How does self storage work?

Most people end up needing self-storage at least once in their life but it’s not something you would know about until you do. That means a lot of first-time customers who are often confused about how self storage works. If you’re looking at renting storage space for the first time or just aren’t sure what self-storage is then don’t worry, we’re here to clean up some of the confusion. You can also read our complete guide to self storage for even more information.

What is self storage?

Self storage is pretty self-explanatory. It’s simply a service that enables people, whether it’s individuals or businesses, to rent storage space remotely. This is usually because they don’t have enough space on their own premises or because what they want to store doesn’t need to be kept on premises and is therefore potentially wasting the space it is using.

Self storage facilities are all different and may specialise in particular areas or industries or offer different amenities and additional services, but all storage facilities should offer some basic necessities.

  • Security – CCTV and alarm security systems should all be in place to ensure your goods always stay safe and secure.
  • Clean and dry space – storage units should always be clean and dry to protect your goods against damp and other damage.
  • Accessible – whether there are clearly outlined working hours with a member of staff available or secure pin-code access for 24/7 access, you should know when you can get to your goods and should always have access during these times.

Self storage is also usually a very affordable way to get some extra space, especially today when space is so valuable, and your facility may offer a range of additional benefits that provides more value for money such as a UPS access point, specialised advice and help, removals and much more.

Self storage is a secure way to store anything you need

Why do people need self storage?

Self storage is born out of the necessity for more space, but there are many reasons why people may need more space in their life. For individuals looking at personal storage one of the most popular reasons is moving house where it is often necessary to store some or all furniture and personal items between properties.

Personal storage is also great for keeping your items safe and making space for renovation at home, decluttering and claiming back previously unused space in the home or simply because your property is too small for some of your more sentimental but rarely used belongings. Students especially may require storage for keeping their personal effects during the summer between student housing or while they travel.

For businesses, storage space can be used as additional stock space and mini-warehousing, a central hub for storing stock and running an online business, archiving old documents that are still needed for legal reasons, storing bulky exhibition equipment that is only needed once or twice a year and even as affordable office space to run the businesses itself.

Whatever the reason, many people find they need a bit of extra space at some point in their lives whether it’s just a short-term stay or even as a longer-term and permanent solution.

People need self storage when they don't have enough space temporarily or permanently

How can you rent self storage?

Renting your own storage space is relatively straightforward but it can be hard to know where to start or be confused by some of the processes if you’ve never done it before. Here’s a step by step guide on how self storage works and what to do. Before you start you might also want to read our guide on the true cost of self storage as well as our tips for keeping costs down to help guide your choice at each of the following steps.

1: Choose your location and narrow down your search

Deciding your location will have a huge influence on which facility you eventually end up with but it doesn’t have to the sole determining factor. Different areas in the UK will cost differently, for example self storage in London costs significantly more than elsewhere. While you may need to be near your belongings and this may restrict you, if you can look elsewhere and can travel a bit further than you may benefit by getting more affordable space.

Self storage works based on location

2: Decide on your type of storage

The type of storage solution you need will also help determine which storage facility you choose as not all of them will offer what you need. If you’re moving to a new house or just need storage for yourself or your family then you’ll just need personal storage, but if you’re a business then you’ll want a facility that can better meet your needs. Some may specialise more in archiving or bespoke offices, or you may want a storage company that can do it all. All of this may determine whether you need single box storage, standard storage space, container storage or even bespoke office space.

3: Choose your unit size

You’ll then need to decide on the size of unit you choose which is the main factor for determining how much your storage solution will cost. At Space 4U we have a handy self storage estimator to help with this and our friendly team have years of experience to guide you to the right unit size. There a few things to be aware of when choosing the size, such as whether you need to access any of the things you are storing. If you do, then you may want a larger space to create walkways and room to get around your unit. This can make things a little confusing so we always recommend asking for help as well taking a look at our handy cheat sheet.

Decide on the size of the storage unit you need

4: Decide on your duration

How long you need your storage space for and how you want to pay can also influence how much it costs. Like buying in bulk or wholesale, self storage is usually cheaper the longer you have it. So, for a 100sqft unit you may find it’s cheaper per square foot if you rent it for 12 months compared to 6 months. Self storage is typically paid monthly but you may also be able to save money with certain facilities if you choose to pay for so many months up front. Finally, don’t forget to ask for the minimum rental period. At Space 4U, for example, our minimum duration is just 2 weeks.

5: Reserve your unit

Once you’ve confirmed which storage facility you’re using and have decided on the unit you want to secure you can reserve your unit for a small fee or move straight away and pay your deposit then and there. At Space 4U you can reserve your unit from just £10 and your security deposit is fully refundable when your contract ends.

To reserve your unit, you’ll just need to provide all your contact details to make sure we can get hold of you and present the required identification. At Space 4U we always take ID to ensure the security and safety of our facilities. We require two forms of ID which must include a photo-bearing one such as a passport or driving licence, and something else with an address on it such as a utility bill or bank statement.

Reserve your unit and pay your deposit if needed

6: Before you move in

Finally, it’s time to buy a lock for your unit and make sure you have insurance. It’s mandatory to insure your belongings in storage but it’s up to you who you insure with. At Space 4U we offer affordable insurance and can handle it all for you to make life easier or take insurance out with your own third party, just make sure to give us proof of your documents before you move in.

Once you’re insured, you’ll need to buy your own lock for your unit. This is for the best security, so you know you’re the only with a key to your unit. Again, feel free to source and buy your own or just simply buy one of the ones we have in stock on site.

7: Move in

You can move in at a time that suits you depending on the hours of the facility you choose. Your storage company may be able to help you to organise any removals and at Space 4U we even offer a free pick up service with some of our units. Ask for advice on the best way to pack your belongings and organise your storage unit to suit your needs and to make the most of the space you have. From there you can access your unit anytime you want according to your facility times; at Space 4U, you can access your unit 24/7 with your own pin code.

Moving in and out of your storage unit or changing sizes should be easy

8: Move out

If you want to move out at any point, you’ll just need to give some notice. At Space 4U we usually require two weeks’ notice for move outs unless you’ve already organised this when securing your unit.

Ready to reserve your own storage space today? Give us a call, fill in our easy online quote form or come in and see us.

Packing Pug

I'm Percy the Packing Pug. What I don't know about self storage isn't worth knowing! Check out my latest blog posts for top tips on storage solutions near you.