10 Tips for Choosing a Winning Self-Storage Facility

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-self-storage-units-perspective-view-row-closed-green-doors-image40548599A few months ago, my boyfriend and I downsized from a spacious apartment to a small area of his mom’s house. Not willing to part with our furniture for a stay that will likely be short, we decided our best option was to store our things until it’s time for us to pick up and move somewhere new (not an uncommon situation for us as recent grads and writers). Thankfully, because we currently live in a pretty residential, family-dominant town, finding an excellent storage facility wasn’t difficult. But, it did take some digging and a little investigation to figure out which of the many, many options available would ultimately be right for us, our things, and our budget. So, here’s 10 tips for choosing a winning self-storage facility!

1. Read Reviews/Ask For Recommendations

Before you start making contact and inquiring, my advice is to read plenty of reviews online and ask around for recommendations from friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc. Although I don’t suggest putting complete faith in reviews or word-of-mouth assessments, it’s worth your while to find out about a facility’s reputation before wasting your time with in-person inquiries.

2. Interact With The Staff Personally 

Often, your interaction will staff members can tell you a lot about how the facility runs and does business. If you have a positive experience from first meeting to lease signing, then it’s likely that you’ll continue to have good experiences with the staff as you continue to rent a storage unit. If it’s negative from day one, you can usually count on more problems to come. The way a business treats its customers (both current and potential) says all you need to know!

3. Meet The Manager

In addition to meeting the regular office staff, I also recommend taking time to meet the manager. The big man or woman in charge often sets the tone for how business is conducted, so meeting the boss will give you a good idea if the storage facility is a place you can trust with your things.

4. Ask About Security Measures

When storing your things, whether they are of great value or not, security is SO important. Before you pick a facility, make sure to go over their security measures. When it comes to keeping your things safe, you really can’t be too careful.

5. Ask About Pest Prevention & Control

Additionally, make sure to talk to the facility about their pest prevention and control policies. In order to keep your stored goods bug and rodent free, make sure to choose a place that receives regular pest control services. Trust me, you’ll be so glad you did.

6. Ask About Climate Control Options

If you’re storing items that could be damaged by certain weather conditions and temperatures (books, old furniture and musical instruments, for instance), be sure to ask the self-storage facility if they offer climate controlled units. Why should you pay to store your things if they’re damaged by the time you’re ready to use them again?

7. Pay Attention To Cleanliness

When you’re checking out a potential storage place, be sure to keep an eye out for cleanliness – in the main office, in the units themselves, the grounds around the units, etc. A dirty facility is a sign that the owners aren’t going to do much to take care of your things, especially when it comes to keeping bugs and pests away.

8. Inform Yourself About Rules/Policies/Guidelines

Not all self-storage facilities are the same. Some offer long-term or short-term leases only, while some offer a variety of options. A lot of facilities will charge more because of a convenient location while you’ll find cheaper ones in a less busy area of town. Also, some storage businesses will only allow you to access your things at certain times of day and on certain days of the week while some facilities have 24/7 access. Details like these and any other rules the place may have are important to keep in the back of your mind when deciding if a place is right for you.

9. Price Compare

You’d think because self-storage units are in the same area that they’d all have similar, competitive pricing across the board. That’s not even close! During my search I found that units of same size could be up to $20 more a month at some places. So, as you look around for facility to store your unused items, makes sure to price compare like crazy. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for special deals — you’d surprised how often you can score a discount just by asking!

10. Find Out If Moving Trucks/Packing Supplies Are Available 

If you’re aren’t able to move your things yourself (a.k.a you don’t have a car big enough to tote everything or you don’t know anyone with a truck), it’s important to also look for a storage facility that has moving trucks and packing supplies right on site. This will help reduce your costs and will make the entire process of moving your things from one place to another so much more convenient and hassle-free.

Fellow renters, do you have tips of your own to add? Let me know in the comment section below!


