Self Storage – When Your Home Simply isn’t Big Enough

The self-storage business is booming, with the industrial outskirts of practically every major town and city across the UK dotted with large, square buildings that provide bespoke, flexible storage options for businesses and homeowners.  According to Self Storage Association UK, the UK accounts for 47% of the European self-storage market and there are now over 1,400 storage facilities, providing more than 42 million square feet of storage space, dotted around the country.

Given the costs of moving house – with the associated conveyancing fees, estate agent fees, surveys and stamp duty eating into budgets – many people are now choosing to extend their homes or demolish and rebuild. However, for those choosing to extend, this can mean that precious storage space is lost as garages are incorporated into houses, lofts are converted into bedrooms and the garden shed is upgraded to an outdoor office. Internal spaces can be optimised for storage by a good architectural service but for many homeowners the best option is to consider renting a storage unit, not just for excess furniture but also for bulkier items such as sports goods and seasonal items such as Christmas decorations.

What types of storage are available?

When it comes to self-storage, there are three main choices available: shipping containers, garage lock-ups and purpose-built facilities containing sectioned off lockable rooms. Shipping containers are a good option for items that don’t need to be stored in a temperature-controlled environment and don’t need to be accessed regularly, while garage lock-ups allow regular access but can lack security. The third option of renting a room in a storage facility is surging in popularity. Attractive benefits such as low rent, flexible contracts, 24/7 access, parking, temperature and humidity control, security and a front of house service to receive deliveries have led to these units being used for a variety of functions, not just storage of household items. These include office space for small business owners, storage of ecommerce stock and even space being used for a personal gym or an art studio. For homeowners with limited storage, they also provide an excellent opportunity for storage of sports equipment, such as ski equipment and snowboards, kayaks and surfboards, mountain bikes and even paragliders. They can provide excellent space for seasonal storage of summer/winter wardrobes and also provide invaluable space for storage of bulky Halloween and Christmas decorations.

How much will it cost?

Fees will vary according to the square footage and the duration of your contract. The longer you stay, the cheaper the contract becomes. Likewise with square footage, the larger the size the lower the proportionate cost. Companies such as Blue Box Storage in Hemel Hempstead offer a wide range of options, ranging from £11 per week for 10 square feet to £82 per week for 200 square feet of space. Some companies will also offer insurance, but check the small print as this works well for household items, but does have exclusions that may result in your property being under insured or not being covered at all.

How much space will you need?

One of the key attractions to this room-based storage is that you can upgrade or downgrade as necessary and only pay for the space you need. In terms of sizing, here is a brief guide:

  • 10 square feet – this is equivalent in size to a telephone box and ideal for students looking for temporary storage of items such as books, small boxes and suitcases.
  • 25 square feet – this is roughly the size of a garden shed and suitable for items such as white goods, Christmas decorations and sporting equipment such as skis and snowboards.
  • 200 square feet – this is often the largest space available in storage facilities and is the size of a double garage. This space would accommodate the contents of a 4/5 bedroom house.

How important is location?

One final point to note, if you’re thinking of renting a storage unit, consider the location. If you’re storing seasonal items, you won’t need to regularly visit the facility, so it may be worth looking further afield for a lower cost option. Also, some companies will offer reduced prices for the first few weeks, especially if it’s a new set up. This can be an excellent option for short-term storage but if you plan on using the unit long-term then you may be better off negotiating a lower, long-term rate.

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