In our Pros and Cons series, we weigh the advantages and disadvantages of important decisions that apartment dwellers are making every day.
If you move from a spacious apartment into a smaller one, you might have trouble fitting all your belongings. If you run out of space in your apartment, renting a storage unit can solve your problem. A storage unit provides extra space for your belongings, away from your apartment, that only you can access. Renting a storage unit might not be right for everyone, though – find the pros and cons below.
Pros of renting a storage unit
For some apartment dwellers lacking ample in-unit space, landlords might offer extra storage in the basement, garage, or attic. Many items should never be stored in these spaces, and renting a storage unit provides a much safer alternative. Additionally, storage units tend to be far less prone to flooding and roof leakage than are, respectively, basements and attics.
Great for short-term storage
If you’re going away for a few months and need a place to keep your belongings between apartment leases, a storage unit can be the perfect solution. Storage units cost far less money to rent than do full-on apartments, so during transition times in your life or other extended periods away, they can save you tons of money on keeping your belongings safe and secure. Plus, if you have a space to stash your belongings while you’re gone, you won’t have to spend much money (and put in much labor) to get new furniture when you return.
Prioritize what you need
Even if you do have enough space in your apartment for all your belongings, who says you need all of your items right there, readily available to you all the time? Stash non-essentials in a storage unit so that, as you rack up more belongings, you can easily fit them in your apartment without having to play a giant game of Jenga with everything you currently own. Plus, being more organized is never a bad thing.
Cons of renting a storage unit
Though cheaper than apartments, storage units aren’t necessarily inexpensive. Smaller rentals may run just double digits, but larger units can cost hundreds of dollars per month. And that’s before you factor in the cost of moving your large furniture pieces into your storage unit – you may need to rent a moving truck – and any insurance you purchase for your storage unit. Some experts recommend always buying insurance for storage units despite their safety.
If you need something from your storage unit in a pinch, retrieving it won’t be as simple as walking a few steps to your closet and pulling it out. Instead, you’ll have to travel to your storage unit and, if you’re getting a large piece of furniture, arrange for transportation. Additionally, not all storage units give tenants 24/7 access, meaning that at certain times of day, you won’t even be able to get what you need.
Any storage that isn’t directly inside your apartment can be riskier in terms of security. In addition to the remote location of your storage, you also have far less control over what goes on inside your storage unit. Namely, most storage units lack temperature control (though it can be included with higher-end, much more expensive units), and pests can sometimes proliferate in storage units. Extreme temperatures can be unsuitable for storing electronics, wooden items, and instruments, just as pest infestations can destroy couches, clothes, and more.
If you rent a storage unit, how do you make it work for you? If you’ve had a bad storage unit experience, why? Tell us everything in the comments!