Seattle, WA: Top Things to Know About Storage

Krista Diamond |

Location, Location, Location

Situated on miles of both salt and freshwater shoreline, Seattle shines like a beacon of craft beer, craft coffee and craft everything else. With an estimated population of 662,400 that’s practically growing by the minute, the Washington mecca for those who are too hip to be hipsters has a high concentration of 25 to 34 year olds. This is a demographic that rents rather than buys when it comes to housing (consider the fact that the average Seattle home is valued at $508,000 and you can’t really blame them). Renters are spending at least $1,500 a month on one bedroom apartments, so this means more roommates, more small studios and yep, you guessed it, more people who need storage. But if the cost of living is 21.3% higher than the national average, can you even afford storage? The answer is yes, as long as you’re open to commuting to it. Like apartments, storage units in Seattle cost more when they’re in prime locations. While a 5x5 storage unit in the heart of Seattle will cost you around $85 a month, you can get the same unit for almost half the price if you’re okay with driving to a facility like Red Way Self-Storage where 5x5 units go for around $49 a month. It’s just 16 miles outside of the city which means a half an hour drive. If you’re like most people, you’ll probably only access your storage unit a few times a year at the most. Think about it, is the convenience of downtown really worth spending more than $1,000 a year on storage? We think not.

Contrary to Popular Belief, When it Rains it Doesn’t Always Pour

We can sum up our initial thoughts on storage in Seattle in two words: climate control. Turns out we weren’t exactly wrong in thinking this, but we weren’t totally right either. Moving to Seattle doesn’t mean that everything you own is going to get drenched in rain. According to the good people of Stor-More Self Storage-Burien, climate control isn’t always necessary. Seattle actually only sees around 38 inches of rain a year, so if you consider the rainiest city to be the one with the most rainfall, it’s far from number one. The number one threat to your items in storage as far as weather goes isn’t necessarily rain anyway. It’s moisture, as in humidity. Seattle is actually characterized by dry, pleasant summer months and chilly, wet winters, so you won’t find the air to be as damp as it is in certain southern states like Texas, and unless you’re storing something very, very valuable (which could be something you might want to think twice about), you should be fine, especially if you opt for indoor storage or take care not to place cardboard boxes on the ground as they can wick moisture. Stor-More told us about a tenant who dropped by to check on a piano that had been in storage for 20 years. She expected the worst but found out that despite needing a serious tuning, it was totally fine.

Seattle is for (Book) Lovers

Every year, Central Connecticut State University conducts a study that ranks cities by literacy. Seattle consistently lands in the top five.  The city is home to beautiful public libraries, cozy book shops and of course, that famous cloudy weather that inspires residents to stay inside and crack open a novel. If you’ve got a whole bunch of books, you know how hard they can be to transport. They take up a ton of space and they’re super heavy. If you’re putting them into storage, you want to take special care to make sure they remain in good shape, especially if they’re collectibles. If you have an antique book or a first edition, or you love all of your books so much that they all feel like they’re worth a million bucks to you, make sure to box them in materials that are acid-free as the acid can seriously mess with their pages. Also make sure that you never leave those boxes directly on the ground of your storage unit. If you’ve got other boxes or furniture in there, place the boxes of books on top. As we mentioned, the boxes can wick moisture. There’s also the rare possibility of water actually entering your unit. One situation that can cause this is a nearby unit with a fridge that hasn’t been defrosted leaking into yours. If you’re not able to place the boxes of books on top of another item, consider investing in wood pallets or something similar to get them off the ground.

Storage and the Homeless

The homeless population is high in Seattle. As is the case with any expensive city, many residents find it challenging to make ends meet and are sadly forced to live on the streets. For anyone in this situation, desperation can make living in a storage unit seem like an option. If you’re considering this, you should know that it’s not only illegal, it’s actually pretty dangerous. It’s possible to get trapped in a unit if your door closes behind you once you’re inside. Most Seattle storage facilities are happy to rent storage to homeless people who need a safe place to keep their belongings, and they’ll also happily refer them to local shelters. Many of these allow homeless people to use the shelter’s phone number and address as contact information on a lease. If you’re fortunate enough to have a home, ask your facility manager about charities that they accept donations on behalf of. Your extra clothing, books, household items and canned goods can mean the world to a homeless tenant in need.