Checklist for Choosing a Self-Storage Facility

If you’re travelling, moving to a smaller place, have commercial goods that need to be stored, or have a need to pack away your things and keep them in storage, you’ll want to choose a self-storage facility that will keep your belongings in a good condition and provide enough security to safeguard them from theft. From shelving systems to security measures, these are the criteria to look out for when choosing a self-storage facility.

Security and Safety Features

Security is obviously a key factor when choosing a self-storage facility. There’s probably nothing worse than getting your valuables stolen or destroyed by fire due to lax security and safety.

  • Make sure your chosen storage facility has individual alarms and video surveillance. Lots of facilities will also have onsite guards.
  • Check that adequate fire alarms and safety procedures are in practice.You might have the option of purchasing insurance to cover loss or property damage.
  • It’s probably a good idea to do a personal inspection of the place to see the security features in person before you confirm your rental contract.


Consider how much access you’ll need. Do you need to get to the facility on a regular basis?

  • How well located is the facility? Is it close enough for you to drive there as often as you need to?
  • If you’re hauling heavy equipment, will you be able to easily access the storage area with your vehicles?
  • Are there time and day limits to when you can access your items? If there are, will this be a problem for your needs?

Climate Control

Is there sufficient climate control in the facility?

  • Exposure to extreme temperatures can damage certain goods like electronics or even packaged foods.
  • Printed documents and books can be damaged if the facility is very damp or not adequately covered from heat exposure.


It’s a good idea to check the facility for cleanliness when you inspect the premises. How clean are the storage cells? Sanitation levels can reflect how well the facility managers maintain the premises for their clients. If they’re indifferent about dirt, how committed to security and safety might they be?


Particularly if you’re storing commercial items, adequate shelving and storage features such as pallet racking may be a major consideration for you. Having strong and secure shelving means your goods are more likely to be kept in optimum condition. Inadequate shelving and storage tools can lead to damaged goods.

Pest Control

All storage facilities should have adequate pest control measures in place. Vermin and termites can eat through even the toughest packaging, leading to unwanted damage and loss. Ask the facility about the kinds of pest control measures that they use.

Contract Terms

Always double check the contract terms and the fine print on your lease contract. Make sure you understand your obligations and the facility’s stated responsibilities:

  • What items are allowed? Some facilities will explicitly forbid certain items. These can include perishable foods, animals, and other potentially damaging items, such as flammable materials or toxic substances.
  • If you’re storing items for other people, always check what’s in the boxes personally. You’ll be signing these items into storage under your name, which means you’re responsible if the contents results in a breach of the contract. Make sure there aren’t any prohibited items in your boxes and follow you chosen storage facility’s tips on packing and storage.

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