Mini Storage Verses Self-Storage

Posted on 2018-10-02 in Blog

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We get asked quite often about mini storage, specifically how is it different from self-storage.

Well, mini storage is just another term for ‘self storage’ and is most commonly used in the United States. Customers ask us if it's like the movies and television shows where they show those lively storage unit auctions. Here in Canada, self-storage is reputable, and auctions are online, and a little less wild.

Mini storage (aka self-storage) gives everyday people and businesses the ability to rent space to meet their specific storage needs. Some examples include:

With self-storage, it’s your responsibility to transport your belongings to a self-storage facility, pack your storage unit, lock it, and eventually move out of it (once you no longer need the additional space).

In a nutshell, it’s a self-service option that allows you to maintain control over your belongings while they are stored offsite.

Whether you call it mini self storage or self-storage, there are many options available:

  • Subdivided Warehouses - This is the traditional format with the rows of units with blue or orange roll-up garage doors and a sign saying “Self Storage” at the front. These are large single level warehouses subdivided by block, drywall or metal paneling (which often don’t go all the way to the ceiling height).
  • Multi-Story Facilities – As the name implies, these are buildings with storage units on different floors. These commonly have large loading bays where you park your truck and use freight elevators to move your belongings from your truck, up to the floor that your storage unit is located on. Once you reach your floor, you navigate through a hallway to your unit door.
  • Steel Shipping Containers – In lieu of traditional storage units, some facilities (like our Milton location), use fully-enclosed, leak and weather-proof, 8’x20’ and 8’x40’ steel shipping containers. These containers have French doors opening 8’ wide for your larger items and are commonly drive up.
  • Luxurious Storage – Some self-storage operators offer a full concierge of options – they’ll pack up your entire house, store your different items of furniture and artwork in different units based on humidity and temperature, move your belongings to your new house and even unpack…wow!

How do I choose the right self-storage unit?

Choosing the right storage unit means taking into consideration the number of boxes, inventory, furniture, or "stuff" you have. Key questions to ask yourself include:

  • Are you planning to store for a short or long period?
  • How often will you need to access your belongings?
  • What are you storing?
  • Do you have any large or awkward items?
  • How valuable are the items you are will store?
  • Do you need to organize your storage unit in any special way?

Typically, the longer you’re planning to store, the more organized your storage unit should be. We do suggest that regardless of the time you store for, you keep your unit well organized. This helps you protect your personal items and enables you to find something quickly that you need (because there is always that one important thing that you will need which will be impossible to find).

Here are a few tips for organizing your self-storage unit, which should be taken into consideration when choosing the right size:

  • Plan aisles inside your storage unit or storage container for easy access.
  • Measure your large, awkward items to figure out how they will fit into the unit.
  • Don’t store boxes or items directly against walls, doors or ceilings.

The best way to determine the right sized self-storage unit is to check out our comparable size chart or to visit Storage Solutions in person, where you can look at various sizes of units. We are happy to help you determine what would fit your belongings. Also, if you happen to load up your truck and realize you have chosen the wrong size, don’t worry! Just give us a call so we can get you into the right sized unit.

Your friend in self-storage,

Storage Solutions


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