This Personal and Self Storage Glossary explains the most commonly used terms in the storage industry.
An access-controlled gate is a security gate at the storage facility that only allows entry for personnel and customers who have an access code, thus, ensuring that only those who are authorized to enter the storage facility may do so. You may also have the peace of mind knowing the public does not have access to any storage spaces at the storage facility and that the comings and goings on the premises are monitored.
Access hours are the hours that you, the customer, can access your storage. The storage provider may decide to restrict access hours to office hours, for example. If you require after-hours access in this case, then you may need to make a request or give notice to the storage manager. Access hours, in general, will depend on the type of storage solution you choose and will be specific to the individual provider, which can range from requiring 24-hours’ notice on weekdays to after hours and on weekends access. An after-hours access fee may be applicable.
An accredited storage provider has received accreditation from an official body in the industry, which is a sign of reliable quality. If a storage provider receives accreditation, it means they have the right equipment, premises, vehicles, and properly trained staff to deliver a professional and quality service.
An active storage unit (ASU) is an external storage container, available in a variety of sizes, for customers to store their possessions in. These units are usually located on the ground level at a storage facility, meaning you can easily drive up to the storage space and unload. ASUs provide secure, fireproof, and well-ventilated storage to your belongings.
An administration fee is usually a once-off fee charged by a storage company instead of a refundable/non-refundable security deposit. This fee may also be less than the deposit amount. Some storage providers collect this fee to offset the cost of processing paperwork associated with new rentals.
Anniversary billing is a way of billing for your storage where the monthly fee is due on the day of the month you commenced your storage, that is, your storage anniversary date. For example, if you started on March 20, you will be billed on the 20th of each month. This is seen as a more complex method of storage billing as invoices for storage are produced throughout the month.
Auto bill pay, also referred to as automatic billing, is a service that automatically deducts your storage payment from a designated source every month. It is similar to a debit order where your payment is deducted from your bank account. This method of billing is convenient and saves you time, as well as ensures you’re not late with a payment or miss a payment, thus avoiding late fees.
A brass lock is a lock that is not only corrosion and weather resistant but also features anti-pick tumblers.
Boat storage describes the storing of a boat in a storage space. These storage spaces typically have extra wide driveways for the loading and unloading of a boat to make maneuvering easier.
A breezeway is a walkway that provides access to storage spaces situated on an upper level of a multi-level storage facility.
Business storage is the storing of any business-related items. Businesses often need extra space to store a variety of items; these can be big machinery and tools, documents and archives, inventory, pharmaceutical and seasonal items, and so forth. Many industries also may need to make use of extra storage spaces on a temporary basis. For more information on business storage, check out our Ultimate How to Store Your Business Stuff Tips and Guide.
Car and vehicle storage is the storing of cars (whether antique, classic, new, and/or old) and/or other types of vehicles (like RVs, trailers, and so forth) in a storage space. These kinds of storage spaces are typically between 10’ x 15’ and 10’ x 30’ in size and can be located inside or outside at a storage facility.
CCTV, or Closed-Circuit Television, is a TV system in which cameras are strategically placed around the premises of a storage facility to monitor all movement within and around the property. The cameras communicate with monitors and/or video recorders for surveillance and security purposes.
Climate control or climate-controlled storage refers to storage that is climate controlled. This means the storage facility has measures to avoid any extreme temperatures that may cause damage to your belongings. For example, in a cold climate, climate-controlled storage is kept warmer than the temperature outside, and in a warm climate, the storage is kept cooler.
Depending on where you live, climate-controlled storage may be a good option for the storing of items that are very sensitive to humidity levels and extreme changes in temperature; examples of such items include collectibles, documents, photos, electronics, household appliances, leather, musical instruments, and wine. However, there are alternatives if you don’t want to opt for a climate-controlled storage space. Read more about these here.
A column grid explains the distance between structural columns in a storage space from north to south and east to west. For example, a 5’ x 10’ storage space is a space that is 5’ from the center of one column to the other (north to south) and 10’ between the center of the other two columns (east to west).
