My Experience as a Storage Outlet Tenant
I have had a storage unit with Storage Outlet since 2007, and through a few different facilities I’ve learned a thing or two. Hopefully you can benefit from my self storage journey!
I got my first storage unit a few years after college. I was moving in with a boyfriend who already had a furnished place. I didn’t want to sell all of my furniture, kitchen stuff, towels etc., because let’s face you, you never know how long a relationship is going to last! I figured that renting a unit for a year or two was better than selling everything and buying all new stuff if things didn’t work out. I also had keepsakes like photos and books I wanted to safely store.
A drive up unit seemed like the luxurious approach. I just pulled up, unloaded my stuff, and I was done. Then fires ravaged Southern California (and somewhat near the Hawaiian Gardens storage facility I rented at) and alas, my drive up storage unit was no longer luxurious. Everything was covered in a thin layer of ash. Lesson learned, interior units are the way to go, and they are actually cheaper. My caveat to this is that if you’re only going to have a storage unit for a short amount of time, it might be worth it have a drive up unit so it’s easy to move in and move out of your storage unit. This is especially true if you’re going to access it often while you are renting. For example, if you own a business and will frequently pick up or drop off supplies or inventory, then a drive up unit might make sense.
My second storage unit was just up the 605 freeway in Bellflower, where Storage Outlet has a containerized storage facility. If you haven’t read my blog about shipping containers as storage units, please do – I am quite the fan of containerized storage facilities. They are as airtight as anything can be. Everything stays super clean and protected.
I’m such a huge fan of containerized storage units that I somehow ended up with three. I do not recommend this. Unless you are using them for business purposes, this is really just a waste of money. I can definitely sell a few things and consolidate to two units. Keeping your unit super organized also helps you need less space. I’ve just been packing things in randomly overtime, and my stuff is definitely taking up more space than it needs to. Having everything in stackable boxes or totes also conserves a lot of space. Shelving units are also a great idea, and help to create a walkway down the center of your unit so you can access everything.
Another tidbit to share is that everyone always told me that I should opt for the cheapest good storage facility I could find, even if it was further away. The logic was that “no one goes to their storage unit.” For me, this could not be further from the truth. I really can’t tell you why I go to my units all the time, but I sure do. At least once every three months on average I would guess, but if it was closer I would go a lot more than that. So consider whether you’ll be a self storage freak like me, or if you’ll be the typical user that hardly ever visits their storage unit. I have moved several times, and find myself downsizing, changing styles of décor, or just swapping out items for a change. I also am a neat freak, so I don’t want any extra clutter lying around – I take everything from holiday décor and old files to camping gear and appliance manuals to my storage units.
If you are an avid self storage user like myself, you’ll want to find a storage facility with good customer service. Sometimes things go really smoothly and you don’t need anything, but sometimes you need the manager’s help and it’s nice to have a helping hand. Or maybe you just want to buy a new lock or moving supplies or boxes. Some facilities have resident managers that actually live on the property, and that also provides an additional level of safety and security that I personally really appreciate.
Finally, if you like the convenience of doing things online, find a self storage company that isn’t stuck in the stone age. It’s nice to be able to rent a storage unit online, manage you billing, gate access code, and so on and so forth. Surprisingly, most storage companies don’t offer these kind of services, so ask upfront if this is important to you. If you want more self storage tips check out my blog Little Known Self Storage Tips!