How Does Self-Storage Work? [A 2024 Beginner’s Guide]


If you have a house full of clutter or a business overflowing with inventory, and your space is too small to hold everything you own, you definitely need a place to stash your extra stuff, but where?

Self-storage units are the perfect solution when running out of room. So, how does self-storage work?

This beginner’s guide will walk you through everything you need to know about renting a storage space in this digital age. We’ll cover choosing the right size unit, what to expect from a typical self-storage facility, how much it costs, tips for loading your stuff, and answers to frequently asked questions.

Whether you need short-term self-storage or a long-term home for your personal possessions, read on to learn the basics of self-storage and how to make it work for you.

What Is a Self-Storage and How Does It Work?

Self-storage is a service that enables people and businesses to rent convenient and safe storage units for keeping their items and/or goods. In other words, when you need extra space for your belongings, self-storage facilities offer storage units for rent. You can choose from a variety of unit sizes to suit your needs.

Once you pick out a unit, you’ll sign a month-to-month rental agreement, get your lock for the door, and start moving your things in. Many storage facilities don’t require a long-term lease so you’re free to vacate your unit whenever needed.

guy looking at storage item for self storage

Accessing Your Unit

To get into your storage unit, you’ll need to provide an ID to verify you’re the renter. The facility staff will unlock the main gate to the property. Then, you can unlock your unit with the lock you were provided with.

Many facilities offer 24-hour access so you can visit your belongings whenever needed. Some also have on-site staff during office hours in case you need help accessing your unit.

Paying for Your Unit

Most self-storage facilities charge a monthly rental fee, which varies depending on the size of your unit. The initial rental agreement is usually month-to-month so that you can vacate your unit easily when the need arises. Late fees may apply if you fail to pay rent on time. Some facilities offer additional services for a fee, like truck rentals, packing supplies, and professional moving assistance.

In summary, self-storage facilities offer a simple solution when you need extra space. They allow you to choose a unit, access your belongings when needed, and pay an affordable monthly rate. At Honey Store It we provide self-storage unit options in Yonkers, NY — we have several self-storage unit sizes that you can book today!

Self-storage is not just a convenient way to stash your extra belongings; it offers more advantages, especially for units with modern features. Continue reading to learn more about why students, military personnel, businesses, and frequent travellers choose to rent a storage unit.

Why Do People Use Self-Storage?

  1. Extra Space at Home: If your attic or garage is overflowing with items you can’t quite part with yet, a self-storage unit is the perfect solution. You get to keep your stuff, just in a secure location offsite. Many people prefer renting a storage unit when downsizing to a smaller home or during times of transition like relocation or renovation.
  2. Safekeeping Valuables: Self-storage facilities provide a safe environment for storing valuable or irreplaceable items like antiques, art, vintage furniture, documents, or electronics. With security features like coded gate access, video monitoring, and individually locked units, you’ll have peace of mind knowing your belongings are well-protected.
  3. Vehicle Storage: For those living in apartments or condos without parking, self-storage is a convenient place to keep a recreational vehicle, boat, or classic car. Drive-up, covered units allow easy access to your vehicles and protect them from the elements. Some or most storage facilities even offer additional services like battery charging to ensure your vehicle is ready to go whenever you need it.
  4. Business Needs: Self-storage isn’t just for personal use; many small businesses rent storage units to house supplies, equipment, files, or excess inventory. The flexible lease terms and unit sizes offered by most self-storage companies are ideal for businesses with fluctuating storage needs. For startups operating on tight budgets, the affordability of self-storage can be an attractive solution.
multiple self storage in yonkers

