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Types of Storage Facilities

All Storage Online | Jan 14, 2019

Renting a storage unit is an excellent way to clear space in your house and still keep your belongings safe. Whether you’re looking for extra space to store road bikes, a short-term space to store some unused furniture, a private closet to keep files, or just extra space to house random odds and ends, consider renting a self storage unit.

How It Works

Different types of storage units provide different options to meet individual needs. When looking at storage facilities, you may find that different types of units are called mini storage, cell storage, or personal storage. Storage types come in varying sizes, dividing a facility into individual rooms, plots, cells or pods. Most can be rented for long or short periods, even as short as a day.

Renters usually need to bring their own locks, but self storage companies do usually provide security in some form or another. Private gates requiring a code or a key card to open are common, as are security cameras. Some also provide security guards, door alarms and 24-hour on-site management.

No matter the storage type you choose, it’s important to have proper boxes and moving supplies to suit your storage unit. Read on to learn about the different types of storage facilities.

Outside Storage

One of the more common and affordable storage types is outdoor storage. People generally use outside storage plots to store cars, RVs, dirt bikes, tractors, boats and the like. In an outdoor storage facility, you are likely to find covered units partitioned by wire mesh. If your items need protection from rain and other elements, you’ll want to look for different types of storage units than outside storage.

Drive-up Storage

These units come in varying sizes. Some popular options include 10-foot wide by 10-foot deep or 10-foot wide by 15-foot deep. The height of drive-up storage varies between different types of storage facilities. The doors on these rooms often roll up like a garage door. But though they may look like garages, check with management to see if the company actually allows vehicles to be parked in the larger units.

Some types of storage facilities may have several rows of buildings divided into many storage units. Customers can usually pull their car or truck right up to the door of the unit to drop off or pick up items.

Indoor Storage

To reach these storage types, you’ll need to enter a building and pass through some type of security. Inside storage is available in sizes ranging from narrow closets to large rooms. Dollies or other equipment may be at your disposal to help you move items from car to the storage unit. During business hours staff may even be on hand for some of the heavy lifting. (If this factor is important to you, be sure to ask before renting.)

You may need the climate controlled rooms some indoor facilities offer if you are storing items that could warp, melt or otherwise deteriorate in extreme temperatures. If this is the case, you may want to talk to management about how the room's location in the building could affect the temperature of the unit. Will a unit on an outside northern wall have a lower temperature due to winter winds than an interior room? Will the hall window opposite the unit's door let in too much heat?

Mobile Storage

When renovating your home, you may want a storage unit on your property for a short time to hold furniture and other items while you paint walls or redo floors. Mobile storage companies will deliver individual storage units, sometimes called pods, to your house and leave them for an agreed upon time. These storage types, which may look like small train cars, come in different sizes, and you can rent more than one.

If you prefer, you can fill these units over the course of a few days or weeks and have the company move the storage containers to their facility where they will store them for you. If you need to move, the storage company can take the unit where you want it to go. It's a good alternative to renting a bulky truck and trying to move yourself, or to entrusting your personal belongings to a moving company that packs and ships.

When the storage unit is being stored at the mobile storage company, management restricts access to the unit to the person renting it and may require that person to provide a day or two's notice before visiting. Companies often stack storage pods on top of each other and may have to move yours to the ground with heavy equipment before your arrival.

Which is right for you?

When looking for a specific storage type, narrow your options by determining:

  • How much you're willing to spend
  • How much security you require
  • Whether you need climate control
  • How far you can conveniently travel for easy access to your property
  • Whether you prefer to load your items at home and have the company do the moving

Talk with management and see if they will be easy to work with. Find out how they handle late payments, access to units, security and whether staff will help you to move items.

Alternative Storage Types

Although these are the main types of self storage facilities, in different parts of the country you may find novel approaches to self storage. For instance, in some geographical areas storage facilities have been constructed within naturally occurring underground caverns because the location tends to maintain a constantly cool temperature that is great for protecting fragile objects like film or perishables like wine. Find a storage facility near you by using StorageFront's helpful tools to see what different types of storage units are available in your area.