What is Mini-Storage and What Should You Use It For?

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What is Mini-Storage?

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What is the difference between mini-storage and self-storage? Nothing. Mini-storage is not smaller than self storage, it is just meant for individuals' belongings rather than being comparable to a company's warehouse. Vocabulary quirks notwithstanding, you should understand what mini-storage has to offer you if you are moving or are low on space.

Why it's "mini"

Mini-storage is meant for individuals. These self-storage units range from the size of a closet all the way up to a two car garage. This storage space should be suitable for private citizens, but for companies that have a stockpile of items, it is obviously not big enough. Moving companies sometimes have their own storage facilities that are bigger than mini-storage and can only be accessed by the moving company. It is possible that contractors for companies could use mini-storage, but bulk loads and corporate supplies are normally stored in larger facilitie. Mini-storage is smaller and more accessible.

Advantages of mini-storage

  • Easy access- Easy access is a major advantage of investing in a mini-storage unit. Self-storage containers are usually accessible 24/7 for the customers. That means that the items that you keep in these storage units are yours to retrieve and use whenever you like. That is not the case with larger scale storage. You usually are given a key to your mini storage unit that you can use any time. Some units have additional security and will require photo ID or even biometric identity verification. 
  • No need for additional insurance- Your home insurance usually covers the items you store in mini-storage. Your items that were formally in your home will be insured as they were previously. This is not the case when using a moving company's storage facilities.
  • Mini-storage also has no time limit- You are charged a rate for storing items, but that rate rarely goes up and you can keep your items in a storage unit for as long as you want if you continue to pay. The storage unit should remain safe the whole time and you will always have access to your items to take them out of the unit whenever you want.

Mini-storage options

Not all self-storage facilities offer the same level of protection for your items. Learn what a facility offers before agreeing to move your belongings into storage there.

  • Climate control- Many mini-storage units have climate control to keep your items safe for long periods of time. However, some facilities claim to be climate controlled if they have just basic ventilation. Truly climate controlled units are air conditioned and let very little outside air or moisture into the units. If you are storing delicate things like photographs or wooden antiques, you'll want to choose a climate controlled storage option.
  • Security- There are varying levels of security for your items in mini-storage. Most facilities are fenced in. Some facilities have video cameras recording them all the time. Other facilities have live guards. As mentioned earlier, some units require additional identification beyond just a key to access units. If you are storing valuable items in your storage unit, you'll want to know that they are safe from theft. Be sure to review your storage facility's security measures.

What you should store in mini-storage units

Is mini-storage right for you? There may be items that can't be moved into your home right away or simply can't fit. The majority of them should be good to go into mini-storage:
  • Photographs
  • Canned food
  • Furniture
  • Most appliances
  • Cars (one or two at most)
  • Toys
  • Collectibles
  • Clothes you wear rarely
  • Valuables you wish to keep out of your home
  • Important documents (home insurance documentation is particularly smart to keep in storage)

What you may not be able to store in mini-storage

There are several prohibited items that storage facilities will not accept. Facilities vary on policies for certain items, so be sure to provide a detailed inventory of all the items that you plan on storing in your unit. Some common restricted items are:
  • Some construction equipment
  • Gasoline or other flammable substances
  • Compressed gas
  • Anything radioactive
  • More than four tires (the cost of disposing tires causes facilities to be particularly hesitant in holding many of them)
  • Plants and animals (alive or dead)
  • Plugged in appliances
  • Anything stolen or illegal
  • You (you aren't allowed to live in a storage unit)
Think you know enough about mini-storage to be an informed consumer? Check out our database of mini-storage facilities to choose one that's right for you and store your belongings with confidence.

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on September 8, 2014

TopMoving.ca - Moving Expert
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