Storage units can be lifesavers—if you have a plan and specific purpose for them. For short-term solutions, like when you’re renovating your home or office or downsizing and need a place to keep your belongings until you sell them or move. For long-term solutions, like if you’re saving furniture for your children or for when you purchase that beach house you always wanted; renting a storage space can help ease your plans for the future. 

But there are a few things you should know before taking the plunge and purchasing a lease agreement. The last thing you want is to be stuck with something that’s too big, too small, or unnecessary. Follow these simple steps to ensure you’re getting what you need and not paying for what you don’t. 

First Things First…

Before you even begin the search for a storage unit, ask yourself why you actually need it. Will it be a few months or longer before a home renovation is complete and you want to protect your furniture? That’s a perfectly sound reason to rent a unit. Do you have larger family heirlooms you want to save for when your kids get their own places? Sure, you can rent a storage space to keep the items safe. Are you downsizing and need to get rid of furniture and household wares that are either old, unused, or just unnecessary? Nope, don’t get a storage unit. 

It’s one thing to store what you need and will use for the future. It’s another to spend money hanging onto things you should have sold or given away long ago. (Need tips on downsizing and how to declutter? We got you. If you need recommendations or a solution on how to downsize? One of our experienced movers can help you every step of the way). Once you know the items that are not only worth saving, but a must, it’s time to look into the types of storage facilities and units you’ll need. 

Take Inventory of What You Have 

Once you have a firm understanding of the goods you'll be storing, you can decide what size unit you’ll need. Make a detailed list with each item you want to store, its dimensions, and the length with which you want to keep it. This will help you 1.) choose the best storage unit option, ensuring you’re not paying too much for space you don’t need, or too little and end up having to rent another. 2.) Organize your unit in a sensical manner, placing large, heavy items you plan to keep for a while in the back, while placing lighter goods you may be using again or giving away soon toward the front. 

Triple Check Your New Space

The last thing you want to spend money on is a storage space that you could have avoided. When moving into a new home or office, make sure to measure and analyze the storage areas so you have no doubt as to how much space can be used. Closets, basements, garages, crawl spaces, pantries all provide storage options, so count how many you have, measure their dimensions, and if there are extra spots in the basement or garage, use these for your housewares and furniture. If you still need a storage unit, you will at least be able to rent a smaller one for cheaper. 

Pick Your Size 

When you know what you’ll be storing, you can choose the size unit you’ll need. Units typically run in small, medium, and large. Not sure what this means for what can fit into each size? Take a look at this helpful chart from Move.org. It’s also important to remember how tall storage units are. Most run about eight feet tall, so keep this in mind when you’re choosing an option.

Do Your Homework 

When searching for a storage unit, take your time. Don’t go with the first place you find online or the one place a friend told you about. Make sure to do your due diligence and look into several companies.Schedule visits to each facility so you can view the spaces, measure the units, and determine the best option for you. 

Prices will vary from facility to facility, so it’s crucial to cross check costs per unit, short-term, long-term values, discounts—anything that could potentially get you a better deal for the duration with which you need a unit. 

Consider the Short-Term

If you’re moving quickly or you’re undergoing renovations to your current home or office, renting a unit at a facility may not be the most practical or efficient way to go. Portable storage containers can be rented for a monthly fee and as long as you’re not spending an exorbitant amount of time getting to your new space or updating your old one, they can be far more affordable than the cost of storage facilities. 

Additionally, you can move them to whatever location is necessary, making unpacking a snap. Moving containers also double as moving trucks, so you can save additional costs going this route. 

There are many reasons storage units come in handy during a move—and there are some reasons they can be a costly disadvantage. It’s essential to take a good look at the future of your move or project to determine timelines and needs so you can choose the best storage option for your family. Looking for more information? Reach out and get a storage quote!