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Storage & Moving Tips

Frequently Asked Questions


What is SpareFoot?

SpareFoot is the world’s largest marketplace for self-storage. We are an online directory that lists real-time pricing and availability at thousands of storage facilities nationwide. Use SpareFoot to quickly and easily search, find, compare and reserve the perfect storage unit in your neighborhood. Learn more here: About SpareFoot.

Does SpareFoot own or operate storage facilities?

No, we currently don’t. But we do work closely with the thousands of storage facilities that list available units on SpareFoot, so it couldn’t be easier to find, compare and reserve self-storage through our site.

Is it really free to book reservations on SpareFoot?

Yes, SpareFoot is completely free for storage customers. You won’t spend a dime until you arrive at the facility to complete your lease agreement and move in.

I’ve never used self-storage. How does it work?

Self-storage is a convenient solution for individuals and families who need extra space to store possessions (from furniture to RVs) during life transitions such as moving, or simply to help offset clutter at home. It’s also ideal for businesses needing to store equipment.

Use SpareFoot to find, compare and reserve the right storage unit for your needs. If you’d like, you can visit the storage facility in advance of your move-in date to check out the unit and its location within the facility. On move-in day, you’ll sign a month-to-month rental lease on the unit and obtain necessary gate codes and other access information. There are generally no long-term contracts, so just pay your monthly bill and you can opt to move out at any time.

Choosing a storage unit

What size storage unit do I need?

It really depends on what you’re storing, so plan your inventory in advance. Stack all the boxes and other items up against a wall at home. Mimic the way you intend to arrange them in the unit, and use a measuring tape to approximate the dimensions of the space you’ve filled. We recommend setting this pile close to the door, since everything will be leaving the room soon anyway.

Note that ceiling heights range from 8 to 12 feet in most units, so you can vertically stack boxes. Units labeled as “lockers” are essentially half-size units with ceiling heights of 4 or 5 feet, ideal if you are only storing a few boxes and bags. Avoid booking a unit that is too large for your needs, or you’ll be needlessly paying higher rent.

Do I need climate control?

You should consider climate-controlled storage if the natural climate in your area is severely hot, cold or humid, or if rapid day-to-day temperature changes may occur. Would you store your items in a garage year-round? If so, you probably don’t need climate control.

Certain stored belongings must stay climate-controlled, regardless of outside conditions. One common example is wine storage, which has its own set of unique storage requirements. Other items include musical instruments and recording equipment, paper documents, computers and electronics, wood and leather furniture, photographs, artwork, fabric and antiques. This is by no means an exhaustive list. If you plan on storing anything fragile, expensive or sensitive to temperature changes, climate control can give you more peace of mind.

Do I need drive-up access?

Drive-up access is a convenient amenity, allowing you to pull your car or truck directly up to the storage unit door. It eliminates the need to carry heavy items long distances as you move in and out of your unit.

Note that climate-controlled units generally won’t offer drive-up access, so you’ll have to choose between these amenities. Drive-up access is essential for vehicle storage, but motorcycles can fit in any unit sized at 5×10 or larger.

Do I need 24-hour access?

It depends on your unique storage needs. 24-hour access provides flexibility and convenience for renters who need to add to or collect from their stored inventory often. You likely don’t need 24-hour access if your storage needs are longer-term. When comparing storage facilities, look at their listed access hours. If you feel concerned about the restrictiveness, choose a 24-hour access facility.

I need to store a vehicle. What should I do?

If you plan to store a car, motorcycle, RV or boat, simply search by zip code on SpareFoot, then click the “Car, RV & Boat Storage” tab on the top left of the page. This will list the vehicle storage options in your area. Note that only compact small cars can fit in a 10×15 drive-up unit, while the standard for most cars is 10×20. Motorcycles can be stored in any unit that is 5×10 or larger.

How can I ensure my storage unit will stay safe and secure?

When comparing storage facilities on SpareFoot, look for facilities with gated access, security cameras and good lighting. Keep in mind that drive-up access units are less secure than enclosed interior units. When choosing a lock, opt for closed-shackle padlocks or disc locks, as these are the most secure. For more tips, check out our blog post on self-storage locks.

Booking a reservation

I booked the wrong storage unit. Can I change my reservation?

Simply give us a call at 1 (877) 689-0711 to update the reservation. We’ll help you find the perfect storage unit and move-in date for your needs.

I need to cancel my reservation. What should I do?

Simply give us a call at 1 (877) 689-0711. We are happy to cancel your reservation and/or work with you to find the perfect storage unit and move-in date for your needs.

