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Self-Storage Glossary: Everything You Need to Know

posted: 30/09/2023

GlossaryStorage facilities offer a convenient and flexible option whether you’re decluttering your home, moving to a new place, or searching for extra space to keep your business inventory. However, as with any industry, the self-storage world has its own terminology and jargon that can confuse newcomers. That is why we have decided to break down the key terms and concepts, empowering you with the knowledge you need to make informed decisions and easily navigate this versatile industry. Let’s get started on your journey to becoming a self-storage expert.


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Only clients having access pins are allowed entry into self-storage facilities. The facility, other than the welcome area, is off-limits to visitors.

Access Gate
One official client gate that outsiders use to access the storage premises. The facility staff can control the entrance and stop unwanted access to the building.

Access Hours
The precise window of time when clients or tenants of a self-storage facility may enter the property and access each of their individual storage units.

Access Pin
Customers are given a number they need to provide to enter the storage facility.

Administration Fee
An upfront fee that includes all processing, paperwork, and other administrative costs.

ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition)
A system that automatically reads and records data from licence plate numbers.

Anniversary Billing
It refers to the predetermined time at which the consumer will be charged. Typically, this falls on the same day of the month that the consumer started leasing the unit.

ASU (Active Storage Unit)
This is a safe external self-storage unit for clients to store and access their belongings.

Auction/Storage Auction
A procedure where the items in a storage unit are sold to the general public if the renter has neglected to pay the rent or violated the terms of their storage contract. The self-storage business can reclaim the unpaid rent when a customer is considerably behind on payments by selling the unit’s contents to compensate for their losses.

Auto-Billing/Automatic Billing
Self-storage costs that are taken out automatically from credit cards or via bank transfers.


The ground floor slab of the building has square steel plates fastened to it to distribute the weight and load of the mezzanine columns. In areas with inadequate concrete, these can be utilised in greater sizes to improve the support.

boat storage facilityBoat Storage
It is a service offered by locations where boat owners can keep their vessels safely and securely when not in use.

Brass Lock
A weather- and corrosion-resistant locking mechanism.

A path that leads to the storage units on the top levels.

Business Storage
This kind of storage solution addresses the needs of the business. It is a safe and adaptable method of keeping commodities, supplies, tools, paperwork, etc.


Car Storage
This phrase serves as a catch-all for indoor and outdoor secure vehicle storage.

Caravan Storage
It refers to the secure locations where camper trailers, RVs, and caravans can be kept. Both indoors and outdoors are options for this type of storage. The facilities frequently have wide aisles with easy movement. Indoor storage shields you from UV rays, rain, and snow. Some owners of facilities for storing caravans provide upkeep services, including tyre inspections and battery charging.

CCTV (Closed Circuit Television)
A private television system that records specific places and areas for security or monitoring purposes.

Climate Control
Refers to devices such as air conditioners, freezers, heaters, and more that are used to regulate the humidity and/or temperature of a particular space, room, or storage unit. It is frequently employed for delicate things, perishables, artwork, or electronics.

Computer Controlled Access
It occurs when a PIN, key card, or other type of security device is used to provide access to a facility.

Usually, it’s a sizable mobile storage unit created to safeguard the kept objects against theft and the elements. It is composed of durable, weatherproof materials like steel.

Container Storage
A storage facility made from shipping containers. People can rent a whole container or a part of one. This type of storage is usually cheaper than most other options.

Courtesy Hold
A deal whereby the company consents to hold a storage unit for a potential client before any rental contracts have been signed.

Covered Boat Storage
Boats are parked under a roof in this sort of storage, offering protection from the wind, rain, and sun. While it typically costs less than indoor storage, it provides more security than outdoor storage.

Cut Lock
Self-storage facilities frequently use the term “cut lock” to describe removing a tenant’s lock, usually due to nonpayment or unit abandonment.

Cylinder Lock
It is made of a cylinder that is strong and easy to rekey. Usually, there is a master key for security and a key for the customer.


Deliveries Accepted
In other words, the storage facility can accept shipments and deliveries on behalf of the client.

