10 Reasons Storage Units are a Waste of Money

storage unit

When it comes to storage units, many people are simply throwing away their hard earned money. There aren’t many legitimate reasons that someone truly needs one. Unless you’re renting a storage unit for a specific reason with a set time period (for example, you’re moving and there is a three month time gap before you can move into a new place), you’re likely wasting a whole lot of money. This is especially true if you have a storage unit because you just don’t have enough room in your current home. Sound familiar? Below are 10 reasons that storage units are a waste of money for most people.

Storing Clutter

Most people rent or buy storage units because they have too many items in their home. Unfortunately, the first items that get boxed up to go into storage are the unnecessary, rarely used items. If you currently rent a storage unit, do you actually know what you have stored away? Chances are you have a lot of unneeded clutter and are storing items you’ll never use again. In this case, you’re essentially paying to store useless items and you’re better off selling them.

Stolen Property

Storage units might be hard to break into, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. There are people who store incredibly valuable items in storage units, after all. Most storage companies claim that they’re not liable for items that are stolen or lost. If your storage unit is broken into and your items stolen, you lose out on that money.

Weather Hazards

Storage units that claim that they’re not liable for stolen property are also usually the same companies that won’t compensate you for weather damage. If you end up renting a storage unit that has mold or water damage, your property will be ruined, and therefore useless. These weather hazards are often concealed when you’re first shown the unit, so you might not even know they exist.

Prevents Downsizing

As stated, the reason most people chose to rent a storage unit is because they no longer have space in their home. If you’re moving to a smaller house or apartment, your focus should be on actually downsizing your belongings, not storing them away. If you don’t have room in your new home, why pay for a storage unit? If your true goal is downsizing, there’s no need to waste money by putting things in storage.

Empty Space

Unless you have an extremely large amount of items to store, you’re probably going to be wasting space. One of the easiest ways for storage companies to make money is by renting large units to people who don’t maximize the space. Only have a few pieces of furniture? Look at all that empty space in your storage unit that you’re still paying for. Don’t pay for space you’re not using.

Not Maximizing Space in Your Home

There’s probably space in your home you’re not using that could be used for storage. Instead of paying exorbitant rates for a storage unit, start getting creative with storing items at home. Build shelves on your walls or in your closets. Store things under your bed. Buy furniture that doubles as a storage unit. With a little ingenuity, you can find some new places to store your items.

Store With a Friend or Family Member

Of course, storing your items with a friend or family member only works if you actually have a friend or family member who’ll agree to store your items. If you do, this doesn’t mean you should overdo it and store everything there. But if you need temporary storage for a couple months, see if they’ll take some boxes or furniture. You’ll end up storing for free than paying costly monthly fees.

Increasing Fees

Depending on where you rent, you could face increasing fees each month or year. Some companies have a “special” deal when you first start renting, but will increase fees as more time passes. Other companies also charge more if you’re only renting for a short time period. Even if you shop around of decent rates, be wary of how much extra you might be charged after the fact. Always read the contract to look for hidden fee increases.

Replacing Items is Less Expensive

This is hit or miss depending what type of items you’re storing. If you’re storing furniture or appliances for a long period of time (because of traveling, deployment, or college, for instance), it might be cheaper to just sell those items and buy them again when you need them. The fees you pay for long term storage will probably be more than what the item is really worth. Before you rent a storage unit, look over your items and calculate their worth. Is it really necessary to keep the items or can you buy them again later?

Losing Your Items if You Miss a Payment

Due to the recent reality shows about storage units, most people now know that if you miss a payment, you’re in danger of losing all your items. Storage companies can make a lot of money from selling items in your storage unit. Worse, they’re not lenient about missing or late payments. You’re usually granted a very small time period to pay back the money. You don’t want to risk losing your items, do you? Even if you’re only storing clutter, you’re still losing out if your items end up in someone else’s hands.

