Self storage — how to choose the right storage at the right price

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You know the feeling… you open your under stairs cupboard and can’t get it closed again or your garage is full of rubbish leaving no room for your car. Maybe it’s time to rent some extra space. But what could it cost?

What to look for
There are two main options – using a self-storage company or a ‘sharing economy’ platform where you store goods at someone’s home.

Using a self-storage company

If you live in a rural area, your choice of self storage may be limited. But if you have the choice of several different providers, you should check:

1. How you can reserve your unit. Some self storage companies will let you reserve online while others only take bookings over the phone.

2. Whether or not you’re offered a self contained unit. If you’re not offered a self contained unit, it’s not ‘self storage’ but warehouse storage.

3. How much you’ll pay. The price will depend on the size of the unit, whereabouts it is (London is, not surprisingly, the most expensive area) and how flexible access is.

4. Whether the company will match the price of rivals. Some self storage companies offer a price match guarantee where they will either match or better the price of another company.

SAVVY TIP: The conditions on these price match offers may be quite restrictive (the price match may only apply for a limited period of time and only to storage facilities within a radius of a few miles).

5. The level of security on offer. Ask if there is CCTV (and how long footage is kept for), whether there are alarms and the extent to which access via a communal gate is monitored or limited.

SAVVY TIP: Check out what type of padlock works best with the storage unit you’re hiring and see if it’s cheaper to buy elsewhere or via the storage company.

6. When you can access your possessions. Some self storage companies will give you 24 hour access while others won’t.

SAVVY TIP: If you find you need to get at something unexpectedly, having to wait until 9am on a Monday morning may not suit you!

7. What insurance you need. If a self storage company is a member of the UK Self Storage Association you may be offered insurance as part of the contract. This means you may have to give the storage company information about their value. Several of the big self storage companies sell insurance via their websites, but you can buy standalone policies from suppliers such as Insurastore.

SAVVY TIP: Most household insurance policies will only cover you for up to seven days’ storage when you’re moving house (some only insure for as few as three days), but a number of insurers will look at extending insurance on a case by case basis.

8. How flexible the terms and conditions are. You should be able to store your items for a few days, a week, a month or far longer. If you don’t know how long you’ll need self storage for, find out whether there are any penalties for changing the length of time you store your items for (or the size of unit you rent) or how much extra you’ll have to pay if you want flexibility.

9. Whether you can get extras at a discount. You may be able to get a discount if you buy cardboard boxes or rent a van to move your possessions.

Using sharing economy self storage providers

There are an increasing number of companies that let you store your possessions at the home of someone who has more space than they need. The advantage is that they can be up to 50% cheaper than commercial self storage companies. The disadvantage is that, in the early days at least, there may not be anyone who has space to spare in your area. Personally, I’d rather use a professional company to store my possessions but maybe I’ve not got into the spirit of the sharing economy!

Sharing economy self storage websites to check out include:

Storemates

Stashbee

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A guide to buying a property in the country

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