Self Storage Fundamentals: What Is Self Storage?

By Anna Roberts

Published 10 months ago

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Hello and welcome to part one of the Self Storage Fundamentals Series brought to you by Explorage. We are always thinking of ways we can make the self storage journey easier for our customers, and our Fundamental Series aims to educate and empower you to make the right decisions about the storage in your life.

woman with notepad and boxes

Understanding Self Storage

Ever flirted with the idea of a lock-up to make room for your dream home gym? Or a studio for your artisan Etsy side hustle business? Maybe you, like most people, just aren't ready to part with your prized possessions and that's completely okay.

Well, you're in luck as the UK has more self storage per person than any European country, with an estimated 2,231 storage stores in the UK according to the self storage association's latest report.  

Defining Self Storage

Self storage is a service offered by businesses that allow individuals or other companies to rent out spaces for storing a variety of items and goods. In self storage industry lingo, rented spaces are known as various things including:

  • "rooms" - usually refers to indoor storage facilities
  • "units" - fairly generic term for various different types of storage spaces
  • "containers" - usually meaning shipping container style - but sometimes also used for wooden crates
  • "crates" - usually meaning longer term warehouse storage that is accessed infrequently
  • "pods" - sometimes referring to storage crates which get brought to your house to load/unload before being taken to a warehouse
  • "lock-ups" - a term used by many customers for various types of self storage, but not used so often by the industry itself
  • "locker" - sometimes referred to by customers who have a very small storage space

People are moving around more than ever before. If you are downsizing to a manageable home or upsizing as your family expands, self storage could be the solution for you. Maybe it is the solution you never knew you needed! What could self storage mean for you?

Choosing the Correct Unit Size and Type

Self storage units come in a range of types and sizes from fitting the contents of your spare room or garage to even larger units that can fit in machinery and vehicles. 

You could rent a small locker for personal items, a larger room, or a container for furniture or business inventory. Some places even offer outdoor spaces for vehicles or heavy equipment. This flexibility is one of the great things about self storage'4it can be tailored to your specific needs. I will cover this in detail in future articles to give you an idea of the diversity of self storage.

Versatile Sizes for All Needs

Self storage units come in different shapes and sizes. The best part is that if you choose the correct size from the beginning, you don't have to worry about moving to a different storage unit - although many storage operators are accommodating to this if they have space. It is best to ask yourself the following questions:

What is your storage goal? 

What is the maximum amount of storage that you require? 

ufeffThe Flexibility of Renting a Self Storage Unit

Once you know how much storage you want to use and approximately for how long, you can begin looking for the best deal that suits you and your situation. Many storage unit operators offer discounts according to how long you intend to use it so it's best to think long term. What might be a tempting introductory discount may not offer best value for money in the longer term, compared to a consistently more cost effective alternative.

To reassure you, on the prices shown are the "standard" price, but the Explorage "Price Guarantee" means you are also entitled to the same discounts as offered by the storage operator directly - just check with them after you have confirmed your reservation, to make sure you receive any eligible discounts.

Renting a self storage unit

Many people worry they will get stuck in a long-term and expensive contract but self storage contracts are different as they are usually a rolling license on a month-to-month basis. This provides flexibility for both short-term and long-term storage needs.

Are you moving and need a temporary place to store your belongings? Self storage to the rescue! Or maybe your business needs more space to store inventory or documents? Self storage can help with that, too!

Securing Your Belongings

You might be thinking, "But how safe are my items in a self storage unit?" Good question! Self storage facilities typically provide secure access to the rented spaces and have the latest technology at their disposal such as code, or biometric access as well as the humble key. That means only you (or the people you authorise) can access your storage unit.

Most storage operators provide some form of CCTV and some offer enhanced security features such as solar back up to cameras, or continuously monitored and intervened security monitoring.

Some facilities also offer climate-controlled units for items that need specific environmental conditions. Perfect for the wine connoisseurs out there. 

On storage operators frequently highlight what security features they have so you can book with peace of mind. If you are at all unsure though just contact us and we'll be pleased to clarify.

The "Self" in self storage

Here's where the "self" in self storage comes in: you're responsible for moving your belongings into and out of the storage unit. It's like having an extra room or garage that you manage yourself. Some places even offer moving assistance or other services, but generally, you're the boss of your unit.

So there you have it! Self storage is a flexible, secure solution for your storage needs, whether you are emptying your spare room, starting a new business or are making plans for your grand design renovation. It's the ultimate storage solution that not many people know they can utilise from as little as £7 per week !

The world of self storage is quite literally your oyster.

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