Tips to Using a Self-Storage Unit: It is More than Lock and Forget

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While it may not be a science that will get recognition, there is more to using a self-storage unit efficiently than merely loading it up and locking the door. Although some of the items you place in one of these units may not be seen for decades, there are others that you may need access to sooner than you realize. Is it safe to store your collection of candles in a storage unit that can reach more than 120-degrees Fahrenheit?

1. Where Does it Go? – When loading a storage unit, efficiency and logistics will play a role in how long it will take you to find the box of winter clothing as the temperatures drop below freezing. When packing your items to be stored in one of these units, you should always place the “unlikely” items in the back first. These are items such as childhood collections, papers, your first baby booties, furniture you may never have room for, and keepsakes that hold sentimental value that you simply can’t let go of.

The items that are seasonal or could have an immediate use should be placed near the front of the unit for easy access. Air conditioners, fans, utensils, temporarily stored goods, and more should be easy to access reducing the amount of time you have to root through your boxes. Instead of spending all day reorganizing your unit because you can finally fit into those jeans you love so much is less ideal than simply opening the door and taking a few minutes to find the bag that contains your clothes.

2. Temperatures – Asking how hot the unit gets should be one of your first questions to the storage unit manager. If you have temperature-sensitive goods such as candles, old collector item disks, VHS tapes, and the like, you need to know if storing them is going to be a death sentence for those valuables. Many storage unit facilities will go to great lengths to ensure that the temperature within the units is bearable and is able to sustain a non-destructive degree for valuables such as these.

3. The Lock – Your lock is the only deterrent to the criminal element. Even a gated storage facility can be vandalized by the outside element or by other renters. You need to provide protection for your valuables, otherwise you are inviting criminals to easily snap the lock and loot your goods. For less than $40, you can invest in a commercial sized lock that is close to impossible to cut without machinery and/or creating a loud commotion. The criminal element preys on an easy target unless they know with 100-percent certainty that what they want is behind door number one. When seeing a lock that looks too difficult to “jimmy,” cut, or otherwise remove, they usually move on to the next target.

While it may seem like commonsense to many, some can be in a hurry and not realize just how much more difficult they make their lives without packing a storage unit with care. Although it may help reduce the time now, it can make for a headache later on when trying to find specific items. Try to label boxes according to what’s in them and try not to pack the unit without thought of what needs to go where. The last thing you want is your waterbed frame tipping over and smashing that antique radio to bits if something gets jarred.

This is a guest post by Liz Nelson from She is a freelance writer and blogger from Houston. Questions and comments can be sent to: liznelson17 at gmail dot com.

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