Storage Tips
Jan 22, 2024

Is All Storage The Same?

Storex Team

Is All Storage The Same?

It`s moving week, the removalists arrive on Friday and you need to choose a storage facility and get back to packing!  You have to figure this out, but where do you start?

Here is a bit of information you may find helpful, and it may save you some time sorting out your storage arrangements.

However, there`s something you need to know… all storage facilities are NOT the same. The main difference is service. This can mean many things to many people.

We are proud to be the "WINNER" in the 2015 and 2017 Self Storage Association Of Australasia Awards. This is the 4th year in a row Storex had been nominated. So that means that we get it!

The following short article will give you a basic overview to help you choose wisely.

What's The Difference?

There are different types of facilities offering self storage and managed storage and they are not all the same.

The various types of storage can be categorised this way:

  • Warehouse StyleRanch Style
  • Relocatable or "pod"
  • Shipping Container
  • Self Storage
  • Managed Storage

Read on for a brief overview and a kind of “insiders look” at the options, it may help you figure out what is going to work best for you and save you some time and money.

Warehouse Style:

These storage units are generally built into a large warehouse, with usually more than one level, sometimes 4 or 5 levels, and are often all under one roof. Most Warehouse style storage facilities have a loading bay and goods lift to access your unit. These facilities are frequently quite large with several staff members around at any time.

Advantages include:

Security: Access usually limited to two or three entry points via access code locks

Temperature: Usually more stable, suited to wine storage, antiques or Art Services. Large facilities require good internal lighting, sprinkler systems, cameras etc

Disadvantages include:

Inconvenient: May wait for lifts or loading bay. Lots of stairs, lifts and passages using trolleys.

Sprinkler systems: Wrap all precious goods in plastic, just in case sprinklers accidentally go off.

Storage fees:  Pay premium for convenience on the ground floor, but cheaper the higher you go!

Limitations: Usually cannot store boats, vans, cars, trucks etc.    

Ranch Style:

Ranch style storage facilities are spread out on ground level, usually constructed as brick or steel sheds with roller doors to each individual unit The rows of units are frequently constructed to be under a common roof, with dividing walls to create the units. Driveways run in between blocks of units.

Advantages include:

Convenience: Possible to drive right up to the door for quick unloading and stacking.

Hazard reduction: Less units under one roofline = less exposure to adjoining units.

Security: High visibility, no dark corners or passageways. Your car is right there with you.

No waiting: You can park & access even in peak times

Disadvantages include:

Elements: Usually exposed to elements, temperature changes & moisture in the air.

Outside: You may need to be prepared for bad weather when using your storage unit.

Low density: Ranch style facilities are usually well outside of CBD locations

Relocatable / Pod Style:

There has been recent popularity of “pod” style storage in Australia. The idea is that a storage “pod”, which could be a shipping container, a wooden crate, or a purpose built box with a door, is delivered to your premises.  You fill the box at your leisure, the company then relocates the box to their warehouse, then, when you want your stuff back, it is delivered wherever you want it, even interstate, and you can unpack at your leisure.  It combines storage & removal services in one.

Advantages include:

Convenience: This means you can take a week to pack and unpack your storage pod.

Security: Warehouse has few visitors other than staff, so security is very high.

Sealed:  Box can be sealed to eliminate damp air, pests and weather.

Disadvantages include:

Cost: This process requires four trips by a transport vehicle, you are paying for that.

Limitations: Often limits on weight and capacity and usually cannot store your boat or caravan.

Access: Once in the warehouse, you must book ahead for access, and for a restricted time.

Packing: You pack the pod. If the contents are damaged in transit, check who is responsible.

Shipping Containers:

Storage within shipping containers is a logical idea, they were designed and built for transport and storage of virtually anything,  Shipping Containers are built tough, and once locked up, are virtually impenetrable.  Containers have been designed to comply with strict quarantine and weatherproof standards.  Shipping Containers can be used in Relocatable storage,  ranch or warehouse style.

Advantages include:

Secure: Containers are very secure, once locked and sealed, they are like a vault.

Sealed: Pests are kept out, as well as weather, and unwanted intruders.

Isolated: Whatever may happen adjacent to your container,  contents are totally isolated with no common walls and no shared air, or floors or doors.

Disadvantages include:

Relocatable: If container relocated, goods inside may be damaged if they are not tied down and packed appropriately. Don’t allow relocation without your consent

Temperature: Storage of temperature sensitive items such as wine is not recommended

Condition: Be careful of storing in old, rusty containers. Make sure they are in excellent condition with easily opened doors, good rubber seals and no holes.

Self Storage:

Self storage exists where a facility makes space available to you for a fee, but you are totally responsible for your own move in, move out, insurance and lock.  The self storage operator has no responsibility for your goods while they are in storage,  you must be satisfied they are safe and secure.

Most facilities offer insurance for a small charge and it is always advisable to ensure your goods are insured. The vast majority of storage facilities operate as self storage

Managed Storage:

Managed storage exists where the storage operator has access to the stored goods and offers extras like removalist services, warehousing, stock picking, records management, etc. It can also technically apply where a storage operator has a key to your storage unit.

Managed storage comes with a much higher liability to the operator and is usually offered at a premium price.  If you don’t need your stored goods “managed” make sure you are not paying for that in the price.


Each of these storage options has pros and cons, and often facilities can offer more than one solution for you.  Make sure you have thought about things like:

Your budgetHow often you want to access your goods and at what  timesHow long you want to use storageWhat “other” things do you need to store, like your boat or vanWill temperature fluctuations, or lots of stairs, or a rainy day impact your choice?

You should expect professional & courteous management no matter which type of storage facility you use.  You are storing your precious goods, so make sure the operators have very high standards and display a professional approach in every interaction with you.  Good luck with your storage selection!

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