Computer controlled access is a security feature where storage spaces are secured by doors or gates you can only access by entering your pin code into the gate access system, normally via a keypad.
A condition report is a record of the general condition of the items you have in storage, and is often created by a full-service storage provider at the time they collect and put your belongings in storage. Not only does it act as an inventory list of the items you have in storage, but also a record of their condition when they went into storage.
Container storage generally refers to the storage of belongings in a steel shipping, cargo or sea container, although it may also refer to other types of portable/mobile storage containers like wood storage vaults, metal pods or similar.
A courtesy hold is a temporary hold on the storage space by the storage provider for a customer. This courtesy hold could be for a period of one to seven days and depends on the availability of storage space at the facility.
A cylinder lock is a hard metal cylinder key lock that, once inserted into the unit door, also becomes part of the locking mechanism. A cylinder lock is seen as a high-security measure since it may be difficult to break.
Default is when the customer fails to keep any of the terms and conditions set out by the storage contract, storage lease agreement, or storage rental agreement.
Deliveries accepted means the storage facility can accept deliveries and shipments on behalf of a customer.
A deposit box, also referred to as a safety deposit box or a safe deposit box is an individual secured container, usually a metal box, in which you can store your most valuable and important belongings, such as birth and death certificates, deeds, hard drive back-ups, insurance certificates, passports, personal and business documents, photos, small private effects, titles, and wills.
A disc lock functions similarly to a regular padlock, but has a round shape that connects with a loop, making them more difficult to break into and offering greater security.
A dolly or handcart is a trolley that moves on wheels and designed to move several smaller items simultaneously or large items in a secure and safe manner.
A door alarm is a security measure that will sound an alarm or alert if a door is opened without proper authorization.
A drive-up unit or drive-up storage unit is a storage space that allows you to drive your vehicle right up to the unit, allowing you to easily load and unload your belongings directly into the unit. These types of units may be accessible from interior and exterior driveways within the storage facility.
An electrical fit-out refers to the provision of an electrical outlet within a storage space or building.
A fire rating is a standard method of rating a fire protection system. This is usually done in a standard fire resistance test.
Firearm storage, or gun storage, is the storing of firearms in a storage space, and can include specialized secure gun lockers.
First of the month billing is a way of billing for your storage space where payment is due on the first of the month; for example, January 1, February 1, and so on. Payment may also be prorated for the first month if you commence your storage space after the first in order to bring you up to first of the month billing.
Full-service storage is an on-demand and inclusive service that a storage provider offers. This service can include the full inventorying, professional packing, picking up, placing in storage, and returning of your personal or business belongings. Read more about full-service storage here.
Furniture storage refers to the storing of home and office furniture, and other related items in a storage space.
A gate access card is a card that forms part of the security access system of a storage facility, whereby the card needs to be swiped or presented in order to gain access though a gate and/or door.
A gate access code is a personal access code that forms part of the security access system of a storage facility. The gate access code only allows authorized personnel and customers to open the door and/or gate and enter the storage premises. Codes should be kept private and not shared as this may compromise the security of the storage facility and, thus, your storage space.
Generations of storage facilities typically refer to the three generations of self-storage facilities:
First generation (1965-1988): These storage facilities are typically metal buildings with rows of garages for storage. They are generally located in industrial areas.
Second generation (1989-1993): These storage facilities have the characteristics of better locations (compared to the first generation of storage premises), paved driveways, and great security features.
Third generation (1993 to present): State-of-the-art facilities in great locations, often in business-oriented areas. These storage facilities may resemble upscale office buildings and offer firearm, wine, boat, and RV storage as well as business services and Wi-Fi.
Goods in transit insurance is insurance cover designed to protect you against the specific risks of transporting your belongings between your home or business premises and another location, like a storage facility. The main reasons for insuring your items while they are in transit include:
The gross area is the total area of a storage facility or storage space as expressed by the measure of the width and length of the area.
A hallway is the indoor corridor that is used to gain access to different storage spaces in a storage facility.
