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Self-storage vs container storage: Is self-storage worth the extra money?

Posted on 25th April 2024 by Master Removers

These days, more and more people are choosing to store their things when they are moving, downsizing, between moves, or simply needing some extra space. Using storage can have several benefits, not least helping to reduce the stress of the moving day. However, with various options, knowing which type of storage is best for you can take time and effort.

This blog will discuss the pros and cons of self- and container storage to give you a broader understanding of both services.


  1. Self Storage – Higher Costs for Unlimited Access

  2. Container Storage – Affordable with Access Limits

  3. Determining Your Realistic Access Needs

  4. Benefits of Preparing Items for Storage

  5. How to Find a Reputable Storage Provider

Self Storage – Higher Costs for Unlimited Access

Self storage offers managed storage for your possessions, either in a modern, purpose-built facility or a converted building in an accessible location. A self storage facility generally consists of many individual units, sometimes housed on different floors linked by a series of lifts.

Usually, as the only key holder, you will have sole access to your goods, which can offer greater privacy. However, you will also be responsible for all aspects of the storage process, from packing, loading and transporting your possessions to installing and insuring them, down to purchasing an appropriate padlock.

Increased Accessibility

One key advantage of self storage is that your goods are more readily accessible. Facilities are often open seven days a week and are staffed and managed. Some may offer extras such as temperature-controlled units and the ability to access your things 24/7.

In addition, there can be more flexibility regarding the space available to rent, with a variety of different-sized units on offer.

Higher Costs/Maintenance

Self storage is the most expensive option. One downside is that companies must cover all those extra costs, from initially fitting out the building to paying for the additional staffing. Their physically accessible setup also means that storage facilities often only use 60-65% of the available warehouse space.

Considering the initial cost of construction or conversion, the higher ongoing running costs, and the need for additional space to allow access, you can often pay twice or even three times as much to store your goods.

Another thing to watch out for is that self storage companies often offer a discount for an introductory period, after which the price can rise significantly.

Container Storage – Affordable with Access Limits

Containerised storagex generally offers storage for your possessions in individual containers housed within a warehouse or secure compound.


One of the main advantages of container storage is that, unlike storage, there are no additional overheads to factor in. Warehouses can also be used to total capacity, with some utilising around 90% of the available space for actual storage. This all helps to make the cost of container storage much lower on average than the typical self storage option.

Cutting Out the Middleman

Another major advantage of container storage is using the same company to remove and store your goods. This eliminates the need to deal with a third party and makes moving and storing your things much smoother, simpler, and more convenient.

Utilising your removal company’s storage facilities can effectively eliminate the intermediary. Your removal company can help prepare and transport your goods for storage, and there will be no need to worry about coordinating multiple companies on moving days.

Part Of The Package

An established removal company, such as a Master Remover, can offer secure storage at an excellent price to suit your needs. By using their own warehouse facilities, they can keep costs to a minimum, and they should be able to offer a competitive rate as part of your removal package. This rate remains the same for the duration of the storage period.

It’s worth talking to your removal company if you need to access your things. They may be able to arrange access if you give them a little notice.

Time-Served Experience

Arranging storage through your removals company also means that you’ll be dealing with trained professionals who are used to handling, transporting and storing your prized possessions, helping to take the stress and hard work off your hands and reducing the risk of any damage (either to yourself, or your possessions!)

An experienced, industry-approved removal company should also be able to provide packing materials (including strong, quality boxes and tape). Again, there are potential cost savings here, as buying your packing materials from your removal company is often much cheaper than purchasing them from a self storage packing shop.

Of course, plenty of strong, quality removal men will also be on hand to offer a full packing service should you require assistance. They will help you move your belongings from your home to storage and later to their final destination safely, securely, and with minimal fuss.

Determining Your Realistic Access Needs

When choosing a storage option, it is helpful to ask yourself how often and for what purpose you think you will need to access your things.

The more limited access offered by container storage means it can be more challenging to gain access to your goods 24 hours a day. This may be a drawback if you regularly need to visit your possessions at two o’clock in the morning!

However, once they have put their things into storage and closed the door, they will only require constant access once the time comes to move them on. In reality, this isn’t ordinarily much of an issue.

On balance, the significantly higher self storage costs tend to outweigh the benefits of full accessibility for most people. Using the storage facilities your removal company provides offers a simple, no-fuss, cost-effective option for storing worldly goods between moves.

Alternative Storage Options to Consider

The storage industry has become popular, and alternative options have recently arrived. It’s worth noting that not every storage provider offers more than traditional self- and container storage packages.

Furthermore, a few companies facilitate 24-7 access, so you must shop around and seek quotes and detailed service information.

Student Storage

Most cities and medium – to large towns host higher education institutions such as universities or colleges. With that comes a new student demographic, and that means catering to a new set of requirements and budgets.

