Self storage facilities are an industry which rent storage space, called “units,” to clients, usually on a temporary basis, usually for a month or less. The units are normally rented for short periods of time, such as one week. Self storage tenants include individuals and businesses. The term “self storage” can be used to refer to both renting space to keep items they may not use permanently, as well as renting space to store belongings that individuals plan to use permanently. Other uses for self storage include storing hazardous materials, and moving home or office belongings.
In most cases, renters of storage units return their belongings safely to the storage facility. However, sometimes renters do not return their belongings because they do not have access to keys, access cards or other means of entering the storage unit. Other times, belongings are stolen or damaged during the move. In this case, the consumer’s insurance will typically pay for replacement of the stolen or damaged belongings. Many storage facilities offer a free or heavily discounted moving service to renters. Moving services can include packing and loading and unloading and unpacking the old belongings at the new location.
Climate control is another feature commonly found in storage units. Some climate control features regulate the temperature and humidity of the unit, so that stored items are at a comfortable temperature or level. Others are more advanced and monitor temperatures and humidity levels, to ensure that stored items are kept at the right temperature or level. Some climate control units also have emergency shut-down systems, in the event that the power goes out, or the area is flooded.
One additional feature of some storage units is a burglar and fire alarm systems. These are used to protect the contents of the unit from burglary and fires. Many homeowners store important, long-term memories and files in these units, which would be damaged or destroyed in a fire. Other features available in many storage units are fire extinguishers, and security lighting systems. Many have outside viewing windows, where renters can watch the contents of their storage unit. This additional security feature can help to discourage a thief who is looking for a quick score in a fire.
Many storage facilities offer rental software programs to help renters track and organize their belongings. These programs allow the user to create a virtual file cabinet or wardrobe and assign individual folders to each item. This allows for easier sorting and finding of items and gives them a better chance of not missing anything. Some programs include photo albums and video clips of the items in the unit. Using these programs, the renter can view photos, videos, and copies of documents when needed, rather than having to physically locate them.