Renting storage unit

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SillyRabbit
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Renting storage unit

Post by SillyRabbit » Thu May 17, 2018 7:55 pm

Does anyone have experience with renting storage units? Does it become too expensive over time?

Am wondering if it would be a good option for a family of 4 living in a small apartment and being tight on space (over renting a bigger place).

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cheese_breath
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Re: Renting storage unit

Post by cheese_breath » Thu May 17, 2018 8:37 pm

No first hand experience, but I did some investigation recently. Recently moved my wife to Texas to be near her family and rented an apartment for myself near the nursing home. She has a BIG collection of teddy bears, dolls and celebrity memorabalia. I was trying to decide whether to put it in storage or rent a larger apartment. Some of the newer units have quite nice inside storage, climate controlled and very secure. A state of the art storage unit was much less than an apartment with an extra bedroom for storage. In the end I decided to just leave the stuff in our house for now since it isn't ready to sell yet, but eventually it will be going into a new storage unit. I have no worries anything will happen to it.
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GCD
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Re: Renting storage unit

Post by GCD » Thu May 17, 2018 8:51 pm

SillyRabbit wrote:
Thu May 17, 2018 7:55 pm
Does anyone have experience with renting storage units? Does it become too expensive over time?

Am wondering if it would be a good option for a family of 4 living in a small apartment and being tight on space (over renting a bigger place).
In the long run, the costs of the storage unit may well dwarf the value of whatever you put in there. If it's truly short-term you might come out ahead.

Only you can say if it is too expensive over time because only you know how long you will store it for and how valuable the items are.

On an objective financial level (no sentimentality involved), it should be possible to determine replacement value for your stuff. Maybe the best solution is to donate excess to charity.

There's psychological reasons storage companies give you the first month free and sometimes a free truck rental to move your stuff in. Most people just leave it for years due to inertia.

sbaywriter
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Re: Renting storage unit

Post by sbaywriter » Thu May 17, 2018 9:06 pm

Yes it can become expensive long term and you might be better off getting rid of more stuff than storing it, or spending the money to organize it better rather than on storage costs.

What seems to happen is people don't have time to sort through accumulated stuff, or they inherit a bunch of stuff and don't have time to sort through it, and so they stick it in a storage unit. And there it stays, for years. Because it takes time and work to sort through stuff. And it's harder to do it in a storage unit than at your home.

So if you do this, would suggest sorting things, ruthlessly discarding inexpensive easily replaced stuff or some hobby or project that you have been meaning to get back to for the last 3 years, or the sports equipment you will use again when you have more time - all BEFORE shoving it into the storage unit.

I think a small unit can be handy for storing stuff like suitcases used once a year, or seasonal items, but only if you can get to them easily and don't fill it wall to wall with other junk..

longleaf
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Re: Renting storage unit

Post by longleaf » Thu May 17, 2018 9:51 pm

It will be expensive over time, but so would a larger place. You likely won’t frequent the unit and it may become crammed with stuff that you dont need and may not ever intend to use. Once this occurs, you are hooked on paying for a storage unit you don’t really need. In LCOL you can probably find a basic non-climate 10x15 for $60/mo. A fancy gated and fenced facility will probably be 10-15 dollars more.

Eh go for it if you think you need the space for living, but also consider donations, letgo or the county dump.

PS It adds up to thousands in the long run...
not like I have personal experience on the matter
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CurlyDave
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Re: Renting storage unit

Post by CurlyDave » Fri May 18, 2018 2:40 am

Unless the stored "stuff" has great sentimental value, you are usually far ahead of the game to sell what you can, give away or throw away the rest and if you ever need something again get another one at a garage sale.

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Pancakes-Eggs-Bacon
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Re: Renting storage unit

Post by Pancakes-Eggs-Bacon » Fri May 18, 2018 3:20 am

I've never rented one, but I've read too many horror stories of theft and break-ins online that I'm paranoid about ever using one.

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celia
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Re: Renting storage unit

Post by celia » Fri May 18, 2018 4:29 am

GCD wrote:
Thu May 17, 2018 8:51 pm
SillyRabbit wrote:
Thu May 17, 2018 7:55 pm
Does anyone have experience with renting storage units? Does it become too expensive over time?