An upfront payment made by the tenant as a kind of security for the storage facility. This deposit, also called a security deposit, is used to pay for any possible expenses incurred by the storage provider due to the tenant’s behaviour. These costs could include unpaid rent, additional damages to the storage unit beyond regular wear and tear, or any other expenses specified in the rental agreement.

Disc Lock
A disc lock is a tough mobile lock that loops together to close an access point.

Document Storage
Unlike self-storage, document storage refers to a service provider’s efficient and secure management, retrieval, processing, printing, and dissemination of paper documents.

Dolly / Handcart
A free-moving cart with wheels that is intended to move heavy or bulky objects securely and safely.

Door Alarms
A security device that, if the doors are opened without the required authorisation, will sound an alert.

Drive-up Access
This entails having the ability to drive a car up to the storage unit’s door. It is convenient for storing huge, heavy, or bulky objects.

Drive-up Unit
A storage space that is easily and quickly loaded and unloaded by vehicles.

Dry Stack Boat Storage
Smaller boats are frequently stored in this manner. It entails placing the boats on racks with unique construction inside a covered or enclosed storage space. When the owner wants to keep or utilise the boats, machinery pulls them into and out of the water.


Exchange Pallet
A shipping pallet associated with the unit cargo being moved. It does not need to be returned to the original sender.

Expendable Pallet
A pallet that is used once for shipping purposes alone and then discarded.


self-storage unit in LondonFacility
This describes a structure or business equipped to support the self-storage sector.

Facility Manager
Also known as the on-site manager, these employees are on the storage’s premises during business hours to sign contracts, deal with moves in and out, oversee extensions, etc.

First of the Month Billing
A lease that charges the tenant on the first of every month.

Flat Panel System
To increase rigidity without reducing useable area, rigid panelled walls frequently include a minor curvature along their length.

Flexible Unit Sizes
These are frequently mentioned while using commercial storage facilities, and they come in various sizes, from modest lockers to huge warehouse-style areas.

Fork-lift Truck
A self-propelled machine that lifts and moves large things by inserting steel fingers under the burden.

Freight Lift
Specifically made to transport just products between levels—not people.

Furniture Storage
Furniture storage refers to the act of a customer storing household things like furniture.


Gate Access Card
A card that, when shown or swiped, allows admission to a gate that is secure and otherwise inaccessible.

Gate Access Code
An alphanumeric or numeric combination is used to open a gate or other entryway and allow entrance to a secured location. The client/tenant is given a gate code. The user enters this code at the facility’s entry on a keypad or electronic access device. The system checks the entered gate code against a database list of authorised codes. The gate or entryway opens if the code is accurate.

Goods in Transit Insurance
An insurance agreement concerns products that are being shipped or “in transit”.

Gross Area
The overall area of a plot of land, a structure, or a storage space. This can incorporate spaces produced by several levels of a structure.


A passageway inside that provides access to several units.

Hazardous Materials
Materials that need particular storage approaches or are dangerous to store. These include explosives, flammables, and chemicals, among other things.

StorageHeated Storage
Units for storing things with heating systems to control or raise the temperature.

Holding Keys Agreement/Key Holding Agreement
This is the name for a legal agreement formed between a facility management or operator and the client or renter. The operator/key holder is authorised by the contract to hold onto and protect a set of keys to the storage unit.

Home Storage
This business model, often called portable or mobile storage, involves a company delivering a storage container to your house. You can fill it out whenever is most convenient, and the provider will pick it up and take it to a storage location or leave it on your property.

Household Storage
Refers to the keeping of furniture, household goods, or personal things.

Humidity-Controlled Storage
A storage space outfitted with machinery for regulating the air’s moisture and humidity.


Indoor Boat Storage
A type of storage where boats are kept indoors in an enclosed (and typically covered) space to keep them safe from the weather. It provides the maximum defence against the elements, airborne debris, UV rays, and potential external harm. These storage facilities can be anything from enormous warehouses to personal garage-style storage units. They can also provide other services, including maintenance, boat season preparation, and winterisation.

Indoor Parking
The secure, weather-protected storage of automobiles.

Indoor Room
These are entirely enclosed indoor storage spaces or units. It is typically the most expensive choice but provides the best weather protection and potential theft defence.

Indoor Self-storage
Self-storage units that are housed inside a facility.

