Top Mistakes to Avoid When Using Self Storage in the UK


Are you planning to use self-storage for the first time or looking to optimise your current storage unit?

Self-storage can be a fantastic solution for a variety of needs, whether you’re moving house, decluttering, or storing business inventory. 

However, it’s not as simple as just tossing your stuff into a unit and forgetting about it. There are several common mistakes that can turn your storage experience into a hassle. 

In this article, we’ll cover the top mistakes to avoid when using self-storage in the UK to ensure your belongings stay safe and you get the best value for your money.

Understanding Self Storage

What is Self Storage?

Self-storage is a service that provides individuals and businesses with secure, rented spaces to store their belongings. These units can vary in size and are typically rented on a month-to-month basis. 

It’s a convenient way to keep items safe without cluttering your home or office. Whether you need a temporary solution or a long-term storage option, self-storage offers flexibility to meet diverse needs.

Benefits of Using Self Storage

The benefits of using self-storage are numerous. It offers flexibility, security, and convenience. Whether you need to store seasonal items, business inventory, or personal belongings during a move, self-storage units provide a cost-effective solution. 

They also offer peace of mind with features like 24/7 access and advanced security systems. Additionally, self-storage can help you declutter your living space, making your home or office more organised and functional.

Top Mistakes to Avoid When Using Self Storage

Choosing the Wrong Size Unit

One of the most common mistakes is selecting the wrong size unit. Too small, and you’ll struggle to fit everything in. Too large, and you’re wasting money on unused space. 

It’s crucial to assess your needs accurately and perhaps consult with the storage facility staff to choose the right size. 

Measure your items and consider future storage needs to avoid frequent upsizing or downsizing, which can be both inconvenient and costly.

Not Researching Storage Facilities

Not all storage facilities are created equal. Some may offer better security, customer service, or additional features than others. Failing to research and compare different options can lead to dissatisfaction. Look for reviews, visit the facilities, and ask questions before making a decision. Evaluate the cleanliness, maintenance, and overall condition of the facility to ensure your belongings will be stored in a safe environment.

Ignoring Insurance Options

Your belongings in storage should be insured, but many people overlook this aspect. Check if your home insurance covers items in storage or if the storage facility offers insurance. Without coverage, you could face significant losses if something goes wrong. It’s important to understand the terms of any insurance policy, including what items are covered and under what circumstances, to ensure comprehensive protection.

Improperly Packing Items

Packing your items improperly can lead to damage. Use sturdy boxes, bubble wrap, and packing paper to protect fragile items. Disassemble large furniture if possible and wrap each piece individually. Avoid over packing boxes, as this can make them too heavy to lift and may cause them to break. Proper packing not only protects your items but also makes it easier to organise and access them in the storage unit.

Not Labelling Boxes

Imagine trying to find a single item in a sea of unlabelled boxes. Always label your boxes with their contents and consider creating a map of where everything is stored. This practice will save you time and frustration. Use clear and descriptive labels, and place them on multiple sides of the boxes for easy identification. Colour coding boxes by category can also enhance organisation.

Storing Empty Fridges & Freezers

When storing empty fridges and freezers, it’s crucial to follow certain guidelines to prevent damage and ensure safety. First and foremost, never store these appliances with the doors closed, as this can lead to mould growth and unpleasant odours due to trapped moisture. Always prop the doors open slightly to allow air circulation. Ensure that they are thoroughly cleaned and dried before storage to prevent any residual food particles from causing bad smells or attracting pests. Following these tips will help maintain the condition and longevity of your fridges and freezers during storage.

Failing to Use Shelving

Shelving units can greatly enhance the organisation of your storage space. They help keep items off the floor, reduce clutter, and make it easier to access your belongings. Don’t overlook this simple yet effective organisational tool. Invest in sturdy, adjustable shelving that can accommodate various sizes of boxes and items. Proper use of shelving can also prevent items from getting damaged or crushed.

Not Utilising Vertical Space

Storage units have a lot of vertical space that often goes unused. Stack boxes and use tall shelving units to make the most of your unit’s height. This practice maximises your space and keeps things organised. When stacking boxes, place heavier items at the bottom and lighter ones on top to avoid crushing. Utilise hooks and hanging storage solutions for items like bicycles and garden tools.

Forgetting to Make an Inventory List

An inventory list is essential for keeping track of what you have in storage. It helps you remember what’s there and provides a record in case of theft or damage. Update your list every time you add or remove items. A detailed inventory can also aid in insurance claims and helps you keep track of valuable items. Digital inventory lists with photos can be particularly useful.

Storing Prohibited Items

Every storage facility has a list of prohibited items, such as flammable materials, perishable goods, and hazardous substances. Familiarise yourself with these restrictions to avoid fines or the removal of your items. Storing prohibited items can also pose safety risks to your belongings and the entire facility. Always check the facility’s guidelines and communicate with staff if you have any doubts.

Not Considering Accessibility

Think about how often you’ll need to access your stored items. Choose a facility that offers convenient access hours and consider the layout of your unit. Place frequently used items near the front for easy retrieval. Accessibility is crucial for maintaining a functional storage system. Ensure that pathways within the unit are clear and that items you might need on short notice are easily accessible.

Mismanaging Rental Agreements

Read the rental agreement carefully before signing. Understand the terms, including payment schedules, fees, and the process for moving out. Mismanaging your rental agreement can lead to unexpected costs and complications. Keep a copy of the agreement and set reminders for payment due dates and contract renewal periods. Clear understanding and management of your agreement will prevent unwelcome surprises.

Neglecting to Inspect the Unit Regularly

Regular inspections of your storage unit help ensure your items remain in good condition. Periodic inspections also give you the opportunity to reorganise and update your inventory list. 

Poor Organisation of the Unit

A poorly organised storage unit can lead to wasted space and difficulty finding items. Plan the layout of your unit, group similar items together, and keep a clear pathway for easy access. Use a systematic approach when storing items and maintain an orderly arrangement. Good organisation not only maximises space but also enhances efficiency, making your storage experience smooth and hassle-free.


Using self-storage can be a lifesaver, but it’s important to avoid these common mistakes to make the most of your unit. By choosing the right size, properly packing and labelling your items, and staying organised, you’ll ensure your belongings are safe and accessible. Regular inspections and understanding your rental agreement will also save you from unexpected hassles. With these tips in mind, you can confidently use self-storage to meet your needs.

Need More Help?

If you’re looking for expert advice or assistance with your self-storage needs, the professionals at M4 Self Store are here to help. Whether you’re new to self-storage or looking to optimise your current storage unit, our team can provide personalised solutions to fit your requirements. Contact us today to find out how we can make your self-storage experience as smooth and efficient as possible.


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