Renting Storage Units Can Be Expensive — Are They Worth It?

Clutter can be overwhelming and if you're moving, remodeling, or out of space, you may want to rent a storage unit. Are storage units are worth it?


Mar. 27 2023, Updated 12:46 p.m. ET

Whether you’re in between homes, remodeling, or simply don’t have enough space in your place to store items like a bicycle, large couch, or your entire wardrobe from last season, renting a storage unit may seem like a good idea.

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A storage unit gives you easy and secure access to your possessions until you need to use them again. And while you have the option of short-term or long-term contracts, there are many pros and disadvantages of storage units.

You may be wondering, are storage units worth it? Let’s find out.

What is a storage unit?

With popular names like Public Storage, Extra Space Storage, and CubeSmart, storage unit companies offer consumers and businesses a rental place to store their stuff.

Rented on a short-term or long-term basis, they range in size from a household closet to a two-car garage. They offer climate-controlled storage units that are kept at a certain temperature and humidity level so items are protected from large temperature changes.

Individuals secure their space with a key or padlock, and the storage unit company may also offer security cameras, gated access and on-site security.

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If you own a lot of stuff and don’t have space to store it, a storage unit is handy. Here are some pros of storage units:

  • Security: Self-storage units have gates, surveillance cameras, and a security system. Plus, the buildings are windowless, so thieves can’t see what’s inside.
  • Simplicity: Simply pack up your stuff and forget about it until you need it again. It’s helpful if you’re moving, downsizing, or a snowbird who flies south for the winter.
  • Sizing options: Storage spaces come in all different sizes, so if you need to store a few boxes or a car, they’ve got you covered. The price is based on the size rented.
  • Temp-controlled: These indoor environments allow you to maintain the temps and humidity levels.
  • Relieves stress: From staging your home to the times you’re in between housing, a storage unit is a safe place to store your items.
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What are the disadvantages of storage units?

While storage units offer many benefits, the cons may outweigh them:

  • Expensive: You’re essentially throwing away money on something that isn’t contributing to your life.
  • Inconvenient: You have to drive to the location to grab things you need and make it during the times they’re open.
  • Security issues: You’re trusting someone to watch over your belongings. Safety and security varies by facility.
  • Money lost: The items in storage are reducing in value, and you could make money selling instead of storing.
  • Hidden costs: In addition to your monthly fee, there are hidden costs such as climate control, insurance and extra security features.
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Is a storage room worth it?

If you’re short on space and the items you plan to store are valuable enough to justify the monthly cost, then the answer to your question, “Are storage units worth it” is yes.

But the monthly payments add up quickly and if it’s cheaper to replace the items rather than store them, it may not be worth it.

How much is a storage unit on average?

The costs associated with your storage unit depend on size, location, length of storage, and amenities such as security cameras, climate controlled units, and door alarms. For a smaller unit that can hold many large boxes and small items in a climate-controlled space, you’ll pay around $75 a month.

Larger units designed to furnish a small house can cost up to $280 per month. To save money on storage, it’s recommended you sell your items instead of storing them and get rid of anything that may be worth less than the cost of storage.

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