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Made a storage space reservation at Life Storage? Great - let's find it for you!

Answers to some of the most common questions about renting self storage — and others you may have been afraid to ask.

You’ve decided to rent a storage unit. Good news! There are currently over 2 billion square feet of storage in the United States. Your chances of finding a reliable facility close to home are pretty solid.

If this is the first time you’ve considered self storage, you probably have several questions. Here are some of the most common inquiries – and if you don’t find the answer below, please feel free to reach out to us in the Comments section.

Cheat Sheet: The Answers to 10 Important Storage Questions

1. When I call my self-storage center, will I talk to the on-site manager or someone in another time zone?

Dealing with someone who cannot offer direct help when you have an immediate issue is frustrating. When vetting storage providers, be sure to ask how you can reach a local manager when you have site-specific questions.

Current Life Storage customers can speak with store managers during regular business hours. Our telephone system identifies customer phone numbers and automatically reroutes the caller directly to the store.  However, for emergencies when our storage offices are closed, our Customer Care Center is open 24 hours to answer calls and assist customers.

2. I’m busy! Is the facility accessible seven days a week, 24 hours a day?

If you want the freedom to come and go from your self storage facility as you please, you need to ask — the answer will vary at different outlets.

Life Storage facilities are open for access 365 days a year. Most facilities offer access from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m, but some do allow 24/7 access. For a full list of Life Storage locations, check our online map.

3. I’d like to know what other people think. Where can I read customer reviews?

Taking the time to research self storage options makes sense. Pay a visit to consumer-focused sites like Angie’s List (a subscription is needed to access reviews), a hub for reviews like Yelp, a public watchdog like Consumer Affairs and others before committing to a storage provider.

For what it’s worth, out of over 100,000 responses, Life Storage learned that 9 out of 10 customers would recommend us to friends and family. “Everything was explained thoroughly, and service was quick and accurate. Service was also polite, professional, and courteous,” writes Jasmine from Buffalo, NY. Thanks, Jasmine!

4. I have some valuable stuff. How secure are the storage units?

Last year, a study of thousands of customer reviews concluded that renters believe U.S. storage facilities are very secure. We agree, and Life Storage maintains several systems to help keep our customers and their belongings safe.

Life Storage facilities have heavy perimeter fencing, bright facility lighting, and offer surveillance monitoring at most locations. Storage customers receive a personalized access code for the keypads that open the gates and interior buildings. For visibility and safety, each hall and isle is brightly lit. The renter owns their lock — only they have keys to unlock and access the storage unit

“We check the property daily and use the best locks for our storage units,” says Don Favreau, area manager for Arizona and Colorado. “We take pride in the security at all of our locations, so our customer’s don’t have to worry about this.”

5. Do on-site managers know who is on the premises at each facility at all times?

Check with the staff at a prospective storage facility to make sure they are aware of who is on the property at all times. All Life Storage facilities, for instance, have cameras pointing towards the pedestrian gate. When customers enter their access code, the entry is recorded so our team always knows who is accessing the grounds.

6. How do you prevent pest problems?

Life Storage facilities are routinely treated by professional, third-party pest control companies. These services help keep outside pests from entering our facilities.

We also have to do our best to be sure customers don’t bring pests in with the items they store.  Customers may not store food of any form – it doesn’t matter if it is canned or otherwise packaged or sealed.  Also, living organisms may not be kept in a storage unit. Violation of these terms in our rental agreement are grounds termination of the rental.

Containers can sometimes be an issue with pests. People sometimes use boxes from supermarkets or convenience stores to pack their goods – a terrible idea, since these boxes may attract insects and other tiny pests because of the scent of food.

A storage unit should have a thick rubber lining around the bottom and tight sealing around the sides. If a storage unit looks like it would fail the “wiggle” test – meaning a tiny space could be wiggled between the ground and the door – keep looking. Once a space is vacated at Life Storage, the door seal will be inspected to be sure it is functioning properly.

7. Am I obligated to rent a storage unit for a specific length of time?

Rental agreements are typically on a month-to-month basis, often with no long-term commitment or minimum stay. Always read your contract carefully. Life Storage provides monthly storage agreements, as well as several discounts and special deals.

