We all know what storage is. It’s when you store or protect your commodities for a short or long period of time in a safe space until you encounter a need for it. But while this is a fairly common concept, seldom do we ask the question, Why? Why do we need storage and why is it necessary to identify and select the best type of storage depending on the nature and requirement of our goods?

Now proper storage is necessary for the following reasons:

  • For perishable goods, storage and conservation are imperative to prevent them from going stale or rotten.
  • However, for most commercial goods, storage is necessary to:
    • Ensure protection from harsh weather conditions like extreme sunlight, rain, etc.
    • Shield it from destructive animals like rodents and other pests
    • Protect it from burglary and theft
    • Maintain product integrity and safety; store goods in order to preserve their functionality and utility.
    • Accommodate seasonal and fluctuating demand (stockpiling).

Different Types Of Storage

Storage solutions are never one-size-fits-all. There are a wide variety of storage options available in the market and they depend heavily on the nature and specific requirements of your goods. Broadly, storage is of two kinds; Long-term and Short-term storage options.

On the basis of the nature of goods, here are the different types of storage facilities available in the market:

1. Ambient Storage

Ambient storage refers to storage solutions that do not need to be temperature-controlled. This type of storage is well-suited for non-perishable and/or commercial goods that would not be affected by a change in the weather conditions or temperature. The goods stored in ambient storage would be done so at ‘room temperature.’ This option would prove to be slightly cheaper as you would not be opting for the temperature control option.

2. Cold Storage

Cold storage is a commercial facility to store (usually) perishable goods like foodstuff, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, meat, etc. in refrigerators, chillers, or freezers for a period of up to seven days–the number of days depending on the perishability of the goods in question. The temperatures of these storages are, obviously, controlled and they often range between 28o F to 3.2o F.

Also read: Best Climate-Controlled Self Storage Companies

3. Hazardous Storage

As the name indicates, this storage option is particularly designed for hazardous or dangerous substances that cannot be stored in a regular warehouse under normal conditions. Some examples of elements that are stored in hazardous storage facilities include flammable liquids, harmful chemicals, guns, weapons and other ammunition, gas-based items like propane cylinders, gas cylinders, oxygen tanks, etc. Hazardous storage facilities usually employ sealed, specially designed storage sections that prevent leakage, are fire-protected, and have temperature-control settings if the substance calls for it.

4. Point-Of-Use Storage

Point-of-use storage facilities identify the requirement and the frequency of need of specific goods and store them accordingly. In simpler terms, this means that the goods that you’ll require more frequently or in the near future will be stored more in proximity and accessibility than the goods that are less frequently used or required. When inventory is maintained in this manner, it eliminates the need to constantly transport goods and materials from one location to another as well as reduces manpower. It points to higher efficiency and saves time too.

5. Archive Storage

Archive storage is for storing important documents and other papers for short or long periods of time to save space on site. These documents that are no longer required to be stored at the company/organization can then be conserved in a safe, clean space, and can thus be referred to at any point in time.

6. Central Storage

When you store all your goods, irrespective of their nature, in a single, central location, you are employing central storage. Central storage is beneficial for easy access to your goods, it is cost-effective as you’re using the same storage facility for all your goods and it reduces the cost of inventory as well.

7. Wet Bonded Storage

Wet-bonded storage includes facilities to store items like alcohol and tobacco for short or long periods of time under specialized conditions, regulations, and permissions.

Also See: Best Temporary Storage Solutions

How To Choose The Best Short-Term Storage Option

As mentioned above, there are unlimited storage choices available in the market. However, doing ample research and identifying the storage option that best suits the demands put forth by your goods is very necessary to ensure product safety and durability.

