Why self-storage units can be a friend and enemy

Posted September 7

If you’re the type of person to hoard stuff just in case you might need it some day, then storage units are your friends — and your enemy, reported.

“The common misconception is that by storing old furniture, clothing and other belongings, you can relieve your savings account by not having to repurchase these items when — or even if — you need them in the future,” author Natalie Campisi wrote. “Unlike storing extra belongings in your home’s attic or garage, though, keeping units at storage facilities costs you extra money." noted that the average national storage unit costs per month range from $40-$50 for a 5-by-5-foot unit to $225 for a 20-by-20-foot unit.

When these expenses equal a monthly car payment or grocery bill, you are wiping out any savings from hanging onto stuff you might someday use, continued.

There are times when a self storage unit, though, is needed. Such as when you’re in-between homes, noted.

“It’s not like you can take your couch and dining room table with you when you’re crashing on your parents’ couch for a week before you move into a new apartment," author Abby Hayes wrote.

It can also make sense to protect an investment such as an antique car or a rare collection before cashing it in, or for small business owners that need a place to store equipment or paperwork, it continued.

“Before you rent a storage unit for any length of time, understand what benefit you’re getting out of it," Hayes suggested. "Is it really saving you money — or a great deal of hassle — in the long run? Or is it just going to become a money sink?"

Woman’s Day had a four-step plan to consider if a storage unit is really needed:

  1. Go through your stuff, picking out what isn’t needed or that you’re undecided about. Experts say that if you haven’t used an item within a year, you don’t need it.
  2. Gather cost information. Note what it would cost to replace items you want to store. Then, figure out the cost of a unit for what you’re storing, as well as any insurance costs to protect your items.
  3. Decide on your storage timeline, giving yourself a deadline for when you’ll take them back. Then calculate the total cost of storing your belongs, with the results in Step 2 multiplied by the number of months you’ll use a self-storage unit.
  4. Compare the final numbers to decide if your stuff is really worth storing.

Email:, Twitter: @Sarahsonofander.


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