Storage Tips

How To Choose A Storage Unit Facility

You need a storage unit, and you may need it asap.  Before you sign a self-storage rental agreement, here are some of the main areas you should consider.

 

Location

Is the storage facility in close proximity to where you reside?  If you have to drive across Appleton to get to your storage unit it may or may not be a good fit for you.  Regular visits to your storage unit would be better served with a storage facility within a few miles of you.  Storage that requires infrequent visits could be served by a facility that is close to places that you frequently drive by, such as work or shopping.

 

How Did Your First Contact With The Storage Facility Go?

Storage unit owners in Appleton, Neenah and the Fox Valley fall into many of the following categories:

  1.       Renting storage units is not my full time job.  I work at XYZ Company during the day, but I will do my best to serve you. I may not answer the phone, but will return your call when I get to it.
  2.       I’m retired. Renting storage units is something that I do, but I may be pre-occupied with something else.  I may or may not answer the phone, but will return your call when I get to it.
  3.       Storage units are our business. We have an office and weekly office hours. We answer the phone. You can email or text and we will respond quickly. If you leave a message we will get back to you asap.

 

We commonly hear “you were the only place that answered your phone” when someone calls Stor It looking for a storage unit.

 

Renting storage units is our business at Stor It, we’ve been in business for 30 years in Appleton, Neenah and the Fox Valley. Renting a storage unit is not an overly complicated process, but we strive to do our best every day. When the phone rings, ALL of our cell phones ring at the same time so that we can respond quicker.  If we are helping another storage customer and miss your call, we monitor text messages, voicemails and email each weekday and on the weekend.

 

Ask The Storage Manager Questions

Renting your storage unit takes only a few minutes. After you rent your unit is when the quality of your choice usually shows. Ask a few questions before renting your storage unit. It’s ok, you are the customer:

  •         How do I contact you when I need something?
  •         Can you email me a monthly billing reminder?
  •         How do I get a receipt for my monthly storage payments?
  •         Do you provide the lock and keys for my unit?
  •         What if I lose my keys or can’t get into my storage unit? You may get one of two responses:
  1.       It’s your lock, it’s your problem.
  2.       I’ll be there asap and help you get into your storage unit.
  •         How do I end my storage unit lease?
  •         Can I access my storage unit account online? Can I pay online?
  •         Do you have auto-pay capability to make my busy life easier?
  •         Do you do anything about mice and insects near my storage unit?
  •         Do I need insurance? Do you offer insurance for my storage unit? Can I use my own insurance carrier?
  •         Do you provide pallets free of charge for me to use in my unit?
  •         Can I put an alternate contact on file for my storage unit in case you can’t reach me?
  •         I can’t get to your office today but need a unit today. Can you still help me?

 

To Quote Aaron Rodgers “RELAX”

Renting a storage unit should be one of lesser complicated things you will do. Make some calls, ask questions and trust your instincts. We hope this makes you a bit more comfortable if you are renting your first storage unit. Please call (920-734-1265), text or email our office if you have any questions and we will be happy to assist you.

How To Properly End The Lease For Your Storage Unit

When you no longer have a need for your storage unit there are some easy steps that can help your move out go as smoothly as possible.

 

  1. Check your lease about what kind of notice to vacate is required. Just like an apartment rental, storage unit agreements will require a notice to vacate. Our leases require payment for our two month minimum up front, along with a refundable security deposit.
    1. After the first two months the lease continues on a month to month basis. If you only need the storage unit for the two month minimum let us know and move in so we can make a note of it.
    2. If you need the storage unit for longer then you are renting from month to month.
  1. Give proper notice to vacate. Our storage agreements require a 30 day notice to vacate your unit. As the storage leases run from month to month, you will want to give notice 30 days prior to the start of your last month. Example: You want to vacate at the end of November. Call or email us by the last day of October.
  2. Clean out the storage unit. Remove everything in the unit. Sweep out your storage space. If you used pallets that we provided you can leave these inside the unit.
  3. Turn your keys in back at our main office by the last day of the month you are using the unit at          2215 W Nordale Drive in Appleton. Leave the lock on your unit.
  4. If your address changed since you moved into your unit, provide us your new mailing address at move out so we have the correct location to mail your security deposit.

