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Public Storage

RennyRenny USAMember Posts: 1,145
edited June 2012 in Buying & Selling Topics
I'm planning on moving into a bigger home in a year or so but in the meantime space has become a premium for me in my current residence. I am looking into using a public storage facility (something along the lines of a 25 square foot locker) to store the sets I have/am purchasing that are awaiting eol while I keep the ones I am currently selling at home. I want to continue taking advantage of Lego sales and building up a modest inventory so I'm thinking paying storage locker fees for a year shouldn't be that bad (rough estimate $40 a month w/ first month $1).

Just wondering if anyone else has used public storage facilities to store Lego. Any tips or things to look for other than indoor climate control? Tips on storage, packing, etc?

Thanks,
Renny

Comments

  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    I have several thoughts here, given that I've rented more than one mini-storage unit in my life.

    First, I wouldn't store Lego in a non-climate controlled locker. They don't AC or heat to normal house temps, but they keep it "reasonable", which is probably just fine for Lego.

    Second, you might consider what insurance costs, these things can and do get broken into. If you end up with 10s of thousands of dollars of Lego, how would you feel if it was all stolen?
  • mrseatlemrseatle Member Posts: 410
    Or flooded? I know a couple of people here in Houston whose storage units have been flooded. And because of police roadblocks you might not be able to get to them pre-storm either.

    But it sounds like you would only store half your sets there, so you would only lose half. And the bricks themselves might be salvagable.

    If it doesn't flood in your area then you are good to go.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    ^ Second or third story buildings can help with that, but yes, it is another concern.

    That is why you need to consider insurance... I do have insurance on my inventory, as I have a lot invested in Lego sets, I'd be rather foolish not to insure it.
  • mrseatlemrseatle Member Posts: 410
    edited June 2012
    I always found insurance to be a scam. They always try to find a way to weasel out or a way to reduce your claim. The money paid toward insurance could sometimes buy a whole new inventory if you just put it in a savings account instead of the insurance man's pocket.

    Also, be sure it's pest controlled too, so you don't get little mouse bites on all the boxes. I seen that happen too.
  • gmpirategmpirate Member Posts: 1,654
    Hardly seems worth the trouble and expense for a 5x5 room. Your not going to be able to store much either. If you fill it to capacity and all your stuff hits then you can probably justify absorbing $400 to $500 bucks. If you don't fill it and a good percentage of your stuff doesn't hit, or at least not in that time frame, I'm not so sure the numbers make sense.

    Maybe for the same money or less you can better outfit your garage to make room? For that money you could also buy a shed. At least then you don't have to hassle going back and forth and you don't have to worry about emptying the storage unit sooner rather than later. Much of the time people seem to rent storage longer than they need either by omission or procrastination.

    And we haven't talked insurance or theft risk either . . .

    Just some things to think about.
  • RennyRenny USAMember Posts: 1,145
    Hmm.. thanks for the advice. There is a local storage facility near my neighborhood which seems clean and secure which I will check out this weekend. I hadn't considered insurance but it will be something I will inquire about.
  • prevereprevere North of Bellville, East of Heartlake, South of Bricksburg, West of Ninjago City Member Posts: 2,923
    I use a storage unit to sort Lego. It's climate-controlled, second-story, and deep inside the structure. Great place to sort Legos at lunch hour at work - nice and quiet.
  • LegobrandonCPLegobrandonCP CanadaMember Posts: 1,918
    Are you allowed to live in public storage garages? You know, just put a bed and some cabinets and you're set. lol

    But very good points mentioned above.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    I always found insurance to be a scam.
    Insurance has its upsides and downsides...

    In my personal opinion, the biggest mistake made with insurance is to try and insure the small stuff.

    What insurance is "supposed" to be for is to cover the big events that you can't recover from yourself. Your homeowners insurance isn't really there to cover the fence falling down. They'll cover it, but that isn't why you have it, you have it in case the house burns to the ground.

    If you have $5,000 worth of Lego inventory, that isn't worth insuring, if you have $500,000 worth of Lego inventory, insurance is both practical and reasonable.
  • pvancil27pvancil27 Member Posts: 588
    I used to work for a U-Haul with storage units in it, everything said here is true but in the rare chance its a U-haul center you are considering getting the Unit from, dont get their insurance. They will only cover it if something happens to the entire facility. Otherwise they will find a way to weasel out of paying for anything.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    ^ I second that comment, insurance should be purchased from a real insurance company, one that actually gives you a real written policy and is licensed to write insurance in your state.
  • mrseatlemrseatle Member Posts: 410
    Are you allowed to live in public storage garages? You know, just put a bed and some cabinets and you're set. lol

    But very good points mentioned above.
    There are some like that around here, mostly guys working on cars or Mexican lawn mower crews. But they seem to burn down a lot more often than regular storage places.
  • FizzlemesexyFizzlemesexy Member Posts: 123
    edited June 2012
    If it's something you need, I agree to make sure it's climate controlled and NOT on the first floor. I would even walk around to make sure they have WORKING security cameras near your locker.

    I've heard a few horror stories, the worst being that their locker was stolen from. Despite the insurance some items were not covered and some items were priceless.

