Friday, March 6, 2009

Self-Storage Units: Sometimes a Great Notion (But Often Not)

storage units

There is approximately 7.2 sq. ft. of self storage space for every man, woman and child in the nation; thus, it is physically possible that every American could stand - all at the same time - under the total canopy of self storage roofing. -- Self Storage Association

And looking beyond the USA, I've been reading articles about self-storage in Ireland, Spain and Latin America.

Self-storage can be a useful tool - or an incredible waste of money. If you're trying to decide if self-storage is right for you, you might read the recent post from organizer Emily Wilska. And here's a very good 3-part series:

1. When paying to store your stuff is a good idea.
2. When paying to store your stuff is a bad idea.
3. How to be a smart self storer.

I've also been noticing some options to the traditional "rent a storage unit" concept.

Homstie rent your space process
One of these is Homstie, where individuals with spare space rent it out for storage. At first blush, it seems intriguing - but also fraught with potential legal issues. However, for an additional fee, Homstie will provide you with a lease agreement designed to handle these rentals. [via Lifehacker] Update on March 25, 2013: Homstie seems to have disappeared.

The other alternative I'm seeing are services that let you store things by the box, not by the unit. You pack the box and ship it off to the storage facility. Two such services are Storage by Mail [via organizer Lorie Marrero] and a new service (still in beta) called ClutterFreeBox - which is being pitched to professional organizers. Update on March 25, 2013: ClutterFreeBox seems to have disappeared.

Related Post:
Storage Units: Ads and Anecdotes

[photo by tdenisdesigns / Tyler Denis, licensed under Creative Commons]


Dan said...

As a self storage professional, my recommendation is that sharing, renting, subletting, a storage space is probably not a good idea.

There are a couple of major problems I have observed first hand in my 20 years in the industry. Most of these problems surfaced when observing the boy friend, girl friend situation that rents a storage unit. They then split up. The first one to the unit wins and can take what ever they want, sometime what is not theirs. And depending who's name is on the lease contract, one of them may not be allowed into the storage facility without approval of the other party.

I have seen situations where one person is in jail and sends the other to pay the rent. That other person decides that they do not want to pay the money owed and the storage unit is legally put up for auction in an attempt to recoup the rent owed. So if the rent is not paid, the storage unit goes to lien and is sold.

Usually past due rent and auction notices are only sent by mail to one address, so the second owner would not be not notified that his stuff is going to auction in a week so he won't even know he lost all his stuff.

As explained above, some outfit in the above blog has a contract that you can use to sublet storage unit. If a person is so hard up that he/she needs extra money by renting part of a storage unit, they are not going have much money or assets that you can sue over if things go bad.

Most self storage facilities have multiple sizes from which to choose to fit your needs.

For more money saving self storage tips, see my Squidoo Lens:

Jeri Dansky said...

Dan, good cautions - and a wonderful Squidoo lens! Thanks so much for the pointer.

I also loved some of the self storage tips that you didn't include in the lens: Tip #5 and Tip #6.