Here are nine things to keep in mind when looking for storage.

  1. Do I Need It?
    When you're considering storage, you should always be asking yourself if you really need it – why pay to store something you rarely use, and will likely never use in the future?

    Ask yourself these questions:
    • Do I have a need for it?
    • Will I ever use it in the future?
    • When'd I last use it?
    • Does it contain any sentimental value for me? How much is that worth to me?

  2. Storage Options?
    There are basically three:

    Movers offer storage services, which is nice because a single entity takes care of the move and storage, saving you time and effort. The moving companies generally move the items into storage, and then deliver them to you when you request them.

    In self-storage, you do all the work: loading a truck and unloading your goods at the storage facility into a storage container.

    Mobile storage is another offering: a large container is dropped off at your home or business, you load it, and it is stored either on your property, or at a large storage facility. However, you might not be able to access it as frequently as you can self-storage, or might need to make an appointment to do so.

  3. How Much Space?
    If you explain what you have to store, the storage companies are generally very good about explaining what size is best for you.

  4. What Can I Store?
    It's more simple to list the things you can not store: perishable food (it will attract pests), combustible materials, plants, high-value items and firearms. Ask your storage company about specific restricted items for storage.

  5. Cost?
    The price depends on size, storage period, special needs, and the facilities' own special offers. Special offers will be fewer during busy periods, and facilities will try to offer incentives to have you commit to a longer rental period.

    Also keep in mind security, not just price.

  6. Insurance Coverage?
    Storage facilities have offer their own insurance, but find out about the facility's coverage in case of fire, flood, etc., and be sure you understand how the insurance they offer will cover damage. Also, ask your own agent to see if you renters insurance or homeowners insurance will cover you.

  7. Location Is Key
    If you'll need to access it frequently, consider a facility close to home. This will save money and time.

    With all options, take note of access times for your stuff. Some facilities offer 24-hour access, others have more normal business hours, and some facilities, like mobile storage centers, require special notice to access your unit.

  8. Security
    How does the storage facility plan to protect your goods? Are the security measures different during regular business hours vs. after-hours? What kind of neighborhood is the storage facility in? Would you be comfortable visiting during off-hours?