Important Questions to Ask Before Using Self Storage

Storage SolutionsJuly 10, 2023

If you’re planning to move or simply declutter your living space, you may be considering self storage as a solution. It’s a fantastic way to securely store your belongings, reduce clutter, and ensure your items are safe during a transition. However, the prospect of using self storage can bring up numerous questions. The choice you make impacts the safety and preservation of your precious items, so it’s crucial to have all the necessary information at your fingertips. When you find proper moving and storage Columbus Ohio company, there will surely be questions to ask before using self storage. We’ll help you learn what are the right questions. You’ll make the best use of your storage unit.

Understanding your storage needs

Before diving into the nitty-gritty details of self storage Columbus OH, it’s important to define your storage needs. The following questions can guide your evaluation process and ensure you’re making the best choice for your specific needs.

People in front of mobile storage units ready to answer your questions to ask before using self storage
Ask all you need to know about self storage units

What items do I plan to store?

The nature of the items you intend to store plays a crucial role in determining the type of storage unit you need. For instance, delicate items like artwork, wine, or antiques may require climate controlled storage Columbus Ohio to protect them from environmental factors like temperature and humidity. Other items like furniture, books, and clothes may not need as much special treatment but will still require a clean, dry space. Different materials respond differently to storage conditions. For instance, leather might crack in dry conditions, while wood can warp in damp conditions. It’s not only the physical but also the emotional value that counts. Sentimental items may be irreplaceable, thus necessitating a higher level of care.

How much space do I need?

Accurately estimating the amount of space you need is a critical step to avoid unnecessary costs or capacity issues. The size of the unit you choose will depend on the volume of items you have, and this is one of the most important questions to ask before using self storage. Make an inventory list of all the items and try to estimate the total space they might occupy. Use online space calculators, which are often provided by storage companies on their websites, to give you a ballpark figure based on your inventory list.

People in a storage unit
Decide on the size of the storage you need

Remember, it’s not just about fitting everything in; you need to consider how you’ll use the unit. For example, if you’ll be frequently accessing the unit, leaving some extra room to move around within the unit is a wise idea. Always aim for a little more space rather than less. This prevents cramming, which can lead to damage.

How long do I need the storage for?

The length of storage can greatly influence your choice of facility. For short term storage needs, like during a move or home renovation, you might prioritize a facility closer to your home or a temporary storage warehouse for convenience. However, for longer periods, other factors might come into play. You might want to consider the cost-effectiveness of the storage unit. It might be more economical to opt for long-term contracts if you’re sure about the duration of storage. Also, for extended storage, you’ll want a facility that does regular pest control and has excellent security measures in place. The last thing you want is to discover your items have been damaged by pests or compromised due to lax security.

More questions to ask before using self storage are about the conditions in the unit

After understanding your storage needs, the next step is to scrutinize potential storage facilities. You need to ask about:

  • the security measure;
  • whether it is climate controlled;
  • the accessibility.

What are the security measures in place?

Your items’ safety is paramount. Ask about their security infrastructure, such as surveillance cameras, guards, alarm systems, locks, and access control systems. An excellent storage facility should be able to restrict access to only authorized individuals. Additionally, consider whether the area where the facility is located is safe and secure. This is extremely important when utilizing commercial storage Columbus Ohio. If you keep confidential documents there, this is one of the most important questions to ask before using self storage.

Is the facility climate controlled?

If you’re storing sensitive items like electronics, wines, or books, a climate controlled unit can protect them from damage due to extreme temperatures or high humidity. A climate controlled unit keeps the temperature and humidity level within a certain range, preventing the growth of mold, warping of wood, or damage to electronics.

How accessible is the facility?

Consider the facility’s location and hours of operation. Ideally, you’d want a facility that is easily accessible from your home or work, reducing the hassle if you need to access your items frequently. Check their operation hours – some facilities offer 24/7 access while others have more restricted hours.

Four survellience cameras under the blue sky
One of the questions to ask before using self storage is about the safety

Understanding the contract terms

Once you’ve shortlisted potential storage facilities, the next essential step is to delve into their contract terms. Thorough understanding and due diligence in this phase can ensure there are no unwelcome surprises later on.

What are the rental terms and conditions?

Each of the storage facilities Columbus Ohio will have its own set of rental terms and conditions. These could encompass lease length, payment terms, and potential penalties for late payment. It’s not uncommon for storage facilities to offer flexible arrangements like month-to-month rentals, but others might offer a set lease period. Check for any discounts that might be applicable for upfront payment or long-term contracts, and make sure to inquire about any available deals or promotions.

One person holding a pen and a contract, the other sitting
Make sure fees don’t change

Also, don’t forget to ask about their policy on increasing rental prices. Some facilities may reserve the right to increase prices after a certain period or based on other conditions. It’s important to be aware of these potential adjustments so you can plan your budget effectively and avoid unexpected cost increases.

What is the facility’s insurance policy?

Insurance is a critical aspect when it comes to storing your belongings. The facility should have insurance coverage for unforeseen circumstances like fires, theft, or natural disasters. However, the degree of coverage can vary significantly. Therefore, it’s crucial to ask about the extent of their coverage, the claim process, and any exclusions in their policy. Even the cheap storage units Columbus Ohio offer insurance.

