Benefits of Drive-up Storage Units and Their Typical Uses

Andreea Draguleasa
Last Updated on June 21, 2024
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Are you in the midst of a move, downsizing your home or managing a business where inventory is key? You may be wondering what storage solution to go for without wasting your bucks. You are knee-deep in boxes, preparing for a big move or trying to declutter your garage, the last thing you want is an extra workout just getting to your storage unit.

Our suggestion? Try drive-up storage units.

Let’s closely examine what drive-up storage units are and what exactly makes them so darn convenient.

What Is Drive-up Access Storage?

drive up storage units
credit: Shutterstock 2147603633

Drive-up storage units are the equivalent of an outdoor garage that you can rent at a storage facility. And while a lot of their appearance and function bears similarities to garages, you will find them in a variety of sizes, some as small as a locker.

Neatly arranged in rows divided by wide drivable aisles, drive-up units are one of the most popular ground-level storage options, as they let you pull your vehicle right up to the door. No hallways, no elevators, just straight-up convenience — pop the trunk and start loading or unloading your stuff.

Accessibility of Drive-up Storage Units

Let’s start with the main draw of these storage units, the one we’ve already hinted at, which is the fact that they are as accessible as your driveway.

Got heavy or bulky items, or do you need to frequently move items in and out of storage? This accessibility makes all the difference, as it turns drive-up storage units into a garage away from home, where you can stash everything from holiday decorations to business inventory.

Need to grab that old couch for your friend? Just pull up, load up and you’re good to go.

Size and Dimensions of Drive-Up Storage Units

As we mentioned earlier, drive-up storage units come in various sizes. From small units that could fit a few boxes and a bike, to larger ones that could store the entire contents of a three-bedroom house, here’s what you can expect from a drive-up unit:

Unit Size Dimensions (ft) What Fits Regular boxes Vehicles
Small        
5×5 25 sq. ft. Small furniture, several boxes, seasonal decorations, gardening equipment, camping gear 15-20
5×10 50 sq. ft. Furniture from a studio or one-bedroom apartment, queen mattress, dresser, TV 30 Bikes, motorcycles
5×15 75 sq. ft. Furniture from a small one-bedroom apartment, queen mattress, loveseat, dresser, TV 30-35 Bikes, motorcycles
Medium        
10×10 100 sq. ft. Contents of two bedrooms and a family room, mattresses, dressers, sofa, chairs, coffee table 50-60 Bikes, motorcycles
10×15 150 sq. ft. Contents of a two- to three-bedroom house, large items like TVs, couches, dining table, appliances 60+ Compact  and two-door cars
Large        
10×20 200 sq. ft. Contents of a three- or four-bedroom house, couches, dining room set, workout equipment 80-100 Most cars: SUVs, sedans, pickup trucks
10×30 300 sq. ft. Fully furnished five-bedroom house, mattress sets, dressers, dining set, appliances 100+ Larger vehicles, travel trailers, boats

Note: Small drive-up units are harder to find, though not impossible. If you only need a small unit for your belongings, it’s more likely to find one indoors.

Security Features of Drive-Up Access Storage

We said that drive-up storage units might be as easy to access as your driveway, but that doesn’t mean they’re not secure. Storage facilities know how important security is for customers, so they implement robust measures to create a fortress for your belongings.

Here’s what you can typically expect from secure drive-up self-storage units:

Security Feature Description/Benefit
Gated Access Secure entry points with access codes or key cards, restricting facility access to authorized users only
Surveillance Cameras 24/7 video monitoring of the facility’s premises, deterring theft and vandalism while recording activity for review
Individual Unit Locks High-quality locks for each unit; some facilities offer cylinder or disc locks for an extra layer of security
On-Site Management Facility staff present during business hours for monitoring and assistance

Cost Comparison

If you expect convenience and accessibility to come at a cost, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find out that these perks don’t drive the prices up here. How come? Well, unlike many of their indoor counterparts, most drive-up units are not climate-controlled, which makes them some of the most cost-effective storage solutions out there.

Sure, you’re trading off the climate control benefits, but if your items don’t need protection from temperature and humidity swings, you’re gaining accessibility and saving a few bucks along the way.

Speaking of Climate Control in Storage Units

Okay, most drive-up units aren’t climate-controlled, but ‘most’ doesn’t mean ‘all’ — some facilities do offer it. And if you store sensitive items like antiques, electronics or important papers, you’ll want to snag a climate-controlled unit for a premium.

That’s because heat, cold and moisture can easily destroy documents, circuits, fabrics and wooden items. With climate control in place, weather extremes won’t wreak havoc through your belongings, as the system keeps temperature and humidity levels stable throughout the year.

Typical Uses and Users for Drive-up Storage Units

Who uses these units and what for? Lots of folks, that’s for sure, and the scenarios range from residential to commercial uses, with a dash of handy vehicle storage.

  • Homeowners can store seasonal items, sports gear or extra furniture all year round. Best use: during renovations or when moving.
  • Businesses can stash a wide range of office supplies and equipment in a drive-up unit. Small retailers can make the most out of it by storing inventory and giving several employees access to prepare orders. Also popular with contractors and event planners.
  • Got a vehicle but no garage space? You can easily store your car, motorcycle or boat in a drive-up unit. Just make sure to check the size guide first.

Advantages and Limitations of Drive-up Access Storage

As with most things, these storage units come with several pros and cons. Here’s a quick look at the most important benefits of drive-up storage, along with its limitations, to help you decide if it’s right for you.

PRO CON
Direct vehicle access simplifies loading and unloading. Items may be more vulnerable to dust, debris and weather compared to indoor units.
Generally, more affordable than indoor units. Outdoor access might be a concern for some users, despite security measures in place.
Available in many sizes to suit different needs, including vehicle storage. Lack of climate control makes them unsuitable for sensitive items, and adding climate control bumps up the price more than in an indoor unit.

Find the Perfect Drive-up Storage Units Near You

Before deciding on a drive-up storage unit, ask yourself: How often will I visit? Are my items cool with a little weather change now and then? If you’re nodding yes, then you’re good to go. Drive-up storage units are champions at making quick stops for drop-offs a breeze and can handle anything from your festive gear to your business bulk or even your ride.

And for that perfect fit, slide into SpareFoot’s filters to mix and match options. Besides ‘Drive-up access’, you can also check ‘Climate controlled’, ‘24-hour access’, ‘Electronic gate access’, ‘Alarm in unit’, ‘Fenced and lit’ and ‘Surveillance cameras’. Got additional questions? Reach out to local storage providers that offer drive-up access and enquire about a particular unit size.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on June 14, 2024 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Andreea Draguleasa

Andreea Draguleasa showed an affinity for foreign languages and literature at an early age and started writing when she was 6. She studied journalism, advertising, and public relations at the University of Bucharest and worked as a content writer for a tourism agency and as a journalist for a magazine in the hospitality industry until 2010. After seven years as marketing manager for a Home & Deco online shop, she realized that learning something new every day brings her the most joy, so she went back to researching and writing informative articles. Through her experience traveling the world, she's picked up tips and resources she now shares on self storage solutions. When not writing about home organizing and storage, Andreea spends most of her time reading, playing video games, and spoiling her cat.
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About the SpareFoot Blog

The SpareFoot Blog offers tips about self-storage, information about storage auctions, advice about home organization, news about SpareFoot and much more.
Contact the editor: [email protected]


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