2021’s 3 Best Temporary Storage Solutions

Joe Roberts
Researcher & Writer
Read More
Published on December 22, 2020
7 min read

If you’re in a pinch and you need to store some (or all) of your belongings in a safe space for a month or two, then storage units and storage containers are your new best friends. However, sometimes these services come with lengthy contracts that obligate you to pay for several months of storage, even if you only need one.

What you need is a temporary storage solution. Luckily, Extra Space Storage, PODS, and Public Storage all offer month-to-month storage rentals without long-term contracts.

Keep reading to learn more about these companies and how they can help you temporarily store your household goods.

Compare the best temporary storage solutions

Extra Space StoragePODSPublic Storage
Mont-to-month rentals
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Portable storage containers
Icon No  DarkNo
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon No  DarkNo
First month free or discounted
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon No  DarkNo
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Climate-controlled units available
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon No  DarkNo
Icon Yes  DarkYes

The best temporary storage solutions

Not sure what size storage unit or container you should rent? Read our guide on estimating how much storage you need to get started.

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Extra Space Storage—Best overall

Best overall
Extra Space Storage
Our Rating
4.7 out of 5 stars

With storage facilities in 40 US states, a huge variety of unit sizes, and outstanding on-site security, Extra Space Storage is one of the best storage companies in the business. The company also provides a free lock when you book online.

Pro Heading
Pro Bullet Free lock with online reservation
Pro Bullet Vehicle storage units
Pro Bullet Exceptional security
Con Heading
Con Bullet Frequent rate increases

Why we recommend Extra Space Storage

It goes above and beyond to keep all your things safe

While some self-storage companies cut costs by offering bare-bones security, Extra Space Storage keeps its facilities airtight with the following features:

  • Fences with electronic gates and coded access
  • Video cameras
  • Alarms for individual units
  • Personal locks (available for purchase)

Specific security features vary by location, so ask your Extra Space Storage representative which features are available at the storage facility near you.

Additionally, some of Extra Space Storage’s units are climate-controlled to keep your household goods from getting damaged by heat or cold. We recommend renting a climate-controlled unit if you need to store your priceless record collection, antique leather furniture, or any other temperature-sensitive belongings.

Extra Space Storage’s facilities are also treated for rodents, insects, and other pests regularly, so you don’t need to worry about moths eating your stored clothing or mice turning your important documents into nests.

Your price may go up

While Extra Space Storage has mostly positive customer reviews, customers often criticize the company for increasing its rental rates after a few months instead of charging the first month’s rate forever.

This is standard in the storage industry, and Extra Space Storage is up-front about it, so it’s not really a mark against the company. It’s just something to be aware of—and it may not be a problem with temporary storage.

It offers a huge variety of storage sizes

You shouldn’t have to pay for more storage space than you’ll use, but with companies that have only one or two unit sizes, you may end up doing just that. That’s why we like the variety Extra Space Storage offers.

Extra Space Storage unit sizes

  • Storage lockers (dimensions vary by storage facility)
  • 5 ft. x 10 ft.
  • 5 ft. x 15 ft.
  • 10 ft. x 10 ft.
  • 10 ft. x 15 ft.
  • 10 ft. x 20 ft.
  • 10 ft. x 25 ft.
  • 10 ft. x 30 ft.

Extra Space Storage has eight different unit sizes that range from lockers to garage-sized spaces. Extra Space Storage also has storage space for vehicles (indoor and outdoor), RVs, and boats.

Want to learn more? Go check out our Extra Space Storage Review.

PODS—Best for moving

Best for moving
Our Rating
4.2 out of 5 stars

You may need to store your belongings for a few days or weeks in the middle of a big move. If your new home isn’t ready when you need it or you have to move out of your old home before you know where you’re moving to, then PODS’ combination of moving and storage services make it your most convenient option.

Pro Heading
Pro Bullet Portable storage containers
Pro Bullet On-site storage options
Pro Bullet Indoor storage facilities
Con Heading
Con Bullet No climate control for individual PODS containers

Why we recommend PODS

Its portable containers work for moving and storage

Portable storage containers come in handy when your move-in and move-out dates don’t perfectly line up—if your lease doesn’t finalize when it’s supposed to or the previous tenants can’t move out on your schedule, for example.

If you use conventional moving and storage services, you have to pack your stuff into a moving truck, drive it to your new location, and unload everything into a storage unit so you can return the truck. When move-in day arrives, you have to rent another truck, pack everything into it from the storage unit, and drive it to your new home. Needless to say, this is time-consuming, expensive, and inconvenient.

If you hire PODS to move and store your belongings, you only have to pack your containers once. PODS can keep your portable storage containers at one of its secure storage facilities until you’re ready for them to be delivered to your new home. Easy peasy.

Plus, you can access your PODS containers while they’re in storage if you called ahead to schedule an appointment.

Light Bulb
How do customers feel about PODS?

We recently helped some PODS customers pay for their move through our moving grant program, and we learned that PODS really earns its reputation as one of the best moving container companies around. To learn all about their experience, go read our report on one PODS customer's experience.

It has sturdy and reliable containers

PODS portable storage containers are made from steel with impact-resistant paneling to keep your belongings safe—whether they’re riding on the back of a delivery truck or sitting in a storage facility. The inside of each PODS container also features tie-down rings so you can secure objects that might sway or rattle on the road.

