The Differences Between Short and Long-Term Storage

There are numerous storage mistakes you can make if you are not careful. In this article, we highlight problems with storage units to avoid.

People utilise self storage units for numerous reasons, whether downsizing, moving home or travelling. You may require self storage for a short period or perhaps need it for months or even years. Deciding which you should invest in is down to multiple factors and considerations. In this article, we discuss the differences between the two and which is best for you and your current situation.

What are the differences between long-term and short-term storage?

The main difference between short and long-term storage is the time available to store your belongings. Short-term storage is often only possible for up to three months, whereas long-term storage is more suitable for those looking for prolonged periods such as the winter or summer seasons. Each option comes with its advantages and disadvantages depending on what you need.

Short-term storage

Since short-term storage is only for a minimal amount of time, it is considered a quick fix where flexibility for a timely project or move is required. It is the perfect solution for house moves, student summers or a more immediate solution whilst people search for a more long-term resolution.

Flexible timings

The main benefit of short-term storage is that there is much less commitment compared to storing for the long term. For example, short-term storage is perfect for moving house, as you will only need the facilities for a limited time. Short-term storage requires less commitment and offers a much more flexible time frame if you need it for a few days to a few months.


The best benefits of short-term storage are that most sites offer half-price rent for the first 4-8 weeks, and customers are not tied into lengthy contracts. The minimum stay is just one-week at an affordable price, and they can decide when they wish to leave.

Packing for the short term

Having a short-term storage unit might mean you need to access your belongings more often than if you had a long-term space. Consider packing items carefully and in order of importance, and dedicate space for a walkway throughout for ease – you can do this by stacking boxes safely against the unit walls to make space in the middle. Packing for the short term limits the need for as much careful packing consideration, but it’s still recommended that you take care of anything valuable or prone to damage to avoid disappointment.

Tips for short-term storage:

  • Wrap breakables in bubble wrap or protective material
  • Pack breakables in separate boxes labelled fragile 
  • Keep boxes light enough to carry or move with ease
  • Label all boxes to establish which belongings are in which box

Long-term storage

Long-term storage suits the needs of those looking to travel, businesses that need space to grow and those making long-term decisions. To make long-term storage work for you, committing to at least 6 months will save money, as most sites will offer 20% off for the first half a year, as well as an additional 5% off if they pay for 6 months upfront and 10% for 12 months upfront. 

That is not to say that the customer is contracted to a 6-month stay if they take the deal. If circumstances change and they need to leave before the period, they are free to do so with no penalty, it just means they won’t necessarily get the best deal or savings. Long-term storage also works as an option for additional home storage, where attics and basements are limited. A storage unit is a more secure option compared to an at-home solution such as a garden shed.

Downsizing is possible

Downsizing is difficult when you are concerned about the storage space available. A storage unit allows you to move to a smaller property without compromising your belongings, and a long-term option gives you more time to store comfortably without a time limit.

Business storage

As office rental prices continue to rise, many businesses have taken advantage of utilising self storage units as office space at a cheaper rate. Rather than looking at an expansion, self storage allows companies to maximise the use of their current premises more effectively while having the flexibility to adapt office space whenever upsizing or downsizing is required.

Packing for the long term

The most sensible thing to do when packing for the long term is to invest in high-quality packing materials. Sturdy cardboard boxes and first-rate vacuum sealed bags will protect against humidity and unwelcomed insects over a long time. 

Use similar-sized boxes to make stacking more efficient and the unit tidier. Clothing is better suited to vacuum-sealed bags because you can pack more items in one bag while keeping everything safe and protected from mould, mildew or humidity damage caused by regular plastic bags. Palettes are a great solution to create a layer on the floor to prevent any condensation or potential water damage. As with any storage period, it is essential to pack fragile items with care using bubble wrap or newspaper and keep them away from other boxes.

How to decide between short-term vs. long-term storage

The different storage options will depend on your situation. Both come with great benefits, but getting the best unit can help your project or move be more cost-effective and easier to manage. Consider what it is you need and talk to our experts. Apex Self Storage can establish your requirements and work with you to find the best-suited solutions. Get in touch with us today to learn more.