Six Ways to Afford a Storage Unit (Even if You’re Broke)

Krista Diamond | Jun 02, 2016 @ 03:06 PM

In a perfect world, we’d all be able to afford a storage unit, a spacious apartment, groceries from the fancy grocery store, a nice car and guacamole at Chipotle (yes, we know it costs extra). But for many of us, that monthly budget seldom leaves room for both a Netflix account and a Spotify Premium account. In fact, sometimes it doesn’t even leave enough room for electricity and wifi. If you find yourself cringing every time you open up your online bank account, it’s probably hard to fathom paying for a storage unit, even if you’re literally drowning in the clutter that has consumed your apartment. Fortunately, storage is now more available and affordable than ever. And if that’s not enough, here are six hacks that are sure to make self-storage fit your budget:

  1. Know how much space you actually need. If you’ve never rented a storage unit before, you might think that you have a pretty good idea of how big a 5x5 or 10x10 unit actually is, but do you really? Using our size guide will give you an accurate idea of what size unit to rent, that way you’re not paying for unused space.

  2. Don’t waste money on a tricked out storage unit. That indoor, climate-controlled unit with an individual alarm, insurance and special 24 hour access might sound enticing, but assuming you need every single amenity is going to cost you. Unless you live in a super humid environment and you’re storing photos, artwork, antiques or something fragile and valuable, you can probably live without climate control. The same goes for all of those other extras. If you can live without it, don’t pay for it.

  3. Expand your search radius. Most people prefer to rent storage as close as possible to where they live. Unfortunately, if you’re living in a centrally located area, a wealthy area or you live close to a college campus, you’re probably going to see some inflated storage prices. Find cheaper options by expanding your search radius. For example, if you live in San Francisco where storage (and everything) is expensive, look for a facility outside of city limits and save some serious cash.

  4. Make your roommate your storagemate. If your roommate is good at paying rent on time for your shared apartment, it stands to reason that he’ll also be good at paying rent on time for your shared storage unit. Ask your storage facility's manager about putting multiple tenants on a lease. Your portion of rent will be even cheaper than that gourmet pizza you ordered last week.

  5. Look for extras. We’re not just talking about student discounts and military discounts (although you should look for those if they apply to you). We’re talking about other freebies that facilities will occasionally offer new tenants. Examples include free moving truck rental, free boxes, a business center where you can print and use wifi and specials like one month of free rent.

  6. Remember that it’s not forever. Have you ever been stuck in a crappy apartment because you couldn’t afford to break your lease? Have you ever had your bank account (and your will to live) drained by a big cable company because you needed to get out of a contract? Take comfort in the fact that if your storage unit ever becomes a financial burden to you, it won’t cost you to give it up. Most facilities offer month-to-month leases, meaning that commitment is minimal. As long as you’ve been paying your rent, you won’t owe anything when you move out. So go for it. Get that storage unit, even if it’s only for a few months. You’ve got nothing to lose.