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Complete Storage Guide: Everything You Need to Know Renting an Unit

posted: 16/07/2020

1. What Are the Different Types of Storage Units?

There are a lot of different types of units depending on what are your requirements. Here is a basic classification.

1.1 Depending on Where the Unit Is Located

  • Indoor storage

These units are a part of a much larger facility. Usually, storage companies own a warehouse divided into smaller spaces they rent out. To enter your unit, you need to get in the building and walk towards your designated spot.

  • Outdoor storage

They are similar to garages, and you can enter them from the outside of the building. This makes the units ideal for storing vehicles like cars and boats. You can easily park a moving truck in front of their door.

  • Covered storage

It is pretty much a parking spot with a roof located in a secured space. They are used mainly for RVs, vans and other vehicles.

1.2 Depending on the Type of the Facility

  • Self-storage Units

These units are preferred by those who seek an inexpensive and convenient storage solution. Usually, they are situated in larger warehouses. These rooms have temperature and humidity control. Most companies offer 24/7 surveillance. Self-storages come in different sizes so you can properly fit all of your belongings here.

  • Business Storage

These facilities are specialised only for commercial usage. Depending on the things you need to keep there, the company can offer you different plans and subscriptions. If you are relocating your business to London, for example, we advise you to look for one such storage, as you can properly secure all of your company’s documentation and delicate electronics.

  • Moving Storage

The majority of moving companies in London offer to store your items for short periods until the relocation process is over. Altho this is a quite pricey option sometimes, you have no choice, especially with international removals. At least this way you will be certain your belongings are protected and safely locked.

  • Mobile Storage

This is a very convenient solution for your troubles as it involves the delivery of a trailer or a wooden/steel volt to a place of your choosing. However, they don’t stay there for long only for the duration of the loading/unloading, and then they are picked up back and transported to a storing facility. The tricky part is you don’t have constant access to your items at all times as with the regular self-storage unit.

  • Container Storage

We are talking about large shipping containers put in a secured place equipped with 24/7 surveillance and live guards. Depending on the company and its storage services, some containers can be used as mobile units, others can be divided into two parts creating smaller and cheaper storages.

  • Lock-up Garages

They can be used both for vehicles and for storing items. However, most of these facilities don’t have CCTV surveillance and temperature control. The things you keep in there need to be properly packed and be able to sustain the sudden weather changes. These garage units are cheap to rent as they are not very secure. You can use them to store items that you no longer need or use but are not ready to part with.

1.3 Depending on the Time You Rent It for

  • Short-term Storage

This type of storage is quite common in London and the UK in general. The term is self-explanatory and stents for a unit you can rent for a specific short timeframe. Depending on the company, it could be less than three or less than six months.

  • Long-term Storage

The long-term warehouse facilities allow you to deposit your belongings for more than 3 months or 90 days. This type of storage has only a minimum time requirement which means that if you want, you can rent it for several years.

  • Unlimited Storage

Some companies don’t want to bind you with a time limit. You can rent a unit for 24 hours or 2 years. Top Removals is one such provider, as there is no minimum or maximum renting period with our London storage.

1.4 Depending on the Level of Your Involvement

  • Self-served Storage

This means you are responsible for preparing, packing, delivering and correctly storing your items. The company provides you only with a space in their facility.

  • Door-to-Door Storage

Here your involvement is limited. The storage company will pack, move and arrange your belongings in the unit. You don’t have to do anything.

1.5 Depending on the Temperature

  • Climate-controlled Storage

They are perfect for environmentally sensitive items that require certain temperature or humidity conditions. This type of unit is almost always located indoors as it makes their maintenance easier. Temperatures are kept between 10’C and 30’C depending on your needs. The climate-controlled facilities use specialised HVAC systems and are constantly monitored.

  • Cold Storage

These units are used for storing temperature-sensitive goods like perishable foods, medications, horticultural products, etc. The cold is constantly kept between 0’C and 5’C.

  • Frozen Storage

Known also as chilled storages, they are meant for keeping frozen goods. The inside temperature is strictly regulated and kept between -1’C and -50’C depending on the company that owns it.

  • Ambient Storage

The unit is constantly at room temperature (15’C-25’C) which makes it perfect for storing electronics, paper, etc. They are dry, well-ventilated spaces that are monitored at all times to ensure the inside conditions are stable.

