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Choosing a Storage Unit Without Seeing it First

If you're getting ready for a long-distance move, choosing a storage unit may be one of your top priorities. After all, you don't want to leave your belongings behind in a storage unit that you won't be able to access when you need them. You may also just need to rent a unit until you are able to find a home or office that accommodates all of your belongings. Like many individuals tackling a long-distance move, you may be unsure of how to choose a storage unit without first seeing the unit itself. Even if you can't visit a storage unit location, you can use these tips as a guide while picking the perfect unit for your needs.

Evaluating Your Own Storage Needs

The first step in choosing a storage unit sight unseen is to carefully evaluate your own storage needs. Determine which of these items you'll need to store:

  • Furniture

  • Vehicles

  • Household appliances

  • Moving boxes

  • Antiques

  • Paperwork

  • Delicate items

Knowing what you're going to store will help you determine if you need a basic indoor unit, covered outdoor storage, or a unit with advanced climate controls. Remember to think about the climate conditions in the area to which you are moving. If humidity levels will be high, choose a climate-controlled unit to preserve sensitive documents. If the area is very dry, you may need a climate-controlled unit to keep fragile furniture, clothing, and artwork from becoming too brittle.

Before you start looking for a unit, find out if your homeowner or renter's insurance will cover the items you plan to store. You may need to choose an indoor unit or a facility with certain security features, such as around-the-clock surveillance, in order for your insurance to cover losses. If your insurance won't cover your items, you should look for a facility that offers extra insurance.

Choosing Facilities According to Features

You've determined what you need to store and the type of storage unit that you need. Before you choose an individual unit, you'll need to think about the features offered by a given facility. Consumer Expert Tania Anderson advises shoppers to "look for facilities that have some security features like working cameras. Also think about business hours and whether you'll have access to your storage space after hours." A trustworthy storage facility will provide all the information you need about security on their website.

In addition to thinking about security and access to your potential unit, you should also evaluate the following:

  • Does the facility offer climate-controlled units?

  • How far is the facility from your new home or place of business?

  • What kind of rental terms are offered on units? Do you have the option to rent month-to-month if you don't think you'll need the unit for very long?

  • Do the units feature exterior or interior doors? Are locks provided or will you need to buy your own?

  • Does the facility have any restrictions on the types of items you can store?

Looking at consumer reviews of storage facilities is a great way to understand if a given facility offers a high level of service and convenience. Remember that not all consumer reviews will be entirely truthful. Instead of letting one poor review scare you away, look at what consumers are saying as a whole.

Choosing The Right Individual Self-Storage Unit

After you've chosen the storage facility where you want to keep your possessions, you'll need to choose the individual unit you're going to use. Remember that most facilities offer several different unit sizes. Facilities may also offer special climate-controlled units. Be sure to clarify whether or not you are renting such a unit. If you need to store delicate items, the extra money you'll pay for climate control will be well worth the investment. If you don't need to store delicate items, be sure that you're not paying for features that you simply don't need.

Of course, choosing the right size storage unit is absolutely essential. Most units are sized according to width by depth. The facility should also provideheight measurements for each unit. One of the best ways to choose a correctly-sized storage unit is to stack all of your possessions against a wall in thesame way you plan to in your storage unit. You can then measure around the perimeter of these items to determine the size unit that you need. It's always a good idea to leave yourself extra room to move around in your storage unit, especially if you plan on taking items out on a regular basis.

You can use convenient, online tools to search for a storage facility near you. Before you make your final unit rental decision, call the storage facility and speak with the manager. Ask any questions that you have about the facility and the area where it is located. While you won't spend a great deal of time with your storage facility's manager, developing great rapport from the get-go is a good way to ensure you're choosing the right unit for your needs.