How does self storage work? The essentials explained [guide]
September 8, 2021
How Does Self Storage Work

Thinking of hiring a self storage unit? Here’s a breakdown of how they work, and what you’ll need to do to hire one.

How does self storage work?

Hiring a self storage unit

Self storage facilities want to make it easy for you, so they generally chat to you about three things:

What you’re storing

There’s many different types of storage units. There’s regular units that are ideal for storing everyday things, units big enough to hold vehicles, climate-controlled units that are made to store delicate items like art or electronics, units that you can park directly outside to make moving easy, and highly-secure units with 24-hour access. So you’ll likely be asked what it is that you’re wanting to store, as this will allow the facility’s staff member to recommend a suitable unit.

How much you’re storing

Storage units come in a range of sizes, from small rooms that are suitable for a dozen boxes to vast spaces that can contain large vehicles. So you’ll need to have a general idea of how much stuff you want to store, and hire a suitably-sized unit based on it.

How long you’ll need the unit

You will also be asked how long you need the storage unit. Most people need self storage for months or years, but some facilities may allow you to go from week to week, depending on their policy.

How often you’ll be visiting

If you’re planning on taking stuff in and out of the unit regularly, the facility’s staff will likely recommend something a little bigger to allow walking space between your things, so that you don’t have to spend hours shuffling boxes around to get what you need.

What kind of access you need

In a storage facility, some units may be easier to access than others. You may be able to park your car directly outside some units, but will have to lug your things to others. Units that are easier to access are usually more expensive, so you’ll need to think about whether you want to pay the premium.

Once you’re clear on these points, you’ll be quoted a price based on the storage units type, size, and how long you need it for. You’ll then likely be asked for photo ID, and be presented with a rental agreement that will contain information such as a description of your unit, how long you’re renting for, and other important terms. Once you’ve signed your contract, you should be ready to move your things.

Of course, this might all be possible to do online, if you have a good understanding of what you need.

How do you access your unit?

Depending on the type of storage unit you hire, you may be given a code to gain access, a card, or a physical key.

Getting your stuff into a self storage unit

If you have an outdoor self storage with easy access, you may be able to drive directly up to it and start moving your things. Otherwise, self storage units that are a little harder to reach (such as indoor units) are generally set up so that you don’t have to carry your things too far.

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