If you’re new to the self storage realm, it’s important to know the tried and true ways to make the most of your self storage experience before you get started. We’ve been in the game for a long while (The Lock Up started in 1976), and we’ve learned a thing or two in that time that we’d like to impart to any of you just starting on your self storage journey. Let’s start with how to choose the self storage solution that’s best for you.
SELECTING YOUR SELF STORAGE UNIT
Location, location, location
This is a key choice in your self storage experience. You don’t want to have to drive out into the middle of nowhere for your stored items when you need them. The Lock Up has strategically placed facilities in centrally located hubs of metropolitan activity. This allows our tenants to be able to include accessing their stored belongings into their daily routine. Drop kids off at school, pick up dry cleaning, drop off the box of summer clothes at The Lock Up, go to the market. This is how we contribute to an easy daily errand life flow. Visit the Locations section of our website to find The Lock Up’s facility that’s nearest to you.
Once you’ve found the right facility for you, the next decisions are what type of unit you need and what size should it be.
Depending on the facility, The Lock Up has a few choices when it comes to the type of unit you can select. There are drive up units, units inside the facilities and some locations have mezzanine units or even wine storage. What you need to store will dictate this choice.
You must also consider what size unit will suit your needs. We offer a handy online guide to show you how much stuff can fit into our available sizes. You will see all these options and easily be able to secure your storage unit directly on our website, simply select the location you’re interested in and it’s all laid out for you.
One of the biggest concerns a new tenant may have is whether or not to secure a climate controlled unit. We say yes! For that reason, all Lock Up Self Storage facilities have expertly tuned climate controlled units that provide the perfect storage environment free of fluctuating temperatures and humidity levels. Yes, there are some facilities that have options that are not fully climate controlled, but often even those have, at the bare minimum, enough heat throughout a winter to provide protection to your belongings.
When making these choices, we highly recommend that you think into the future. Consider what might be going on in your life 6 months, a year, two years down the line. If you are planning on growing your family, if you are planning on downsizing, you might end up needing more space than you currently do, or needing a fully climate controlled unit to protect your sensitive belongings in the future. It’s best to secure a unit that will suit your needs now and into the future. Remember, with such affordable rental rates, you can save yourself the hassle of having to move all of your belongings from one unit to another in the midst of a big life change.
MOVING INTO YOUR SELF STORAGE UNIT
Box It Up
When prepping all your belongings that you want to move into your unit, we cannot stress enough how important it is to pack items properly.
Boxes are the best method for containing your belongings. It doesn’t matter whether you use cardboard boxes or plastic bins, you just want to be sure that you have boxes that can be carried easily and are sturdy enough to be stacked on top of each other. This will keep your unit organized and accessible. Clear plastic bins are helpful because they allow you to see what’s inside, however you should never rely on that alone. Be sure to clearly label any and all boxes that you intend on storing. Use some masking tape and a permanent marker on the outside of every box and write the contents on it.
If you are in need of specialized boxes for items such as mirrors or glassware, you can visit your Lock Up facility and find all your packing needs. Boxes, bubble wrap, tape, you need it…we have it.
When packing your boxes, you want to place heavier items on the bottom, lighter items on top. Fill boxes fairly snugly so that items don’t jostle about during transportation. And be sure to add padding to the top before sealing up a box, especially when it comes to cardboard boxes. This will prevent boxes from caving in when you stack them. If you have lots of books, be sure to pack them flat in smaller boxes so that the boxes aren’t too heavy to lift.
As with most things, there are exceptions to the rule: sometimes boxes aren’t the perfect solution. For example, if you’re storing fluffy winter bedding, you’d be wasting space if you put that into a box. Instead, opt for a vacuum sealed storage bag. These will compress items such as pillows, comforters, and winter sweaters into flat, compact units that you can stack on top of one another.
Before you load everything into your storage unit, it’s a wise idea to make a list of every single thing that you’ll be storing. While although all of our facilities boast top notch security systems with 24 hour video monitoring and electronic coded access, nobody can prevent natural disasters from occurring. And if a disaster should hit the facility where your belongings are stored, you will need some documentation of what was in your storage unit for insurance reasons.
This is where The Lock Up Self Storage app shines. Our app that’s available on iTunes and Google Play for free, has a unique feature that allows you to use your phone to snap a photo of an item and take notes about it as well. This is an incredibly easy and efficient way to keep all of the documentation of your stored items in one location that’s literally at your fingertips. Other perks of our app are that it allows you to manage your bills, and even store your access codes to the facilities where your items live…which sure beats trying to find that little slip of paper that you wrote them on! If you want to learn more about the app, read this post.
Now that you’ve got all the logistics of your unit figured out and your stuff is boxed up and documented, it’s time to move it into your climate controlled storage unit. This is where the real fun begins…well, that’s what we think anyway…moving and storage is kind of our thing.
Just like the proper technique of packing up a moving truck, packing a self storage unit requires a plan that promises to make things easier and safer for you.
There’s an easy system to remember: large in back, small in front; heavy on bottom, light on top. You’ll want to move the largest and tallest items like mattresses, sofas, or dressers into your unit first and place them at the back. Furniture sliders placed underneath heavy items can really help you move things around in your unit.
If you have tables or other furniture that can be disassembled, take them apart and store them together (be sure to bag up screws and tape them to the item so you can reassemble them later). This will help maximize your storage area. Another good idea is to use all available storage areas like drawers in dressers. Just be sure to note where things are in your storage documentation. Place all your small items like lamps and boxes at the front of your unit.
Leave a Walkway
As you move items into your storage unit, you’ll want to be sure to leave an aisle down the center. No, this walkway is not wasted space…it’s invaluable. You’ll find it so much easier to be able to walk right into your unit and access the items in the back. Also, it provides a way for you to be able to see what’s in your unit on either side. If you placed an aisle on the side of your unit, you’d be wasting valuable storage space against a stable wall, not to mention that you’d have limited access to the items that are stored within the width of your unit. Providing a clear path in the center of your storage area will prevent a dangerous situation of having to climb over objects to get what you want, or worse, having to remove the contents of half your storage unit to get to them.
We at The Lock Up hope that these tips and tricks help those of you who are just starting to investigate what it takes to have a positive self storage experience. We know that it can be daunting to face all of the options available, so we wanted to break the process down into bite sized pieces that demystify the process. And we know that everyone relies heavily on technology these days, so we’ve made sure that both our website and our mobile app are designed to help you at every step of the way.
Whether you’re just starting to search for a good storage solution, or if you’ve already secured your Lock Up lease, don’t forget that we have incredible teams of people at each of our facilities that are there to help with any questions or concerns you may have.
See you soon!