Self Storage Rental and What You Need to Know

Self Storage Rental- Everything you need to knowYou may be a first-time self storage rental customer and have many questions about how renting a storage unit works.

Your needs may be short-term or long-term.  You could be involved in a move and need to temporarily store your belongings or you could be trying to free up valuable space in your home.

Storage facilities can be a great way to conveniently and cost effectively secure your belongings when you don’t have a spot to store items or just need extra storage.

While there is some commonality between storage rental facilities bear in mind they are independent businesses and rules, costs and sizes can vary from one to another.

What Is A Self Storage Rental?

“Self-storage” is exactly what it implies.

The difference between full-service storage and self-storage is full service will pack, move and store your items for you.

With self-storage you are responsible to pack, move and load your items yourself.  Basically, you are just renting a storage unit, there are no other services provided.

Some Reasons Why You Might Want A Storage Unit

Seasonal Storage

A storage unit can be great for seasonal storage of outdoor equipment, sporting equipment or holiday decorations that have a limited shelf life every year but can tie up a lot of valuable space in your home or apartment.

New Home Not Ready

You may find, as a renter or homebuyer, there is a time-lapse where your new home might not be ready.  Self storage units are the perfect solution to store your entire home temporarily.

Free Up Space In Your Home

There are a bunch of different scenarios where you may want to free up space in your home.  A growing family, time to de-clutter your home, etc…  But, for whatever reason, you may not be ready to part with your belongings.  A storage unit will allow you to free up your space and access important items when needed.

Home Renovations

Often when it comes time to renovate your home, you need to empty the areas the contractors will be working.  The question becomes where do you store your items?

Renting a storage unit would be a perfect solution to temporarily house the contents of rooms in your home until the work is complete.

College or Military Storage

College students may want to temporarily store their items near campus instead of lugging all their belongings home, or a serviceman can store their items while on deployment.

A self-storage rental unit would be perfect for either situation.

Item Specific Rental Units

There are self storage units that are specific to many vehicles…. motorcycles, cars, boats, RVs, etc…  They are either in completely enclosed or just parking spots.  These units can be a great way to store your extra vehicles or recreational vehicles.


A self-storage unit can be perfect for many different business needs.  You can store business records, overflow stock or tools that may seem to clutter up your main facility.

What To Know When Looking For A Self Storage Rental Unit

If you have never rented a self storage unit before, there are certain things you should consider before selecting a self storage facility.  Make sure you call around and compare the different options available to you so you can find the right facility to suit your individual needs.

What Will You Be Storing?

Take a few minutes and gives some thought about what you will be storing. Of course, it doesn’t have to be written in stone, but take a moment and jot down a few thoughts on what you would like to move into a storage unit.

Knowing what you are storing and the value can determine what kind of self storage you need, the level of security and whether you may want to consider insurance on the contents or not.  You could be storing high-value items, important sentimental items, or even household overflow that may have little financial value or sentimental value.  Will you need a climate controlled unit?  Will you need regular access to the items?

How Long Will You Need To Store Your Items?

Knowing how long you need to store your items will help you shop for the best facility and price, along with defining the items you want to store.

There are some people who just need the additional space and they are looking at long-term storage, while others just need storage temporarily.

If you only need storage for a month or two, maybe you can consider an on-site portable storage pod.


Some people just pack their storage units and don’t need regular access to their storage units.  Others may want to get in and out of their storage locker on a regular basis or at least several times a year, to move items in and out.

Our local Cube Smart in Haverhill has extended access from 6am until 10pm daily.  But other facilities may be open 24/7 with complete self-service access with a keypad. Other facilities can have limited hours like 10-4 or in some cases only be accessed by appointment.

Find a facility that provides you access to your storage unit when you need it.

Consider Location

If you will be frequently visiting your storage locker, make sure you rent a storage unit conveniently located to you you.

Units rented in a major city may be more expensive than in suburban locations. But it will be important to find a balance between cost and convenience.  With all things being equal, rent a unit as close to you as possible for ease of access.


In some facilities all the units are accessed from the outside, in others, some or all of the units are housed in a building.

Often most storage facilities are fenced and are the first line of defense in securing the property.  Most facilities have a gate or door or even both that is accessed by a keypad and renters let themselves in and out. There can also be video recorded throughout the day or even a monitored video surveillance system.  Onsite personell for some or all of the day can also increase security.

Compare security from one facility to the next and find a level of security you are comfportable with.

Climate Controlled or Non-Climate Controlled Self Storage

When looking for a self storage rental, you will come across the option of heated and cooled space or not climate-controlled space.  The decision is entirely yours.

If you are storing furniture, antiques, collectibles, clothing or anything of value you will want to consider a climate controlled unit to prevent extreme temperature swings and the possibility of mold.

Any items will benefit from a climate-controlled storage unit, so make sure you compare prices.  You may find climate-controlled unit will cost roughly the same as a non-climate-controlled unit.

Can I Pull Up To My Self Storage Rental Unit?

You will have to rent in a facility that has access to your storage unit accessed from the outside if you want to pull up and park directly in front of your unit to load and unload.  Which is extremely convenient for frequent loading and unloading or extremely heavy items.

Is There Equipment To Move My Items?

If you can’t drive right to your unit, like a multi-level facility with an elevator, make sure they provide adequate equipment to load and unload your items and be able to move them easily to your locker.