8. How much does storage cost?

Price will depend on size of the storage space, location and availability, so there’s no blanket answer. Call to speak with a representative to learn exactly how much you’d be paying for your ideal storage unit.

Storage facilities often run specials, so don’t miss out. Life Storage, for example, offers free truck rentals with each storage rental.

9. Do I need insurance? Does Life Storage offer insurance?

Insurance may not be a requirement everywhere, but it’s certainly recommended. If you don’t carry your own insurance on your homeowner’s or rental policy, storage providers often provide their own forms of insurance.

“Typically, standard homeowners and renters insurance policies do include off-premises property protection for theft and damage from fires and other disasters,” Loretta Worters, vice president of the Insurance Information Institute, told Jay McDonald in an interview for “But to what extent the coverage applies to a storage facility really depends on the insurance company.”

Life Storage requires all customers to provide proof of insurance. We also offer inexpensive coverage through a third party provider. The payment will be taken out each month with your rental payment.

10. How do I know how much space I need?

Storage typically comes in these standard sizes:

  • 5’ x 5’ (25 sq ft.)
  • 5’ x 10’ (50 sq ft.)
  • 10’ x 10’ (100 sq ft.)
  • 10’ x 15’ (150 sq ft.)
  • 10’ x 20’ (200 sq ft.)
  • 10’ x 30’ (300 sq. ft).

“We offer tons of sizes and environments,” Favreau says. “The beauty of variation is that you can get exactly what you need. Make sure you’re not getting ripped off by companies trying to sell you space you don’t need.”

Life Storage also offers a handy space estimator, so you can play around with different storage unit sizes and see what will work best.

Questions about Storage Rentals and Storage Units

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  • Deanna R. Jones

    I’m glad that you brought up how to prevent pest problems when you want to rent a storage unit. I’ve been wondering that same question myself. I have a bunch of collectibles and vintage clothes that I would like to keep in storage for at least a year until I can sell it all off. One of the main things that I’m worried about is having a bunch of moths eat up my clothes. I find your statement about how boxes that are bought from supermarkets can attract pests. I’ll be sure that the storage unit that I rent has a thick rubber lining around the bottom and tight sealing around the sides to make sure that it will keep all pests away from my things.

    • Ruth jane moore

      Don’t use Red Dot storage. They are horroble. From non existing site managers to security to customer service. Worst expierience ever. I was stuck with them because the company we started with sold to them. I was 5 days late with payment , so they put a overlock on my unit till I paid. No problem I paid.up to current plus a month. Well little did I know that because i paid on friday they were not taking the lock of till wednesday evening. Not allowing me access to ubit for 5 days. Customer service said well they had to wait for their money that i would have to wait till they got around to it. Is that even legal? Horrible company. Place has junk laying all over, gates are never closed, no security.

  • James Defranco

    Considering the amount of space you can save, I think cost shouldn’t really be an issue. I don’t pay too much on my storage unit a month and I’ve saved so much space in the process. It’s cool too because if you decided to move somewhere bigger you have all these extra items.

  • Casey Jones

    Thanks Kristin for the advice on renting a storage unit. I like that you mentioned asking if you need to buy insurance. I’ve heard that some units offer a certain amount of coverage and others leave it up to you.

  • Jonathan Pound

    Growing up in Oregon, pest problems were a pretty big concern. The biggest cause was the fact that it rained so much. I’ll be sure to make sure that there is a tight seal between the ground and storage units in the future!

  • Jen Pack

    My husband and I are downsizing our home for a few years and we want to keep a lot of our things in a storage unit. I have had a lot of these questions so I really appreciate this information, especially the ones about the safety of my property. I like how you point out that I can check with local locksmiths to find out their security procedures as well as the materials they use to protect my things from the weather. I will be sure to keep all these things in mind!

  • Jeff Curtis

    Thanks for this helpful post on self storage units. I think you really answered all of my main questions with this great post. I like what you said about how a good facility should be open for me to access my things at any time of the day. I also like what you put about valuable stuff and the security of the facility. I hopefully can find a great self storage facility for my things. Thanks!

  • AJ.

    I wouldn’t recommend your Torrance location. Our whole business was stolen along with our trailer. Sistine just in and sawed off the locks and drove everything away. How’s that for security?!

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