How to Choose a Storage Unit: Things to Consider

by Dusty Rhodes on Feb 03, 2015  in 
  • Storage Tips
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Updated on 7/31/23

How to Choose a Storage Unit

You've worked hard for your stuff, and when you don't have space to safely store it in your home or garage, it may be time to consider suitable storage solutions. It helps to know that there are different types of storage to suit a variety of storage needs. This quick guide will help you make the right decision for your unique storage need. 

How to Choose a Storage Unit: Things to Consider 

With so many storage types out there, it might be hard-pressed to find one that matches your needs. There are some factors to consider. 

On-Site vs. Storage Facility 

If you wish to store your goods on your property, you can rent a self-storage unit for home use, referred to as an on-site unit. If there's no need — or space — to keep it on your property, consider a storage facility. Factors that may affect whether to use an on-site or storage facility include: 

  • Whether your property type allows the addition of a storage unit, such as HOAs

  • Whether your own property or a storage facility can provide better security

  • Your budget, since the initial cost might be higher for at-home storage but monthly costs might be less than at a storage facility

  • Whether you're planning to vacate your current premises in the near future

  • How the addition of a storage unit to your property might affect your insurance for both the property and the goods you're storing

  • If your goods are still covered by insurance if stored at a storage facility

Indoor vs. Outdoor 

Before deciding whether to go for indoor or outdoor units, you need to decide whether your goods will hold up to the elements. Outdoor storage is ideal for boats, cars, trailers, weatherproof boxes and outdoor furniture. It's also easier to drive up and drop off your goods, as many of these are accessible by vehicles. 

Indoor units offer all the added extras, such as privacy and temperature control. However, it might be hard to access, and you may have to cart your goods around on trolleys, which may mean multiple trips. 

Unit Size 

Storage unit sizes can range from a small cube, also referred to as a mini storage unit, to a large room. For students, the cubes might work best between semesters, especially if they plan on going home between semesters. Larger storage units may work for those who need to pack up their entire home between moves. 

Items Being Stored

Most on-site storage units provide a safe and secure environment for goods such as furniture, sentimental items, clothing, seasonal decor and appliances. However, if you have collectibles, you may want to consider storage facilities that provide climate-controlled storage units to protect the integrity of your items. Some items also need to be kept at a certain temperature which may require cold storage. 

It's also worth looking into the restrictions some storage companies might have. There are certain items that may not be allowed for storage. Many units don't allow: 

  • Firearms, ammunition and explosives, even if they're collectibles

  • Food of any kind, even those considered non-perishable 

  • Living and dead things, such as plants or dried flowers 

  • Fur items 

  • Tires due to their fire hazard and disposing difficulties 

  • High-value items such as jewelry

Cost and Contract Length 

Factors, such as size, amenities, location and added services, affect the monthly cost of the unit. For instance, you might find a large self-storage unit with no added services, simple security and basic accessibility might be more cost-effective than a small, climate-controlled unit with 24-hour surveillance. 

Some storage companies will allow you to use the storage unit for as little as a day, while others may require you to sign up for at least 30 days. If you're looking to store your goods inevitably, consider signing for a long-term storage lease, as these tend to be more affordable over the long term. 

Security and Accessibility

Not all items for storage have the same value, which means that the level of security they require might be different. For instance, if you're looking to store a classic car or family heirlooms, you want to opt for storage units with round-the-clock security, surveillance, access control and additional security measures such as electronic keypads and tamperproof locks. 

Accessibility might be a big factor in the type of storage you go for. Some storage units only operate during business hours. If you need a facility that can accommodate you after hours, opt for a late or 24-hour access storage facility. In this case, having on-site storage might be preferable, as you will have full access at any time of the day. 


When you're in the market for a storage solution, it helps to know what others in your situation experienced. check out online reviews to find out how others experienced their storage service. Reviews may also let you in on other aspects of storage you may not have considered, such as whether there's proper lighting, helpful staff and decent, safe parking. 

For on-site units, the reviews will let you in on the quality of the structure and how easy it was to have it delivered or removed. 

A Storage Solution for You

At SMARTBOX, we know what it takes to keep your goods safe. We offer on-site, self-storage solutions for those who want to keep their stuff close to home. These units are ideal for those who want a temporary storage solution too, as they are easy to assemble. Simply give us a call to discuss your storage needs. 


Dusty Rhodes