How Does Self-Storage Work?

29 May 2020
 Categories: , Blog


If you've never used self-storage before, you may not know much about how these types of facilities work. Whatever your reason, sometimes people need to rent out a storage unit, and here's a little bit of what to expect.

To start with, there are two types of facilities. There are those that are enclosed entirely in a larger building and those that are not. The enclosed ones are considered a little safer and more protected, but the ones that are not interior self-storage units are often much more accessible. You can drive your vehicle right up in front of the unit you've rented. The ones that are not enclosed in a building sometimes have someone who lives on-site, in order to increase security. They both have their advantages, so pick what's best for you.

When you're first coming to the facility, likely they'll take you and show you some examples of what size you'll need. If you're not sure, generally they can give you an estimate based on what you're trying to store. Because cost at self-storage facilities is dependent upon size, make sure you pick the smallest size you think you can get away with. In general, the contracts are month to month, so you won't be buying a long lease — this means that you can later change what size you're using without penalty. 

Once you've decided what size you want, you'll pay and sign some paperwork. At this point they may try to sell you on locks or moving gear — many self-storage facilities also sell boxes, tape, and locks for their units. You do want to buy a disc lock rather than your standard padlock. These types of locks are small and, true to their name, somewhat disc-shaped. They have a smaller, thicker bar, and are less exposed. They're harder to get through with bolt cutters, is the main point, and are the preferred type of lock at most self-storage facilities. (Some may require their usage, in fact, and many will recommend them.)  

You also may be able to rent or buy a dolly at this time, which could be particularly useful for the move.

Once you've got your unit, you'll be given a passcode — or sometimes you'll be allowed to pick one — or a key fob, depending on the facility, and you'll be able to move your stuff in immediately. As a note, the facility will generally not have a master key for your lock. When you get your lock, make sure you give a copy of the key to a trusted friend, in case you lose yours, otherwise, you'll have to get a new lock. 

For more tips and information on self-storage units, reach out to a storage facility near you.