The 6 Types of Storage Users

man saluting storage unit

Is he saluting the unit, or is he flustered? We may never know…

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…”

With all due respect to Thomas Jefferson, any storage facility manager will tell you that all storage renters are not created equal. In the same way that everyone’s office looks different, their storage lockers look different as well. Follow me to learn about six different types of storage users:

The Neat Freak

The Neat Freak is organized. Ridiculously organized. His co-workers prank him by moving his pen three inches to the left after he leaves for the night. His storage unit is lined with identical modular shelving systems. His shelves are lined with color-coded and carefully packed plastic bins. He has an inventory list that is maintained and regularly double-checked for accuracy. He occasionally wonders whether he should issue QR codes to his belongings in order to more carefully track his items. He sweeps, vacuums, and dusts.

The Newlyweds

The Newlyweds rent a storage unit because Wife is not willing to allow Husband’s furniture in The Newlywed’s house, and Husband is not willing to allow Wife to throw away his stuff. Here you will find a lumpy, well-worn couch and recliner. You will find a coffee table with well worn beer rings. You will find an old mattress from a queen-sized bed. You will find an unopened 1989 Upper Deck set, with Ken Griffey, Jr. rookie card. You will find a carefully alphabetized collection of beer bottles, each unique, from every corner of the world. And you will find cobwebs, because no one will ever visit.

The Hoarder

The Hoarder is a special breed. They had a plan. Really, they did. They would stack a few things away in the storage unit, just to free up a little space at home. Just a few things, really. But then it became a few more things, then a few more, then two adjacent units, then a third. Opening the door has become difficult without being buried in an avalanche of musical playbills from 1974-1989, a collection of bowling trophies from every state, the cutest pot holder that you’ve ever seen, and seven very confused mice. This storage locker gets paid for every month because no one in the family has the heart to tell Grandma / Mom / Sister / Aunt that there’s no purpose in keeping any of these items. It’s just not worth the fight over those “his and hers” wicker wastebaskets from that great flea market in 1993.

The Businessman

The businessman has two types of units. Businessman 1 (B1) has a unit to keep surplus inventory. It’s organized with shelving units and labels. Businessman 2 (B2) has a unit to clear out space in his office or store room. This unit is filled with boxes of paper and files. There is an old office chair teetering dangerously on another old office chair. There are three boxes of 2009 calendars that never quite got mailed out to clients. B1 and B2 may very well be business partners and friends, but they definitely don’t share an office.

The Student

The Student will only be gone for a few months, so you would think that this unit would be extremely organized. Not so. This unit is filled with hastily packed boxes and gym bags sitting on one old couch, with a TV leaning precariously against the arm. The boxes are primarily labeled, “MISC.” because what else do you label a box that contains two sweatshirts, the remote controls, about ⅔ of the silverware, and all of the spare toiletries? The Student shares this unit with two other Students, who all used the same “system” to pack, and complain about how messy the others are.

The New Parents

The New Parent storage locker is an interesting place to be. All comers recognize immediately that something significant has changed. The New Parent storage locker is the remains of the man cave that has now become the playroom. In this locker, you’ll find a foosball table with dart boards stacked carefully on top. In the corner, you’ll find the handmade bar that New Dad built when they first bought the house, and the set of matching bar stools. Neon Budweiser signs long to be plugged in to flicker once again. All that’s missing is the big screen TV, which was left in place to replay Sponge Bob DVDs, SportsCenter. New Mom loves the new playroom. New Dad loves the new playroom, but secretly misses his man cave. This is actually the Newlyweds a few years later, but now New Dad/Husband has officially lost the war.

The Wrap

This is not all… not by a long shot. There are as many types of storage users as there are storage users. To bring things full circle, let’s hear what Thomas Jefferson might have said about modern storage users: “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are… is that a leather couch? Because I’ve been looking for one and I would love to… I mean, if you are thinking about selling it, I don’t want to step on your toes or anything, but if you would consider selling… or a swap? I’ve got a nice TV stand that I could part with…”

Top 6 Tips For Winter Moving

By Czarina Carden, is a consumer resource for researching, reaching and reviewing reputable moving companies.

Baby, it’s cold outside. But you really can’t stay?

If you’re planning a winter move, bravo! We admire your courage.

