Self storage has many uses. And the service became even more appreciated during the pandemic, offering people a place for their stuff if they had to downsize or adapt to living in larger households. But if you are a new customer, or perhaps never used the service before, you may not know about all the many ways self storage can help you.

Challenges come and go but renting a storage unit can ease many of them. It famously helps with the 3 D’s, the major life events of death, divorce and dislocation. Then there are the situations when your living space simply gets too cluttered or is no longer the best place for certain items. A wide range of people rent storage for wide variety of reasons, and often very close to where they live, increasing their peace of mind. Here we provide the answers to all your questions about the ways self storage makes life more trouble free.

I need to move home! Can self storage help the process go more smoothly?

Yes indeed. You can move all your belongings into a storage unit in one go, or in many trips using your own transport, then move them from there into your new home, as it becomes ready, on your own schedule. This makes moving day much less stressful and means you have more control over the moving-in process.

I have to downsize to a smaller home! Can self storage help me get used to this?

Many people appreciate how renting a storage unit extends their living space when they move to a smaller home. Put things you don’t need every day into a nearby storage unit and pick them up when you need them. Your new living space may then look much the same as before and you can continue with your preferred lifestyle.

My household just increased in size! Can self storage keep us free from clutter?

Most certainly. A small 5’x5’ self storage unit can be an ideal place to put things that are getting in the way at home. Candidates for storage in this case are tools, seasonal items such as decorations, toys that the children you currently have don’t need, and books and paperwork you only look at occasionally.

I need to renovate my home! Can I put furniture out of the way in a storage unit until it’s all finished?

Major home refurbishments mean a lot of mess, and valuable items like tables and wardrobes can get in the way and get damaged. They can all be put in a storage unit for the time the work takes. And if you find you want new furniture when it’s finished, just leave the old items in your unit until you find a good home for them.

I don’t have a lot of spare time! Can I find a storage facility that fits my busy lifestyle?

Absolutely. Many facilities let you access your unit 24/7. They also may have drive-up units, so you don’t have to spend too much time transporting your boxes between your car and your unit. For an even more convenient service, consider valet self storage, where the company picks up and delivers your items to your door.

I don’t have a car! Is it likely I will find a self storage facility within walking distance?

The traditional image of self storage was a row of lock-up garages somewhere on the edge of town. However, there are more storage facilities being built every year, in both urban and suburban locations. The chances of finding one within walking distance, or on a public transport route, are now better than ever.

I have a motorhome but nowhere to put it! Can self storage help?

If you live in a neighborhood that bans parking oversize vehicles on the streets, and your garage is not large enough, self storage can be the perfect solution. Many facilities provide specialist places to park such vehicles, either under a roof or out in the open. And you can even keep them inside, for example in a 10’x30’ storage unit.

Somebody close to me just passed away! Is a self storage unit a good place for their belongings?

Yes. You can leave all your loved one’s possessions in a storage unit until you have time to decide what to do with them. Some items you might sell or donate, while others you could never let go of. (The same applies to extra belongings needing a home after a divorce.) Self storage leases are flexible, so keep renewing yours as required.

I have a lot of fashionable clothes! Can I keep these in good condition in a storage unit?

A storage unit will keep your clothes in pristine condition, especially if it has climate control — this is also an ideal solution for photographs and important paperwork. To keep your dresses and suits in great shape, you could also consider hanging them in wardrobes or special cardboard boxes within the unit.

The items I want to store are precious to me! Are they safe in a storage unit?

Professional storage providers maintain up-to-date safety and security features at their properties. Surveillance cameras, infra-red sensors, electronic locks and on-site guards all add to increased peace of mind. And you could also rent an interior unit, meaning there are extra walls and locks between your possessions and the world outside.

I want to store some valuable items! What can I do to ensure I don’t lose money?

Storage providers usually require you to have insurance on your items in storage, and they can provide it for you. Even if they don’t insist, you can take out a policy. A third-party provider can give you exactly the sort of insurance you want, including coverage of valuable or unusual items. However, there will be a limit on the value covered.

I’d like to keep a stock of some essentials! Can I keep them all in a storage unit?

Mostly, no. If you want to bulk-buy toilet tissue, go right ahead! It is recommended, however, that no chemicals are kept in a storage unit, and this includes cleaning fluids. Also, food should generally not be kept there, even in cans. Try making a space for these things in your home, and then move the displaced items into your storage unit.

I want a new and exciting hobby! Is a storage unit a good place for the equipment?

Instead of taking up space at home, bulky equipment like golf clubs and fishing gear can easily be picked up on the way to the course or the lake. Bicycles for all the family can also all be kept in a storage unit, and there may be no other suitable place for ATVs and the trailer needed to transport them. Have fun!

I’ve just been made homeless! Can I live in my storage unit?

No. You. Can. Not. Neither can any of your pets, dead or alive. And while we’re here, don’t put any plants in your unit either, however dry they may look. Also, remove any fishing bait from your box of angling gear before you put it away. Self storage staff (and their clients) are people too, and nobody needs the problem of decaying.… anything!

There are so many ways that renting a self storage unit can make life go more smoothly. This certainly includes the financial aspects of life: A non-climate-controlled 10’x10’ storage unit costs an average of $128 across the nation, which is $1.28 per square foot — just compare that with the cost of your residential living space. Having a storage unit at all times, perhaps half-stacked with items for seasonal use, means you are always prepared and will never get cluttered at home. Alternatively, you could just rent a unit for those times when you are going through a change and want to be sure not to get stressed. Whatever life throws at you, we wish you happy storing!


Francis Chantree is a writer and editor for Yardi, focusing on real estate and lifestyle content. He is a former programmer and researcher who exchanged computer language for his greatest passion, human language! When not writing and proofreading text, he can be found gardening and reading.

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