Is a Single-Story Self-Storage Better for Unit Access and Peace of Mind?

Have you ever wondered why so many Self-Storage facilities are built from the ground up rather than simply refurbishing big-box store buildings?   It’s for the same reason that multi-story Self-Storage facilities are not common unless they cannot be avoided due to land costs.   It all boils down to weight. 

Self-Storage has one of the most weight-intensive requirements of any building use out there.   Building codes require yards of footings and reinforced slabs because it must be assumed that storage facilities will be stacked wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling with heavy boxes.  To re-purpose a big-box site, a Self-Storage developer frequently needs to remove the previous building entirely — including the concrete slabs.   The costs of going up to a second floor, let alone a third floor, are quite expensive in terms of all the reinforced engineering which must take place. 

The weight issue taxes not only the concrete flooring, but also the elevators which lift all those boxes, sofas, beds, tables, and electronics as well.   

So, if you are considering renting that second-floor unit, think not only about the fire sprinkler system that likely runs through the hallways ready to sprinkle your stored items at the slightest provication — but also about the fact that waiting, while someone else moves their boxes in and out of a small elevator packed to the gills, is just one problem you’re likely to encounter.   Getting stuck in that overtaxed elevator, which just lifted all that weight for someone else, is yet another potential problem…not to mention the elevator door closing half-way, only to open again, and then close again, after repeatedly banging into a box stuffed in the way to keep the elevator from departing the second floor.

In short, there are many good reasons why single floor storage facilities are favored in the industry, by tenants and builders alike:

  • They are safer, because you are always by your car if something untoward happens.
  • They don’t require fire sprinklers, which can go off and damage your property.
  • They are less costly to build (if the land is available), resulting in lower rental fees.
  • They are much easier for tenants to use, because tenants can drive right up to their unit(s).
  • No one has to worry about getting stuck in an elevator on a Sunday afternoon or late in the evening.

If you have a choice, a single-story storage experience may be your smartest choice.

Self-Storage and Your Classic Car

Reliving the evocative times of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s is what Hot August Nights is all about.  Many classic car owners are pulling out their vehicles from garages or drive ways, not realizing the benefits of storing their highly valued vintage cars in a storage facility.   Here are a few reasons why you should consider Self Storage for your Classic Vehicle;

One of the most important reasons to store your classic vehicle in a storage facility is protection.  You won’t have to worry about sun, water and snow damaging your prize possession.  Damage from people passing by your vehicle in the garage and accidently bumping into it or scratching it can be avoided.  We can only guess the amount of money it would be for repairs, but as a Classic car owner, you know how pricy it can be.

Nobody can completely avoid theft even in the nicest, safest neighborhood in town.   But you can minimize that risk by storing your classic car in a Storage Facility that provides computerized security, individual door alarms, and requires everyone to be in possession of a disc lock specially designed for storage.  Additionally, having a resident manager living at the facility gives you peace of mind, knowing your Classic Car is being stored where somebody is living onsite.

Having a cluttered garage at home can be genuinely stressful due to not having enough room to work. We all know how much space a vehicle can take up, so by storing your classic vehicle in a 10×20 storage unit, you will free up space for any other items you need to store at home.   Additionally, some facilities are offer temperature control drive up units. Check them out and see which type of storage unit fits your storage needs.

Garage Organization Made Simple;

Paying a facility to store your excess belongings should be a last resort.   We are here for you if you need us, but make certain first-off that you need us.   In this region of the country, there are really two good options apart from a storage facility once the hallway closet and garage have reached maximum capacity.  The garage is the most obvious while the attic is less so.   Each will be covered in separate blog posts.

To maximize your garage space, follow these proven steps;

