How to Choose the Best Storage for your Things

Heart lock by Giuseppe Ballone (CC BY 2.0)

Do you need a little space in your life?  Whether you’re between moves, remodeling, simplifying or selling your home, storage can give you that extra breathing room that you’re craving. It’s not easy letting go of your things, but the right storage service will keep both you and your things happy.

How do you choose the right storage service for your needs? Your belongings come in all shapes and sizes so it’s no wonder there are so many options for storing them to choose from. Before you put your things into storage, consider the following four types of storage and the pros and cons of using each service.

Self-Storage/Storage Units

the long hallways at the U-haul storage unit by littlemoresunshine (CC BY 2.0)
the long hallways at the U-haul storage unit by littlemoresunshine (CC BY 2.0)

How does it work: Storage units are small garages, lockers or closets rented to tenants on a short term basis, often month to month. Sizes may vary from a small locker to a space large enough for a four bedroom house and prices are dependent on the size you choose.


  • Self-storage facilities may include 24 hour video and alarm monitoring for the safety of your belongings.
  • Some facilities even offer climate control.
  • You can have 24-hour access, seven days a week, to your belongings. This means if you have a spur of the moment ski trip you can drive over to your unit and get your snow gear at any time.


  • Facilities with units are often known as “self” storage because you have to do the actually heavy lifting, packing, transporting and storing yourself. With self-storage you have to rent a truck, pay for gas, mileage, insurance and buy pizza and beer for your helpful friends.
  • Countless rows of garages mean poor land use practices.
  • You pay a premium for the luxury of visiting your stuff in storage but how often are you really going to access it? Standard spaces and default prices means you pay for unused space.

Portable/Mobile Storage

How does it work:  A unit is dropped off and left on site at your home/business while you load it with whatever you want stored. These units stay on-site while you load and unload items into it. Once you’ve packed up your unit, you can arrange to have the company come pick up your unit and take it back to its facility where they keep it until you make arrangements to have your items delivered to you.


  • Portable storage units are convenient because they are left directly on your property, meaning you can load and unload your belongings at your every whim.
  • When these units are picked up they are often taken to a secure location.


  • Standard spaces and default prices on the units means you pay for unused space.
  • Portable storage units tend to be smaller than onsite storage units, meaning if you need to store your entire home you might need a few units.
  • These units are also not aesthetically pleasing and may detract from your curb appeal if your home is for sale.
  • No cameras or security are provided while it’s on your property.
  • Access to your belongings once it’s off your property may cost extra.
  • You must load and unload your belongings into the storage unit yourself.   

Full Service Storage

An inside look at NorthStar Moving's Warehouse
An inside look at NorthStar Moving’s Warehouse

How does it work: A full service storage provider will come to your home, pack up your items (if you need) and load them onto a moving truck. Your belongings will then be stored in a clean, secure and eco-friendly storage facility. For example, with the full service storage offered at NorthStar Moving Company, you simply tell your team what you want stored, and they’ll make sure each of your items are custom wrapped and packed. A full service storage team will keep an itemized inventory so you never lose track of anything you’ve put in storage. You can also pack your belongings yourself, with a full service storage you do as much or as little was you want. This option streamlines the storage process, saving you both time and hassle.


  • You don’t have to rent a truck, pay for gas, milage or insurance.
  • This type of storage is by far the most affordable. It’s much more economical than self-storage options because you only pay for the space you need.
  • You can add space if needed to your storage, pay for less space when taking things out and customize your storage services to suit your needs
  • You do as much or as little as you want.
  • All your stuff gets itemized and kept track of on an inventory.
  • A full service storage warehouse is secure and eco-friendly, meaning no space is wasted.


  • You have to schedule a time to access your storage or have your items delivered to you.
  • You will be charged a fee to access your stuff in storage.
  • You don’t have 24 hour access to your belongings.

Boutique Storage

Photo by NorthStar Moving
Photo by NorthStar Moving

How Does it work?: Boutique storage, also known as concierge storage, is personalized storage service al carte, meaning they cater to your specific needs. With boutique storage you can store a number of items or just an individual item and only pay for the space you use. As with full service storage an expert team will pack up your items, make a detailed inventory, deliver and store everything for you. However a major difference with boutique storage is that your team will also pick up and delivery specific storage items from the storage warehouse or your home whenever you need. If you want to get that chair your mother-in-law gifted you out of storage before her next visit, just call your team and they will have it in place in no time.


  • No need to rent a truck, pay for gas, mileage and insurance.
  • Access a specific item or many items out of storage and have it delivered directly to you.
  • Less expensive because you only pay for the space you need.
  • Don’t ever break a sweat our team will pack/unpack for you.
  • Detailed inventory helps keep track and access individual itemized belongings.


  • You have to schedule a time to access your storage or have your items delivered to you.
  • You will have to pay a fee for the pickup and delivery of items.
  • You don’t have 24 hour access to your belongings.

If this detailed storage breakdown didn’t point you in the right direction yet, then ask yourself the following questions to find out what you want to get out of your storage service:

How much storage space do I need?

How often do I want to access the items I have in storage?

Do you have I the time or manpower to move my own things?

When returning for your belongings, will you be taking out everything or just an item or two?

Answering these questions can help you determine which type of storage is best for you. Do you need storage for your automobile or wine collection? Specialized storage services are just the solution. Ask your full service storage team to learn more about our luxury services. Have any questions not answered in this post? Leave them in the comments sections below!