Types of Storage Units

  1. Climate-Controlled Units: These units maintain a consistent temperature and humidity level, protecting items from extreme weather, mold, and mildew. They’re ideal for storing delicate items such as electronics, antiques, and musical instruments.
  2. Drive-Up Units: These ground-level units allow you to drive your vehicle right up to the door for easy loading and unloading. They typically feature a roll-up metal door for easy access and allow for convenient storage of large, heavy items or frequent access to your belongings.
  3. Indoor Units: Located inside a building, these units offer added protection from the elements and typically have better security. They can vary in size and are often climate-controlled, making them suitable for storing a wide range of items.
  4. Outdoor Units: Similar to drive-up units but without the enclosure of a building, outdoor units offer convenience but less protection from the weather. They’re typically used for car storage, boats, and other items that don’t require climate control.
  5. Vehicle Storage: This includes specialized units or spaces designed for cars, motorcycles, RVs, and boat storage. Options can be covered, uncovered, or enclosed, depending on the level of protection you’re looking for.
  6. Portable Storage Containers: These are self-service storage units that are delivered to your home, filled at your convenience, and then either stored on your property, picked up and stored off-site, or moved to a new location. They’re a flexible and convenient means of moving and storing items.
  7. Lockers: Smaller than typical units, lockers are often used for very small storage needs, such as personal items or documents. They’re usually cheaper and located indoors.

Sizes of Storage Units

Storage units typically range in size from 5x5 feet all the way up to 10x30 feet or more.

The most common storage unit sizes are:

  1. 5x10: This is enough space for items from a studio or small one-bedroom. It’s good for extra furniture, holiday decorations, or recreational gear.
  2. 10x10: This box can hold the contents of a standard one-bedroom apartment. It’s also ideal for a large furniture set or multiple mid-size boxes.
  3. 10x15: This unit is spacious enough for the contents of a two-bedroom apartment or small house. It can also accommodate vehicles, RVs, or a workshop/office.
  4. 10x20: This unit can hold the contents of a 3–4 bedroom home. It may also be used for commercial storage, inventory, or warehouse overflow.
  5. 20x20: This is the equivalent of a two-car garage. These unit sizes are often found in facilities designed for vehicle storage.

The type and size of storage unit you choose depends on how much you need to store and how often you’ll access it. Think about getting a size that’s a bit larger than you need so you have room to grow into the space; you can then downsize later if needed. The most important thing is getting a storage unit that meets your needs so your belongings stay safe, secure, and within easy reach (i.e., not in multi-story buildings) when you want them.

When renting a storage unit, you must consider other key considerations besides unit size. By looking into these factors, you can choose a storage option that truly meets your needs.

storage for business needs

4 Features to Look for When Renting a Storage Unit

When renting a self-storage unit, consider accessibility and security, climate control, and the unit size.

1. Access and Security

One of the most important things to consider when renting a storage unit is how easily you can access your belongings. Look for storage facilities that offer extended access hours, such as 24-hour access. That way, you can get to your unit even if you have a busy work schedule or need to move items in or out on a tight timeline.

Also, check what security features the facility offers, such as video surveillance, on-site staff, gated access, and individual unit alarms. At Honey Store It, we offer 24/7 access and high-security camera surveillance to keep your belongings secured and accessible.

2. Climate Control

If you’re storing temperature-sensitive items like electronics, antiques, artworks, or documents, consider self-storage rentals offering climate control. These units maintain a consistent temperature to protect your personal belongings from extreme heat or cold.

Non-climate-controlled units can reach very high or low temperatures, which can cause damage. The extra cost of a climate-controlled unit is worth it to avoid the potential destruction of your sensitive items. Book at Honey Store It today to safeguard your prized belonging with our climate-controlled storage units.

3. Unit Size

Choose a storage unit large enough to hold all the items you need to store. Units typically range from 25 square feet to 210 square feet or more. Measure your largest furniture pieces and boxes to determine how much space you need.

As discussed earlier, it’s a good idea to overestimate slightly. You can always rent a smaller unit in the future but may have to move to a bigger unit right away if you run out of space. Also, consider getting a unit one size larger than you currently need to allow for potential future storage needs.