  • Remove everything from your garage so that you can see what you have to work with.  The goal with this first step is that once the garage is empty, you have to decide if you need the items which are outside of it enough to put them back.  If the answer is no, then there are three tried and true methods of making unwanted items go away:  The garbage, donation, and the garage sale (be it the old fashion posting of flyers, the flea market, or online through a Facebook, Nextdoor or Craigslist sites).   Remember, if you have not used something in 2 years, you will likely not miss it once it is gone.
  • Decide on how you want to go about the garage storage project.  This is the fun part.   Go to  and type in Garage Shelving and  Garage Cabinets  and Garage Tool Storage.   You will encounter all sorts of ideas you had not previously considered to guide your efficiently and economically as you visit the Big Box Store.    Visit the Big Box store to supply your needs in terms of organizational items as premade cabinets, shelving, totes and hanging systems.  To make certain that the bins and cabinets you choose fit your space, bring a tape measure and know how much garage space you have to work with.
  • Start organizing your items into the space you have created, labeling boxes and totes so you know what is in them.   Also, put heavier items lower down to make them easier to access and so that they do not crush items you might have thought about putting them on top of.  Tools with long handles should be hung while smaller hand tools are easily placed on pegboards or shelving for easy accessibility.

It is natural to feel a bit overwhelmed when you start your garage reorganization project, but if you attack one area at a time, you will notice that after the first area is done, you develop a mental battle plan for dealing with the other areas.   This reorganization will not happen overnight.  Take it step-by step and don’t burn yourself out by trying to get it done in one day.

How to Store Art Work

First, you’ll want to begin looking for a storage unit with key features for your artwork. For instance, if you’re storing an expensive piece, find a storage facility with strong security features such as electronic gate access, which requires a keycode to enter. You may also desire a facility with an alarm installed on each door as well as onsite management.   Nothing can guarantee 100% security, and there are financial limits on what you are permitted to store, but the features just mentioned certainly help.

Another feature that will protect your artwork is temperature control Storage Unit. Most paintings don’t hold up well in high humidity or range of temperatures where mildew may grow or colors may fade. A storage unit with temperature control maintains a constant temperature and humidity level. If placing your paintings in long-term storage, it may be worth visiting them occasionally to air—especially if a temperature-controlled storage unit is not available.

Take time to carefully clean your artwork with a microfiber cloth to remove any dust or unseen contaminants. This will help prevent any small abrasions or mildew growth from occurring. Never place an Art Work flat.

From here, it may be necessary to place your painting between sheets of acid-free paper or in some form of an acid-free container. Such materials will help stop yellowing or degrading from taking place over time. If you’re painting is framed, you can wrap the artwork in bubble wrap or packing materials.

Art is beautiful, and it can be preserved with the right steps, features, and care.

Storage security is more than just a gate.

There are the big things to look for such as;

  • Someone living on premises to keep an eye on things even, at times, after hours.
  • Gates that work based on requiring a keycode to get in, get out, and recording exactly how long each tenant stays onsite.
  • Fortress style construction which creates a perimeter around the whole site with Block walls and security fencing (not chain-link)
  • Individual door alarms for every unit so if a door is opened without a code, staff is alerted and knows to check things out.

Then, there are the little things such as:

  • Is each individual building panel screwed to the studs in such a manner that the panels cannot be unscrewed, removed, and access gained to an adjacent unit.   Look at the screwheads in the unit you intend to rent (no matter the facility).   Do some of the screw heads seem to be covered with Epoxy to make them impossible to unscrew?   This subtle tidbit of security takes time and costs money.   But if you see this detail, you know that ALL other aspects of the facility likely reflect this level of security conscious detail.   Additionally, from a safety perspective, are the self-tapping screws covered with screw-caps so that their sharp points will not injure your hands when you brush against them as you move boxes?  
  • Some facilities place “burglar bars” (thin metal straps, really) 7 or 8 feet above ground level, in order to save a few dollars instead of solid panels up close to the roof.  (Panels cannot be run all the way to the roof because some air needs to circulate particularly in climate controlled units).  Why do some facilities make it easy for people to peek inside units from the hallway or from neighboring units?   It is cheaper for them but it show a of caring about your belongings and your privacy.   If you do not see paneling running up near the ceiling, you are not at a facility where the ownership has your best interest at heart.  

The SUBTLE details of security matter in self-storage.   Look for those details when you shop because if an owner is concentrating on the little things, it is because they have already focused on, and taken care of, the big ones. 

No storage is impenetrable, but like the two guys in the woods running from a bear; the one who achieves safety is the one who  outruns the other.   Look for clues that you are placing your precious belongings with the fastest runner.

Renting a Storage Unit

Most of the time when renting a storage, you pause to think about which questions would be right to ask.  Whether you’re renting a storage unit for the very first time or it’s been a while since you’ve needed one, here are some questions to keep in mind to make your experience easier and faster.