A hallway/interior unit is a storage space located in the interior corridor of a storage facility. Vehicles are not able to directly access these storage spaces as they are only accessible via exterior service doors or by elevators. These storage spaces are also normally smaller in size, roughly ranging from 5’ x 5’ to 10’ x 15’.
Hazardous materials are dangerous or unsafe items that may be on the list of things you are unable to store at a storage facility. Examples of hazardous material would be explosive or flammable items such as chemicals (ammonia, acids, and kerosene), fireworks, gasoline and diesel, pesticides, and poisons.
Heated storage refers to the use of heating systems to increase or maintain the temperature in a storage space.
Household storage refers to the storing of home and personal items in a storage space.
Humidity-controlled storage, similar to climate-controlled storage, refers to storage that is humidity controlled – the amount of moisture in the air is controlled. This mean the storage facility has measures in place to avoid low or high humidity that may cause damage to your belongings. For example, wood should ideally be stored in a storage space where the humidity level is at 50 percent, so the storage environment isn’t dry or contains too much moisture in the air.
Indoor parking is the storage of boats and vehicles in an indoor parking space to protect them from outside elements.
Indoor storage refers to storage spaces or units that are located inside a building on the storage facility premises. Access to an indoor storage space may be via self drive-up, elevator, and/or an indoor hallway.
Insurance, also referred to as storage insurance, is insurance cover designed to protect you against the specific risks of storing your belongings away from home or your business premises. The main reasons for insuring your items while they are in storage, and while in transit to and from the facility, include:
An interior unit is a storage space that is located inside the main building of a storage facility.
An inventory is an itemized list of things you are storing in a storage space. You can create an on-paper or digital inventory to keep track of what items you have in storage. If you opt for full-service storage, as an added-value offering, the storage provider creates an inventory for all your belongings; this document is kept updated as you add and return items from storage.
A keypad is a manual data entry device that forms part of an access security system whereby you must enter a security code in order to gain access to or exit the storage facility’s premises.
A lien or property lien is a remedy afforded to a storage provider allowing them to sell the contents of your storage unit to recoup any loses in the event of you defaulting on your rent or fees. Details about the lien should be included in your storage contract, storage lease, or rental agreement. A property lien is normally a public record.
A loading bay is an area that is designated for the loading and unloading belongings at a storage facility.
A lock is a security device that can be placed on the door of your storage space. Only you should have the keys to open the lock to ensure the safety of your storage space’s contents.
A locker or storage locker is a term used to describe a small enclosed storage space used for keeping your belongings safe and secure away from home. Storage lockers come in a variety of sizes, often depending on what you are storing, (e.g., sports equipment, bikes, wine, guns, etc.).
Long-term storage is generally seen as the storing of items for more than three to six months; although, some storage companies may view 12 months or longer as long-term storage.
Military storage is the storing of personal items while a military family is deployed, on an overseas assignment, or on extended periods of travel. Some storage facilities offer a discount for military personnel.
Mini storage is another term used to describe self storage, which people may use to store their commercial, business, and personal belongings.
Mobile storage, also known as portable storage, is a convenient and versatile personal and business storage solution where a provider will deliver an enclosed mobile storage unit to your desired the location, where you or the provider will pack and load your belongings, and the container is then stored at that location, another location, or at the provider’s secure indoor facility.
A month-to-month lease is a storage lease agreement for a one-month period that is renewed automatically each month thereafter for a defined or indefinite period of time. This type of agreement doesn’t place you in a long-term storage contract.
Motion sensor lighting is lighting placed in and around the storage facility premises that automatically turns on when it senses movement and then switches off after a period of no movement. This kind of lighting is used for security and to save energy.
Motorcycle storage is the storing of motorcycles in a storage space. Generally, you would need a minimum space of 5’ x 10’ or larger for multiple bikes and/or a trailer.
A move out notice is a notification that is required when you want to move out of your storage space. Your storage contract, storage lease, or rental agreement will contain all the specifics about the move out notice, such as when you need to give this to the storage manager, how long you have to move out once you have given notice, and so forth.