If you’re in the market looking for short-term storage options and don’t know where to start, don’t worry! We have curated a set of variables to keep in mind before you narrow in on the perfect short-term storage facility for your goods:

1. The Nature Of Your Goods

It is first necessary to take a look at the kind of goods that need storing. Is it perishable items like food or flowers, items of furniture or upholstery like cabinets or dining tables, specialty appliances or goods like pianos, antiques, paintings, etc., or hazardous substances like harmful chemicals, corrosive items, or guns and ammunition?
For perishable items, you will need to settle for cold storage or a highly temperature-controlled storage setting that will prevent them from expiration. For hazardous substances, you should opt for hazardous storage options, and for substances like alcohol, tobacco, etc., you could opt for either dry or wet bonded storage. The nature of your goods will determine the kind of short-term storage facility that you opt for, and the associated features that the facility will come with.

2. Storage Location

For short-term storage, it is necessary that you opt for storage containers or drive-up storage facilities that are easily accessible and time-efficient in gaining access to. For instance, during a home renovation or move, it is smarter to opt for containers or trailers that you can pull with the help of a vehicle and store outside or nearby your home. This makes the installation of the furniture and other goods in your new home easier.

Some people also choose a central storage facility that helps them store all their goods, regardless of their size and nature, in a location that is close by. This makes it convenient so as to reduce costs on inventory and have access to all their goods in a single, centralized location.

3. Size Of Goods

Determining the size and space that your goods will take is yet another primary step in determining the kind of storage facility to avail. Depending on the size and nature of your goods, movers in the market today, offer a wide range of storage facilities; be it in racks, pallets, units, etc. Many also offer vehicle storage facilities depending on the size and model of the vehicle that requires storage. While moving house, the temporary storage size options typically available are 5’x15’ or 10’x10’, 10’x15’ and 10’x20’ or 10’x30’–once again depending on if you are storing items from a studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, or three-bedroom apartment.

Assessing the spatial requirements of your goods is also integral so as not to overbook or underbook storage space from a particular firm.

4. Storage Flexibility

You might not always know the exact number of days you’ll need your goods to be stored. In some situations, your calculations might prove inaccurate and this would mean that your goods remain in storage for longer or shorter than you initially intended.

While choosing short-term (or long-term) storage options, always go for companies that advertise their emphasis on flexibility. That way you avoid last-minute hassles or hidden expenses. These companies typically allow you to extend or shorten your initial storage period and charge you precisely for the number of hours/days/weeks that your items were in storage. Doing some initial research and inquiring about the term flexibility of your storage providers will give you an insight into whether they make such concessions or not.

5. Nature Of Service

On the basis of the nature of service, there are two types of options available in the market:

Full-Service Storage: Hiring full-service storage providers ensures that apart from booking and scheduling pick and drop timings, you will not have to lift a single finger to assist in moving and storage of your goods. The service providers will arrive, in full ‘valet-style’, with the necessary vehicles, packing equipment, and material as well as manpower to pack and move your goods to the storage facility themselves.

While this option might undoubtedly cost you more, it is relatively hassle-free and allows you to focus on other aspects–especially during a move or renovation. This option is fantastic for those who struggle with mobility, are on the older side, live in urban settings known for traffic, or for those who simply don’t want the added headache of transporting their goods!

Self-Storage: This option is slightly more popular as it entails storage providers just assigning you a unit, room, or warehouse space while you undertake all the other aspects of storage–including packing the goods and hauling them to the specified storage location. While this option usually entails more manual labor on the part of the clients, it is cheaper. The other upside is that it ensures that nobody gains access to your precious possessions apart from you.

Cost Efficiency : For many, choosing a storage option also hinges heavily on the cost it would incur. Short-term storage, however, is a lot cheaper than long-term storage options keeping in mind the time period as well as the short-term agreements that these providers often go for. Purging your goods of every last unnecessary item, paying upfront, and (sometimes) buying your own lock will help you attain maximum value for money. Renting space for household goods in the fall and winter seasons are generally found to be cheaper, as these are times when the demand for storage is less.

Storage Features : Every storage unit comes armed with a set of specified features that you could toggle, to reduce costs or to protect the goods in question. Storage facilities are usually theft and fire-insured, routinely monitored, have leak-proof units, and are temperature-controlled. Make sure to clearly specify your storage requirements beforehand to avoid being charged for features that your goods do not require.