You will want to know if the facility at which you are storing your items is secure. For example, are there security cameras on property? Is the facility gated? Does each individual unit have alarms? Does manager live on-site? These types of questions will give an idea of how secure your items will be while you’re on vacation or finding your new location to live.  The answers to these questions should make you feel at ease.

Next, you’ll want to know if there are any discounts or specials that are being offered. Some might offer a discount if you’re a first-time customer.   Do not hesitate to ask because you might just get a good deal!  

For convenience, ask if you are able to make your monthly payments online, by auto-billing or if you might get a discount for paying in advance.   All these options save time if you’re busy or traveling throughout the months your items will be stored.  It is important to know these answers to avoid any late-fees.

Most importantly, take a look at the unit before renting to make sure that the unit is the right size for your items and the facility lives up to what you are being told about it.  Ask for a tour around the facility and to your new unit before you commit to renting it. 

Do not hesitate to ask the questions that you would like to know the answers to.   The only silly question is the question that is unasked.  It is better to know what you are getting in advance than to be surprised that what you expected to be part of the storage experience is not included.

Business Storage Made Simple

There are four main reasons which commonly cause businesses to rent self-storage:

  • Work Supplies

The single most common business use we see for Self-Storage, is to safely store business tools and materials which are accessed on a regular basis.     Landscapers,  contractors of all types, and cleaning companies are some of our most common customers.   But, the list doesn’t end there.   We have had geology equipment, large tree trimming trucks, stucco companies and even real estate staging firms use our facilities as a base of operation.   All these firms have one thing in common:   They need to access their units regularly.   To that end, they appreciate our expanded hours, our easy unit access, and the ability to drive in, grab their gear and a free cup of coffee and be on their way quickly.

  • Inventory

Whether your inventory has outgrown your existing office space, your garage, or even your home office, Self-Storage is a reasonable option to consider.   Often times when expanding into new lines of sales (or if your existing lines just keep growing), there might be a question as to whether or not that product line will continue to demand more space.   Often, you cannot be certain how much space you will need in a month or two.    Other times, a new line is so instantly successful that you need an immediate solution for an inventory problem.   In either case, Self-Storage meets your needs by giving you the space you need, when you need it and, with month-to-month leases, for just as long as you need it.

  • Staff Expansion

Frequently businesses need space for the desk of a new staff member.   Rather than relocating an entire office including computer networks, servers, filing cabinets and desks, into a larger space at a higher rent, it simply makes more sense to move what you are not immediately using offsite.   Obviously, the best solution is to discard what you no longer need such as broken furniture or outdated technology, but if you have business records or other items which you just cannot part with, Self Storage may just be your best solution to free up the extra space you might need to accommodate a new staff member.

  • Home-Office

This has been one of the more common uses of Self-Storage in the last three years.   Covid has many caused people to work from home.  Many offices which asked people to work from home, have moved staff offsite permanently to save on the cost of rent.  Our tenants frequently find that they need to move what is in that guest bedroom into storage to create a suitable home-office workspace.   If your home-office situation is going to be permanent, then it may pay to donate the contents of that spare bedroom instead of paying for long-term storage.   However, if the home-office situation is temporary, Self-Storage might be the perfect solution for you.

No matter which of these categories best describes your business application, Interstate U-Stor is available to meet your storage needs.

Customer Service

Have you ever said, “I just wish I could call and quickly speak to someone about my account”?

Have you ever thought, “Why do I have to through 5 menus just to speak with someone who has no clue who I am?”

When you rent your storage here in Reno, Nevada, why would you want to dial a call center in the Philippines or, almost as bad, Rumsford, Maine. Neither location has a clue how to meet your personal needs from over two thousand miles away. What are they going to tell you when you ask, “Can my Partner access my storage unit at 8:00 tonight even though they are not on the lease?”  More than likely they will answer, “What facility is this for?”

Customer service is really simple. It starts with going online where you will see the phone number for the facility where you rented your storage unit clearly noted on the contact page. You call the number and in, on average, 2.5 rings, you speak with the manager or assistance manager where your personal storage unit is located if you call from 8AM to 6PM. Customer service is when the person who answers the phone likely rented you the storage unit or took your last payment. Customer service is when the person who picks up the phone knows who you are without even looking at your photograph in their computer.

