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Housing Trends

December 2018

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How to Select a Storage Facility

It doesn’t matter whether you live in a one-bedroom apartment or a 4,000-square-foot home, there’s always a time to store unwanted, extra items. That’s the time to consider leasing a storage facility.

Other reasons for short-term or long-term storage include needing a place to store belongings between moves, or storing items when on an international work assignment. Easily accessible storage facilities offer a solution to a variety of circumstances.

Fortunately, most towns and cities offer numerous choices for your storage needs. So with spaces coming in a variety of sizes and lengths of rental time, it’s important to select a space that fits everything you have for the time you need it – and nothing extra. Why pay for more than you need?

Safest and most economical unit for your needs

Whether you’re dealing with a “mom-‘n’-pop” storage facility or one of the well-known national chains, it’s important that it’s professionally managed and has different products and services to meet your needs.

Find out what storage sizes are available and determine whether you need a climate-controlled unit. If you’re storing valuable documents or priceless antique furniture, you will need archive-quality levels of humidity control. Climate control storage will also help prevent mold, mildew, rust and paper rot and keep wood from degrading. But it is much more expensive and may not be needed in your specific situation.

Ask if locks are provided and if there is electricity in the unit. Ask if the facility provides pest control and what kind of lighting is in place. Is the facility clean? Is it completely fenced-in and on a busy, well-lit street? Trust your instincts if a facility does not seem safe.

Access to the storage facility should be controlled by a computerized entry system. There should be only one entrance and one exit, and both should be fully visible from inside the office. What are the hours of the storage facility’s main office?

Check to see the site is monitored by closed-circuit TV, and that maintenance personnel are in uniforms and equipped with two-way radios. All transactions in the office should be filmed. Find out what other kinds of security measures are in place.

In addition, the location of the storage facility can be important, depending on how often you think you might access your property. Also, think about who all will need to have access to your property and how that is managed.

It’s also helpful to use a facility that rents trucks and sells moving supplies such as dollies or loading carts. Ensure the site can accommodate large moving trucks so you can unload next to your unit.

Financial considerations

Before you visit a storage facility, call and ask if you need an appointment and what to bring with you to rent a space. Ask what payment options are available and make sure you can get a quick refund of unused rent. This allows you to move out at a time that is convenient to you, without having to pay for time you don’t use.

Compare several facilities before you make a decision. Ask about discounts, but don’t let price alone determine which facility you use. Saving money over the short run is no bargain if your belongings are stolen or ruined.

Written by CJ Yeoman