Updated: Nov 15
We’ve heard some doozies about storage unit disasters from thefts, fires, illegal products, and more. One tragic story is about a woman in Wisconsin who stored all her furniture in a unit while attending Army basic training in 2013. The furniture was in the unit for only nine months, but when she returned to get it all back out, she noticed a horrible case of mold developed. Her furniture was completely ruined. Deana Ritzman told CBS58 News “I literally picked up a bookcase and it disintegrated in my hands, so, that was very disappointing. It was absolutely covered in mold.” Ritzman had paid over $5,000 to store her furniture in the unit and was concerned about safely removing all of it herself. With valid frustration, she tried talking with the owner to see what could be done only to be told she didn’t pick a climate-controlled unit so they were not responsible for any damage inside the actual unit. Luckily, a few hours later she got a call back from the owner saying they’ll help resolve the issue and do what they could to make the situation better. In the end, Ritzman walked away with a refund of $2,645 and they helped remove all her belongings.
Stories like these remind us of why it’s important to do your research before choosing a storage facility. The Better Business Bureau recommends considering the following items when looking for a storage facility:
Cost. Get estimates from three similar facilities to see what sounds fairly priced for your area. Find out about extra options such as electricity and pest control and ask about due dates and if there is a minimum time for rental commitment. Note: you don’t necessarily want to choose the cheapest facility.
Climate. You don’t want a situation like Ritzman. If you are unsure if you need a climate-controlled unit or not, ask an employee their advice based off what you want to store.
Insurance. This may be offered through the storage facility or you may want to look at getting a separate policy. Reputable facilities should not be difficult to insure due to their safe nature (often being safer than your own home).
Safety and Access: Speaking of safety, check that the unit is safe and has a secure access spot. Are there surveillance cameras on the property? Is there a pass code or locked gate for entry? The more secure the property, the better.
Contract: Get everything in writing and read the contract so you fully understand your responsibilities and the facility’s. Also ensure the facility can contact you in case of an emergency.
Size: Get an idea of what you want to store and make sure the facility can handle what you need. Can you stack stored materials all the way to the ceiling? Is there a weight limit inside the units?
The story above is unfortunate, but we’ve heard it before. Mold is a concern for any storage situation, including your home. Look for a facility that will talk with you about all your concerns and be up front about risks and benefits.