Most facilities will have moving carts or other equipment available to move your belongings around, but make sure you ask before renting a unit.

What Can’t I Store In My Unit?

Rules will vary greatly from facility to facility.  Make sure you understand the dos and don’ts of what you can store in your unit as well as what you can and can’t do with your self storage rental.

Here is a short list of what most storage units won’t allow you to store (for what I hope are obvious reasons).  Firearms, food, fur, hazardous materials, living or dead things, money, priceless items, stolen property and tires.

Things You Probably Can’t Do In Your Storage Unit?

What you can do in your rented storage unit falls back to the rules of the storage facility you are renting from.

You can’t live in the unit as well as conduct business, work on cars short of getting it running, use it as a workshop, etc…  Your storage rental is strictly for storing items, that’s it.

Of course, there are exceptions and you may find a facility that will allow you to do certain activities, like hold band practice.  But, for anything outside storage of allowable items, make sure you check with management first.

Will I Need A Lock For My Self Storage Unit?

While your facility will have security measures to keep your items safe you will still need to provide a lock for your storage unit.

A padlock or combination lock will certainly do the trick but consider a disc lock for the best security.

Can I Rent A Storage Unit For A Week?

The minimum self storage rental will most likely be for a month.

Will I Need Insurance For A Self Storage Rental?

The answer is not so straightforward.  Many homeowner insurance policies may cover a certain percentage of the cost of items in storage out of the house.  If you want your items insured and you own a home, consult with your insurance agent first.  You may already be covered.

In addition, the storage facility will offer insurance coverage if you don’t have a homeowners policy or if adequate coverage is not provided by your homeowner’s insurance.

What Size Rental Units Are Available And What Is The Cost?

Self storage unit sizes and self storage rental prices can vary greatly from facility to facility and region to region.  The rental prices here seem to be on the higher side compared to others.

2×5 Climate Controlled, Elevator $39 per month
5×5 Climate Controlled, Elevator $72 per month
10×10 Climate Controlled, Elevator $135 per month
10×15 Climate Controlled, Elevator $222 per month
10×20 Climate Controlled, Elevator $250 per month
10×20 Outside Access $360 per month
8×26 Climate Controlled, Elevator $250 per month
10×30 Climate Controlled, Elevator $353 per month

What is a self storage rental unit

Find Cheap Self Storage Rental Near Me?

Like anyone, you’re going to want to find the best deal you can on a unit.  Google self-storage unit near me and start with the storage facilities closest to you.

Some sites provide prices and you can reserve a rental unit right online.  Other facilities you may have to call to get a price quote.  Start by having a rough idea of what size unit you need.

When doing my research, I found a few things to be true.  Big national companies seemed to be more expensive, but you are probably paying for increased security and better access.

Outside access with no climate control seemed to be cheaper than inside climate-controlled units.  The reason being the facility uses up space for traffic to get around the outside access units that could house more units.

If you don’t need to drive up to your unit, an inside climate-controlled unit will probably be cheaper.

Smaller, cheaper facilities often had more limited access or were only available by appointment only.

Make sure you not only shop for the best price but also for features that are important to you.

Tips For Packing A Self Storage Rental Unit

Now that you have a self storage rental you want to take the time and pack it properly for maximum efficiency.

Use Clear Covered Bins

Cardboard boxes can certainly get the job done. But clear bins are stronger will stack easier and last longer.  Plus you can see inside a clear bin and know what is inside.

Keep Your Bins Uniform

Try to stay with the same tpe and size bin.  Of course you will need several sizes but limit it to 3 or 4.  By utilizing the same bins it makes packing and stacking much easier.

Maintain A Walkway

If you have a deep unit make sure you maintain a walkway to make sure you have access to all your items when you need them.

Map Your Unit

A little extra time while loading the unit will make your life easier down the road.  Keep a map of your unit and where things are stored so you can put your hands on an item in a few short minutes in the future.

Utilize Dead Space

Think about utilizing dead space like drawers in a dresser or cabinets.  Even an empty refrigerator can be utilized to store small boxes to maximize the space in your rental unit.


Self storage facilities can vary greatly in their offerings, security, accessibility and cost.  Call around and find the balance that best fits your storage needs.

Other Real Estate Resources

  • Massachusetts and other states across the country allow agents to practice dual agency. Bill Gassett explains why dual agency may not be in your best interest as a buyer or seller.
  • Starting your home search should always start with a mortgage pre-approval.  Eric Jeannette explains how having a pre-approval helps home buyers in many ways.
  • The real estate market across the country is changing.  And, with that change, we are seeing more and more homes sit on the market unsold.  Vicki Moore shares 6 reasons your house might not sell for reasons other than the house itself.
  • There are many different house styles you will see across the country.  One beloved house design is the bungalow.  Learn what a bungalow style house is and why it is a popular rresale home.

Self Storage Rental and What You Need to Know is provided by Kevin Vitali of EXIT Realty. If you would like to sell or buy a home, give me a call at 978-360-0422 and let’s get the process started.

Real Estate Services in the following areas: Northeast Massachusetts, Merrimack Valley, North Shore and Metrowest. Including the following communities and the surrounding areas- Amesbury, Andover, Billerica, Burlington, Chelmsford, Dracut, Groveland, Haverhill, Lowell, Melrose, Merrimac, Methuen, Middleton, North Andover, North Reading, Reading, Stoneham, Tewksbury, Tyngsborough, Wakefield, Wilmington, Westford