Money Saving Self Storage Tips

Depending on where you live, the country is slowly recovering from the Covid 19 lockdown. Nevertheless, in some areas, the economic fallout from the Coronavirus pandemic has been staggering. During the past year, people lost their livelihoods, their jobs, and their hope. You can’t watch the news without being emotionally moved by individuals who have been devastated by this virus and its residual effects. The cure has definitely been worse than the disease.

The only thing that remains for some are personal and business possessions. They need a place to store their furniture, household items, business inventory, and more. Self storage is the solution. Most are determined to recover from this mess, and they need a place to store their belongings. Funds are low, so they need convenient storage options that are safe and affordable.

Money Saving Self Storage Tips

Share with Friends and Family

This is a great option. The larger the unit you lease, the more money you’ll save. By combining your belongings with friends and family, you can maximize your purchasing power and lease a larger unit. This strategy can lower your rent by 25 to 50 percent.

Check Discounts and Monthly Specials

Self storage is a competitive industry. They work hard to obtain customers through monthly specials and seasonal promotions. Ask about discounts that can range anywhere from 10 to 25 percent off regular price. You may even be able to score several months free. 

Consider Your Options

Compare the self storage options in your area in terms of size, price, and amenities. Discuss your storage needs with the store manager. Staff is typically friendly and knowledgeable and able to help you sort through the available units, amenities (security and access), and contracts. Read all documents carefully prior to signing.

Take a Chance on Negotiation

As mentioned above, self storage is a competitive industry. Some providers have strict pricing policies, while others may be willing to accommodate certain needs. It doesn’t hurt to ask. You may end up with a larger space for your money.

Don’t Make Your Storage Unit a Huge Junk Drawer

The ever-present junk drawer – everybody has one. It’s full of tools that don’t work, pens that have run out of ink, dead batteries, and those mystery items that seem to appear out of nowhere. Don’t use your storage unit for this kind of junk. Scrutinize everything you store so that you’re only paying for space that you need. You don’t have to go full on KonMari Method, but you should use the “keep, discard, donate” piles to determine what is most important to you and your family. 

Pack Your Unit Efficiently

Put some thought into the way you pack and store your items. Use your space effectively by packing boxes fully, storing large items in the back of the unit, and remembering to use the vertical space – most units have 8 foot ceilings. With careful planning and efficient packing, you may be able to downsize to a less expensive unit.

Use the Free Truck

Many self storage facilities offer the use of a free truck with a move-in. Take advantage of this benefit, as well as discounts on available moving and packing supplies. 

 

Conclusion

Whatever your budget or your reason for needing a self storage solution, you want a good deal on a convenient, safe self storage unit. Allowing yourself to be creative and flexible by using some of the money saving self storage tips we shared, can get you the best value and potentially shave hundreds of dollars from your expenses. 

What Size Self Storage Unit Do I Need?

Searching for a self storage unit doesn’t have to be as difficult as Prince Charming searching his kingdom for the owner of the glass slipper. You’re not looking for Cinderella – you’re looking for self storage. You don’t have to visit every self storage facility in the land to find the perfect fit. 

Whether you’re looking to store your small business inventory or the contents of a typical bedroom, knowing what size you need will save you time and money. You don’t want to have your unit half packed before you realize it’s too small, and you don’t want to spend extra money on a unit that’s too large. 

How Do I Choose the Right Size Self Storage Unit?

Here are some guidelines that will help you determine the storage space that you need. 

Take inventory of the Items Your Storing

Consider the number of boxes, measure appliances and large items, and take into account any large or irregularly-shaped items like bicycles or exercise equipment.

Use Size Guides and Visit the Unit Prior to Reserving

Most self storage websites include a storage unit size guide and many have an interactive space calculator. An in-person visit to the unit that you’re reserving is good idea. A visual representation of the space will help you better plan for your needs.

It’s Better to Overestimate than Underestimate

Even using all of the resources at your disposal won’t determine the exact size unit for your belongings. Of course you don’t want to spend extra money; but, if you’re uncertain, it’s better to spend a few extra dollars for enough room. It’s always a beneficial to have enough space for a path between your boxes and large items.

Think About Storage Unit Dimensions

Self storage units are typically sized as length by width, making it easy to estimate your floor space by square footage: for example, a 5 x 10 unit is 50 sq. ft. Self storage units typically have a height of eight feet, giving you extra vertical space. You can easily stack boxes and containers and position furniture and appliances to save space. 

Look for Packing and Organizing Tips

After you locate the right unit, be sure to get it packed and organized properly to make the best use of your space. Check our Packing and Storage Tips for more information.

