Storage Basics

Storage Basics Overview

Self Storage Facility In Monroe, IA

Finding a storage unit can be an overwhelming task, especially if you aren't familiar with all of the options and features available. It's best to assess all of your storage needs before you even search for a local storage facility.

Consider how long you might need the storage unit. Will you be looking for long-term storage or a temporary rental?

Estimate how much space you will require. Save money by only renting the space you need. Many facilities will store larger items, including cars, boats, and other motorized vehicles.

How often will you need to access the unit? Some facilities are accessible 24/7 and may even have drive-up access. Hours of operations range from facility to facility and should be taken into consideration, depending on your needs.

Are any of the items you plan to store sensitive to temperature or humidity? If so, you will most likely need a climate-controlled storage unit. Typically the following items need to be stored in climate control: leathers, furs, clothing, paintings, film, photographs, furniture, antiques, musical instruments, wine, paper, software, DVDs, CDs, and electronics.

All storage facilities should have secure units, but if you require additional security for your possessions, ask the facility if they have any of the following: fencing, surveillance cameras, motion lights, alarms, guards, or a police presence.

You may also want to consider mobile storage for your items. If you decide to use mobile storage, a unit will be brought to you and removed after you have packed it. The unit will be stored at the facility or can be shipped to another location. The cost and features of mobile storage are comparable to self-storage, but if you require regular access to your belongings, it may not be the best option for your needs.

Why Use Self Storage?

Reduce Clutter
Renting a self storage unit can be a great way to reduce clutter and free up needed space at the home or office. A storage unit is a smart place to keep a few boxes, old appliances, memorabilia, heirlooms, and old toys.

Often self-storage units offer more security than homes. Self-storage facilities provide security features not normally found at homes. In addition to a lock, facilities are often protected by a security fence, surveillance cameras, a gated entry, limited entry after hours, exterior lighting, and possibly security guards or onsite management. You may choose to purchase an in-home security system for your home. While this may protect the items stored in your home, will it protect items left in your yard? What about that backyard storage shed? Self-storage units give you the benefits of both extra storage space and added security.

Some items pose potential hazards at home and need to be placed in a secure area to ensure the safety of your family. You may be handy around the house and enjoy renovation projects, but between jobs a self-storage unit can keep those power tools, ladders, saws, and drills away from curious children and, thereby, reduce the risk of possible accidents around the house.

Homes often do not have the storage space to hold large items. For instance, if you have ski boats, canoes, or vintage cars, you may not have room for them in your garage or driveway. A self-storage unit could give you a place to store such items that provides protection from the weather and some added security. If your garage has slowly filled with things, like your exercise equipment and camping supplies, and you want to reclaim it for your car, a self-storage unit may be a perfect solution.

When renting a unit, you may be offered insurance. Insurance will replace your valuables if they are stolen or damaged while in storage. Self-storage insurance may be cheaper than homeowner's or renter's insurance.

Personal Storage

Decluttering: Store or Keep?

As you look around your house, you might realize that you have accumulated more than will fit into the square footage available in your home.  It may be that you cannot abide junk and regularly rid your home of worn out items and things no one wants anymore.  Still, you see that too many things are cluttering your home and hiding its style and pizzazz, so you decide to rent a self storage unit.  It will allow you to rotate your treasures in and out of your house at the whim of your inner design guru.  Now comes the hard part.  What should stay, and what should be tucked away in your self storage unit?


  • Hold onto clothes that are in season and that you wear regularly.
  • Keep practical items in regular use at home, like silverware, towels, bedding, and soap dishes.
  • Retain often used furniture.
  • Keep photos and wall hangings that add a spark to the d├ęcor.
  • Hold onto board games and enough toys to fill your child's toy box.
  • Keep enough of your college student's personal objects to make them feel at home when they visit.
  • File current bills and private documents, like social security cards and bank account information, at home.
  • Show off collectors' items in a display cabinet.
  • Make room for sporting gear that someone in the house uses every few days (basketballs, yoga mats, bikes, and more).
  • Carve a niche for that emergency household tool kit.


  • Store out-of-season clothing and footwear.
  • Box up extra items that clutter your cupboards, like excess towels, the good silver used only on holidays, extra blankets needed only in winter, and toothbrush holders that have been replaced by a fresh design.
  • Store the rocker that only grandma sits in when she visits every six months or the footstool that no one uses but everyone trips over.
  • Store photos and wall hangings that make the room look too busy or just don't fit your current design scheme.
  • Pack away extra toys that you have no room for.  Rotate them in and out every few weeks, so that your child can enjoy all of them.  Involve your child in the decisions.
  • Put away your college student's bags, balls, and other belongings that spill out of his/her closets into other rooms or that make his/her room uncomfortable for guests.
  • Stash tax documents and other papers that may be needed but are seldom reviewed.
  • Store collectors' items that take up too much room and don't look good on display.  If you have several collections or many items, you may want to rotate them.
  • Pack up out-of-season sporting gear.
  • Bundle garden tools together in the off season, and stick them in a garbage bin in your self storage unit.
  • Ultimately, use your discretion to decide what stays and what goes.  Label your stored goods well.  If you're keeping them, you should rotate what you can into daily use every so often.