Protection from financial loss, damage, and/or theft.

Interior Unit
Storage units housed within a main building or structure.


Key Fob Access
A key fob is a small, portable device that interacts with a reader using wireless technology, frequently radio frequency (RFID), to open gates and doors.

A security mechanism that requires a code to open to gain access. An access code—usually a string of numbers—is entered on the Keypad.


Late Fee
When the tenant’s rent is not paid by the due date stated in the rental agreement, this fee is charged to their account. The late fee’s objectives are to reward prompt payment and reimburse the storage facility for any annoyance and administrative expenses brought on by late payments.

Lease Terms
Customers typically rent spaces in self-storage by the week, so they can, for instance, pay for precisely 8 weeks and only have to pay for this period.

Between floors or levels, it moves people and/or things vertically.

Loading Bay
The location allocated for loading and unloading.

Lock / Locking Mechanism
A locking mechanism is the term used to describe the system or equipment used to secure a storage unit and bar unapproved entry in the self-storage industry. Padlocks, biometric locks, combination locks, electronic, cylinder, and disc locks are only a few examples of these devices.

Locker Storage
This usually refers to a small storage space, mainly used for a few boxes or little objects.

Lock Up
The word “lock up” often refers to a storage space tenants hire to house their belongings or goods for their businesses. These devices are available in various sizes and can be put indoors or outside.

Long Term Storage
Self-storage clients typically store their belongings for 4-6 months. However, many keep their units for extended periods (12 months or more).


man and van in LondonMan with a Van
This is a service offered in the UK. A man and van consist of a small truck, driver, and potentially additional help. It is suitable for small-scale moving.

A mezzanine is a specially constructed floor that connects two main floors and provides more room at a relatively modest cost.

Mezzanine Lift
A lift that travels vertically to a mezzanine and is intended to transfer people or goods.

Also called “customer migration,” the term refers to a customer relocating their belongings from one storage unit to another, typically within the same facility.

Mini Storage
A broad term considered to be a shorter version of “mini self-storage”. It generally refers to self-storage solutions of all sizes and purposes.

Mobile Storage
This service delivers storage containers to your residence or place of business so you can pack them whenever convenient. Once you’ve finished loading your container, you can keep it at your home for easy access or have it delivered to a storage facility.

Month-to-month Lease
Rent obligations for customers are limited to one month at a time.

This is how a customer begins their leasing agreement and physically moves into their storage unit, according to the self-storage business.

This phrase is used when a consumer vacates a storage unit and ends their leasing agreement.

Moving Supplies
It describes a variety of containers—boxes, crates, packing tape, etc.—used to prepare objects for storage.


NWPCA (National Wooden Pallet and Container Association)
It is an international trade association that manufactures, recycles, repairs and distributes pallets, containers and reels.

Nett let-able
The entire available area, excluding hallways, restrooms, reception, loading docks, etc. that can be used for self-storage.

Non-climate Control (Cold Storage)
A storage unit without temperature, humidity, or other protective technology.

Non-reversible Pallet
When only the top side of a pallet is intended to come into contact with the products, and the top layer of the pallet differs from the bottom.


parking signOpening Height
The distance from the floor to the top of the stringer notch or from the bottom to the underside of the top deck.

Outdoor Boat Storage
This entails putting the boat in a storage facility’s open, unprotected lot. Although less expensive, this offers less protection from the weather.

Outdoor Parking
Parking area outside designated for vehicles.

Outdoor self-storage
It typically refers to storage units located outside and with direct exterior access.

Overall Height
The overall length when calculating the distance from the ground to the upper deck’s side.

The gap between the load of the deck and the pallet’s or stringer’s outside edge.

It describes an additional lock the facility management installs on a storage unit, typically due to the tenant’s failure to pay rent or other rental agreement violations.


Packing Materials
It’s another name for the crates, boxes, packing tape, etc., used to prepare objects for storage.

Pallet Rack
A cube-shaped building for pallet storage. These are typically stacked vertically.

Parking Space
Refers to the area set aside for car storage, either indoors or outside.

Perishable Materials
Materials that cannot be stored for an extended period, such as live animals or food

Permitted Items
You may keep those things in your unit.

