Affordable storage options are essential if you’re moving house for work or any other reason. You want inexpensive options for keeping your belongings until it is convenient to retrieve them.
Of course, if you’ve spent any time exploring the market in 2023, you’ll know that finding cheap storage isn’t always easy. While plenty of services exist, unearthing one that offers acceptable pricing is anything but easy. The average mover now pays up to $17,000 to switch homes.
Fortunately, this post can help. We explore various self-storage options and the factors affecting how much they cost. After that, we look at how you can find affordable self-storage units in 2023, tips for reducing what you pay, and some existing brands worth considering.
- Many storage options are available, including self-storage and portable container storage.
- How much you pay depends on how long you rent your unit and how large it is.
- Saving money on self-storage involves finding cheaper facilities and reducing how much space you hire.
- You can rent self-storage units for as long as you need – there are no time limits.
- You can reduce storage costs by downsizing your belongings, using discount codes, or negotiating a lower price with the facility manager.
Types of Storage Options 2023
In light of all this, which storage options could you try?
The most mainstream option is self-storage units. The idea here is to rent a unit from a third-party company.
Most self-storage units are on industrial estates on the edge of town in warehouse-like buildings. You access your belongings directly with a lock and key, or the self-storage company does all the organization for you from the front desk.
Some units are open 24 hours, and most have high security, including CCTV and on-site guards to protect property. You can also rent climate-controlled units if you keep delicate or valuable items.
Self-storage tips include:
- Ensuring you pick the right-sized unit
- Packing efficiently by labeling boxes and leaving a walk space
- Protecting fragile belongings with blankets and packaging
- Writing an inventory before leaving any property at the self-storage facility
- Checking if the self-storage facility has insurance
Home Storage Solutions
You could also experiment with various home storage solutions. Options include:
- Cupboard under the stairs
- Various outbuildings and sheds
- Cabinets, chests of drawers
- Desks and bookcases
- Under-bed storage
Home storage is about finding extra room for possessions from your existing space. It often requires thinking creatively about where things should go.
Tips for better home storage include:
- Maximizing vertical space
- Labeling and categorizing items before storing them
- Building customized storage solutions in the bedroom and living room
Public Storage Facility
Public storage facilities are essentially the same as self-storage unless referring to the North American self-storage brand, Public Storage, which we discuss below.
Garage or Basement Storage
Experimenting with garage and basement storage is also an option. You can rent these from neighbors or use your own.
Best practices for garage and basement storage include:
- Labeling all boxes and containers so you know what’s in them
- Using shelving systems that let you leverage all the vertical space available
- Fitting specific storage solutions, such as bike racks, for your bulkiest items
Portable Storage Container
Another option is to use a portable storage container. These are a highly convenient form of portable storage popular among people moving home.
Trucks bring these containers to a suitable location, and then you fill them with your possessions. Once you are ready, the company collects the container and ships it to your destination.
Best practices for these containers include:
- Choosing the right size container for your purposes
- Ensuring you have the proper permits for keeping a container on your property
- Placing heavy items on the bottom of the container and load lighter ones on top
Finally, you could use a consignment shop. These pay you a percentage of the value of your belongings once the store sells them. As such, they are an excellent way to relieve yourself of possessions you no longer want or need.
Tips for using consignment shops include:
- Cleaning and preparing items first
- Checking the store policies, such as the commission rate and returns
- Setting realistic prices
Factors Influencing Storage Costs
Several factors influence how much you pay for commercial storage.
The first is location. Storage costs are higher where rent is higher because square footage is in more demand. Storage facilities in the downtown area of a big city are more costly than those on the outskirts of a small town.
Size of storage space
The size will also affect how much you pay. Everything else held equal larger units cost more.
Duration of storage
Duration is another factor affecting the price. The longer you use a storage unit, the more the self-storage firm will charge.
Finally, you may pay more for advanced security features. For example, on-site guards are costlier than perimeter fences and CCTV.
How to Find Affordable Self-storage Units
If you’re looking for cheap storage, find facilities in out-of-the-way places, like the edge of cities or towns. Avoid those in central, easy-to-access locations since these are the most expensive.
