Finding good storage — How to pick the right storage solution for your valuables

Storage units are a convenient way to keep your valued possessions safe until you have a permanent home for them.

When you choose a storage unit, balance safety and budget concerns with these three steps:

• Figure out what type and how much storage you need.

• Research different storage unit companies.

• Read the contract thoroughly.

Figure out what type and how much storage you need. How much are you storing? Will you want to get into your storage unit on a regular basis in order to pull out seasonal items. If you will be in and out of your storage unit, plan on finding one that is big enough to give you room to search without having to pull everything out.

Are your possessions temperature and humidity sensitive (like antique furniture)? Then it’s worth a slightly more expensive climate-controlled facility. Do you need short or long term storage? Are your belongings valuable enough that a higher-security unit is advisable?

Research different storage unit companies. Don’t pick a storage unit simply because it’s the closest or the cheapest. Check the Better Business Bureau and sites like Yelp for complaints. 

Visit the storage sites and ask to be shown a unit on the floor your unit will be on. Find out if there is a weight limit. When the next rental increase falls? What kind of monitoring and security does the storage facility have? Do they have fire and theft coverage for your possessions?  Is there parking, an elevator, hand dollies and carts you can use to transfer your belongings from the car to the storage unit?

Ask for written quotes that list the size of the unit, its location, payment terms, insurance coverage, climate control, etc. Consider a “pod” style storage unit — one that is dropped off at your current home, can be loaded at your convenience, and then is picked up and stored until you need it transported to a new location.

Read and understand the contract. Take a copy of the contract home to review at your leisure. Storage units aren’t covered by the same laws as landlords, so be sure that you understand the details of your agreement. Ask questions about any points that are unclear.

Tip: Review the value of what’s going into storage and how much it will cost to replace it versus storing it. You might do better to sell your belongings on Craigslist and set the money aside to enjoy buying new when the time is right.

— Smartmoves, Canada Post.