Living in New York City means not having a lot of space. A 2018 study shows that the average apartment size in New York City is just 866 square feet, and that number trends smaller depending on where you live. Most people call about 700 square feet home. When you’re working with that amount of space, every square inch counts!
Aside from the essentials, many NYC residents choose to keep their belongings in self-storage. Self-storage means instantly having another several hundred cubic feet of space to put everything you can’t fit or don’t want in your apartment. For many people, it’s like having a second apartment—one you don’t live in, but use to keep your belongings safe.
If you’re going to take full advantage of storage in New York City, there are a few tips and tricks you need to keep in mind. Self-storage costs money, so maximizing your utilization of that space is key in getting the best possible value out of it. Here’s how:
- Look at total cubic feet available when renting a storage space. Square footage only measures one dimension—the horizontal. In a storage space, the more vertical space you can use, the better, which is why it’s a good idea to consider total cubic space when renting. There’s a big difference between 144 square feet of space (12’x12’) and 1,728 cubic feet of space (12’x12’x12’)!
- Find storage near your home. If you want to get the most out of storage, it probably means you’ll be visiting it a lot, to collect items or place more things in storage. Try to find storage that’s within a mile or so or your living space—or a facility that’s not far by subway. Ask yourself, “how far am I willing to carry a box” when selecting storage.
- While some storage facilities have on-site staff, remember that it usually costs more for this level of security. Compromise and look for affordable storage that utilizes smarter security measures, like gated access, keypad controls, CCTV and good ‘ol fashioned padlocks on the doors. Security is everything when you choose self-storage, so look for solutions that’ll deter wrongdoers and keep your storage unit safe.
- Pack everything tightly and securely in storage. Even the cleanest, most well-maintained storage facilities can have their problems—issues like pests or water damage. Packing your items properly will protect them from these issues, should they ever arise. Tight, long-term storage boxes (plastic) are a good start. Keep things off the ground if possible. You can even insure your items or ask if the storage facility has insurance available.
- Organize your unit’s interior and don’t be afraid to rearrange as you fill it up. Start in the back left corner, then expand to the back right corner, snaking back and forth as you accumulate items. Be sure to leave an aisle so you can easily get at items in the back. Efficient use of space allows you to keep a smaller unit, without paying for a large one to house your expanding storage needs. Remember to use the vertical space, too!
- At home, keep a list of everything you put in storage and where it’s located. Label boxes in storage if possible. This makes it easy to find things when you need them. Halloween decorations? Box 5 in the storage unit! You can quickly consult your record and know instantly where in the storage unit your things are. It makes visiting the unit simple and effortless.
- Consider long- and short-term storage. Christmas decorations you only use for half the year? Short-term storage. Your bike during the winter season? Short-term storage. Your old college textbooks? Long-term storage. A piece of furniture that doesn’t fit in your current apartment? Long-term storage. Tow long-term storage items at the back of the unit and keep short-term items toward the front for easy accessibility.
The list of tips goes on and one, but these are some of the best to consider—especially if you’re new to self-storage. Whether you’re wrapping up a fresh move to a new place or tired of tripping over items in your current apartment, self-storage is a smart investment in something extremely precious in New York City: space.
Find a storage facility that offers the space you need, at a price you can afford, then use these tips to make the most of it. You’ll quickly see why so many people in the city rely on self-storage as a complement to their living space.