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What’s the difference between storing my stuff in crates, a self-storage warehouse, or a self-storage container?

Pete Furneaux
  • Pete Furneaux
  • 25th June 2018
  • Container Hire Renting Storage Space Self Store Storage Containers

What’s the difference between storing my stuff in crates, a self-storage warehouse, or a self-storage container?

All three options provide safe, secure, dry, space for your stuff so it often comes down to why you’re looking for storage space.

For example, if you’re moving house and just need somewhere to keep your stuff for a matter of days then it may make sense to crate it up and let a removal company look after it for you. The advantages of using crates are that you can get the removal company to do everything — supply the crates, even pack your stuff, transport the crates to their storage centre, and then keep them there until you need them.

The downside is that once your stuff is crated up it’s not going to be easy to access should your plans change and you need to get at items sooner than you thought. It’s also unlikely to be the most cost-effective self-storage solution if you need to store anything for more than a few days or weeks.

Warehouse self-storage is becoming more and more popular, and for many people this offers a great solution — whether that’s for personal or business use, short or longer-term. Most of the major warehouse storage providers — such as Big Yellow and Safestore — offer you a full service, including selling everything you need to pack up your stuff, and they provide a wide range of unit sizes — from the equivalent of half a garage right up to the type of space needed to store a trader’s complete range of goods.

There is a major disadvantage, however: unless you choose a street-level unit — and pay a premium for the privilege — you’re going to need to trundle your stuff from your car or van to your unit (and vice-versa) using trolleys and lifts. This may work fine if you’re just going to park your stuff and leave it indefinitely, but if you know you’re going to be taking items in and out — for example, if you need to access your stock on a regular basis — it can start to look like a bit of a hassle and a less than efficient use of your time.

Container self-storage solves this problem, because all access is at street level and you can park right in front of your doors. This makes the whole process of transferring your stuff into your self-store unit a doddle: just load up your car or van, drive to your container, open the doors, and start unloading. And if you’re using your container to store tools or stock, it works equally efficiently the other way — all you need to do is drive up, unlock your container, select what you need, lock your container, and off you go. No wrestling with trolleys or hanging about waiting for lifts.

Many container self-storage providers offer 24-hour, 365-day access, which means you’re not restricted to specific opening hours — something that can be an issue at some warehouse locations. Your stuff is as safe in a container as it is in crates or in a warehouse — containers are designed to be just about impossible to break into and most self-store providers provide high levels of on-site security.
Cost-wise, using containers usually proves more competitive than either crate or warehouse storage — for example, The Space Program charges £35 + VAT per week for 160 square feet of space (with insurance included) while 150 square feet at Big Yellow (after a four-week introductory period) is more than £90, plus initial deposit, insurance, and cost of a padlock.

And if you’re worried about damp or condensation, they’re no more an issue with a container than they are with warehouse storage: as long as you take nothing damp in, all your stuff will stay bone dry for as long as you keep it there. There’s more about damp and condensation here.

When you’re weighing up your self-store options, it’s worth remembering that containers — like warehouse units — provide a highly flexible choice as they also come in a variety of sizes and can be put to a wide range of both uses, whether that’s personal or for your business.