Two Letters Re: Self-Storage Spaces as Caches
I have written before about Self Storage Facilities back in October, 2009. I am still a resident manager of a small self storage facility. I agree with Ryan in British Columbia about using self storage caches for your preps.
Recommendation on locks: the round lock or disc lock is about the best defense you can purchase for your self storage unit. They cannot be cut with the more common bolt cutters and usually take an electric disc grinder to cut them off. A hint as to the keys for this type of lock. Go to a lock smith you trust and have a couple of extra keys made. Stash one in your bug out bag, one in your wallet and one in the ashtray of your vehicle. This is cheap insurance to assure yourself of getting access to your unit.
Also if you are storing food do so in the plastic totes or galvanized trash cans. Stay away from cardboard boxes, especially ones that have had produce in them. The only food items that should not be stored is items in paper/plastic wrappers. Cans an bucket that are properly sealed are usually okay. Check your food items often.
No matter how well the facility is maintained there is always the possibility of attracting mice. You really don’t know what the unit next to you has in it or where it came from, they could have brought the mice with them. To assure yourself of no rodents find out what the best rodent bait is in your area (speak to the guys at the feed store they know what works). Every couple of months when you go to take more goods in, put down some more rodent bait and remove the old. Mice need to be within 10 to 15 feet of a water source so many sure nothing is holding liquids that the mice can access. The plastic totes and galvanized trash cans will help detour some rodents. Plus they are easier to carry.
Mark your totes with things like “baby stuff – 1990” “Pregnancy stuff” “College junk” you get the idea.
Keep an inventory of what you have stored. This will serve two purposes: 1.) You will know what you have and 2.) keep you from over buy/storing the same thing over and over.
Shop around for your storage facility. Get to know the managers . Some people go to their units at the same time, on the same day of the week these are the people you want to avoid. Go different times, different days and all kinds of weather.
In getting to know the resident manager you might be surprised to find out they are preppers also. They will protect your unit as they will probably be hunkering down where they are. Regards, – Wilson
The author was clear in spelling out that a self-storage cache is not perfect but it is better than no cache, to which I agree. I also have used self-storage unites as a “cache” but primarily when moving. Move your survival stores from the house you are leaving into a storage unit and then bring it into the new house over time without the prying eyes of nosy neighbors watching everything that comes out of your moving van. And, I am very thankful that my friends and relatives will help us move but I don’t want them moving “everything” we own. Especially in an age were you can read a story on any given day about someone arrested with “a large cache of weapons and ammunition”. Drill down in that story and find that the guy had two long arms, two pistols and 400 rounds total.
And while a storage unit cache may be better than no cache, it does have some serious limitations in addition to what the author points out.
1) The author is correct in that you will need to plan on a manual way to enter the grounds such as cutting through a fence or lock. However this is not legal! Your contractual relationship with the storage unit does not allow you to destroy their property even if the power is down and you don’t have access to your “stuff”. If you happen to be unlucky enough to have a cop or Jeep full of National Guardsman roll by as your “breaking and entering”, and as Ricky Ricardo used to say, you are going to have some “splaining” to do. And the line that you are only trying to access your personal possessions may not fly.
2) Furthermore, what if the circumstances change your proposed timelines and you happen to be at the storage unit when it is being raided?
3) In a “bug in” plan, when you leave your place to go to the storage unit, is home base protected? Do you really want to be “out in it” if you don’t have to be?
4) In a “bug out” scenario, a fully loaded trailer in a storage unit ready to hook onto and “roll” has potential viability. I would look for a gate with a lock that you can cut. If you get caught, apologize, say that its an emergency and you needed to get your personal belongings and here is some money to replace the lock.
5) Storage units that are not in big buildings with elevators and have external doors; in our part of the world are minimally (if at all) insulated and do not have HVAC and they get very hot in the summer time. Not good for food storage and God forbid that your stored gasoline would start a fire.
6) Since most likely you are the one who is going to access your storage unit cache do you really want to be climbing over/through large rusted pieces of metal and nails in an “Oh Schumer” situation? That sounds like an injury waiting to happen.
7) I have minimal experience working a bolt cutter but people who I have spoken to tell me that rather than an expensive lock or a big lock, it is better to get those rounded type of padlock with metal that protects the metal loop as a bolt cutter cannot “get onto” the lock.
Be careful out there, may God bless – Brad J.