Last week I took a poll on Instagram and asked if y’all would like to know more about climate controlled storage and the overwhelming consensus was–YES!
Living in a rental or a small space–Sam and I hit both marks–makes storage a challenge. We have more space than most–but it’s still not enough or ideal. As we’ve been KonMari-ing our house–in large part due to Marie Kondo’s TV show–I noticed our loft area has become a makeshift storage space over the last several years. Items that we don’t think will survive the 100+ degree weather in our attic or garage come summer have now taken over half the space. We are losing valuable living space by keeping all that stuff stacked up in the corner.
So we had a serious conversation last week about what to do with all of it. To clarify, the ‘items’ are some antique furniture handed down by my parents, a giant antique doll house, photos, paper memorabilia and my wedding dress(which is sealed up in one of those fancy storage boxes)–basically valuables and antiques. Some of it we get out once a year at Christmas–like the Beary Merry Christmas doll house–but most of it goes untouched year round. We know we need to store these items but do they need to be stored in climate controlled unit and would be worth the added cost each month?
Basically, it all comes down to geographical location, the type and/or age of the item you want or need to store, and if you’re willing to pay the extra money for the peace of mind.
But first, what exactly is climate controlled storage and what are the benefits? Climate controlled storage units are usually indoor and maintain a consistent temperature all year round–some units even come with enhanced features like humidity control. They are often placed inside buildings with sealed and insulated roofs, walls, and floors. Below are some of the benefits of a climate controlled storage and reasons you might consider renting one:
If you live in a climate that sees extreme temperatures like 100+ degrees in the summer or below freezing temperatures in the winter and you might want to protect your valuables from the damaging effects of extreme temperatures. Sensitive items like wood furniture, antiques, and musical instruments can suffer from warping, splitting, or cracking due to the constant change in temperature. Additionally, items like fine art, photos, books, or business records can also be damaged due to the highs and lows of temperature change.
Items that would benefit from a climate controlled environment:
- Antiques, especially wood furniture
- Musical instruments
- Books and magazines
- Important documents
- Upholstered furniture
- Vinyl records
Air quality and circulation and keeps the air fresh.
It’s common to overlook air quality when shopping for storage units. A standard storage unit isn’t sealed the same way an indoor climate controlled unit is. Because climate controlled storage facilities continuously circulate the air, the air remains clean. This prevents you from needing to open your unit just to get some fresh air inside which is important for the storage of sensitive electronics or documents–air quality should be high on the priority list.
Less chance for dust, debris, rodents, and insects.
Climate controlled storage units are often placed inside buildings with sealed and insulated roofs, walls, and floors. As a result, these units are less susceptible to minor flooding or tracked in dirt, and because they’re indoors, there isn’t as much chance for rodents or insects to make a home in your stored things.
Another benefit here is you’ll have less dust and debris always making its way into your unit. You’ll find your items just the way you left them, whether you store them for a week, a year, or a decade.
An extra peace of mind
Climate controlled storage usually costs more than traditional storage. This added cost is often insignificant and usually overshadowed by the peace of mind you’re given knowing you’ve protected your items from harsh seasonal changes and weather-related mishaps.
However, if you’re storing items that aren’t valuable for a short period, traditional storage is often adequate.
As mentioned above, humidity control is sometimes an enhanced feature some storage facilities offer. Humidity control, as an addition to climate control, maintains constant humidity in the unit to around 50%. Humidity controlled storage units are most often needed in places with either year round extreme high or low levels of humidity. For example, if we lived in Corpus Christi, Tx on the Gulf of Mexico –where the humidity is close to 100% almost everyday–we would need humidity control for what we want to store. Not only would the salt in the air cause damage to our things but there is a really high chance everything we stored outside climate and humidity control would mold, rot and be attacked by lots of bugs and rodents.
Conversely, if we lived in an extremely dry climate like Denver, Co, our valuables would be more likely to suffer the opposite effects by drying up from the lack of moisture and I’m sure be attacked by bugs and rodents.
I hope this helped clarify the issue and makes the deciding whether or not you need climate controlled storage easier. For us, the answer is a definitive yes. We were right not to leave our items stored in our attic or garage.
As far as pricing here in the Dallas area, a 5×5 or 5×7 unit runs around thirty-five to forty-five dollars a month and went up in price the larger the unit. My advice in determining how much storage vs rental you can afford is to roll both payments together as one and consider that your total monthly rent payment. that way you can determine how much apartment you can afford vs how much storage you can afford.
Here are a few storage unit tips before I go:
- If you can’t afford humidity controlled storage and will be storing during damp months, be sure to access your unit regularly. Opening the doors will allow fresh air into the unit and will circulate out built up humidity and odors.
- Some humidity controlled storage units are available without climate control.