Self-store v long-term storage: what’s best for me?

Personal storage is an increasingly popular service, providing flexibility for homeowners when moving, decorating, or otherwise organising their belongings. So what’s the difference between the two main types of storage, self-store and long-term storage? What’s best for your living situation, and what are the benefits of each?

Self-store

Self storage is designed primarily for smaller volumes of goods needing storage for a short period. This service is ideal if you

  • Need somewhere to store seasonal items, such as Christmas decorations or outdoor furniture
  • Need to keep some furniture and effects out of the way while redecorating
  • Have a small household and need a stop gap during the move process

Self-store gives you the most control over your belongings. You will typically have ownership over your own packing and storage, and self-store facilities are usually very flexible about when you can access your possessions.

Long-term storage

Storage warehouses are designed to keep a large collection of belongings safe for as long as you need them. Long-term storage is perfect if you

  • Have inherited a legacy
  • Are transforming your home into a rental property or Airbnb
  • Have a large household and need a stop gap during the move process
  • Are moving abroad for a fixed period

Companies offering long-term storage will often provide a packing service to ensure professional protection of your items prior to storage. The container used to store your items should also be sealed at your home for security purposes, and transported to the storage centre for you.


Pickfords provides secure goods storage to customers throughout the UK and overseas, and operates self-storage facilities in key locations across the country. Click here to get a quote for storage, or request a call back.

Are my goods safe in storage? Your 5-point checklist

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Long term and self-storage are great tools in the home moving process, allowing flexibility when selling your house or flat and keeping your belongings secure prior to settling into your new home.

Without sight of your possessions, however, it can be easy to worry about their safekeeping. Considering this potential concern, how do you ensure peace-of-mind when moving your belongings into storage?

1. Investigate the company

A reputable, experienced storage company will give you confidence that your goods will be handled with the utmost care. Look out for industry certifications and awards as helpful indicator of a company’s credentials.

Pickfords’ nation-wide storage centres are accredited by the FIDI Global Alliance and British Association of Removers (for warehouse and Self Store), as well as the ISO 9001 and BS 8522 quality standards.

For more information about Pickfords’ accreditations, click here.

2. Ask about the location

Understanding your storage facilities will give you confidence that your goods will be secure, however long you intend to store them.

Self store

For short term storage and smaller volumes, self storage facilities are ideal to pack and store you own belongings, giving you complete control over the process. Self Store also typically offers the most flexibility in accessing your possessions.

Pickfords Self Store provides access six days a week, convenient on-site parking at four accessible, inner-city locations.

Warehouse storage

Storage warehouses are designed to keep your goods safe for as long as you need them. Most warehouses use weatherproof wooden crates, nailed shut to protect against the elements, plus external security such as CCTV and burglar alarms.

Pickfords’ national storage network utilises larger wooden crates than any other removal company, eliminating safety risks associated with over-filling. Our flagship London facility includes Europe’s largest, unmanned, fire-safe warehouse, featuring 24-hour security and metal containers designed to protect items of the highest value.

3. Get help packing

If you opt for self store or otherwise wish to pack your own belongings, make sure you buy the right packing materials and research how to pack different items securely.

Drop by one of our Self Store locations for a wide range of boxes, tape and wrap to protect your goods. You can also visit our YouTube channel to help you pack like a pro!

For the truly professional touch, ask your storage company to pack your goods for you. Pickfords provide expert packing for long and short-term storage, using specialist packing materials and secure containers sealed at your residence for optimum security.

4. Request an inventory

If placing your belongings into long term storage, you may not be accessing them for several years. Arranging an inventory of your stored items means you’ll have an accurate record of all the goods in the care of your storage company.

As part of our long term storage solution, Pickfords create a complete inventory of your belongings in detail so you have complete control over your goods in store.

5. Choose the right insurance

While professional storage centres are designed to keep your belongings as safe as possible, taking out insurance helps protect you in the unlikely event that your goods are lost or damaged in store. A reputable storage company should offer sufficient insurance for your peace-of-mind.

Pickfords’ customers can opt for storage insurance, covering loss or damage excluding fire damage, fire insurance, covering damage by fire, or both. To cover all eventualities, you can also take out insurance to cover your goods while in transit to and from our storage centre.

To find out how Pickfords can help with your storage requirements, call 0800 019 8557 or visit our website.

Top tips for students moving into halls

With university starting up for many freshers, if you haven’t already finalised your first-year accommodation, time is running short!

Living away from home for the first time can be a daunting experience. What are the main things you need to consider when choosing accommodation and preparing to move into your new home for the term?