NB: Don’t confuse climate-controlled storages with temperature-controlled ones. The latter manages only the temperature in the unit/facility while the first also has charge of the humidity levels.

storage sizes in the UK

1.6 Specialised Storages

  • Wine Storage

It is basically a temperature, light and humidity-controlled room that is equipped with special shelves designed to hold your wine bottles.

  • Hazardous Storage

These facilities are heavily regulated by a number of government agencies, as they are used to keep dangerous and sometimes highly poisonous materials. Think chemicals, acids, flammable substances, etc.

  • Archive Storage

These units are perfect for business owners who don’t have a lot of office space. Altho most files nowadays are kept in digital form, there are many companies that still use paper. The archive storage is a great way to preserve your information as these facilities usually have 24/7 CCTV surveillance.

  • Dry Bonded Storage

Also called customs warehouses, are spaces for storing imported goods without having to pay tax duties on them. They are a sort of safe zone where the products stay until they are re-exported or sold.

  • Wet Bonded Storage

Specialised in warehousing alcohol and tobacco only. However, the latter has specific storage requirements and not many companies offer these types of services.

2. What Is the Most Popular Storage Size in the UK?

Depending on what you need, you can pick from a variety of different sizes. To help you get a better understanding of how big are the units and what you can fit in them, Top Removals’ experts have prepared a detailed infographic. Here is some more information, you might find helpful.

  • 10 sq ft (1 m2) unit

You are looking at a standard locker. It is primarily used by students when they are on a break and need a space to store their belongings until the next semester.

  • 16 sq ft (1.4 m2) unit

The smallest storage with the size of a wardrobe can comfortably fit the contents of a one-room unit. You can easily transport everything you want to put in it at the back of your car.

  • 25 sq ft (2.30 m2) or 5’x5’ unit

These storages are very popular especially in big cities like London where people usually live in flats or small apartments. You can fit up to 40 medium-sized boxes in one of these units.

  • 35 sq ft (3.30 m2) unit

To fill this place you would need to hire a small van, as your car wouldn’t fit everything. This size is often used as business storage as well because there is enough space to store file boxes and specialised equipment.

  • 50 sq ft (4.70 m2) or 5’x10’ unit

Your movers will arrive with a transit van in order to transport all of your items to this unit. Typically you would use this size when you are relocating from one apartment to another as the storage is big enough to fit all of your essentials.

  • 75 sq ft (7 m2) unit

Another popular size perfect for relocating a two-bedroom house or around 150 medium boxes. You will need a Ford Transit to transport everything much like the one we use in our moving fleet.

  • 100 sq ft (9.30 m2) or 10’x10’ unit

With the capacity of a regular garage, this storage size is quite popular in the British capital. You can easily fit the contents of a 2 bedroom house in it or perhaps some garden furniture and seasonal sporting gear. You will need a 15 ft moving van.

  • 125 sq ft (11.60 m2) unit

This storage is big, and you will need three Luton vans to max it out. If you are planning to relocate from your 3 bedroom home, we advise you to choose a unit with this volume.

  • 150 sq ft (13.90 m2) or 10’x15’ unit

Known as a popular size for shipping containers, this storage can hold up to 250 medium boxes or the contents of a 3 to 4 bedroom house. The units are ideal for business uses as well, since they can hold large quantities of produce.

  • 175 sq ft (16.30 m2) unit

If you want to relocate your 4 bedroom house, this is the right storage size for you. You can even fit a piano inside the unit.

  • 200 sq ft (18.60 m2) or 10’x20’ unit

You can easily store your car or boat here. These units are often used for vehicles or large machines. It fits around 300 medium boxes and you would need to hire either a 7.5 truck and a long wheelbase van or one big 12t moving truck.

  • 250 sq ft (23.20 m2) or 10’x25’ unit

This is the optimal solution for a 5 bedroom house relocation. You can fit everything including a vehicle in this unit. However, you will definitely need a moving company to transport and manage the loading and unloading.

  • 300 sq ft (28.90 m2) or 10’x30’ unit

It is one of the largest storage units available that you can use to keep your household goods. Vehicles, furniture, appliances, sports equipment and a lot of boxes can easily fit here. The size is ideal for business owners who wish to store the contents of their office buildings while moving.