 

We don’t move you out of our system until you get the keys to us. If you end up needing the unit for another month just let us know. You are not required to vacate your storage unit the date you gave notice for. Just get us an updated date to vacate your unit and pay for another month of storage.

 

Once we receive your keys we check the unit to make sure it was cleaned out. Then a check for your storage deposit is mailed to you usually within a week.

I Need a Storage Unit. How Do I Rent a Unit?

Renting a storage unit typically takes less than 10 minutes. Each storage facility has its own management procedures in place. Typically you will be asked for several of the following pieces of information when renting a unit:

1)      Your driver’s license. This is to verify your identity.

Example: We rent a storage unit to Steve Smith. Steve did not give us his real name. His name is actually Chester Buttersworth. Ok…if my name was Chester Buttersworth I might want to go by Steve Smith…but I digress. Without a storage rental agreement with your real name on it the agreement isn’t valid. This is why you are asked to verify your identity.

2)      Your social security number. Yikes!!!! We do not ask for social security numbers at Stor It Storage and never will. Some storage facilities do require this information. With identity theft on the rise you will want to carefully consider if you are willing to share this information when renting a unit.

3)      Your contact information:

  1.     Name
  2.     Address
  3.     Phone Number
  4.     E-mail. We use this to contact your in regards to your account:
  •         Billing reminders
  •         Storage receipts
  •         Account statements
  •         To notify you of any pertinent site information such as unit maintenance

4)      An alternate contact in case we cannot reach you.

5)      How do you want to pay for your storage unit? Stor It Storage has online account access and accepts the following forms of payment:

  • Electronic bank transfer
  • Credit Card (all major credit cards are accepted)
  • Debit Card
  • Cash
  • Personal Check
  • Money Order

How To Avoid Unnecessary Storage Fees

Why would a storage unit facility tell customers how to avoid fees instead of hoping to collect more fees? We want happy storage customers at Stor It Storage. When you come to visit us at our office in Appleton we prefer to see smiles.  Happy customers tell their friends and family about their experience, which leads to more customers. We want your storage experience to be a good one. We take pride in having repeat and referral customers at our Appleton and Neenah locations.

 

Typical Fees That A Storage Facility May Charge

  •         Late Fee
  •         Overlock Fee
  •         NSF Fee
  •         Unit Cleaning and Disposal Fees
  •         Storage Auction Fees
  •         Lock Cutting Fee
  •         Emergency Trip Fee

 

Late Fee

Payment for your storage unit is typically due in one of two ways:

  1.       On the first of the month. This means that your first month is pro-rated based on how many days are left in the month when you move into your storage unit. This is how we structure our storage due dates. This is simpler us to manage and for you to remember. Everyone’s rent for their unit is always due on the 1st of the month.
  2.       On your anniversary date. If you move in on the 18th of the month, your rent is due every month on the 18th.

A storage operator is allowed to charge a late fee if payment for your unit is not received at their office within x days of the due date.  If you have ever rented an apartment you are familiar with late fees in your lease.

 

Overlock Fee

What happens if your payment is not received by the storage facility by the

Due Date, and they still don’t have payment when the Late Fee day comes and goes? A storage facility is allowed to place an ‘overlock’ on your storage unit at a certain point in the month, and charge for this process. An overlock will usually occur in one of two ways:

  1.       The lock on your storage unit will be disabled. The storage manager has a key that allows them to make your key no longer work.
  2.       Another lock will be placed on your storage unit that only the storage manager has a key to. Your lock will still work, but this second lock will prevent access to your storage unit.

Once you pay the balance for your storage unit, the overlock is removed. The fee is to cover the time for the storage manager to go to your unit and apply the overlock, and return on another trip to allow access to your storage unit.

