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Searching For Self Storage Units? Here's Everything You Need to Know

Whether you're moving into a home that isn't quite ready yet or downsizing for a period of time, you need a place to store some of your stuff-and a friend's garage isn't going to cut it.

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Thankfully, self-storage companies exist to help out in exactly these situations.

At it's basic, self-storage allows you to store your belongings for a small monthly fee. The units come in various shapes and sizes depending on how much you'd like to pace inside. Plus, there's no need to sweat security since the units are completely private-meaning that your self-storage unit is locked and only you hold the key.

So, what do you need to know before shopping around for self storage quotes?
To help you shop around for the perfect storage, we'll take a look at the most important factor to consider before comparing storage unit quotes: Which kind of storage best fits your needs.

Which Type of Storage Option Best Fits Your Needs?

If you're new to storage units, you might think that they're all one in the same. However, there are actually three different types of storage to choose from and, depending on your situation, there's certain to be one that stands out as the best fit.

Short Term self-storage: Best for Local Moves, Downsizing, and Clearing Out Clutter

Standard self-storage is what you typically think of as a storage unit. These are private units available in multiple sizes that you can rent short-term.


This type of storage, also called mini-storage, is charged on a monthly basis and the storage spaces range in size. You provide your own lock, which can ensure you that your space isn't being accessed without your permission.

What's the biggest benefit of self-storage units? Unlike the other two options, this situation gives you the ability to access what's in your storage unit at any given time, adding and removing items as you see fit.

Granted, whether or not you're allowed 24/ 7 entry varies between different self-storage facilities. But, whether they're only open during business hours or allow access at any time night or day, standard self-storage means that you can tuck away seasonal decorations and clothing, large pieces of furniture that just don't fit in your new home, or anything else you don't want to take up space in your living areas without the worry that you won't be able to access them when needed.

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Indoor vs. Outdoor self-storage Units

If you know that self-storage units are right for you, you'll also need to consider the differences between outdoor and indoor units.

Note that "outdoor" doesn't mean your stuff will just sit unprotected! Instead, these long, low, multi-unit buildings look like hundreds of garages build side-by-side.

The perk of outdoor storage is that you can drive right up to your own unit door, making it extra convenient if you're storing large pieces of furniture. Additionally, these units are typically less expensive than indoor storage options-although the savings comes at a price.

Drive up, climate controlled storage units do exist, but they're less common. Instead, outdoor storage aren't usually climate controlled, meaning that items made of leather or fur might mold in humid regions. Additionally, the design of these units makes them prone to flooding, which is important to remember if you live in an area where heavy rainfall is common.

Finally, because outdoor storage units allow for drive-up access, security can be a concern. This means that outdoor storage units typically don't offer 24/7 access to reduce the chance of theft-which might be an inconvenience depending on your schedule.

On the other hand, indoor storage facilities are typically large, multi-story buildings that offer climate controlled units. Because you have to enter main doors before accessing your storage area, there's an extra layer of security, which usually means 24/7 entry.

The downside to indoor storage units? There's no drive-up access. Instead, there will often be hand trucks available to cart your things back down to a vehicle. Still, if you're regularly accessing your self-storage unit to swap out items, this might be an inconvenience.

Storage-In-Transit: Best for When Your New Home Isn't Quite Ready

Moving usually requires you to do more than just pack your items into boxes and transport them across the city, state, or country. Depending on your moving dates, closing dates, and travel plans, you might also need reliable storage services so you can keep your items safe throughout the entire moving process.

If you're hiring full-service professional movers, but won't be settling into your new home immediately, consider asking if the company offers what is usually called stuff, you should ask the company whether they offer what is often termed storage-in-transit (SIT).

This is where the movers remove items out of your old home, hold it for you in storage, then moves it into your new home when you're ready.

Storage-in-transit generally costs more than if you were to find your own short-term storage solution. However, movers save you time and effort by taking care that extra round of loading and unloading-as well as getting your stuff all the way to your final destination-so the extra cost is certainly justified.

Container Storage: Best for Those Who Need a Cheap, Long-Term Storage Option

If you're traveling for an extended period, or downsizing for a year or more until you can move into your new home, container storage might be the perfect solution for you.

It's designed to provide the greatest cost savings with long-term storage in mind. Even better, you don't have to bring your belongings to the storage facility!

Instead, container storage works like this: A company brings containers (sometimes called pods) to your home. The containers come in different sizes. But, because they're mobile, they don't typically offer as large a space as storage units-so you might need more than one.

Then, you're allowed several days to pack up your containers. At the scheduled time, the company will come back to collect your now-filled containers, and bring them to a secure storage facility where they'll stay until it's time bring them to your new home.

Because container storage companies can be located further outside of metropolitan areas, they can offer lower rent. After all, there's little reason for you to visit.

The only caveat is that this style of storage makes it very difficult for you to access your things should you want to swap out items. Most container storage will allow you to open your pod on site for a fee, but it's not as easy as driving up to the storage unit door. If you think that you might need to access your items, be sure to confirm that it's allowed.

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How Can I Find Cheap Storage Units Near Me?

Comparing storage unit quotes can be a daunting task, but MoverJunction aims to simplify it for you. With over 10 years of industry experience, MoverJunction has compiled the largest database of storage companies in the country and put it right at your fingertips.

See our Storage Units finder at the top of this page? With just one quick form and a few details about your requirement, you will be able to search all the storage companies in your area and find a storage unit within minutes! And, it's totally free.

Of course, we know how prized your possessions are and how important it is to keep them safe and secure. Which is just another reason to use our storage units finder.

Every business within our network has been prescreened, not only to make sure you get the best rate, but to ensure the highest quality of service and security so that you can relax, and feel confident that your belongings are in good hands.

If you need any help moving your belonings from your house to storage, our moving companies can handle that for you. Just use our moving cost calculator to see how much it'll cost to hire a full service mover. If you have a truck or a car that you're using to move you items, you can also hire moving labor to simply help you with loading and unloading.

When to Use Storage

  • Moving out and need to store extra items

  • Cleaning out garage or basement

  • Store old furniture

  • Store baby items, like cribs, toys etc

  • Store seasonal items like holiday decorations, winter clothes etc

  • Store boxes of old clothes or other items

  • Store items during a move

Benefits of Storage

  • Nationwide availability

  • Low monthly costs

  • No contracts, flexible terms

  • Secure and Safe Facilities

  • Climate-Controlled Units

  • Private access

  • Long-term or Short-term rental options

Moving Guides

Read some articles written by our industry experts to guide you to your move

Moving Tips