  • 500 sq ft (46.50 m2) or 10’x50’ unit

Altho you can easily store the contents of a 5-6 bedroom estate here, this size is primarily used for commercial needs. These units are usually equipped with lots of shelves that allow the safekeeping of different types of products.

  • 500 sq ft + unit

From here up we are talking about industrial storage, as these warehouse units can hold big vehicles and machines as well as different types of products and supplies.

3. How Much Does Storage Cost in the UK?

Prices can vary depending on the location, the size, the renting period and the purpose of the unit. For example, cold storage and regular self-storage with the same dimensions and location will cost differently.

  • You also need to be aware that the prices in the Northern and southern part of the UK are not the same as those in London.
  • Another important thing to note is that usually the longer you occupy a unit the cheaper the rent is.
  • Most companies offer some kind of benefits – first-time customer discount, paying 50% off for the first year and so on.
  • The more high-tech the unit, the higher the price. For example, a climate-controlled room with 24/7 CCTV surveillance will be more expensive than a simple shipping container.

Here is what you are expected to pay on average for a storage unit in 2020:


Time50 sq ft75 sq ft100 sq ft150 sq ft200 sq ft
1 week£25£35£45£55£80
1 month£90£145£180£220£350
3 months£250£350£430£500£800
6 months£550£800£1050£1350£1750
12 months£1050£1600£1850£2350£3200


Time50 sq ft75 sq ft100 sq ft150 sq ft200 sq ft
1 week£35£40£50£85£95
1 month£125£165£220£260£380
3 months£320£420£520£620£920
6 months£700£900£1200£1350£2200
12 months£1400£1900£2350£2850£3700


Time10 sq ft20 sq ft30 sq ft40 sq ft50 sq ft75 sq ft100 sq ft
1 week£17£18£44£50£55£60£65
1 month£40£60£90£120£180£200£250
3 months£190£220£390£500£590£700£880
6 months£400£700£920£1250£1450£1700£2100
12 months£900£1200£1900£2500£2900£3500£4200

4. When to Rent a Storage?

Here are the most popular situations in which it is a good idea to hire a unit.

4.1 When You Change Homes

If you have too many items or you are forced to change flats fast, hiring a storage unit can save you a lot of trouble. You can either arrange everything by yourself or leave your moving company to deal with it. When relocating, having a secure location to put your items is a must.

4.2 When Moving Internationally

To be fair, in this case, you are almost obligated to obtain a storage unit, as it will smooth the process significantly. Shipping can sometimes take up to a month, and there is a possibility that your belongings will arrive at different times. The best thing to do is to get yourself a storage unit to “collect” your items and then proceed to move them periodically to your new home.

4.3 When You Relocate Your Business

We actually recommend you hire storage when moving your business to a big city like London. Setting a new office can take time, and it’s better to have a place where you can store your equipment and furniture. You can set your IT infrastructure and then move the desks and chairs in. You can even leave some things that you don’t want in the new place but are too valuable to toss them away.

4.4 If You Own a Lot of Sports Equipment

Are you an active sports lover? Do you own a canoe or a snowboard? Even a mountain bike can take a lot of space if you live in a small apartment. You don’t have to skip on the outside fun just because you don’t have where to put your gear. A self-storage will provide you with the extra space you need, plus most of them have 24/7 surveillance and you can even adjust the temperature and humidity in your unit.

4.5 If Your Home Has Become Too Cluttered with Stuff

This is the most frequent reason to get a storage unit. Over time you and your family members will accumulate plenty of things from gifts from the inlaws like cooking sets and silverware to treadmills and old electronics. When you are not ready to part with them but you don’t have enough space in your own home, storages are here to save you the inconvenience.

4.6 When Your Children Start to Grow up Fast

At first, you will have a couple of bags of baby toys and clothes, but slowly you will end up with strollers, cribs and more and more stuff. Kids grow very fast, and you need to be able to free enough space for new outfits and furniture. If you want to keep these items maybe for the next baby in the family or for a friend, storage units are perfect for the job. This way your children will always have enough play space in their rooms and your home will look perfectly organised.

