Perhaps you’re a globetrotter, looking to tuck your belongings away while you head off on an adventure. Or maybe you’re moving into the city, and you just don’t have space for all of your precious belongings in your new loft. Whatever your circumstances, if you’re looking for a storage unit and you’re on a budget, here are eight ways you can cut down on costs while still finding a quality storage facility.
1. Find the storage units that are a little farther away
Many people are willing to pay a premium for units that are nearby. But, if you’re not going to need regular access to your unit, consider renting a storage unit that’s tucked a little more out of the way. Rates will likely be lower, and you might be able to keep some of the higher-end amenities.
2. Don’t get climate control if you don’t need it
Unless you’re storing a lot of electronics, fragile items, or artwork, you might not need a climate-controlled unit. Choosing a standard unit can save you a lot of money in the long run if it’s safe for your belongings.
3. Don’t choose one with drive-up access
If you have a few friends who are willing to help you haul your belongings into a building, or up some stairs, you’ll likely find these units are cheaper since most people prefer the convenience of a drive-up unit. The bonus of avoiding a drive-up unit? Indoor spaces are generally more secure since they have an added layer of protection.
4. Choose the smallest unit possible
Get your belongings packed efficiently, take your time organizing your unit, and you can fit a lot into a fairly small space. Packing in stackable plastic totes and crates, which you can easily label with some masking tape, will help you stay organized, protect your belongings, and use your space efficiently.
- 5 x 5 – Small furniture, such as a dresser or a couple of end tables, plus some boxes will fit.
- 5 x 10 – A 50-square-foot unit is about the size of a walk-in closet. You can squeeze in a mattress set, sofa, and boxes. It will hold about the same amount as a cargo van.
- 7.5 x 10 – Belongings from a one bedroom, lightly furnished apartment will fit, including a washer and dryer.
- 10 x 10 – A more heavily furnished one bedroom will fit, including major appliances and an average amount of boxes.
- 10 x 15 – Items from a small house or two-bedroom apartment, plus boxes, but without appliances will use this size.
- 10 x 20 – Furnishings from a home with appliances, or two-to-three-bedroom apartment will need this size unit. This is about the size of a full 24-foot moving truck.
- 10 x 25 – A large house with major appliances will use this option.
- 10 x 30 – A four or five-bedroom house will need this size. It will hold the same as a 40-foot moving truck.
5. Buy your own lock
This one might not save you a ton of money, but it will save a little. Avoid paying the higher price of the locks companies will want to rent or sell to you, and you’ll have a lock you can use in perpetuity. Just be sure you get a high-quality lock that won’t be easily broken!
6. Pay up front
If you know you’ll be renting your unit for a specific length of time, most storage units will give a discount for pre-paying your rent. Just be sure there is the option for prolonging your rental if the situation demands.
7. Commit to a long-term rental
In a similar vein as #6, committing to a longer-term rental — such as a year or more — will usually result in a decent discount on your monthly rental rates. If you know you’ll be gone for a while, make the commitment. Just be aware of what the penalties are if you decide to terminate the contract early.
8. Compare your options
Do your homework, write it out, and compare storage prices before you make your decision. Many facilities will offer 1st month at a discount, or one month free with pre-payment, or an added discount for a longer-term commitment. They may also offer free pick-up, or have a partnership with a local moving company that can help with your move.
If you need more tips on how to choose a storage unit, we recommend reading some of the customer reviews that are available on the Internet. Make sure that you actually read the reviews and not look just at the overall rating. You should be looking for comments about security, failed climate control options, customer service, etc.
You also shouldn’t neglect security. After all, they’re keeping your valuables. Is the building equipped with security alarms and cameras? Is there a person always on staff while storage units are accessible? You want your belongings protected, but you also want to feel safe when entering alone or in the dark.
Looking for more tips on how to choose a storage facility? Check out this blog post.