Okay, only the anal-retentive, OCD, borderline personality people actually buy the Sharpie markers, copious amounts of packing tape, and fresh boxes. The truth is that most of us who use storage are using it in pinch. We’re moving out before the First of the Month, we’re moving it from the driveway where our wife left it, or we’re trying to coordinate closing escrow on the new house, printing boarding passes for tomorrow’s flight to Austin, make sure the kids are enrolled for school when the new semester starts at their swell (sure) new district, and oh, yeah, put the extra things into a storage unit. So, for all of us who are in a rush, who don’t want to bother with the Martha Stewart details, here are the Top 5 tips for Choosing and Packing a Self-Storage Unit.
1. Do you have an Innie or an Outie? Do I want the ease of loading the unit like a garage (“Drive-Up” in Self-storage speak) from the trunk of my car/truck, or do I want the extra doors and walls of protection from elements and creepy-crawlies that an “Interior” or indoor-located unit provides? I love rhetorical questions.
2. More Cushion for More Pushin’ – Whether it’s a New York City Self Storage unit, or a somewhere less urban, Put the big heavy items on the bottom first. Yes, you’re going to stack things. To the ceiling. Maybe you’ll have some blankets or sheets you can put on the tabletop surfaces or other things you don’t want scratched by the boxes and furniture and chair legs that will undoubtedly, inevitably, withoutadoubtably get stacked on top.
3. No food or chemicals. Again, Riverside, CA Self Storage people, Food’s odor will permeate all your belongings, and it will attract the bugs, rats and homeless people who are within a ½ mile radius. Chemicals, especially oils, like motor oil, and certain paints, will leak. Yes, they’ll leak out of a metal can or plastic bottle, and through that Walgreen’s plastic bag you thought would be a seal. Not only are they a fire hazard (according to your storage owner), but also more importantly, they’re gonna leak on the floor and seep into other stuff that you care about. So exclude the liquids.
4. Pay in advance – You know how Lil Wayne says “triple A – get your advance in advance”? Well, if you really want to save $$, get the low “move-in special”, and then when that required month or two is over, pay for 6 or 12 months in advance. You usually get a 10% discount for buying in advance, and you guarantee that your rent won’t go up.
5. You want a live-in or you want your own place? Kind of like when you chose the last place you lived when you were (are) single, you could have saved money and had a live-in roommate. That brings company from time to time, albeit not always wanted, and it helps keep the overhead low. Or, you wanted your own place, that was your style, your way, and you could keep all your nice stuff clean, unfettered, untouched (“Control Freak…”).
It’s sort of like that when choosing a storage facility. You could get an old-style one with a live-in manager who has an apartment above the office and is always keeping watch on the place. But maybe keeping too close of an eye. And maybe has that little collection of garden trolls by the front gate. And maybe won’t care about the weird old dude building his own car out of the unit next to yours. Or, you could get the super new, fancy, alarmed, video-surveillance-equipped, keypad-controlled, finger-traced and blueprinted facility that doesn’t have a live-in manager, and feels really modern, but probably costs more money. Now you know. Oh, and once in a while, once in a very great while, there is a new facility WITH a live-in manager. Now, is that the best of both worlds, or is it the worst? It’s your choice.