Am wondering if it would be a good option for a family of 4 living in a small apartment and being tight on space (over renting a bigger place).
In the long run, the costs of the storage unit may well dwarf the value of whatever you put in there. If it's truly short-term you might come out ahead.
+1 I am always amazed at the people who rent storage space for years and years and never add or take anything out. The stuff can usually be re-purchased at the store for less than the cost of storage over the years. So, it depends on what you are storing, if it is replacable, and the time and money involved to go to the storage locker vs the store (or buy online).

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Renting storage unit

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Fri May 18, 2018 5:29 am

A good exercise is to rent a moving truck, load everything that you plan to put in storage and drive it directly to the dump. Craigslist, eBay, yard sale, it's not hard to dump a lot of crap that you will never use. As I tell my wife, I'd rather have someone from craigslist pay me to haul away our trash than have to lug it to the curb on trash day. Price things low enough and everything sells.
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indexonlyplease
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Re: Renting storage unit

Post by indexonlyplease » Fri May 18, 2018 6:49 am

I had one for 6 months when we moved years ago. I finally relized I was wasting $150 a month for stuff that I did not need. Also, what would the storage unit cost me after 10 years.

So stuff went into the garbage and the rest are now sitting in my garage taking up space. But wife want to keep for some reason.

We all have way to much junk.

bob60014
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Re: Renting storage unit

Post by bob60014 » Fri May 18, 2018 7:27 am

Been there, done that......never again. Start going through the stuff, if it isn't a heirloom, keepsake, or going to be used in the next 6 months........sell it or toss it. It will make your life and moving later on, easier!

The hardest part for me was getting rid of those tools and coffee cans full of spare nuts, bolts, screws for that I "might" need for a project in the future. It was just plain silly! :oops:

goodlifer
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Re: Renting storage unit

Post by goodlifer » Fri May 18, 2018 8:01 am

I rented one a few times between moves. I never had a problem with rodents or theft. My sister rented numerous times as her husband was in the military. Her unit was robbed 3 times and things like clothes and comforters were chewed up, so choose your location carefully and pick a strong lock. Check if your renters insurance would cover theft of a storage unit. I chose locations that have cameras and locked gates, but that isn't going to stop someone who saw what was in your locker and wants it. My sister's last unit was in the same facility I used, and she was robbed. I think people really want military units, which is just a kick in the teeth. They would not be stupid enough to put something like weapons in their unit. I was so worried about theft that I spent a week building a facade out of dirty, smashed up boxes to deter lowlifes.

Prices can vary wildly, even at the same location. It depends on demand. I have paid between $75 and $125 per month for a 10x15 unit. I looked into getting one last year and it must have been a slow season because they kept calling me with a lower and lower price, adding a free month, no admin fee, etc. You want to get the "all in" price. Some charge admin fees, move-in fees, sometimes they will only let you use their locks that you have to buy from them, etc. You also want to ask about their fumigation schedule. Every facility should do it because there is no such thing as a pest-free storage facility, even the all-inside ones that look very clean. Renters drag in all kinds of bugs and rodents. Also make sure that your items are extremely clean and wrapped well. If there is a hint of food on something, it will get chewed. Read all of the reviews online. Some can be very telling.

I would rent for 3 months and see what needs to go. Disregarding winter clothes in summer, if you have't used it in three months you probably do not need it.

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LadyGeek
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Re: Renting storage unit

Post by LadyGeek » Fri May 18, 2018 8:27 am

This thread is now in the Personal Consumer Issues forum (storage unit).
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lthenderson
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Re: Renting storage unit

Post by lthenderson » Fri May 18, 2018 8:43 am

As someone who attends storage auctions several times a year, it isn't worth it not only monetarily, but also physically. I supposed if you live somewhere that has climate controlled vermin proof lockers, it might protect your stuff from damage but then it would probably cost a lot more than the stuff is worth. Most of the contents get damage from heat/cool cycles, humidity, rodents, dust, etc and a large percentage of it that gets sold at an auction goes directly to the dumpster.