    On the flip side I know someone who checked near daily using it for their event photography business. They had two walk in closet sized units with no problems for 5 years before they upgraded to an actual studio.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,446
    Why don't you get a POD and just put it in your driveway?
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    Why don't you get a POD and just put it in your driveway?
    Not a bad idea actually, except it tells the whole world, "hey, I have stuff worth spending all this money to store, come see what it is!"

    Not to mention that the "P" in POD stands for Portable, meaning someone can take the whole thing.

    Unless I'm missing something?
  • mrseatlemrseatle Member Posts: 410
    Plus your neighbors won't like the pod... How about a Caravan?
  • Brick_ObsessionBrick_Obsession in a "Brick" house - Calgary, AlbertaMember Posts: 656
    Don't forget about field mice. They can get in almost anywhere and I can assure you they will shred your sets like there is no tomorrow. In my opinion, storing sets in storage is just not a good idea at all.
  • AFFOL_Shellz_BellzAFFOL_Shellz_Bellz Member Posts: 1,263
    If you have a garage consider building shelves hanging from the ceiling. We have a single car garage and that's what we've done, though we don't store Lego there. When I worked for a moving company who also provided storage mice were a constant problem, as were warehouse temps. I agree that if you must store it check your unit often, and use heavy duty locks, not combination locks.
  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,271
    ^ I like to use those heavy circle locks where the piston is only exposed in like a 1 inch section. They don't work for all things you want to lock since the opening to put the lock around something is small compared to a long U-lock one but it doesn't give anyone an area to get a bolt cutter on and they typically fit on those slider locks that most storage doors use. Then again if someone really wanted to get into your unit the slider lock itself and the door around it could be cut in a few seconds with a torch =)
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    ^ That is a useful point, and worth considering...

    How much will you "advertise" that the locker is filled with Lego if you're just carrying it all in?

    I personally pre-box stuff for storage, both for protection, and so no one can see what it is.

    The lock can be very strong, but those doors are not. :)
  • RennyRenny USAMember Posts: 1,145
    I will be packing everything at home so no one will know what is in the boxes. The only box that has any indication of what is in it would be the UCS Falcon box which has 10179 scribbled on the outer shipping box.

    I did purchase a heavy duty disc lock since I don't feel comfortable purchasing a "stock" lock from the facility. All this talk of theft, mice and flooding has me a lot more nervous than I was before :)

    The facility I will be using is called Life Storage. Reviews online have been pretty positive with people stating it's bright, clean and has good, friendly service. Since it's very close to where I live I was planning on checking up on the unit once a week even if I don't have anything to deposit.

    Still on the fence about the insurance though. They insure up to $5k at a $21/per month rate.
  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,271
    Most of the storage places that I have used in the past that were the indoors units are raised up ~3 feet (loading dock height) so general flooding wouldnt be an issue. If your unit is ground level and you arent in a flood area but just worried about heavy rains or drainage back up possibilities you could just pick up a few pallets and put them down. Usually are tons of places around that have stacks of pallets and if you just ask they're almost always ok with you taking a couple.

    As for mice if you're worried you could always leave a 6 inch gap between everything and the walls and put down the sticky paper mouse trap stuff.
  • LegobrandonCPLegobrandonCP CanadaMember Posts: 1,918
    Now that you mention garages, here is what I saw in a magazine a few months ago:

    image

    It is a great space saving system that takes minimal effort to use and most importantly, you can still park your car.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    I will be packing everything at home so no one will know what is in the boxes. The only box that has any indication of what is in it would be the UCS Falcon box which has 10179 scribbled on the outer shipping box.
    UCS Falcon deserves to stay at home in your bedroom closet, IMHO... Unless you have 50 of them of course, in which case we're having the wrong conversation. :)
    I did purchase a heavy duty disc lock since I don't feel comfortable purchasing a "stock" lock from the facility. All this talk of theft, mice and flooding has me a lot more nervous than I was before :)
    Odds are, none of that will happen, the question is, would it ruin you if it did?
    Still on the fence about the insurance though. They insure up to $5k at a $21/per month rate.
    "They"? Who is "they"? If it is the facility, I find it unlikely they are a licensed insurance agent/seller... More likely, they are just offering the same sort of insurance FedEx and UPS do (which is to say, not insurance, it is coverage when and if they feel like it).

    Real insurance has to be licensed by the state, it has a long and boring contract, and most key, there is an appeals process to go through with the state if you get brushed off, rights you don't have with the type of "coverage" offered by most storage units.

    Keep in mind also that most "business" inventory is not covered, unless you buy a business insurance policy. Storing 20 copies of the same Lego set with the intent to resell them, makes them business inventory.
  • RennyRenny USAMember Posts: 1,145
    edited June 2012
    You're probably right about the Falcon. I only have 2 unfortunately (1 on display) but keeping the sealed one at home makes sense.

    Collecting/Selling Lego is just a hobby for me so I don't invest that much money into it. Total value of the sets I would place in storage would probably only equate to about $8k retail price so if something terrible were to happen to the storage locker it would ruin my day (or week) but not my financial situation.

