Different Types of Self Storage: A Guide to Finding the Perfect Fit
Confused by the choice of different types of self storage ? Use our quick guide below to cut through the chaos, then read on for examples of how different storage types are used by customers throughout the UK.
Watch the full interview with Anna Roberts, Founder of Explorage.com, to discover more about the different types of storage on offer and how we can make your life easier.
Life's journey is filled with exciting chapters, and few can match the thrill and anticipation of moving house. It's a time when memories are packed alongside belongings, and emotions run high. Unsurprisingly many people question why they are hanging onto certain belongings. For example, you might need to find space for Aunt Gladys’ rocking chair, or an old bike off Facebook Marketplace before it takes up residence in your new home.
Others may be on a decluttering mission, with aspirations of a Marie Kondo minimal lifestyle, but they have no time to sort through everything right now. Self storage could be a nifty short-term solution whilst you reconfigure your home. If there is a compelling reason then self storage could be the ideal solution for you. Anna explains, “A lot of people use moving house as a chance to reevaluate what they need to hang on to, and they will quite often put things in self storage to think about what they want to put back in the new home.”
The cost and location you are in will most often dictate the type of self storage options available to you. If you’re a city dweller you're in luck! Chances are you will have an indoor self storage room nearby. Anna sums it up neatly “as a hotel for your things, which will be convenient to get to frequently”. In more regional towns or industrial areas, and even rural areas, you often find container or external self storage sites, which are great for bulky items since you can drive up to your storage unit with your car or van and access as and when.
What Different Types of Storage are Available?
When it comes to self storage, there are more options out there than you might think! Anna explains, “It took me a while to figure out the breadth of storage that is out there. Many people are familiar with the traditional indoor self storage we have here in the UK, like a hotel for your things, but are less familiar with Container or “External” storage facilities, as they are sometimes known.” However, Anna points out that container or "external" storage is also widely available, though less known. These facilities often use shipping containers - the same ones built for carrying goods across the ocean - as storage units, although some are bespoke built specifically for self storage. Anna notes that containers are extremely durable and well-suited for withstanding the elements, making them a great self storage option, especially for the temperamental British weather! With their strength and weather resistance, containers provide a versatile, heavy-duty storage solution for all sorts of needs. So next time you're looking for storage, don't limit your search to indoor units; container storage (aka External Storage) may be a great fit for your stuff!
What Size do I Need?
Anna goes into detail about the available different sizes and the advantages for people on the move, “Indoor storage facilities tend to have more variety of sizes of units, since they are essentially a warehouse that has been subdivided into various size “rooms”. From closet type 10 square foot (sqft) rooms to large 200 square foot rooms, there’s usually something for everyone”.
For containers or “External Storage”, units usually come in standard sizes. “Your normal shipping container, like you would see on the back of the wagon on a motorway is a “20-foot container”. In the self storage world, we refer to them by square foot, so that's 160 square feet. They typically can accommodate the contents of an average 3-bed house, but if you also have a garden shed and garage full of items to throw in the mix, you might need more space.”
Anna notes, "If you have a garden shed and a packed garage too, you may need more space than a standard container provides - you could just book two or if the site offers half size containers of around 10x8ft i.e. 80 square foot, that could work well for you.".
One of the main advantages of container / external self storage is the fact you can drive your vehicle straight up to the door for ease of loading. Thanks to their sturdy sea-faring heritage, these cargo containers-turned-storage are extremely tough and weatherproof. So if you need space but don't want a traditional indoor unit, container storage brings customisable, heavy-duty options to shelter your stuff from the elements.
There is a huge variety of storage units available from 10 square feet up to 200 square feet plus. Whatever your plans there will be a self storage solution to fit your needs. Why not check out the range of options available at Explorage.com?
E-Commerce Inventory Solutions
For those with an Etsy shop or side hustle, self storage can offer some handy business solutions too. As Anna, our storage expert, explains: "One great option for small business owners is indoor storage facilities with on-site management. Some storage facilities provide helpful services like parcel receiving, so no more missed Amazon packages! Some will even do order fulfilment, picking and packing your handmade or vintage goods to ship off to customers. It's perfect if you're running your shop part-time, in the evenings or at weekends."
Having your inventory stored off-site also means you can keep business supplies separate from personal clutter at home. Anna adds, "For crafters and Etsy sellers, it keeps all those jars of beads, fabrics, and paints clean and safe but still accessible as needed."
