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Do you have too much stuff, or are you making a living transition soon? Then you need to find the right storage unit.

You might be surprised to learn that in the U.S., there are more storage facilities than there are McDonald’s restaurants. Self-storage has become an essential part of many people’s lives. But with so many options out there, making the right choice can start to seem impossible.

We want you to have a storage facility that you’re happy with. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you make the best possible choice for your storage needs. Ready to get that extra stuff put away? Then keep reading!

What Type of Storage Unit Should You Choose?

Your first step is figuring out what kind of storage unit is right for you.

Make an inventory of all the things you’re planning to store. You might have a certain unit size in mind. However, having a storage unit that holds all your stuff isn’t enough – you also need enough room left over to move around and get the things you’ll need.

You might need to get things out once they’ve been put in storage. A unit that’s packed from floor to ceiling, wall to wall, will cut you off from your belongings. It’s not worth the money you’ll save if you need to pull everything out of your unit every time you need to reach a single box in the back.

In addition to size, you should also think about whether anything you plan to store can get damaged by temperatures. If you have temperature-sensitive items, you may need to spring for a temperature-controlled indoor unit.

If you have valuable items, look for a facility that offers security, camera monitoring, and other measures to prevent theft. Don’t forget to take out insurance on your stored valuables. Many homeowner’s and renter’s insurance policies will also cover stored goods, sometimes for an added cost. Other storage facilities will include insurance for a fee in your rent.

1. Start Researching

Now that you have an idea of what you’re looking for in a storage facility, it’s time to start researching.

Location

Don’t get hung up on picking the unit that’s the closest to you. It might be more convenient to rent a space that’s farther away, but meets all your needs.

Sometimes, the closest or cheapest storage facility isn’t the best one. Look around your community and check out the different options available. If you live in a heavily populated area, you might also find better deals by looking a little outside of town.

Reviews

Read the major review sites to see what they say about the facilities you’re considering.

Of course, you shouldn’t take every review at face value. It’s normal to have a few bad reviews. But if all the reviews for a location are negative, that might be a sign that you should go somewhere else.

Reviews might also alert you to certain features or drawbacks you might not have thought of yourself. Even if you think you’ve found the perfect storage facility, it doesn’t hurt to learn about other people’s experiences.

Hours

Make sure to check the gate and office hours of any storage facilities you’re considering. Keep in mind that gate and office hours aren’t the same thing.

Many companies make it easy to find their gate hours, which tend to be longer than the office hours. The gate hours are the times when you’ll be able to access your unit. But the office hours are the times when you can get questions answered and concerns addressed.

Check that both the office and gate hours are convenient enough to work for you. If you won’t be able to access your things at the times when you’ll need them, look for a place with better hours.

2. Pay a Visit

Next, your task is to physically visit the locations that still look good after your research is done.

Some facilities will tell you that they have limited space to try and get you to sign up then and there. Go in prepared so you won’t enter into an agreement you aren’t ready for. Most of the time, the company will hold the unit for you overnight while you consider it. Take advantage of this option.

Instead, take the time while you’re there to ask questions and walk around the facility. What should you ask? Here are some of the top questions to help you make the right choice.

Can I See The Unit I’d Get?

Ask to see the unit you would be signing up for, or at least a similar one in the same area. This ensures they can’t show you a nicer unit than what you’ll be renting.

Are There Any Discounts or Specials?

Many storage facilities offer a deal on the first month: they might rent it to you for a dollar or for free. This makes moving in less of a blow to your finances. If they don’t advertise a special, it never hurts to ask.

What Happens if I Miss a Payment?

Mistakes happen. However, renting a storage unit often doesn’t allow much wiggle room for late payments. If they don’t receive your payment on the first of the month, they’ll consider it late.

Sometimes, a late payment even means they’ll auction off your belongings. They might also charge late fees by the day, which can add up fast. Make sure to find out what the rules are, and how you can easily set up payments so they never get missed.

Ready to Choose the Right Storage Facility?

The right storage facility for you should be convenient, affordable, and make you feel comfortable that your belongings are safe. If a facility doesn’t meet those needs, look elsewhere – another one will.

Are you in the Jacksonville, FL area? Then our safe, easy-to-rent storage units might be perfect for you. Find out more here.