So what can you do to avoid wasting money like this? Learn to live with less and become aware of which items you own are useful and which are merely adding to the clutter. While it may be easier to throw all that stuff into a storage unit to deal with later, you pay for that procrastination. Save yourself the stress of having to think about what to do with all that junk and sell what you can, donate the rest and set yourself free. You’ll feel better and so will your pocket book.

(Photo courtesy of pmsyyz)

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6 Responses to 10 Reasons Storage Units are a Waste of Money

  1. On the other hand, I have heard you can find some pretty awesome stuff at auctions held by storage unit owning companies whose clients have just walked away from their “stuff”.

  2. Jay says:

    One of the “sneaky” ways storage facilities get you is by not issuing a monthly bill
    Obviously one should always keep on top of their bills, but not billing renters seems underhanded and designed to increase their profits.
    You are so right that if you can’t use something, chances are it’d be much cheaper to sell and buy again when *AND IF* you need later rather than paying for a rental unit.

  3. bben says:

    I have rarely used storage, and then for short periods when hunting a new place to live, When moving a business across town and after a fire. The longest was 4 months.

    It’s been over 10 years since I rented storage so some things may have changed.

    Other recommendations –
    Find a smaller independent rather than a chain company. They can be easier to work with if you miss a payment. Check with other renters first though as they could be worse. Remember that it is a business, and they have bills to pay also.

    You pay extra for a place with 24 hour access. The local I used the gates were open from 8AM to 8PM. But office hours were 8 to 6 only.

    If they are not full – look at the locks on the doors to see, you can usually negotiate a better deal.

    They did have a drop box for checks, They did take credit card payments and could do a long term with money up front. There was a discount of you paid 3 months at a time, with a bigger discount for paying more – 6 months or a year up front.

    They did offer a significant discount to active duty military, but wanted 3 months up front for a deployment over 6 months.

    You can get insurance, but it’s not cheap. Many rental places offer it – for a little extra every month.

    They did not send a monthly bill. But did send a late notice and tacked on extra for a late fee – on my 10×10 the late fee would be $3, which I thought was reasonable.

  4. Gail says:

    I knew a guy that paid truck space to haul a bunch of junk to aother state where it was promptly put into the garage to mellow for the next 4 years and then put into storage when he moved on. I have no idea the eventual disposition of his stuff, but considering at one point he was basically living in his truck rig becuase he couldn’t afford his own place, you can probably guess what happened. Just this one thing was indicative of his entire financial life.

  5. kim says:

    Why I got a storage unit and why it’s the best solution for me.

    I live in Houston Texas. Land of no basements, no attics. Homeowners associations that won’t let you put up a shed. Land of concrete slabs. I am not a hoarder.

    I own a small three bedroom home in Katy, Texas. It’s paid for. I rent out the small 2 bedrooms and bath to a roommate for 400 a month. (The roommate suite). This pays for the property taxes, insurance and miscellaneous annual expenses related to the house.

    In my “paid for” home, this leaves the remaining master bedroom/bath, the living area, and the kitchen – essentially a one bedroom apartment, for my space.

    Clutter drives me crazy.

    The garage is full of tools and garden implements. There is no room in this house for SCA/renaissance faire stuff and equipment, Christmas stuff, Christmas tree, seasonal clothes and seasonal stuff, home decorations rotated out/in, and furniture that is used to furnish the rented rooms if the current roommate doesn’t need the furniture. I store my sewing, craft stuff, and fabric there. I am in the unit at least once a week to pull stuff or to return stuff.

    I consider the room “moving prevention”. The house is paid for. Why move? I consider the 120 a month or 1200 a year a worthwhile cost in keeping my home neat and clutter free. I consider it my craft room.

    — and it is wonderful not to trip over stuff in the garage. totally worth it.

    There is a lot of shame “out there” associated with needed to rent storage space. I’m not going to buy into this. I am glad I did it.

  6. Victor Emerson says:

    Storage unit is the new “shed”. I haven’t just used mine for storage – over the years have worked out of it, worked out in there, even hid away from the family for an afternoon when I was feeling worn out.

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