All You Need to Know Before Renting a Self-Storage Unit

Renting a storage unit is a wonderful way to free up space when you need it, without having to sell all those extra belongings. Self-storage is an extremely useful solution for many circumstances – home renovation, downsizing, decluttering, storing documents, extra furniture, and so on.

If you’re new to the world of self-storage, you probably have more than a few questions about how it works and how to go about using it. Worry not, as we’ll go over everything you need to know before renting a storage unit!

What to look for in a storage unit?

If you want to choose the right storage facility for your needs, you have to keep several things in mind:

  1. Location. Make sure the facility is in a convenient and easily accessible area, so you don’t have to waste lots of time and fuel going back and forth.
  2. Security. Ensure the facility is safe–look for features like gated access, security cameras, alarm systems and on-site security.
  3. Accessibility. Make sure the facility offers access during the hours you plan on visiting your unit. Some companies even offer 24/7 access!
  4. Cost. Compare prices and options, including any additional fees, insurance options, and discounts.
  5. Reputation. Read online reviews and ask for recommendations from friends or family to find a reputable facility.

What documents do you need to provide

When renting a storage unit, you will need to provide government-issued identification of some sort, such as an ID card, driver’s licence or passport. You may also be required to provide proof of insurance (we’ll go over that later) and a credit or debit card for payment.

Some facilities could also require a security deposit, which may be refundable. It’s always best to check with the storage company you are considering so you know exactly what documents you need.

Is there a rental contract you need to sign?

When you rent a storage unit, you will typically be required to sign a rental agreement. This contract will outline the terms and conditions of the lease, including the rental period, payment options, access hours, insurance requirements, and any restrictions on what you can store in your unit. 

It’s important to read carefully before signing it to be fully aware of all the terms and conditions of your rental. If you have questions, don’t be afraid to ask the facility staff for clarification.

Types and sizes of storage units

Self-storage units come in a variety of sizes and types to accommodate different storage needs.

When it comes to the type of storage unit, there are:

  1. Traditional storage units. These are your basic storage units that come in various sizes and can be used to store a wide range of items.
  2. Climate-controlled storage units. These units offer regulated temperature and humidity to protect sensitive items from extreme environmental factors.
  3. Drive-up storage units. These units are designed for convenient drive-up access and are typically larger than traditional storage units.
  4. Portable storage units. These units are delivered to your location and can be used for temporary or long-term storage.
  5. Vehicle storage units. These units are designed to store vehicles, such as cars, motorcycles, boats, and campers.

The size of storage units is usually measured in square feet. The sizes are divided into:

  • Small: 10 – 50 sq ft.
  • Medium: 50 – 100 sq ft.
  • Large: 100 – 160 sq ft. 
  • Extra-Large: over 160 sq ft.

Choosing the right unit size is crucial. If it’s too small, you won’t have enough space for your belongings. On the flip side, if it’s too big, you’ll be paying more than you need to. If you’re confused about what size to choose, you can always ask the facility staff for assistance.

How is the self-storage cost determined?

The price you will pay each month for your storage unit rental depends on several factors, the first one being size. Larger units usually cost more than smaller ones. After that, the cost of storage depends on your location and the local demand. Facilities in more densely populated or high-demand areas may have higher rent prices. Additionally, if you’re looking for extras, like drive-up units, climate control, and 24/7 access, it might cost you more. The duration of your rent is also a factor. Many facilities often offer discounts for more prolonged rental periods.

It’s important to compare prices and options from several self-storage companies before choosing the right one for your needs and budget.

What is climate-controlled storage for?

Climate-controlled units have regulated temperature and humidity levels, to protect stored items from extreme temperature changes and fluctuations in humidity. In such a unit, the temperature is typically maintained between 10°C and 30°C, and the humidity level is kept at a constant level.

This type of unit is ideal for items such as antiques, electronics, musical instruments, photographs, and artwork, which are sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity. Climate-controlled storage is typically more expensive, but it provides a much better environment for your precious belongings.

Security features of a self-storage facility

Reputable storage facilities have more than a few security measures in place, including:

  1. Electronic gate access – access to the facility is controlled by an electronic gate system that requires a code or keycard to open.
  2. Surveillance cameras – most facilities have cameras located throughout the property, providing constant surveillance.
  3. Fenced and well-lit property – fenced-off and well-lit facilities are less likely to be targeted by criminals.
  4. On-site security and patrols – some facilities have on-site security guards and regular patrols around the perimeter.
  5. Alarm system – individual units may have alarms installed for added security.

It’s important to choose a storage facility that provides a high level of security, but don’t slack on your personal security either – always lock your unit and be mindful of who you give your access code or keycard to.

Do you need insurance coverage?

Not all self-storage companies require you to have insurance for renting a unit. But keep in mind that most homeowners’ or renters’ insurance policies do not cover items stored in a self-storage unit, so it’s important to consider purchasing additional insurance for your peace of mind.

Self-storage insurance can provide coverage for your stored items in the event of damage or loss because of theft, fire, or natural disasters. The cost of self-storage insurance is usually based on the value of your stored items and the coverage amount you choose.

Item restrictions you need to adhere to

Prohibited items can vary from one storage facility to another, but the most common restrictions are:

  • Hazardous materials: explosives, flammable liquids, chemicals, or toxic substances.
  • Living things: animals, plants and humans.
  • Perishable items: food and any other goods that might attract pests.
  • Illegal items: stolen property, drugs, or weapons.

It’s important to review carefully the facility’s rules and restrictions before renting a storage unit. If you are unsure about the storage of specific items, it’s best to ask staff for clarification.


Now that you’ve read this article, you’re up to speed on all there is to know about renting a self-storage unit! Whether you need somewhere to store your skiing gear, your heaps and heaps of documents, all the extra furniture you have, or even that motorbike you only ride like 5 times a year, specialised self-storage provides an easy and affordable solution for it all.