Finding a place for things we need is very important. Nobody likes the idea of having to dispose of something that may have been given to us by a close friend or a keepsake that comes with cherished memories. This can be rectified by renting a holding unit, allowing us to keep important items outside of our homes.

Of equal importance, however, is keeping said belongings safe and having access to them as needed. When choosing between storage facilities, you need to keep in mind that you will be keeping valuable things there. You will want an establishment that can make sure your stuff will be there when you return and in good condition. The following is 5 critical things to keep in mind when looking for a provider that you can trust and will meet your needs.

1. All holding facilities are not created equally. Some will offer features and benefits that others will not while others may have specials or better prices. If you start off believing that one provider is as good as another, you will probably miss out on a better deal elsewhere.

2. Know what you need. What size areas are available? Are there any climate-controlled units? Can you upgrade or downsize your room on demand? Think about what your holding needs are or could be in the future. You may be disappointed if you put important documents in holding, only to find out a few months later that they suffered damage because of not being held in a climate-controlled environment.

3. Get the dirt on the establishment. Like any other business, storage facilities have reputations and backgrounds that can be checked. Talk to people who may have done business with a particular outfit. Getting consistent and positive feedback can be a good sign while getting a lot of bad reports should steer you away. Feel free to also find reviews online and getting information from trade associations.

4. Learn about security measures. It will take more than gates and padlocks to keep your valuables out of harm’s way. Talk to the prospective outfit and ask about any countermeasures they employ. Do they use cylinder locks as opposed to outdated padlocks? Do they have alarms? How extensive is their video surveillance system? Get as much information as they are willing to share. You may have found a good outfit if they can answer these queries satisfactorily.

5. Read the fine print. You absolutely must know what the bottom line is before you sign on the line. Read the contract thoroughly, and never hesitate to ask questions. Get info about how any extra fees and how often rates can change. Beware of any hesitation on the company’s part: if they seem unwilling or uncomfortable disclosing any of this, you should reconsider choosing them.

Using this information can ease the process of finding the right storage facilities.