Short Term Vs. Long Term: Which Storage Type Is Right For You?
We've all been there: You have stuff you just don't want to get rid of, but you don't have the space to keep it around the house or office anymore. Do you have to bite the bullet and say goodbye to your belongings? Not with a storage unit, you don't! Let's take a look at both the long-term and short-term categories of storage to find out which option is best for you (and your stuff).
Choosing Storage Units: The Basics
Before you choose a storage unit to fit your life and needs, you should know exactly what you're dealing with. Let's cover the basics:
What is short-term storage?
If you're storing something for less than three months, you should be looking for a short-term storage unit. Short-term storage gives you the quick, flexible answer you need without keeping you in one place for too long. Because short-term storage really lives up to its name, there's not generally enough time for things like dust or rust to start ruining your items. That means you can skip the specialized coverings or treatments and go for something simple like a bed sheet to protect your items. However, you should still think about the temperature inside the storage unit, as extremely hot or cold weather can impact certain things like electronics in a short period of time.
What is long-term storage?
To store something for more than three months, you need long-term storage. You can use a long-term storage unit for as long as you want--whether that means three months and one day or whole decades. Unlike short-term storage, long-term storage provides plenty of time for rust, dust, mold, and other things to potentially ruin your items. That means you need to take extra care to keep things dry and protected, usually with specially-made plastic covers. You'll also need to consider both hot and cold weather, as long-term storage means your items will probably be exposed to both over the year.
Choosing Your Perfect Storage Unit
Not sure whether you need the long-term or short-term category of storage? Here are a few tips to help you decide:
#1: Use our storage calculator.
Our storage calculator helps you keep track of the kinds of things you'll be putting in your storage unit. While it ultimately calculates unit size instead of time, it gives you an overview of your storage needs, which you can use to get a clearer picture of your plans for the future.
#2: Think about items.
Once you have a list of the items you're storing, think about why you're storing them. Will you need them in a month or two, or are you just trying to give them a more permanent home (instead of filling your garage or, worse yet, overflowing from your closets and drawers)? Although you can access long-term storage at any time, it might make more sense to use a short-term unit for things you'll need in the coming months.
#3: Consider your strategy.
Let's say you're moving to a new home. Depending on your needs, you might want to check out different storage types--which can become part of your "storage strategy."For example, maybe you're moving to a nearby neighborhood and your new home is all ready to go. In this case, short-term storage would probably be best, because it gives you a quick and easy way to store certain things while you're moving the rest. Here, your storage strategy is all about speed and flexibility. On the other hand, maybe your new home is several states away or needs some renovations. That means your move might take longer than three months. As such, it may be easier to choose long-term storage--that way, you have a safe place to keep your stuff as long as necessary. In this case, your storage strategy is focused on the big picture. Even if you're not moving to a new home, it's important to consider your storage strategy. Here's the rule of thumb: Short-term storage is for temporary needs, and long-term storage is for any situation that requires months of planning and maneuvering.
#4: Look at common uses.
How do other people use short and long-term storage? Here are a few examples:
Short-Term Storage Uses
- Students in transition between dorms, parents' homes, or apartment/rental units.
- Homeowners remodeling an entire property or even just a room or two.
- Hosts making room for short-term guests.
- Garage sale experts organizing their merchandise before a big blowout.
- Holiday enthusiasts switching their decorations from one celebration to another.
Long-Term Storage Uses
- Hobbyists or enthusiasts who need safe, secure storage and access to their toys and equipment.
- Businesses that need a secure, accessible storage space long term
- Agencies or businesses that regularly need offsite storage or need a staging area or landing place for products or materials.
- New empty-nesters who need somewhere to keep their kids' treasured toys and other possessions.
#5: Don't forget about change.
The truth of the matter is that, even if you plan carefully, situations can change in the blink of an eye. As such, you need to think about what would happen if you suddenly needed to keep your items in a storage unit for a shorter or longer period of time. If you're on the fence, it's generally safer to go for a long-term storage unit; it will likely come in handy somehow, and it gives you peace of mind knowing you'll always have a safe spot for your items even as your needs change.
Do you need short-term storage? Is your strategy more of a long-term storage situation? No matter what you need--and even if you're not quite sure--we're here to help. We can help you find the unit size and term length that works for you, all in a location that's convenient for just about every neighborhood in the Treasure Valley. Contact us today for all the help you need!