Things to Look for when Selecting a Self Storage Facility

If you are searching for a self storage facility, there are a number of things that are important to consider beyond just the price. Assuming the monthly rental cost is relatively the same from one storage facility to another in a particular area, following are some additional factors to think about when choosing where to store your treasures.

Rental Terms

Most self storage companies offer month-to-month rent, however, you should check the terms to be sure. Some may have a minimum period of time you need to rent. Also, some storage facilities require you to give them at least a 30 day notice before you can end your lease. That becomes tricky if you only planned to rent for a month. You would have to give the rental office your 30-day notice prior to moving in.

Sometimes you are not entirely sure what date you plan to move out. This forces you to plan way ahead. Instead, you may want to select a company where you can end a lease just a few days prior to moving out and not have to pay for the entire next month.


Prior to there being as many mini-storage locations as there are today, the older storage locations were more of a destination and were more tucked away. Newer facilities tend to be built at more convenient locations to compete with all the other locations. It is really nice if you can quickly get to your storage unit. Also, if you are trying to drive a trailer or moving van to a storage facility, it is helpful to find one that is easy to get into. You may want to select a place that is right off a highway with easy in and out access. Once you are moved into a storage unit, it will save a lot of time if you can quickly get over to your storage space.


The majority of storage facilities have limited hours, especially in the evenings. That is partly due to safety and security reasons, but, if the storage location is well-lit, fenced and has surveillance, that should not be such a concern. If you are storing an RV or boat in the outdoor storage area, you may be heading out on a Friday evening and possibly returning late on a Sunday evening. That makes it difficult to access your outdoor storage space if you are locked out during later hours.

Clean and Maintained

I’m not sure if you have visited many self storage businesses, but, many are not very well maintained. There are weeds growing everywhere around the building, the building is in tough shape, or your storage unit door may be difficult to open and close. Selecting a newer and nicely maintained facility is far more enjoyable to visit than many older and worn locations.

Regularly Snow Plowed in the Winter

In Minnesota, driving around parking lots and walking from your car to a building can be challenging and uncomfortable. Rather than just choose the cheapest storage units, contact the storage facility owner/manager to ask how often the place is plowed. Also, you may want to find out how much snowfall do they accept (i.e. 1 inch of snowfall, 2 inches, or more) before the facility is plowed. If you are moving your valuables in and out of the storage unit during the Winter, you don’t want to have to wade through a bunch of snow getting in and out of your space. If you are storing an RV or mobile ice house, you want to make sure you can easily drive the vehicle in and out of the facility and not get stuck in snow banks. At Storehouse Self Storage, we plow when there is as much as one inch of snow so we can keep the snow from piling up and freezing.

Easy Access to your Outdoor Storage Space

If you are planning to park an RV, fifth-wheel or boat trailer, you will want to know how much space you have to back in and out or possibly pull through the parking space. Many outdoor storage places have very tight parking making it very difficult to come and go. Ask the storage company how much turning radius and free space there is around the outdoor parking spaces. We feel it is important to have angled spaces that you can pull all the way through so you don’t have to back up. That makes it a lot easier and less risky to park each time.


One very important safety feature to consider is whether or not the entire storage area in fenced in. You would be surprised how much vandalism occurs if people can easily access vehicles or even locked storage units if there is no fence keeping them out. Much of the vandalism that occurs does so just because it’s easy and it’s easy for the vandal to get away. Fences are a big deterrent because it takes a lot of effort to get inside the fenced area and, more importantly, it is difficult to quickly escape from a fenced area if the vandal is noticed.

Security cameras

In addition to having a fence completely surrounding the storage complex, it is also important to choose a storage place that has security cameras. You know the owner cares about monitoring the facility and keeping you and your valuables safe.

Well Lit

Since it is dark by later afternoon for much of the year in Minnesota, it is really important to select a storage facility that is very well lit after dark, both at the entrance of the storage place and also around all the buildings. You want to be able to see well coming and going. Also, having a very well lit storage area is generally safer as well.