For instance, if it is a wardrobe that you want to be stored, make sure to mention that you want storage space that is at ‘room temperature’ so as to reduce expenses. Similarly, not choosing specified storage facilities to store items like alcohol, flammable liquids, etc. would instantly backfire, and would prove to be dangerous.

Things To Keep In Mind

As with everything, identifying the appropriate storage facility required for your possessions becomes easier with time and practice. However, if you keep in mind the following tips and tricks, your journey to finding the ideal short-term storage for your goods will only become smoother:

  1. Do Adequate Research: We at Moving Astute simply cannot emphasize this point enough. While it is not necessarily a hack, starting early and doing thorough research and assessment of your goods and the exact kind of storage facility it would require would greatly benefit your quest for short-term storage and simplify the process to a large extent. Simply knowing the kind of wood your cabinets are made of or the model of the microwave you want to be stored, would go a long way in aiding this quest.
  2. Haggle, If You Can: While most companies offer standardized prices, a few small businesses can be haggled with in terms of prices. However, haggling is an art, and if you are good at it, then it could seriously reduce the amount you fork out for your short-term storage facilities.
  3. Pay Upfront: Even if your storage provider does not explicitly offer this mode of payment, enquire if it is possible for you to pay upfront. This forces them to maintain transparency in the matter of costs and helps you to avoid hidden/deceptive charges.
  4. Eliminate Waste: Maintaining a critical eye while deciding what to keep and what goes reflects well when it comes to storage. Ultimately, remember that you pay for the space that your goods occupy. So, make it a point to throw away, sell or donate the items that are at the end of their life or no longer serve you any purpose so as to cut down on the space required during storage and avoid the accumulation of needless junk–especially during a move or renovation. It is not uncommon for families to host garage sales or donation drives before a large move to ensure this very purpose.
  5. Avail Of Space You Already Have: What this means is that, if you have an additional space/room/unit of your own or your friends or family’s that you could borrow, then store your largest items in that free space before hiring a storage provider, especially for short periods of time. This ensures cost-efficiency.
  6. Compare And Contrast: Today, in the market, there are just about a hundred storage providers that offer you a plethora of storage options. The best way to avoid over choice anxiety is by comparing and contrasting the various aspects of the companies in your region. Surveying the reviews of customers or enquiring with acquaintances that have availed of their services is a great way of narrowing down options as you get to have an honest insight into the pros and cons of hiring the company. Calling and inquiring with a bunch of providers beforehand will also give you a fair idea about how these companies operate, their prioritization of customer services, price ranges, responsiveness, etc.

Therefore, no matter the kind of storage you require, a little forethought and some smart groundwork will make the process a lot easier for you and also make your pockets happy!

See Also: Storage Unit Size Calculator

FAQs On How to Choose the Best Short Term Storage Option

What Is Short-Term Storage?

Storing your goods in a clean, safe space for shorter periods of time is called short-term storage. This service is typically opted for by people who want to store perishable items like fruits, flowers, vegetables, meat, etc., or household goods and appliances during a move or renovation. Typically, short-term storage refers to a period of three months or less, although this definition might differ from region to region and company to company.

What Is The Cheapest Way To Store Household Items?

The cheapest way to store household items is by renting a trailer or storage container and opting for the self-storage facility. Cutting down on the number of goods that you need to be stored by throwing, selling, or donating goods that no longer serve any purpose also helps in reducing storage space and, therefore, storage expenses. Another hack to reduce costs is by choosing a storage facility that is not centrally located and that does not have temperature-control settings.

Where Should I Store Between Moves?

Storing goods in a moving pod or drive-up storage is the best, most accessible way to store your things in between moves. These storage mechanisms can be kept in your driveway or closer to your home to increase ease of access and reduce costs.

Does Furniture Go Bad In Storage?

As furniture is nonperishable and tends to be durable, it usually only requires ambient storage; dry storage facilities that are not temperature-sensitive. So, the furniture usually does not deteriorate in short-term storage–if they are clean and waterproof. However, depending on the nature of wood or material and the longevity, if not protected well from termites, moisture, etc, furniture might rot or be destroyed.