Storage Wars: How to Win the Battle of Picking the Perfect Storage Facility

With careful planning and foresight, you don’t need to worry about one of those of vultures on “Storage Wars” carting away your personal belongings from a storage facility one day. When it comes to choosing the best place to store your stuff, it really is a war out there. And if you don’t come prepared, you may be hearing your stuff described as having the “Wow Factor” on TV one day. Or, even worse, not.

Write it Off

The cost of storing items that you use in your business may qualify as a tax deduction. This is an important element of storage to consider when deciding whether or not to stash your stuff away from home. Consult a tax professional before making a decision based on writing the cost off on your taxes, of course, but keep it in mind when you are weighing the cost of a renting a storage locker versus the practicality of cluttering the house.

Security

If you are just trying to loosen up the blockage in your home caused by a low level of hoarding, the price of security may not make it worthwhile. On the other hand, if you really are planning to store items that could make Darrell of “Storage Wars” determine that your locker has the Wow Factor, then you should certainly consider paying a premium rental cost for the addition value of knowing your things are relatively secure. I say relatively because no publicly available storage facility should be considered 100% secure from theft.

Climate Control

Indoor storage facilities offering climate controlled lockers clearly are going to cost your more than outdoor facilities the extremes of summer and winter can wreak havoc. Weigh the advantages of climate control closely. You may not think you need the benefit of temperate climate conditions and adequate air circulation, but think long term. Any items subject to damage caused by humid conditions may be worthy of paying the extra price. Make sure that the items you want to store won’t be unduly harmed by things mildew, mold, retention of odors, bugs and other effects of extreme weather conditions.

Access

Do you plan to put your stuff away once and not come back until you need it all? Or will the storage facility be a place you frequent regularly as you come and go at odd hours of the day to retrieve one thing or store something new? Winning the storage wars means taking this element into profound consideration. Some storage sites have strict hours and limited access while others will allow you to come and go as you please when you please. You may find the latter access comes with a price so if you don’t intend to visit the facility often, you can save money by renting space with less convenience.

Insurance

In most cases, don’t expect to recoup anywhere near the full cost of your stored items even if the facility offers security and your locker gets burgled. The self-storage industry tends to actually believe that merely putting up a sign claiming they are not responsible for losing your possessions has actual legal merit. And, sadly, they are usually right to believe that. If the storage offers insurance against loss and you are storing items of real value, consider paying a reasonable premium for a reasonable response. You should also contact your own insurance company to determine if your homeowner’s or renter’s policy will cover any loss of your belongings stored at one of these lockers. If your insurance does not cover your stuff stored here and that stuff has very serious value then you should very seriously consider the additional cost of adding coverage of off-property storage to your policy.

Size

The size of the storage area will determine the basic cost. Whether you are going for a bare-bones locker to store relatively low-value stuff you just don’t have room for at the house anymore or whether you go for a secure, climate controlled facility, the decision will eventually come down to size versus cost. Don’t immediately jump to the conclusion that cheaper is better. The potential for a downside to going with the smallest unit possible may very well outweigh the upside of saving a few dollars. You may wind up needing to move all that stuff to a bigger locker if you start accumulating more things that need storage and all that gets you is more sweat. Or you may find yourself wasting huge amounts of time as you try to work your way through a packed storage locker in search of an item that has gotten lost under the weight of stacked boxes. Or you may open up that locker one day and find that your collection of crystal glasses handed down from your great-grandmother lies in shattered pieces on the floor because you tried to stuff too much stuff into too little area. On the other hand, you certainly don’t need to shell out money for a locker big enough to store five Harley motorcycles if all you need to store is a Vespa.

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