 

NSF Fee

If you write a check for your storage unit and it does not clear the bank you may be charged this fee.  NSF checks are known as bounced checks or bad checks. The acronym (NSF) also describes the fee incurred from these checks.  A bank will charge a fee for this.  A storage facility will assess a fee to your storage unit account to cover this charge.

 

Unit Cleaning and Disposal Fees

If you leave anything in or near your storage unit when you move out, the storage facility can charge for cleaning out your unit and disposing of the contents. Leave your storage unit the way you found it and you can easily avoid these fees.

 

Storage Auction Fees

 

These fees can really add up. If you fail to pay for your storage unit for three consecutive months state statutes will allow the storage facility to auction your unit in an effort to recover monies owed to them.

 

The storage unit will need to be inventoried and have pictures taken. If the value of the contents of the storage unit are deemed to be less than a certain value the storage facility may dispose of the contents and charge for their time. Letters are mailed to the person who rented the storage unit as well as their alternate contact. Advertisements are places in the local newspaper, usually the Appleton Post Crescent. The auction is conducted in person or online. We now use www.bid13.com for all of our storage unit auctions. No one has to stand in the snow or rain to bid on a unit. Fees can be incurred for many of the above auction procedures.

 

Lock Cutting Fee

 

You lost your keys and can’t get into your storage unit, now what? If it’s your lock, the storage manager may or may not help you. If they do help you, some may charge for this service. If the facility provides the lock and keys, they likely have a spare key in a secured location.

 

We provide the lock and keys at Stor It Storage, so we are here to help you with any lock issues you may have. When a storage customer loses their keys we are able to have them stop by our office with a photo ID and borrow our spare key. Sometime they find their original keys at a later date and do not have to pay for new keys. If you have an issue with the lock to your storage unit, we can stop by and look into the problem without having to set up a time to meet you at your storage unit when you can get there with the keys. This process has allowed us to keep any fees for lock cutting to a minimum. We have not charged anyone this fee and hope to keep it that way.

 

Emergency Trip Fee

 

If you need help with your storage unit after hours or in an emergency a storage facility may charge for this service. We have not charged for this service to date, and will do our best to continue this trend.

 

How Can I Never Pay Any Fees For My Storage Unit?

 

No one loves fees. We don’t rejoice in collecting storage unit fees and honestly wish that all of our customers were set up with automatic payments on the 1st of the month. Autopay would be our first piece of advice for anyone renting a storage unit.

 

Some storage tenants wait to mail their check until the 5th, this is when we commonly see storage fees occur. If you mail your storage payment, mail it early. The postal service is not perfect, delays and holidays happen. Mail your unit payment a few days prior to the 1st of the month and you should be fine.

Outdoor Storage Tips

We have outdoor parking spaces at our storage facility at 1641 W Evergreen Drive in Appleton. Space is limited so please plan ahead of time if you are looking to store a vehicle or trailer.

 

Parking Your RV on Gravel or Pavement – Which is Better?

Your tire’s worst enemy is moisture coming out of whatever the rv is parked on. This contributes to the dry rot that everyone attributes to the sun. The sun is a contributor but not nearly as harsh as moisture. If any surface touching your tires retains moisture, dry rot will attack your tires. Some who have poured concrete slabs to park on have laid down plastic and poured over that but that still does not stop moisture from coming up out of the concrete. Be sure as that water cannot puddle around your tires wherever you park and store your RV.

 

Boats and RVs are large items items to store, and you may not have enough space at your home to store them. If you are unable to park them in the street or your driveway you should consider renting outdoor storage.

 

Winterizing Tips

Not familiar with how do you know how to properly winterize and prepare your boat or RV for storage? Here’s a helpful guide listing the items to get done before storing them for the winter.

