Ask any storage manager or assistant manager and I guarantee you they will have stories they can tell you about what people store. I’ve seen just about everything that you can imagine. There’s been high end items and low end items in storage, people have stored cremated remains in storage, there’s been drugs stored, and all kinds of artwork and weapons that have been stored. With the abundance of storage facilities popping up, why do you think so many people need storage?
There’s actually a lot of various reasons. The most common one that I’ve experienced is that people are downsizing and need a place to store the things that they can’t bring themselves to part with. There’s also been folks that recently had a loved one die and they didn’t know what to do with their things so they are storing them until they can better grasp how they want to deal with the remaining items. Yesterday I had a man come to the facility wanting to get a unit for his mother who has been hospitalized with cancer. He and his brother are trying to find a way to make sure that his mom doesn’t lose the things that are most important to her so they are storing her things until she can be released from the hospital that she is seeking care from. As he was telling me what was going on, I asked him if he had ever stored before and he hadn’t. In the conversation, I gave him a few hacks that would help him keep his mother’s possession from being destroyed from the moisture since he was getting a non climate unit. He was appreciative and was grateful that I could accommodate their needs.
Another customer of mine decided to store over $60000 worth of items in a trailer. He’d had the trailer for years and never once checked it. The trailer leaked badly. He never knew until after our company took over. Then he wanted to sue but he’d signed a waiver saying that the facility was not liable for any damages. As consumers, people need to make sure they are checking on a storage unit. Most facilities do not have a spare key. They have no way to make sure that a unit is not leaking if they aren’t granted permission to access that unit once it’s sold. The best rule of thumb that I can give you is that if you check your unit and you find a problem, you need to let the facility know. Otherwise it will never get addressed.
These are just a couple of issues that I’ve dealt with but one that stands out the strongest is a recent memory of a man who lost his wife last year, after a long illness, and he put everything of their’s in storage. He had a barrage of personal problems enter his life and he put his wife’s ashes in the unit. Not long after he stopped paying his bill and his unit went to auction. The facility had been willing to let him get his wife’s ashes but he never called us back to make arrangements. Once the auction had occurred, the ashes were no longer his. Folks, don’t store cremated ashes in a storage facility because if something goes wrong, you might not get the ashes back. That’s the downside to storage. If you fall on hard times and don’t pay your bill, your items will be auctioned off.
Storage facilities are a wonderful resource for storing items that you don’t have room for in your homes. The trick is to find the storage facility that best fits your needs. For example, how long do you need to store for? If you only need short term storage, then a facility with month to month leases may work best for you. If you need long term storage, then you may want to pay a year in advance because most facilities offer a month free if you do. Do they give you a lock or do you have to buy one? Most storage facilities now require insurance. Word to the wise, sign up through the storage facility for insurance. Most homeowner and rental insurance tend to have a deductible. This isn’t always the case but for the most part it rings very true. Check with your friends and research the companies you are looking at. I can’t stress this enough. Most facilities have managers who care about their jobs and their facilities. There are exceptions to this. Take a look at the facility. Is it clean? What is the staff like? Is the customer service excellent? Do they have supplies that if needed in a pinch you could use?
There are always transitions in our lives that we don’t see coming. When I went through my divorce, I never expected so much stuff to have to be stored. I didn’t have a clue as to how storage facilities worked or even how long I would need it. Yet, if there’s one thing I have found, if something is out of sight, eventually it will become out of mind. I helped my mom move last year. There was fifty years of things in the house that was moved. In those fifty years, we found toys from my childhood, collectibles from the past, memories that we’d forgotten and still cherished and lots of trash. It was almost sickening how much we had thrown away. What stands out most though was we found part of our living history in those belongings and some of those belongings are being stored now in a space that we don’t see much. We probably should get rid of those items but I don’t think either of us can bring ourselves to do it yet.
When my customers store their items at my facility, I’m amazed at the types of things I see on a daily basis. I’ve seen people store cars, motorcycles, boats, household goods, momentous and lots of regular items in their units. I’ve also seen people do some of the neatest things. There are several folks who have shelves in their units to help them keep their units organized. Some units that don’t have good lighting have night lights that can be tapped to help people see. Personally, I don’t recommend using a non climate storage for most furniture pieces that you want in your home. Non climate units are more susceptible to the weather elements than a climate controlled facility.
Ask questions. I can’t stress this enough. If you don’t know how to properly store something, please ask a manager. Most managers have been doing this a while. They know what will generally fit in a storage unit. You may think you need a 5 X 10 when you really need a 10 X 8. A lot depends on what you’re going to store. Yes, keep your budget in mind but shop around and don’t be afraid to ask questions to things you don’t know. Does the facility have good security? What about their lighting? Do they have a gated access? Are they a 24/7 facility? It sounds like it may be a mute point but these are important questions that will help you ensure a pleasant storing experience.
Finally, figure out what you really want. If you want to store your items, then shop around. But if you decide to sell those items, make sure you are selling them the way you want. I’ve seen people meet at storage facilities when buying washers/dryers, refrigerators, freezers, bedroom suits, etc.. They did it to stay safe. The best thing about preserving your memories is that by storing them, you know that they are protected and safe. I hope if you have to store your items, you can find the right fit for you.