Self Storage for Dummies

Glamour shot of outdoor self storage units

Maybe you’re new to self-storage and in need of some general guidance. Or maybe you’re a long-time tenant and would appreciate some helpful tips. Whatever the case, we have compiled a list of storage suggestions that we believe will provide value, no matter where you are on your self-storage journey.

The Dont’s of Self-Storage:

Don’t store perishables like food and other items that attract pests. It should be common knowledge, but meat, vegetables and fresh produce clearly encourage insects, rodents and mold to infest a unit. Even dry foods such as grains and pet food foster an environment for critters to thrive on.

Don’t store hazardous materials like butane, propane, acids, harmful chemicals, or fuel. Gasoline and fuel are always hazardous to store in unventilated locations, as the heat in a unit can cause extreme pressure and cause vapor to release, potentially leading to an ignition source. It takes less than one-half pint of gas vapor to fill an entire garage-sized space, making it extremely explosive. As with chemicals, most can cause a fire or explosion under the same constraints.

Don’t store living plants or animals. Plants cannot survive in an environment lacking oxygen and light. Obviously, you should not store living animals or pets in a self-storage unit.

Don’t store legal documents. In the rare case of a break-in, information can get stolen, and information can be damaged or destroyed by natural disasters like fires and flooding. As mentioned previously, if for some reason your unit goes to auction, your information could end up in the wrong hands.

Don’t store medication. Storing medication in high heat or humidity can alter the way a medication works and can cause it to lose potency. This can have serious repercussions if the medicine in question is saving someone’s life and is not properly dosed due to being warped or damaged from heat and humidity.

Don’t store guns. Unless you plan on safely storing your guns with companies like Gunsitters, it is illegal to store firearms in a standard self-storage unit. The primary reason for this is related to the auction process that occurs when a tenant fails to pay their rent for over 60 days. In the rare occurrence that someone has stored their firearms in their unit, these firearms could land in the hands of an ex-felon.

Now that we have covered a few guidelines regarding what not to store in your unit, we thought it’d be helpful to provide some suggestions related to self-storage and more specifically to SpareBox Storage.

The Do’s of Self-Storage:

Purchase insurance. Upon renting a unit at one of our facilities, you will either need to purchase an insurance plan or provide your own proof of insurance. We require this, as do most self-storage companies, as there have been instances of tenants losing their valuables without recourse. Events like fires, natural disasters, and burglary, while rare, can leave a tenant with nothing when there is no insurance in place.

Use disc locks for more security. Disc locks are harder to cut than padlocks, which makes them the most secure self-storage lock to have. In the rare case of a potential break-in, your unit is less likely to be broken into if you have a disc lock.

Relieve latch pressure to allow for easier access to your unit. In the off chance your unit is hard to open because of latch pressure, stepping down on the bottom handle of your door will relieve this pressure and allow for easier access to your unit.

We’d also like to provide insight on how to better maintain and organize your unit. Arguably the most important step to take in preparation of storing your things is labeling your items. Knowing exactly which items are in which box can make a world of difference, and labeling will allow you to access your belongings quickly and easily. By the same token, we also recommend making sure your furniture is covered with a plastic cover or sheets. Although your furniture will be covered and safe from natural elements, a build-up of dust can occur over time. Equally as important, stacking boxes from heaviest to lightest will ensure more stability in your stacks, as heavy boxes at the top of a stack are more likely to lean and fall over.

When all of this is said and done and your self-storage journey has come to an end, we simply ask our tenants to notify us with plans of vacating and take your lock with you upon vacating. This will ensure a smooth move-out process.

We hope this guide has provided you with helpful information, and we hope you feel more confident knowing how to make the most of your self-storage experience! If you’re in need of a home for your belongings, click this link to see our self-storage locations near you.