Whether you are renting a storage locker (maybe to keep homeschool books or children's clothing, collectibles or other treasures in) or if you just won an abandoned storage unit at a storage auction, you want to keep what is inside of it safe from theft and critters. Here's how to keep your storage unit items safe.
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Keeping Your Items Safe
I know, you are thinking, well I found a really good storage facility and they have never had a break in before, so why should I worry? Let's not take any chances. Even though you don't see any reported break ins, they may have happened and just not been reported. Especially if the offenders were rodents!
Is there food in your unit?
When you rent a storage unit, often the storage unit manager or their website tells you what to NOT put in your storage unit. The list includes things like aerosol cans, batteries, and food. The reason that food is listed should be obvious – it's so that critters are not attracted to your unit and set themselves up a home inside it. When you think of food though, don't just consider the obvious, also consider things like spices, flour, little ketchup and sauce packets from your favorite fast food restaurant, plastic soda pop bottles, and candy in a teenager's dresser from a holiday.
Stress the importance to older children who may be packing. If they don't want mice setting up their home inside his or her dresser drawer with their favorite jeans, and biting holes and messing on them, they really need to get ALL the food out.
Keep valuables “out of sight and out of mind”
Often when robbers look in units to rob them, they are looking for something to resell, usually of a high enough value to make it worth their while. They will break locks (if it was locked properly) and open the door quickly, flash a light inside to scan what is there, and then take anything of value and get out of there quickly before they are caught.
Because it is usually dark and they are quickly scanning the unit, you can hide valuables so they are “out of sight and out of mind,” just like you put things out of sight of a small child so they are not tempted by it or like you hide candy from yourself, etc.
Put the higher valuables towards the back with lots of stuff in front of them so it would take a ton of time to get to those items (and the thief may not be able to see them) to discourage theft.
Large screen television sets are a popular item to take and resell to get quick money. If you have a flat-screen television, don't stand it up or lean it up in a unit. That is what the villain looks for. Lay it down to make it look like a table with stuff on it (as the back will stick out a bit, you can even put light objects like pillows or stuffed animals on it as well,) box or piece of artwork and cover it with a sheet or blanket. Even if you think it is not perfect enough, your enemy has a flashlight in the dark and very little time to study it, and use that to your advantage.
Are you using the right kind of lock?
We have purchased abandoned storage units and resold the contents for several years now and we have seen many different types of locks. We go to the storage facilities at various times of the day. When we go in the morning, sometimes we can see that a unit near ours has been broken into. It stands out because the thief usually does not shut the door right or we will see a cut lock laying on the ground. We have noticed a brand that takes more time to cut with varying levels of thickness so the price varies. We highly recommend the Abus Diskus locks. They are not paying me to say that (though I would love to get paid for promoting their products because I believe in them!) But, you can get them on Amazon.
Is the door shut tight and locked right?
Even if you have a high quality Abus Diskus lock, be careful how you lock the door. The robber doesn't even have to cut the lock if you forgot to slide the metal bar to the right to properly close the door before you locked it. Check and double check that you did this.
Most of the units we see that have been broken into still have the lock on and the door is only shut about 6/8 or 7/8 of the way down. That is how we learned that people forget to slide the metal bar to the right to properly latch it before putting the lock on. Villains know that people do this and watch for this mistake.
Did you pay the storage unit bill?
Most importantly, be sure to pay the bill! Sometimes, in a move, the mail doesn't always go where it should and you may not even receive the bill reminding you to pay for the storage unit that month. You may have to keep track and pay it before the bill arrives. Be sure to pay on time! I don't want to see your items up for auction in the newspaper!
Learn all about the abandoned storage auction resale business in our book.
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