It might seem like there is an obvious answer to the question “What is Self-Storage?” and in some ways there is. In it’s simplest sense self-storage is a secure space you rent to temporarily store things in; like when you move house or are renovating your home. In the words of the ubiquitous meerkat “Simples”.
But in recent years self-storage has become much more than just a storage unit to temporarily hold your household belongings securely during a protracted house move or when you let out you home and move overseas. For many people a self-storage unit has become an almost permanent extension of their home as they find themselves in the position of not being able to move to a larger home as their family grows. So they might store seasonal items such as garden furniture or baby and children’s items they want to keep for another addition to the family: a cot, pram, buggy, baby-changing unit, scooters, bicycles. The list of items we want to keep but don’t have room to store in our own homes is seemingly endless.
And I am not talking about clutter here (although I love to do that too and you can read some of my tips on decluttering here) – what I’m talking about are perfectly decent, and usually expensive, items that we might need again in the future. So we keep them for some future use – it might simply be until next summer, like in the case of garden furniture, or it might be in a few years’ time like in the case of a baby’s cot or a toddler’s bike.
Part of the reason that so many of us need this almost permanent extra storage away from the home is that new homes in the UK tend to be particularly small and with house prices so high in many areas and mortgages still difficult to secure moving to a larger place may just not be an option. Add to that the fact that many homes do not have the luxury of a loft space or garage that can be used for storage and you can see why there has been such a rise in popularity of self-storage.
Our homes themselves are often short of storage space inside – new homes in the UK are now around 20% smaller than the ones built in the 1970’s and in some areas house developers are building twice as many homes on the same acreage of land as they would have done a few decades ago. So the actual size of many new homes (rather than the number of rooms) also contributes to the need for additional storage space.
The Key Benefits of Self Storage
- You can usually rent a storage unit pretty much immediately. So if you decide today that you can no longer stand the lack of space in your home, or you have a large delivery of stock arriving and don’t know where you are going to put it a storage unit will be available somewhere that suits your needs.
- You won’t be tied in to any long term contracts and can used a storage unit for just a few weeks if you want (although remember that you can almost certainly keep costs down by committing to a longer period such as 6 months)
- A self storage company’s reputation is dependent on their security so all facilities will have excellent security – much better than you have at home and also better than most small businesses. CCTV cameras, security guards, smoke detectors, fire alarms,high barbed-wire fencing, controlled access, guard dogs. Any number of security features you won’t find in the typical home or business.
- Ease of access is another key benefit – some facilities have 24/7 access if you are the sort of person who might want to gain access to their possession at 3.00am (personally I’d rather sleep and go in the morning, but maybe that’s just me). Other have more regular opening hours to coincide with business hours.
- Your storage unit is your very own personal space – it’s not shared with anyone and only you have access – although for peace of mind you can usually leave a spare key at the self storage facility in case you lose yours. You can store pretty much anything you like in it provided it is not something obviously unsuitable such as anything inflammable or illegal or perishable.
- Collection and delivery are available if you cannot transport your own items and it is sometimes free. At storing.com we offer free collection when you store with us for 6 months or more.
Self-Storage Meets Long-Term Storage Needs
So we know we all crave more storage and this is where self-storage comes in – it can basically be used like our own personal garage or loft. A space we can freely come and go to – knowing our possessions are safe and secure. We can increase or decrease the amount of space we need over time really easily as there are no long term contracts and best of all it is not expensive.
Of course, self storage units can still be used in the more traditional way where your stuff is stored away for a long period of time and you don’t need access to it (maybe because you have moved to another part of the country or moved overseas). If this is the type of storage you need then you can often benefit from lower prices by foregoing the easy, regular access.
Self-Storage Meets Business Storage Needs
It’s not just individuals who need to store a few seasonal items of who are moving away who can benefit from self-storage either. Businesses of all sizes are finding it to be a cost-effective way to get quick and easy storage solutions without the long term commitment or expense of warehousing. Small online retailers typically use storage units for their stock for both the added security but also to avoid their businesses encroaching on their home life. And large businesses use it for storing anything from exhibition equipment that they don’t want hanging around their business premises for months on end between trade shows to merchandise that they buy in bulk.
So the question is not so much “What is self-storage?” but “What is self storage and how can it benefit me?”. As you can see, whether you are an individual whose home is bursting at the seams or a business of any size looking for secure, low cost alternatives to warehousing, there are many benefits.