 

Tips for Properly Storing Your Boat

  • Add a Fuel Stabilizer – Some small engine professionals suggest that you should fill the tank and add a stabilizer to keep condensation from forming inside the engine. Ask your boat mechanic what they recommend.
  • Clean and/or Wax Everything – This can minimize the amount of time you have to spend on it when the weather is nice again.
  • Change the Oil – A common best practice is to change the engine oil as well as the antifreeze.
  • Make Any Necessary Repairs – If your boat needs attention, now is the best time to make repairs. This way, boating next year will happen when you want it to. Pay attention to the hull, engine, electronics, tires and any protective covers.
  • Remove Electronics – You shouldn’t leave any electronics inside the boat over the winter. In Appleton Wisconsin you will want to remove the battery and keep it at home on a trickle charger over the winter.

 

Tips for Properly Storing your RV

  • Clean and/or Wax Everything – This will keep your RV looking brighter the time next season, and provide some protection from the elements.
  • Drain All the Tanks – This includes the fresh, black and grey water holding tanks. A cracked tank in spring is not a welcome event. Drain the water heater.
  • Prop The Fridge Door Open – To prevent stale air and mold.
  • Use Only RV Antifreeze – Automotive antifreeze could poison your water lines. Contact your RV service department for their recommendation.
  • Fix What’s Broken – Save time when the next season arrives and eliminate any spring surprises. This includes the engine, electrical system and roof.

Do I Need Storage Unit Insurance?

Placing your belongings in a storage unit is typically a short term situation. Do you need insurance on your storage unit? The following information can help you decide what’s best for your situation.

 

The Storage Facility Has Insurance So I Don’t Need Any

This statement is half true. We insure every single storage unit we own in Appleton and Neenah, and have coverage for fire, wind, hail, water damage etc. What is actually covered by our insurance carrier are the physical structures, the “storage unit” itself. What is not insured is the “contents” of the storage unit, your stuff.

 

Are You Trying To Scare Me Into Buying Storage Insurance?

No we are not. When you come to our office we are not going to pressure you into insuring your unit. We offer storage insurance as a service to you so that you can have one stop shopping when you need a storage unit. You get to choose if you insure your storage unit, as you know what’s in there and how much value it has to you.

 

Odds are fairly good that nothing will happen, which is also why storage unit insurance is cheap. You can have $2,000 worth of coverage with no deductible for about $10/month. Higher coverage amounts are also available.

 

Has Any Storage Facility In Appleton Or Neenah Had Major Damage?

In the past 5 years we know of a few examples. One facility East of Appleton went up in flames when someone was trying to heat their unit while they were in it in the winter. A facility in Neenah was hit by a tornado and pulled the roofs off of two buildings. Everything inside got soaked.

 

Can I Just Put My Storage Unit on My Renter’s or Homeowner’s Policy

Absolutely! The main difference between the two is that if you file a claim with your primary insurance company they may raise your rates. Our insurance is provided by an exclusive storage insurance company, so your primary carrier won’t have a reason to increase your rates.

 

Our carrier offers a $0 deductible if you use one of our cylinder or disc locks. Your carrier will likely have a deductible of $250 or more if you have a claim.

 

The Choice Is Yours

We are here to make insurance easy to add if you want to insure the contents of your storage unit. If you have questions please text, email or call us at 920-734-1265 and we would be happy to assist you further.

Alternate Contacts

When you rent a storage unit, you are entitled to add an alternate contact to your account. It’s your storage unit and you likely don’t think it’s necessary. Read further to learn more about when an alternate contact for you storage unit comes in handy.

 

What’s The “Real” Definition of An Alternate Contact Anyway?

An alternate contact seems pretty obvious at first glance. To comply with state statutes an alternate contact:

  • Cannot have the same phone number as the person who rented the storage unit
  • Cannot have the same address as the person who rented the storage unit

An alternate contact for your storage unit can live in another state. The most common people that someone uses as an alternate for their unit include:

  • Family member
  • Relative
  • Close personal friend
  • Co worker

 

When Does An Alternate Contact Come In Handy?

An alternate contact is helpful in the following situations:

  • The person renting the storage unit dies
  • The person renting the unit moves, and does not provide us an updated address
  • Their phone number is changed

We get calls monthly from people in the Appleton and Neenah areas. A family member dies and they knew this person was renting a storage unit somewhere in the Fox Valley. They just make random calls trying to locate their unit. If the unit has gone delinquent for several months it may be too late as the contents may have already been auctioned off. Without an alternate, items important to your family can be forfeited and never recovered.