Gate Access

It’s not as critical, but it certainly nice if you can drive up to a gate, enter a code on a keypad and have the gate automatically open and shut. In the Winter, it is a lot harder to get out of your car, open a lock box, pull out the key and unlock a padlock on the gate. Then you need to repeat that process in reverse to exit the facility. Consider selecting a self storage place where you can select your own unique code and enter that at the keypad to open the gate conveniently and automatically. It makes it so much more pleasant visiting your valuables.

Ease of Renting Online

Finally, one thing we pride ourselves on is how easy it is to rent a unit. At Storehouse Self Storage, you can simply visit the website, select a unit size available, fill in your contact and payment information, sign the lease online and you’re done. Now, you can move into your unit whenever you’re ready. You just drive to Storehouse, enter your code (you selected online), and you’re in! You do not need to meet with anyone or sign hard copies of any paperwork. Just be sure to bring your own padlock if you rented an indoor storage unit. It’s that simple.

We have high standards at Storehouse Self Storage and work hard to make sure the facility is clean and maintained year-round. We make sure the gate is functioning properly and run to the facility, day or night, if there is ever an issue with the gate due to sleet or snow. We want to give you a top-notch experience. You are storing precious items and we want to make sure you can rely on us to keep them safe and accessible.

Top 5 Reasons to Rent Outdoor Storage

In addition to our many household possessions, here, in our area, including the Princeton, Cambridge, Isanti, St. Francis, Zimmerman, Milaca and Braham areas, many folks also have RVs, 4x4s, boats, snowmobiles and/or other “toys”. Us East Central Minnesotans love to get out and enjoy the beautiful outdoors. Not everyone has the space to store all the vehicles however. That’s where storing your vehicle at an outdoor parking storage space can be very handy.

People often just think about the cost to rent an outdoor space, wondering whether paying that rent is worth it or not. There are other factors to consider however. If you choose to park your RV, trailer, car, portable fish house or other toys at an outdoor storage facility such as Storehouse Self Storage, you get the huge benefits of (1) accessing your vehicle 24/7, (2) there is plenty of space to navigate in and out of the parking space, (3) the outdoor parking area is snowplowed all Winter to make it easy to come and go year-round, (4) there are security cameras monitoring your vehicle, and (5) the storage facility is fully fenced requiring a code to enter the storage facility.

If you choose to park your RV, boat or trailer in your yard, you run the risk of vandalism, it reduces the space you have available for your cars and trucks, and neighborhoods may not always welcome the large recreational vehicles.

Below are the most common uses for outdoor parking storage.

RV / Motorhome / Travel Trailer / Camper / Camper Van / Fifth Wheel Storage

During the Pandemic, the RV industry saw a significant increase in sales. Sales are slowing now, however, if you look at the trend pre-pandemic, the RV industry has been steadily growing since 2017. Currently, over 9 million households own an RV and, according to RV News, 9.6 million households intend to buy an RV within the next five years. People are discovering that it makes financial sense to own an RV. An article summarizing a study conducted by CBRE Hotels Advisory Group stated that RV vacations cost much less than other types of vacation travel, even when factoring in fuel prices and the cost of RV ownership. According to their study, conducted by Go RVing and the RV Industry Association, there are cost savings of 21-64% for a four-person travel party, while a two-person travel party saves 8-53%, depending on factors such as the type of RV and type of vacation.

One challenge with owning an RV is having proper storage. Many RVs are now 30 to 45 feet long, if not longer. Most people do not have a driveway, garage or pole barn large enough to store the RV inside and more and more cities are passing ordinances stating you cannot store your RV, boat, or trailer, etc. in your driveway or yard. That’s where secure outdoor parking can solve those challenges. There are numerous outdoor storage units or parking spaces that you can easily store your recreational vehicle. Typically, the rent is based on RV lengths but is affordable regardless of the size.

If you choose to store your RV at an outdoor storage facility, you will want to select a storage place that has a fence around it and is secure. You invested a considerable amount of money on your RV and it’s important to protect it.

