Need a little more space? Get a self-storage unit, where you can safely and conveniently store everything that’s eating up your extra space in your home or apartment. Self-storage units are an ideal solution, letting you keep your goods in a secured unit that you can access any time.

If you’re looking for a space to store stuff either temporarily or long-term, a self-storage unit can be a smart, convenient, and affordable solution. Here’s everything you need to know in order to choose the right self-storage unit for all of your belongings.

Pick Your Unit Based On What You Need to Store

First and foremost, you’ll need to decide what kind and what size storage unit you need to store your stuff. Self-storage units come in a variety of different sizes and include plenty of features – but you may not need a ton of extras in your unit.

Before you begin searching for the perfect storage unit, consider what you’ll be storing. Are you storing boxes of holiday decorations, or will you be boxing up books and paper materials? Will you be storing heirlooms or childhood toys? The items you’re going to keep in the self-storage unit will determine what you need to look for in a unit.

Some self-storage facilities offer features like security and monitoring, temperature and humidity control, and even insurance. You may want a unit at an all-inclusive self-storage facility if your items are valuable or very sensitive. On the other hand, if your items will be perfectly fine without these features, you might be able to save money by opting for a basic unit.

Once you’ve decided what you’re going to store, figure out how much space you’ll need. Do you need a unit that’s big and spacious? Or can you get by with just a few feet of storage room? The size of the unit you’ll need plays a big role in determining the price you’ll pay, so you should make sure you aren’t overestimating the amount of stuff you’ll be storing. Make sure you opt for enough room so you can easily move items in and out of the unit, but not so much extra space that it goes unused.

Visit the Storage Facility and Ask Questions

Once you’ve settled on a rough size and any extra features you’ll need in your storage unit, it’s time to start visiting storage facilities in your city. Although it’s a time-consuming effort, this is an important step in choosing the right facility and unit.

You’ll want to visit different storage unit facilities in order to see their available storage units in person and ask crucial questions. When you’re visiting each facility, you should ask:

  • Can I see the exact unit I’ll be renting? You’ll be able to verify that the unit is clean, easily accessible, and free of any problems like insects or water damage.
  • What kind of insurance is available? While your homeowners’ policy may cover a self-storage unit, you’ll want to check if the facilities you’re considering have insurance that protects what’s stored on site.
  • What kind of security does the facility have? Crimes can happen at storage facilities. Ask if the facilities you’re interested in are protected by security equipment, like cameras, owner-only locks and entryways, a monitored entrance, or an onsite security guard.
  • What’s the policy on late or missed payments? Unlike renting an apartment, renting a storage unit doesn’t give you until the first of the month to pay your rent. Rent is often due during the previous month, so make sure to ask about the specifics before your stuff is sold at an auction.

Don’t Forget to Comparison Shop

Once you’ve done your in-person research and visited local storage facilities, it’s time to narrow down your options for self-storage. Before you decide on a specific unit and facility, you’ll want to do some final comparison shopping to ensure you’re getting the lowest price and best deal.

Make sure to ask about pricing from each self-storage facility you’re considering. Once you’ve gotten that information, search online to see if these facilities are offering any special deals or discounts. From new customer deals like $1 rent for the first month to discounted rates for upgrading to a bigger unit, there are plenty of specials to be found online.

After doing this comparison shopping, you can use the discounts and deals you found online as leverage when signing with a specific facility. You can let them know the deals and lower price you found online to get an even better deal, or to negotiate a better rental contract.

Consider These Popular Self-Storage Options

If you’re still searching for the right self-storage unit, you can check out the following popular companies.

Extra Space Storage: Located throughout the U.S., Extra Space Storage offers a big selection of different storage unit sizes. All storage units are secure, with regular pest protection and climate control available for all renters.

Public Storage: As the storage company with the most rentable space in the country, Public Storage is one of the most popular choices for those in need of extra space. You can choose from several different storage unit sizes, opt for climate-controlled units, and get discounts of up to 50 percent off your first month, or a rate of just $1 for your first month.

U-Haul Storage: U-Haul will do more than move your goods. With storage units and portable storage options, U-Haul Storage can keep your belongings safe, climate-controlled, and at an affordable rate. With deals like a free first month and truck discounts for easy moving and storing, this is a convenient option.

While the cost of a self-storage unit varies depending on the facility, size, and location you choose, there are always deals and discounts to be had. Just make sure you do your homework first, searching in order to find a great low price before signing a new storage unit contract.