Are you planning a move somewhere in the Seattle-Tacoma area? Perhaps you have too much stuff and it’s time to declutter and downsize? Then you’ve probably thought about renting a storage unit. But storage solutions are a dime-a-dozen in the Tacoma area and not all of them are created equal.
To make sure you’re getting the best self-storage unit for your needs, there are several questions you should ask before you sign a contract. Read on to learn what they are.
Do You Need Climate-Controlled Storage?
If you’re planning to store any items that may be sensitive to temperature or humidity, it’s a good idea to opt for climate-controlled storage rather than a standard unit. What’s the difference between the two?
● Standard storage unit. Standard units don’t have temperature or humidity control. Temperatures inside the unit can get quite hot in summer and very cold in winter. Ambient moisture levels can also fluctuate considerably. Generally, standard units are less costly to rent than climate-controlled units.
● Climate-controlled unit. These units maintain a constant temperature and humidity level. No matter what the weather is like, the environment inside the unit remains the same. Given the fact that these units cost more to maintain than their standard counterparts, they come with a higher rental price tag.
What kinds of items belong in climate-controlled storage? Generally, you’ll want moisture and temperature control for things like:
● Upholstered and wood furniture
● Artwork and antiques
● Photographs and important documents
● CDs, DVDs, cassette tapes, records, and any other type of media
What Size Storage Unit Do You Need?
Most storage facilities offer several unit sizes to accommodate a wide range of needs. If you’re unsure about the size you need, here’s the general size guide to get you started:
● Limited personal items: 25 square feet
● One-bedroom apartment: 50 square feet
● One-bedroom home: 100 square feet
● Two-bedroom home: 150 square feet
● Three-bedroom home: 200 square feet
● 4+ bedroom home: 300 square feet or more
When you visit storage facilities, don’t hesitate to ask if you can view a couple different sizes of units to get a better idea of your space requirements. If you’re planning a move and hiring professional movers and packers to put your belongings in storage, ask your movers for a unit size estimation when you get your initial service quote.
Should You Insure Your Belongings Before You Store Them?
It’s never a bad idea to insure your belongings before you store them, but ultimately, the decision is up to you. Ask yourself what you plan to store and whether those items hold significant monetary or sentimental value. If they do, how would you feel if any of them suffered damage or were stolen?
While a quality storage facility will have several security measures in place, there’s always a possibility for damage, theft, or vandalism. Even if the risk is low, it’s still there. When you insure your belongings, you can file a claim for reimbursement or item replacement (whatever your policy stipulates) if anything happens to your stuff while it’s in storage.
It’s important to note that some storage facilities include item protection in their contract. If you’re concerned about your stuff, make sure you ask about coverage when you tour facilities. If the coverage isn’t included in the rental price, inquire about add-on insurance options.
Visiting Storage Solutions: Questions to Ask Before You Sign a Contract
Once you’ve decided whether you need climate-controlled storage and determined the size unit that’s best for your needs, it’s time to start shopping around for facilities. When you tour each location, be sure to ask the following questions:
● What are your access hours? Some storage solutions allow 24/7 access while others are only accessible during normal business hours. What does your schedule look like? Your unit should be conveniently accessible whenever the need arises.
● Is there a cost difference for long-term vs. short-term storage? Many facilities offer new customer specials that eventually revert back to a more expensive standard rate. Others offer an up-front discount for long-term contracts. Ask about long-term pricing so you don’t get hit with a surprise bill months down the road.
● Can you explain your rental terms? What length of rental contracts do they offer? Short or long? Are month-to-month contracts available?
● What security measures do you have on the property? Look for a storage facility that has robust security measures in place. Security cameras, routine monitoring, sturdy construction, door locks, access codes, and access gates are things you might want to ask about. The more security, the better.
● Do you perform inventory checkups? Do facility staff routinely check on your stuff? If you’re moving out of town but keeping some of your stuff in storage, it’s always a good idea to have an extra pair of eyes watching your belongings.
● How often do you test the fire protection systems? Smoke alarms and sprinklers should be tested monthly for functionality.
● Has this location ever experienced criminal activity? Don’t hesitate to ask if there has ever been vandalism, theft, or any other type of criminal activity on the property. If any issues occurred recently, keep shopping around. If there was an incident several years ago but there hasn’t been one since, ask why. Did they implement more robust security? If so, the facility may still be a viable option.
● What are the consequences for late payments? Some storage facilities are very unforgiving about late payments and may put your unit up for auction if you forget to pay. Ask about payment options, terms, and conditions so you don’t get hit with any surprises. If autopay is available, it’s always a good idea to set that from the get-go.
Looking for Climate-Controlled Storage in Tacoma?
If you’re in need of a secure, climate-controlled storage facility in the Seattle-Tacoma area, look no further than Ed’s Moving & Storage! We offer both short- and long-term storage solutions and our professional packers can help you pack your belongings specifically for long-term storage. We also offer short-term, portable storage solutions for local moves if you need a more flexible option.
To learn more about your storage options with Ed’s, give us a call today at 253-581-2446 or request a quick quote online. You can also message us with any questions or concerns, and we’ll be in touch!