In some cases a person moves and all of their contact information changes, or there are incarcerated. Several months pass without a payment being received at our office. The storage unit reaches the lien stage and the contents of the unit are auctioned to recover some of the lost income. In both of the above cases an alternate contact for your storage unit could easily help our attempts to reach out to you to be more effective.

 

You now know exactly what an alternate contact is, and how it can help you. It only takes a minute to provide this information when you rent your unit, and we hope you take the time to do this.  If you have further questions, or want to rent a storage unit in Appleton or Neenah give us a call at 920-734-1265.

Storage Unit Auctions

Many of you have seen television shows about storage unit auctions, but what happens in the months prior to the auction? Here is a summary of the process and how it works.

 

I just got a letter that my storage unit is being auctioned, what happened?

 

If you pay your bill, your unit cannot be sold via an auction. If you don’t pay your bill on time, you will start to receive some notices in the mail.

  • First Late Notice (sent around the 7th of month)
  • Second Late Notice (sent just before the middle of the month)

When you receive the second late notice, this is also know as the overlock stage. A storage operator can disable your lock or place another lock on your unit.

 

If your unit is delinquent three consecutive months you will reach the Lien Stage. At this point the steps to auction off the contents of your storage unit will begin. They are as follows:

  • First Notice of Public Auction – delivered via us mail
  • Second Notice of Public Auction – delivered via a letter with a certificate of mailing
  • Your Storage Unit is Inventoried – pictures or a video of the contents
  • The Auction of Your Unit is Placed in the Newspaper – a description of the contents and the unit number/location
  • The Storage Unit Auction Takes Place – auction may be in person on online

Climate Controlled Storage Units

In recent years climate (temperature) controlled storage units have become a more readily available option for consumers.  A well maintained storage unit that is not climate controlled continues to meet the needs of most people shopping for storage. However, for some a climate controlled storage unit is the best way to meet their needs.

The definition of climate controlled storage varies among storage companies, but the most common difference between climate controlled storage and temperature controlled storage is humidity. Temperature controlled facilities usually only manage temperature, while climate controlled facilities may manage both temperature and humidity. Both humidity and temperature work together to control moisture levels in a storage space.

Climate controlled facilities use high quality HVAC systems (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), customizable thermostats and heavy-duty insulation to manage temperature and humidity. Air conditioners are very effective at dropping humidity levels. Our main climate facility utilizes a redundant heating and cooling system for protection against mechanical failure. We have installed two heating and cooling systems to best meet your storage needs.

Air flow is extremely important. Our main storage facility circulates the air within the storage space 24/7. The climate units are also vented to allow optimum airflow.

 

Questions to ask yourself when considering a climate controlled storage unit:

  • Does the air temperature where you are storing items drop below 32 degrees or rise above 90 degrees Fahrenheit?
  • Is the storage facility in a high-humidity climate?
  • Do any of your possessions have high sentimental or cash value?
  • Will you need to visit the unit frequently and require comfortable conditions?
  • Can I afford the extra monthly cost for this type of unit?

 

A Climate-controlled storage unit is kept at a temperature between 55 and 85 degrees (F). In general, climate-controlled storage is beneficial for storing valuable or environmentally-sensitive items. Climate-controlled storage units are almost always indoor, and with stable temperatures and humidity levels, your valuables will be better protected from damage in long-term storage.

 

What kinds of belongings are typically kept in a climate controlled storage unit?

  • Product samples that a corporate sales representative needs to properly store
  • Medical equipment
  • Sensitive electronics
  • Heirloom furniture that cannot be replaced
  • Items of extreme sentimental value
  • Important financial or legal documents
  • Vinyl records
  • Wine

 

Our climate controlled storage facilities are located in Appleton. If you are in the market for a climate controlled storage unit (or storage in Appleton or Neenah), please give us a call to find out our current availability at 920-734-1265.