, while access hours are when the facility is open for you to access your unit. If you arrive after office hours and need assistance, you can still get help online or by calling 1-800-GO-UHAUL.

Do: Pack Smart

Pack your storage unit efficiently the first time. This will save you the hassle of having to find belongings later. Itemize your belongings, pack your boxes, and outline where you placed belongings in your unit during move-in. Organizing your belongings are key to an easy and positive experience during subsequent visits. Check out our tips and strategies on how to effectively pack your storage unit.

Do: Learn How to Access Your Facility

During move-in, make sure you understand how to access your storage room with the on-site staff. When a location has a keypad, you will be provided a unique access code. Know where the keypad is and how to enter the code in to disable the alarm. Remember: do not share your access code/card with anyone other any authorized users.

Do: Provide Proof of Insurance

It is recommended you have insurance for your items while they are in storage. If you already have home insurance coverage, you will need to provide proof of your insurance policy on the day of move-in. If you need insurance for your storage rental, check out Safestor® – Self Storage Insurance. U-Haul provides affordable and flexible insurance options for our storage customers.

Do: Bring or Purchase a Lock

Your U-Haul storage center requires you to use a disc style lock. Bring your own or purchase one from U-Haul online or in stores at a discount price for storage customers.

Do: Manage Your Storage Unit Online

Creating an account is fast and simple. With a verified account, you can do things such as update your personal information, add contact information, enroll in autopay, update payment methods, itemize belongings, add authorized users, communicate with the facility manager, and view previous payment history.

Don't: Store These Items in Your Storage Unit

It's a good idea to become familiar with the items you cannot store in a storage unit prior to move-in so you don't accidentally bring something that's not permitted to the facility. These items include:

  • Hazardous materials or explosives, such as tanks of butane or propane
  • Tanks and bottles certified as empty, but are still under pressure
  • Hazardous liquids, such as harmful acids, chemicals, etc.
  • Perishable items, such as food
  • Living plants or animals
  • Fuel of any kind

Dont: Store Sensitive Documents and Materials Carelessly

If you need to store sensitive documents or materials in your storage unit, we recommend you take extra precautions to ensure these items don't get lost or damaged. Below are two common personal items and the things you can do to keep your things in great condition.

  • Legal Travel Documents (passport, visa, etc.): if you do store them, ensure that you have easy and quick access to it as needed.
  • Medication: ensure you have a climate controlled unit.

Now that you are ready to rent a unit, find a storage unit near you, and get the most out of your self-storage experience.


More Articles About Self-Storage:


To Top