Natural elements refer to the weather conditions that may occur in the vicinity of the storage facility. Natural elements include but are not limited to frost, rain, moisture, sunshine, and UV light.
Nett let-able is the total amount of space of a storage facility that can be utilized for storage. This space excludes hallways, reception, rest rooms, and loading bays.
Non-climate control refers to a storage space that is subject to normal temperature variations. This type of storage is ideal for items that are not very sensitive to extreme changes in temperature or humidity.
Office hours refer to the hours a storage facility’s office is open and available for assistance and services. These may be the same or different to their business or access hours.
An on-site manager, also known as a resident manager, is a storage facility manager that lives at, or close to, the storage facility. They are available to assist customers, monitor the storage premises, and also take care of any emergencies.
An online booking is the ability to complete the booking of a storage space online via the storage provider’s website.
An online reservation is requesting the temporary hold of a storage space via the storage facility’s website.
Outdoor storage refers to exterior enclosed storage units with self drive-up access, and outdoor covered and uncovered parking spaces. Outdoor storage generally can have more convenient access and accommodate larger items, vehicles and boats.
Outside parking is the outdoor storage space for boats and vehicles at a storage facility.
Outside storage refers to an individual exterior storage space, similar to a parking space, within the secured property of a storage facility. Outside storage, also called outside parking, can be covered and uncovered and is often used to store boats, cars, RVs, and other vehicles.
To overlock is to place an additional lock over the existing lock of a storage space. This can be something a self storage facility manager does if a tenant is late with their rent.
Packing supplies, or packing materials, refer to the supplies you need to safely and properly pack your personal or business belongings for transport and storage. All packing supplies should be high-quality, as poor-quality and second-hand materials are unlikely to protect your items well. The most common packing supplies you would need to pack your items for storage are:
A pallet, also sometimes referred to as a skid, is a flat structure utilized as a solid base to stack items for transport and/or storage. There are two different types of pallets: expendable pallets and reusable pallets, and they come in different sizes and styles and made of a variety of materials (metal, paper, plastic, and wood the most common). The purpose of this is many-fold:
A parking space refers to the space that is designated for the indoor or outdoor parking of boats and vehicles at a storage facility.
Perishable materials are materials that may decay and/or spoil over time. Storage facilities may prohibit the storing of perishable materials in a storage space. Examples of perishable materials include animals, food, and live plants.
Personal storage, also referred to as household storage, is the storing of your personal belongings in a storage space that can be located either at your home or business (see portable storage) or at a full-service or self storage facility. There are many reasons why people look to store their personal items in a storage space: needing extra space, home or business renovating/remodeling, relocation, and a change in relationship status.
Pharmaceutical storage is the storing of pharmaceutical products and supplies. Depending on the nature of products to be stored, a climate-controlled storage space is recommended if your area is prone to high humidity levels or extreme temperature.
A PIN is a personal identification number that is unique and used for both identity and security purposes. Customers and storage facility personnel may be issued with a PIN to gain access to the storage facility. For the customer, a PIN can also be used to verify their account.
Portable storage, also known as mobile storage, is a convenient versatile personal and business storage solution where a provider will deliver an enclosed portable storage unit to your desired the location, where you or the provider will pack and load your belongings, and the container is then stored at that location, another location, or at the provider’s secure indoor facility.
Pro-rated rent or pro-rated payment is the rent/payment calculated pro rata for a partial term of storage. For example, if you are storing on a monthly basis and you commence your storage mid-month, you may be charged for the remainder of the month pro rata in order to be charged monthly from the beginning of the month thereafter. Pro-rated rent/payment may be calculated in two ways:
1. Pro-rated rent/payment by the number of days in a year for long-term storage and/or annual storage contracts:
Pro-rated rent =
[(Monthly rent * number of months in a year) / number of days in a year)] * number of days the customer is paying for
For example, if you move into your storage space on September 26, with five days remaining in the month, and your storage rent/payment per month is $100:
(100 * 12) / 365 * 5 = $16.44, the pro-rated rent/payment due for the remainder of September, and you would then pay in full monthly increments for the remainder of your storage term.