4. Additional Amenities

Some storage facilities offer additional amenities that can make the storage experience seamless. Look for things like packing and moving supplies, handcarts or dollies to help you move heavy items, drive-up access so you can load and unload without having to navigate stairs or elevators, as well as online bill pay and auto-pay options. These extras are a good indication that the facility focuses on customer service and making the storage process as smooth as possible for its clients.

The process of renting a storage space doesn’t have to be complicated. When looking for a facility that meets your specific needs, focus on access, security, climate control, unit size, and any additional amenities that would make storing your belongings convenient and stress-free. With the right storage unit, you’ll have peace of mind that your items are safe, secure, and ready whenever you need them.

So, what steps go into the actual process of renting a storage unit? Let’s find out!

How to Rent Storage Units in 5 Steps

You now know what features to consider when searching for a storage facility, as well as how to pick the right size. Now, let’s go through the step-by-step process of renting a storage unit:

  1. Calculate how much space you need.

  2. Find a storage facility.

  3. Reserve your unit.

  4. Move your items into storage.

  5. Make regular visits.

1. Calculate how much space you need.

First, determine how much space you need to store your extra belongings. A 5x5 or 5x10 unit is good for a few boxes, while a 10x20 can hold the contents of an entire room. Measure your items so you rent a unit of the right size — you don’t want to pay for space you won’t use! Next, locate the nearest storage facility and reserve a unit.

2. Find a storage facility.

Search online for “self-storage” or “storage units” + your location. Check out reviews from other customers to find a reputable facility. Facilities like Honey Store It offer amenities like climate control, 24-hour access, and security features in Yonkers, New York. Compare rates, features, and availability to get the best overall value.

3. Reserve your unit.

Once you’ve selected a facility, reserve your unit either on their website, over the phone, or in person. You’ll need to provide personal information and pay a security deposit, typically equal to one month’s rent. The facility will have you sign a rental agreement for the duration of your stay, usually month-to-month, but longer leases may be available.

accessing your self storage unit

4. Move your items into storage.

On your move-in date, bring your items to your storage unit. Most facilities will have carts and dollies to help you transport boxes and furniture.

Consider the following tips when arranging your belongings in the unit:

  • Pack heavier items at the bottom and lighter items at the top for easier access.

  • Create an inventory of the items in your unit in case anything gets misplaced.

  • Keep a narrow aisle down the center so you can access everything.

5. Make regular visits.

Visit your storage unit regularly to ensure your belongings stay in good condition. Check for signs of water damage or pests and address any issues immediately.

Also, ensure you pay your rent on time — if fees become 60–90 days delinquent, the facility may auction off the contents of your unit, depending on their policy. When your needs change, you can easily move out by clearing out your unit and notifying the facility.

And that’s about it — renting a storage space can be as straightforward as the 5 steps discussed. Remember, HONEY STORE IT is available in your area if you live in New York. Find a space today and reserve a unit!

Frequently Asked Questions

What cannot be stored in self-storage?

Items that cannot be stored in self-storage units include perishable items like food or plants, as well as potentially dangerous materials, e.g., drugs, flammable or combustible chemicals, and toxic substances. Storing these items is prohibited due to the inherent risks and the potential for damage or legal issues. If you’re uncertain about an item, it’s best to reach out to a nearby storage facility to clarify any doubts.

What happens if you stop paying for self-storage?

If you stop paying for self-storage, you’ll incur late fees and risk the facility claiming ownership of your items. Eventually, non-payment can lead to auctioning off your belongings and may negatively impact your credit score. To prevent this, timely payments are crucial — consider setting up reminders or auto-pay.

Is it OK to store a TV in a storage unit?

It’s OK to store a TV in a storage unit as long as you take appropriate precautions. Properly pack the television to shield it from damage due to movement or impacts, ensure it’s clean, and remove any detachable parts. This will help maintain the TV’s condition while in storage.

Can I run a business from a self-storage unit?

Running a business directly from a self-storage unit, such as using it as a storefront for customers to visit and purchase goods, is not permitted. However, a self-storage unit can be utilized to support various business needs, such Content