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DanMahowny
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Re: Renting storage unit

Post by DanMahowny » Fri May 18, 2018 8:59 am

A dumpster is the best option.

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SillyRabbit
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Re: Renting storage unit

Post by SillyRabbit » Fri May 18, 2018 11:50 am

Thanks for the advice everyone! I see now that in the long term it is better to just de-clutter as the cost will add up to more than what the storage content is worth.

halfnine
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Re: Renting storage unit

Post by halfnine » Fri May 18, 2018 11:59 am

SillyRabbit wrote:
Thu May 17, 2018 7:55 pm
Does anyone have experience with renting storage units? Does it become too expensive over time?

Am wondering if it would be a good option for a family of 4 living in a small apartment and being tight on space (over renting a bigger place).
It depends.

When I spent years living in less than 350 sq ft it was worth it to have a storage space.
When I move abroad and kept my stuff stored for a year or two it was not.
Living in 900 sq ft with a family of four we don't have a storage space at this point but it really could go either way.

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JupiterJones
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Re: Renting storage unit

Post by JupiterJones » Fri May 18, 2018 12:11 pm

Yes, for short-term use (when you're remodeling, etc.), storage sheds can be very useful. But long term it gets expensive, and the silliness of paying that much money for a place to put things that you have so little use for that you don't even need to keep them in your own house soon becomes apparent.

So I agree that it's almost always better to just get rid of the stuff. Might be helpful to read the popular Marie Kondo book if you haven't already:

https://www.amazon.com/Life-Changing-Ma ... 1607747308
Stay on target...

audioaxes
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Re: Renting storage unit

Post by audioaxes » Fri May 18, 2018 12:24 pm

I think storage units are good for temporary uses where you are certain you will be taking your stuff out within no more than a year or so. If its going to be in use indefinitely then I would put effort in downsizing. You dont want be those people who would fill up a storage unit and throw money down the drain on it for years just to end up never using the stuff they put in it.

squidfather
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Re: Renting storage unit

Post by squidfather » Fri May 18, 2018 12:28 pm

I live in a small-ish apartment and got a storage unit a couple years back. The only reason it's really worth it is that I can store infrequently used items (seasonal stuff, luggage, travel car seat for the kids) that I just didn't have space for, but still need to get to once a month or so. I also knew that I was likely moving to a larger place eventually, so I spent a little extra for some space to store items that had sentimental value or that I didn't want to spend the time replacing. I've probably kept things I don't need as a result, but the marginal cost over the absolute minimum size unit was small.

But if there weren't things there that I was using semi-regularly, I'd move it all to a dumpster.

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Pajamas
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Re: Renting storage unit

Post by Pajamas » Fri May 18, 2018 12:31 pm

SillyRabbit wrote:
Thu May 17, 2018 7:55 pm
Am wondering if it would be a good option for a family of 4 living in a small apartment and being tight on space (over renting a bigger place).
First thing to do would be to declutter. The storage unit would only be appropriate for seasonal items that are actually used yearly or nearly so: Christmas decorations, seasonal clothing, seasonal sports equipment, etc. Often items take a one-way trip to the storage unit and eventually end up auctioned or put into a dumpster. Probably 80% of all items put in storage units by individuals should go straight to the dumpster instead. Often putting items in storage is just easier psychologically than throwing the stuff away, basically, a form of hoarding.

I know someone who has a storage unit in the basement of their apartment building. They have actually gone out and bought replacements for items in storage when needed rather than going to the trouble of taking the items out of storage and it's not even a large unit.