Store Your Ice Castle / Yetti / Grey Wolf Ice House

There has been a huge boom in mobile ice fishing houses in Minnesota since the invention of the Ice Castle. What a great idea – a camper-type vehicle you can use in both the Winter and Summer! If you are considering of purchasing one of these deluxe mobile ice houses, we recommend you visit our friends at Milaca Unclaimed Freight in Milaca, MN. They sell numerous Ice Castles and provide great service. You can also find a highly rated and reputable Yetti dealer just down the road from them at Northland Auto Center on Hwy 169.

If you are searching for outside storage for your ice house, Storehouse Self Storage offers easy access to numerous great fishing lakes along Hwy 95, Hwy 169 and Hwy 65. You can pop into the storage facility, hook up your Ice Castle, and head out ice fishing or camping.

Park Your Work Truck

If you have a work truck, such as a delivery or equipment van, cherry picker truck, work trailer or other large vehicle and you don’t have space to park it, you may want to consider storing your vehicle at a fenced outdoor storage. You can drive to the storage facility, park your passenger vehicle for the day and take your work vehicle to work. Then, return back to the storage at the end of the work day to swap vehicles again. Most outdoor storage places have various length parking spaces you can rent, depending on how long of an outdoor unit space you need.

Boat / Pontoon / Trailer Storage

In the land of 10,000 Lakes, where the majority of lakes are not far from the Cambridge and Princeton areas, you may have a speed boat, fishing boat, or pontoon that you would like to put into Winter storage. You can cover your boat with a heavy-duty tarp and park it at an outdoor boat storage.

The beauty of choosing a self storage facility is you can come and go with the boat whenever you like instead of just April/May and Sept/October like many boat storage facilities. If you don’t live on a lake, you can even store the boat in the Summer and buzz over to the self storage to hook up your boat trailer and go for the weekend. Then, you can easily return the boat to the storage parking space before you head back home. That way your boat is accessible 24/7 and it’s stores in a secure storage area.

If your boat on the trailer is less than 8’ high then you could even rent an indoor storage unit and store the boat and trailer inside. Most storage unit doors are 9 feet wide by 8 feet high. At Storehouse Self Storage, we have indoor units up to 40 feet long.

Park Your Extra Car

Do you have teen or young adult drivers that are off at school and do not need their car or truck? Maybe you inherited an antique car and need somewhere to store it. The monthly cost to store a smaller vehicles, such as a car, is pretty cheap rent. Often, people store their extra car(s) at an outdoor storage place. It frees up space in your driveway and it’s one less vehicle to snowplow around in the Winter time.

Whether you are searching for boat storage, RV storage, car storage, or any other type vehicle storage, the most important factors are keeping your vehicle safe and having easy and convenient access to it. You have invested a lot into your boat, car or recreational vehicle so it’s important to protect your investment. It’s also great to find a storage place that is affordable and allows you to rent month to month so you have the flexibility you need.

Top 6 Reasons People Rent Self Storage

As you probably noticed, self-storage facilities continue to pop up all over the place, even in the Cambridge, Isanti, Princeton, Zimmerman, Milaca, and St. Francis areas. Obviously self storage units are popular in urban and suburban areas. They are also growing in popularity in the outstate areas. Recently, I have even noticed rural farmers building self storage buildings on their farm near me where they have quick access to a highway.
We are blessed in this country and have a lot of possessions. Also, people have become more mobile and, as people’s life situations change, our need to temporarily or permanently store all our belongings is becoming greater.
Following, are five common reasons people are renting more storage units than ever.


