The United States has more self-storage facilities than any other country, about 50,000 to 60,000. According to some estimates, one in ten American households uses a storage unit at any time.

It’s no wonder self-storage is so popular. We need to store our belongings for many reasons. For example, when moving, renovating, or when we want to declutter our home before putting it up for sale. Some people store camping and sports gear or seasonal holiday decorations and accessories.

We also tend to worry about our stored belongings. Are storage units safe? Or can someone easily break in and walk away with our stuff? Will our antique pieces or lavish outfits remain in good condition? Or will they be ruined by humidity and pests?  

Let’s explore the features safe storage facilities should offer, from security to climate control. When you choose wisely where to store your valuable items, you will enjoy peace of mind.

View of a self-storage facility with the camera surveillance system for safety

Ensure Your Stored Belongings Are Safe in The Storage Unit 

Self-storage units are generally safe, but robberies can and do occur. Choose your storage facility carefully and take specific precautions to reduce the risk of losing your precious possessions.

An exemplary and safe storage facility should provide security measures to protect your belongings from theft. The area must be fenced off and have a secure point of entry. Enquire about the monitoring system such as CCTV cameras and ensure that the company records every customer and every vehicle entering and leaving. Opt for a storage facility that offers restricted access, 24/7 surveillance, reliable remote monitoring, an alarm system, adequate lighting, and fire and smoke detection.

It’s also important that the facility has a responsive staff that checks the premises daily. For example, if you accidentally leave your storage unit unlocked, the management should inform you immediately.

Pay attention to the lock on your storage unit. Traditional padlocks are easy to cut off, while disc and cylinder locks are safer. Many storage facilities allow customers to bring their locks or offer automatic locks that open with a passcode.

There are several other things you can do to minimize the possibility of theft:

  • Visit regularly. Burglars are more likely to target rarely opened storage units because they know the theft will go unnoticed for months. Try to visit your storage unit at least once a month, on different days and at different times. 
  • Make a list of your belongings. When you know what you have stored, you can act on time if anything is missing. Keep the list with you, and avoid writing the exact content on the boxes. A good practice is to take a photo of your storage unit every time you visit and compare it with the previous one. 
  • Hide the valuables. Although you should never store money, jewelry, or sensitive documents, you may have some valuable items. Place them at the back of the unit, and make it difficult for anyone to grab them quickly. If you are worried about some of your possessions, consider putting a chicken wire cage around them.

Also, remember to keep yourself safe, especially if your storage unit is in a remote spot.

Two women in retirement packing their belongings to store them in a storage facility

Keep Your Stored Belongings in Good Condition

Before renting a particular storage unit, check how the facility is maintained. The storage unit should be clean, as well as the whole area. Look around for any signs of dampness or the presence of pests. Mold, mildew, insects, and rodents can cause irreparable damage to your property. 

You may need climate-controlled storage, or you may not. That depends on what kind of items you want to store and how long you plan to keep them in storage. The stuff you typically put into your garage usually doesn’t need temperature and humidity control. The same goes for items you intend to store temporarily, for a month or so - for example, when moving home. You can check in detail what can be stored in a storage facility and what not.  

However, choose a climate-controlled unit if you want to store sensitive items for an extended period. Antiques, fine art, electronics, wooden furniture, clothing, and musical instruments can deteriorate if not kept at moderate temperatures. Climate-controlled storage units ensure a consistent temperature, cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Some storage facilities offer humidity control as well.

Whether you opt for a standard or a climate-controlled unit, pack your belongings well before storing them. Everything should be clean and dry. You may also place unused soap bars among your clothing or linen. They will smell nice and fresh when you take them out.

Keep your storage unit clean and tidy. Check for any signs of pests, moisture, or other issues during your regular visits.

More Things to Know About Safe Storage Facilities

Read online reviews about storage facilities and get as much information as possible about a self-storage facility before storing your belongings. Safety and security are top considerations, but there are several other factors to think about:

  • Cost: The average prices of storage units range from about $60 to $300 a month, depending on their size, type, location, and duration of lease. Climate-controlled units can be only $10 more expensive than standard ones. Most storage facilities set a one-month minimum rent. 
  • Size: Typically, storage units come in three sizes: small (5’ x 5’ to 5’ x 10’), medium (5’ x 15’ to 10’ x 15’ ft), and large (10’ x 20’ to 10’ x 30’). The 10’ x 10’ units are the most popular, followed by the 5’ x 10’ ones. Some facilities offer in-between sizes, for example, 10’ x 12’. You can also find locker-sized units for storing small items such as seasonal décor or sports gear. 
  • Outdoor or indoor: Outdoor drive-up storage units are convenient because you can drive up to them to unload, load, or check your belongings. Indoor storage units are located in single or multi-floor buildings, accessible by elevator and on foot. 
  • Insurance: Contact your insurance provider to check whether your homeowners or renters insurance policy covers self-storage. If it does not, you may want to purchase additional insurance.

Prohibited items: Different storage facilities have different rules on what can’t go into their units. Common prohibited items include hazardous chemicals, flammable materials, food, live animals, firearms, fur clothing, and tires.

A smiling couple in retirement sitting on a bench enjoying their time together

Shyft Takes Care of Your Belongings When Relocating

Selecting a well-maintained and safe storage unit is crucial for your peace of mind. It is just as important to find a reliable moving company when relocating. 

Moving home always requires time and effort, but the process will be much faster and smoother with Shyft organizing your move.

When selecting a moving company, you can go the traditional way. That involves researching movers, reading online reviews, gathering quotes from at least three companies, and having a representative visit your home to assess the items for the move. 

The Shyft approach to relocating is about making your life easier. Your entire moving inventory will be taken via a short video call. You will get competitive moving quotes from at least three reliable moving companies. And you will accomplish all that from the comfort of your sofa, without movers setting foot into your home.

Shyft’s innovative online platform caters to the specific needs of people over 50. The platform's primary objective is to make the moving process stress-free and efficient.

Using AARP® Moving Services powered by Shyft is straightforward. Start by downloading the handy moving checklist that helps you stay organized and keep track of tasks.

When you're ready to proceed, download Shyft's user-friendly moving app, Shyft Next, available for iPhone or Android. Following this, schedule a video call online or by calling Shyft at 1-888-501-3181.

A Shyft representative, your dedicated Move Coach, will video-call you at the appointed time.

During the video call, point your device's camera at the items you wish to take to your new home. The Shyft Move Coach will create an inventory and inform you about available options and estimated costs. Let your Move Coach know if you require temporary storage or any other service, such as disassembling and reassembling furniture.

The inventory list created during the call is highly accurate, at about 95%. You can add or remove items and services until achieving 100% accuracy.

Once your list is complete, it will go to the secure Shyft bidding platform. Vetted professional moving companies will submit their offers, and you will receive at least three quotes, enabling you to choose the mover that best suits your needs. Once you accept a quote, the price is locked in and cannot be changed unless you add items or alter the move distance. Just ensure you book your move before the quote's expiry date.

Your dedicated Move Coach will oversee the entire process. You will have continuous support from start to finish. You can rest assured that you’ll get high-quality service. Shyft is available 24/7, making your moving experience exceptional.

Exclusive for AARP members, AARP Moving Services powered by Shyft offers a remarkable discount of up to $250.

Book your move and enjoy a seamless and worry-free moving experience.

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