Personal Storage
Personal storage, commonly referred to as private storage, is what people utilise when they employ self-storage.

Pharmaceutical Storage
Pharmaceutical product storage may call for specialised climate control or security measures.

Pitch and Stay
It is a service-authorised camping area to store caravans, RVs, and camping trailers. Customers can set up their vehicle there for their vacation and leave it there for storage throughout the year.

Refers to objects and machinery (such as skips and forklifts) used in shipping, picking, and self-storage.

Plastic Pallet
A plastic pallet that is sturdy enough to be used for product handling and shipment.

A highly viscous coating made of PVC that is applied in liquid form for visibility and protection.

transportation forkliftPlatform Truck
A powered industrial piece of machinery that transports items and pallets.

This sort of transportable storage container exists. The pod is brought to you, packed by you or the delivery business, and either left on your premises or brought to a self-storage facility for safekeeping.

Polyester Powder Coated
It is a type of coating that is applied as a free-flowing, dry powder and often heated to form a “skin” that provides greater resilience and strength than customary liquid paints.

Power Conveyor
A general word for any conveyor that uses motors.

Premium Lease
Various storage providers offer various lease alternatives with multiple advantages and cost structures. A Premium Lease is typically used to describe the most expensive option with the most features.

Prohibited Goods
Goods that cannot be held in a self-storage facility due to legal restrictions or safety and health issues.

Pro-rated Move in
No matter what day of the month you move in, your rent will only be for the days that you have been renting the unit, preventing you from being charged for the entire month.

Pro-rated Rent
No matter how many days are in a month, for Pro-Rata purposes, there are only 30 days. Subtract 30 from the total monthly rent. You now have the per-diem sum. The Pro-Rata amount is calculated by multiplying this sum by the number of days you will occupy the property.

Public Sector Storage
Along with people and businesses, self-storage is used by government agencies. Various organisations, such as embassies, consulates, notaries, tax administrations, and customs duty offices share the necessity to hold objects.

Push Back Rack
A high-density cubic system that includes internal storage for pallets stacked vertically at various heights. When a new pallet is positioned in front of an existing one, the existing pallet can be “pushed back” on fixed rails. The pallets behind the first one slide to the front for quick and simple access when it is removed.


The standard by which something is compared to other items of a like kind. A product’s appearance, use, and durability may be examined during quality control checks.

The offer the customer receives from the storage staff after they have made their inquiries. It includes all fees and the final rental price.


Removal Services
Sometimes referred to as moving services, it is provided by expert businesses to assist people in relocating their possessions from one place to another. These deal with local or cross-country moves.

The predetermined sum that the tenant agrees to pay for using the storage unit following the conditions spelt forth in the rental agreement, which is a binding contract.

Rental Agreement / Rental Lease
The written agreement outlining the rights, obligations, and terms to which the renter is subject.

Rental Fee
This is the fee levied by the storage facility for a given period’s use of a self-storage unit or space. According to the rental agreement or contract conditions, they may be arranged for longer-term payments, such as annually or quarterly, but are often due every month.

Rental Truck / Lorry
A vehicle a customer can rent to move furniture, objects, etc., from one place to another.

It is a commitment a consumer makes to rent a specific storage space or unit at a later time. It is a means to guarantee that the customer will have access to a particular sort of unit in the size they require.

Right of Lien
Pronounced “lee-un”, the term refers to the storage facility’s legal authority to keep or sell a tenant’s possessions if rent or other payments are not paid. The storage facility can hold the items on hand until the obligation is settled. The facility may be permitted to sell the kept items to recoup unpaid rent if the debt is not paid after a predetermined period.

Roll-Up Door
A door like this one opens by coiling vertically above the door aperture. Due to its space-saving design, it is a frequent type of door used in self-storage facilities.

R.V. storage
Recreational vehicles, which are often larger than domestic vehicles, have special parking or storage areas.


Security Deposit
The tenant must pay this specific amount before using the storage or space. When they fail to pay their rent or cause damage to the unit during the rental time, it serves as security for the storage facility.

London storageSelf-Storage
Renting a lockable storage unit in a clean, well-lit, climate-controlled, and secure self-storage facility, often known as mini storage, is an option.

