How to Safely Use a Self Storage During the Coronavirus Pandemic
So you would like to store your items in a self storage and don’t know how to start? Is it actually safe to use a self storage during the coronavirus pandemic?
Self storages kept open during the lockdown as they provided a key function in the supply chain. In this guide, I will show you the safest way to use your own self storage unit. I will also walk you through various options and see which company can help you store your belongings during the coronavirus pandemic.
Are self storages open during the coronavirus pandemic?
The short answer is yes. Self storages are open during the coronavirus pandemic but there are safety measures in place to tackle the spread of the virus. Storages play a key role in the supply chain since the lockdown started at the end of March.
Self storages are likely to experience a busy period ahead with an increase in customers using the facilities as well as new inquiries. Therefore, it is recommended to prepare things in advance and contact your desired storage earlier than you would normally do.
Social distancing measures will be harder to maintain, so it is important for both clients and businesses to stay alert.
Some companies have reduced reception hours to limit personal contact with their staff.
As a general rule of thumb, I would first call and enquire about the services before showing up on site.
How can I book my self storage during the coronavirus pandemic?
Self storage receptions are slowly reopening in England, whilst Wales, Northern Island, and Scotland are set to ease the lockdown measures. This means that you can book your storage services on site, however, it is advised to pre-book online where possible.
I asked some of the largest self storage companies on how you can pre-book your services. Here is what I found:
Big Yellow Self Storage – COVID-19 statement
- New customers should phone and book ahead when possible.
- Access to existing customers is unaffected.
- Receptions will only allow a limited number of people into their reception area.
- Reception hours are: 8 am – 4 pm from Monday to Friday; 9 am – 4 pm on Saturdays; 10 am – 2 pm Sunday (subject to change).
Safestore – COVID-19 information
- New customers should phone and book ahead.
- Customers with existing extended access will be able to access their storage unit as normal.
- Reception hours are Mon – Saturday: 8 am – 12 pm and 1 pm – 5 pm, Sunday: 10 am – 12 pm and 1 pm – 4 pm (subject to change).
Shurgard Self Storage – COVID-19 information
- New customers can call or simply make online reservations.
- You have to book an appointment to move in.
- Reception is open during office hours and restricted to one person at the time.
Henfield Self Storage – COVID19 update
- New clients must phone or e-mail in advance.
- Receptions remain closed.
- Opening hours for existing clients remain the same, except Sunday (hours may be subject to change at short notice).
- Henfield storages in Chiswick, Southwark, Staples Corner, Wimbledon Monday-Friday 8:30 am-5:00 pm, Saturday 9:00 am-1:30 pm, Sunday 9 am -11:30 pm.
- Henfield storage in Horsham Monday-Friday 8:00am-5:00pm, Saturday 8:00am-12:30pm, Sunday 8 am – 10:30am.
Access Self Storage – Coronavirus update
- For new clients: phone or e-mail your local store for bookings.
- For existing clients access is available: 8.30 am – 6 pm Monday to Friday, 8.30 am – 5 pm Saturday and 10 am – 4 pm Sunday (subject to change).
- Receptions remain closed to the public but you can contact them via phone during normal business hours.
How can I safely access my self storage store?
Generally speaking, self storages put appropriate measures in place to comply with the updated guidelines from the government. This includes limiting the number of customers in reception areas, intensified daily cleanings, and distancing markers on floors, just to name a few.
As a customer, you will also need to do your part to protect yourself and others using the same storage. I went through the entire process from booking until vacating your unit. Here is what you need to look out for in order to safely use a self storage during the coronavirus pandemic:
Booking your storage
Check the website of your selected self storage. Can you book online? If you have any questions, phone or send an e-mail to your selected store. Ask if you need to buy a lock beforehand.
Payment should be done online or via the phone. Alternatively, if receptions are open, you can use contactless cards to pay for the service.
Traveling from /to the storage
Follow the governments’ guidance on safer travel. Moreover, try to avoid traveling in the van if you hire anyone to help.
Guidance on facemasks
In it’s latest guidelines, The SSA (Self Storage Association) does not recommend customers to wear facemasks when accessing self storage units. Facemasks are only recommended to be worn by those individuals who have coronavirus symptoms and when advised by healthcare worker.
Entering the site
Almost all sites are automated and can be accessed with codes. Pin pads are frequently touched, so I’d recommend using disposable gloves in order to enter your code.
Receptions are normally open but with reduced service. If there are extra measures in place, ie. maximising the number of people in the reception area, then you should follow the appropriate guidance.
According to SSA (Self Storage Association), 2-meter social distancing will most probably need to stay in place for the foreseeable future. Try to observe social distancing measures at all times.
You also have to note that when removal crews are moving heavy furniture or bulky items, it is almost impossible for them to keep two meters apart. However, it is recommended that you still keep 2m distance from them.
Minimise contact with other customers and staff members.
Wash your hands, most storages provide hand-washing facilities. If unsure, please use hand sanitiser. Consider using disposable plastic gloves when touching handles, rails, etc. Do not touch your face, eyes, and mouth.
Handling your belongings
As always, I’d recommend following the governments’ updated safety guidelines. It is a good practice to use regular washing up liquid and water to clean your belongings before and after handling.
It’s recommended not to use bleach instead – bleach can damage your items and it is also dangerous to inhale in closed spaces. Your regular washing up liquid will do a better job.
Consider the different surfaces involved – this article from the BBC will help you better understand how long the virus can live on different surfaces, ranging from a few hours to 28 days.
Vacating you storage unit
Always contact your storage in advance before vacating your storage unit. If you need help moving your belongings, you can search on RemovalBear to find recommended removal companies or a man with a van.
If you hire anyone to move your belongings, you will need to have additional safety measures in place. I put together an article about how you can safely move during the coronavirus pandemic – you may find some information helpful if you decide to go ahead and hire someone.
Self storages keep playing an important role in the supply chain since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
Customers can access their storage units but there are safety measurements in place, varying from site to site.
Although most self storage sites are now open, receptions might be closed or operate on reduced hours. It is always recommended to book your storage units beforehand – you can do this (as well as the payment) over the phone or online.
When accessing your storage, carefully maintain social distancing rules and try to minimise contact with staff members and other customers on-site. It is also advised to wash your hands regularly or use a sanitiser if possible. Moreover, you might also want to wash the surfaces of your belongings with regular washing up liquid and lukewarm water.
You may want to consider not wearing a facemask as per the latest guideline of the SSA. Facemasks are only supposed to be worn by symptomatic individuals to stop the spread of the virus.
Finally, it is important to keep yourself updated and always follow government guidelines.
Are you using self-storage services during the coronavirus pandemic? Or do you have any questions? Let me know in the comments below.