Des Moines, IA: Top Things to Know About Storage

Krista Diamond |

The Basics

There are 65 storage facilities in Des Moines, almost all of which are in our network. If you haven’t been in Des Moines long, or you’re in the process of moving there, it’s easy to underrate the midwestern city. But we kind of think you shouldn’t. Forget Brooklyn, Portland and Austin. The prairie paradise of Des Moines is a hipster wonderland that’s growing in population, and let’s face it; people need space for all their stuff. That’s where we come in. Des Moines has a metro area of 611,549 people, but the population is up by 7.4% since 2010 and it’s still on the rise. So is there enough space for everyone? With just an estimated 35,750 individual units in the city, competition for storage can be tight. Des Moines has a relatively low cost of living (expect to pay around $800 a month for a one bedroom apartment) and a good job market, which means that there are more people in town who can actually afford extra space. It stands to reason that these same people who can afford to rent a storage unit can also afford a slightly bigger apartment, so expect to find a wider availability in storage units if you’re looking for a larger size. StorageMart has a ton of facilities across Des Moines and they offer desirable features like climate control and online bill pay. They’re also one of many storage facilities that offers new customer specials like one month of free storage, so if you’re new in town and you’ve never rented a storage unit before, you can save money by taking advantage of this.

You Can Bike to Your Storage Unit

Obviously we don’t suggest trying this if you’re carrying a couch or something, but we do want to point out that unlike in larger cities (Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston, Washington DC...we could go on and on), it’s very easy to get around Des Moines which means it’s very easy to access your storage unit. The city has a 19.2 minute average commute time, and most residents boast that they can make it from their suburban homes to their downtown offices in 15 minutes flat. That’s thanks in large part to the recent widening of I-235 and also a user-friendly bus system. Des Moines is ranked 28th in the nation for bike friendliness, so getting to your storage unit on two wheels is possible if you want to do it, plus it’s eco-friendly. Another thing to think about when taking into account the commuter-friendly nature of Des Moines is whether or not you need 24 hour access to your unit. This isn’t an easy feature to find in Des Moines, but if you need it, you can rent a storage unit at M&W Mini Storage. Fortunately, unless your schedule is totally crazy or you’re some kind of midwestern vampire who can’t go out in the sun, you can probably live without 24 hour access.

Does Des Moines Make You Think About Insurance?

We don’t know about you, but all of these big insurance companies in Des Moines (ING, Nationwide, Principal Financial Group, Allied Insurance and Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield) have got us thinking about the super fun topic of insurance. It’s easy to assume that your storage facility lease includes some kind of automatic built in insurance. Unfortunately, this is pretty much never, ever the case. Even if your facility does offer coverage, it’ll probably be pretty basic and won’t necessarily cover what you want it to. If you’re storing something like a car, RV or boat that’s already insured, you should be all set. But what about a 10x10 storage unit full of furniture? What about your book collection which contains a few valuable first editions? You can always take the additional step of renting a climate-controlled storage unit to protect against weather damage, but if you’re storing something that’s important, expensive or totally irreplaceable, it’s worth considering insurance on the storage unit. Make sure to read your policy carefully. In Des Moines, you’re going to want insurance that covers natural disasters, which brings us to our next point:

When it Rains, It Pours

Des Moines gets 36 inches of rain a year. In fact, The Great Flood of 1993 left citizens without running water and forced Anheuser-Busch to start passing out cans of water in a relief effort (though we’re pretty sure passing out cans of Bud-Lite would have been pretty much the same thing). You can imagine the effect that a flood can have on your home, but not everyone thinks about the effect that it can have on your storage unit. Besides considering insurance, you should also ask your facility manager about how floods (and all other types of weather related scenarios) have affected the property in the past. Your storage facility manager will contact you if something like this occurs and damages your storage unit, but isn’t it great to be a few steps ahead and do everything you can to protect the items in your unit as much as you can before the worst case scenario happens? We recommend indoor storage to prevent water from seeping under the door of your unit. We also recommend avoiding the use of cardboard boxes, which can absorb moisture. Don’t place items like books, artwork, photographs or cushioned furniture directly on the bottom of your storage unit either, even if you are storing inside. Yes, these extra steps might require you to purchase a few extra items (like plastic totes and pallets) and they may require a little more of your time, but they’re totally worth it.