Skip to main content

Creating a self-storage inventory

A couple recording items in their storage unit
Click to enlarge
Operations - Store and Insure

Once simple hack that will take your self-storage to the next level

One of the best things you can do to make your storage life easy is to create an inventory. An inventory needed for insurance purposes, and it will let you keep track of your possessions so that you don’t end up buying a domestic item you already have but cannot locate.

What is an inventory?

At its heart, an inventory is a list of things. When you make an inventory for your self-storage unit, it will help you work out what you have and where it is. Your self-storage inventory can be a handwritten list posted on the wall of your unit, or a spreadsheet complete with serial numbers, purchase dates and values. It all depends on what level of detail you need. It is useful to make a note of replacement values for your stored items for insurance purposes, and your inventory is a reasonable place to record this information. You can even get apps like Housebook to help with domestic inventories, or your storage company may offer one.

Why do I need a self-storage inventory?

Some storage companies require you to supply an inventory of the contents of your unit, as part of their terms and conditions.

An inventory will help you to stay organised – no more wondering where on earth you’ve put the Christmas lights or your summer duvet. It’s there on the inventory.

An inventory can save you money. Not only will you avoid buying items you already have but can’t find, but should you ever need to reduce your storage bill, you can quickly scan for items that you no longer need and decide how to dispose of them. For other tips on keeping your storage costs down, see our blogpost.

An inventory helps with security. You may decide that it’s more secure to number boxes, rather than labelling them. A box marked ‘14B’ is less tempting to thieves than a box marked ‘Beatles vinyl’ for example. But imagine trying to find Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band in a tower of boxes labelled 14A to 14Z. This is where an inventory is invaluable, because you can note down each box number and its detailed contents.

An inventory will also help you should the worst happen and your storage unit is affected by a break-in, or a fire. It is not always easy to work out what you’ve lost, particularly if you haven’t seen your stored goods for a while. An inventory will remove all doubt – practical, and it will help you cope better with your loss.

And you will need an inventory for insurance purposes. If you are wondering whether your personal property is covered by insurance in a storage unit, the best answer we can give is, ‘please check with your storage provider.’ Most storage companies require you to insure your stored goods as a condition of doing business with them. Some storage companies include insurance in your monthly storage bill – but they may not tell you that you are not obliged to use their service. It’s quite acceptable to get your insurance elsewhere (from us for instance!) and you may find a way to pay less for your self-storage insurance if you shop around. Start by getting a quick quote from Store and Insure just to check you are getting the best deal.

How do I make a self-storage inventory?

The best time to begin a self-storage inventory is as you are moving your goods into your unit. Simply record each item and make a note of where it is in your unit. Later you can add details such as replacement cost and any serial numbers.

But if you’ve already stored your goods, try to remember what you have stored and make a list. You can always refine your inventory the next time you make a check of your storage unit; or if you need to move to a bigger unit. Remember, though, if it’s not on the inventory list, you can’t insure it; or conversely, you may be overpaying for a high-value item that is no longer stored. So it’s worth taking the time to find out exactly what you have in your unit. By the way – when you use Store and Insure, it’s quick and easy to adjust your coverage, and you can insure by the day, too. Just contact us, and we’ll sort you out.

Going forward, keep track of what you add to your storage unit and what you take out by updating your inventory. With a digital inventory and a smart phone you can do this on the spot. If you have multiple family members moving things in and out of your unit, post a sheet on the door and ask them to make a note of what goes in and what comes out, with the date. Check this list against the main inventory each time you visit to ensure that everything is up-to-date.

As you can see, an inventory is simple to create, and will save you a lot of hassle in the long run.