Additionally, check with your own insurance provider to find out whether your homeowners’ or renters’ insurance covers stored items. If not, or if the coverage is limited, you might need to consider supplemental insurance. Weigh the cost of this additional insurance against the potential loss or damage of your items to decide if it’s a worthwhile investment.

What is their policy on terminating the contract?

Before signing the contract, make sure you’re clear on the terms surrounding contract termination. Ask about their move-out policy, including the notice period required to end the lease. It’s also important to inquire whether there are any penalties for early termination, as some contracts may require you to pay for the entire lease period regardless of when you terminate. Find out if there are refund policies for unused days or weeks, especially if you’re uncertain about how long you’ll need the storage unit. Lastly, ask about the cleaning requirements upon vacating the unit. Understanding what is expected can help you avoid unexpected fees or disputes when you decide to move out.

A man putting a box into the van
Prepare your itens for storage

Preparing your items for storage

Storing your belongings in a self storage unit involves more than just packing them up and locking them away. The way you prepare and pack your items can have a significant impact on their condition when you eventually retrieve them.

How should I pack my items?

Proper packing is crucial for maintaining the quality of your items during storage. It’s worth investing in quality packing materials such as sturdy boxes, bubble wrap, bins storage Columbus Ohio, and packing tape to ensure your items are well protected from dust, dirt, and potential damage. Consider using plastic bins for more durable protection, especially for valuable or delicate items. Labeling your boxes clearly will not only save you time when looking for specific items but can also help prevent accidental damage when moving boxes around. Fragile items should be wrapped individually in bubble wrap or packing paper, and furniture may need to be disassembled to prevent damage and optimize space. Remember, sealing your boxes with packing tape can keep out dust and dirt, ensuring your items remain clean throughout the storage period.

How should I organize my storage unit?

To make the most of your storage unit, it needs to be well organized. This can help you quickly locate items and ensure that your belongings are stored in the best possible way to avoid damage. It’s wise to plan your unit’s layout in advance of moving your items in. Consider which items you’ll need to access most frequently and place these towards the front of the unit. Items that you won’t need to use can be placed at the back. Try to create a clear path in the unit for easy access to all your belongings without needing to unload everything each time you visit. Keeping a floor plan of your storage unit can also help you remember where you’ve placed certain items, especially in larger units or when storing a lot of items.

Should I invest in storage shelves or other organizational tools?

While storage shelves or bins may seem like an unnecessary expense, they can significantly enhance the functionality of your storage unit. They can help to maximize the available space, particularly by utilizing the vertical space in the unit. This can leave more floor area for larger items and create a more efficient layout. Storage shelves can also help prevent boxes from being stacked too high and potentially falling over. Other organizational tools, such as labels, box dividers, or even a simple map of the unit’s contents, can further ease your storage experience. Depending on the length of storage and the number of items, investing in these tools may be a worthy investment. Remember, a well-organized unit saves space, time, and effort whenever you need to retrieve something.

Evaluating security measures

Safety and security should never be compromised when selecting a self-storage facility. It is, therefore, paramount to evaluate the security measures in place at the facility. This section will guide you through some safety-related questions to ask before using self storage.

What type of security systems are in place?

Security measures can vary from one facility to another. Ask about the systems they have in place to safeguard your belongings. Common security features include CCTV cameras, alarm systems, individual unit locks, and even onsite security personnel. Some high-end facilities may employ advanced security measures such as motion sensors or video surveillance with facial recognition. The type and level of security you need might be influenced by the nature and value of the items you intend to store.

Are there access control measures?

It’s equally important to understand how access to the facility is controlled. Some storage facilities use electronic gate access systems, such as keypads or swipe cards, to ensure that only authorized individuals can enter. Others might employ biometric access or unique PIN codes for added security. Furthermore, it’s worth finding out if access is permitted 24/7 or restricted to specific hours. If you think you might need to retrieve your items outside typical business hours, look for a facility that provides round-the-clock access.

How well-lit is the facility?

Lighting is a crucial but often overlooked security measure. A well-lit facility can deter potential thieves and also make you feel safer when accessing your unit after dark. This is especially important if the facility allows 24/7 access. Check not just the storage area but also the parking lot and pathways. Good lighting can help you navigate the facility more easily and safely, especially when carrying items to and from your unit.

Moving boxes ready for storage
When you are ready, ask all the questions you have

With these questions, you’ll find the perfect self storage

For a successful and stress-free experience, it is important to learn the right questions to ask before using self storage. By considering your storage needs, researching the facility, understanding the contract terms, preparing your items properly, and evaluating security and cleanliness measures, you can make informed decisions and ensure the safety and preservation of your belongings. Remember to inquire about key factors such as security systems, access control, facility cleanliness, maintenance routines, and pest control measures. With this comprehensive knowledge, you can confidently select a storage facility that meets your requirements and provides a secure and well-maintained environment for your items. So, before using self storage, be sure to ask these important questions to make the most out of your storage journey.

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