Tips for a Successful Self Storage Experience

Published on 9/8/2022

Why Worry About Storage Tips

Many people rent storage and have high expectations. That is, they expect their property to be safe and secure from the elements, thieves, rodents, and the environment. The problem is, while most storage facilities attempt to meet all those requirements, nothing is fool proof. Therefore, taking a few extra steps to protect your valuables is generally worth it.


Depending on what you're storing, one of the most damaging threats to your valuables is the environment. Specifically, we're talking about humidity and temperature fluctuations. Most products, especially wood products, generally do not appreciate fluctuations in temperature and humidity. Here's an article we frequently reference on this subject:

So what can you do? Generally speaking the best way to protect against this is either climate controlled or temperature controlled storage. These facilities typically charge a little higher rent, but in return they keep your belongings within a certain range of temperature and humidity. To advertise as climate controlled, the facility operator should be controlling both temperature and humidity. If this is important to you, however, it might be a good idea to ask the provider if they do in fact control both, and what temperature and humidity range they control to. Most operators do not keep temperatures to a nice 72 degrees, because while our bodies appreciate that temperature, your belongings typically can handle a wider range of temperature. Frequently, storage operators keep the temperature between 50F and 85F, although this can vary from facility to facility. Wildcat Storage Center offers Temperature Controlled storage. So we do not specifically control for humidity. That said, controlling temperature simultaneously provides some humidity control. For example, an air conditioner dehumidifies the air while it works. Furthermore, warm air can hold more moisture than cool air, so keeping the space from getting very cold also can help avoid the air getting too dry.


The other elements you should consider are snow and rain. Despite your operator's best efforts, it is possible to get a roof leak and have water come into your unit from above. Alternatively, snow can blow in through the eves on some building designs. As such, we strongly recommend loosely covering all of your personal belongings with plastic sheeting. This will help protect them in the event of a minor roof leak or snow ingress. Do not wrap items tightly, or you'll be trapping any moisture that gets inside of the wrapping on the inside.  You might be thinking well I don't worry about that when I store items in my basement or garage. We get it, it isn't that your storage facility is more likely to get a roof leak, the problem is that you're less likely to know that there is a roof leak. Because people generally go in their house and garage on a frequent basis, if water does come in, you generally know about it and can take steps to stop the leak and dry off the belongings. In a storage facility, however, it is possible for a leak to go undetected for weeks, months, or even years if nobody is frequently accessing the unit.

Besides water coming from above, you should also be concerned about water from below. If a unit next to yours takes water, it may seep into your unit and get soaked up by your mattresses, boxes, wood furniture and other belongings. It is so simply to avoid this concern, however, by simply getting some pallets or 2x4 scraps to put under your items when you put them in storage. This way your items are up off the ground and out of harms way. We've even heard of someone storing driveway salt in their unit, it spilling over, and causing condensation to pool on the floor. This affected not only their unit, but adjacent units... so better safe than sorry.

Water is a threat for multiple reasons, including swelling and staining of certain materials, but one of the main concerns is mold. We've known people who stored many items for over two years, only to find their items covered in black mold when they finally purchased a house and went to move out the items. This wasn't at Wildcat, but it could happen anywhere, so we strongly suggest protecting your items from water... especially since it is so easy and affordable to do.


It is an unfortunate truth that thieves seem to be fairly attracted to storage facilities. One reason is because they are unlikely to come in contact with a person while committing the act. Unlikely sneaking into your home, where you may be watching TV or sleeping, if there's no activity at the storage facility, a thief is likely to think it is a safe target.

So what can you do? Firstly, choose a facility with security. Ideally the facility has lights, cameras, and a gate... perhaps even occasional patrols. Second, protect your items with a high quality disc lock. These locks are more difficult to defeat, and so the thief is more likely to move on. Again, no level of security is perfect, but the goal is to make it more trouble than it is worth to the potential thief. In our experience, indoor storage, such as climate controlled storage, also tends to be a little safer.


The last thing you want when you go to retrieve items from your storage unit is to find they've been damaged by mice or rats. Some facilities, including Wildcat Storage, use poison to help control rodent problems. There's more you can do, however. We recommend putting your own bait station or traps inside your unit as a secondary mode of defense. You'll also generally find that storage facilities with paved lots may be less likely to have rodent issues because they don't have the cover of weeds poking up through the rocks to help them feel safe.


One thing you likely forgot when thinking about safely storing your items is your own forgetfulness. Always make sure to keep your storage provider updated on any changes in address, email address, or phone number. If your credit card expires or you change checking accounts, your automatic payment method may no longer work for keeping up on you rent payments. The facility operator will likely use ever means available to them to keep you active on your payments... that includes sending snail mail letters, emails, and texts... they might even call you. If you've failed to keep this information up to date, and they have no way to contact you, they're forced to sell your unit off to cover the unpaid rent and make the unit available for a paying customer. No storage operator wants to do this, so help them out by ensuring ALL of your contact information is always up to date. They may even allow an emergency contact as a backup in case they can't get ahold of you through any other means.

Renting at Wildcat

We would love to earn your business at Wildcat Storage Center, so please contact us at any time to further discuss how to keep your items safe. We work hard to keep your items safe, but always appreciate when you can help out inside the unit with a few easy (and affordable) steps of your own. Do you have other ideas on how folks can keep their items safe? We'd love to hear those too: