Eventually, everyone needs a personal storage unit. People use storage units to organize home renovations, make moving easier, store work materials, or keep items for other people. But are storage units safe?
Personal storage is an extremely useful local resource, but if you’re worried about safety, it’s for a good reason. If you get the creeps walking down those dimly lit warehouse-like hallways or driving down endless garage-door alleys, your instincts are likely correct.
Not all storage units are safe, and it’s tough to tell which facilities have real, functioning security with a responsive staff versus those that are so automated as to be unsafe. Anyone who rents a unit can access the entire facility with their own key code, and cutting storage locks is a well-known method for stealing thousands of personal items that may not be detected for months. The news features a wide variety of crimes that can occur among storage units beyond simple theft. Taking personal security measures is essential even in the safest storage facilities.
So, are storage units safe? The best storage units are as safe as you can secure your personal unit. But how can you make use of personal storage, an essential local service, without putting yourself or your possessions at risk?
Strategies for Keeping Storage Units Safe
There are two safety concerns with any storage unit facility. The first is your personal safety. Always take measures to keep yourself safe when you visit a storage facility. Second, take every measure you can to keep your stored possessions safe. This is your best bet to prevent storage thefts and mischief.
1. Keeping yourself safe in a storage facility
Keep these tips in mind for keeping yourself and your storage units safe:
Visit during the day
Do not visit storage facilities at night if you can help it, especially outdoor garage facilities. Make sure your unit is always in a well-lit area and stay out of deeply shadowed or poorly maintained spaces.
Don’t get lost
Know where your unit is and go directly to it. Getting lost in a storage facility can leave you unable to quickly get out of a dangerous situation.
Keep your phone in your hand
The best way to both coordinate your storage and stay safe is to keep your phone in your pocket or in your hand. This allows you to call management, call for help, or check a map to find your unit.
Always bring a friend
The safest way to go to any personal storage unit is with a friend or a group. This makes it easier to handle furniture. It also reduces the chance of bad things happening to anyone in a confrontation with strangers.
2. Keeping your stuff safe in a storage unit
Consider these ideas for keeping storage units safe:
Chicken wire and deception
The leading strategy to protect storage units is to make your stuff hard to get to or make it look like it’s not valuable. Chicken wire, for example, can form an internal cage that makes your unit too much effort to rob. Shielding or even shabby cover items can sometimes be used to discourage thieves looking for easy high-value grabs.
Find an uncuttable lock
There are these cylinder locks that don’t have an accessible bolt to cut and are therefore harder to break into. There are still ways to break in, but if you find and use one of these padlocks, the chance of theft, at least, is lower.
Place a hidden internal lock
Some people find (or install) an additional securing point inside the door that they can reach through a small gap after unlocking the padlock. Robbers who don’t know about this will be stopped after cutting your lock if the internal lock is made and hidden correctly. Remember, any visible chain or bolt can be cut.
Set up battery-powered internal security
If you want to go all-out securing your storage, you can set up wifi battery-powered internal security. Depending on how much you want to spend, you can get local surveillance, cloud surveillance, alarms, and triggered physical security measures.
Know Your Alternatives to a Storage Unit
If you’re worried that keeping your storage units safe doesn’t seem possible, some common alternatives include:
- Family and friends
- Extended truck rentals
Why do people take the risk of personal storage facilities? It’s often because they don’t have other options. During a move, some people can avoid storage facilities by extending their truck rental by a few extra days. But this margin is small and potentially expensive.
The best alternatives usually involve storing your things temporarily with a family member or friendly neighbor who has some garage space. If this is an option for you, consider the trade-up in safety and the opportunity for friendly traded favors instead of taking on the risks of a storage unit facility.
Of course, if you are far from family or friends with garage space, there are always your Neighbors.
Finding Nearby Residential Storage With Neighbor
Residential garages are rarely hotspots for crime. Homes and open commercial storage spaces are less likely to be targeted for theft than a personal storage unit. The only real problem has been connecting people who have open space with those who need it. That is, until the sharing economy.
Neighbor.com is a communal way to share space when you have it and rent space when you need it. Your neighbors are other locals in nearby neighborhoods. You don’t have to drive downtown or to the outskirts to find your “storage unit,” but your boxes might be stored next to your hosts’ bicycles and holiday ornaments.
In fact, many Neighborly storage locations have the benefit of constant supervision. They’ll call you if there’s a flood warning or help you protect temperature-sensitive items instead of the impersonal oversight of a storage facility. For local temporary and even long-term storage, many people are more comfortable storing with a neighbor instead of handling the risks and hassle of a local storage facility.
Many types of neighborhood storage
There is also the same variety of storage options, if not more. Some properties have sheds or attic space for boxes, garage space for cars, and pavement space for RVs, boats, and vehicles. Community-sourced warehouse space can even hold local business inventory and supply management. Through your neighbors, you can access a more efficient, friendly, and lower-risk variety of storage solutions.
The Security of Neighborhood Storage
In a fair comparison, let’s talk about the security of storing your possessions with a neighbor met through our online community marketplace. Physical hazards like storms and floods are ever-present. But a wave of storage locker burglaries won’t likely target a home. You are very unlikely to run into strangers when visiting your host to access your storage space, and you’re therefore far less likely to be in personal danger, as you deal on a personal level with your host and sometimes also their family.
Their security is your security
Storage facilities lose very little if someone breaks into their units. But a host family, or business, invests personally in property security. Your items are as secure as the home or business itself, and daily life maintains that security. Just like facility storage, you can match your security standards to those of your chosen host.
Neighborhood-sourced storage is also more likely to be managed by one person, family, or team. Your neighbors go through their garage every day. The type of long-term decay that can happen in a storage unit (like moldy furniture) couldn’t develop over months unnoticed. Your host may call you if your storage starts to smell musty or the boxes begin to collapse —before the situation becomes a disaster.
When You Need Neighborhood Storage
Now that you have more insight into the question, “Are storage units safe?” you can find the right fit for you. If you currently need nearby storage, a personal storage locker can be a scary solution. Whether you are moving, redecorating, managing a business, or handling the personal belongings of someone else, a little space in a neighbor’s garage might be the perfect answer. Check out the garages, sheds, spare closets, workshops, warehouse footage, and pavement space of your neighbors to see if there’s a space that fits your needs at a security level you can be comfortable with.
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