2. Pro-rated rent/payment by the number of days in a month for short-term storage and/or monthly storage contracts:
Pro-rated rent =
(Monthly rent / number of days in a month) * number of days the customer is paying for
For example, if you move in on September 26 and your storage rent/payment is $100 per month:
(100 / 30) * 5 = $16.67, the pro-rated rent/payment due for the remainder of September, and you would then pay in full monthly increments for the remainder of your storage term.
Prohibited goods are items that may not be stored at the storage facility due to health and safety concerns and/or legal reasons. Your storage provider may have a list of these kinds of items, and most often, the prohibited goods list will include hazardous materials and/or perishable materials.
Receipt and dispatch records are a way of keeping track of your possessions in storage and to better manage the ins and out of your storage. When you choose a full-service storage provider, they often issue a receipt note to record that you have stored your belongings with them, and a dispatch note when you have requested the return of any or all of your belongings. This also makes it easy for the full-service storage provider to conveniently and easily retrieve and redeliver individual items from your storage inventory list or all of the contents of your storage space.
Refrigerated storage or cold storage is a storage space that is temperature controlled to prevent the contents of the storage space from decaying. This is most commonly used to store fresh, perishable food, flowers and plants, and/or biopharmaceuticals.
There are different kinds of refrigerated/cold storage: refrigerated containers (which can be portable/mobile), blast freezers and chillers, cold rooms, pharmaceutical grade cold storage, plant-attached cold storage, and other dedicated custom cold storage facilities.
Rent describes the amount that is due for the use of a storage space. It is important to note when rent is due; details of this must be included in your storage contract.
A rental lease or rental agreement, also called a storage contract, is a legal, written agreement between the storage provider and the customer. In this agreement, the customer is given use of a storage space for the storing of business and/or personal stuff in accordance with the terms and conditions as set out therein.
A reservation is a temporary hold on storage space that needs to be backed by payment to guarantee the storage space will be available when the customer wants to commence. A reservation is subject to the availability of storage spaces and may be transferable to any size or storage space option.
A resident manager, also known as an on-site manger, is a storage facility manager that lives at, or close to, the storage facility. They are available to assist customers, monitor the storage premises, and also take care of any emergencies.
A roll-up door is a type of storage space door that rises while rolling up into itself, thus taking up very little storage space. Roll-up doors can be easily lifted and are very space efficient.
Safety deposit box, also referred to as safe deposit box or just deposit box, is an individual secured container, usually a metal box, in which you can store your most valuable and important belongings, such as birth and death certificates, deeds, hard drive back-ups, insurance certificates, passports, personal and business documents, photos, small private effects, titles, and wills.
A satellite store is a storage space that is not located on a storage provider’s property but the space is managed by them.
Security at a storage facility refers to the measures either a storage facility takes to ensure the safety and security of the storage facility or a customer to protect the contents of their storage space.
Security measures from a storage facility may include CCTV cameras, other forms of video surveillance, computer-controlled access systems, door alarms, fences around the perimeter, on-site storage managers, good lighting, and so forth.
Security measures that a customer can take include a high-quality lock, which is difficult to cut or pick, the placing of valuable items behind other larger items in a storage space, using code names for labeling boxes with high-value contents, refraining from placing items of value or concern in storage, and so forth.
A security deposit is either a refundable or non-refundable amount that the storage provider may hold to offset against any damage or outstanding rent and fees after a customer moves out or ceases storage.
Self storage is an abbreviated form of self-service storage and can also be referred to as mini storage, public storage, mini warehouse storage, moving storage, or self store. The self storage industry is one in which a storage space – most commonly referred to as a storage unit, which may be in the likes of a container, locker, room, or outdoor space – are rented out to customers on a short-term, month-to-month basis.
