While it rarely makes sense to store items long-term — the rent will eventually exceed the replacement value of your possessions — storage units can be a great help in short-term situations.
When you need to move out of your old home a few months before the new home is ready — or you’re taking a one-year overseas assignment — a rental facility can be a lifesaver.
But before you sign a contract, here are five things to consider:
- Make a list. Figure out what items will go into storage and check it against storage company rules and regulations. Furniture, mattresses, large appliances, TVs and clothes are all acceptable items. Even non-perishable food is fine. Items not allowed are plants, animals, perishable food, illegal drugs or anything potentially hazardous or flammable. Firearms may be permitted, but inquire whether extra insurance or an additional deposit is required.
- Size it up. Decide how big of a space is needed. Storage units come in a variety of sizes so don’t pay for more than you need. An average-size unit is 10-foot x 10-foot or 100 square feet. Depending on location, expect to pay $150 to $175 per month for a climate-controlled room of this size.
- Do your possessions need to be in a climate-controlled space? A climate-controlled unit will keep the temperature in your unit between 65 degrees and 75 degrees regardless of the temperature outside. This will prevent your personal items from being damaged by extreme cold, heat or humidity, but you will pay more than you would for space in a garage or shed.
- Ask about security and accessibility. Units should have an on-site manager to assist customers and monitor the grounds. Some units have managers live on-site to provide extra security during overnight hours. Ask if the company offers 24-hour access to customers, allowing you to come and go as you please.
- Inquire about specials. Some companies will offer a free month’s rent or a free truck rental.