Additionally, students must consider certain considerations when living in shared accommodation. Most notably, students tend to be grouped into specific areas within their location—these are then frequented by opportunist thieves looking for an easy score and lots of electronic devices.

That’s why storage makes perfect sense for students, especially when leaving shared premises vacant for holidays. Many Master Remover member companies in university cities offer student storage – contact us directly if you need assistance.

Locker Storage

While most self- and container storage units (typically 50 sq ft) provide a pocket-friendly cost option, sometimes they’re too big. That can result in a storage unit with empty spaces, which is why savvier storage providers have locker options.

Some might give them a brand-specific name, but essentially, they’re smaller-scale vertical storage units—lockers. The difference is in size only—you’ll still receive the same robust security features.

Accessibility will differ from one storage provider to another, requiring due diligence and seeking at least three quotes for comparison. As always, we’ll happily provide examples of our members who offer this service.

Benefits of Preparing Items for Storage

Each member of the Master Removers Group shares one fundamental quality – the desire to provide the highest standard of customer care and service delivery.

That’s why we’re confident every company within our network will provide best practices for keeping your items in perfect condition.

How to Prepare Clothing and Fabrics

Mould is a common issue when storing items for a prolonged period of time. For obvious reasons, container storage users are more affected, but dampness doesn’t take long to develop into something more sinister.

You can avoid this happening by preparing clothing and fabrics before storage. Here are some general tips for doing this:

  • Dry all fabrics (clothing and objects containing fabrics) before storage.
  • All fabrics should be clean and free from dirt and pre-existing mould or mildew.
  • Wash containers/boxes to ensure they’re clean and free from dirt and pre-existing mould or mildew.
  • We recommend vacuum-sealing clothing and packing it before storage.
  • Avoid using plastic bags for this – the source materials often create moisture and overheating.

You can read more in-depth information on preparing clothing and other items before storage from our members.

Cleaning All Objects and Appliances

Similarly, you need to clean every object in your storage unit. That means defrosting fridge freezers, draining washing and dishing washing machines, and ensuring ovens and all appliances are dry and clean.

The sealing strips on most appliances can inadvertently trap moisture for objects left over time. You must eliminate foreign objects to ensure they don’t bloom during storage. We suggest leaving the doors of appliances slightly ajar to reduce this.

Temperature-Controls and Storage

Now that we’ve covered your responsibilities, it’s time to see how your storage company choice factors into this. Not all storage units are created equally, which applies to the facility. The older, original storage setup was, essentially, a group of disorganised external garage plots, which were only sometimes safeguarded from the elements.

Modern storage facilities have more control over the items they store. Every Master Remover storage partner has temperature controls in their storage units. In a nutshell – there’s a balance of atmosphere conditions to avoid overheating and dampness.

How to Find a Reputable Storage Provider

Hopefully, you now know more about self- and container storage, including the pros and cons of both options. However, one question arises: How do you find a credible storage provider? This is an important question, especially if you’re new to an area or have yet to use storage.

Fortunately, there’s a science behind finding quality service providers. You can apply this for storage companies, but we suggest using it for other traders and professionals.

Using Google Reviews

While there are various online rating platforms, Google is a wise place to start. Any business featured on Google or has a website can be reviewed, which is a vital way of checking its track record. We suggest filtering out businesses with less than four and concentrating on ones with 4.5 or higher.

Remember to read the reviews from previous customers—they provide a snapshot of the service you can expect to receive.

Industry Accreditation and a Quality Policy

BAR (British Association of Removers) is the industry standard for removal services and covers storage. This provides consumer protection and obligates affiliated companies to provide good customer service. However, a robust quality policy provides a more actionable level of quality control. Every Master Remover company applies the same quality policy, providing consistently high-quality service.

Security Measures at Master Remover Depots

Another qualifying criterion for Master Removers is robust security measures—every removal depot and storage facility must have state-of-the-art features like 24-7 CCTV coverage of the entire premises, staff must undertake security vigilance training, and all storage units should have individual locks.

Master Removers – We Only Work with Storage Experts

Do you still need expert advice on the right storage option for you? It’s time to talk to the Master Removers. We get it—this may feel confusing, so we’re always happy to discuss things in more detail. Additionally, your circumstances may require more flexibility regarding how to store them, and several of our members have oversized item storage available.

There are considerable advantages to working with us. In addition to the consistency of excellent customer service, we frequently post topical articles to inform our website visitors, providing you with valuable, free resources.

More importantly, we have Master Removers in strategic locations throughout the UK. This is crucial for long-distance moves, giving us access to removal depots and storage warehouses throughout Britain.

Click here to begin an assessment of your storage needs. We’ll find the perfect storage solution today.