I need to reschedule my move-in date. What should I do?

If you need to reschedule your move-in to an earlier or later date, please give us a call at 1 (877) 689-0711. We are happy to update your reservation with a new move-in date.

Preparing for move-in

Are any items forbidden in self-storage?

Yes. Forbidden items include plants, animals and people (dead or alive), perishable food or drink items, hazardous, noxious or flammable materials, illegal drugs, explosives, firearms and other weapons (some facilities allow storage of registered firearms, but you may have to purchase additional insurance).

How should I prepare and pack my items for storage?

Certain items require a bit of preparation before they’re ready to be stored for long periods. Remember to de-frost, clean and dry your mini-fridge (refer to our blog post on storing a refrigerator for more tips). Also clean your microwave to prevent molding. Drain gasoline and/or remove batteries before storing appliances like lawn mowers and electronics.

To prevent damage, use proper packing materials to protect your items during storage. Remove and bubble wrap parts like table and chair legs. Use furniture covers to wrap larger pieces, including tables, couches and sofas. To take advantage of storage unit height, store these vertically on their ends. Stack chairs seat-on-top-of-seat, and wrap mirrors and large paintings in paper pads so they can also stand on their ends. For additional storage space, fill refrigerators, desk drawers and cabinets with smaller items. Use same-sized boxes, so you can stack them with ease. Fill boxes to capacity, because partially full boxes can collapse inward when stacked.

Will I need to buy renters’ insurance?

Some facilities require you to buy insurance, others don’t. You’ll have to contact the facility directly to find out and learn about options.

Do I have to buy my own lock?

Most facilities require you use your own lock, and many sell them in-store for your convenience. When choosing a lock, opt for closed-shackle padlocks or disc locks, as these are the most secure. For more help, check out our blog post on self-storage locks.

Before you buy a lock, contact the facility directly to find out if they’ll provide one for you— some facilities use special cylinder locks that are customized specifically for their unit doors.

How do I secure my “free truck rental?”

Note that most facilities only have one truck available to serve all new customers, so contact the facility directly to reserve the truck in advance for your move-in date and time. Most free truck rentals only allow for about 25 miles of local use, and there is usually a time limit. These trucks are only available for your move in to the facility, not for move-out. Unless specified in a move-in special, gas is not included, so you will have to refill the tank with what you used before returning the truck. You will also likely need to have your own driver (or drive yourself) with proof of insurance.

Can the facility pick up/deliver or help me move in?

In the self-storage world, customers are expected to “do it yourself” when it comes to the physical labor of moving. For professional assistance, contract a mover you trust or ask the storage facility if they can recommend one. In most cases, we suggest bringing a friend or family member along to help distribute the grunt work.

Moving in

When can I start moving in?

Check the facility’s office hours. Visit the facility within these hours on or before move-in day to complete paperwork, sign the lease agreement and gain access to your unit. Then you can start moving in any time during access hours. Access hours are generally extended beyond office hours to include evenings and weekends, while some facilities offer 24-hour access.

Note that most facility offices are closed or have limited hours on holidays, so contact them directly in advance to find out.

Do I need to bring my SpareFoot confirmation page to the facility?

It’s recommended, so you should print it out to bring with you on move-in day if you can. But it’s not required, so don’t worry if you forget or can’t print it. One alternative is to pull up the confirmation email on your smart phone. Either way, the facility will be able to cross-reference and find you by last name.

Why do I have to pay fees at the facility?

Nearly all storage facilities charge small administrative fees that you pay upon move-in. Your reservation confirmation email from SpareFoot should detail fee amounts. For more information, contact your facility directly.

How should I arrange my items in the storage unit?

Before you start moving things in, take a few moments to plan where each item or stack of boxes will go inside the unit. Arrange any items you’ll want frequent access to toward the front of the unit, and leave room for a corridor so you can easily make your way to the back. For proper ventilation, leave some space between stacks and around the edges of your storage unit. Always start your stacks with heavy boxes at the bottom, and add boxes filled with light or fragile items on top. Utilize as much space as you can by placing heavy boxes under desks and lighter boxes on couches or covered wood furniture.

After move-in

How can I share my experience with other customers?

We encourage tenants to leave a review of their facility and share their “storage story” on SpareFoot. After you move in, we’ll send an email with a link that takes you to your facility’s reviews page. Or, you may visit our site any time to find your facility and leave a review. When you leave a review, you’re automatically entered in our monthly drawing for a $250 Amazon gift card. Your feedback helps fellow storage renters in your city make the right decision, so we (and they) really appreciate it!