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Searching For Self Storage Units? Here's Everything You Need to Know

Whether you're moving into a home that isn't quite ready yet or downsizing for a period of time, you need a place to store some of your stuff-and a friend's garage isn't going to cut it.

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Thankfully, self-storage companies exist to help out in exactly these situations.

At it's basic, self-storage allows you to store your belongings for a small monthly fee. The units come in various shapes and sizes depending on how much you'd like to pace inside. Plus, there's no need to sweat security since the units are completely private-meaning that your self-storage unit is locked and only you hold the key.

So, what do you need to know before shopping around for self storage quotes?
To help you shop around for the perfect storage, we'll take a look at the most important factor to consider before comparing storage unit quotes:

What are the different types of storage facilities?

The type of storage facility you choose should depend on the type of items you want to store. Choosing the most suitable facility for your items means getting an appropriate level of protection for them at the best price.

Choosing the wrong facility may end up wasting your money without the proper protection for your items and also end up causing damage to the items you might love and cherish.

In this article, we'll share all the ins and outs you need to know when renting a storage unit.

The following are the most common types of storage units available in storage facilities:

Climate-Controlled Self-Storage

Climate-controlled storage has units where the humidity and temperature are monitored and controlled by the storage facility.

The storage company determines the specific degree of the temperature in the units and all the space is enclosed in a structure or building. This facility is suitable for storing items that are affected or damaged by weather conditions.

External weather, either hot or cold cannot affect items in the self-storage unit or determine the temperature inside the unit.


Most climate-controlled facilities only give access to few authorized individuals for the smooth running of the facility. Depending on the facility you opt for, you may have access to your items 24 hours or less in a day.

Non-Climate Controlled Self-Storage

The humidity and temperature of the non-climate-controlled storage space is not controlled or monitored by the storage facility. The temperature of this facility is affected by the natural prevailing weather.

The facility is either as cold as the temperature caused by the winter or as warm as the temperature caused by the summer. Storing items in this facility is less expensive compared to the climate-controlled storage unit. This facility is mostly suitable for storing items that cannot be damaged by weather conditions.

Portable Container Storage

Moving container companies such as PODS are known for providing portable container storage services. The company delivers your preferred container size in the location you want, your home or business.

After loading the container with items, you contact the company to pick it up and transport it to their warehouse where it is stored. This storage is suitable for items that don't require repeated access and are not affected by climate.

Information Management Service

This type of storage company collects files at your location (either home or office) and moves them to their climate-controlled facility. These companies only collect and store paper files. Once you request for any of your files, the company will deliver them to you.

Information management service companies aren;t as common as the others. Several businesses now operate a "paperless" system. Such companies prefer cloud storage (digital storage system on the internet) and no longer requires the services of paper files storage companies.

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What size of storage unit do I need?

The storage size you need depends on the number of items you want to store. A 2-bedroom's worth of items will require more storage space than a studio's worth of items.

Most storage facilities provide various storage sizes for rent. You have the absolute freedom to choose whatever storage size you want.

Here are 6 of the most common storage sizes to choose from:

  • 5x5 (25 ft. 2) - mostly suitable for storing seasonal items
  • 5x10 (50 ft2 - suitable for storing a studio or a 1-bedroom's worth of items
  • 10x10 (100 ft2) - suitable for storing 2 bedroom's worth of items
  • 10x15 (150 ft2) - suitable for storing 3 bedroom's worth of items
  • 10x20 (200 ft2) - suitable for storing 4 - 5 bedroom's worth of items
  • 10x30 (300 ft2) - suitable for storing 5 - 7 bedroom's worth of items

You can use this storage units size guide to determine the right storage size you need for your home or office items.

What is climate-controlled storage?

In a climate-controlled storage, the temperature and humidity of the entire space is controlled and enclosed within a building. The unit is not exposed to external weather, temperature or moisture triggered by humidity. So, whether it is sunny or snowing outside, the temperature and humidity of the storage is not affected.

Unlike other storage, access to climate-controlled storage is limited to authorized individuals. The entire storage building is often secured and placed under strict monitoring. Climate-controlled storage is mostly suitable for items that are affected by temperature, humidity, and the weather.

Here are some of the key items you should store in a climate-controlled storage:

  • Wine
  • Antiques
  • Collectibles
  • Media related items
  • Artwork
  • Clothing
  • Important documents
  • Medical supplies and medications
  • Photographs
  • Musical instruments
  • Makeup and toiletries
  • Household appliances
  • Sports equipment
  • Furniture, and
  • Electronics etc.

What hours will I have access to my storage unit?

This depends on the storage facility you choose. Some companies operate a 24-hour access, while others operate a 12-hour access or less. Before you opt for any storage company, ask about the hours you can have access to your personal storage unit.

Will my stuff be safe from damage and theft while in storage?

Yes! Storage companies thrive on their ability to secure your items and keep them in good conditions. Most storage companies have security experts, use surveillance cameras, adequate lighting in all surroundings, password access gates, digital surveillance system, password access storage units, and fences etc. to keep intruders away.

Items are also stored in a well-maintained facility to avoid the least dust and debris to keep your items in good conditions always.

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Do Storage facilities offer insurance?

Yes! Storage facilities offer insurance. But it's not mandatory to buy from them. You can shop around and buy your insurance from any third-party.

Self-storage insurance protects your items against theft or damage while they are kept in a storage unit at a storage facility. Depending on who your insurer is, the policy you get may cover the transit of your items from the storage facility.

Regardless of who you buy storage insurance from, ask about what the policy covers and excludes before buying.

How often do storage facilities check their smoke alarms and sprinkler systems?

Many self-storage facilities use the NFPA 25 guideline for inspecting their smoke alarms and sprinkler systems. Various parts of the sprinkler system are inspected at various intervals. As required, inspections are done weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually and once in every five years.

The smoke alarm system is also inspected at various regular intervals depending on the part of the system involved. This includes weekly visual inspections, monthly and semiannual visual inspection, and annual visual inspection.

What should I check before renting a storage unit?

All storage facilities are not exactly the same. This is why shopping around and comparing facilities can help you choose the right one. Here are the key things you have to consider before renting any storage unit:

  • Accessibility
  • Security
  • Pricing
  • Availability
  • Location
  • Reviews
  • After-hour access and assistance
  • Facility maintenance
  • Insurance coverage
  • Physical Condition of the Storage Facility
  • Is the Storage Facility Climate Controlled?

When to Use Storage

  • Moving out and need to store extra items

  • Cleaning out garage or basement

  • Store old furniture

  • Store baby items, like cribs, toys etc

  • Store seasonal items like holiday decorations, winter clothes etc

  • Store boxes of old clothes or other items

  • Store items during a move

Benefits of Storage

  • Nationwide availability

  • Low monthly costs

  • No contracts, flexible terms

  • Secure and Safe Facilities

  • Climate-Controlled Units

  • Private access

  • Long-term or Short-term rental options

Contact Info

20130 Lakeview Center Plaza
Suite 400
Ashburn, VA 20147

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