Transitioning from one home to another impacts us in numerous different ways. 41% of self storage customers stated they needed storage for moving. Following are examples of when you may need storage if you are moving:
It seems like the popular thing to do once adults are empty-nesters is to downsize. The large home (and expenses associated with that) do not make sense anymore. Couples often choose to move to a home that is smaller and maybe easier to maintain. Also, with the recent inflation, loss of jobs and other life events, people are choosing to switch from a larger home to a smaller space. As a result, we are faced with trying to decide what to do with all the possessions and furniture that won’t fit into a smaller home, condo or apartment. Moving requires a lot of time and work and often, we don’t have time to sort through everything before the move. Instead of making any rash decisions, you can store excess possessions in storage until you have time to go through everything. You may possibly reuse them again in the future or hand them off to family members when the time is right.
Staging Your Home for a Sale
If you have ever put your house on the market, you know the realtors often suggest you hide or store personal photos, extra furniture, children’s toys, and other items to make the home seem more roomy and allow the potential buyer to imagine the home as their new abode. If your rooms are crammed full of furniture and belongings, temporarily storing those items in a storage unit may pay large dividends if you can maximize the sale price.
Between Homes
Maybe you have to move out of your home by June 15th but you are not moving into your new place until August 1st. You may likely be able to crash a family member’s home, but, you probably don’t want to move all your belonging there! Renting a storage unit nearby gives you a safe location to store all of your possessions until you can move into your new home. You can also hang onto the storage unit to keep all your things until you have time to get the new house just the way you want it and are ready to move everything in.
Traveling Job or Active Military Service
You may be a traveling nurse or on active duty in the military for a number of years. Using a storage space is much cheaper than paying rent or a mortgage for a place you are not living at. A safe storage unit can act as your home base while you are away.
Consolidating Homes
If you recently got re-married or moved in with a friend or significant other, you may be consolidating homes, but, now you have two households worth of furnishings to deal with. Finding a mini-storage near you could give you time to get through the transition.

Extra Space

We tend to consume a lot of things and there is only so much that can fit in a home before you’re bursting at the seams. 17% of storage rental customers said they use self storage for de-cluttering. In the process of organizing, there may be items that you just don’t feel like getting rid of, but don’t have the space to keep in your home. A storage unit can serve as a nice extra room. This way you have a more neat and presentable home while having the option to access your valuables 24/7. Storage units solve a lot of today’s space issues that people have. A storage facility not only serves residents. They can also be a smart way to save on office or warehouse space. Commercial clients lease storage for inventory or supplies rather than expanding their offices.

The Vagabond Life

“Baby-Boomers” are retiring and many are living in different locations in Summer vs. Winter, especially if you live in Minnesota. Rather than leave important items in a vacant home for long periods of time, people are opting to store them in storage facilities. This gives you the security you need and the easy access you want.

Summer or Winter Storage Needs

As decorating for every holiday becomes a bigger and bigger trend, the extreme amounts of decorations need to live somewhere when not beautifying the house. Increasingly, people are opting to rent storage units to house these extra items. The same holds true for other seasonal items such as hunting and sporting equipment, yard maintenance equipment, lawn mowers, snowblowers, patio furniture, outdoor bars, grills and other similar items. Also, if you have a “Summer” vehicle that you bring out when the roads are nice, you may want to store that in an enclosed storage unit safe from the elements. The rent for a storage unit is far cheaper than building a garage.

Store a Loved One’s Belongings

If you have a family member that passes away, going through their home is a very emotional and time-consuming thing to have to do. However, you typically are under a deadline to empty the home so it can be rented or sold. If your parent or grandparent held onto a lot of possessions, the amount of stuff can be overwhelming. Customers who are dealing with a loss often put items into storage and deal with them when things are a bit easier. Giving yourself time before sorting through a loved one’s belongings may help family members extend a bit more grace in dividing those sentimental items.


Not only do we own a lot of possessions, we are a country of collectors. Actually, we all tend to collect something, whether it’s photographs, kids’ artwork, model cars, beer cans, books, flea market wares, or many other things. Some people collect these items for fun. Others collect to sell or engage with similar-minded people. But all this collecting comes at the cost of lost room in the home, garage, attic, or basement. That’s when collectors can benefit from a storage facility.

There are numerous other reasons for renting a storage unit, large or small. Probably the best thing about self storage units are that you can typically rent month to month and you have the flexibility to use the extra space as needed. It can be the cheapest option when you need safe storage.