UNITED STATES—Renting out storage space can be a great idea if you’re moving house, downsizing, or need a climatized place to keep items that don’t work in your new home. But if you don’t choose your unit carefully, you could be subject to many costs you weren’t prepared to pay for.

How to Determine if Self-Storage is Worth It

Americans love stuff, so much so we fill our homes with it, but what can we do when we don’t want to keep our items anymore? While you could throw them out or sell them, there are several things we don’t want to part with, either because they hold sentimental value or they’re useful.

Moving: Should I Store or Throw Away?

When moving, the cost of replacing the item isn’t the only upfront expense you’ll pay. You have to consider if the item in question is worth more to you sentimentally or monetarily. If the item is rare and you can’t replace it, or it means a lot to you, the choice is simple in most cases.

But what if it is easy to replace, but you don’t want to go through the hassle of selling it? What if you’ll need that item at a later date? Then, use this calculation:

Item in storage + moving costs (> or <) (cost of storage unit x how many years you plan to store it) + (yearly fees x how many years you plan to store it) + additional fees

If the stored items and moving costs are less than the cost of the unit, you should store them.

If you’re moving to or from California or you need a permanent and/or temporary place to store your things, you can find plenty of storage in Sacramento. You can also use SelfStorageFinders to compare accessibility, security, pricing, availability, location, and reviews for each company.

What Determines The Cost of a Self-Storage Unit

A self-storage unit built in a poor location with limited security will be dirt cheap, but you can’t guarantee your items will be safe. At the same time, a site with all the bells and whistles will cost you a pretty penny. Here’s what determines an increase in a storage unit’s price.

  • 24-Hour Access and Security: A self-storage facility that comes with locks, video monitoring, security gates, and in-person surveillance will be more expensive. 24-hour access may also play a part in the price if a human is there to watch the lot.
  • Great Reviews and Prime Location: A great review in a sub-par location won’t do you any good if you’re unable to get to your stuff quickly. However, great reviews in a prime location count for a lot, especially if they have a lot of competition in their area.
  • Unit Size and Contract Length: A larger unit will be more expensive on average, but a facility’s smallest unit could be even more costly than a large unit depending on your contract terms. Month-to-month contracts are typically pricier than long-term contracts.
  • Availability and Temperature Controlled: If a facility has a waitlist or has a limited capacity, expect to pay more. If there are no temperature-controlled units, you’ll have to look elsewhere or protect your own items from the heat, cold, and humidity.
  • Insurance and Packability: Buying insurance is a good idea, regardless of how safe the lot is, but insurance rates may rise if you stuff a lot of stuff in your unit. However, if you’re a good packer, you’ll likely save more money provided a fire doesn’t happen.

Besides paying for the unit itself, you also have to consider the cost of purchasing locks and other security equipment. If you want to temperature control your unit, calculate insect repellent, tarps, humidifiers, and transportation to and from the storage unit in your costs.