Frequently Asked Self Storage Questions

At Northwest Self Storage, we understand that self storage may be accompanied by confusing terms, unfamiliar unit options, and unknown amenities. That's why we've compiled this comprehensive FAQ to address your most pressing questions about self storage. We aim to provide clarity and guidance, helping you with your self storage needs. Contact us or visit your nearest Northwest Self Storage to secure your ideal storage solution



What is Self Storage and why do people use it?

When space in your home or office is limited, self storage is a convenient solution for decluttering, moving, or creating extra room. At Northwest Self Storage, we offer secure and flexible storage space for individuals and businesses to store their belongings. At many of our facilities, we also offer parking space rental to store your extra vehicle. With either option, you have full control over your storage unit or parking space and can access your stored belongings at any time during access hours at your facility.

How much is a storage unit?

Our storage prices can vary between facilities and other available amenities. If you want to know our most up-to-date prices, please call, or check our storage finder tool to find the nearest facility.

How long can I rent a storage unit for?

All leases we offer are month-to-month. Whether you only need storage for a month or longer, there is no need to sign an additional lease to accommodate a greater need. Stay for as long as you will need storage without fear of lengthy commitments. While you are welcome to utilize your storage unit for less than a month, prepayment of one month is required and will not be prorated if your use is less than one month.

Are there any promotions or discounts available?

We often run promotions; however, they will vary by location and time of year. For the most up-to-date promotions and discounts available, please get in touch with your local Northwest Self Storage facility.

What pest control measurements do you take?

We use a national vendor who contracts with local companies to assist each location's pest control needs. Each facility is serviced on a case-by-case basis.

Is there anything I can’t store?

Certain items cannot be stored in your storage unit at ANY time. Here is the following list of things:

  • Perishables
  • Food Items, including canned/sealed goods – even water bottles
  • Animals
  • Stolen Property
  • Hazardous or Flammable Materials
  • Drugs
  • Explosives/Firearms/Ammunition
  • Unregistered Vehicles
  • People/Yourself, i.e., seeking shelter from a storage unit
  • Anything Illegal

Can I live in a storage unit?

No, you cannot live in a storage unit. Utilizing a storage unit for a residence is strictly prohibited. Per our rental agreement, living animals, plants, etc., are not permitted to be stored in a storage unit.

Do I need insurance for a storage unit?

Yes, insurance is a requirement for any storage unit. If you have homeowners or renter's insurance, it may also extend to your storage unit. Please check your coverage with your agent to see whether storage coverage is included or can be added to your policy. If you do not have your own insurance, we require SBOA Tenant Insurance for your items. It is recommended that customers utilize our plan even if they are using their homeowners or renter's policy, as it prevents your insurance premiums from going up in the event of a claim and pays out prior to insurance claims.

How much is the SBOA Tenant Insurance that is offered?

SBOA Tenant Insurance is offered by Northwest Self Storage and can range from $12 to $32 per month, depending on the coverage amount needed for stored items. Contact your nearest Northwest Self Storage for more information on pricing for SBOA Tenant Insurance.

Does my home renter's insurance cover storage units?

Insurance is a requirement for any storage unit.  To be compliant with our lease agreement, you do need to maintain coverage on your stored items. If you have homeowner's or renter's insurance, be sure to check with your agent to see whether storage coverage is included or can be added to your policy.  Once you have confirmed coverage, please provide the declaration page to your local property manager at the time of move-in. We also offer SBOA Tenant Insurance at our locations for those without insurance.

Can I move to a different storage unit?

If there is an available unit that better suits your needs, our customer service team would be happy to assist with a unit transfer. Please note there may be a cost difference between units which is due at the time of transfer before it can be finalized.


Accessibility and Security

What times can I access my storage unit?

Facility access hours, sometimes called gate hours, are the available times when our customers may access their units. These hours differ from our office hours and are unaffected by holiday scheduling. The access hours for most of our facilities are 6:00 AM-10:00 PM; however, please check your facility's access hours on their website or contact your facility manager as they differ by location.

