Should I Choose a Rental Truck or Portable Storage Container?

When you're planning your move, think about the things you need to store, how easily you want to access them, how long you'll need storage, and how much work you want to do yourself. Read on to learn more about the differences between using portable storage containers to store your items or renting a truck to take your things to a self-storage facility.

Key Points

  • 1 Portable storage containers can provide a high level of convenience to people who need an affordable option for moving their things cross-country.
  • 2 Careful packing is vital to ensuring your items make it to the storage facility in one piece.
  • 3 Depending on your situation, how far you need to move your things could greatly affect how much you wind up paying for storage.
  • 4 The size of your storage unit is the main factor that impacts the monthly fee.

Using a Rental Truck Versus a Portable Storage Unit

Portable storage containers can provide a high level of convenience to people who need an affordable option for moving their things cross-country. Unlike a traditional storage facility that you deliver your things to, these companies deliver a storage container directly to their customers. It stays on your property while you pack your possessions. The box is then transported to a storage warehouse to wait until it’s time to move the items into their new home.

Using a portable storage container might be best for someone who needs their household items moved to another town and held for a long period of time while traveling or getting the new house ready to move into. It’s also a good option if you don’t have time to find an optimal storage facility and bring all of your boxes there and if you don’t periodically need access to your items while they are in storage. Portable storage unit warehouses are not designed to be accessed by customers, and there is a limited amount of time that customers have to go through their belongings before they are transported from their house to the storage facility.

Renting a moving truck and transporting your goods to a storage unit may be the better option if your chosen storage unit is too far away and you don’t mind doing the brunt of the work yourself, including loading and unloading the truck and driving it to a storage facility and if you need frequent access to your stuff while it’s in storage. Belongings in self-storage facilities are generally accessible during regular business hours and many companies offer 24-hour access.

Tips for Moving Your Valuables Into Storage

Whether you choose to use a portable storage container to move your items, or rent a moving truck and drive them yourself, careful packing is vital to ensuring your items make it to the storage facility in one piece. Portable storage container companies often provide assistance packing items and preparing them for the move at an additional cost. Here are some tips to help you prepare your valuables for the trip and storage:

  • Save on packing materials by wrapping your glass items in soft dish towels or tee-shirts.
  • When packing glass, make sure to carefully roll the item in paper or fabric, and stuff any gaps in the boxes to help protect your things from being crushed or rolling around while driving.
  • Find free boxes at your local grocery and liquor stores by asking the staff to set aside boxes for you to pick up, and check with your moving company to see how many boxes will fit into your container.
  • Check with the storage facility to make sure you are renting enough space to store all of your boxes. Use this storage calculator as part of your planning process
  • If you elect to let movers help pack your things, make sure everything is well organized and ready to go to save time because this service is often offered at an hourly rate
  • Write FRAGILE on boxes containing glass or electronics, and label every box and bag with the room they belong in, like “kitchen,” to make unpacking easier.

What are the Cost Considerations of Rental Trucks and Portable Storage Containers?

Depending on your situation, how far you need to move your things could greatly affect how much you wind up paying for storage. Many portable storage container companies are nationwide, and part of the service they offer includes moving your items across the country if needed. If you prefer to drive your things to your destination or only have a short distance to travel, a rental truck might be the most cost-effective option.

Rental truck companies rent travel trailers and moving trucks that can be driven in-town or across the country. It’s important to know that mileage can quickly add up, so calculate how far you’re going to need to drive before deciding if this is the best option. Go to your chosen rental truck companies’ online price calculator to add up the cost of the rental truck or trailer and mileage to cover the distance you have to drive. Next, add in the cost of your storage unit.

The size of your storage unit is the main factor that impacts the monthly fee. According to Sparefoot.com, the average cost of a 5′ by 5′ storage unit is $64.91 a month, as of 2018 The larger 10′ by 20′ size units that can hold an apartment’s worth of furniture average $138.06 per month. This price is often less prohibitive in rural areas, so be sure to check nearby towns’ options if you choose to take your items to a facility.

Portable storage container companies often have a one-time fee for setup and the initial delivery of your items into storage, as well as a monthly fee. They usually publish pricing on their website and provided itemized invoices when you reserve a container. These companies offer the option to store items for a long period of time, but people typically rent them for 30 days.