Doing your research

As soon as you find out which university you’ll be attending, start researching the different accommodation options available. You’ll want to look at things like how many people will share your flat, the size of your room and shared areas, whether you’ll have an en suite or a shared bathroom, and how close it is to the campus, local shops, and of course the nearest bar!

If you have a disability, contact your university as soon as possible so they can help you find housing that meets your needs.

Finding out how soon you can move in

Most residences will be available several weeks before the official start of the term, sometimes earlier for international students. The sooner you can arrive, unload your belongings and unpack, the sooner you can meet people and take advantage of the pre-term fresher activities!

Being aware of space when packing

Regardless of the size of your new bedroom, you will likely have far less storage space than at home, so try to be conservative while packing. Bear in mind that you will only be in halls for around 9 to 10 months, so just pack what you need.

Getting help packing, moving and unpacking

Even if you’ve managed to reduce your packing, chances are you’ll struggle to pack and move all your belongings by yourself. Ask a friend or family member to help. If you can’t fit everything in a car, you may want to hire professionals to assist. Pickfords’ Man and Van service is designed for smaller, budget moves, with the flexibility to choose the level of service you need.

Sorting out insurance

While your accommodation should already have buildings insurance, you will need to arrange your own contents cover. This will protect items inside your room, such as clothes, TVs and games consoles, against loss or theft.

Depending on the plan you choose, you can also protect against accidental damage and purchase cover for outside your room or while out and about. Explore options for laptop, phone, gadget or musical instrument cover to suit your needs.

Checking if you need a TV licence

Some halls may already have a TV licence for communal rooms, but if you want a TV in your own room, you will need to pay for a separate TV licence.

Finding out your holiday storage options

You might not be able to keep your belongings at university during the holidays, or you wish to move back with family during Christmas or Easter. In which case, you’ll need somewhere to store your belongings outside term time.

Pickfords has a national network of storage centres, ideal for students. You can share a storage container with others to save money, or visit one of our local Self Store centres for an easy-access storage solution.

What are students’ options over summer?

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With the summer break rapidly approaching for many students, tenancy contracts may also be coming to an end in line with the holidays, potentially leaving several weeks or months between student accommodations.

Most students will stay with friends or family, or find temporary accommodation during this time, but what about your belongings? What are your options for storing your stuff during the summer months?

Call upon family

Many students move back to their family home for the summer. A couple of months’ worth of home cooked meals, a full fridge and clean clothes can be pretty hard to turn down!

If your family have the space, you may have the option to take your belongings back home with you and store them in your parents’ loft, garage, or any spare room they may have available. If you have access to storage space back home, all you need to worry about it safely packing and transporting your possessions.

Make sure your belongings are packed safely, with extra care taken with any delicate or valuable items. If you’re in need of packing materials to ensure the safe transportation of your belongings, Pickfords has a wide range of boxes, wrap, tape and other materials to secure your goods.

If you have too many possessions to fit in a car, or items which are too large, you may wish to hire a professional moving company to assist you. Pickfords’ Man and Van service is designed for small moves on a budget, with the flexibility to choose exactly the level of service you need.

Ask friends

If you’re an international student or have moved particularly far from your family home, going home for the summer many not be a viable option.

In this case, you may be able to stay with friends locally during the holiday period. If you have a small number of possessions, you may be able to store them at your friend’s place. If packing your goods yourself, you may find it helpful to refer to these packing hints and tips or follow our packing tutorials to ensure your items are safe and secure during transit to your friend’s home.

Take out some storage space

Whether you move back with family, stay at a friend’s or in temporary accommodation, you may find that it won’t be possible to take all your belongings with you. If so, you will need somewhere to store some of your goods during the holiday period.

Pickfords has a nation-wide network of storage centres, ideal for students. You can choose to share a storage container with other students to save on cost, or visit one of our Self Store centres at Cambridge, York, Edinburgh or Bath for an easy access storage solution.

Would you like to take part in a new television programme?

Pickfords is helping TV production company TwoFour to find individuals and families who have goods in store and would be interested in taking part in a new programme to be broadcast on ITV1.

They are looking for: 

  • Couples/families with items in storage that are no longer needed or have been inherited
  • Individuals who store belongings that are not welcome in the house
  • Long-standing collectors with no space left in their home
  • Or people who just can’t let go of their stuff because it has sentimental value and currently doesn’t have a place in the home

Experts will help storers to sort through their goods in store and  help them decide whether to “keep it” “skip it” or “sell it”.
More information can be found on the Pickfords website.

If any readers of our blog would like to take part,  contact TwoFour direct on storageshow@twofour.co.uk