You can also search for cheaper units within a specific self-storage facility. Providers often charge less for spaces on the fifth floor than on the first because it is harder to get in and out.
Another option is to ask the self-storage firm to “lock in” your monthly rental price if you want to use your unit long-term. Contractual agreements stop them from raising prices mid-term if demand changes.
Tips for Maximizing Space in a Storage Unit
Here are some quick tips for maximizing space in your storage unit:
- Leave an aisle. A walkway makes it easy to access your belongings and store items vertically.
- Vacuum pack clothes and other soft items. Removing the air reduces the volume of your belongings, letting you store more in a smaller space.
- Put items inside other items. Adopting a “Russian doll method” where appropriate can reduce space requirements.
- Pack larger items first. Taking this approach reduces the size of void areas.
- Store items vertically. Keep adding racks and shelving until you max out the height of your unit.
Take awkward items apart. Disassembling tables and beds makes them more compact.
Tips for Reducing Storage Costs
Of course, even if you reduce space usage, you still have scope to reduce overall costs. Here’s what to do:
One option is to downsize belongings. Getting rid of as much as possible means you don’t need as much storage space.
For example, you could donate belongings to a thrift store (as described above) or host a yard sale. You could also give items to friends and family who need them.
Negotiating storage rental rates
Another option is to negotiate storage rental rates. Self-storage facilities may lower prices if they have units they can’t fill.
You can also ask the manager if they can discount your rate if you hire a unit for a longer period. Committing to a lengthy term may enable a reduced monthly cost.
Utilizing discounts and promotions
Finally, you can use discounts and promotions to lower storage costs. Look for special deals and codes on self-storage brands’ landing pages, home pages, and checkouts. Phone the facility if you think there might be a deal but don’t know how to access it. Managers can often provide codes directly or tell you how to obtain them.
Temporary Storage Companies
Several temporary storage companies offer space for movers or anyone needing extra room.
Extra Space Storage
Extra Space Storage is a large self-storage provider offering over 2,200 facilities in 41 U.S. states. Storage is available 24 hours a day, and the company provides detailed instructions on choosing the right size facility for your needs.
By contrast, PODS is a portable container storage company. Operatives deliver a ready-to-use container to your location, which you can fill at your leisure and ship to any destination. Container sizes range from a small 8-foot option to a 16-foot version.
Public Storage is the world’s most extensive self-storage operation, with over 2,900 facilities in the U.S. The company is listed in the S&P 500 because it’s so big. It offers various types of storage, including facilities for boats, vehicles, and RVs, and climate-controlled options.
U-Pack ReloCube is similar to PODS, except it only offers a 6-foot container size option. Containers are weatherproof and suitable for leaving outside in stormy weather.
Finally, Smartbox offers its own portable storage boxes for short and long-distance moves. All customers need to do is call the company and ask them to deliver storage boxes to their location. Smart boxes can remain on driveways or be sent to the company’s temperature-controlled storage facilities.
While storage can help make moving more straightforward, choosing the right shipping services can make it even easier. Mercury Auto offers a car shipping service you can use when you rent a truck. The idea is to give you even more flexibility than self-storage alone while reducing the dangers of cross-country driving. Many movers like to use it in conjunction with self-storage for the best experience.
Frequently Asked Questions About Cheapest Storage Options
How can I find the cheapest self-storage units in my area in 2023?
You can find the cheapest self-storage units by comparing prices of units of equivalent sizes in your area.
How far in advance do I need to book a self-storage unit?
How far in advance you need to book a self-storage unit depends on the company. Most require a reservation a few weeks before your move-in date.
When do I need climate-controlled storage?
You need climate-controlled storage when storing anything that heat, cold, or condensation could damage, including musical instruments, photographs, antiques, collectibles, makeup, toiletries, electronics, DVDs, artwork, and furniture.
What is the difference between full-service storage and self-storage?
Self-storage requires you to pack and store your belongings yourself. Full-service storage does this for you.
How long can I rent a storage unit or container?
You can rent a storage unit or container indefinitely, similar to renting an apartment.
What are the alternatives to self-storage and renting a storage container?
Several alternatives include using a shed, attic, or basement storage on your property or renting a portable container. You can also use friends’ storage space.
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