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Indoor Access vs. Drive Up Access Storage Units

After you have decided on the storage location that is most convenient for you, your property manager is going to ask what type of unit you want. If you are new to self storage, you may panic a little from this question because you don’t understand the differences. Don’t fret! We’re here to help explain the differences to you – they are very simply, yet very important.

Let’s start with interior access storage units. These units are accessed from inside a building and down a hall, and sometimes up a set of stairs or even an elevator to a higher (or lower) floor. These storage units include temperature controlled units or standard interior units.

  • Standard interior units are not regulated for temperature, so they are basically whatever temperature that part of the building is at any time of the year. These units do not get unbearable on either end of the spectrum, but can be rather stuffy in the heat of summer and quite chilly during the winter. They are, however, kept safe from the outside weather conditions all year.
  • Temperature controlled units are regulated to stay within a certain temperature range year round. We keep our temperature controlled units between 55 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This ensures that your items do not become too hot or too cold.

The downside to interior access units is that you will have to go through a building door and down a hall to reach your unit; and sometimes up a set of stairs or an elevator. Depending on how large the building is, you could end up a longer distance away from one of the entrance doors than you would like. We do provide the use hand carts to make this process as easy as it can be, however. These carts can be used for free to bring your belongings from the door and right up to your unit without having to carry boxes and other items. We do ask that you please not take our hand carts outside of the building at any time. You can drive your vehicle right up to the door and simply load and unload the carts at the entrance.

Moving along to drive up access storage units. These units are only accessible from the outside where you can simply park directly in front of your unit door to load and unload. These are most commonly referred to as a ‘garage type’ unit. These units are considered the most convenient and often the most desirable due to the ease of use and access. However, they do have their downsides as well. They are susceptible to the outside temperatures all year, while you are susceptible to the weather conditions such as rain, snow and wind while accessing you unit. Because they are essentially a metal box, they can get very hot during the peak of summer heat and humidity, and they can be like an ice box while in the midst of a winter freeze. That means that your belongings inside these units are going to experience these extreme temperature shifts throughout the year.

So, how do you know which one to choose?

If you are planning to keep your items in storage long term, such as more than six months or for years to come, it is recommended to use an interior unit or temperature controlled unit. This also rings true if you are storing wooden and upholstered furniture such as an antique bedroom set, a mattress, sofa and so forth. Wooden furniture can warp, crack and dry out when temperatures swing significantly over the seasons. Fabrics can become brittle, rip and tear if they become too hot or too cold. Both are also at risk of moisture damage from excessive humidity.

However, for short term storage under six months, business storage, or even long term storage for items such as metal patio furniture, bikes, kayaks, holiday decorations and similar items that you rotate in and out based on the season, you can go with a drive up unit and your belongings will be safe. If you are using storage for business inventory, for example, drive up storage is perfect because you are rotating inventory in and out often and nothing ends up in the unit for any length of time. So, while this is considered long term storage, the items in the unit are only really being held short term.

Discussing the different types of units with the property manager can help you make the decision that is best for you. Always remember that no matter what unit type you choose, it is important to check on your items at least once every month or two. This guarantees that if an issue arises you will find it sooner rather than later, preventing further consequences. And if you are ready to secure your storage unit now, you can rent online now and get moving!

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