Do I need my own lock for my storage unit?

Yes, you will need a lock for your storage unit. Some locations use specialty locks depending on the door type. You can purchase a lock that was specifically designed for use on storage units. If you would rather bring your own lock, we recommend checking with your property manager to ensure the appropriate size and style of lock is being used. We do not allow combination locks at our facilities (such as a locker lock); all locks must be keyed.

What security measures are in place to protect my belongings?

Most of our facilities are fenced and offer gated access. This helps us know who comes and goes from the facility and when. Most of our facilities also feature video monitoring. Our facilities are well-lit to help create a safe environment for our late-night and early-morning customers.

What is the difference between access hours and office hours?

Access hours are the times when our customers can access their units and either load or unload their units. Office hours are the hours our office is open for business. Things that you may need during office hours include rent payment – should you opt to pay in person – purchase of additional moving supplies and transferring or vacating a unit.

Do managers have access to my storage unit?

No, our staff cannot access your storage unit without your permission for the duration of the lease, except in the case of a Default or an emergency.

What should I do if I get locked in after hours?

For the safety of our tenants and their belongings, our gates lock at 10:00 PM and cannot be reopened until they unlock again at 6:00 AM. Our customer service line is available until 10:00 PM PST if anyone accidentally gets stuck. After that, we urge our customers to call their local, non-emergency police and/or fire number for assistance.

What happens if I forget my gate access code?

After verifying your identity, you can regain your access code by calling our customer service number, utilizing our online chat, or stopping into your facility office during office hours.

What happens if I lose the key to my lock?

To maintain the security of your belongings, only our customers have keys to their units. Should those keys be lost or misplaced, contact us to schedule a lock removal and replacement for a fee.


Types of Storage Units

Do I need a climate controlled storage unit?

Climate controlled storage units maintain a consistent temperature between 55-80 degrees Fahrenheit and help keep humidity consistent as well. Climate controlled storage is best for those who would like to store items that may be sensitive to extreme temperatures, such as unsealed wood furniture, electronics, true leather, etc. 

What is an alternative to climate controlled storage units?

Many of our facilities offer a version of temperature controlled storage units, including heated or air conditioned; however, very few offer true climate control, which would include humidity monitoring. To find out what type of temperature controlled units are at your local Northwest Self Storage location, you can call, chat, or stop by during office hours.

What is a drive-up storage unit?

Drive-up storage units exist on the ground level and are exterior units. They allow the greatest level of convenience for storing bulky or heavy objects and, in some cases, vehicles. They feature roll-up garage-style doors and are recommended for businesses or people who need easy access to their belongings.

What is the difference between interior and exterior storage units?

Interior storage units are located inside the storage facility building through an exterior door. Once you walk through the main door, you will navigate to your storage unit door using the hallway. Outdoor storage units are often located on the ground floor and are easily accessible without entering a building. Each unit type offers its own advantages, which may be valuable to people in different situations.

What size storage unit do I need?

Storage sizing will vary depending on the items you need to store. We have a size guide with photos and descriptions of common household items to help you navigate choosing the size that works best for you.

Can I store a vehicle in a storage unit?

Yes, you can store a vehicle in a storage unit. However, we have requirements for storing any vehicle in our storage units or parking spaces. The requirements are:

  • The storage unit door must be able to close and lock.
  • The vehicle must be in running condition.
  • All vehicles must be registered and insured.
  • A drive-up storage unit will be needed.

What size storage unit for a car?

The storage unit size depends on the car you are trying to store. Small compact vehicles can fit into a drive-up storage unit that is 10 x 20, but knowing the exact dimensions of your vehicle is essential in getting the correct storage unit. Please contact your nearest Northwest Self Storage facility for further details and assistance.

Can I store a boat or RV in a storage unit?

Depending on the size, boats/RVs can be stored in a storage unit or in a parking spot. Knowing your boat or RVs exact dimensions will help you make the right decision. The storage requirements for vehicles also apply to boats and RVs. For further details and assistance on boat/RV storage, please contact your nearest Northwest Self Storage facility.

