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Have too much stuff? The solution seems so easy. Just buy a storage unit, right? Not so fast. While storage units can do a lot of things, they aren’t always the solution. Here’s how to know when tackling extra clutter can be effectively done with a storage unit and when you should just get rid of the junk.
Create The Inventory – The Master List
Create a master list of all items you have. These aren’t things that will necessarily go into storage, but rather all items that might make the cut.
Determine What You Really Need
Before you buy a storage unit, think about how much you really need to put into storage. Storage units cost money and, if you don’t even use a piece of property, it’s probably best to just get rid of it. If you have a vague idea of what you might use it for, it’s probably not all that useful.
If, on the other hand, you have a firm idea of why you want to keep something, and you think it’s worth paying to store, by all means, store it. Comb through your list, and try to eliminate items like wardrobe clutter. Be tough on yourself. If you haven’t worn it in 6-12 months, then it really needs to go!
Don’t take the first offer you see. Shop around at least 5 different storage places to see what the going rate is. Then, select the best option based on what you need from the storage unit and what your budget says you can spend.
Visit The Site
According to AAA Storage, not all storage units Houston TX have posted security or are properly “gated.” The only way to tell is to visit the site. If you arrive, and the storage area seems deserted, this is not a good sign.
Gated facilities are preferable to non-gated ones. In other words, you should look for a physical barrier around the storage facility. You may also want climate-controlled units, which are typically indoor storage facilities housed inside a large building, almost like an apartment complex. These facilities are ideal for storing items that require temperate climates. So, for example, if you have delicate Christmas decorations, old family heirlooms that you want protected or old computers that need to be kept away from moisture or out of the cold, a climate-controlled facility is the best choice.
Also, look for grading on the pavement that the storage units are constructed on. This is a little detail that’s often overlooked by a lot of people. A facility might claim to be “dry and clean,” but the how the structures are put up can sometimes tell you more than the property manager.
So, for example, the pavement around the structure should be gently sloped away from the building and drains should be strategically placed around the property to capture and move water away from the units. Completely flat grades, or grades that seem uneven or even sloping inward toward the building may mean that the storage units aren’t going to be as dry as advertised if and when a nasty storm comes through.
Prep Your Property For Storage
Get your property ready for storage by packing it up in waterproof boxes. Anything that can be safely cleaned with bleach should be cleaned with bleach. Why? Because it will prevent mildew and mold growth.
You can also pack boxes with either a small container of baking soda or DampRid to keep moisture at bay.
Wrap upholstered furniture in plastic to keep it clean and dry, and to keep the bugs away from it, if there are any. You can’t be certain that other customers will be as clean as you are.
If you can, try to store items on pallets or concrete blocks. You want to avoid any possibility that water makes its way into the storage unit but, sometimes it happens. Even if your facility has proper grading, a heavy storm could cause flash-flooding. Keeping your property up off the ground is the best way to protect it if this happens.
Things You Can’t Store Safely In A Storage Unit
Drugs – This should be obvious!!! Most drugs that you can’t keep at home (you know the ones), you can’t keep in a storage unit either. But, even prescription meds might be off-limits. Read through the facility’s terms and conditions before you sign up.
Explosives – Obviously you cannot store explosive materials in a storage unit. That also typically includes things like gunpowder and firearms.
Animals – Animals belong in your home. Dead animals belong in a pet cemetery or in an urn, not in your storage facility.
Any Hazardous Material – If it has a biohazard symbol on it (or if it should), then this is a no-go. Nothing corrosive, acidic, or infectious should be stored in a public facility.
Stolen Property – If you cannot own it yourself, you cannot store it in a storage unit.
Perishables – This one gets overlooked a lot, but you cannot store perishables, like food (even pet food) in a unit. Bugs and possibly other animals might get to it and you’ll have a mess (and possibly a liability) on your hands.
GUEST BLOGGER: David Luce is the National Operations Manager for AAA Storage LLC, a Texas based small business that provides Self Storage services to individuals and businesses in 6 states. David began in the Self Storage industry over a decade ago, in 2003, after a successful 25-year career in national sales and sales training in the publishing and office furnishings industries. David graduated from Albion College, a small liberal arts college in Michigan, with honors, majoring in economics and computer science. He resides in the Carolinas with his wife and step-children.