Tips on how to rent a storage unit

Downsizing a house is a multi-level task. Sorting, organizing, deciding what to keep and get of rid of are just a few issues one deals with. Often, the situation arises where there simply is not enough room in the new home for all of the items. The next step may be to rent a storage unit. Where, how much, what about those deals advertised? We here at Interiors for Seniors are going to break it down for you in plain speak.

storage units

Renting a storage unit isn’t about hoarding or being unable to get rid of household items. Some may have this misconception when they go into a downsizing situation, but there are often very legitimate reasons. Recently, our client Claire came upon a situation where she needed to go on a waiting list at a retirement community. The unit she had intended to move into had some necessary repairs and was simply unavailable for a few months. Claire had recently closed on the sale of her house, so remaining there was not an option. The idea of relinquishing precious family heirlooms and giving up personal memorabilia that had already been lovingly sorted through was not acceptable. Claire thought her only option was to live with piles of boxes as best she could. I suggested a storage unit on a temporary basis, but she wasn’t very keen on the idea. She didn’t want the hassle. Having transplanted from here, not being very familiar with the area and wanting to avoid reading contracts and dealing with it was overwhelming. Interiors for Seniors has been in the business for a decade now and we have serviced the whole of Central Florida during this time. Within a few minutes, one of our team had found 3 storage facilities within a 10-minute drive. Using the tips below, the client could easily navigate through what can be a complex process. Claire and a member of our team drove to the storage facility, followed by our loaded truck where her overflow items were temporarily housed.

What size storage unit do you need?

The first step in the process of renting a storage unit is to determine the size you need. Storage units are generally 8-foot-high and range in width from 5’x5’ – 10’x30’ though there are many variations. On the larger size of the spectrum, the 10x30 is about the size of a one car garage and should hold the contents of an average 3-bedroom house. A 5x5 is about the size of a walk-in closet. When your overflow items are gathered together in boxes either on the truck or in a large area, you will be able to visually tell how much storage you will need to rent.

What is your price range?

Storage facilities can vary in price greatly. If logistically possible, price a minimum of three companies. I say logistically because one doesn’t want to drive more than 15 minutes away for storage unless it’s for a very large item or rarely used things. If using a cell phone, tablet or some other electronic device go to your search engine such as google or chrome and type in “storage facility near me” begin with the closest and start your search. Keep a notepad or writing paper and pen handy so you can take notes of the storage company name, customer service representatives name, the phone number and any details of the cost. Keep in mind that the least expensive option may not always be the best.

What are the terms and are there contracts on a storage unit?

Most storage facilities will rent on a month-month basis. This is helpful if your storage needs are temporary. For longer storage needs, a 3-6 month contract is available - often with a discount. Be cautious with incentives such as “first month free”. Often when this is an offer, the customer must pay for a minimum of 2 or 3 months up front and one month’s rental fee is discounted from that amount.

Do you need insurance on your items?

YES! In most cases, the storage facility does not include provided insurance on storage items. The storage facility may offer you insurance through their site. However, this is usually not the most economical coverage. Look into your homeowners or renters insurance policy. You may already have coverage through your preexisting policy.

Do you need a climate controlled storage unit?

In Florida, the weather is very humid so a climate controlled storage unit is preferred. Items such as clothing, books and fine linens are subject to damage from fluctuating weather temperatures and moisture levels. Mold can grow very quickly in the Southeast’s sub-tropical climate. Fortunately, Central Florida has several very reputable storage facilities and they are all climate controlled.

How does the storage facility handle security?

Security is one of the most important factors when choosing a storage facility. Many times, units are burglarized by someone who is also a renter at the facility. Ask if the customer will be providing their own lock or if it’s a lock provided by the storage facility. Cylinder locks are the most protective as there is not an exposed area for a bolt cutter to get access to. What is video surveillance like? Are there private alarms on each unit? Is this information available in writing?

It is advisable to do some preliminary research when looking around for a new storage facility. Interiors for Seniors would be happy to assist you in locating storage facility information in the area you are moving to.


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