Self storage is seen as a more traditional, do-it-yourself storage solution in which you pack, transport, and unload your personal or business belongings into a storage unit where it will remain for as long you want or need them to be stored.
A self storage room, also known as a self storage unit or storage unit, is an individual storage room that is self-contained and securable in a storage facility.
A self storage unit or storage unit, also known as a self storage room, is an individual storage room that is self-contained and securable in a storage facility.
A self storage warehouse generally is the main building that houses multiple storage units or spaces, or it may refer to an open-plan self storage facility.
A service provider is an entity that provides storage space to customers on a commercial basis.
Short-term storage is the storing of personal and/or business items for shorter than three to six months. However, some storage providers view short-term storage as the storing of goods for less than 12 months.
Sound condition refers to anything in good quality. The item should not have any problems, all the while, remaining fully functional. Sound condition also encompasses a storage space that is structurally strong, clean, contamination-free, and with no significant deterioration. The storage space should protect stored items from deterioration caused by exposure to natural elements and unauthorized access (expect in the cases of forced entry or other illegal methods).
Specialized storage is tailored storage solutions for specific items, such as bikes, boats, firearms, vehicles, and wine. These specialized storage solutions are customized to ensure these items are stored optimally for the best protection and to reduce any risk of damage.
A steel lock is an individual lock that is not only corrosion and weather resistant but also features anti-pick tumblers.
A storage container is essentially a big box of storage space, and may refer to a wood storage vault, metal pods, steel shipping containers or similar. Portable/mobile storage providers, and often full-service providers, utilize storage containers for their storage solutions. Storage containers come in a variety of designs and sizes and may include some of the following features:
A storage contract, also called a storage rental agreement or storage lease agreement, is a legal, written agreement between the storage provider and the customer. In this agreement, the customer is given use of a storage space for the storing of business and/or personal stuff in accordance with the terms and conditions as set out therein.
A storage facility comprises a building, group of buildings, or property that contain various storage spaces, and in the case of full-service and portable/mobile storage, also acts as the company’s depot or base of operations.
Storage insurance is insurance cover designed to protect against the specific risks of storing your belongings away from your home or business premises. The primary reasons for insuring belongings while they are in storage, and while in transit to and from the facility, include:
A storage store, also known as a storage facility, comprises a building, group of buildings, or property that contain various storage spaces, and in the case of full-service and portable/mobile storage, also acts as the company’s depot or base of operations.
Storage tax is a kind of tax some governments may require to be collected on storage rentals or fees.
Student storage is the storing of a student’s personal stuff while they are heading off to college, coming home over a break, or spending a semester abroad. Generally, if you need storage for these reasons, you could opt for a 5’ x 5’ or 5’ x 10’ storage space size as these are the most popular for students and they can accommodate the contents of a small apartment or dorm room.
A transfer fee is a processing charge generated when a customer moves or transfers from one storage space to another at the same storage facility.
A unit, also known as a storage unit, is an individual storage room that is self-contained and securable in a storage facility.
A unit size refers to an area of usable floor space in a storage unit; this is usually expressed as a measure of the width and length of the unit’s interior floor. For example, the useable floor space of a 5’ x 10’ unit would be 5’ wide by 10’ deep.
Upper unit storage, also known as an upper level storage unit or mezzanine unit, refers to storage space that is located on an upper floor (not the ground floor) within a multi-level storage facility.
Video surveillance may form part of the security measures a storage facility takes to ensure the safety of its storage premises. This security system comprises security cameras that may be either hidden or visible (or a combination of both) to monitor the property and deter any theft and/or vandalism.
A well-lit storage facility is a term to describe a storage facility that has good lighting; this is important for safety and security reasons.
Wine storage is the storing of wine products in a storage space, often in storage lockers within a climate-controlled facility.
We have been furnished with the above information; however, Storage Gurus LLC gives no guarantees or undertakings concerning the accuracy, completeness, or up-to-date nature of the information provided. It is essential that users verify all information contained here before taking any action or relying upon it. Storage Gurus cannot be held liable for any actions taken based on the information contained within this Guide.