There are many reasons you may need to rent a storage unit. Whether you’re looking for a place to store a few things while you renovate or a longer-term solution after downsizing your home, there are options for you. 

If it’s your first time renting a storage unit, we’re here to help. We’ve put together some key information to help you find the right one for you.

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The types of storage units

When you begin looking for options for your storage unit, it’s best to start by first determining what type of storage you need. There are two types of storage unit options available:


When you think about a storage unit, this is probably the type you imagine. Self-storage is the most popular option available. This approach gives you a safe, reliable, affordable way to store your things. Self-storage facilities offer units in a variety of sizes accommodating only a few boxes or a car or boat and everything in between.

By renting a self-storage unit, you’ll need to bring your things to the unit yourself or with a moving company. You’ll also have the freedom to access your items when you need them within the business or access hours.

Full-Service Storage

A storage unit with added benefits, full-service storage is something like a valet service. These storage companies will pick up your things and take them to the unit for you. They’ll keep track of inventory for you often through a photo catalog of the items in your unit. They’ll also retrieve your things by request, and have them ready for collection. Many full-service storage units will allow you to schedule pick-ups and drop-offs through a mobile interface.

The right storage unit for you

Most people end up choosing the self-storage option. These units tend to be lower in price, and more accessible. No matter the type of storage company you choose, there are some factors to take into account to choose the right one.

Consider how often you’ll need to access your belongings. If you know you’ll need to access the unit from time to time (or more often), choose one that’s easy to get to. Whether you take public transport or drive yourself, find a place that is accessible without fighting your way through traffic or bus changes. Inquire about the hours that your storage unit will be accessible. Some places have daily business hours, and others are available 24/7. Select the unit that fits your needs.

If you drive a car, the physical accessibility of your storage unit may also be a factor. Some companies are laid out so that units can be accessed from the outside, and items loaded directly from storage to car with ease. Others have indoor access through hallways, meaning there’s more distance to travel when you want to retrieve or drop off something.

Depending on what you’re storing, you may want a storage unit with climate control. Items such as electronics, antiques, and artwork would be better suited for a consistent temperature.

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What size do you need?

Most companies offer a range of sizes for storage units, allowing you to choose the one that’s best suited for what you need to store. Of course, you should start with deciding just how much stuff you need to put in the unit.

Oftentimes you’ll find that after your things are in boxes, they take up less space than you imagined. By collecting your items together and getting them organized, you’ll get a clear view of what you have and how much storage space you’ll need to keep it.

If you’re storing for a longer period of time, it’s a good idea to leave a bit of space for airflow around boxes and furniture. This will help keep your belongings in good shape while also making it easier to navigate and find things when you need them.

Keeping records

When you pack for your storage unit, do yourself a favor and keep records of what’s going in. Not only will this help you keep track of what you have stored away, but you’ll also have a list in case you need it for an insurance claim.

If you have many boxes and things being stored, we also recommend drawing a simple map. The last thing you want is to unpack your whole storage unit to find that old photo album, so do yourself a favor and draw guidelines for the location of things.

Whether you need a storage unit for the short term while you’re in transition, or long term to keep the things you can’t fit in your home, Flatrate has options. With full-service amenities like climate control, photograph inventory, and high levels of security, you can rest assured your belongings are in good hands.