Whether you're in the midst of a move, you've inherited some possessions that won't fit in your house, or your office needs to outsource its clutter, self-storage units can provide the solution -- but if you choose the wrong kind of unit for your needs, you may end up creating additional problems as well. Here are some basic issues you need to be thinking about as you shop for storage.
Sizing Up Your Space
How much self-storage are you going to need? If a shrug is currently your best answer to that question, then start by considering the various sizes of self-storage units available. If you estimate that your stuff would fill a medium-sized office or bedroom, then you're probably in need of 100 square feet (10x10). This is the most popular self-storage unit size for most people's needs, accounting for 13 percent of all storage rental activity in the U.S. But if you need more room than that, you can find units as large as 300 square feet. This largest size is particularly useful for storing a car, truck, camper, boat or other vehicle indoors along with your other gear, or for encompassing the contents of an entire small business or large home.
What if you only need to store a few items? Don't fret -- you'll find that self-storage can be an effective option even on the small end of the scale. Maybe you just need to park your bike somewhere other than your one-room apartment. Maybe you're seeking temporary space for vacation equipment, holiday party supplies or some other seasonal purpose. In these cases, a 25-square-foot (5x5) cubicle could be perfect for you.
How much access will you need to your stored items? This question may narrow the range of self-storage units on your shopping list. The easiest access can be had from a drive-up exterior unit. These units have large metal doors that allow you to back up a trailer and load or unload your stuff quickly. If you're storing a vehicle that you might need on a moment's notice, consider renting a covered or uncovered outdoor parking space for it (instead of locking it up in an interior space).
You should also think about whether you might need 24-hour access to your storage space. Some facilities are open around the clock and others aren't. If you work odd hours, or you need to know you get can to your stuff at any time, make sure the facility can offer that level of access.
Battling Mother Nature
Loading your possessions into self-storage doesn't necessarily provide them with "all the comforts of home." If you rent a standard space with no climate control, some of those items may not be in pristine condition when you come back for them. Moisture and extreme temperatures can prove harmful by promoting rust, mold, mildew, drying or cracking of expensive woods, and electronic equipment failure.
Think carefully about which of your items may require a climate-controlled storage space. These areas cost more to rent, but they can keep temperature and humidity levels stable enough to protect most sensitive furniture and equipment. Set these sensitive items aside and rent an extra-small space just for them, or get a larger climate-controlled unit and simply stuff everything into that one unit, whichever makes the most financial sense.
Thinking About Theft
There's no getting around the fact that commercial facilities holding valuable items -- including self-storage units -- are attractive to burglars. Storage facility owners are deeply aware of this threat, and most of them offer security features beyond the standard barbed-wire fence. A state-of-the-art self-storage facility may include video monitoring/recording/surveillance, motion sensors connected to alarms, and even biometrics (identification via voice, fingerprints or other personal data).
How much security do you need? To some extent, of course, that depends on what you can afford from the facilities in your area. But if the items you're storing are truly important to you, the smart strategy is to opt for the strongest security your budget allows. It's worth noting that interior storage units have the edge over external units in the security department.
By putting the right amount of thought and care into your self-storage unit selection, you can obtain the just the right amount of space to secure your possessions and keep them in optimal condition. Contact ar local self-storage company, such as Tysons Self Storage, to ask questions.