Should You Rent an Indoor Storage Unit or an Outdoor Storage Unit?

Written by: Editorial Team - Published: Jul 16, 2024


Depending on where you live, you may have a wide variety of storage options to choose from. To assess your storage needs, you’ll need to take inventory of what you want to store before you can decide on the size and location of a storage unit. Will a 10’ x 10’ outdoor unit be able to fit your comfy sectional while you transition between apartments? Will a 5’ x 5’ indoor unit safely store your collection of vintage wines? Deciding between indoor and outdoor storage units will depend on your preferred storage size and any necessary amenities you require to keep your stored items safe and in good condition.


What Is the Difference Between Indoor and Outdoor Storage Units?

Although indoor and outdoor storage units perform the same basic function, there are key differences you should consider when evaluating your storage options. For example, indoor storage units are more common in urban environments as they can occupy multi-floor buildings. These units often include climate control and are generally more secure than their outdoor counterparts. However, outdoor storage units are also widely used owing to the ease of access they afford. Outdoor storage facilities offer ground-level storage that can be accessed directly by car, making move-in day as quick and simple as possible.

Choosing between an indoor or outdoor storage option will mostly depend on the items you need to store. For example, if you are storing large furniture items that will be unloaded directly from a truck, an outdoor or “drive-up” storage unit may be the best choice for you. However, if you have delicate or valuable items to store, the security of a climate-controlled unit may be more appealing to your needs.

What Can I Store in Outdoor Storage Units?

Outdoor storage units can be rented in a variety of different sizes. With a range of small, medium, and large storage units available, choosing the right size for you will depend on the size and number of items you need to store.

5’ x 10’ unit

Generally the smallest option for an outdoor storage unit, a 5’ x 10’ unit is about the size of a walk-in closet. These small units can comfortably fit a twin or queen mattress, one large or two medium pieces of furniture, or several kitchen appliances. Storage units of this size are ideal for college students moving home for the summer, families who need to store seasonal decorations, or renters who are moving out of a studio apartment. Because of their drive-up accessibility, 5’ x 10’ units are also an ideal place to store motorcycles. 

10’ x 10’ unit

A 10’ x 10’ unit will hold approximately three rooms’ worth of boxes, furniture, and appliances. Common household items that will fit in these medium-sized units include king mattresses, small sofas, and large sports gear like canoes and ski sets. These storage units are ideal for those who need to store a few pieces of large furniture and a wide variety of boxes; for example, if you are focusing on a home improvement project, a 10’ x 10’ storage unit will have enough space to temporarily store your furniture, decorations, appliances, and clothing.

10’ x 15’ unit

Considered one of the largest outdoor storage options, 10’ x 15’ storage units offer up to 1,200 cubic feet of storage. These units should be able to hold the belongings of a family home, including the furniture of your home’s living room and bedrooms. Some examples of large items you can store in an outdoor 10’ x 15’ unit include dining room tables, small trailers, multiple mattresses, and large appliances like dishwashers and washing machines. 

What Can I Store in Indoor Storage Units?

Because indoor storage units protect your items from the elements and are often smaller in size, they are ideal for storing perishable, delicate, or aged items. The following categories provide examples of the types of items best suited for indoor storage units. 


Are you a collector of vintage furniture, stamps, clothing, photos, or heirlooms? Many of these items will fade, crack, or tarnish if left in an outdoor storage unit. For those looking for the right storage option for treasured antiques and heirlooms, consider an indoor unit to keep your valuables safe.


A humid storage unit can cause major damage to delicate textiles. Because indoor storage units are protected from the humidity, they are a great option for storing linens, blankets, quilts, upholstery, clothing, and other textiles. 

Wine and liquor

Need somewhere to store that crate of wine you picked up in Italy or a cask of aged bourbon? Many fine wines and spirits require temperature-controlled storage and will need to be stored indoors.


Winter freezes and humid summers can damage delicate motherboards, hard drives, and memory cards. Expensive electronics should be stored indoors; otherwise, you run the risk of severe or irreparable damage.

Pros and Cons of Indoor Storage Units

Indoor storage units are a popular choice for those who don’t need a lot of storage space or are storing items that would benefit from a climate-controlled unit. An indoor storage unit will protect renters’ belongings from extreme temperatures and humidity, giving them peace of mind. However, the climate-control option often comes at a higher price point that may not fit in every renter’s budget. Additionally, indoor storage may not be ideal for some larger pieces of furniture or appliances because of the doors and hallways often found in indoor storage facilities.

Pros Cons
Climate control Higher cost
Protection from the elements Harder to access
Less dirt and grime Items must fit through doorways or around corners

Pros and Cons of Outdoor Storage Units

Outdoor storage units are simple to use and access, making them a popular choice for renters nationwide. Often called “drive-up” units, outdoor storage units are generally the easiest storage units to load and unload. However, because they are not climate-controlled, the insides of these units can reach both extremely high and low temperatures. If you are storing items that cannot withstand extreme temperatures or high humidity levels, an outdoor storage unit may not be the right option for you.

Pros Cons
Easy accessibility Exposure to the elements
Less expensive No climate-control option
Perfect for large items Belongings exposed to humidity and winter freezes