Self-Storage Contract
The binding contract defining the terms and conditions to which the customer and the storage provider are bound.

Short-Term Storage
Although different storage providers may have their own definitions, short-term storage is typically considered less than 12 months of storage.

Storage Facility
Describes the structure where clients can lease various-sized, individually-lockable storage units.

Storage Insurance
It may or may not be included in the rental agreement. Still, tenants can purchase insurance to protect their possessions against theft, damage, and loss. Items kept in storage units could be covered by some homeowner’s insurance plans.

Storage Locker
Storage room and storage unit are the same; the language is different. Usually, around 4-5 storage unit sizes are available at each facility. See what sizes of units we provide.

Storage Tax
Value-added tax (VAT) of 20% is required on self-storage operators in the United Kingdom. Self-storage is exempt from all other taxes, albeit particular businesses could have their own costs and regulations.

Storage Unit
You can hire a private, independently lockable space at a self-storage facility. Only you will have the keys to your unit, only you will be able to view what’s inside, and only you will know what’s inside!

Student Storage
Self-storage used by students is referred to as student storage. Students can always use more space for their books and papers, hobbies, or to keep their belongings safe while they are away for the summer.


Any person or organisation that leases a locker, space, or storage unit from a self-storage facility is referred to as a tenant. In exchange for the right to use the storage unit for a predetermined time, the renter signs a rental agreement and agrees to pay a particular rental cost.

Transfer Fee
A one-time fee that could be charged if a tenant decides to transfer from one unit to another within the same building.

Sometimes known as a dolly or handcart, it is a free-moving cart with wheels that can safely move numerous objects at once.

Truck Rental
A truck or other large vehicle that is rented, subject to the rental company’s terms and restrictions, for the transportation of products.

Turn-key fit-out
Refers to a procedure whereby an outside team handles all the planning, handling, logistics, and staff.


storage warehouse in LondonUnit
It refers to a personal storage unit that clients can rent. Typically, they are walled-in areas with doors for entry and are available in various sizes to meet different storage requirements.

Unit Load
A single unit load refers to the entire stack or load of goods on a specific pallet.

Unit Mix
Each storage facility has a unique unit mix, an assortment of the sizes and numbers of self-storage units offered.

Unit Size
The total floor space that can be used comprises all levels and mezzanines. Standard units of measurement are square/cubic feet or metres. Each facility offers a variety of storage unit sizes, often from S (1-3m2), which is comparable to a large washing machine, to M (3-6m2), which is comparable to a walk-in shelving, L (6-9m2), which is similar to a garage, and XL (10+m2).

Upper Unit Storage
A unit that is not on the first floor of a storage facility with multiple levels.


VAO (Vendor Assigned Orders)
It describes the procedure where businesses store their inventory in an outside warehouse and then issue stock-picking orders for distribution to customers in response to consumer demand.

Vehicle Storage
This kind of storage refers to safe places where a car can be left for a long time. These can be seen in both indoor and outdoor settings. Some of these facilities include additional services like trickle charging and valeting.

Video Surveillance
Cameras that use video to monitor a specific area for safety, security, and/or crime prevention. Commonly found in CCTV systems.


Walk-in Unit
Walk-in units have doors, and entering one is similar to going into a walk-in wardrobe or shelf. S units are often just 1m high, and 2-3 units are usually stacked on top of one another.

Companies often contract out the operation of their product’s warehouses. Usually, the warehouse will be compensated for handling, keeping, and packing or delivering items as they come in.

Wine Storage
This entails the provision of specialised lockers or storage facilities made especially for storing wine bottles. These buildings ensure ideal wine preservation conditions, such as constant and suitable temperature, humidity, and illumination levels.


2L / 3L / 4L
2L stands for two levels, 3L for three levels, and 4L for four levels. It describes how many storage units are on top of each other, with the one in the middle being the most convenient.

24hr access
This means the storage facility is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with no restrictions on access hours.

In this ever-evolving world, where space is often a premium commodity, self-storage facilities continue to be the bridge between clutter and convenience. We hope you got insights into the terminology, concepts, and best practices. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be better equipped to make informed decisions about your storage needs, whether you’re downsizing, relocating, or expanding your business.

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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