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How to Search and Compare Self Storage Facilities Online

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The search for the perfect storage facility can be intimidating initially.  There seem to be a number of factors, like location, price, cleanliness, size of the units, etc.  The internet will be your friend.  Whether you have time to sit at a computer, or just browse through some options on your smartphone during a lunch break, weighing your options doesn't have to be a challenge.  User review websites will be of great help.

Let me start off by saying I am not a huge fan of user review websites.  After working in the restaurant industry for a number of years, I found many of the reviews to be harsh and unwarranted, sometimes people would be complaining about a completely different restaurant than the one they thought they were leaving a bad review on.  I think sites like that can be useful if you're in a new area looking for a place to lodge, somewhere to eat, or even do your laundry, but I try not to read too much into the reviews, especially the negative ones, as they are often not representative of the establishment as a whole.

That being said, I feel stuck in this catch-22 situation: I may not agree with how simple it is for people to ruin a five-star establishment's reputation, but the number of people who have used these sites to the benefit of a good quality, hard-working business is promising.  I personally used user review websites to find the perfect storage facility.  It's now such a commonplace, go-to source for finding literally any establishment. 

I'm going to guess that the majority, if not all, who read this will have access to these user review sites at their fingertips on their smartphones.  The map function on smartphones even includes star ratings and user reviews for businesses in the area; by simply using your smartphone's GPS to find your way around, it automatically shows you some feedback about the establishment, so really, there's no way around using those sites.  They are now ever present. 

Neither my boyfriend nor I had ever rented a storage unit prior to this.  We really had no idea what to even look for.  The search for a good facility actually began in online forums; we had to first figure out what even to look out for when choosing a good facility.  With a bit of effort (as in sitting on the couch with the laptop), we soon figured out what we wanted in our storage unit.  In our search of the perfect home for our belongings, we prioritized security, size, and affordability. 

I believe security should be number one.  We looked for facilities with rock solid security measures- such as access codes to entry as well as a good reputation free of any theft reports.  A bonus was a low cost monthly insurance premium, included in the monthly rent, guaranteeing the monetary value of our items and considerable extra compensation if anything were to happen.  Upon first talking with the managers at the facility, they too stressed the importance of security.  This brought me a great deal of peace of mind as I was sure we had chosen the right place, one that prioritized security over all else.

Our next topic of concern was size.  Initially, we were planning on storing not only the belongings of the two of us, but some larger furniture items of our housemates' as well.  We needed a unit that would be spacious enough for approximately three individuals' items.  There were some last-minute changes of plan, and we ended up not needing as big of a unit.  We were able to transfer our items to a much smaller sized unit (the transition was as smooth as one could hope for, with the facility managers being incredibly accommodating and considerate).   

The third factor we considered in our search for the perfect storage facility was price.  Our plan was to be on the road for about four months, then return to San Diego.  Not an incredibly long time away from home.  So we definitely needed something with an affordable month-to-month plan as opposed to a year or a six-month lease.  We were also going to have to adjust living on a much slimmer income.  We are both fortunate enough to have found stable income from our laptops, but it would be noticeably less than working our normal 40-hour work weeks. 

Location was an additional factor which we pondered.  Living in a populated city, we were surrounded with storage facility options.  The location wasn't too high on the priority list for either of us.  We didn't need the facility to be in our backyard, but we also didn' want to have to drive for an hour to get there. 

The search began with user review websites.  Considering all these factors we had to weigh, it really didn't take more than an afternoon and a brief phone call to settle on the perfect self storage facility we now use.

Today's blog post is a guest post by Michelle. Michelle is a self-storage enthusiast and freelance writer who enjoys traveling the world. An expert at getting the most out of the self-storage experience, please check back regularly for more about Michelle’s adventure and how self-storage helped her dream of travel come true.

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