Self storage has many uses and benefits. Here we look at everything self storage has to offer and exactly why it is so useful to so many people.
Self storage is extremely popular with just about everyone at the moment. Businesses, sole traders, startups, families, students – there aren’t many people who wouldn’t benefit from extra space. And that is the key point really – space. We pay so much money for tiny bedrooms in built up areas, we spend money on bigger homes for our expanding families, we are always willing to pay more money for more space – space is valuable. But not everybody can afford to buy a bigger house, work in a bigger office, or use entire rooms for storage just for seasonal goods. Which is exactly where self storage comes in. It is like a cheap, flexible, easily accessible extension to your home, office or business. Sure it isn’t with you directly, but that’s about the only real difference. Self storage truly is an excellent solution to a key problem faced by many people – a lack of space.
So, What Exactly Is Self Storage?
Self storage is a term you would apply to a self storage facility providing you with the opportunity to rent your very own storage space. The space will be open to anyone who wants to pay for one of the units, as long as the objects being stored fall into the particular facility’s rules and regulations. Common items you cannot store are:
- perishable foods
- fireworks or explosives
- flammable liquids
- live animals.
The spaces offered will differ depending on the particular facility and particular storage unit, but usually range from as small as a swimming locker, to as big as a football field. Plus, you can usually chop and change the size of the unit you need at short notice, which is a great plus for seasonal businesses.
When searching for self storage you are likely to find two key types: family run and national companies. The difference between the two is as it sounds – one will be a large national company with units all over the country, one will be family run with one or a few very local facilities.
Family-run vs National
This is very much a personal choice, and it is important to remember that. Both have their pro’s and con’s:
Family-run self storage will be an individual affair so you’ll initially find a lot more unique features compared to a chain. The services offered are likely to be similar to a main chain, with different sized lockers, excellent security and a full reception service. You will also likely find staff are a lot more involved in the business, because they will be long standing staff members or family members taking pride in that particular unit. Those looking for a personal service may prefer a family-run self storage unit and they are usually very competitive on price in addition to offering extra features such as collection services.
National or chain self storage units will have a system that works, that they roll out at all their premises across the company. Companies of this size may have more capacity for multiple large businesses. They also offer a more hands-off approach where you will likely get through to a call centre if you call. So the service level will likely be high, but less personal compared to a family-run facility.
Which of these is right for you will depend entirely on your personal preference combined with cost and extra features. It may be that you want the closest facility to you and that happens to be an independent facility. Or it may be that you have had a franchise recommended to you and you want to stick with that recommendation. Or location may be less important that the price. The best thing about this conundrum is the fact you have so much choice, which is never a bad thing. Just be sure to take your time when you look for a facility, checking the rates, cleanliness, accessibility and security. Be sure to pay a visit rather than just judging it over the phone or from online photos.
Why Use Self Storage?
As you may have guessed from the title of our article, we’re trying to let you know how useful self storage is. And the ‘why’ in ‘why use self storage’ really is the key, and the most exciting part of this discussion, because there are just so many reasons people use self storage and find it so useful.
Here are the key reasons self storage is used:
This is one of the key reasons individuals use self storage. It comes in so useful when you are moving home, for so many different reasons.
Needing To Move Quickly – You may have short notice on how long you have to move out of your home, in which case self storage will come in handy because you can simply take all of your items and put them in the unit, and stay with friends or family until you are able to locate, or move into new premises. You may even wish to do this when you’re thinking about moving home initially so that you are clearing room by room, knowing everything is safely packed up in your unit, ready to go.
Wanting To Avoid A Moving Van – You may wish to move items yourself but obviously the entire contents of your house won’t fit into your car, in which case an inbetween location is useful so you can keep everything safe between collecting and dropping it off in your new home.
Wanting To Move Into Your New Home Slowly – It may be that you want to spend some time decorating or renovating your new home before you put all your belongings in there. Self storage comes in so handy for this as it means you can keep everything out of the way, safe and secure to be placed into your new home whenever you are ready.
As A Base For Selling Items You Won’t Be Taking With You – Maybe you have had a clearout but you aren’t able to sell valuable items just yet. With self storage, you can keep your items safe and secure whilst you list them online, or until after the move when you have time to sell them.