While individual PODS containers aren’t climate-controlled, they are weather-resistant, and when they’re in storage, PODS keeps them in indoor facilities with regulated temperatures.

PODS container sizes

  • 7 ft. x 7 ft. x 8 ft.
  • 12 ft. x 8 ft. x 8 ft.
  • 16 ft. x 8 ft. x 8 ft.

PODS can accommodate every type of mover, from college students to homeowners. If you need more space than one of these sizes can give you, you can rent more than one container.

If you want to learn more about what PODS can do for you, go check out our review of it’s prices and services.

Public Storage—Best for tight budgets

Best for tight budgets
Public Storage
Our Rating
4.7 out of 5 stars

Public Storage is the largest self-storage company in the world, and its hefty online booking discounts and unbeatable promotional rates make it one of your cheapest temporary storage options.

Pro Heading
Pro Bullet $1 first month of rent (at select locations)
Pro Bullet Most locations in the self-storage industry
Pro Bullet Vehicle and boat storage
Con Heading
Con Bullet No pest control guarantee

Why we recommend Public Storage

Its promotional $1 rate

Public Storage charges new customers just $1 for their first month of storage. This only applies to the rental rate, so you still have to pay processing fees and taxes, but this discount can save you hundreds of dollars.

Here’s the best part for short-term storage customers:

You don’t have to sign a long-term contract to get this discount. We called Public Storage to confirm this, and we were told that even if you used your unit for a single month, you would still get this deal (as long as you were a new customer). You could walk away after the first month without any penalties or extra charges.

This discount isn’t available for every storage unit, so call ahead or check online to make sure you can get the discount before you work Public Storage into your budget.

Other online booking discounts

Even if the $1 promo rate isn’t available for the facility or unit size you need, you can still take advantage of Public Storage’s online deals. Booking your storage space online can save you up to 30% on your monthly rate.

It’s the largest self-storage company in the business

Public Storage has thousands of locations in the US and Europe, and it has over a hundred million square feet of total storage space available for rent. Since moving and storage rates are largely determined by availability, this massive footprint means Public Storage can keep its rates lower than most of its competitors.

It also means that you can almost always find a Public Storage facility with vacancy near you, even on short notice.

Public Storage unit sizes

Public Storage’s variety of unit sizes is almost as large as Extra Space Storage’s. Availability varies by location, but here are Public Storage’s most typical unit sizes:

  • 5 ft. x 5 ft.
  • 5 ft. x 10 ft.
  • 5 ft. x 15 ft.
  • 10 ft. x 10 ft.
  • 10 ft. x 15 ft.
  • 10 ft. x 20 ft.
  • 10 ft. x 25 ft.

Like Extra Space Storage, Public Storage also offers storage units for cars, boats, and RVs.

Looking for another budget option?

Public Storage is the biggest storage company in the world, but it doesn’t have facilities in every US state. If you’re in one of these states, we recommend checking out CubeSmart. CubeSmart offers month-to-month rentals and considerable discounts for booking online—just like Public Storage.

If you want to learn more about Public Storage before getting a quote, go read our review.

Our recommendation

Do you want the best short-term storage money can buy? Go with Extra Space Storage. Do you need to store your furniture before or after you move? Save yourself some time and money by hiring PODS for both jobs. Are you simply looking for the cheapest storage you can find? Then you’ll love Public Storage’s discounts and promotional deals.

If you’ve hired any of these companies for temporary or long-term storage, then we want to hear about your experience in the comments below!

What to look for in temporary storage companies

Month-to-month rentals

Some companies require you to sign a lengthy lease when you rent a storage unit, which is fine if you need the unit long term. But if you need it for just a month or two, then signing a long-term lease means you’ll pay far more storage time than you’ll need.

Instead, opt for a company that allows you to renew your lease at the end of every month as needed. This flexibility also makes month-to-month rentals ideal if you don’t know exactly how long you’ll need to rent the storage space.

The only downside is that month-to-month companies aren’t contractually bound to keep their rates the same from one month to the next. If you’re renting for several months, you could see your rates go up over time, but this probably won’t matter if you’re renting only for a month or two.

Discounts for booking online

Some storage companies offer discounts for booking online. When you’re shopping around for storage options, make sure you check each company’s online rates—even if you call or visit its facilities.

Airtight security features

It’s hard to rest easy unless you know your stuff is safe. That’s why you should find a self-storage company that ensures your belongings are properly protected. Look for facilities with the following security features:

  • On-site property managers
  • 24-hour security camera surveillance
  • Individually alarmed units
  • Gates with coded access
  • Pest control

Each of these features costs extra, and few companies offer all of them, but we strongly recommend getting storage with as much security as you can find and afford.

Recommended resources

Now that we’ve talked about the best short-term storage options, we recommend learning about how to maximize your self-storage experience. Read these guides to prepare yourself for moving into, using, and paying for your unit:

Joe Roberts
Written by
Joe Roberts
Joe Roberts is a professional writer with a degree in writing studies and over four years of copywriting experience. He previously worked at Overstock.com, where he wrote about furniture, home decor, and moving. Joe has moved all over Utah, so he knows his way around a moving truck—and he spends his time (and money) expanding his personal library so it will be even heavier next time he moves.