It’s incredibly easy to accumulate things in this world. You rent an apartment, and eventually it fills with stuff you’ve accrued during your travels. So you buy a house, and soon enough that extra room is also packed to the gills! It doesn’t make you abnormal. In fact it’s completely common. As you grow older your needs increase, and the stuff you must have around expands with your growing family. But you can’t always just buy a bigger house. Many people make up for the overflow by renting a storage space. But what do you keep there? It can feel odd to store family heirlooms or investment art pieces outside the home, but if you take a couple of precautions your goods will be just fine. Here are five tips for keeping your storage unit safe and secure.

First of all, choose a storage facility that is climate controlled. Not all units are the same, so make sure you ask about this when you are shopping around. Climate controlled locations keep everything balanced, so you won’t have to worry about your items being damaged by extreme temperatures. You’ll be able to store anything with confidence, which will help you move things back and forth easily.

Next, make sure you choose a lock that’s up to the challenge. Not all locks are constructed the same, and some are quite easy to pick. A lock with a key will serve you much better than a combination lock, and definitely choose one that’s constructed to make it difficult to cut through. The locks you use at the gym or for your bicycle won’t be good enough. Ask the facility manager which lock he would recommend. It’s always worth it to pay a little more for something heavy duty.

If you do choose a lock that’s opened with a key, make sure you keep that key safe. You shouldn’t put it on your everyday chain, along with your house key or car key. It’s inevitable you’ll misplace these at one point or another, and you definitely don’t want that lock key going missing. Never write the storage center name on the key itself, and keep any copies somewhere safe, like in a lock box.

Be aware of your surroundings when you are moving goods in and out of your storage center. Criminals love to keep an eye on these locations, and when they see valuables being shifted around they’ll know your unit is worth the risk. Always move things in and out during the day, and make sure no one is watching you with more than a passing interest. Most storage facilities are protected with a closed circuit camera system, but it always serves you well to keep your wits about you when accessing the unit itself.

Finally, don’t share your storage unit with other people. It’s always nice to do a favor for a friend, especially if they helped you out with a discount ADT service for your home or even got you into the same storage center with a month of free rent. But you’ll have no control over that person’s actions. They might not be as aware as you are. They could write the lock combination somewhere that’s easy to discover, or perhaps they come by to pick up some stuff and forget to lock the door when they leave. You want to think the best of people, but there is just too much at stake. Don’t cut corners, and you’ll be 100% certain your unit is safe and secure.