Downsizing/ Upsizing – Perhaps you need to move back home with your parents for a while as you save up for your next home. Perhaps you need to stop renting to save the money up for a deposit. Maybe you are looking to downsize and you have lots of items that won’t fit into your new smaller home. In an upsizing or downsizing scenario where items will be displaced for a while, self storage comes in extremely handy.
Moving Into One Room – So rather than downsizing, this would be where you maybe move into one room in a property because of a job in the city, or a similar situation. Self storage enables you to keep all your treasured possessions in this scenario, until you find yourself moving back into an entire property in the future.
Being A Student
Students love self storage. There are so many reasons self storage is useful for students:
Keeping Things Secure In Between Term Time – As much as you might try, you cannot carry all of the items you need to keep secure on the train home. You might even struggle to fit it into a car. Plus, what is the point in doing this only to have to transport it all back after the break. Self storage provides a place to keep items secure, rather than leaving items in a shared house.
Having Somewhere To Keep Seasonal Items/ Items You Don’t Use All The Time – Maybe you have sports items, barbeques, camping gear, or other things you use occasionally, but in between uses they take up a lot of space in your tiny student room. Self storage offers a space for these items so you can still enjoy them, but they don’t use up tons of your living space.
Avoiding Getting Rid Of Everything In Between Semesters – When you are moving from halls to your new home, or from student house to student house, you do not want to have to get rid of all your stuff only to buy it all again. When you are at university one end of the country and your home is another, and you don’t drive, it won’t be possible to cart everything home on the train. The solution is self storage. There will be a local self storage facility where you can keep everything safe and secure, and access it again when you need to. No need for speedy car boot sales and carrying three suitcases on the train home.
It is also important to note that the parents of students may also find self storage useful while their child is away studying or travelling. Perhaps their room could be turned into a spare room or office for the time being, or the child knows they won’t be moving back in but they don’t have a permanent home for all of their stuff yet. Either way, self storage can be a great help if you don’t have much room, but you also want to keep your child’s items safe for them until they return or can move the items into a permanent home.
Getting married is an incredible time, with amazing memories being made during every stage of the process. The problem is, regardless of whether or not you are doing it DIY or having it planned, you will see wedding clutter creeping into the home. If you are doing it DIY you are definitely going to experience craft items finding their way into every corner of your house. You might also find you have issues with bulkier items like chairs and decorations which simply won’t fit into your home. To avoid wedding fever literally surrounding you in every corner of your being, self storage is a phenomenal help because it gives you a specific ‘wedding space’ to use during the planning process. So craft supplies, materials, vases – anything you plan to make or purchase pre-wedding, you can keep secure until the big day. You may also want to use self storage to clear the spare room for guests sleeping in your home when they visit to celebrate with you.
Going On Holiday
Whether you’re going on honeymoon, for a romantic weekend away, or for your annual two week family break, you’re going to worry about your belongings staying safe in your empty home. Sure you might have an alarm system and family or friends popping in and out, but sadly, criminals look out for a change in routine, which means you could fall victim to a holiday break-in. The way to take away this worry, is to pop your items into self storage while you are away. Self storage is much more secure than most homes, with CCTV, security guards, lighting, 24 hour reception and more. Why not give yourself that peace of mind while you are away?
Home renovations are really disruptive at the best of times, let alone when you don’t have any wiggle room for the items you need out of the way during the work. Self storage provides the perfect place to keep furniture, ornaments, rugs and anything else while your home gets beautified. Maybe you need to clear a room before painting it, perhaps you need to keep furniture out of the way so it doesn’t get broken or paint splattered on it. Whatever your reasons for needing to clear the space, self storage affords you the ability to do that easily.
If you have finally made the plans to go travelling, and you’re dropping your home, your job – everything for the dream, then you’re going to want somewhere to keep your belongings while you are away. De-cluttering is a great idea because it means you can earn some extra cash to fund the trip, but you will have items left over you want to keep. You may even have an entire home’s worth of items you want to protect for when you return. Self storage means you can keep your items dry, safe and secure for your return home.
Having A Baby
When you have a baby you suddenly acquire tons of extra stuff. There’s nothing wrong with this, but it does mean your home can quickly become one giant nursery if you’re not careful. To give you time to sell items, look for a bigger home, or declutter – seeing as your time is going to be mainly taken up by baby for a while – self storage is ideal. Just use it as an extra room away from the home and consider investing before the baby comes if you need to quickly re-establish a room as a nursery.