Winter moving might seem daunting, with the extra prep and stress of having to do battle with the elements. But it can also mean more cost savings if you hire professional moving services. Business is slow this time of year, so movers are usually more willing to compete for your business and accommodate your schedule.

Like any big undertaking, a little planning goes a long way. Read on for our top tips to keep you safe, warm and sane when moving in the face of snow, ice, frigid temperatures and other trying winter obstacles.

1. Dress For Success

Suit up for the occasion in warm layers, water-resistant/non-slip boots and gloves with a firm grip. Dressing appropriately will not only keep you warm, but also safe as you trek back and forth schlepping your stuff or supervising your movers. Slipping or falling is dangerous enough without adding heavy loads to the equation.

2. Plan For Extra Travel Time

If roads are less than ideal for travel, you’ll definitely want to give yourself and your movers plenty of time to safely complete your move. Stay on top of current weather conditions and in constant contact with your movers. Being prepared, aware and flexible can save you a lot of unnecessary stress over elements you can’t control. (We mean you, Mother Nature.)

3. Clear A Path To Your House

Smooth the way for your movers (literally!) by clearing a direct path to your home, both old and new. Shovel any snow, clear any debris etc. and salt or sand your driveway and pathways to ensure safe and easy access to your house. Make sure your walkways and staircases inside are also dry and not slippery, to avoid falls, injuries and potential damage to your stuff.  And if you’re parking in the street, pay attention to snow removal “no parking” rules.

4. Bundle Your Stuff Up

You’ll want to pack up your items carefully, regardless of the time of year. But with winter in mind, consider using plastic moving boxes and crates. They’re not only reusable, durable and sometimes more affordable, but they’ll also protect your stuff better than cardboard moving boxes if exposed to snow, water and other elements.

5. Protect Your Floors

Put down old sheets, rugs or plastic to keep your floors clean from all the trips to and from the moving truck. Tracked in snow, ice and debris is not only a slipping hazard, but can result in extra clean up for you, so play it safe and protect your floors and stairs.

6. Let There Be Light (And Heat!)

Schedule utilities accordingly so that you have the heat, power and electricity turned on at your old residence and new digs. In case inclement weather delays your move-in, you definitely don’t want to shut the utilities off too early at your old home until you’re completely moved out.

The State of Storage: OSSD Style

ChecklistI was recently given a spreadsheet with lots and lots and lots of information on it. Normally, this type of thing would frighten a History/English teacher who moonlights as a writer.

And this time was no different.

Regardless, though, I dug in.

After numerous Google searches and frantic Facebook status posts asking friends to help me remember all the great spreadsheet tricks that I’d either forgotten or that I’d neglected to learn over the years, I am able to present to you an overview of the storage world, as it appears from this particular corner of that world.

Also, this is just data from a couple of months, so it’s just a little taste. A small spoonful, if you will.

But enough jibber-jabber. Time to list things:

Bookings by State

Which states book the most storage units? I don’t think that the answer will surprise you much:

Texas: 9.6%

Florida: 9.5%

California: 7.5%

New York: 6.3%

New Jersey: 5.8%

I feel like I’m supposed to make some sort of bridge scandal joke here, but I’m not sure that I have it in me. Instead, let’s analyze this in an incredibly simplistic way. These are five of the largest states in the country (the 2nd, 4th, 1st, 3rd, and 11th, to be exact), and they have the most bookings. Ok then. A special commendation to New Jersey for storing way above its weight here. Nice job there, for sure.

Just as interesting to me, though, is the opposite. Which states used OSSD the least in recent months?

Wyoming: 0%

Montana: 0%

South Dakota: 0%

North Dakota: 0%

Hawaii: 0.1%

Alaska: 0.1%

DC: 0.1%

What’s going on in the Mountain West? What did we ever do to you guys? You got beat out by Washington DC? On one hand, it’s possible that there’s just so much space out there that they don’t have much need for storage. On the other hand, no state has more empty space than Alaska. I got nothing.

Bookings by Population

This is where things start to get more interesting. I decided to sort the lists by the population of each state, then determine how many people there were in each state per unit booked. Then I divided the numbers to make them easier to deal with. I’m still a writer and not an accountant, after all:

New Jersey: 54.3

Vermont: 62.6

Massachusetts: 64.2

Delaware: 66.9

Florida: 71.5

Now that’s a more interesting spread. It looks like the East Coast loves us!

