The complete self-storage guide

Self-storage can offer a whole range of benefits to all types of people, but many are still unsure exactly what a self-storage solution entails and how to make the most of their solution. Whether you’re currently looking for a self-storage solution or even if you’re not sure whether it could help you at all, our complete self-storage guide can help explain the options available and what you need to do when you secure your space.

What is self-storage?

Self-storage pretty much does what it says on the tin. Facilities around the UK offer a range of differently sized units to storage things that you don’t have space for at home or work. In a world where space is increasingly valuable many of us find we need self-storage at one point or another.

Our customers have all sorts of reasons for needing a bit more space in their life, from a lack of storage in their small studio apartment to stock space for their new online business. Whatever the reason, self-storage can provide a flexible and affordable solution to keeping your possessions safe while giving you a bit more room to breathe.

Why use self-storage?

There are many reasons why self-storage is the ideal solution for many people. While the core reasons will depend on what you need to store, here are the general benefits of self-storage that always make it a good choice.


This may depend on the facility but in general self-storage is an affordable alternative to other storage solutions and at Space4U we always offer competitive prices.


One of the biggest benefits of self-storage is security. Members of the Self Storage Association (SSA) like Space 4U all provide extremely secure facilities with modern CCTV and alarm systems. You then buy your own lock for your storage unit so you know you’re the only one with the key.


You should always get a secure pin code or key to get into the facility itself and the best facilities like Space 4U will offer 24/7 access so you can always get to your belongings and of course you always have the key to your own padlock.


Running out of space is stressful and can have a huge impact on the rest of your life. Feeling disorganised just isn’t fun! Self-storage can help you reclaim some space in your life, get organised and feel stress-free.

What do people use self-storage for?

A storage solution can help you store almost any of your personal possessions and can even be used as a hub for your business. Here are some of the main reasons for using a self-storage solution. There are two main types of storage depending on the reason you need it, personal storage and business storage.

Personal storage uses


Many of us need to downsize to save money or simply because we don’t need as much space anymore. Of course, downsizing doesn’t always mean you want to get rid of everything. If your new home has limited storage space, then storage can help you keep the sentimental items that you’re not ready to part with or are keeping to pass on to family members.


Even if you’re not downsizing you may decide it’s time to clear out that attic space or reclaim your spare bedroom. While you may want to throw some of this clutter out, there’s probably lots of it you want to keep for sentimental reasons even if you don’t use it daily. Self-storage can give you the extra space you need so you can make better use of your space at home.


If you’re getting a loft conversion you’ll also want to declutter and may need some extra space, or you may just temporarily need some storage to protect your belongings while your house undergoes building work. Storing your items short term can ensure your valuables remain secure and avoid any potential damage – no one wants their prized possessions covered in dust for weeks or months.

Storage can be a good way to keep things safe during remodelling


Moving house is one of the main reasons we see people seek out self-storage. Getting the times right and planning your move is stressful, to say the least. Often extra space is needed to help you sort out your possessions and even store them in-between moving out of your old home and getting into your new one. Self-storage can really help to take the pressure off the big move day.


Today travelling is not just for students and more of us than ever seem to be packing up and taking time off to travel. For students, a small self-storage unit can be an ideal place to store their clothes and other valuables during summers between university and while they travel. For others, storage is perfect for storing their furniture and possessions if they choose to sell or rent their house out to fund their trip.

Business storage uses

Archiving and filing

Many businesses find themselves swamped with paperwork. Some can be shredded and disposed of but a lot of paperwork may need to be archived for a certain amount of time for legal reasons. In this case, the paperwork itself is not used around the office and takes up space. Self-storage can help store paperwork to get more room in the office while protecting important documents.

Businesses use self storage to archive documents

Business stock

Whether you have a physical store that lacks stockroom space or have your own online business and struggle to house all your stock at home, self-storage can provide valuable stock space to keep your business running while giving you more space at home or at work. Because you can access our facility 24/7, you can operate your business straight from the unit and get to your stock whenever you need.

Trade supplies and equipment

Similarly, trade businesses often find they lack the space to keep tools and expensive equipment they may need for some jobs but don’t have the space to keep tools in their van or at home. Many of these tools are also very costly and could be at risk of being stolen. At our storage facility, staff are also on hand to help with deliveries and can even place deliveries in your unit while you’re away to help keep your business running smoothly.

