What to do? The dreaded letter from the neighborhood HOA informing me the boat/RV presently in my driveway needs to be removed within 72 hours or else. The in-laws can’t accommodate me as usual so my best bet may be to contact a nearby storage facility that caters to larger vehicles. Many offer fully enclosed units with electrical outlets to enable batteries to be trickle-charged. Others may offer outside parking into an assigned parking spot. These are usually less expensive options and some may even offer access to an outside plug as well. Convenience and pricing are often overriding factors in the decision-making process but other factors should be considered as well. Are the aisles wide enough to allow me to safely back my vehicle into my space? What are the access hours and how does this fit my needs? How well-lit is the facility at night and will my family and I feel safe? Is someone riding around after the office closes to keep and eye on things? If I have a question, will someone be in the office to answer the phone or will I have to wait endlessly for a return call? Are security cameras used and are they actually recording? Are the facility reviews reassuring or do they raise additional concerns? Storing property away from home, especially expensive vehicles, should be a stress-free experience. Spending time up front to select the best overall facility will allow you to sleep better at night.
Even though traditional storage has been around for years, PODs seem to be gaining a newfound popularity as a form of storage. But the question we want to ask is – are these new methods of storage such as PODs always better? There are a variety of different points that will help someone determine what is right for themselves. Let’s start off with the pros and cons of a traditional storage:
- No extra fee to access stored items
- Climate-Controlled options available
- Lower cost
- Moving is not as convenient
- Some storage facilities have restricted hours
Traditional storage may seem more time consuming, but when you look at the big picture, the pros outweigh the cons. It is the more cost-efficient option. Just remember that if your items are going to be stored over a period of a couple of months, PODs do not offer climate-controlled units. On the other hand, if you store your items in a traditional storage unit, you at least will have the option of climate-controlled units, which is crucial during extreme weather conditions.
- Convenient access to items stored
- Costly fees to access items if POD is stored offsite
- PODs are an eyesore to your neighbors – HOA and city ordinance hassles
- PODs are not climate-controlled
These are just some items to consider. A lot of people don’t realize that when he or she has a POD stored in a warehouse, the fees can become outrageous. The convenience of a POD in your driveway is nice, but a normal neighborhood HOA tends to not allow this and city ordinances can be a hassle. Before you have a POD delivered, be sure to check with your HOA and your city regulations. In the long run, PODs sound state of the art. In my opinion after researching, however, traditional storage is still the most economical and best way to store your items.
Everybody has their own ideal of what they want out of storage. Let me tell you about my experience. My friend came to me asking about where to store her furniture. Our conversation went on and off a couple of weeks. First of all, the storage facilities that she called her computer automated adding to her frustration. Moving out a big home that her family has lived in for 25 years was a huge undertaking for her. She felt that every storage that she called had an underlying deal – first month free + fees or 2nd month free + another month + insurance. They wanted to make her pay for insurance even though her homeowners already covered all her items. Again, she did not realize what she was doing so I told her I would help to make it easier for her to find a good storage facility with a reasonable price. I started calling around the area she lives in and I spent a whole day calling pricing out these storage places. I found one storage facility that actually had a real person answer the phone. Surprise surprise! She made my journey very easy. No hidden fees, month-to-month contract, and most importantly, 24-hour access. She even gave me a 6-month special. My friend and I drove to this storage facility and rented her units. It was such a simple and painless process. So I guess my point is, not all storage facilities provide great service like this particular one did. My friend will keep her items at this place for a long time!
Almost every storage facility today offers what they call “climate-controlled” units for rent. Many people are often deceived by what they think is climate for storing their items. It’s always a good idea to make sure and check that the facility you plan on storing with offers A/C in the warmer months and also HEAT in the colder months. If this is not the case, a problem can arise especially in states with a lot of humidity near the coast. I have heard many horror stories of people who have stored in so called “climate-controlled” units that were not cared for properly. These people came back months or even years later to find their precious items molded and mildewed. Unfortunately, we all know that in the Texas coastal area, the winter months tend to have high humidity as well. This continuous condensation will also most likely lead to mold and mildew. Here is a general rule of thumb to go by, if you have furniture inside your home, you would most likely want to store your items in climate-controlled unit. If you have items in your garage that you want put in storage just to clear up some space, then non-climate might be just fine for you. If you do choose to with a non-climate unit, here are some helpful tips on reducing moisture
- Use a product such as Damp Rid
- Open bags of regular charcoal throughout unit to absorb moisture
- Do not cover items in plastic (which tends to hold in moisture). If you wish to cover items, a cotton sheet works well
- Spray cloth items with Lysol disinfectant spray (which will help eliminate mold growth) but make sure you always test the area first
Most people who store house-hold items such as leather, electronics, photos, furniture, etc., should be recommended to store in climate-controlled. So just remember that when you store your grandma’s treasured heirloom, make sure it is climate-controlled Texas style.
Let’s answer this question in the most simplistic terms – there is no such thing as a $1 move-in special. I wish life was this easy and cheap, but the harsh reality is, it’s not. When searching online for where to store your items, big storage companies tend to offer a large amount of these types of specials. Therefore, it is easy to fall into the trap of price deception. It has happened to a number of us, including myself and I would like to share my experience with you. A few months ago, I was looking into storage facilities online so that my daughter would be able to store her things from her college dorm room. I looked on a variety of websites and found some really good deals. So I went to this particular storage facility down the road from me that was offering $1 move-in specials. It was a really nice facility – brand new, clean, and it felt secure. All the things you could want. That seemed like an AWESOME deal for just $1. However, when I was talking to the front office manager when signing my lease, she told me that my total for the day would be $41. This amount wouldn’t even include the next month’s rent which I was required to pay at move-in. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. $41???? That seemed like A LOT more than the $1 I was promised online. I couldn’t even follow thru with the lease. After getting home, I looked back on the website and in the tiny fine print it said – administration fees, insurance fees, and deposits not included.*** Also, when I looked further into the company’s reviews, some of them entailed that the company raised their rates continuously year after year. I discovered that the $1 move-in offering was just to nudge you in the door before the storage company squeezed every penny out of you. By this experience, I learned that it is so crucial that you do your research on storage facilities before making your move. Look at the prices very closely and make sure that the company won’t raise your rate often and that they don’t charge you for extra unnecessary fees. Don’t be deceived by the $1 move-in special – it sounds cheap, but in the long run, it’s very expensive.