If you’re looking for a storage unit and are unsure whether to use a self storage unit or choose a portable storage unit, you’re not alone.
Which storage option to choose depends on why you’re renting storage. In my opinion, there are three questions to ask that can help you make the decision:
- How long are you planning to use the storage unit?
- If you’re moving, are you moving locally or far away?
- Where is the majority of your stuff going to be while you’re using storage?
Self Storage Unit Portable Storage Unit Expected Duration: Long or Unclear Short Distance Moving: Close Far Majority of Stuff: With You In Storage
Duration of Rental Period
One of the principal questions to ask when deciding between a self storage unit or portable storage is how long you plan to rent the space. In general, a portable storage unit is going to be more expensive to rent each month, as well as offer less flexibility in the amount of space you can rent. For example, it’s not uncommon for a self storage facility to have a variety of room sizes available (5×5, 5×10, 5×15, etc) whereas most portable storage companies will only have 1 or 2 rental sizes available.
While some portable storage companies are more economical than others, they will generally be more expensive than a comparably-sized self storage unit on a monthly basis. If you consider all the costs of self storage units, though, you might find the extra dollars worth it. In general, though, the longer your expected rental period, the more likely you’ll want to choose a self storage unit over a portable one.
Distance You’re Moving
If you’re moving and not going very far, I think it’s probably a wash between choosing a self storage unit or a portable one. A portable storage unit is going to cost a couple hundred bucks for pickup and delivery, but when you factor in truck rental, time, gas, etc., it’s probably not going to be that much more expensive relative to the convenience of being able to load and unload from your driveway.
With a longer distance move, however, a portable storage unit is probably the better way to go. Even though you’ll pay quite a bit for the transportation of a portable unit, it’s much easier to manage moving stuff into and out of your driveway than coordinating a whole other space. And, at least part of that transportation is a sunk cost, given that you’re going to have to make the trip anyway. If you’re really value conscious, you can get really crafty and find some ways to save money, but for the person who has some budgetary wiggle room and just wants it done, I think portable storage is the way to go for a longer move. At a minimum, you aren’t going to access your self storage unit in Atlanta from Chicago.
Where Your Stuff will Be
When I used portable storage, I was moving an entire household at one time. Consequently, I had nearly everything I owned in storage at the same time. Others, though, may be staging their home and using storage to store some clutter while they sell. If you’re in this bucket – where storage is ancillary for some period of time – then self storage is probably the better option. Again, this is because it’s a cheaper option with a little more flexibility in terms of size and access. If everything is being stored and moved at one time, portable storage is probably the way to go.
A Third Option
If you’re in the market for a self storage or portable storage unit, you might also consider our service, which is a full-service alternative to traditional storage options. In the coming days, we’ll do a post comparing our service to both of these alternatives, then a wrap up of all three. Meanwhile, if you want some more information – or need help deciding what’s right for you – call us at 404-624-6013 or email us.
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