How does self-storage work?

December 19, 2014

De-cluttering is fine, but it’s hard to let go of your belongings if your future is uncertain. Thank heavens for mini-storage warehouses where you can rent the exact size of storage space you need, for the short or longterm. Let’s take a look at exactly how self-storage works so you can get good value for your money.

Why use it?

Self-storage companies offer storage solutions of all kinds to individuals and businesses. You could temporarily store seasonal equipment, say, if ski equipment clutters your front hallway all summer and the barbecue rusts on your balcony during the winter.

Or if you’re moving in with your new sweetheart but aren’t sure if you’re ready to give up your man-cave furniture, you can keep it in a self-storage unit. These units are generally accessible at all hours of the day, so you can easily retrieve anything you may need in the meantime.

How does it work?

Services may vary between companies, but the idea is always the same: you lease an enclosed unit whose size suits your exact needs. You pay a monthly rent and can retrieve or add to your belongings at any time. Some units are located in warehouses and are accessed via internal corridors, while others are accessed only from the outside.

In general, you provide your own padlock for the garage-style store. The minimum rental period is one month, but leases can usually be renewed indefinitely.

For everything and anything

It’s important to get the scoop from the management about any restrictions on what you can store, but typically you can keep anything in these warehouses: furniture, books, commercial goods, sports equipment, pianos and so on. Just don’t try to store your houseplants there. The usual suspects on the banned item list include flammables or explosive items, perishable food and, of course, live animals.

How safe is my stuff?

In general, your belongings are just as safe in a self-storage unit as they would be at home. You’re responsible for making sure your goods are insured against fire, weather, water damage and other risks that even the best surveillance systems can’t protect them from.

What size do you need?

There is a wide variety of sizes for self-storage units. A square footage of 1.85 metres (20 square feet) is enough for about 50 storage boxes, and 28 square metres (300 square feet) is enough to store the contents of a house. So, you can store a few items or park an RV for the winter. To help you find the right size, storage companies offer tools to estimate the amount of space you need.

Are you still wondering how self storage works for the kind of goods you need to store? Phone around and talk to a few different companies to see what they have available and if any of their units might meet your needs.

How does self-storage work?
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