How Much Storage Space Do I Need

Below are unit sizes and typical contents. This should give you a rough idea of what you need. This is the type of information you’ll see on a typical size guide.

5 x 5 (25 sq. ft.): The size of a walk-in closet. Ideal for boxes, books, seasonal items (garden tools and pool toys), clothing,  office supplies, and twin size mattresses.

5 x 10 (50 sq. ft.): This is a good size to store a mid-size bedroom, office, or an entire studio apartment.

10 x 10 (100 sq. ft.): An entire living room and two full bedrooms are a good fit for this space. 

10 x 15 (150 sq. ft.): A three-bedroom house will fit in this size unit. It’s ideal for large  screen tvs, sporting equipment, bikes, pianos, and tables.

10 x 20 (200 sq. ft.): This space is ideal for a five-bedroom house, including large appliances. This unit is also big enough for cars, boats, and other vehicles. 

10 x 30 (300 sq. ft.): This unit has enough space to store a five- to seven-bedroom home or a large vehicle or small boat with room to spare. If you’re making a cross-country move, this size will enable you to store the contents of your large home while getting settled.

Vehicle Parking:  Most facilities offer indoor, covered, and open parking spaces for cars, boats, and RVs. You can find information on the vehicle storage page of most self storage websites.

Whatever your storage needs, the information in this article can guide you in the right direction to easily find the right size unit at your local facility. If you’re still uncertain, speak to the manager at your local self storage business.The friendly, knowledgeable employees are always happy to answer your questions and help you to find the right fit.

Do You Know the Difference Between Self Storage Insurance and a Tenant Protection Plan?

According to the Self-Storage Association, one out of every 10 households in the U.S. rents a  self storage unit. That means 10.8 million Americans are comfortable that their possessions are safe, secure and well protected at their local self storage facility. They’ve taken the time to choose the right self storage facility for their possessions, and they know that the majority of self storage businesses have cutting edge security. Video monitoring, electronic gates, keypad access, and even bluetooth enabled keyless entry keep their belongings safe and protected.  

Despite these precautions, insurance is required at most facilities to mitigate risk and cover losses. A growing number of self storage businesses have added a tenant protection plan as another layer of protection.  A tenant protection plan covers certain losses not covered by insurance. 

Storage Insurance vs. Tenant Protection Plan

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners states that even though items in a storage unit are not physically in your home, your homeowner’s policy may help protect those items from certain hazards.  Homeowners/renters insurance typically includes personal property coverage, from certain risks, for clothing, appliances, electronics, and furniture. These items, however, are covered only up to the coverage limits on your policy.

Tenants who depend on the “off-premises” coverage of their homeowners or renters insurance to pay for any damages to items in their storage unit may be disappointed in the event of loss; “off premises” coverage is usually capped at a certain rate.

Be sure to check with your insurance agency to verify exactly how much coverage you will have for “off-premises” items.  

Homeowners/renters insurance covers the contents of a self storage unit only up to a certain limit.

  • According to the Insurance Information Institute, coverage for items in a storage unit is generally provided by the “off-premises” personal property coverage in a homeowner’s policy. Typically covered are fire, lightning, theft, and vandalism.
  • “Off-premises” personal property usually has a coverage limit of up to 50% of the policy’s dwelling coverage limit. Some homeowner’s policies have even lower limits for property located away from your home. For example, if you have $75,000 coverage on your personal property under your homeowner’s policy, coverage for “off-premises” property may be capped as low as 10% or $7,500.
  • Renters insurance generally covers items in a self-storage unit for up to 10% of your policy limits.   

What is covered by self storage insurance?

Buying self-storage insurance will usually give you coverage for damages to your possessions, less your deductible, due to loss from:

  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Hurricane
  • Tornado
  • Wind
  • Hail
  • Lightning
  • Leaking Water (excluding flooding)
  • Smoke
  • Earthquake

A tenant protection plan offers advantages that you don’t see in conventional insurance coverage.

How does a tenant protection plan work?

A tenant protection plan is a contractual agreement between the facility and the tenant, with the facility assuming limited responsibility for the tenant’s belongings while they are stored in a locked unit. In other words, operators agree to pay customers for damages to belongings up to a specified dollar amount.

Customers will be reimbursed at replacement cost for their damaged or stolen property (clothing and household linens are subject to depreciation). Protection plan fees are conveniently collected with the monthly rent, and there are no deductibles.

