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If you’re like most people, you have a lot of stuff.
And if you’re like most people, you don’t have enough space to store all of your stuff.
This is where storage units can come in handy.
But before you rent one, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of doing so.
In this post, I share the pros and cons of renting storage units.
By the end, you’ll be able to make the right decision for you and your financial life.
Table of Contents
11 Pros And Cons Of Renting Storage Units
6 Pros Of Renting Storage Units
There are many advantages to having a storage unit.
Here are the biggest ones to think about.
#1. Easy Way To Store Things
A self storage unit is an easy way to store things.
You can pack up your belongings and put them in the storage space, and then forget about them until you need them again.
This is especially helpful if you’re moving or downsizing and need a place to keep some of your belongings.
Add in unlimited access of getting your things whenever you want, and you can see why many people choose to use them.
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#2. Safer Option
If you rent an apartment, the storage area in the apartment building you have access to might be in a basement.
Chances are there is no security cameras there and most times, the storage areas are sectioned off by wood and chicken wire.
While you can and should put a lock on the door to your storage unit, thieves can simply cut the wire and take your things.
If you are a homeowner, you are putting your things in the basement or out in a shed.
Chances are you don’t secure your shed and risk having your things stolen.
With a self-storage unit at a facility, you have greater peace of mind that your things are safe.
All self storage buildings have gates with a security system to get into the storage area and surveillance cameras.
Your belongings are also in a unit that has no windows, so others can’t see what you have.
This makes them a much safer option.
#3. Different Size Options
If you have a lot of stuff to store or just a few things, there are options for you when it comes to units.
They come in all different sizes, so you can store just about anything you want, from a few boxes of personal belongings all the way up to a car.
Of course, the price you pay is based on the size, so the larger the unit, the more you can expect to pay.
#4. Potential Indoor Storage
While most self-storage facilities are outside, there are some that offer indoor units.
The main benefit of an indoor unit is you avoid the extreme temperatures since these offer temperature control, keeping it at a constant level.
Some even offer to keep a safe humidity level too, which keeps your items in better condition.
Of course the downside here is this type of storage unit comes with an additional cost.
#5. Makes Staging Your Home Easier
Ask any realtor and they will tell you in order to sell your home fast and for top dollar, it is important to declutter it.
Having boxes everywhere or even having too much stuff can make your house seem smaller than it actually is.
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Plus, many home buyers have a hard time envisioning their things in the space if it is crowded with your things.
This is where this storage solution comes into play.
You can quickly and easily move a lot of things out of sight to help you sell your faster.
#6. Relieves Stress During In Between Times
Another benefit of renting a storage unit is for the times when you are between housing.
Maybe you sold your old home and you don’t close on the new home for a few weeks.
A storage unit is a safe place to hold your things until you are able to move in.
This can be a lot less stressful than trying to cram everything into a friend or family member’s home.
5 Cons Of Renting Storage Units
While there are good reasons to consider paying for the extra space, there are some significant drawbacks of storage units.
Here are the ones you need to consider.
#1. Costs Money
Putting your things in a storage unit costs money.
Even for the smallest unit, you are looking at close to $100 a month.
Over the long term, paying for extra storage adds up.
While it is not exciting, a better idea is taking the time and actually going through all of your things and organizing and tossing the things you don’t need.
This will result in you not needing the storage unit in the first place, saving you money.
#2. Not Easy To Find Items
While they are great for storing items, they can quickly get out of control.
You most likely will just put things in your unit randomly, and stack boxes on top of each other.
After all, no one likes spending a weekend moving things, so you want to do it as quickly as possible.
The downside here is this makes it much more difficult to find things you are looking for.
Maybe you realize you need to get a serving bowl you packed away.
You head to your unit, open the door, and are met by a sea of things.
Now you have to spend time digging through everything.
While labeling boxes is smart, it doesn’t completely solve this problem.
#3. Risk Of Theft
While a storage unit is more secure than a shed out back or a facility at your apartment complex, it is not Fort Knox.
Thefts do happen.
In some cases, more than there are days in the month.
Just because there is a gate with a key code and cameras, this doesn’t stop thieves.
And since they know people store a lot of things in each individual unit, they can hit a couple and be out relatively fast.
Make sure you don’t keep any valuable items in the unit.
And take pictures and have receipts for everything you do store.
This way, if you do get robbed, you can show your insurance company what the contents were.
#4. Cost Of Convenience
Arguably the biggest con of renting storage units isn’t just that it costs money.
It’s that the convenience can have a major negative impact on your financial life.
For example, let’s say you get the itch to declutter your house.
Instead of taking the time to throw out, donate, or sell things, you decide to pack it up and put it in a storage unit.
You decide to go through everything over an upcoming weekend.
But you make plans, or you forget, or you just don’t feel like going through everything.
So you give it a pass.
The next thing you know, 5 years pass and you’ve been paying the monthly fee for the unit.
Let’s say the cost is $100 a month.
In those 5 years, you wasted $6,000.
If you would have instead cleaned out your house and invested the $100 a month, you would have over $7,500 to put towards a vacation or something else.
If you decide to get a storage unit, you need to be very careful.
It’s easy to forget or be lazy when the clutter is no longer in front of you and have the unit for an extended period.
#5. Local Storage Only
Finally, as nice as it is to have a storage facility, it is only a benefit if you live close by.
Otherwise, you are going to have a difficult time accessing your stuff.
For example, if you put things in a storage unit and move across the country, you aren’t swinging by to grab something.
You have a to make a major trip.
So if you are planning to move far away, think twice before choosing a storage unit to hold your things.
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There are the biggest pros and cons of renting a storage unit.
While they do have their uses, you need to be careful that you don’t get lazy and end up paying thousands of dollars for storage.
Make sure the use is only short term and make yourself reminders to help you take action on not letting your things sit and your bank account to dwindle year after year.
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I have over 15 years experience in the financial services industry and 20 years investing in the stock market. I have both my undergrad and graduate degrees in Finance, and am FINRA Series 65 licensed and have a Certificate in Financial Planning.
Visit my About Me page to learn more about me and why I am your trusted personal finance expert.