Sorting A Relatives Home
It’s a distressing time when a loved one passes away, but quickly we realise there are a lot of practical issues to deal with while we grieve. Once the funeral has taken place, we must clear their home out. This can take some time, as we amass so much stuff over the years. Self storage is able to help us find a place to put the items if it is too painful to sell anything at this time; or if the properly needs emptying quickly. Self storage can also be useful in the scenario where the estate has yet to be divided, or perhaps there is a dispute over some of the goods from the property.
Hobbies & Sports
Perhaps you like to drive a vintage car at the weekend. Maybe you ski and have all the equipment to do it properly. Maybe you’re into skateboarding, or even just collecting vintage guitars. Whatever your favourite pastime, if you find you cannot store the equipment at home anymore because it is getting in the way, or there really isn’t any room, self storage is the ideal solution.
Maybe all your top notch camping gear really gets in the way sticking out from under the bed in the winter months. Maybe you have nowhere to keep your patio furniture safe from the snow and wind in the darker months. Self storage is able to provide space so seasonal goods stay protected and safe out of season, so you can enjoy them again straight away when the weather changes.
Businesses are quickly realising exactly how much they can benefit from cheap self storage. There are so many benefits, especially if you’re in a small to medium business sensitive to growing pains. Key benefits to businesses are: flexibility, affordability, easy access and locality. Startups, especially ecommerce stores, love self storage and how it helps them avoid heavy outgoings for warehouse or office space with a hefty price tag.
A Lack Of Space
It may just be you love your home, but you just don’t currently have quite enough space to enjoy it properly. Maybe you wonder what it would be like to just have one extra room to pop a few bits and bobs in, so there’s more room to manoeuvre. Self storage is the extra room you always wanted.
The Key Benefits Of Using Self Storage
Regardless of whether you are looking to move home, decorate your home, go to university, go on holiday, go travelling, have a baby, or start a business, self storage has so many benefits for everyone.
It Is Affordable
Self storage is so affordable. You only pay for the space you use, so you can get a small locker for one item if you want to – nobody is going to ask you to pay for more space than you want to use. Contracts are flexible and you could even benefit from offers for using the self storage for a certain amount of time.
It Is Local
You will find a self storage facility near to you – there are many surrounding big cities and within industrial estates. These facilities are purposely located to ensure easy access for customers in surrounding areas. You may not be able to get to one in fifteen minutes, but you might. Of course it depends where you are, but you are unlikely to have to drive hours to get to one unless you are extremely remote. This is because there are so many across the country.
It Is Accessible
A lot of self storage facilities are open 24 hours, so you can access your locker whenever you need to. So if you work antisocial hours, you want to access the lockup after work or early morning, or you need to get to it at short notice, you should be able to.
It Is High Security
One of the main priorities of a self storage facility is security. They know customers need to trust their items are safe on the property. You should expect CCTV, lighting, several lock points, modern locking facilities on your unit, gates and reception.
It Is Climate Controlled
Not every facility is climate controlled but many are. This ensures your valuables can be kept at the temperature needed to stop them becoming damaged from extreme temperatures or humidity.
It Is Social
Of course you can just come and go as you please without talking to anyone if you want to. However, in some of the smaller facilities there is a bit of a community, especially with those visiting a lot. You might meet someone in the same line of business, or with a similar hobby, you never know!
It Is Flexible
You use the space you need. Plus, usually you can quickly downsize or upsize if you need to, which is ideal for businesses affected by seasonal fluctuations.
It Comes With Extras
All self storage units will have staff on hand to help you if you need help. You can get advice if you need it, and you should expect great customer service. You can also likely purchase packing boxes or other items to protect your goods. The self storage unit may also offer extra payable services like moving vans, delivery taking, or the use of forklift trucks.
Could Self Storage Be Useful To You?
As you can see, there are so many reasons self storage is useful for almost everybody and anybody. Whatever your need self storage for, you will be able to find a facility that works for you. Just remember to shop around, compare prices and features, and visit the facility before you commit to a contract – you’re placing your valuables in their hands, they need to be right. Happy storing!