How’re things on the other end?

Alaska: 1593.3

Arkansas: 729

Hawaii: 453.4

Kentucky: 434

New Mexico: 343.2

Alaska… whatever happened to us? I thought we had a good thing going, you know? We paid a pretty penny for you in 1867… You made Seward’s Folly look pretty damn smart. And we love that about you. It’s not just oil, earthquakes, and ice. It’s natural beauty, and it’s… come on, Alaska… I guess it helps when you never have to store your winter clothes…

The Cities

States are so big, though… so impersonal. Even little Rhode Island seems mammoth compared to Providence. So, let’s break it down a little bit further. Which cities are the most OSSD friendly?

Houston, Texas: 1.4%

San Antonio, Texas: 0.98%

Tampa, Florida: 0.94%

Phoenix, Arizona: 0.86%

Orlando, Florida: 0.79%

Austin, Texas: 0.67%

Los Angeles, California: 0.67%

Tallahassee, Florida: 0.67%

Remember that this only includes the city itself, without any suburbs. So, Lynbrook, Hollis, Yonkers, Jamaica, and the Bronx are all highly ranked, but they’re all separate, not collected under New York City. Similarly, Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas will be separate. Plus, keep in mind that we had bookings in thousands of cities nationwide, so making up 1% or more is actually pretty impressive. No system covers all eventualities, especially if it’s a mathematical system that I come up with. On thing is sure, though: the system that we have, though, says that the South is king when it comes to booking with OSSD.

The Wrap

So, what have we learned? If I had to guess, the answer would be “not a whole lot.” Must everything have a valuable lesson attached? Do we always have to learn something that is striking and new and deep? I think not.

In this case, we learned that states with more people use storage more, and that they are led by cities with more people. We also learned that when you control for population, the answers change.

As Jeremy Clarkson would say, “and on that bombshell… good night!”

Five ways a small business can use storage

My dad is a small business owner, so I know it’s tough. He works out of his basement, so when I say it’s a small business, I’m not messing around. But, he’s been doing it for more than twenty years and that’s one hell of an accomplishment.

He definitely has expanded his business, though, and it’s mostly into other corners of the basement. He seems to be just on the brink of needing more space than his basement (and my mother!) will allow. I, being the kind and thoughtful son that I am, recommended self-storage.

Here are 5 ways that self-storage can help a small business owner:

A local warehouse

If you have inventory that is seasonal or is only used sporadically, you can save a lot of office closet space by storing those items off site.

An out of town warehouse

If you have meetings or events out of town, it can become a serious hassle to haul tables, banners, clipboards, and everything else with you every time. Instead, think about renting mini-storage locally and save yourself the trouble.

Archiving records

Eventually, businesses wind up with boxes and boxes filled with old tax returns, receipts, invoices, legal records, floppy disks, and who knows what else. Get those boxes off the shelf and out of sight. When you need them, you can get them. When you need the shelf space, you have it.

Christmas decorations from January-November

This one speaks for itself. No one needs to look at that when the air conditioning is struggling to keep up with the heat. Store it!

Vehicle storage for the company car

If you have a great convertible that you use for promotions, or a boat that you use for tours, don’t leave that gem outside. Protect it somewhere safe. When you pick it up, just park your daily car in its place and you’re good to go when you get back.

The Wrap

Owning a small business is tough. Often the financial margins are slim and moving into a larger – and often more expensive – office may not be possible. Instead, self-storage can fill that seemingly elusive gap between a safe-deposit box and a big shiny new office. For something that costs as little as twenty or thirty bucks per month, it’s something worth consideration.

Moving Horror Stories: Choose Your Moving Company Wisely

Didn't see the side of the road there, eh? Just jumped out at you? And now I can't have my stuff back? Interesting...

Didn’t see the side of the road there, eh? Just jumped out at you? And now I can’t have my stuff back? Interesting…

I asked a simple question on a Facebook the other day and was surprised by the incredible responses that I got. The question was this: “Anyone who’s ever moved… what were some things that you wished you had known before you moved?”

The responses that I got were almost universal in their hatred of moving companies. I had a good experience with the moving company that I used, so this did not cross my mind as being a major issue. As I dug a little farther into things, though, it became clear to me that fraudulent movers are a huge problem. To top it off, it turns out that this is not a local St. Louis problem, but a national one.