For those balancing side businesses with busy lives, self storage can provide flexible support. "With management handling shipping, it's like having a part-time assistant for your small shop!" Anna says. "The right storage site lets you focus on creating and selling, not packing and posting." Whether you need space for overstock, order fulfilment help, or just want work and home life separated, self storage offers handy solutions for small side hustles. A little extra room can go a long way for your budding business.
“Self storage sizes vary to suit different needs”, explains Anna,“ your location limits options, so consider access frequency. If accessing daily, convenience and proximity are key.” Anna explains the importance of these considerations, “There are different types of facilities for different things. You might only have ten storage facilities to choose from within a radius you are prepared to travel to. You need to consider how frequently you need to access your unit. If you're going to access your space every day, then perhaps the convenience, and the location, is going to be more important to you than the type or the price.”
Anna understands that choosing the best type of self storage for you can be a difficult process and “Here at Explorage.com we like to make life easy, just have a chat with us and we’ll be happy to help.”
We have broken down the different types of storage below.
Indoor Storage Rooms
Indoor storage rooms are a popular option in towns, cities and built-up areas essentially providing a hotel for your possessions. These facilities offer rooms of various sizes from 10sqft to 200sqft, that tenants access through communal corridors - just like a hotel. Indoor rooms offer convenient indoor facilities that are clean, well-lit and secure and offer benefits such as on-site management, undercover loading bays and trolleys to wheel your items into your storage unit.
Container and External Self Storage Units
Container aka. external self storage units are another common type of self storage space. They are popular with people who want to drive up and access their unit at their convenience. These facilities are often located on the edge of towns and suburbs. Most are found on industrial sites, contained within a secured yard area made up of shipping containers or similar bespoke containers. These self storage units usually come in standard sizes, the most common being 160 square feet, a “20-foot long standard” storage container. There are half-size and double-size self-storage units available too.
Container and external self storage units are perfect for busy families who have expensive bulky equipment such as buggies, bikes and baby gates lurking around their homes that may be used again in the future. It’s also ideal for small business owners and sole traders who have bulky equipment they need quick access to before heading out for a day's work. Customers can simply drive up to their unit, open the door and move their stuff in/out in no time.
A slightly different type of storage unit, nonetheless, there are warehouses where you can fill a standard-size wooden crate/container. It is then sealed up and fork lifted into position by a member of staff on the site. When you would like to access your belongings, all you have to do is schedule an appointment and it will be brought down to the front ready for collection. Wooden crates could be an economical option for those who don’t need frequent access to their possessions. Warehouses are usually run by removal companies, who provide collection and delivery services too if you require them. Needless to say, you can book as many crates/wooden containers as you like - giving you great flexibility as you sort through your things.
Mobile Storage doesn't usually get included in the broader definition of self storage, but it is useful if you have bulky items that take up a lot of space and don’t have access to a car or van to transport the items. Think of it as your portable box or garage! Booking mobile storage is easy and convenient. When you book in with a mobile storage operator you agree to a collection time of your items with the operator. The storage operator picks up your things and takes your items to a secure storage warehouse. When you need to access your items again make an appointment and your items will be returned. Some mobile storage operators refer to their service as “boxes” and others refer to them as “pods” or “containers”. Again like warehouse storage, often mobile storage providers are also removal companies and will be happy to give you a quote for moving house or relocating offices.
No matter what you intend to store there will always be a self storage solution for you out there, which is where the team at Explorage.com comes in. A lot of customers who come to us at Explorage are also undergoing life changes and a perfect example of this is our resident storer Lizzie Hudson who has created a blog on how to arrange your self storage unit from a practical point of view with some “air space”, space-saving tips, for packing your unit to the rafters.
Whether you are looking for storage for a house move, require self storage for a renovation project, or have dreams to scale your business without cluttering your spare room or garage, find what you need on Explorge.com or please get in touch.
Here at Explorage, we are always on hand to advise customers and help them get crystal clear on their self storage needs. Get in touch with us at email@example.com and we will be happy to assist you on your self storage journey.
How to pack for self-storage
In this beginner's guide, we share our top tips on how to pack your items for self-storage swiftly and with care. From having a plan to gathering packing materials, find out how you can efficiently and safely pack now.
A Quick Guide To Moving House With Pets
When transporting your pets to your new home, first and foremost you have to make sure that it is safe for them to travel. Naturally this depends on how long the journey may be, if it is only a short trip down the road, a few hours, or if internation...
Sustainable Packaging for Storage and Moving
As we become more environmentally conscious, individuals and companies are looking out for more sustainable alternatives to traditional methods of packaging, storage and moving materials as a way to reduce waste, help protect the planet, and be more...