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Portable versus Stationary Storage
When You're Selling Your Home

Selling your home? In a perfect world, there'd be no overlap between the day you move out of one place and into another. Unfortunately, here in the real world, you may find yourself living in a motel after your buyers have taken possession of your old home while you're still waiting for your new one to be ready. Or, you may find that not everything fits or works in the new place, but you're not quite ready to cull your belongings. That's where self-storage comes in. You have two basic choices: a traditional self-storage facility and the newer portable types. Here are a few things to consider when making your decision.


The portable unit comes to you. The company you rent it from brings it to your property, and you can fill it at your convenience. Many portable units have roll-up, garage-style doors, so you don't have to lift things up a ramp-you just wheel them in. When you're ready, the company picks up the unit and takes it wherever you want it to go, which can also include their storage center. You can't beat that for convenience. The only downside may be ready access. Some portable storage centers require 24-to-48-hours' notice if you want to get into your portable unit. But, unless you anticipate frequent in-and-out visits, that shouldn't be an issue.

If you opt for a traditional storage facility, you'll have to do the transporting. This may mean renting a truck and furniture dolly, although some facilities include those free with your rental contract. Most modern facilities allow you 24/7, year-round access, too. The downside here is that you'll have to load and unload your possessions twice.


How much will you be moving or storing? Both traditional and portable storage units come in a variety of sizes. Traditional mini-storage units can range from 5'x5', the size of a regular closet, to 10'x30', the size of a two-car garage.

Portable storage providers offer units for local moves that range from 7'x7'x8', a large roomful of furniture, all the way up to 16'x8'x8', or three to four rooms. According to The Christian Post, the size of portable units can be a problem if you're moving out of a really big place. "You may have to rent several [pods] in order to accommodate all of your household items, such as furniture." They also point out that some of the larger units may require special parking permits, depending on where you live. If your home is still on the market, there's also the drawback of having the units parked on your lawn or in front of the house. The Learning Center says the majority of prospects won't even get out of their cars if your property looks cluttered.


Both options are pretty equal on this point. The storage facilities for both often feature security systems that include onsite personnel, fencing and surveillance cameras. Apartment Ratings, an online resource for apartment renters and owners, says that, "Quality portable containers marketed by reputable firms come with security design, and offer a clean, dry place to keep items that can be damaged by winds, rain or storms." They caution you, however, to read the fine print of your contract as you may be liable for any damage to the actual container caused by vandalism while it is in your possession.

What Are You Storing?

Modern self-storage units often offer climate-controlled environments that protect possessions from shifts in temperature and humidity. While the portable storage warehouse may be climate-controlled, the actual pods available for residential use generally are not. Apartment Ratings warns that the lack of climate control can make pods a "dubious place to store documents or other materials that are easily ruined."

Price for Monthly Storage

Both options charge by the month for using their storage facilities; there are no long-term leases required for either. The portable storage option may be a little pricier than traditional self-storage if you opt to use their storage center. Apartment Ratings writes that, "A regular portable storage container costs over $100 a month, which does not give it much of a dollar-to-dollar price edge over mini-storage."

Once you make your decision, you can find a storage facility near you by searching online.


"Local Moving: What Size Fits Me?", PODS -

"Moving and Storage", The Christian Post -

"Why Curb Appeal Is Important", -

"Pros and Cons of Moving and Storage Containers", -


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