4.7 If you Are Having Relatives Over for Extensive Periods

You are hosting this year’s Christmas family reunion and are awaiting a small army of aunts, uncles, cousins and lots of children. Don’t panic you can protect your valuables, antiques and designer pieces by storing everything away from the hustle and bustle of the house. Gather all of your items, package them carefully in boxes and arrange them in your self-storage. This way you will have enough space for the relatives and save money on repairs and replacements. Talking about killing two birds with one stone.

4.8 When Doing a House Remodelling

A very smart solution to all your problems is to hire a storage unit somewhere close to your home and move all of your furniture and fragile items in there. During house renovations, a lot of dust and construction debris is involved. It is actually more budget-friendly to invest in self-storage than to pay for professional cleaners. This way you will have more space in the home and don’t have to constantly move stuff from one room to another trying to protect it from breaking or getting dirty.

Storage Unit Decision5. How to Choose a Storage Unit?

You have to answer a couple of important questions in order to determine what kind of unit you need.

  • What is your budget?
  • How long are you going to use the storage?
  • What are you going to put in the unit?
  • Do the things you want to store have special warehousing requirements?
  • What kind of additional perks you want?

Based on our experience we have created a simple infographic to guide you through the decision making process.

6. What Do You Need to Rent a Storage Unit in the UK?

Usually, you will only need an ID when you are renting a basic unit. However, for storage facilities with specialised use (for exported goods, chemicals, tobacco, etc.), you need to provide the proper documentation for the items. Many companies ask you to sign a contract and may request proof of residency, social security information, etc. It is best to contact them and familiarise yourself with their requirements.

7. How to Choose Your Storage Company?

The ideal warehouse company needs to have:

  • Convenient location – It has to be situated close to your home or workplace, depending on what you are storing. There is no point in going around the city and paying extra for transport.
  • Great customer service – The staff needs to be empathetic and understanding, able to deal with all kinds of problems. Check the company’s site and online reviews. Search for evidence on how they handle stressful situations and what is their general demeanour towards the customers.
  • Discounts and deals – A good sign is if the company can offer you different plans and is flexible with their services.
  • Trustworthy security – This is extremely important, especially if you are storing valuable items. Make sure the facility has 24/7 CCTV monitoring, a reliable locking system and constant surveillance from the guards.

8. What Is Storage Insurance?

This is a type of insurance mainly used for self-storages, as it covers your belongings in case of damage caused by fire, flooding, theft, insects or varmints, explosions, etc. Insurance companies offer different policies depending on what your items are, for what period are you looking to store them, the type of the unit and so on.

8.1 Do You Need Insurance on Your Storage Unit?

Usually, when you rent a space from a reputable company, the insurance is included in the monthly fee. However, if you are storing special items, antiques or produce that awaits to be sold or exported, you may want to make an additional policy, just in case. The standard insurance the majority of storage companies offer covers damages caused by natural disasters, accidents, pests and theft.

9. What Do You Need to Know Before Packing Your Belongings for Storage

The most important rules you need to follow are:

  • Do not use things that can stain or damage your items.
  • Use crates or boxes that have a lid, and it can be tightly sealed.
  • Do not pack wet or damp items.
  • Do not store canned goods in a unit that is not climate or temperature-controlled
  • Heavier items go at the bottom, and lighter ones – on top.
  • Pack your belongings in medium boxes, as you need to be able to lift the containers by yourself.
  • Check in with your storage company to see what items you are not permitted to put in your unit.

10. How Do You Pack Your Items for Storage?

In order to properly prepare your belongings for the unit, you need to have the right materials. For great packing advice, you can check Top Removals’ complete house moving guide, where our London experts explain in detail what you need and how the professionals do it.
However, it is not all about the packing, and sometimes you have to put extra effort into preparing your items.

10.1 How to Store Clothes?

It is daily easy to prepare your clothes for storage:

  • Wash your garments.
  • When they are completely dried off, fold them and place them in vacuum bags.
  • Put the bags in cardboard boxes or plastic containers.

Packing items for storage

And you are done. Remember to check the pockets of your clothes for pins or other sharp objects that can potentially rip the vacuum bag.

