Affordable Storage When and Where You Need It
Any individual who has valuable possessions, and any business that has valuable assets, needs to have a place to store them where they will be protected against the weather and theft. Sometimes, however, the amount of space at home or in the place of business is not enough to store everything that one has. In such cases, it becomes necessary to find and use a storage facility elsewhere whose owners charge a fee to keep their possessions, usually by the day. Such facilities are a rather recent development—one of the first was built in 1958 in Fort Lauderdale. There are currently about 58,000 storage facilities in the United States. Students who are currently living on campus may also keep their belongings here during their stay, if there is no room for them in the dormitory. This article will not mention any particular company by name, but will outline the features that are common to all or most of them.
What a self-storage unit is like
Superficially, a self-storage unit resembles a warehouse, and in some ways their purposes are alike. However, the employees of a warehouse have causal access to its contents, whereas in a storage unit they do not. Another is that you, as a tenant, receive your own lock and key to the place, nor does the owner take possession of the goods being stored unless a lien for failure to pay rent has been imposed, in which case they are normally sold at an auction. The typical storage facility consists of a set of units that somewhat resemble large garages, surrounded by an electrified fence or a computerized gate. Some have units for recreational vehicles or boats.
Personal storage facilities can be used to store such items as motorcycles, cars, seasonal belongings and unused furniture. They are also good for those who are looking to sell their homes and wish to have it appear as neat and free of clutter as possible so that it will look attractive to prospective buyers who come to look at the place.
Business people commonly use storage units when they wish to free up valuable space for selling. They also keep those items which they only use at certain times of the year, such as seasonal store fixtures. Many storage companies provide discounts for those who wish to use their facilities for business purposes.
Types of Storage Units
Storage units come in two basic types—direct access and weather-controlled. The rates charged for them are exactly the same, varying only for size—one company, for instance, charges $250 for 10 × 20 units of both types. Direct access units provide “drive to your door” service and materials can easily be loaded and unloaded to and from them. Climate controlled units are buildings whose internal temperatures and humidity levels are controlled all during the year. Pharmaceutical representatives often use units of this type, as do those who have business records and files to store.
Security at a Storage Facility
The operators of storage facilities are very serious about protecting the goods that have been entrusted to their care. Common security measures include computerized gates that can be opened only by customers using their PINs, guards that patrol the grounds constantly, surveillance cameras, motion detectors and customer access logs that are kept permanently in files.
Many storage companies will allow people to make reservations on their websites. To do this, you choose which of their locations you would prefer (many companies operate several different facilities spread across a wide geographical area), the type of storage you are looking for (personal or household, business or commercial, vehicle storage, or outdoor storage), and the size of the unit that you want to use. You also fill in the date when the unit will be needed, and your name and contact information. Optionally, you may also make comments.
Every community has local storage facilities. To find one near you, use either local.google.com or a website like Uncle Bob’s that can be used to locate facilities throughout the nation or at least over a wide range.
Linda Rodgers writes on a variety of subjects including moving and storage with U-Pack, an ABF Company her employer.