Good customer service is also when anyone who picks up the phone can help you, immediately, with your personal request because they know the facility. They know exactly where your unit is located in that facility. They know what the status of your unit door on the last lock check. Good customer service is when they know your payment status even when you cannot recall your unit number and, moreover, they are able to locate your unit on the camera system without missing a beat.

Simply put, customer service matters. You place your items in storage because you care about them. If you don’t call a facility and speak, right away, with the very person who will be your storage partner, you probably need to find a storage facility where you can.

Renting a Move-in Truck

You might think renting a Move-In truck is difficult or need special abilities to drive one but as long as you have a valid driver’s license and know how to drive you have passed the requirements! Make sure you have everything you need to rent, call ahead of time to confirm with the company that you are renting from. They might need proof of insurance or a deposit so have that all with you before going in. Here are a few steps on making the process easier to rent, load and drive.

  • Size: If you are using the truck to move into a new home or storage unit you can estimate how big you will need the truck, for example, the number of bedrooms your home has or the size of the storage unit that you will be storing your belongings. Keep in mind that there are different truck sizes and you don’t want to rent the wrong one.
  • Destination/time: DON’T FORGET TO CHECK THE WEATHER BEFORE GETTING ON THE ROAD! We want you to get to your destination safe, knowing your route will make your experience smoother, you will save time to get to load, unload, and return the rental. The estimated time you need to use the rental will give you an idea as of what time you need to get on the road and the number of helpers you have will also help out on making the trip safe and easy to get done.
  • On the Road: Driving is the important step of this ride. Make sure there is enough fuel to get to your destination and before driving you have to understand that the move-in truck might not be the same size as your own vehicle, a truck needs much more space than a car when it comes to turning. Keep safe distance away from other cars- trucks are heavier and take longer to come to a complete stop, and always keep an eye on your surroundings because there will be blind spots. Some areas may not let trucks drive through but you’ll usually see a sign before entering a street. Keep an eye out for all signs and how wide your turns will be.
  • Pack and Load: its important that all your items are packed with proper protection, you don’t want to mix things up and end up with broken glass in your box of clothes. Find the right size boxes and when putting heavy and fragile items in boxes make sure to wrap it up with bubble wrap. Also buying mattress bags to cover your mattress, and also moving straps to keep things from moving while driving. Load largest and heaviest items first, with the weight and size this will prevent other items from getting crushed and damaged. This might be a little more work to keep organized and placed properly but this will also make things easier when you are ready to unload because you know where everything is placed.

What to put in storage?

This might sound crazy coming from a storage company, but most people don’t really need to use self-storage as much as they do. You need self-storage when you remodel your house, or are between apartments, or maybe to place your boat away for the winter. Perhaps you need to out away those holiday decorations, skis, sleds, snow tires, or snowmobiles after winter passes. We understand you need us for those reasons, and that is what we are here for.

However, often when faced with more items than you really know what to do with, the best thing you can do is donate them. Placing items you have no plan for into storage often results in paying a storage company more than the value of what you are putting in storage. Realistically, the old bicycle, mattress, sofa, or those unwanted toys is not worth the cost to pay to the storage fees. Get rid of those items and save yourself the money. If you happen to need the bicycle in 4 months’ time, you likely could replace it with a new bicycle with the money you saved by not placing unwanted items into storage to begin with.

This logic applies to that old worn-out chair, the old TV, and the old microwave. Don’t place them in a self-storage unit, Donate them. If you are willing to part with them for 4 months, it is quite likely that not much will change in month 5 that will cause you to need them five months from now anyway.

We often tell costumers who call us to put all the items the want to place into a storage into a room, then, we suggest that they get rid of half of what is in that pile. If costumers do that before they rent the storage unit, they will find themselves money ahead in 6 months’ time.

Yes, we rent storage space for a living. But what we find is that if we are honest with our costumers upfront instead of trying to rent them space they really don’t need, everyone benefits. Customers save money and we as the storage operator have a costumer who knows that we have their best interest at heart.

At Interstate, we succeed when costumers know that we are looking out for them with our gate systems, camera system, alarm systems, relentless maintenance, lock checks and, most of all, in the initial phone call helping them to pick the smallest storage unit they feel they can live with.