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How to Decide What Type of Self Storage is Best for You

Jon Fesmire | August 3, 2021 @ 8:00 AM

If you’re new to renting self storage, you may wonder what the options are and what type of storage space is best for you. The fundamental things to consider are what and how much you need to store. We’ve covered property features, like gated access, lighting, and security in other articles. When you look for a self storage property, we always recommend comparing those features. But, here’s what you need to look out for when you’re searching for a storage space.


First, you’ll need to decide what storage size is right for you. Our size guide shows the different options you can expect. These range from extra small (xs) storage lockers, which are about 5x5x3, to small at 5x5, to extra large (xl) at 10x30 or even larger. Once you’ve perused the videos, you should have a good idea of what you need. To be sure, pack everything you need to store while creating an inventory for your records. Now, you can more easily estimate how much space they’ll take up. When you look for storage properties, find one with appropriately sized spaces. Properties can vary, so you may find one that has only small and medium spaces, or that skips from small to large.

Drive-Up or Indoor Storage

There are two basic types of spaces: drive-up and indoor. Both names are literal. Drive-up spaces are those you can drive your car, truck, or van up to. You then unlock it, lift the roll-up door, and load or unload your boxes, furniture, and so on. Because you can park right in front of your space, they’re the most convenient. Indoor spaces have their advantages, too. First, they’re better protected from the elements than their drive-up alternatives. While all spaces protect your stuff from rain, snow, hail, wind, and direct sunlight, these are less susceptible to outside heat and humidity. You’ll want to use a hand truck or cart to transport lots of boxes to an indoor space, and fortunately, these properties have these onsite for tenants to use.

Standard or Climate Controlled

You should also consider whether to rent a standard or climate-controlled space. Standard spaces are less expensive. However, depending on the climate in your area, what you plan to store, and how long you plan to keep stuff in storage, a standard space might not offer enough protection, as your belongings will be subject to extremes in temperature and humidity. Climate-controlled spaces provide protection against these conditions. Properties keep the temperature in such spaces between 50 and 80 degrees, and the humidity between 30% and 50%. Some properties keep them in an even tighter range for added protection. These conditions are ideal for most things from art to electronics. Climate control will add about 30% to the rental price of your space, but for the protection, we think it’s worth it.


Do you plan to store wine? This is a niche storage type, but popular enough that many properties either specialize in it or have a few wine storage spaces. The ideal temperature for most wine storage is 55 to 57 degrees with the humidity at about 60%. This can vary depending on the type of wine, so if yours has specific needs, ask the properties that provide wine storage if they can adjust the space a bit for your collection. The fact is that regular climate-controlled storage spaces aren’t adequate for wine.

Vehicle Storage Types

If you’re looking for vehicle storage, there are completely different things to consider. So, if you need to store a car, RV, jet-ski, boat, or another vehicle, this is the information you need. There are three types of vehicle storage, fully indoor, uncovered parking, and covered open-air storage. The first is indoors, either in a warehouse with other vehicles or in individual space, the second is in an outdoor parking lot, and the third is outdoors but with a roof overhead, similar to many parking spaces at apartment complexes. Fully indoor offers the best protection against the elements, covered open-air offers decent protection, and outdoor exposes your vehicle to the elements, like parking it on the street. If you use one of the latter two, we recommend getting a cover for your vehicle, if available. We also recommend waxing it, no matter which storage type you choose. Now, it should be easier for you to pick the space that’s right for you. For more information and additional ideas, check out our other blog posts. When looking for a storage space, check our listings, which span the U.S. and Canada.

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