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Audra is a recent college graduate and an aspiring writer based in her home state of Georgia. She’s a lover of the sweetest Southern tea, warm weather, and decorating with lots of color, DIY projects, and shabby chic pieces. Her apartment living journey is still young, so she’s busy navigating the ups and downs and learning along the way. For more from Audra, follow her on Pinterest or check out her website shepenspretty.com.

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Comments (27)

  1. Avatar charles walk

    I hadn’t realized before that you could learn about how a storage facility is operated if you are to interact with the staff before you hire them. We will need one for while we are temporarily living in another city, and it will be important for us to be happy with the one that we would choose. Before we find one to hire, I will be sure to interact with their staff, so I could be sure that our stuff will be taken care of properly.

  2. Avatar easton

    I like the tip that you gave to choose a storage unit that has positive reviews. My wife and I have been talking about finding storage. If we do, I will be sure to check the reviews beforehand.

  3. Avatar easton

    I like the tip that you gave to choose to read the reviews of a storage unit before you decide to rent it. My wife and I have been talking about moving, and it would be important for us to know that the storage unit that we choose we will be able to trust. If we decide to move, I will be sure to look for a storage unit taht we can trust because of positive reviews.

  4. Avatar Ruth Bryant

    Finding a local company that is familiar with the local pests and how to get rid of them is really important. I would imagine that if you go from city to city the pest problems will vary and the way you take care of them will vary also. My sister has been seeing some rodents around her place lately; I will be sure to share this with her.

  5. Avatar Duncan Lance

    When you’re looking to store stuff in a storage facility there really are a lot of questions you need to ask before paying for one. I think the article brings up a pretty important point when it talks about pest control. After all, you will want to make sure that the storage facility is doing everything they can to keep bugs out of your stuff.

  6. Avatar Taylor Bishop

    Thanks for going over some things to think about when finding a self storage facility. I appreciate that you mentioned to meet the manager, especially since it can help you understand more about the work environment there. Plus, it could be a great chance to be able to ask them any questions that you may have, like you mentioned. My brother has been thinking of getting a storage unit, so I’ll have to share this information if could help him later.

  7. Avatar Amanda Drew

    It sounds like a good idea to find a self-storage place that is careful in their pest control like you suggest to ask about. I don’t want bugs and mice crawling over my things. I’m going to be traveling in Europe for about three months, and I don’t want to get rid of all of my things. I also don’t want to ask someone to look after them. I’ll have to find a good self-storage place to keep my things safe, and your tips will definitely help.

  8. Avatar Gloria Durst

    Comparing prices seems smart when choosing a storage facility. If you find a few families with similar qualities it would probably come down to price. My sister is looking for somewhere to store some things so she’ll have to compare prices.

  9. Avatar Leviticus Bennett

    I like your tip to pay attention to cleanliness. I’m going home from school for the summer. A storage unit is a perfect place to store my things so that they’ll be waiting once fall semester is starting.

  10. Avatar Olivia Nelson

    I agree the cleanliness matter when you are choosing a storage company. I would imagine that you would want to find someone who will keep the storage areas clean when they are not in use. My husband and I are looking to find somewhere to store some things so we’ll have to consider the cleanliness of a facility first.

  11. Avatar John

    I think it’s really important to find the right storage unit that fits your needs. My wife and I are renovating our home and need a place to store our belongings throughout the process. We’ve never used a storage unit before, but we’ll be sure to take the advice listed and visit a few referrals so we can meet the staff and manager. I really think it would help us be that much more confident in storing our valuables while we remodel.

  12. Avatar Braden Bills

    My wife and I need to downsize, but we don’t know what to do with our extra stuff. I didn’t even think about using a self-storage unit! I’ll be sure to find one that is clean and has pest prevention measures. Thank you for sharing!

  13. Avatar Abélia

    I’ve been delaying getting a self-storage unit for a while now, but I’m getting pretty desperate at this point. After reading your article, I feel more comfortable making a decision about what storage facility I should choose. I will definitely be asking some questions about security measures and climate control options to any potential storage facilities. Thanks for sharing these helpful tips!

