People rely on storage for different reasons. Whether it is a short move, a temporary solution while renovating, or a long-distance haul, storage units always come in handy. Some use storage units as extensions of their closets and garages at home. And some other people even rotate the items they store by seasons, in which case this is a great way to stay organized. Whatever the case may be, you should always rely on professional storage unit rentals. However, there are different types of storage, and you need to find the one that fits you best. Here, we will discuss the differences between short-term vs. long-term storage.

a hallway of short-term vs. long-term storage units in blue lighting
Choosing the type of storage that fits you best depends on how long you plan on using it

Given that there is no right or wrong way to become involved in the storage, it’s important to set goals. Knowing why you need to find the right storage helps in the long run. Understanding your own motivation for renting helps you pack and prepare appropriately. For example, it is one thing to store a box full of books for a month during a move. However, leaving that same box for a year is something completely different. Especially if you have rare or delicate leather-bound volumes in there. This is but one simple example of how different short-term vs. long-term storage solutions are. Knowing how to tell the difference before you pack up and load everything will save you a lot of time, money, and potentially damaged items.

Short-term vs. Long-term storage – Know the difference

As mentioned above, there is a big difference between these two storage solutions. One is, obviously, the period of storing. Short-term storage is consider anything that is not required to sit for more than three months. With long term, you are looking at prolonged periods of time of storage, which goes well with seasonal storing of clothes, furniture, or storing during the winter. When comparing short-term vs. long-term storage, it is good to know just how much of a difference there is. Each method has its own pros and cons, as well as rules for storing. Here, we’re going to break down the major differences and provide you with some tips on how to best store your goods in both situations.

Short term storage

In general, short term storage can be defined as anything less than three months, as mentioned before. It is a perfect solution for students looking for storage between college semesters, families moving between towns and travelers. Business changing locations commonly use short term storage as well. A simple drive up storage is the most common solution as it offers a quick route for loading and unloading. There are, however, a few exceptions to think of, and they are important when discussing short-term vs. long-term storage options.

vertical storage shelves filled with items
When using short term storage, use as much vertical space to make room for walking

Even when you are storing something short-term, temperatures are an important factor when renting a unit. Climate-controlled storage is more than recommended in peak winter and summer times. For example, this is very important when storing electronics, especially in high heat or cold. Circuit boards in devices, motherboards, and other electrical systems, can be damaged in extreme temperatures even after just one month in storage. Carefully wrap your electronics in soft cloths or better yet, in their original packaging if you still have it, and contain it in sturdy boxes or plastic tubs.

Long term storage

This is a great solution if you are looking to get rid of some extra stuff piling up in your home. Built-up clutter can take over our lives and in some cases become a real hazard. So, in case you have items that you can’t get rid of so easily, like an old set of furniture, your best option is to prepare it for long term storing in order to prevent it from damaging until its time comes again. House renovations are another common reason to store items long-term. Home remodeling can bring chaos into the household and with all of your possessions in the way, it gets worse.

sweaters folded and stacked on wooden shelves
Long term storage is perfect for storing winter clothes during the warmer seasons

Moving your appliance and furniture out of the way makes a better work area and keeps them from dust and damage. Prepare to keep your items in storage for quite some time, as renovations can take a few months to a year, depending on your home size. When discussing short-term vs. long-term storage, it’s always good to mention storing valuables. Yes, storage units are not there solely for furniture, fridges, and clothes. They are also a good place to keep some more valuable possessions in, like fine art you will hang when you move into that new house. Or the beautiful vintage car you’re storing away for the season. When storing objects like these, it’s wise to go for a climate-controlled unit, as sometimes the cause of damage to the items can be the storage location itself.

How to effectively pack in Short-Term vs. Long-Term Storage units

Although choosing the right storage based on the duration you need it for, that’s not all there is to it. Shoving everything in a storage unit and locking it for the rest of the year can do more harm than good. Another important topic to cover in the short-term vs. long-term storage discussion is packing. Packing is an essential part of storing, and in order for your goods to stay in good condition, it needs to be done right. When preparing to pack, you need to estimate how much stuff you have, in order to find the right size of storage unit. After you’ve done that, here are some tips on how to prepare, depending on what type of storage you got.

Short term storage

  • Have an aisle for walking in the middle – You will be coming in and out frequently, so you want mobility. Move your items close to walls and use as much vertical space as possible, for good walking space.
  • Tarps can be a replacement in a pinch – This is a last resort option, but it can still work. Seeing as there’s not enough time for dirt and grime to build up, dust covers are a good short-term solution.
  • Treat fragiles carefully. – Packing delicate items need as much care in short term storage, as in the long term. Perhaps, they may need even more love, due to items being frequently shifted and moved while in use. Use extra layers of bubble wrap or place them in a secure box out of reach.
wooden pallets stacked on top of eachother
Wooden pallets are good for keeping items off of the ground and preventing damage

Long term storage

  • Get thick and sturdy boxes – Even though you can get used boxes from stores, it’s best to get new ones. They will last you longer and your items will be safer.
  • Avoid plastic tubs and boxes – You might think plastic is good because of water resistance. Sadly, it’s not all that true. Plastic is very good at trapping moisture, which helps mold and mildew develop over time.
  • Clean your appliances before storing – Carefully wipe the insides of microwaves and fridges. Leave their doors slightly open for ventilation and check for moisture. Any mold brought in on appliances can quickly spread to other items.
  • Use wooden pallets – You can usually get them for free in home improvement stores, or the storage facility itself. Keep your furniture and boxes off the ground helps with air ventilation and can prevent potential damage.

In conclusion, there are a lot of factors to keep in mind when deciding between Short-Term vs. Long-Term Storage. It is important to keep in mind that one isn’t better than the other. This is because they both serve their own unique purpose. Which one you choose, depends on what you need the storage for, and how long you intend to store your items. With our help, picking the solution that works the best for you will be no problem at all.

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