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How to Protect Your Belongings in a Storage Unit

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When you place your items in a storage unit, you want to know that they are as protected as they can be from any kind of damage, whether you're planning on keeping them in there for the long term or only for a few weeks while you get settled and moved in to your new home. Storage facilities can be an excellent place for you to keep belongings that you no longer have room for, but still want to hold on to, so there's no reason why they should be treated with any less care than they would be if they were being stored at your house.

That's why it's important that when choosing a storage facility, you choose one that is secure and one that will keep your items protected and out of the elements, away from anything that can permanently damage your precious possessions. When your items are in a storage facility there are a number of different things that you have to protect against, just as you would if you were storing them at your home, and even the most secure and state-of-the-art storage facilities are susceptible to problems every once in a while.

For that reason, it's smart to know all of the dangers that can potentially harm your belongings in a storage unit and what you can do to protect against them and prevent them from ever wreaking havoc on your stuff. This guide will take you through each potential hazard that can occur in a storage facility and the preventative measures that you can take to protect yourself and your belongings from them.

Security against theft

The truth about most self-storage contracts is that they are designed and written to make sure that the facility remains blameless under most circumstances. This makes perfect sense for the storage facilities themselves; with all of the belongings that are stored on their premises at any given time, whether they are valuable or not, being held accountable for all of those items is problematic in the event that anything occurs. But while it may make sense from the facility's perspective, it doesn't help you out too much.

That's why you should always take your own measures to ensure the safety of your belongings, in addition to the measures already being taken by the facility. Unfortunately, theft is one of the biggest problems that storage facilities often face. Fortunately for customers, many storage facilities now have 24/7 security protection and surveillance to guard against theft. However, not all facilities are equipped with such high levels of protection, so you should always ask about what security measures a facility has in place before deciding on a place to store your belongings.

Here are a few more questions you should ask the storage facility about security before making your decision:
  • Has the facility had any recent break-ins or thefts that have been reported?

     

  • What kind of clearance is needed to get past the front gates and gain access to the storage units? Can anyone from the outside gain access to the facility?

     

  • Is there 24-hour video surveillance of the facility? If not, are there security guards present on the facility grounds at all times?

     

  • How do you protect the individual storage units and what kind of locks are used?
Being vigilant and asking questions will help you to determine if the storage facility is safe enough for you to store your belongings and it will give you a good idea of the kind of security that is in place to protect your goods.

Protecting against water damage

Water damage is not something we usually think of when we consider all of the potential hazards that can damage our belongings in a storage facility, but it should be. For many parts of the country, flooding has been a major problem over the past year, with flooding affecting parts of New England during hurricane season, to the New York-New Jersey tri-state area, the mid-Atlantic region, and even much of the Midwest.

The real problem with water damage in storage units is that it doesn't take a lot of water to do a lot of damage. In fact, all it really takes is a little bit of water to cause big problems. Storage facilities that are in low-lying areas that are prone to floods are especially vulnerable, and water damage is the second leading cause of headaches for storage unit renters, behind theft.

Water is especially damaging because of the havoc it can wreak on your belongings. Even a small amount of water in your storage unit can turn your belongings into a soggy mess and potentially ruin them forever. During the summer, when the doors and roofs protecting many storage units expand due to the heat, moisture and water can find their way in through small cracks and damage your belongings.

Despite the problems that can be caused by flooding, most instances of water damage within a storage unit can be blamed on moisture. When moisture finds its way into your storage unit, it can do a lot of damage, especially to wooden furniture and clothing. That's why it's a smart idea to cover all of your belongings in plastic in the storage unit to protect against moisture and water damage. Also, you can place items around the unit that absorb moisture to keep it away from your belongings. This guide explains thoroughly how to prevent moisture in your storage unit.

Guarding against fire damage

Fire damage is another potential threat that storage unit renters face when keeping their belongings at a storage facility. While much less common than theft or water damage, the danger of fire is still a real threat that is only exacerbated by the types of items that are typically stored in most storage units. A lot of what you'll find in your typical storage locker is either made of wood (furniture), cardboard (boxes) or other highly flammable material like clothing. The high abundance of these materials makes it highly likely for a fire to spread quickly if one ever occurs.

Before you decide on a storage facility, make sure to check and see if they have the proper safety measures in place to guard against fires, such as easy access to fire extinguishers throughout the facility and their policies on storing dangerous or flammable chemicals or other combustible materials that can start fires.

Temperature and ventilation

Proper temperature inside the storage unit and adequate ventilation is also a major concern for people looking to store their belongings in a storage facility. Temperatures that are too high can ruin certain items, just as temperatures that are too cold can also cause their share of damage. If you have items that can be easily damaged by extreme temperatures and you live in a climate that often experiences variations between extreme cold and extreme heat, your best option would be to look for a storage facility with climate-controlled storage units.

Another problem that people encounter in storage units is the lack of ventilation that is commonly caused by either an improper ventilation system in the storage facility or caused by packing your storage unit too tightly. Stuffing too many items into your storage unit will eliminate the air pockets in the unit that usually allow air to circulate and keep moisture at a minimum. Without these air pockets, the moisture will begin to build up inside the unit, causing even more problems.

Robert Moreschi  Posted by Robert Moreschi on April 9, 2013

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