How to Select a Storage Unit Remotely & Without Seeing it First
Shopping for a storage unit remotely is a common practice, especially when moving across states and during uncertain times like this. However, it’s equally important that you find the right fit for you and your needs even from a distance away. That’s why we’ve put together a helpful guide of what to look for and what questions to ask when shopping for your storage unit!
Your storage unit should be an extension of your home—that’s why you want to protect it, just as you would your home. The first step when researching properties and interviewing about different options is to determine how the property is protected. Ideally, the storage property/facility will have some form of security onsite. The level of security varies with the quality of the storage property. For example, we’ve seen storage facilities with tiny, broken fences protecting their units and unit walls that don’t even go up to the ceiling. While on the other hand, we’ve also seen properties where the perimeter is fully secured like a prison (minus the guards) and has each individual unit secured away from neighbors (ahem..I wonder where that was!)
Smile, you’re on camera
An added level of security that we recommend seeking out is facilities with the proper security cameras on site. Some places will only have cameras at the entrance, while some won’t have any at all. You want to make sure there are cameras that surround the property and actually keep the footage that’s recording. This is one of the best ways to protect your items and prevent break ins.Follow up questions to ask:
- Are they digitally recording cameras and do they work right now? Many places do not have a working camera system. That’s why you need to actually ask this.
- Do they record in color? This is very important to fully see who’s on the property.
- Are they at every entrance/exit/hallway point? Look at every access point to be sure.
- How long do you keep the footage? If you notice something suspicious and it’s been a month or two since your last visit, then who knows what will happen if the facility only keeps the footage for only two weeks at a time.
- Who monitors the cameras? Who’s watching to make sure no funny business goes on.
Unit wall height
Now, this may sound silly, but the truth is…some facilities have units whose walls don’t actually go all the way up to the ceiling. It’s extremely important to ask about this when researching and interviewing. Walls that are ceiling height ensure your goods are protected from the elements and from break ins. This is especially important to address with climate-controlled ventilation. If you’re paying for a climate-controlled unit but the ventilation is not actually going directly into your unit, it’s not as effective.
Alarms and gate access hours
Each individual unit should have an alarm. This is important because it is your best defense against any break-in. Follow-up questions: Make sure to ask who monitors your alarms and the alarm system should be monitored 24/7 and have dispatch ready to go if it goes off. Additionally, ask about gate access hours. A limitation, such as no access after 11pm to 6am, is more secure. That way you can be sure nobody is sneaking around the property in the middle of the night. Note: It’s okay to ask the property management about what they are doing to prevent break-ins and even ask if they have ever had one! The way that they answer this question, will tell you a lot about the safety of that property.
Self Storage Insurance
This is a topic that often goes without mention. Be sure to ask if the facility offers insurance or if you’re required to carry your own. Amazing Spaces requires all units to have insurance. This is one way we help ensure your storage experience will be positive, regardless of what unpredictable Texas weather chaos rolls in.
Protecting your belongings is essential, especially when living in a humid climate like Texas. A general rule of thumb is that items stored inside your home, generally need climate controlled storage. Climate controlled storage not only controls temperature, but humidity and moisture, as well. As mentioned above, be sure that the property has independent vents that go into your storage space to ensure your items stay well preserved. The right temperature really does make all the difference!
Determining the right size
The best approach is to first measure all the major items you plan to store, such as appliances, large furniture, major electronic components, and large tools and machinery. Measure length and width to get a rough idea of the area each of these items will take up, and then add the results to estimate how much total area your major items will occupy. Once you have that measurement, add space for smaller items, keeping in mind that many of these other items can be placed on top of, in between, and even inside of, the larger items. Using this method allows you to group like items together, with a major item or two from each category serving as a landmark to allow you to easily spot them once everything is placed inside the unit. Keep in mind that some furniture like couches can be stacked on their end to even better maximize your space. We realize it can be hard to determine the exact size you need, especially from afar…that’s why we’ve created an online storage size calculator. This tool will help you determine what is best for your specific needs!
Last, but certainly not least—if you’re selecting a unit from afar, please call us, we’re here to help! We are committed to providing our customers an exceptional experience from start to finish and will help you determine the best option for your needs, even if you’re not able to see the space in person. Contact one of our A-Team members today at: (281) 378-4343.
It was helpful when you said to see if they offer insurance. My parents want to move into a retirement community at the end of next month, so they want to find a storage unit they can keep all of their furniture in since they want to move into a smaller home. I’ll pass this information along to them so they can know how to find a good storage unit.
Thank you for explaining that your storage unit should have some security onsite. My husband and I are thinking about getting a storage unit for some of our seasonal items and equipment. I’ll be sure to share this with him so we can be sure to find a great place. http://www.alaskaministorage.com/