1. Pack your unit correctly
How you pack your unit is important to keep your belongings in tip-top condition. There are a couple of things to remember:
- Pack what you use the least, or are least likely to want first, and leave the items you may need or use more regularly at the front, closer to the doors.
- Label your boxes – and not just kitchen stuff, actually write the items you put in them. It will help you to not only find them in your unit, but also to unpack them.
- Do not stack anything against the walls and think about leaving gaps between items to allow air to circulate.
- Make sure if you stack upwards, that the items at the bottom at study and strong enough. Cardboard boxes can soften and lose their strength over time, so something that looks sturdy enough when you pack the unit, may not be in a month or years’ time.
2. Visit your unit regularly
It may seem a waste of time but visiting your unit regularly can help keep your belongings in better condition. If possible, you should visit your unit once a month to open the door, allow the air to circulate and check your belongings. If once a month is not possible or practical, try and go as often as you can.
Visiting your unit does not only allow you to open the doors and air the unit but allows you to check the condition of your unit. While self storage in most cases is a safe, and dry, solution to your storage needs, accidents and incidents can still happen. For example, there may be a very small leak in the roof above your unit after a particularly bad spell of weather and is only affecting your unit. Or possibly, something has leaked through from a neighbouring unit. While these are both rare occurrences, they can happen, and the sooner you know, the less damage is done, and the more items you are able to save.
3. Remember to check your insurance cover
If you add or remove larger items from your unit, do not forget to check your insurance cover is adequate. This in most cases, this is the cost to replace the items not what they are worth. You can have a look at our full insurance advice here: https://www.ssauk.com/customer-info/insurance.html
4. Ensure you keep your details up to date with the storage provider
Part of your contract with the storage provider is to keep your account up to date, but other than being a legal requirement, it just makes sense. If there is a problem with your payments and your account goes into arrears, or if there is a problem at the storage facility, it is important that the storage provider has the most current details to be able to contact you.
It could be as simple as they have maintenance work going on and need access to your unit, or an incident has happened at the storage facility, and they want to check your belongings haven’t been affected.
In the case of arrears, there is a process the store will go through to chase up any bad debt, but ultimately if they go through the process and are unable to get in touch with you, there is a point where they will have to clear the unit, and either sell or dispose of the goods to clear any debt on the unit. No storage provider wants to get to this point, and would rather discuss with you and come to a resolution, but I think you would be surprised just how many customers don’t keep their records up to date and they have no option but to go down this route.
5. Check the list of prohibited items when storing new items
When you are adding items to your storage unit, just have a quick check they are not on the prohibited items list. You will find this list in your contract, or for ease, most storage providers display a copy in reception and around the store. If in doubt, just ask the store staff and they should be able to provide you with a copy.
Some of the items on the prohibited items on the list are obvious, e.g. you cannot store any illegal items; whereas others you would happily store at home, such as paint, cleaning solvents or compressed gases which are a combustible or flammable substance and can also not be stored in your storage unit.
If you are ever in doubt, there is no harm in asking your storage provider to clarify if you can or cannot store an item. Better to be safe than sorry.
6. Follow rules on access codes
Each store is a little different when it comes to access to your unit, so you may want to refer to your store for more information when considering these points:
- If you are given a pin code, be careful not to share it with anyone or only with the necessary people. Also, be vigilant when keying it into the pin pad that nobody is watching you key it in. A pin code is normally individual to each customer, so they can see who has entered their store at any time for security reasons. If you think someone else knows your pin who shouldn’t or you have concerns about, you can ask the store to change it for you.
- Some pin codes will not only allow you access to the building but deactivate alarms within the building too. If you have been asked to, please remember to always key in your pin, even if the shutters are open while staff are on site, as this will deactivate your alarm on the unit. Also remember, your pin may only give you access to certain parts of the store, so try not to wander too far off your normal path as this may trigger an alarm too, and do not open any other doors, even if they don’t have a padlock on.
- If you see any problems or damage, please report it to the staff as soon as you can. It may be a security breach if left.
- Always make sure doors and shutters are shut properly after use, and do not allow others to follow you through any gates or doors.