Losses from the following are covered:

  • Theft due to forcible entry
  • Fire, smoke, lightning, or explosion
  • Windstorms
  • Water damage from a leaking roof or broken pipe (up to protection plan limits)
  • Furs, antiques, works of art, and consumer electronics

Certain protection plans also cover:

  • Cars, boats, jet skis, RVs, motorcycles, and quads stored inside units
  • Document re-creation costs (up to protection plan limits)
  • Moth, insect, rodent, or vermin damage up to $500
  • Jewelry up to $500

Tenant protection plans do not cover:

  • Loss due to flood damage
  • Damage caused from dropping or moving property in and out of a storage room
  • An improperly packed room resulting in damaged belongings
  • Mysterious disappearance
  • Any property stored outside a locked storage room, including RV’s, cars, boats

With a tenant protection plan, you’re guaranteed an extra layer of safety for your possessions. 

Before you make a decision on any insurance or protection plan to cover your losses, think carefully about the monetary and the sentimental value of your possessions. Be sure to consult your insurance agent, and discuss your options with the manager of the facility where you choose to store your belongings.

Self Storage: The Secret Weapon for Storing Holiday Gifts

It’s early December, and you know what that means. The holiday season is breathing down your neck. People have already begun to stash away Christmas gifts and surprises. If you haven’t started shopping, you’d better get your hustle on. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are over; you’re already a step behind. 

When you think of the excitement on those sweet little faces at 5:00 a.m. on Christmas morning, it’s hard to resist buying everything they want!. Calm down and step away from the credit card. By noon, they’ll be playing with an empty box and sobbing with exhaustion. And you still have to navigate them through the remainder of the day with relatives and friends.  Here’s an idea. Make the time leading up to this day of memories (and disorder) a little bit easier by using self storage. 

Give Yourself a Break – Use Self Storage to Stash the Presents

Black Friday is the shopping kickoff, followed by Cyber Monday, and every day and night thereafter until you have to find time to bake cookies, drink wine, and have one of many emotional breakdowns leading up to the big day. After all of that shopping comes the challenge of trying to find hiding places for all of those presents. It’s harder than trying to find a parking space at the grocery store on Christmas Eve. 

You need a plan, or the simple task of hiding gifts will become a logistical nightmare. You’ll forget where you put them; and, if you wrap them prior to hiding, you’ll absolutely forget who they’re meant for. It’s so annoying when you open the freezer and the Lightsaber Academy Interactive Battle Lightsaber falls out and breaks your toe because brain fog caused you to forget you hid it in there. But the most fun you’ll have by far is watching Aunt Karen open Cousin Sydney’s Cards Against Humanity. Cue another breakdown.

Universal Storage Group is your seasonal helper. Rent a convenient, secure, affordable self storage unit to use as ground zero for gifts. Our small sizes are perfect. You can use inexpensive shelving to keep the gifts off the ground, and you can even add a table to use for wrapping the presents. You don’t have to worry about making a long-term commitment to rent a unit, because we have flexible month-to-month leasing. 

The More the Merrier – Wrap With Friends

Better yet, if you want to save money, rent a slightly larger unit and share with friends. You not only use the space for gifts, but you can set up a wrapping station. Place a folding table with several tape dispensers and pairs of scissors in the unit. You can use it individually, or plan a wrapping party, complete with eggnog and snacks. Wrapping paper, gift bags, and ribbon can be supplied by each renter.

Choosing The Right Storage Facility

If you’re going to use storage for your gifts, you need to find a facility that is secure and convenient.

Location

At this time of year, you need to think about convenience. You’ll be stopping at the unit frequently, so you’ll need a facility in your neighborhood that is close to the places where you shop and run errands.

Security

Cost is an important factor, but it shouldn’t be your only consideration. Find a reputable company with state-of-the-art security. Look for video surveillance, perimeter fencing, security locks, and electronic keypad access. You’ll also want a friendly, knowledgeable management team that is willing to answer your questions, understand your needs, and show you around the property.

Delivery

As an additional advantage, many self-storage facilities accept deliveries. You can spend a day shopping on the internet and have all of your items shipped to your storage facility: the ultimate in convenience.

Climate Control

If you live in an area that’s subject to extreme temperature fluctuations, opting for a climate-controlled unit will be better for you and your gifts. If you plan to share with friends and spend time wrapping gifts in the unit, you want to be comfortable and you want your gifts to be protected from damage and humidity. 

Insurance

One last thought. Don’t forget to check with your insurance agent to verify that your gifts are covered under your homeowners’ or renters’ policy. If your policy does not cover these items, you can purchase insurance from your storage company.

You’ll be surprised at how much less stressful your life will be with a safe, comfortable hiding place for your gifts, especially if you bought one of the kids an electric ride-on car. You won’t have to store it in your neighbor’s living room for two months. Merry Christmas!