Do you need a short-term storage unit? Find out more about our temporary storage options.


People need temporary storage space for several reasons. Maybe you’re working hard to stage your home for a quick sale and need somewhere to keep excess items in the meantime. On the other hand, you might be in the process of decluttering, estate planning, or even moving to a new city to take an exciting new job or plan your next move in life. 

When it comes to moving in particular, storage is meant to be as convenient and hassle-free as possible. Above all, it should help—not hinder— whatever you’re looking to accomplish. So why sign up for an extensive, year-long storage unit contract when you only need some extra space for a few months at a time?

Temporary storage units

That’s why here at Life Storage, we offer temporary storage options like short-term storage units that have flexible month-to-month leases. We’ll discuss what to expect and answer some commonly asked questions in this guide.

Related: Should You Move During a Recession? 6 Things to Consider First

What is temporary storage?

Temporary storage is exactly what it sounds like— a space temporarily used to house items. These areas can be rented, bought, or DIY-ed and can hold anything from household items and personal belongings to large-scale equipment and business inventory. 

“Temporary” doesn’t necessarily mean the structure itself is non-permanent, though. There are certainly options that can easily be set up and torn down at home. (We’re talking temporary storage sheds, makeshift closets, etc.) But temporary storage could also just be a moving container or a storage unit with more flexible lease terms. (We’ll discuss the differences between the two in more depth below.)

Using a Storage Unit for Temporary Storage

If you live close to a storage facility, a storage unit can be a great option for temporary storage. Not only are they relatively affordable, but they can also come equipped with a wide arrangement of amenities like temperature and climate control, built-in security features, and more. Better yet, its easy to rent a monthly storage unit online! Whether you opt for an indoor or outdoor unit, you’ll likely be able to choose from various sizes to suit your specific needs. (No build-it-yourself setup required!)

An outdoor storage unit is similar to a garage with a garage-style door. Indoor units offer more protection from the elements but are a little more expensive. Not sure what type of storage unit is best for you? Check out our Self-Storage FAQs for more info. Or, feel free to contact a storage manager at a Life Storage facility near you to discuss your questions.

Why would someone need a short-term storage unit? 

Did you know: You don’t need to relocate or clean out an estate to take advantage of temporary storage. Here are some of the most popular reasons people typically utilize storage units on a temporary or short-term basis.

Temporary Storage Between Moves

Whether you’re in-between apartments or closing on your new home, you may find yourself in an awkward period of time where you need to be out of one space before you can officially move into the next. Staying with friends or family works great, but it might not be reasonable to fully move into their home in the meantime. (Especially if you’re only staying for a few days or weeks!) Storage units are a great hassle-free option in the interim.

Storing Seasonal Items

If you’re an avid skier or love to spend time on the water in the summer, you may have a ton of seasonal equipment taking up space in your home. From jet skis, kayaks, and paddle boards to snowboards and other cold-weather gear, you can store just about anything inside your storage unit. Check out our article 12 Seasonal Storage Solutions Everyone Should Know for more space-saving hacks.

Decluttering & Downsizing

In our current economic recession, tons of people across the country are looking to downsize. (Or even just declutter what they have to make some extra money.) If you’re moving from a house to an apartment, moving in with roommates, or just need to move some clutter to refresh your space, storage units are a major help.

Small Business Inventory

If you’re a small business owner, are you taking advantage of everything self-storage can do for you? Whether you’re looking for more space for your growing inventory or just need to set up somewhere that’s not your garage, a temporary storage unit might be a great option for your business. Some Life Storage facilities even offer office, warehouse & retail space for rent. Check out our article Small Business Inventory and Management Tools and Tips to learn more.

Related: Moving to a Big City From a Small Town: How to Adjust to Your New Life

Can you rent a storage unit for a week?

Unfortunately, renting a storage unit for a single week isn’t usually possible. But even though weekly storage rentals are often unavailable, most locations do offer month-to-month leases, which is ideal for short-term storage for moving. Be sure to read your storage contract carefully to understand all the terms and conditions. 

How much does temporary storage cost?

The pricing of storage units depends on the season, availability, size, and climate options you need. With a typical monthly lease, you’ll be expected to pay rent once a month, ranging from $30 to $250

For more cost information, read our storage unit cost guide here or search for a storage unit in your area

Short-Term Storage Units: Common Sizes Available

Determining the right size unit for your belongings is not always easy. Check out our unit size guide to make the decision easier.

Related: Moving Back Home: How to Make Sure It’s a Good Decision

What is a portable storage container? 

Portable storage containers are massive, weather-resistant boxes that can be set up in your driveway or anywhere on your property as a temporary storage solution. You may have seen friends, relatives, or even neighbors use them— they’re particularly popular for remodeling projects and temporary construction. 

portable storage container

Storage Units vs. Moving Containers: Which is Better?

The main (and maybe most obvious) difference between these pods and off-site storage units is location. But cost, setup, and security are also key differentiators that play a role in answering the question of which is the better option.

If this is your first foray into temporary storage, it can be difficult to know offhand what solution is best for you. Before you make a decision, here’s what you need to know.

Affordability: In general, storage units are more affordable per month than portable storage options. Moreover, certain storage facilities allow flexible, month-to-month lease agreement options to better suit your needs. 

Convenience: A major benefit to moving containers is obviously the location. (A storage pod sitting right in your driveway is admittedly hard to beat!) But if you live near a storage facility, accessing your unit can still be incredibly convenient. Plus, you’ll have the added peace of mind knowing that your items are safe and secure at all times.

Something else to consider regarding convenience: If you need to store your items off-site, you’ll have more access to your items in a storage unit facility than you would with a portable container company. Most container companies that store your belongings off-site provides limited to no access at all, while many storage unit companies offer 24/7 access.

Other Factors:

  • You don’t have to worry about obtaining city permits to keep a container on your property when you rent a storage unit. Once you’ve signed your lease, everything is taken care of for you!
  • With storage units, you can have third-party movers take your items in and out of the unit. Simply give the movers access by giving them the keypad combination and a key to your lock. However, we recommend being present anytime a third party needs to access your unit for security reasons.
Storage for Moving - Storage Units Versus Moving Containers Infographic

Related: 3 Common Moving Company Scams (And How to Avoid Them)

How Will You Use Temporary Storage?

If you need help with short-term storage, search for a storage unit online or reach out to one of our sales representatives. Our team will be happy to help!

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on May 24, 2018, and was revised on March 28, 2020 & June 26, 2023.

About the Authors

Emily Malkowski

Emily Malkowski is a writer and SEO strategist with over 5 years experience, in Buffalo, New York. Having graduated from University at Buffalo with a Bachelor's degree in Communications, her work has appeared in outlets like The American Prospect, Roadtrippers Magazine, Step Out Buffalo, and more.

Lauren Thomann

Lauren Thomann has written about self storage and moving since 2015, making her our storage expert. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in English and Linguistics and has published over 150 articles on moving, storage, and home organization. She is also a contributing writer at and Martha Stewart.

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