Portable Storage vs Storage Unit: What’s Right For You?

Jon Fesmire | December 28, 2017 @ 9:00 AM

The self storage industry keeps expanding, and as it does, new services arise. We’re all used to the idea of self storage facilities, but now there are portable storage units, valet storage, and more. Which is best for you? Well, that depends on many factors. Do you need storage long term, or are you planning on moving and need a way to simplify getting from your current home to your new home?

Your answers can determine what sort of storage you need, so let’s explore your options.

Using Self Storage

Self storage has been around for decades, whereas portable self storage is a relatively new concept. Therefore, traditional self storage has set the standard, and has some serious advantages over portable self storage.

Traditional storage units come in a greater range of sizes, from 5x5—and even smaller—units to 20x30 units. Need as much space as you’ll find in a walk-in closet? Get a 5x5. Need to store the contents of an entire house? Get a 20x30. Need something in between? Those are available, too.

One crucial feature that self storage has that portable storage may not is climate control. If your portable storage unit is being stored at a storage facility, it may be kept in a location with climate control, but there’s no way to regulate the temperature and humidity inside the portable storage unit while it’s in your driveway or en route to your destination. In areas where summers get hot and humid, and winters get cold and dry, climate control is necessary if you want to make sure your belongings remain in top condition.

Self storage does have one big disadvantage. You need to load your belongings into a car or truck, drive them to the facility, and then unload them. Portable self storage eliminates this hassle.

Using Portable Self Storage

So, portable self storage may not offer climate control or a wide variety of sizes, but it does have some major benefits.

You don’t need to drive anywhere to use a portable storage unit. The unit will actually be delivered to your home where you can load your belongings into it directly. You can generally either keep the portable storage unit on your property or have the storage facility pick it up and store it for you. If you’re moving, you can keep the portable storage unit at your home and take your time loading it up. When you have the portable storage unit at home, you can access it whenever you need to.

In other words, a portable storage unit can be extremely convenient, especially for moving or for short-term storage.

However, there are other disadvantages to consider, besides lack of constant climate control. You have to pay for pickup and delivery, adding to the cost. In addition, storing your portable storage unit at the company’s facility is generally more expensive than self storage, and access to the facility is limited. Granted, self storage facilities have specific access hours as well, but these days, many have extended hours. Finally, it’s not always permitted to keep the portable storage unit at your home. Depending on where you live—especially if you are part of an HOA— keeping a portable storage unit in front of your house or in your driveway might not be allowed. Find out what’s allowed in your area before you rent a portable storage unit. One way to look at the difference is that self storage is great for keeping your things safe for several months to several years, while portable storage units are more convenient if you’re moving, if you can afford the extra expense. Weigh your options and decide which will work better for you.

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