What are the Different Types of Storage Available?

Not all storage is the same. If you’re moving, chances are you may want to store some or all of your belongings. There are different options available, including:
  • Warehouse Storage
  • Self Storage (or Mini Storage)
  • Storage with Home Pick-Up

To help you decide what service is right for you, here is a brief explanation of the different types of storage services available.

1. Warehouse Storage
This type of storage is usually chosen when you are storing items in conjunction with a long-distance move, or if you are storing large items for an extended period of time. Most full service moving companies offer warehouse storage services. Warehouse storage is where your items are individually wrapped in protective moving pads and/or shrink-wrapped in plastic, stored and sealed within large wooden containers known as "vaults" or "pallets." Your items may be stored in-transit for up to 180 days.

One advantage to warehouse storage is that your belongings are handled by professionals at all times. Every item is carefully wrapped, padded, and once the container is sealed, it will never be opened without your consent. If any damage should occur to your goods, the warehouse operators are fully responsible. For this reason, it is an excellent option for high-value items and/or furniture.

When you store your belongings in a warehouse, your access to these items will be limited compared to other storage services. Unlike self storage, you are restricted to the warehouse operator’s schedule. In most cases, it is best to contact the warehouse operators a few hours in advance to schedule access to your items. If you need to remove any items from your container or pallet, you will be charged handling and retrieval fees.

Your use of storage space is billed on a monthly basis per vault or pallet. Be aware that if you do not pay your warehouse storage bill, by law the warehouse operator may place a lien on your items and auction them to cover the charges. The operator must notify you in advance in writing, as well as provide you with the opportunity to dispute it.

2. Self Storage (Mini Storage)
Self Storage or Mini Storage is best when you want to store items that you will likely want to retrieve and require convenient access. Even if you’re not moving and just want to reduce clutter at home, a mini-storage unit is very convenient, accessible, and you provide your own lock and key for added security. Units come in a variety of sizes and with different features depending on your needs. You rent a unit on a monthly basis under what is called an “occupancy agreement.” You move your items into the unit yourself, and with most facilities, you can access your items whenever you want (many facilities are accessible 24 hours a day).

Perhaps the first thing to consider when choosing a self storage facility is location. If you plan to retrieve items regularly, finding a facility near your home is important. Be sure to inspect the facilities before you sign the occupancy agreement. The unit you select should have enough space for all of your items. It’s wise to create an inventory list of all the items you wish to store before visiting the facility and choosing a unit. When inspecting the facility, you should look for a facility that is clean and secure, with climate-controlled units. Find out what security features the facility has, including guards, alarms, video surveillance, and motion detectors.

With self storage, you maintain complete responsibility for your items. Unlike warehouse storage, the company is not responsible for loss or damage to your belongings. For this reason, check with your homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance to see if you’re covered when keeping belongings in storage. Your storage company may also sell additional insurance. Check with your storage company’s representative to learn more about insurance options.

3. Storage with Home Pick-Up
Some self storage companies will also offer mobile storage or pick-up and delivery storage services. The company will deliver a special container (or multiple containers depending on how much you’re storing) to your home. Storage containers are designed to fit all different types of furniture and other household goods, such as sofas, dressers, dining tables, and even washers and dryers. Prices will vary depending on the amount of containers you are renting, and the location of your pick up.

The storage company’s driver will provide you with instructions on how to load your items. You pack your items at your own pace and lock the container with your own lock and key when finished. If you require assistance packing, or need to purchase supplies, the storage company can provide these at an additional cost.

When you’re finished packing, you then call the storage company to arrange a pickup. A professional driver picks up the container and brings it to their secure facility. When you need to retrieve your items, you have the option of going to the facility or having the container delivered back to your home.

Just as when choosing a moving company, be sure to use Quotes At Home to request multiple no-obligation estimates from Storage Companies and save time and money!