Long vs. short term storage – which one should you choose?
If you’re looking to rent a storage unit, chances are that you’re looking for the lowest storage fees available. After all, no one wants to pay more than they have to. Depending on what you’re storing and how soon you’ll need to access your belongings, you may be able to save money by choosing either long term or short term storage.
We will take a look at each type of storage and then decide which one would be best suited to fit your needs.
What is long term storage?
Long term storage, as the name suggests, is for people who will be storing items for a long period of time, usually six months to a year or longer. With long term storage, your items may be stored in a regular storage unit or in large containers in a climate controlled facility. Some storage facilities may even offer extra services like packing, management over your belongings, and the unloading and reloading of your items.
Long term storage items usually fall into the categories of vehicles, furniture or collectibles. Proper preparation for storing these belongings can go a long way towards keeping them safe and secure. Here are some tips to storing each type.
- Vehicles. To store a car or truck in storage facilities, first make sure it is thoroughly clean inside and out. Next, make sure the car is up on jacks or blocks to relieve pressure on the tires. Third, disconnect the battery. And finally, use a car cover or large tarp to protect the vehicle.
- Furniture. To keep your furniture in good condition during long term storage, first make sure it’s clean and empty, securing all doors and drawers. Disassemble when possible, and wrap tightly with fabric pads, with special attention to corners and edges. Store your furniture on pallets to reduce the risk of flood damage.
- Collectibles. If your collectibles came in protective packaging and you still have it, use it. Otherwise, keep breakable items safe by carefully wrapping them in bubble wrap. Place your items in a well-padded box, and carefully leave space for additional cushioning in between items. Secure the box with packing tape, and store the box (or boxes) on a level surface close to the ground.
When you’re looking to rent storage units, you may find a significant price difference between short term storage and long term storage. Long term storage will usually cost less per month than a short term storage unit of the same size. However, it might make more sense (and ultimately cost less) for you to rent a short term unit.
What is short term storage?
Short term storage is typically any time period that is on a month-to-month basis of usually no more than a few months. Short term storage typically leaves a lot more of the work to you, including packing and storing in the short term storage unit.
While a long term storage unit may cost less per month, you usually have to agree to a long-term commitment when you rent. It may also be more difficult to access your belongings since many long term storage facilities utilize large containers in massive warehouse for storage. Therefore, many people find a short term storage solution makes more sense.
Using short term storage is a great way to instantly provide yourself with more space when you need it, but it can be expensive if you are renting a large unit is a popular area. Use these simple tips to save money on short costs.
- Rent a smaller unit. This sounds obvious, but the less space you rent the less you’ll spend. Before renting short term storage, take a look at what items can be sold or given away if you don’t really need them. You might also save space by packing smaller items into stackable containers and disassembling larger items.
- Scout a new location. Storage costs in downtown business centers or near college campuses may be more expensive than what you’ll find a few miles outside of city limits. A longer drive could save you a few bucks every month.
- Ask about discounts. Many short term storage facilities offer discounts to new customers. You might also be entitled to discounts if you’re a student or member of the military. Be sure to factor in any discounts you’re eligible for when you’re comparing prices.
Both short term storage and long term storage can offer indoor and outdoor options as well as other benefits including 24/7 access, surveillance and security, numerous locations, and a range of storage size options. Your decision about short versus long term storage should involve all these factors. But you should also take your personal situation into account—reasons to store the items, your budget, and your access needs.
So, who should use each type of storage?
Short term storage units are a useful solution for people who find themselves in one of many temporary situations. For example, if you’re renting storage to make up for a lack of space in your home, chances are that short term storage is the best solution. You’ll want to be able to access your belongings with nearly the same ease that you could if you were keeping them in an attic or extra room in your home.
Long term storage is more commonly used by people who are traveling overseas or military personnel who are deployed. This is not the best option for your seasonal decorations that you may want to access every couple of months. If you have items that you know you won’t be using within the next several months but that you want to keep, ask your local storage facilities about reduced storage fees with long term storage leases.
Although certain situations are easy to assess in terms of whether you need short term storage or long term storage, others may be more uncertain. It’s good to know options in terms of short term storage versus long term storage to help make the decision easier.