9 Things to Consider When Choosing a Storage Unit

After an entire school year worth of classes, club meetings, sporting events, and parties, it’s likely that you’ve accumulated quite a bit of stuff. You might have started the year with a clean dorm room or apartment with aspirations of minimalism, but inevitably, you’ve somehow acquired more items than you had originally moved in with. Now that it’s time to head home for the semester, you have to figure out what to do with all of your belongings. Of course, you can donate some of the items, or trash those beyond repair; but for the things you want to keep, but can’t take home with you – where do you put those?

One great option for storing your belongings for the summer is storage units. The premise is pretty simple: a storage unit is space you rent for storing your items. It’s a great option for students who have items they want to keep over the summer, but don’t have the space for or can’t transport home with you. While the concept is easy to understand, not all storage units and facilities are the same, so we’ve devised a helpful list of things nine things you need to consider when choosing a storage unit:

Size

Size matters — when it comes to your storage unit. While you definitely need to think about the square footage of the space, don’t forget to consider ceiling height as well. Make a list of the items you want to store in your storage unit to help determine what size you’ll need. Depending on some of the items you plan to store, you’ll need to make sure they fit both in terms of width and height. The size of your unit will also factor into how much the storage unit costs.

Length of time

Most storage unit rental facilities rent month-to-month, so you’ll want to think about how much time you’ll need your unit for. Though many facilities accept short-term rentals, some do require a minimum rental period, so as your choosing a facility, keep this into consideration.

Self-service vs. full-service

The difference between self-service and full-service storage units really relates to how much access you have to your items. A self-service storage facility provides allows you to access your unit whenever you want, and you’ll likely have your own key and lock. A full-service facility controls access, so you have to provide notice when you want to access your belongings. Additionally, some full-service options will pick up and deliver your items, which could be ideal if you do not have a vehicle. Self-service offers more flexibility, but if you’re going to be away for months at a time without a need to access your items, full-service provides more security.

Location

The location of your storage unit matters for a few reasons: accessibility and cost. If you need to access your items frequently, then choosing a storage unit nearby will make things easier; however, if you are storing your items for the summer, then location matters less and cost might matter more. Sometimes, storage unit facilities are less expensive outside of urban areas – where the demand might be greater – so you can find a better deal.

Cost

Obviously, cost can be a factor when deciding on a storage solution. There are a few factors to consider that will ultimately add to the cost: minimum length of time requirements, type of contract, and additional fees. Some storage facilities will require a minimum storage period, which will affect cost. Also, month-to-month storage options can be more affordable as well. Don’t forget to consider additional fees though — make sure you understand what happens if you make a late payment or miss a payment so that you don’t incur extra expenses or risk losing your storage unit (and your items in it).

Temperature

Depending on what sort of items you’re storing, you can select a storage facility that controls the temperature of its units. If you have any items that require a climate-controlled environment, this could make the unit more expensive, but it will ensure that all of your items will remain in good condition, especially if you’re leaving them for multiple months.

Safety and surveillance

It’s definitely important to look into how secure the facility and its storage units are. As you’re researching facilities, ask about whether there is video monitoring or in-person surveillance for the units, as this will help to keep your items safe. Additionally, if you go to the facility ahead of time, make note of whether it is well-lit, which will ensure your own safety when you go to access your items.

Accessibility and convenience

We previously mentioned the importance of being able to access your items when you need them, and part of that has to do with when the storage facility itself is open. Before choosing a storage unit, check the facility’s hours. Some are open 24-hours a day, especially if they’re self-service, but if you choose a full-service option, you might be limited in when you can access your stuff. This might not be as important when you don’t need your stuff or are away for the summer, but when you’re back and ready to move into your apartment or dorm, it’ll be good to know when you can get your belongings again.

Online reviews

You probably wouldn’t buy something on Amazon without first checking the reviews, right? You definitely want to do the same and check the reviews for a storage facility. Keep in mind that sometimes people who post reviews are sometimes tend towards the extreme — many reviewers are either really happy or unhappy with their experience. However, look for any emerging patterns from these reviews. If you see customers frequently mention the same issues, it could be an indication that you’ll experience the same thing and that you should consider another facility.