The Difference between Box Storage and Self Storage

Are you currently looking for cheap storage for your belongings? Perhaps you need extra storage because:

  • your loft is bulging at the seams
  • you cannot open your car doors if you park in the garage
  • you are expecting to sell your house and will need to store your furniture until you can move into your new home
  • your child has been away at university for several months and your belongings have expanded to fill the space available: they will soon be bringing their possessions home over the holidays and there will be nowhere to put them.

Whatever your reason for needing additional storage, you may be trying to decide between using self storage or box storage. To help you to choose the storage option that is best for you, here are the salient points of each type.

1. Self storage

How self storage works
How it works:

Once you have located your most conveniently-located Safestore, choose what size of unit you will need (our staff can help with this if you are unsure) and then take your belongings to your unit, where you can store them in your secure unit for as long as you like. You can access your belongings in storage and remove them at any time. The price you will pay is per square foot of space.
Self storage provides many benefits:
A. Flexibility

At Safestore we offer a range of self storage options, from 10 sq ft secure lockers ideal for student storage up to warehouse storage of over 500 sq ft and everything in between. Our experienced and helpful staff can give expert advice about how much space you will need to accommodate your belongings, so that you will never end up paying for storage space that you don’t need. 

B. Safety and protection

Safestore has a huge range of indoor units that to which you’ll have the only access. You can move your belongings into a clean, dry unit and you can purchase packaging/protectors to help protect your things.

Self storage at Safestore is also highly secure – our sites are all protected by 24-hour recorded CCTV and comprehensive alarm systems

C. Accessible and convenient

You can access your self storage unit free of charge, seven days a week during opening hours and even 24 hours a day by arrangement. You will be the only keyholder for your unit, meaning that only you will have access to your belongings whilst they are stored in your secure unit.

We have 125 locations across the UK, close to many major cities and within easy reach of the major road networks. Free parking is available on site for our customers. This ease of access makes self storage ideal if you need regular or even occasional access to your belongings without wishing to take them out of storage altogether.

The fact that our receptions are staffed during opening hours means that if you need to have anything sent to your unit, we can accept deliveries for you.
Any downsides?
You will need a way to get your belongings to and from your self storage unit.  We don't offer this service but we have a comprehensive list of local removal companies that we can confidently recommend.  We can provide forklift trucks and pallet stackers if you need them and there is ample space available for loading and unloading at each site.

2. Box storage

How it works:

Box storage companies will send you storage boxes and bubble wrap if you need; you can then wrap up your belongings and they will collect your box(es) the next day. Your belongings will be taken to a storage facility.

Contact them when you want your box(es) back and they will return them to you the following day at a fixed price per box. The price you will pay is per box for collection and per box for return.
The benefits of using a box storage service are:
A. Convenience

You don’t have to take your belongings anywhere – the box storage company will provide all the packing materials and will collect your filled box(es) for you. They will return them to your chosen location the day after you request that they do so. You won’t be able to access your belongings whilst they are in storage, but if you are storing items that you know you won’t need for some time this can be a good storage solution for you.

Their service is door-to-door, but you cannot have deliveries made direct to their storage facility.

B. Price

With box storage, you pay a set price per box (for it to be stored and then returned) so if you need to store a single item, or items that will require far less than 10 sq ft of storage space, this may be the most cost-effective service for you as you will not be paying for space that you know you will never use. Insurance is included and their service can be accessed online.
Any downsides?
You will never see your items when in storage and will not be able to see the level of security available; the warehouses used by box storage companies are typically covered by 24 hour recorded CCTV but are not usually staffed on site. Insurance may be free, but you may prefer the peace of mind that comes from seeing the security systems in operation at Safestore sites and locking your belongings into your own secure unit.

It is not possible to have items delivered directly to their warehouse - you will need to arrange for your items to be collected (and returned) by the box storage company.
    X Weekday collections, one hour collection slots not offered so you may have to wait in all day.
    X Many use third party removal companies and not their own fleets.
    X Risk of items going missing or damaged in transit.
    X Unable to access your belongings once they are in storage.
    X You must pay a fee, per box, to have your items returned (e.g. £5.95 per box).
    X Dates to have items returned may be restricted to weekdays which is not convenient if you work.
    X You may have to pay additional fees to have items returned on evenings or weekends.
    X The amount of insurance included may not cover the replacement value of your items (e.g. £100 per box).
    X Fragile items like glassware, crockery, TVs and printers are not covered on insurance.
    X Items, including awkward shapes like bicycles will need to be put in a box. Suitcases will also need to be stored in a suitcase box.

Furniture Storage

Both Box Storage and Self Storage offer furniture storage with the same considerations as outlined above. Box storage will collect your items and you will have to arrange your own transport for self storage. Below is a price comparison for Box Storage and Self Storage.

The prices for box storage were taken from a popular box storage company in the UK in March 2018 for those that live within the M25. We asked one of our experienced storage consultants to put together a similar quote for one of our stores within the M25. The items listed below would comfortably fit into a 50 sq. ft. unit.

The main difference between the two is that for box storage you pay for individual items and with self storage you would pay for one room that all the items would fit into.

The furniture storage prices are as follows:

Box Storage

Self Storage


Price Per Item

Price per Unit
    Double Bed From £81.75

All items listed
would fit into a 50 sq ft unit

Price includes £5000 worth of insurance and VAT
50% off
for first 8 weeks

    Single bed From £61.35
    Bedside table From £14.20
    Sofa From £50.20
    Armchair From £31.55
    Guitar From £7.30
    Monthly Price £246.35 a month
£98.56 a month for first 8 weeks
Then £163.54 thereafter
    Yearly Cost £2956.20
    Yearly Savings  

As you can see, there is a substantial yearly savings by using Self Storage to store your furniture.


If you think that self storage is the best option for you, or if you have any questions about our service, please call or contact us and one of our friendly team can discuss the options available at your local site and give you our best price for the storage space you need.

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Award winning customer service at Safestore

We put customer service at the heart of all that we do, and we’re thrilled to have been recognised for this commitment by Feefo, an independent customer rating service.
In 2024, we were awarded the prestigious Feefo Platinum Trusted Service Award for the fifth year in a row, as well as the first ever exclusive accolade in customer service – the Feefo 10 Year of Excellence Award!

The independent recognition from Feefo that we’re delivering such a high level of customer service is something we’re really proud of. The fact that so many of our customers are happy to leave us such positive reviews online is the icing on the cake, and we’re determined to maintain that level of service.

We’re also delighted that our customers have rated us as Excellent on Trustpilot, giving us 5 (4.8) stars from over 8,500 customer reviews.

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