Exhibition and event equipment

Exhibitions and events are important for many businesses but unfortunately, the equipment can take up a lot of space and businesses simply don’t have it to spare at the office. Self-storage can provide the added space needed to store roller banners, furniture and other exhibition or event equipment.

Office furniture

Businesses are always changing in size and requirements and many may find they need to make extra space for periods of time but will need their office furniture later. Just like moving house, self-storage helps take off some of the pressure when moving to a new office or it can just provide some extra space for furniture that isn’t needed temporarily.

You can even use storage for office space

Office space

Depending on the storage facility you can even get bespoke office space for your business. At Space 4U, for example, we offer a range of large units and spaces that come with lighting and power and can further be modified to suit your needs. This office space is cheaper and much more flexible than traditionally rented office space as you’re not tied into lengthy contracts and can downsize or increase to suit your needs.

Storage unit sizes

There is a huge range of storage unit sizes available and each facility may offer a different range depending on their speciality and the size of the facility. At space 4U we offer a wide variety of unit sizes to suit any need, so you never have to pay for too much space. This includes our single box storage, so you can store from just one box all the way up to our large units and even office space. You can find out more about our storage unit sizes or use our storage size estimator to get started.

After you’ve found your storage unit

Once you’ve found the perfect sized storage unit for your needs here’s what you need to know about actually storing your things.

What you can store

You can store everything from bulky furniture-like items to smaller personal valuables and supplies. This can range from electronics to apparel, book and much more.

What you can’t store

There are some things that you can’t store at self-storage facilities. Just like everyone else, we need to adhere to British law and there are some items that simply aren’t safe to store. Here’s a list of things that you can’t store with us.

Firearms, ammunitions and other dangerous weapons

Even if they’re legal and licensed these items should be kept in a specialist facility with climate-controlled environments.

You can';t store firearms or ammunition in self storage

Illegal substances

Drugs, explosives and any stolen goods are illegal to store just as they are anywhere else.

Combustible, flammable, hazardous or toxic materials

These items are against health and safety and can be extremely risky to store if they are not kept in the right environment and cared for properly. This includes things like gasoline, compressed gas, propane tanks, kerosene, lamp and motor oils, acid, grease, corrosives, fertilizers, paint, cleaners, chemicals, biological waste, anything with asbestos and so on.

Radioactive materials

Again, radioactive materials have extremely strict storing and disposal requirements that are legal to adhere to and is only provided by specialist facilities.

You can't store radioactive materials in self storage

Animals or humans

This means alive or dead… You’d be surprised how many people consider leaving their pets in a ‘holiday’ storage unit.

Live plants

Living plants attract insects and vermin that is a big no for our health and safety, but storage units are also extremely poor climates for plants so you wouldn’t want to store them here anyway.

Cash and securities

There are specialist places to make sure cash is kept securely such as a safe deposit box.


Unsurprisingly we’re not too keen on having your rubbish lying around! As well just not being good etiquette, rubbish is a huge health and safety risk as it can attract insects, vermin and other yucky things.

Plus any other illegal items or items harmful to public health! If in doubt just speak to our staff, we’re always happy to help. Even if it’s not illegal or obviously harmful there are some things that just aren’t recommended to keep in storage. These are usually obvious but always ask if you’re unsure. For example, we never advise storing food or perishable items.


When your goods are in storage they are still your responsibility and it’s compulsory for all goods in storage to be insured to cover against loss or damage. How your storage facility deals with this may vary, but at Space 4U we offer our own insurance to help. Our insurance is £3.60 per £1,000 of value per month and the minimum cover is £1,000. Alternatively, you can get your own insurance, but we will need to see documentation as proof.

Securing your unit

To ensure your unit is secure, a padlock must be placed on your unit door/s. Only you or your nominated individuals should hold the key or combination number. Padlocks can be purchased from our store.

You need to buy your own padlock to keep your self storage unit secure

Storing your items properly

Storage units should be clean and dry but it’s important that you always pack and store your items correctly to prevent damage. Our staff is on hand to help with this and we offer plenty of advice on how to organise your storage unit, so you can get your belongings and fit as much in as possible, as well as tips for storing fragile items.

Get in touch

Want to know more about how self-storage could help you or have a question about any of our services? Take a look at our FAQ page to get answers to all our most common questions or contact us today to start finding your perfect storage unit.

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.