Do storage units have outlets?

Some facilities offer electrical outlets for our covered parking spots and our enclosed storage units. Please speak with the store manager to find out if your desired storage location offers power outlets.


Business Storage

Can I run my business out of a storage unit?

No, you cannot conduct any business out of a standard storage unit or use it for any type of workshop, repairs, renovations, sales or other contracting and doing so is grounds for immediate termination. You are permitted to store extra inventory, office items, and equipment that take up too much room. However, some facilities do have office space rentals which do allow business to take place inside. Please contact your local Northwest Self Storage for information on whether office space is available and the requirements to rent.

Can I use a storage unit as a workshop?

No, you cannot conduct business from within a standard storage unit per the lease agreement and doing so is grounds for immediate termination; however, some facilities do have designated workshop rentals available to rent. Please contact your local Northwest Self Storage for information on whether warehouse space is available and the requirements to rent it.


Storage Unit Payments and Documentation

Are there any additional fees other than the rent cost?

Yes, Northwest Self Storage has a one-time initial administration fee of $26 in addition to the rent price on our website. This fee covers your account setup, payment processing, access code, and ensures that your storage unit is clean and ready for your move in. If you do not have homeowner's or renter's insurance, or if your state requires storage-specific property protection, there is an additional fee for that as well. Please contact your local Northwest Self Storage facility or customer service for more information about pricing.

How far in advance can you reserve a storage unit?

Storage units are rented on a first-come, first-served basis. We offer a reservation feature to save the current price; however, making a reservation does not guarantee a unit. To ensure your unit is available on your desired move-in date, you would need to remit a full month's payment plus any move-in costs in advance. Pre-paid rent is non-refundable.

What type of payments do you take?

Cash, credit card, check, cashier's check. 

What documents do I need to reserve a storage unit?

A valid driver's license or Government-issued photo ID is required to rent a unit.

How can I pay my rent each month for my storage unit?

We offer many convenient ways to pay at our locations: automatic payments can be set up, credit card, check, and cash; online, in-person, and phone payments.

How long in advance do I need to give a notice about vacating my unit?

If you know when you intend to vacate your unit, please let the property manager know as soon as possible. We recommend a 7-day written notice by way of either speaking to the property manager or contacting our customer experience specialists over the phone or via live chat to note your account. Once written notice is given, you must also remove your lock and leave the space clean and free of debris. Please consider our terms are monthly, and per your rental agreement, we do not refund any partially used months. That means you would want to be vacated prior to the day of the month you made your initial payment in order to avoid owing for the following month.

What happens if my payment is late?

Your monthly rent is due on the same day each month: the day you make your initial payment and will be listed on the first page of your rental contract as “Rent Due Date”. If your payment is late, you will be charged a late fee. The date this fee is added to your account will vary by law in each state. Late fees cannot be waived; the total balance must be paid to bring your account out of delinquency status and avoid the lien process. No partial payments are accepted. 

Until your account is paid in full, access to your unit may be denied, gate code access may be suspended, and your unit may have a secondary company lock placed upon it, referred to as an overlock. The late fees vary by local and state regulations and will be outlined in your rental agreement. The easiest way to avoid paying a late fee is to enroll in our auto-pay system and keep your billing information up to date.

How long until my belongings go to auction?

The amount of time your account must be delinquent before the lien process begins and for an auction to be scheduled varies by state and local law. Northwest Self Storage will provide you with a written notice to your email or physical address. Our managers attempt to contact delinquent customers immediately to prevent escalation to auction proceedings.

How do I get a refund?

We do not refund for partially unused months; however, if you have other issues please get in touch with your local Northwest Self Storage property manager. You can also call our customer service line at 844-434-1084, utilize our website's live chat option, or email us at


Thank you for visiting Northwest Self Storage. We hope our answers have provided valuable information. Don't hesitate to contact us if you have further questions or need additional assistance. We look forward to serving you and providing you with a seamless storage experience.