    As for insurance, yes I meant the storage facility itself. But it sounds like getting coverage through a more established insurance company is the way to go.

    Thank you for the great tips. It's been very helpful :)
  • pvancil27pvancil27 Member Posts: 588
    Toss some moth balls in the units too, they dont 100% keep mice away but it does tend to make them move toward other parts of the building.

    When you check out the place, check and see how clean it is. If its "too clean" (scrubbed floors, fresh paint" it might be a sign of an issue, where as it should be clean but have some signs of use (slight marks on the walls and floor, a little dust in the corners ect ect.)
  • pvancil27pvancil27 Member Posts: 588
    Oh, and since its mentioned earlier, Do not use a storage facility that allows the storage of gas/propane/oil as it increases the change of a fire greatly. Most Climate controlled places don't, but doesn't hurt to ask.
  • AFFOL_Shellz_BellzAFFOL_Shellz_Bellz Member Posts: 1,263
    Buy mouse traps, and keep several in your unit, and check them regularly. There are those nice ones where the mouse is invisible now but they can't get out. If you use the old standard mouse traps if you catch just a foot they will chew it off and continue to nest in and eat your boxes.

    @LegobrandonCP that thing is awesome, but not sure how much weight it would hold. Ours are made of wood. Hmmmm, now that I never decorate for Christmas maybe I should clear out the boxes of Christmas ornaments and store our Lego boxes up there!
  • RennyRenny USAMember Posts: 1,145
    Well, I secured a 5x5x9 foot storage unit. The facility is very nice (uses code entry to get in), very well lit, clean and cameras everywhere. I plan on placing a palette or two down for elevation and air flow. I will also be using plastic tubs instead of boxes so they are waterproof and prevent bugs from getting in. I also followed someone's advice and got a disc lock.

    The mouse traps sounds like a solid piece of advice.
  • gmpirategmpirate Member Posts: 1,654
    Did a little reading on public storage. Seems these $1 first month's rent deals are attracting thieves. They rent a unit for a month, then having full access, they break in to other units and move the stuff to theirs. Then they just pack up and move out before the end of the month.
  • RennyRenny USAMember Posts: 1,145
    Yikes. Luckily I didn't rent there. I am paying a little more but the facility is definitely nicer and more secure.
  • AFFOL_Shellz_BellzAFFOL_Shellz_Bellz Member Posts: 1,263
    ^ ask management if their cameras are monitored or connected to a recorder and how long the tapes are kept if connected to a recorder, a lot of storage places either use dummy cameras or they neither monitor or record the feed.
  • RennyRenny USAMember Posts: 1,145
    Great suggestion. The place actually had a huge screen up at the front desk with feed from 30 cameras throughout the facility. The manager told me that they are constantly recording that same feed. I did not ask however how long they keep that recording for or if they archive it or something. I felt better though knowing that the camera feed was so public.
  • AFFOL_Shellz_BellzAFFOL_Shellz_Bellz Member Posts: 1,263
    Sounds like an excellent facility. Would you share the company name ( pm me if you don't want to list it publicly) and come back and let us know if you're still happy with them in a few months?
  • RennyRenny USAMember Posts: 1,145
    Sure, it is called Life Storage. I'll definitely post again to let you know how it goes :)
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,446
    Why don't you get a POD and just put it in your driveway?
    Not a bad idea actually, except it tells the whole world, "hey, I have stuff worth spending all this money to store, come see what it is!"

    Not to mention that the "P" in POD stands for Portable, meaning someone can take the whole thing.

    Unless I'm missing something?
    Yes, it is portable, but you would have to have a very large commercial truck with a lift to pick it up. I think something like a garbage truck. I don't think most theives would bother.You could always put an alarm system on it to protect your goods.I don't think most home associations would let you keep a storage container on your property anyway, but it was just a thought.

  • gmpirategmpirate Member Posts: 1,654
    ^ Why steal the POD if you can just break the lock???

    I actually have a 10'x8' in my driveway right now for $160 a month until the garage is finished.
  • Erinlyn80Erinlyn80 Member Posts: 29
    Sounds very complicated. It's always seemed to me that storage facilities are so expensive the cost of the facility quickly costs more than the stuff you have in it, at least in my experience. Do you have a trusted friend or relative that could store your stuff instead perhaps? Just my 2 cents
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,446
    ^ Why steal the POD if you can just break the lock???

    I actually have a 10'x8' in my driveway right now for $160 a month until the garage is finished.
    Yes, could very well just do that...lol.

  • RennyRenny USAMember Posts: 1,145
    Sounds very complicated. It's always seemed to me that storage facilities are so expensive the cost of the facility quickly costs more than the stuff you have in it, at least in my experience. Do you have a trusted friend or relative that could store your stuff instead perhaps? Just my 2 cents
    My brother and parents have some space in their homes but I really don't want to impose on them in case something comes up where they may need to store things.

  • gmpirategmpirate Member Posts: 1,654
    Do you have a trusted friend or relative that could store your stuff instead perhaps? Just my 2 cents
    My parents have a guest house over an extra three car garage. The problem is I'm only one of five kids and they all beat me to it :P
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