Public Self Storage Etiquette: The Dos and Don’ts

We all have the tendency to be ‘pack rats.’ All of the stuff we have gathered over the years eventually starts to clutter up our homes. Many of us do not want to part with our possessions in order to make more room. One way of clearing the clutter without having to get rid of it is to purchase a self storage unit. A self storage facility will keep your items safe and you have access any time of the day or night. Before investing in self storage, you should consider the following:

1. Take an inventory of all the items you want to store. This will help you decide which storage unit meets your needs. For instance, you will need to determine the size of the storage area and if it has to be climate controlled. Talk to the manager to find out what you are allowed to store and what is prohibited. You should also make sure you have easy access to the unit. You will have a problem if you cannot drive a large moving truth up to the door. Rent the smallest amount of space you need and pack the space until full.

2. Don’t store hazardous products. Most self-storage companies prohibit flammable items such as gasoline, kerosene, motor oil, lubricants, paints and paint removers, nail polish remover, alcohol, and any other liquid that might catch fire. Toxic substances are also prohibited. This can include fertilizers, pool chemicals, propane tanks, mothballs, ammonia, bleach, acid, batteries, and any other chemical that can leak toxins into the air or on the floor.

3. Do not store illegal items such as drugs, drug paraphernalia, and weapons. These types of items are prohibited and can get you in a lot of trouble.

4. Make sure dishes and glasses are each wrapped separately and have protective padding such as cloth or bubble wrap.

5. Living things such as pets, livestock, and plants are prohibited. People are not allowed to live in storage units.

6. If you are storing large appliances like a refrigerator, leave the door tied open. This will prevent mold and bad odors.

7. Make sure you label everything so you do not have a difficult time retrieving them later.

8. Make sure that everything you pack is secure and protected. Use padding to protect perishables. Don’t keep small items loose in a box. Plastic bubble wrap will ensure your items are protected from moisture or flooding. Place your cardboard boxes on pallets. This will prevent water absorption from the concrete floor. Plastic containers are great storage devices. They are airtight and will keep water out. Make sure all containers and boxes are sealed to keep rodents and insects out Items that can spoil such as food are prohibited.

9. Gas-powered items such as chainsaws and lawn mowers are not allowed in storage units. Pressurized containers such as gas tanks are prohibited because they could explode.

10. If you are storing priceless items such as antiques and family heirlooms, you should provide extra protection by purchasing a fireproof and water proof safe.

11. Mattresses and furniture are susceptible to mold and mildew. They should be wrapped in protective padding and covered with plastic. Make sure corners are well protected with padding to avoid scratches.

12. While your items are in storage, make sure they are insured. Ask the manager about self storage insurance.

13. Make sure the storage lock is strong and the manager is the only other person who has a key.

With the right planning and following the appropriate etiquette, self storage is a great way to remove the clutter from your home.

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