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Storage 101: The Dos and Don’ts of Self-Storage

Nearly 9.5% of American households rent self-storage units. These renters may be doing so for any number of reasons. They may be in the process of moving, they may be currently deployed in the military, or they may just need the extra space.

Whatever the reason, self-storage is sometimes necessary and comes in handy, particularly if you don’t have a friend or family member who can watch over your belongings. But like anything else, there are certain rules you need to follow when renting a self-storage unit and tips that can help you make the most of your storage experience.

Here’s everything you need to know about self-storage and some general dos and don’ts to keep in mind when renting a unit.

Do Know the Right Size Unit to Rent

The great thing about self-storage is units are available in several sizes to fit your needs and budget. You can rent a unit as small as 5’x5′ (25 square feet), which will hold a few small furniture items, to one as large as 10’x40′ (400 square feet) which is suitable for a vehicle.

You definitely don’t want to rent a unit that’s too big for what you need to store, nor one that won’t fit all of your items. You can get a better idea of unit sizes by reviewing all available sizes or speaking to a representative at a storage facility about what you plan to place into storage.

Do Choose a Storage Facility Close to Home

If you anticipate accessing your unit on a regular basis to retrieve or store items, then choose a storage facility close to home (or your workplace if it’s being used to store work-related items). This just makes it much more convenient.

Do Pack and Store Items Properly

Preparing your items for self-storage requires the same amount of care as if you were moving them into a new home. You want to make sure they’re protected during the storage process, and leave them packed to save you time when you’re ready to pull them out of the unit.

For furniture, this may mean disassembling a piece and placing it into the box it came in. Wrap bubble wrap or other cushioning around the legs of tables and chairs so they don’t get scratched.

If you’re storing dressers or end tables, their drawers provide additional space for smaller items. To maximize space inside your unit, turntables onto their side and push the tabletop side up against the wall.

Remove light bulbs and shades from lamps and wrap lamps in a protective material. Roll up rugs and place on a shelf or upright in a corner of the unit. Small items can be boxed and the boxes can be stacked.

Knowing how to store your items properly will help you maximize the space of your unit.

Do Record Where Items Are Inside Your Unit

It’s a good idea to take photos or keep a written record of where everything is located within your unit. It’s easy to forget which boxes contain specific items and this step can help save time later. You may even want to sketch out a labeled map and keep it in a safe place so you can easily access items later.

Labeling boxes can also help you locate possessions quickly.

Do Use a Climate Controlled Unit for Certain Items

Some possessions require a little more protection against extreme temperatures and humidity. If you’re planning on storing any items that may become damaged over time from exposure to very cold or hot air and humidity, then it’s worth paying extra for the advantages of a climate controlled storage unit.

A climate controlled unit will maintain a constant temperature (usually between 65 and 80 degrees) and you can also opt for a humidity controlled unit as well. Here’s a general list of items that may require a climate controlled environment:

  • Artwork (particularly oil paintings)
  • Collectibles
  • Electronics (including computers, stereos, and television sets)
  • Photographs
  • Old books and magazines
  • Antiques
  • Wooden or leather furniture and goods
  • Upholstery
  • Medical equipment
  • Medications
  • Musical instruments

Whether or not a climate controlled storage facility is right for you also depends on the region where the unit is located and how long your items will be stored. If it’s one year or longer, strongly consider opting for climate control because your possessions will be exposed to all four seasons.

Don’t Store Anything Not Permitted by Your Self-Storage Company

While self-storage is great for a wide variety of objects, not everything is permitted in storage units. This includes live (or dead) animals, plants, anything flammable (such as fuel, oil, propane), weapons and ammunition, and paints. Any caustic materials are generally not allowed.

Canned or non-perishable food is usually OK to store, but anything else can attract rodents and insects. When in doubt about what you are and aren’t allowed to place in your self-storage unit, check with the facility.

Don’t Let Anyone Else Access Your Unit

Unless the person is someone you trust to retrieve an item for you, don’t give your keys to anyone else. Your items are yours and yours alone.

Don’t Forget to Lock Your Unit

Some people may not completely lock their unit thinking it will make it easier to get in later. However, this is just inviting thieves to access your possessions. Always double check to make sure your unit is securely locked before leaving.

Use Self-Storage the Right Way

Following these general self-storage tips will help you make the most of storing your stuff. It will also make accessing your unit and locating specific items hassle-free.

Hollywood Self Storage offers five convenient locations and several size units, including climate controlled ones, to meet the needs of all customers. Check out our current specials, and contact us to learn which size units are available.

8 Comments
  1. I didn’t know that you could use a climate controlled unit for things that need to be at the right temperature. That would be a good option to store some computers and things like that I would like to keep out of the house. I also will have to keep in mind that certain companies have certain things that they don’t want you to store.

  2. It’s great that this article explains how it’s important to ensure your items are properly packed and pout into the storage unit so that they’re protected. This would be important to ensure that you can use them again when you want to take them out of the unit. When doing this, it would probably be a good idea to figure out how you want to pack everything and how you plan to organize it so you can make sure you get the right size and type of storage for your needs so you easily get to everything whenever you want to remove any items.

  3. Thank you for reminding that not all things are allowed to be put on self-storage, especially if these things are flammable, combustible, and alive. Grandpa would, therefore, not be able to send to self-storage his guns and paints or Grandma have her cacti and succulents kept under lock and key. The good news is they could always send in their art collections, vintage photographs, leather, and musical instruments safely kept inside climate-controlled storage.

  4. I have been thinking about getting a storage unit before I move later this year. It is good to know that you should think about getting a climate controlled unit. That does seem smart because I don’t want to have to worry about humidity destroying my stuff.

  5. These are great tips and reminders as well! I will be getting a storage climate controlled unit for my belongings in my next move. Thanks for providing ideas on how to save space in there.

  6. You make a great point that it is easy to forget where things are stored inside a storage unit. I can barely remember where I left things inside my home, let alone if I had a storage unit that I needed to keep things in! I am planning on getting a strange unit for when I move to another state in a year, so I will be sure to remember to take photos as I am packing everything away!

  7. I liked that you mentioned choosing a storage facility near your home will allow you to access your storage items on a regular basis. My husband is looking for advice to storage some office equipment and paperwork he would not need at the moment. I believe that storage near us will be perfect if he needs to utilize any of the storage items.

  8. I’m considering the choice of using a storage unit for my other pieces of furniture that I won’t be using anymore because I’m going to redecorate my house. Thanks for the tip that I can take photos of the things that I’ll store inside the unit once I’ve decided if I’m going to use one. In my opinion, I think I should look for a local company because I’ll probably end up using them in the future.

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