A Consumer's Guide
To Self-Storage


Self-service storage is the most economical and convenient way to store your property. When selecting a unit, remember that the rent is determined by the unit's size. Ask the facility manager to help you choose a size which fits your requirements. Remember, a small, efficiently-packed unit will cost less than a larger unit in which the contents are poorly arranged.


For your protection, insist on a written agreement and read it thoroughly. The manager will answer any question which you may have. Make note of the payment date and see if the agreement covers pro-rated rental periods. Find out how and when performance deposits are refunded or forfeited upon termination of the agreement. Remember to notify the facility in writing if you change your address or phone number.


Items placed in self-service storage units are the sole responsibility of their owner.  They are not insured by the facility operator. If your insurance does not cover stored possessions, check with the facility manager or your local insurance agent about acquiring low-cost insurance coverage for your goods.


Since you alone control access to your storage space, there are some items which should never be place in a storage unit. They include: live animals, perishables, liquids, explosives, and all flammable liquids and fuels. Gasoline engines should be drained of fuel before storage.


You control the cost of storing your property in a self-service storage facility. Since the rental price of a unit depends on its size, the way you pack and arrange your mini-storage unit determines its cost.


1. Inspect your storage unit and make a list of the packing accessories which you will need. Commonly used packing aids include such items as newsprint or wrapping paper, bubble-pack, tape, rope, drop cloths, polyurethane sheeting, mattress and furniture covers, pallets, skids, dehumidifiers and cartons. The manager may have some or all of these items for sale on the premises.

2. Place a pallet on the floor. Do not lean items against walls. Leaving air space around the unit's perimeter will aid ventilation. Leave a walkway to the rear of the unit. Use all the space available.

3. Place frequently used items near the door.

4. Fill containers to capacity. Partially full or bulging cartons may tip or collapse. Heavy items such as books or tools should be packed in small boxes. If a carton is too heavy, it will be hard to lift and should be divided between two or more cartons.

5. Fragile items should be cushioned by packing and placed toward the top of the unit.

6. Label cartons and take home a list of the labeled cartons for easy reference when you need to locate your property.


APPLIANCES: A refrigerator or freezer should be thoroughly dry and stored with its door slightly ajar. Some items can be stored inside large appliance. Cartons can be stacked on top of stoves, refrigerators and freezers. Make sure that stove and cooking equipment are cleaned before they are stored.

METAL ITEMS: To retard rust, wipe all metal surfaces with a rag containing a few drops of machine oil.

BOOKS AND DOCUMENTS: Pack books flat to protect their spines. Do not place boxes directly on floor. Use pallets or skids to prevent moisture. Use packing to fill out empty pockets in the cartons. Do not pack fragile items in the same carton with books. Do not overload.

DISHES AND GLASSWARE: Place a layer of packing inside both the bottom and top of cartons containing glassware. Label all cartons containing glasses. All glass items should be individually wrapped. Nest cups and bowls and stand plates, saucers and platters on edge. Wrapped glasses should be placed toward the top of the carton with padding above them. Fill all pockets with newspaper. Do not place heavy items atop boxes containing glassware.

FURNITURE: Place a pallet, cardboard mat or plastic sheet on the floor and stand sofas and mattresses on end. Disassemble beds and tables and wrap table legs in paper. If a table will not disassemble, place padding on the floor and place the table on its top with the legs pointing up. Use dresser tops for stacking cartons and dresser drawers for linens or small, delicate items. Keep upholstery off the floor. Most lightweight chairs should be stacked "seat to seal: or placed upside down on tables which cannot be disassembled. Place a light dust cover over your furniture.

HOLIDAY DECORATIONS: Save the original cartons which contained delicate ornaments and pad the ornaments with packing paper or newsprint. Wrap strings of lights around a piece of cardboard before placing in a carton lined with packing paper.

LAMPS: Wrap large lamp bases in padding. Wrap smaller lamps and place them in cartons. Pack delicate lamp shades or any other goods which may be damaged by ink stains. Do not store heavy items atop cartons containing lamps or lamp shades.

MIRRORS, AND WINDOWS: These items should be stored on edge, not flat.

STEREO & AUDIO EQUIPMENT: Should be stored in a heated, climatized environment that will eliminate dampness in the air that could possibly damage sensitive electronics components. Check with the facility manager for details on temperature and moisture controls.

TOOLS: Metal tools should be cleaned and wiped with a rag containing a few drops of machine oil to retard rust. Long-handled tools such as rakes, shovels and hoes should be clean, lightly oiled and tied in bundles.