John is moving out of his apartment and he doesn't want to drag around all this stuff while looking for a house to settle into. He goes to a public storage and rents a unit to put his stuff in. What's to put stuff into public storage in German? Would it be acceptable to say seine Sachen in die Lagerung stellen ?

4 Answers 4



»Storage« is not »Lagerung« but »Lager«, and »public« is »öffentlich«. In some cases you can translate »put« as »stellen«, but here »geben« is the first choice.

So the correct translation is

seine Sachen in ein öffentliches Lager geben.

  • 11
    @DerPolyglott33: This is simply wrong, see other answers. Commented Apr 21, 2014 at 21:30
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    This translation is too literal and useless. The word 'öffentlich' implies that the public has access to it. It sounds like your are piling your stuff on the street or under bus stop shelter. Commented Apr 22, 2014 at 9:29

As we already have a literal translation of public storage we should know, that in Germany (I don't know about Austria or Switzerland) öffentlich is used in the sense of open to the public which means the public has access to it.

This certainly is not so in a storage for private goods. We'd probably put this in other words to say something like:

einen Lagerraum für seine Sachen anmieten
seine Sachen zwischenlagern lassen
seine Sachen vorübergehend einlagern

  • 3
    In addition: The correct wording is Selfstorage - but if you use it, you can't be sure everybody will understand it. This is a rather new business in Germany.
    – knut
    Commented Apr 21, 2014 at 21:37
  • @knut: Correct? As opposed to other, incorrect terms? I doubt so. Maybe it's the currently prevalent term for the business model in business jargon, but (despite all the anglicisms used in everyday German) the (in my impression) most common way to convey the idea is by saying something like "Lagerflächen zu vermieten". Commented May 23, 2023 at 10:47

'seine Sachen vorübergehend einlagern' is the most accurate translation. Don't use 'public' here.

  • 5
    I agree with that answer. "Einlagern" is the word to use.
    – Ingmar
    Commented Apr 22, 2014 at 3:33
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    @user1725145: Not sure whether this was correctly received; the point was that in German, "öffentlich" is neither used nor implied, because it would incorrectly change the meaning of the term. Commented May 23, 2023 at 10:49

It is wrong to try and translate marketing language literally. Marketing panders to existing sentiments and situations and tries to relate as much to people's circumstances as possible. Products are therefore introduced into one market differently than into another.

The accepted answer is therefore too literal and completely useless. The word 'öffentlich' implies that the public has access to it. It sounds like you are piling your stuff on the street or under a bus stop shelter. Completely surreal, it invokes the image of some communal dump for second hand things.

Ironically a more correct translation would be "privater Lagerraum", "privates Lager". Note that 'private' acts as an opposite to 'commercial'.

This sounds like an complete mistranslation until you consider that while both languages, English and German, try to distinguish the new type of storage from traditional storage, they solve this problem differently.

  • English, in this case, distinguishes between 'domestic' and 'public'.
  • German, however, distinguishes between 'commercial' and 'private'

Actually, not the languages solve this problem that way.

Marketing people solved that problem and it just stuck.

A new product has to be differentiated from existing ones.

In the US, I suppose, it was more prevalent to store your stuff at home (big houses, I guess), therefore you contrast this with the word 'public'.

In German speaking countries 'stock rooms' have mainly commercial use and the word 'Lager' exists like that in the public consciousness. But now everyone can store stuff like big companies do, you can have your own 'private storage'. Isn't that just amazing?

So even though it is essentially the same product, it is differentiated from different angles.




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