I found that the complaints fell generally into one of two categories: price gouging/fraud and incompetence. Of course, those who accused their moving companies of incompetence also felt gouged, and rightfully so. I want to share these stories, as a warning to anyone thinking of hiring movers: do your homework and thoroughly research any company you plan to trust in your home and with your belongings.

One respondent, Chris, quickly summed up the views of many when he wrote:

The movers thing is insane. I am about to move and my estimates vary from $200 to $800. Why am I charged $2 per roll of tape? Why do I get charged for that plastic stuff?

He’s not alone. One of the biggest complaints was about the difference between the quoted price and the final price. About his moving experience, Scott wrote:

Continue reading

Driving the Future: A Review of the Tesla Model S P85

The Tesla Model S


Every once in a while, it’s nice to break free from the self-storage world and see what else is going on. I’ve been reading Car and Driver since I was in elementary school, and I’ve been hearing about electric cars about as long. I remember when the GM EV1 came out and completely failed to turn the world upside down. That was a true electric and basically a failure. Then, the Honda Insight came out, was ugly, and led to the incredible success of the Toyota Prius. Those cars, though, are hybrids, not electrics. The Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt are great little cars, but… well… they don’t really get the heart racing, do they?

But the Tesla S… that’s a car that kids dream about. A fully electric car that is quicker than a Porsche 911, can seat up to seven (including two small children), and has classically beautiful lines reminiscent of an old Jaguar or a new Maserati. Oh, and it has a range of about 265 miles.How has Tesla seemingly broken through the barrier from futuristic oddity to attainable fantasy?

Continue reading

OSSD – now on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter!

Technically, we’ve been on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter for quite some time. But, we never really said anything about it and never really did much about it.

From now on, though, you can use those sites in addition to our blog to find great self storage tips and tricks, local information for cities and colleges all over the country, and storage related entertainment. (First tips, tricks, and entertainment to be posted this week!)

Please like us on Facebook, +1 us on Google+, or follow us on Twitter. If you’re feeling generous, then feel free to do all three. I won’t stop you.

Most importantly, though, remember this: if you have a storage problem, OSSD has the answer.

Email Marketing Strategies Self Storage Owners Must Use For Business Growth & Success

What are you doing with your advertising money these days? Do you think you are utilizing it effectively on advertising your business? If you are utilizing innumerable advertising methods, are you sure people are seeing your message or is your money just being wasted?

Why wait to pass on your message in the middle of nowhere when you can target your audience with the message they actually want to receive with email marketing. Owners of self storage facilities are realizing the importance of email marketing to boost sales, grow their clientele and enhance online presence.

Choosing the most appropriate form of advertising is among the biggest challenges faced by most facility owners today. Among the various forms of advertising, email marketing is the most efficient and inexpensive ways for self storage managers to communicate with customers effectively. Here are a few email marketing tactics self storage owners must follow to boost facility reputation and increase customer base.

Get Upbeat in Your Email Address Search
Self storage facility managers are most of the time attending to customers through the phone. While on the phone, why not ask your potential customers if they like receiving email quotes for the accessible self storage units? Ask them for their email address as well as their interest in being registered for special discounts that are offered by your facility. This is the best way to get upbeat in creating your email list.

Utilize Facility’s Website to Obtain Emails
One of the best ways to enhance your facility’s customer base is by utilizing your website as a means to obtain emails. Endeavor to offer promotional items or add in some kind of contests to lure customers. If users are keen on getting registered for the promotional item or contest ask them to give their email address in return. Several businesses like removal and storage offer relevant and interesting information in their website to attract prospective customers.

Once you have created an email list of your potential customers, marketing possibilities become infinite for self storage owners.

One of the most excellent ways to market your facility is through email marketing campaigns. These are the most simplest and lucrative ways of offering information to the public about your self storage business. Self storage owners need to put in a little effort to design email marketing campaigns and once done, the rewards it fetches in terms of exposure and consumer understanding for your business is indeed enormous.

You don’t have to overburden your prospective customers with excess information to make your email marketing a success. All you need to do is to ensure that you focus on email content and utilize catchy subject lines to attract customers.

Make sure that you choose to begin your email marketing campaign only when you have to send out some special message to your customers or float new offers to promote your self storage facility.