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When you are considering renting a storage unit, it pays to do your homework. Storage unit pricing can vary wildly depending on the size and amenities you need and the location of the storage unit. If you do these five things before you rent a storage unit, you can save yourself time and money.

Purge

Even the most affordable storage units can get expensive if you fill them with things that you are keeping for no reason at all. So before you contact us or some other storage facility, the best thing you can do is purge.

Evaluate the things that you are considering putting into a storage unit and ask yourself, “Why?” Why am keeping this? Then, ask yourself when you will be using the item again.

Keep the things that you will use again in a relatively short period of time, that you cannot replace and the ones that are important to you.

Measure

Storage units are priced, generally speaking, per square foot and come in a few standard sizes, like 5′ x 10′ and 10′ x 10′. Most are also between seven and eight feet tall. So, if you know the approximate volume of the things you are hoping to store before you call the storage facility, you can save money by renting a smaller unit.

However, few things are as miserable as renting a small space and then discovering that you actually need one size larger. Generally that means paying more or moving it twice, wasting time and money.

Evaluate

The pricing difference between climate controlled storage and drive up storage can be substantial, so before renting storage, you should know whether you need climate controlled storage.

Here are some things to ask to help make that choice:

1) Do I have stuff that will melt in extreme heat? Obviously, candles fall into this category, but so do emulsion-based photographs (anything not laser printed), record albums and soft metals, like copper. So if you have vinyl albums or high end electronics, don’t store them in a drive up storage unit.

2) Do I have fabric cushions or leather? Here in the Phoenixville area, the humidity can vary wildly from one day to the next or even from morning to evening. In drive up storage, that can mean that the dewpoint inside your unit leads to condensation on your stuff and condensation leads to mildew. If you are storing furniture with fabric cushions, or mattresses, don’t store them in a drive up storage unit unless they are properly wrapped to prevent moisture.

3) Do I have anything that dust will ruin? It’s not popular to admit, but outside units get dusty. If you are store fine china or something that might be damaged by dust, consider opting for a climate controlled storage unit.

Compare

Once you know how much storage space you will need and the type of storage that is best for your stuff, it’s time to find out how much storage will cost. Start by looking up the storage facilities that are closest to your home or work, whichever is more convenient. Some may offer pricing information on their websites (We do!), but others may require that you call or visit the facility to get pricing.

If they insist on these things, beware the hard sell. Many storage employees are taught to never let a potential customer walk away without making a decision. If the employee offers you a special price, be sure to get it in writing and ask how long that price will be good for. One of the sneaky tricks of some storage facilities is to rent to you at a low price and then raise the price immediately once you’ve already moved in.

Inspect

After you’ve checked on pricing and figured out where you might want to store your stuff, don’t rent storage just yet. Before you sign that contact, inspect the facility. Is it clean? Are the units in good repair? Are their signs of unrepaired leaks or animal damage? Ask to see the specific unit you will be renting and be sure that it is in good repair.