10.2 How to Store Electronics?

The most important thing when packing your electrical devices is to make sure they are protected from any moisture. Roll them in bubble wrap or plastic sheets. Then place them in their original box or other cartons of the appropriate size. You can put some foam peanuts or crinkle paper to fill up the free space. When arranging the boxes in the unit, avoid setting them directly on the floor. Rater, place them on top of a shelf or other furniture.

10.3 How Do You Store Furniture?

When putting furniture in storage, you have two options. You can disassemble it or keep it as it is. If you choose the first, do the following:

  • Dismantle the furniture and wrap each piece in plastic.
  • Put the small parts like bolts and nuts in zip-lock bags.
  • Place the pieces in a box or plastic container and put the bag inside.
  • Close the lid and secure it with tape.
  • Label the box, so you know what is inside.
  • If you decide to keep the furniture as it is you need to:
  • Remove the soft parts like cushions or pillows and pack them separately in a vacuum bag.
  • Wrap the piece of furniture in plastic sheets and secure the edges with tape.
  • The idea is to prevent possible water damage in case the unit floods, or there is a leaking pipe.

10.4 How to Store Your Mattress?

All manufacturers advise storing your mattress flat, to prevent the springs and coils from shifting. However, if you don’t have space, you can place it in a standing position for a short period. In any case, do not place anything on top of it. To protect the fabric, use plastic sheets or a mattress cover. Remember to clean it thoroughly before wrapping it for storage.

10.5 How to Store Your Bicycle?

The options here are a lot. There are various devices and techniques you can use, such as:

  • Wall mounts
  • Wall hooks
  • Freestanding racks
  • Floor stands
  • Ceiling mounts
  • Kickstands

Some solutions require a few screws and holes so first check with the facility manager.

10.6 How to Store Big Kitchen Appliances?

The most important thing you need to remember when preparing your fridge or washing machine for storage is to clean them thoroughly. Remove all traces of food, fibres and moisture. Everything must be dry when you place it in your unit. Due to how heavy and large most of these appliances are you can’t put them in a box. The only thing you can do is cover them in bubble wrap to prevent scratches and dents.

10.7 How to Store Winter Sports Gear?

Depending on what you own, there are different techniques to store and keep your gear safe for the next winter. We have created a separate guide especially for storing winter sports equipment. If you are interested go and check it out.

11. FAQ

As always there are many more questions regarding the renting of a storage unit. So our London experts will answer the most popular of them.

11.1 Do Storage Units Have Electrical Outlets in Them?

It depends on the type of unit you rent. Usually, self-storages don’t have outlets as this may encourage the tenants to work or live in them, and this is not permitted. However, there are some specialised spaces that have this extra.

11.2 Are Self-Storage Units Heated?

Standard self-storage units are not heated, nor do they have a climate-control option. They are basically an empty room you can use to put your things in it. If you need special conditions, you have to check with your storage company and explain what your requirements are. Bear in mind that the cost will be higher for a heated unit.

11.3 How Do You Get Rid of Mould in Your Storage?

First and foremost if you find mould in your unit, you need to inform the company that owns the place. Check your contract and see if there is a clause concerning the maintenance of the unit. If it’s your responsibility to get rid of the mould, you can do several things:

  • If we are talking about a couple of spots in the corners or on the ceiling, you can try and clean them yourself.
  • If your unit is suffering from a severe mould infestation, you need to call in professional cleaners.

Disclaimer: Some mould types can be dangerous for your health and should be handled only by a licences mould removing company.

11.4 How Do You Keep Bugs Out of Your Storage Unit?

Generally, the facility management is responsible for the pest control in the storage units. Therefore, if you have a bug problem, you need to contact them right away. As a precaution you can do the following:

  • Wrap your furniture in plastic sheets.
  • Store your items in lidded containers as opposed to cardboard boxes.
  • Do not put food products in your unit.
  • Try to keep your belongings off the floor by arranging them on shelves.
  • Use pest control spray every so often.

If you have more storage-related questions, feel free to leave them in the comment section below. Our experts will gladly answer your queries.
Searching for a safe facility to keep your belongings in London? Top Removals can offer you various storage options and money-saving deals.

Stephanie Cooper

Stephanie is a content marketing specialist for Top Removals for the past several years. She has extensive experience working with moving companies and knows her audience. Stephanie creates engaging and useful content helping the customers of Top Removals with their struggles and providing them with the most accurate insight.

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