  14. Avatar Nathan Johnson

    I am moving later this summer and will probably need some kind of storage. My sister is letting my keep some things in her basement, but I appreciate your article because I will likely need it. I like your idea to go in person to talk to a manager and ask about these different things. This gives me a better idea of how to proceed. Thanks for sharing!

  15. Avatar Judy Wilson

    I liked your tip to pay attention to cleanliness when choosing a storage unit. Your comment about how a clean facility is a sign that the owners try to take care of it was really insightful. I would want to store my things in a facility that’s being maintained, so I’ll keep an eye out for that. Thanks for the tips!

  16. Avatar Sarah Smith

    Thanks for the suggestion on interacting with the staff of a storage unit facility personally. I agree that interactions give you a better feel for how the facility is run than the website will give you. I’ll have to make sure to interact with the storage companies so that I can find one that sits well with me.

  17. Avatar Jeff Curtis

    Thanks for this helpful post on choosing a self storage facility. I like what you said about reading reviews. I will have to ask around at work and see if anyone has used a good self storage facility near by. I also like what you said about asking for security measures. I would want m y stuff stored in a well secured area. Thanks for the help!

  18. Avatar Jen Pack

    My husband and I are moving to a rental for a year or so and have decided to put our things in a storage unit while we are gone. We have never used self storage before so we appreciate these tips. I especially like the idea you give of interacting with the staff personally when deciding on a potential company to go with. I imagine that that will help you be able to tell if it is a reputable company or not. I’ll be sure to keep these things in mind as we are looking around!

  19. Avatar emily bennette

    These are some really good things to know if you are trying to find a good storage unit. I like that you talked about comparing prices as well as seeing if they do pest prevention. It seems like it would be smart to check into that because you don’t want bugs getting into your unity.

  20. Avatar Jeff Curtis

    Thanks for these helpful tips on choosing a storage facility. I like what you said about interacting with the staff and people working there. I think that you can tell a lot about a company by how they will treat your things and you. I also like the idea of meeting the manager. Thanks for the help!

  21. Avatar kiyel williams

    I like the idea of getting to know the employees and manager. How they act and treat you will give you a big insight into how they run the facility. Also checking how they deal with security and pests will help keep your stuff safe. I will pass this on to my friend who is looking for a storage unit. Thank you for the information!

  22. Avatar emily bennette

    Audra, these are some really good tips on finding a good storage unit. I liked what you said about asking if they have any climate control options in the units. That would be really helpful if you are putting valuable or easy damage things in the unit.

  23. Avatar Aria Wellington

    I really love your tip about comparing prices. One of the best things that you can do when it comes to looking for a self storage facility is to see what is out there! Do your research and make sure that you are getting the best price available along with the best quality! Thanks for the tips!

  24. Avatar Tyler Meredith

    I like what this article mentions about interacting with the staff personally. I think that getting a storage unit could be very stressful, but if the staff are easily to work with it could help the process move a lot easier. I’ll definitely have to remember to get a good idea of what dealing them will be like. Thanks for sharing!

  25. Avatar Kara Baker

    These are some great tips, and I appreciate your advice to compare prices of several different self storage units before making a decision. I’m moving into a new house, and it’s quite a bit smaller than my current one, so I need to find somewhere to put a lot of my stuff. I’ll definitely look at several different self storage companies to compare prices before making a final decision. Thanks for the great post!

  26. Avatar Zach Potter

    Thanks for the helpful list and tips on self storage! My wife and I are looking for a unit that is closer to our home as our current unit is too far away to be considered practical. I really like number 7 on this list and make it a point to always look at this first when looking at self storage units.

  27. Avatar Deanna R. Jones

    I thought you made a very important point about asking about pest control methods when looking for a storage unit. Sure, security measures are vital when choosing the right storage facility, but knowing that your unit will be pest-free is just as important to make sure that your things will be in good condition. I have a lot of fabrics that will be kept in storage, so it would be good to know that they won’t be eaten by moths while being kept in storage.