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If only your parents would eternally house all of your high school trophies and dance pictures. But if you find you have a few extra things, especially during a move, a storage unit with your new apartment checklist is a close runner-up. Whether you’re a seasoned storage customer, or new to the process, check out our tips below to guarantee your best experience.


You have one for your gym, your apartment and your phone. The last thing you may want is yet another contract for a storage unit. No need to fear, most storage facilities allow for month-to-month contracts. Be sure to ask before you move-in.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Versailles or a city flat? Yes, storage units vary almost as much as the homes in which we live. You may go small and pack every square inch, but it’s going to be frustrating finding things. On the flip side, you may want each box to have it’s own breathing space, but you’ll pay for it. Check out Extra Space Storage’s Size Guide Calculator. The Site Manager can also help you.

Elevators or Bathrooms?

We all have our priorities. Drive-up units may be the most accessible, but you may prefer an indoor storage unit on the ground floor, or a storage unit located close to the elevator. To be sure you’ll like your location, visit your storage unit in person before you sign a rental agreement.

Fire and Ice

Okay, so maybe ‘fire’ and ‘ice’ are a little extreme. But if you’re storing sensitive items like electronics, antiques or wine, consider getting a storage unit with climate control.


Scary thought, right? Don’t let it happen to you. Ask about the height and width of the doors leading into your storage unit. While most drive-up storage units have large, roll-up doors like a garage, smaller storage units have smaller openings. If you’re storing any large items, make sure they’ll fit.

Easy Access

You may only need to get to your snowboard once a year. But, that collection of oversized stuffed animals you won at the fair, now those may require a little more love and attention. Be aware that office hours and gate hours differ.

Office hours:
This is when the office is staffed.
Gate hours:
This is when you are able to access your storage unit; these are typically from 6 am to 10 pm. Contact the facility manager about 24-hour access.


Real estate agents got it right with this rule. You should think about it when buying a home, and you should think about it when getting storage. Getting a discount for an out-of-the-way location is tempting, but consider how often you’ll need to access your belongings. A long drive may not be worth the money you save.


And, we’re not talking blondes or brunettes. Ready for some earth-shattering information? There are three types of storage units. One more thing to consider when looking.

Drive-up units: These are located on the ground floor with roll-up doors for easy unloading and loading and quick access with no need to walk through interior hallways. Learn More.
Indoor units: These provide a house-like setting, and can be more resistant to dust, humidity and pests. Many are climate-controlled for sensitive items. Learn More.
Outdoor units: These can be covered or open, and are great for storing vehicles, boats, trailers, motorcycles and RVs. Learn More.


Ever packed your trunk for a road trip and you just can’t seem to make it all fit? Be smart about how you use your space. Disassemble large items like tables and beds; stack chairs seat-to-seat; store long items vertically when possible; pack similarly-sized boxes for easy, safe stacking; set boxes atop dressers; and consider using shelving.


You wouldn’t leave your iPad and your big screen out on your front lawn at night; obviously. Choose a storage facility that takes your security seriously. Some safety measures to look for:

  • Electronic gates with individualized entry codes
  • Security cameras
  • Perimeter fencing
  • Good lighting
  • Individually alarmed units
  • On-site managers


Some items, like gasoline, aren’t allowed inside storage units (can’t imagine why?). Avoid surprises by asking for a list of prohibited items.


Chances are a wildfire won’t reach your storage unit, nestled in the center of the city. But, some things really are out of our control. And, it’s your responsibility to make sure your belongings are covered. Ask your insurance agent if storage is covered and if not, your storage facility will have a plan for you.

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Extra Space Storage Inc., headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, owns and/or operates over 1,600 self-storage properties in 35 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. The Company's properties comprise approximately 750,000 units and over 80 million square feet of rentable storage space, offering customers a wide selection of affordable and conveniently located and secure storage solutions across the country, including personal storage, boat storage, RV storage and business storage. We are committed to being the most convenient, secure and professional storage solution in your neighborhood. And it is this commitment which has allowed Extra Space Storage to become the second largest storage units operator in the U.S. with over 1,600 properties across the country.