If you're like me, you sometimes look around and wonder, "How did I accumulate all this stuff?!"
Thankfully, we're not alone. Nearly 11 million households have items in a storage unit. That represents a 65 percent increase from 10 years ago.
Whether you're about to get married and combine households, a parent looking to free up space or a retiree looking to downsize, a storage unit may be just what you need. But before you start throwing things in boxes to haul off to your local storage facility, consider these self-storage tips.
- Is the facility clean? Before you store your belongings in a storage unit, make sure that it is well-maintained. Ask if routine cleaning is performed on empty units. Also ask to see an empty unit to make sure it is mold and dust free.
- Is it climate-controlled? Based on where you live, you may want to consider a climate-controlled facility. Many items are susceptible to pests and extreme temperatures. For example, leather, wood, wicker, electronics, musical instruments and photographs could be severely damaged if exposed to humidity or frigid cold. Keep in mind that some items should never be put in a storage unit including medications and medical supplies; combustible, flammable, hazardous or toxic chemicals; and weapons, ammunition or construction equipment. Many facilities have rules governing acceptable items. Use common sense when deciding what to store.
- Is it accessible? Does the storage area offer drive-up access? Or will you be lugging boxes up flights of stairs? Depending on what you're storing, that information could be very important. Also, take a look at when and how often you'll need to access your items. Some facilities provide access only during certain hours of the day and limited access on weekends. If you'll be making regular visits to retrieve items, it's best to make sure you have easy access.
- Is it safe? One of the most important self-storage tips is to consider the safety of your unit and the facility as a whole. In addition to a lock - which you should always have on your unit - some facilities offer extra security like video surveillance or password-protected gates.
Another way to make sure your itemsare protected is to insure them. Although most homeowners policy cover personal property in a storage unit, it is good to contact someone to make sure you have appropriate coverage. This is especially important if you have pricey items like jewelry and artwork that may need to be covered separately with an inland marine policy.
Today's insurance tips and ideas brought to you by ERIE Insurance.