Posted by On 15-01-2021

Short Term vs. Long Term Storage: What’s Right for You?

Short term vs. Long term storage: What’s right for you?

The inevitable time comes when you have to move. Maybe you’re leaving your parent’s house for the first time, or you’re going to a condo from a large home to be closer to the city. Regardless of the exact reason, you now find yourself needing a space to store your belongings, either for a short period or for the long haul. 

Of course, always choose the cleanest storage unit that you can find close to where you live and where you can get the best service. 

At Abacus Self Storage, we get all kinds of questions about packing and packaging, and we always customize the answers we offer to meet your exact needs. Read on to learn which storage solution serves your needs best.

Of course, when it comes to moving, you can’t forget the essentials. Details like which boxes to use, what packaging material is best, what kind of tape you should use to secure containers, and how to stack everything correctly are essential issues to consider. 

However, beyond these fine-tuning elements, there is the question of which type of storage best suits your needs, be it long term or short term. Your choice here can have several subtle impacts, like the order in which you should pack things. No matter what you choose, it’s essential to have the advantages of a good setup, and for keeping your items safe and easily accessible.

What’s the difference between long term and short term storage?

Before deep-diving into each type of storage, you first need to understand them in broad strokes. The most significant difference is in the period of storage. Short term storage is where you don’t expect to be using the storage unit for more than three months. On the other hand, long term storage is more suited for prolonged periods, like seasonal clothing storage or packing things away during the winter. Each side has pros and cons, as well as general rules you should consider when storing.

Short Term Storage

Short-term storage can be anything from a month or so to around three months. It’s mostly meant as a stop-gap measure, providing you with some spacing flexibility only when you need it. Many people use this option when they’re moving or renovating. It even works to provide room for relatives who come over for short stays.

Generally, if you go this route, you don’t need to worry about dust covers as there is minimal time for it to settle. A bedsheet or cloth can likely provide reasonable protection here. 

You still shouldn’t forget to factor in temperatures. If you’re storing in peak winter or summer times, you want a temperature controlled unit to prevent damage to your belongings. This is particularly important if you are storing electronics, which you should pack as sturdily as possible.

Long Term Storage

On the opposite end of the spectrum, you have storage periods of three months or more.

When putting items into long-term storage, you will want to use plastic covers or bags. Ensure that they’re completely dry and clean to prevent trapping moisture and causing mould and mildew to grow.

This choice is excellent if you simply need to get rid of some extra stuff piling up at home. Clutter can shatter the calming minimalist lifestyle you may be looking for or even become hazardous in extreme hoarding situations. 

In cases where you have items like old furniture that is difficult to dispose of, long-term storage can be an excellent option. It also works well for valuable possessions that you don’t want to keep at home — though you should make sure that the unit is temperature-controlled if you’re using it for this purpose.

Packing Tips

Choosing a unit is only the first step of the puzzle. Before you start, it can make sense to estimate the amount of stuff you will need to store to make sure you get an appropriately sized unit. Once you have rented a storage unit, you want to make sure that you pack everything well, so it stays in top condition and is easily accessible. 

A general tip that applies to both long-term and short-term storage is to label everything so that you can still figure out what is what when you return in a month or a year.

Packing Short Term

To create improved access to storage items over frequent trips, consider leaving yourself an aisle in the middle of the unit. That will make it easier to move things in and out over short periods. If possible, try to arrange your boxes and items against the unit walls, stacking them safely and using all the vertical space you can.

Remember to pack your fragile items carefully. While most things don’t need careful packing during a short period, anything valuable or prone to breaking still needs to be appropriately packaged and located, so it doesn’t shift or fall. You can use a tarpaulin as a temporary measure to keep your goods safe.

Packing Long Term

In the long term, it makes sense to invest in new, clean and high-quality boxes. This way, they won’t attract pests and will be sturdy. You can also spring for similarly-sized boxes, so stacking is easier. You shouldn’t ignore this step, as packing things properly can prevent unexpected damage.

You should also seal clothing and fabrics. Vacuum sealed bags will protect against humidity over time and also keep out insects and other pests.

It can also make sense to stack everything on pallets if at all possible. Putting a layer on the floor of your unit will prevent condensation and water damage while allowing for air movement through the storage unit, further preventing potential deterioration.

Choosing Between Long-Term and Short-Term Storage

Almost everyone needs to move or renovate at some point in their lives. Getting the right storage unit can make the process infinitely easier. Once you’ve determined the period and space you need, all that’s left to do is pack carefully.

If you follow the instructions above, you’re sure to have a great experience while using your storage unit. 

To learn more about how to choose between long-term and short-term storage, call Abacus Self Storage at 289-807-0981 or contact us here


“Just rented a storage locker from Abacus Self Storage. They are well organized , courteous, well organized and efficient. The locker is spotlessly clean and I am very pleased with the... Read More

Elyse Pomeranz

“My girlfriend and I are moving into a new place together and we had to find a secure, affordable and convenient storage facility to store our belongings, while we are transitioning to a new... Read More

Scott and Ola, Scottola

“Very knowledgeable and helpful staff. One stop shop to buy all packing and moving supplies. Very clean, bright and secure storage facility, that can be easily accessed. Would highly recommend to... Read More

Jodi M
Abacus has been helping customers meet their storage needs over many years.

The people in our testimonials are amongst the thousands of people that Abacus has had the privilege of serving since 1999. Some of these customers have taken the time to give us feedback, both personally and in written reviews, on their experience at Abacus, and for that we are most grateful.


Learn More About Abacus Self Storage in the Greater Toronto Area!

What is the price, and are there any promotions?

Our affordable prices are always set to deliver great value. Further, we regularly run promotions to give our customers the best deals on self-storage.

What should I do if my administrative/personal information has changed?
If your contact information (phone, email, address) changes, please let us know as soon as possible. If you are moving, be sure to change address for utilities, telephones, etc. Organize a checklist related to your move. The post office has special forms for address changes.
What do I need to do if I want to vacate my unit?
Give 1 week notice when the unit is being vacated.
Do I need reservations on a storage unit?
Inquire about advance reservations, to help ensure that a properly sized storage unit will be available when you need it. At Abacus, we do not charge for making advance reservations.
What should I be aware of when renting a storage unit?
Take time to review the storage agreement, as it is your protection while in storage.