Storage hunting

Yesterday, we met with Allen Haff and Ton Jones of the hit show “Auction Hunters,” in which the stars bid on abandoned storage lockers and resell the contents, if possible. (Click here for related blog.) Hawaii—with its limited land and smaller homes—is a prime spot for storage units, especially with so many people who tend to hoard. You know who you are.

If you’re downsizing your residence or have outgrown your personal storage needs, you may want to think about renting a separate facility to hold items that you rarely look at, or that require a climate-controlled environment.

First, think about how much space you really need. Self-storage facilities rent units in a variety of sizes. It’s best to rent a smaller storage unit and pack it to the ceiling rather than pay for space you’re not using. If even the smallest storage units are too much, inquire about mini-storage facilities that specialize in small loads.

Be sure to ask facility representatives how and when you can access your unit. Most self-storage and mini-storage facilities allow for free access 24 hours a day, but some facilities have restrictions and others charge fees for access.

Ask about climate-controlled units. If you’re storing anything valuable or delicate—like antique furniture or important documents—they could be warped or mildewed by being stored in space that’s too hot, too cold or too humid. Tip: Leave a space between your stuff and the wall to allow air to circulate within the unit. Laying plastic sheeting on the floor and stacking boxes on top of wooden pallets can prevent condensation damage, too.

Most public storage facilities have ample security, but you should take a few precautions of your own against theft. Pack your storage unit so that your most valuable items are at the back, and purchase a high quality padlock to put on the door.

Most importantly, when you lease self-storage, don’t forget to pay your rent. The guys from Auction Hunters find some of the most amazing items when they buy abandoned units. These are great places to keep your old and valuable items, but will do you no good if you forfeit the unit.