Shared Storage Space to Rent

Perhaps you just moved in with a friend, are sharing a dorm room or finally moved out on your own, and you find that you have a few extra items that just seem to be in the way. Self-storage is a great option for storing those boxes of out-of-season clothes, your awkward sporting gear or that odd piece of furniture that doesn't fit into the new space. But what if you don't have a lot of extras, just a few that are worth keeping but not worth tripping over on your way from bed to the bathroom in the middle of the night. When you don't have a lot of extras, should you share a storage space with a friend, roommate or relative?

  1. First, consider your options, and review your finances. Storage spaces come in many sizes and price ranges.
  2. Before deciding to share a storage unit with someone else, evaluate you and your friend's ability to pay. Prepare a payment plan. Will the storage charge be billed to your credit card or theirs? Will you pay cash? Can you trust this person to have the money, or should everything be paid in advance for six months or a year?
  3. Evaluate your ability to communicate with the other person. Can you speak freely and voice complaints without offending each other? Keep communication open between you and your storage partner to avoid potential problems. Know who is going to sweep it out or how you'll resolve problems. If his giant surfboard accidentally falls onto your old television and shatters the screen, will he pay for a replacement? How much?
  4. Clearly divide space. If you don't want any of their items on your side of the space, be up front about how you will remedy the situation if one of you crosses the dividing line. Will you move it over, ask him to or will you throw out the items?
  5. Be clear from the start what kinds of items can be left in the storage unit. If it is not climate controlled, be sure your partner understands that some items won't do well in that unit. Although his things are not your responsibility, helping each other avoid frustration can only benefit you in the end.
  6. Know who has access to the unit. Don't store your valuables with someone who will allow access to people you don't trust.
  7. If you decide to share the unit, keep your name and contact information on the storage contract. A few months down the line you don't want to find out that your storage provider didn't get paid for six months and that all your belongings are going up for auction if you don't pay in full immediately or, worse, that they already have. If you use a credit card to pay, double check each month to make sure the payment went through.
  8. If your valuables are worth replacing, get insurance. Despite you and your storage partner's best intentions, something could go wrong, and you will want to ease the pain of losing valuables with reimbursement.

In short, treat your storage partner like a roommate. Choose someone responsible and trustworthy. Clearly communicate your rules and expectations, and prepare for the possibility of problems. You don't want to lose a friend over a few items in storage.

The advice on this website is provided as a courtesy for informational purposes only. "Storage Tips" are offered as-is and no warranty is expressed or implied. For more information, see StorageFront's Terms and Conditions.

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