Complete Guide: Self Storage in 5 Easy Steps

Complete Guide: Self Storage in 5 Easy Steps

Moving is always a time of transition. This is especially true when that transition involves moving to a place with less storage space. It might be a place with fewer bedrooms, the loss of a basement or attic, or more people living without more room. Whatever the cause, you might be faced with self storage requirements.

Save yourself time, stress and money on your self storage / mini storage needs in Queens with the tips in this article.

Self Storage: The Basic Steps

  1. Identify the size of the self storage unit you'll need and how long you'll need it.
  2. Make a “Self Storage Feature List” of the features you'll need (climate control, security, location, 24 hour access)
  3. Develop a list of potential self storage locations. Check your list against _______.
  4. Visit top self storage locations and compare them against
5. Make your final choice and sign the contract.

Self Storage Step 1: Identify the size of the self storage unit you'll need and how long you'll need it.

Just to point out the obvious, you'll save money and time by putting fewer, smaller items into self storage. That means you're better off doing one or more of the following with excess items:

  • Sell them at a moving sale.
  • Donate them to charities such as Goodwill, The Salvation Army or The Purple Heart.
  • Give them away to people who can use them now and value them.
  • Store them with family or friends IF it's for a very brief time and they're willing.

Once you've eliminated what you can, it's time to figure out how much space you'll need. Self storage units vary from one location to another, but here are some basic sizes and guidelines, adapted from “The Storage Place Inc” website:

  • 5′ x 5′: holds a small number of boxes or small bedroom furniture.
  • 5′ x 10′: holds a few pieces of furniture, including a couch.
  • 10′ x 10′: holds the contents of a small, one-bedroom apartment.
  • 10′ x 15′: holds the contents of a small, two-bedroom apartment.
  • 10′ x 20′: holds the contents of a small, two-bedroom house or a small car.
  • 10′ x 25′: holds the contents of a larger, two-bedroom house or a larger car.
  • 10′ x 30′: holds the contents of a three-bedroom house, or the contents of a 36-foot moving van.
  • 10′ x 40′: holds the contents of a four-bedroom house.

Use this list to narrow down the size of the space you'll use.

Learn more about Understanding Storage Systems

Self Storage Step 2: Make a “Self Storage Feature List.”

After deciding on the size of self storage unit you'll need, to identify what features you want to go with it. Think of it as a “shopping list” for comparing self storage units.

It's a good idea to break down the features into 3 categories based on how important they are to you:

  • A – Absolute musts. If a self-storage unit does not have this feature, you won't consider it.
  • B – Better to have than not. These are features that would be plusses, but not required.
  • C – Couldn't care less. As the name would imply, these features may exist, but don't really matter to your decision.

Here is our list to help you get started:

  • convenient location

  • climate control

  • 24-hour direct access

  • monitored security cameras

  • security guards on premise

  • sprinkler system· alarm system

  • insurance available

  • payment methods accepted

Self Storage Step 3: Develop a list of potential self storage facilities.

Now that you know what you're looking for, it's time to begin the search process. You can kick off the process by investigating five of the most popular self storage companies:

  • Public Storage
  • U-Haul (yes, the same company that offers truck rentals)
  • ExtraSpace Storage
  • United Stor-All
  • U-Store-It

Check your self storage candidates against the Self Storage Feature List that you created earlier. Any facilities that are missing “A – Absolute must” features should be crossed off.

Self Storage Step 4: Visit top self storage locations and compare them against one another.

Yes, I realize that actually taking the time to visit each of your top choices isn't convenient. However, there are things you will discover by visiting that you wouldn't otherwise. How does the location look? Does the neighborhood seem stable? Is the facility as easy to reach as you imagined? What's the condition of the existing storage units? Does the place seem well-maintained?

Take notes at each facility and clearly mark which property you're visiting. Eliminate from your list any of the locations that seem sketchy.

Self Storage Step 5: Make your final choice and sign the contract.

If you've followed all the previous steps in this article, this final step should be relatively easy. Try to order each of your final candidates by how well they did in each category. If you're finding it difficult to choose your top pick, try eliminating your least favorite option first, then repeat the process until you have your final pick.

Please note that the price of the monthly rate is a very important factor, but it isn't the only factor. There's something to be said about paying for peace of mind- if you lay awake at night worrying about the safety of your belongings, you've made the wrong choice.

Speaking of rental rates, be sure to ask your self storage facility manager if they provide any of the following discounts, programs or bonuses that might apply to you:

  • First or last month free

  • Rental discounts for seniors, students, or military personnel

  • Discounts on related items or services such as moving boxes and supplies, rental trucks or moving companies

When signing the final contract, you may be offered insurance coverage. Make sure that you aren't already covered by your homeowner's insurance, and be very clear about exactly what is covered, whether damaged or stolen items are reimbursed at replacement cost levels, and what any deductibles may be. Ideally, you wouldn't be storing anything of value in an unattended storage unit, but if you are, you want to make certain you aren't paying for insurance coverage that doesn't fully protect you.

These steps should allow you to have a successful self storage rental experience in Queens NY.

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