Top 5 Tips You Need To Know When Booking Self Storage
Top 5 Questions To Ask Yourself About Self Storage
My name is Lizzie Hudson and I am Operations Assistant at Explorage.com. I wish someone would have given me advice when I first started using self storage a year ago.
At the time the whole concept was new to me, and I had no idea what I was looking for or what my options were. I just knew I needed space….quickly. The experience was so poor, that when I was offered the chance to come and work for Explorage.com helping people overcome this problem, I leapt at the opportunity to help make people’s lives easier - from my own first-hand experience.
The first question you will probably ask yourself regarding self storage is, ‘Do I need self storage?’
Maybe life has thrown a curve ball and we find ourselves in trying times, such as divorce, downsizing, relocating for work, or dealing with a bereavement in the family. Then there are the life moments that enhance our lives and fill it with positives; having a family, taking up a hobby, university, and inheritance.
At present (2023), statistics reveal that the UK’s self storage industry’s annual turnover has reached £990 million! There are a lot of us needing (and using) storage!
The main questions you need to ask yourself when considering self storage
There are some important questions that we should be asking, to avoid renting the wrong sort of storage, in the wrong place, for the wrong length of time, regardless of the obvious one; ‘How much is this going to cost me?’
1. What storage do I need?
To begin with, what do you want to store? A boat? The contents of a two-bedroomed house? Seasonal items, such as Christmas decorations, BBQs, or garden furniture? Business equipment? All the family’s bicycles? Paddle boards?
Now you know exactly what you need to store, you need to understand the types of self storage out there.
- Outdoor units/Containers - These are large, steel shipping containers in outdoor areas and compounds. Some are repurposed, whilst others have been produced specifically for the self storage industry. These provide the ability to drive right up to the door of the self storage unit, and are usually used for large amounts of furniture and business equipment.
- Indoor units/rooms - These rooms are of varying sizes, and are all indoors and mostly found in urban areas.
- Long-term warehouse storage crates - Think 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' here, only possibly not quite as large. Your items are boxed or crated, then forklifted into their storage space.
- Mobile storage - Usually, the mobile storage company will deliver a storage container to your location. You then load it, and when finished, the company collects the unit and delivers it to a secure storage facility.
- Caravan storage - Can be either indoors or outdoors.
- Boat storage - There are several types of boat storage. A few include Dry storage/Marinas/Trailer storage and Self storage units.
- Car storage - Sometimes outdoor but usually indoors, car storage can provide trickle-charge, valeting, and collection and delivery.
- Climate-controlled storage - this type of storage covers items that can be damaged or effected by humidity/light etc. Examples are wine storage, book storage, artwork and collectibles.
2. Where do I store my things?
You are probably wondering why this is the next question, rather than asking ‘How much will it cost me? Unless you answer this question, you won’t get a true answer to that painful one. Trust me!
In an ideal world, we would store our belongings close to us, so we can get to them when we need them, without having to make an hour-long round-trip, (unless of course, we prefer our items to be out of sight and out of mind). With the cost of fuel these days, and a growing conscience of our carbon footprint, having storage nearby can be an important factor to consider.
On the other hand, if you are going overseas for a couple of years, or just simply don’t need to access the storage directly yourself, then you could go for cheaper warehouse storage, in crates, where the location isn’t as critical to you. Or even mobile storage, where you never have to leave your house….
3. How easy is it to access my self storage?
This is another important question you need to ask. Consider if you will need regular access to your belongings, or would it matter what time of day the facility is closed for access?
- Do you need 24/7 access to your storage unit?
- Are you storing heavy or bulky items that may be easier to put into storage if you can drive straight up to the door of your unit?
- Will you be storing long-term and not need regular access?
- Do you mind having to walk into indoor storage facilities, possibly up lifts and along corridors, to get to your storage unit?
Many indoor facilities offer trolleys to move your items, and some have forklift trucks. Some facility operators will try to accommodate you with a unit nearer to the lift/main entrance but this can sometimes come with a higher cost of rent. Then there are the storage facilities that will come to your home and pack your items for you, before taking them away to store for you.
The options are many but try and find out exactly what you need. Finding three months down the line after moving everything into storage, that you need to get your items out on a Sunday, and that’s the day your storage facility is closed for access, is a waste of your time, effort and money! Thinking ahead costs nothing and can save lots.
4. Will my storage items be safe?
All reputable self storage facilities have several security features in place. Safety is a priority for businesses. Check if they have CCTV, secure and high perimeter fencing and walls, and secure lighting. Some operators may have canine security or manned facility security. Storage operators are keen to emphasise their security measures and list them on their websites.
Many outdoor and indoor storage facilities now come with VNR (vehicle number recognition), key code access and fingerprint recognition. More and more storage operators are offering insurance for your stored belongings. Most home contents insurance does not automatically cover self stored items away from the home. A quick phone call to your insurer will confirm if this is the case with your policy. It is still possible to find insurance for self storage, even if your storage operator or home insurance broker doesn't offer it.
5. How much is it going to cost?
The cost will be the deciding factor for most of us when we make important decisions about which storage facility to use. If we’ve done our homework, and answered the previous questions to the best of our ability, then we will have narrowed down the field, and have a much easier decision to make when answering this last and very important question.
There are a vast amount of storage facilities out there, with some urban areas having proportionally more per capita than, say, a very rural facility. Knowing exactly what sort of storage you need, where and how easy the access has to be, and how safe the belongings will be, will enable us to calculate whether we can afford the nearest available facility, or need to travel just that little bit further for a more economical one that fits the bill.
There is no set rental fee for storage units among the array of facilities in the UK. Storage units vary greatly from region to region, and even within storage companies that have several sites over various counties. We should feel fairly confident now that what we are intending on renting is the right sort, size, shape and location, without wasting our money on unused space.
This is where the online marketplace for self storage really comes into play. Using Explorage.com you can filter your search for your storage needs, area by area, type by type, size by size, and you can narrow the field down easily. The Explorage.com self storage booking site will give you all the information you need in one place, and take the stress (and lengthy searching) out of finding the right self storage for you. Leaving you with just one simple question to answer…’Which one shall I choose?’
You are renting AIR SPACE, not just floor space.
Use every bit of the space you rent, to get the most out of what you are paying for!
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