Selecting a storage facility to best meet the needs of your items is an important and sometimes difficult task. Oftentimes, customers are faced with choosing between an outdoor or indoor facility. You’ll want to weigh the pros and cons of your storage needs. We’ve come up with 9 considerations to help you better decide between indoor versus outdoor storage.
What’s the difference between indoor and outdoor?
There are a variety of excellent storage facilities in most major metropolitan areas and at least a few options in smaller cities across America, so it’s important to consider location and types of storage units before selecting a unit.
When thinking about outdoor storage, a beginner to the storage world might suddenly imagine a fenced-in outdoor storage cage with items stacked, exposed to the elements. Instead, outdoor storage is enclosed in garage-like spaces with locks and driveways that lead directly to the units.
Indoor storage is usually inside a multi-level building. Most often, indoor storage spaces are smaller and lined up down hallways on multiple floors, and outdoor storage spaces are larger and vehicles can drive up directly to the unit.
Indoor vs. Outdoor Storage Pros and Cons
There are many factors to take into account when navigating through the options for a perfect storage unit. The items listed below will help you decide which storage rental option is best for you.
1. Climate Control
Indoor spaces are often used for climate control spaces. Having the
option to have a climate-controlled storage space can be important in many circumstances. Oftentimes, storing clothing or a vehicle in a climate-controlled space is critical for protecting the material.
For example, many professional theatre companies opt to use climate-controlled indoor storage units for costumes so that they can protect the items for longer periods of time.
Climate control can also be an important feature when storing antiques or valuables that you hope to keep in their original or close to original form as long as possible.
2. Pest Control
You are less likely to encounter problems with bugs or infestations using an indoor storage facility versus an outdoor storage facility. Remember, never store food goods or items that haven’t been cleaned in a storage unit. This can also help keep pests away.
While every effort to keep bugs out of your unit might be made in an outdoor unit, due to the nature of the construction, insects may find more entry points or hiding places at this type of facility.
While all good storage facilities will offer video security and code-gate entry, indoor storage offers a bit less visibility of your items to the outside world. While your outdoor unit is locked, if you’re visiting to load or unload, another customer or someone on the outside of the gate could easily observe what items you have in your unit.
Indoor storage units have the entry gate that’s usually coded, and may have keys or codes to their individual hallways in addition to a lock on the unit, and the privacy of only that floor having visibility to your items.
It’s a little easier to keep items clean and free from dust in an indoor storage facility. Less dirt and grime makes its way into the hallways and then into your unit in an indoor storage option. It’s also more protected from the elements.
While most units are kept pretty well sealed, outdoor units can have gaps in the seals on the sides and bottoms that could allow dirt to creep its way into the unit. Even though outdoor storage is protected with a roof and walls, elevating items off of the ground can also help keep dust at bay. You can accomplish this by bringing wood palettes or cinder blocks to elevate items.
Indoor storage spaces tend to much smaller than outdoor facilities. Keep in mind how much space you’ll need for items. If you have a need for larger items storage or have a good amount to store, going with an outdoor unit may be the best option.
There are some indoor facilities that offer large climate-controlled storage options. If you live in a humid climate, this might be necessary for storing a large items such as a vehicle long-term.
Obviously the size of your items will dictate the size of your unit. Most often, outdoor units are larger than indoor units, and the better choice for storing larger pieces.
Driving right up to your storage unit is the biggest pro of renting an
outdoor storage unit. Nothing beats the convenience of being able to drive directly to the spot where you need to unload a heavy piece of furniture or larger loads.
There are also fewer steps to accessing your unit with an outdoor storage facility. Rather than maneuvering a gate, a door, an elevator/stairs, and then the unit door, outdoor facilities only require gate and then unit entry.
Indoor storage units are often multi-story buildings. Imagine lugging items out of your vehicle, to the elevator and down a hallway rather than simply driving right up to the unit. Heading up flights of stairs or elevators can make storing in an outdoor unit a bit more difficult.
While costs can vary based on your geographical location, generally speaking, in urban settings, indoor facilities are a little cheaper. This is because there isn’t space for large, sprawled-out outdoor storage.
In contrast, in rural areas, outdoor storage might be just as affordable as indoors would be in larger markets.
8. Type of Items
An easy way to decide whether or not you need indoor or outdoor storage is to take stock of the kind of items you’ll need to store. If you have more valuable items like antiques, household items, or smaller furniture, an indoor unit might be the best option.
Let’s say someone needs to store an entire small apartment of furniture and household items for a longer period of time and wants to maintain the quality and cleanliness of these items. It might be best for a renter in this situation to invest in an indoor storage facility versus an outdoor storage option.
Larger items like outdoor tools or vehicles might be a better fit for an outdoor unit. Or, if the storage is short-term, and in a relatively mild climate, a renter could feasibly store items that would normally be better protected indoors.
9. Short Term or Long Term?
Consider the question: How long do you plan to store your items?
If you’re a college student who only needs to keep items safe for the summer, it might not matter whether or not the facility is indoors or outdoors. Instead, it could just be a matter of budget and size.
If a renter needs to store items for longer periods of time, they should consider how to keep them safe and valued at the same level when initially stored. If an item needs certain conditions to maintain its quality, be sure to take that into consideration when choosing indoors versus outdoors.
For example, an outdoor piece of equipment could easily be stored in an outdoor facility for a long period of time. Whereas, if a beautiful dining room table that needs to be stored for years at a time might require indoor storage and a bit more care when being prepared to be put into storage.
How do your storage needs stack up? We hope the 9 points above will help you sort through the variety of options available to you. Whether you choose indoor or outdoor, there are plenty of wonderful options to keep your items safe and ready for when they’re needed next.