10 Alternatives To Paying For A Storage Unit

storage units

Does it ever seem like you have too much stuff and no room to store it? When that happens, buying or renting a storage unit might seem like your only option. However, paying for a storage unit can be expensive and is often a waste of money. It might also be a waste of money considering there are plenty of other alternatives for storing your items.

Utilize Your Current Space

Before paying for a storage unit, consider the available space in your house or apartment. Can you fit something on top of a cabinet? What about under a bed or table? Try and find free space where you can store your things. You’d be surprised by how many available spaces you probably have in your home.

Apartment Storage Areas

If you rent an apartment, have you checked to see if it comes with a storage space? You’d be surprised by how many renters don’t realize that a storage area is part of their rental agreement. Sometimes this is a basement, sometimes an attic, and sometimes the landlord has a shed or storage unit where you can temporarily store your things. It’s a good idea to go over your lease or talk with your landlord to see whether or not storage is available to you.

Store with a Friend

Why not ask if your friend can hold onto a couple of boxes for you? If you’re in the process of moving or renovating, storing items with a friend might be cheaper than paying for a storage unit. Of course, they need to have the space available and you need to make sure that you’re not giving them an overwhelming amount of boxes or items to hold.

Temporarily Lending Items

The blog Apartment Therapy suggests that instead of paying for a storage unit, you could temporarily lend items to a friend. Have a large wardrobe that doesn’t fit into your apartment, but that you don’t want to get rid of or store? Have a friend hold onto it and use it until you need it. Or see if a friend wants that painting that can’t fit onto the walls in your new apartment. Maybe a family member temporarily needs a couch and since you happen to be renovating your home, you need a temporary place to store it. Lending it out will get it off your hands for awhile and prevent you from spending money on a storage unit!

Give Away

Sometimes we hold onto items we think we’ll want later down the road, but we never end up using them. How many pieces of clothing, furniture, or appliances do you have tucked away somewhere? How long have they been sitting there? Or maybe you bought a new couch, but decide to hold onto the old one “just in case”. A lot of times, we’re just holding onto items for no good reason. In these cases, a lot of people will just end up putting items into storage and they’ll sit there for years. Instead of going down this route, consider giving away to a friend or family member who needs it.

Buy or Build a Shed

If you own your own house, why not build your own storage unit? As long as you have enough room, it’s going to be cheaper to build your own shed than it would be to rent a storage unit. Plus, you won’t have to worry about dealing with a storage company, saving you a lot of time, money, and aggravation. If you pay $50 a month for a storage unit, that’s $600 a year. Consider how much you’d pay for five or ten years compared to how much it would cost to own your own storage unit or shed in your backyard.

Build an Attic

Again, if you own your own home, have you thought about building an attic? Additional space might help you store your items. Sure, it might cost more upfront to remodel the house to make room for an extension, but if you’re planning on staying for awhile, it’s a sound investment. It’ll end up being significantly cheaper than renting a storage unit for a long period of time.


Have you been holding onto a bag of old clothes for years thinking that one day you might wear them again? What about that box of old textbooks that are ten years out of date? Maybe you have a couple of dish sets that are still in their original packing five years after you bought them. Before pushing all of these items into storage, go through them and get rid of what you don’t need. There’s no need to pay money to store items you don’t even want.

Sell Items

As a couple other points in this article mentioned, the best thing to do before buying a storage unit is to take an inventory of items you have to decide whether it’s really worth it to put them in storage. You might find that you have way too many items and can end up selling them, saving you the money of paying for storage.

Consider Prices of Stored Items

Before you consider buying a storage unit, take stock of the value of your items. Are you paying more for a long term storage unit than your furniture is worth? If it’s cheaper to sell your old items and buy new ones to replace them, then avoid buying the storage unit.

(Photo courtesy of Meathead Movers)

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4 Responses to 10 Alternatives To Paying For A Storage Unit

  1. This is a great list! I often find ways to consolidate items to be stored. Pinterest has a lot of good tips for organizing. Getting rid of things you haven’t used in the past year often helps with the problem of too much stuff! Sell or give items away. You can sometimes get a tax write-off for donations to charities. So instead of paying storage fees, you can collect some money–all the while helping others. That’s a pretty good deal.

  2. jay says:

    Thought I’d add a warning regarding lending/storing with a friend: we stored a couch and a case of wine with my in-laws. The wine was “stolen” and the couch became a permanent fixture in their family room. Hard to argue with your in-laws. Was a bit annoying to visit on holidays, and see *our* couch being so well used… SIGH

    So, if you store/lend get something in writing regarding what and how long they’ll hang on to it. Otherwise, even if it doesn’t become part of their household, it can be sold as abandoned property within a relatively short period of time.

  3. connie says:

    We have storage because our house burned up and are in a trailer til we find a house and what we did salvage we did not have room for it all so storage we got. I do think the cost of these units are way over priced but not alot of other choices in my case.

  4. jay says:


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