Self Storage 101
Regardless of what you need the storage for, moving house, divorce, student away for the summer, working abroad for a year or simply need a bit of extra space for all your stuff, you want to be sure that your goods come out the same way they went in. Here we will explain what self storage is, what you can use it for, and what are the features and benefits, as well as points to consider when making the choice to store.
Firstly, What Can I Store?
You can more or less store anything you want in self storage. However, different companies will have different restrictions depending on the type of facility i.e., a container park will be much less fussy about what you store compared to a national chain of modern self storage centres. Most storage companies will not allow you to store anything highly flammable such as gas canisters and fireworks, this is mainly due to higher risk and the impact it would have on their own insurance. Self storage companies will also not allow the storage of living things: so no cheap kennels while you go on holiday or a place to put the children when they are misbehaving. The other main the storage firms will look out for is anything illegal going on around their storage centre. But in a nutshell unless it is illegal, alive or highly flammable you will be allowed to store it.
What Does Self Storage Provide?
Self storage provides steel rooms inside or outside where you can put your goods. These storage rooms come in a huge variety of sizes so there will be usually a room size to suit you. Remember, the larger room the more expensive the storage will be, so only store stuff you value. You can rent the room on very flexible terms meaning you are not tied down to long period. Usually there will be minimum payment period of 2 weeks however you could just store for a couple of days if you wished. Most self storage companies will charge 4 weekly or monthly however they will refund any days or weeks which you do not use, although most will ask for notice of when you are going to move your goods out so they can line up another customer for your room. Self storage is all about convenience so they will provide you with a room which you can access at suitable times for you; it should be well lit, clean and dry. Often if the room is within a warehouse you will be provided with trolleys to move your goods and if on an upper floor a large goods lift will be provided.
How Secure Are My Goods?
You provide your own padlock for your storage room and you keep the keys. This is the normal way in which doors are secured. All reasonably modern storage facilities in the UK will be monitored by CCTV. This will always be recorded on site and many of the larger companies have the CCTV monitored by an outside agency, particularly outside opening hours. Although some companies employ security guards this is no longer common within self storage. The most modern innovation is the use of controlled access to your storage room: this is where you are given an access code for your individual room. This code will need to be punched into a keypad in order for the door to the self storage facility to open: it will also deactivate the individual alarm on your storage room. This clever technology also now has fingerprint technology but probably this will move to retinal scans over the next decade.
Storage companies will also have modern fire detection systems as they are required to meet very tight fire safety regulations. Overall, self storage is probably more secure than you house! The reason is that they have all the modern systems which your house doesn’t plus there are often more than 500 rooms, so if a thief was to get in, a) they wouldn’t have much time, and b) you would be unlucky of they chose your room.
When Can I Retrieve My Goods?
You can retrieve stuff during the storage company’s opening hours. These are usually a minimum of 6 days a week however many are now 7 days a week. The hours are generally long office hours between the hours of 8am and 6pm. Increasingly Self Storage is available 24 hours a day 365 days a year. Many companies are now offering extended access hours which are between the hours of 6am until 10pm. This is because it looks after most groups using Self Storage: domestic customers who use self storage for furniture generally come to the centre only twice one to move goods in and the second time to take them out, both processes usually involve some paperwork so need to be during office hours anyway. The market traders and tradesmen although needing in early and sometime in late do not often work before or beyond these opening hours. However some people just need 24 hour access, like bands that finish gigs or weddings late and need to come late to store their stuff.
Do I Pack My Own Stuff?
The key word in self storage is ‘Self’. This means you do all the packing, lifting and carrying yourself. Storage facilities do not provide this aspect of service and will not help you move your goods. Often the staff are specifically instructed not to help as it would compromise the storage company’s insurance. So when you decide you are going to use self storage you are deciding to do the hard work yourself. So there are certain things you must take into account when packing your goods.
- You cannot have moisture in your storage room, so defrost your fridge and freezer as not doing do will give you big problems.
- Remember that when moving the goods they will be going over the British roads which usually contain a few potholes, so pack everything carefully to deal with this.
- The other thing is to use strong boxes as if you are stacking one on top of the other you need to make sure they will not collapse over time.
- Some stuff may need added protection during the moving and storing process, including electrical goods, should be packed in bubblewrap while corrugated card can be used to protect furniture legs and corners, and tissue can be used for glassware and crockery.
………A common sense approach to this is usually sufficient.
Most reputable storage companies have elevators and moving equipment on-site for their customers to use free of charge such as trolleys and hand-pallet trucks: to make moving large items easier and lots of small items quicker
Do I need insurance?
Good enough to storage good enough to insure: this is the motto you should think of. If you think the goods are worth storing they must have some value to you. The storage company will provide insurance for a price, while others include minimal insurance cover within the total cost. You can attempt to organise your own with your home contents insurer but make sure you are covered for every eventuality. Often obtaining cover from this avenue appears cheaper but often these providers will have an unreasonable number of excluded clauses: the policies sold by storage companies are bespoke for storage.
We hope the pointers above will help you on your way to finding a suitable storage solutions for you, regardless of why you need to store. Remember, self storage companies are exist to make your life that little bit simpler so make sure they are up-to-scratch and can offer a value for money storage solution for YOUR needs: after all, that’s why you are paying them!