DetroitRick
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Re: Renting storage unit

Post by DetroitRick » Fri May 18, 2018 12:57 pm

I've been renting the same unit since mid 2003. As to your question of pricing, that is a function of the local economy, local real estate prices, local property tax, and local utility costs. So this is just one geographic data point. Prices reflect 10'x10' (not sure on height, but at least 10' as well), climate-controlled unit, and very safe location (extremely low crime area, 1.5 miles from my house), and convenient location within facility itself. Here's my price history (monthly):

2003 $77
2004 $85
2005 $90
2006 $98
2007 $97
2008 $102
2009 $107
2010 $112
2011 $121
2012 $131
2013 $142
2014 $156
2015 $167
2016 $179
2017 $193
2018 tbd this fall

We use it for temporary and (primarily for) long-term purposes. Long-term stuff is furniture and fixtures that have significant value to us and are being well-preserved. Their value far exceeds rental costs. No clutter, no boxes, just big stuff we inherited and very much will use and enjoy in the future. We've also enjoyed the ability to temporarily store stuff because the space is only 2/3 utilized. Next house will be larger (ours is currently quite small) and we will stop renting storage at that point. Meanwhile, the items are currently in the same shape as when first stored.
Typical forum snark and generalities aside, the aggregate cost has been well worth it to us in our particular case or we wouldn't be renting. Of course, assess your own situation against rental costs in your area before committing. But these arrangements are easy to get out of as needs change. Lease can be terminated at our facility on 10 days notice. Last time I checked, a few years ago, they did not offer discounted long-term leases (but that might be different elsewhere).

barnaclebob
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Re: Renting storage unit

Post by barnaclebob » Fri May 18, 2018 1:03 pm

DetroitRick wrote:
Fri May 18, 2018 12:57 pm
I've been renting the same unit since mid 2003. As to your question of pricing, that is a function of the local economy, local real estate prices, local property tax, and local utility costs. So this is just one geographic data point. Prices reflect 10'x10' (not sure on height, but at least 10' as well), climate-controlled unit, and very safe location (extremely low crime area, 1.5 miles from my house), and convenient location within facility itself. Here's my price history (monthly):

2003 $77
2004 $85
2005 $90
2006 $98
2007 $97
2008 $102
2009 $107
2010 $112
2011 $121
2012 $131
2013 $142
2014 $156
2015 $167
2016 $179
2017 $193
2018 tbd this fall

We use it for temporary and (primarily for) long-term purposes. Long-term stuff is furniture and fixtures that have significant value to us and are being well-preserved. Their value far exceeds rental costs. No clutter, no boxes, just big stuff we inherited and very much will use and enjoy in the future. We've also enjoyed the ability to temporarily store stuff because the space is only 2/3 utilized. Next house will be larger (ours is currently quite small) and we will stop renting storage at that point. Meanwhile, the items are currently in the same shape as when first stored.
Typical forum snark and generalities aside, the aggregate cost has been well worth it to us in our particular case or we wouldn't be renting. Of course, assess your own situation against rental costs in your area before committing. But these arrangements are easy to get out of as needs change. Lease can be terminated at our facility on 10 days notice. Last time I checked, a few years ago, they did not offer discounted long-term leases (but that might be different elsewhere).
That must be some really nice stuff for what is probably $40k of costs in todays dollars.

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Re: Renting storage unit

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Fri May 18, 2018 2:03 pm

barnaclebob wrote:
Fri May 18, 2018 1:03 pm
That must be some really nice stuff for what is probably $40k of costs in todays dollars.
Indeed!

And with as little snark as possible.......when you do pass away, what will happen to these items? I ask because when my dad passed, he had many genuine antique things that he passed along to me. Many had tags with exactly what they were and what they were worth. I can tell you that many of the $100 burnable items brought me whatever their equivalent BTU is worth through my wood furnace. The coin collection was appreciated but foreign coins that are not silver or gold were sold to the coin shop for 1 cent each, regardless of what they were. My dealer is quite good and was able to pull silver coins out of the pile and made my visit worthwhile.
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DetroitRick
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Re: Renting storage unit

Post by DetroitRick » Fri May 18, 2018 2:40 pm

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Fri May 18, 2018 2:03 pm
barnaclebob wrote:
Fri May 18, 2018 1:03 pm
That must be some really nice stuff for what is probably $40k of costs in todays dollars.
Indeed!

And with as little snark as possible.......when you do pass away, what will happen to these items? I ask because when my dad passed, he had many genuine antique things that he passed along to me. Many had tags with exactly what they were and what they were worth. I can tell you that many of the $100 burnable items brought me whatever their equivalent BTU is worth through my wood furnace. The coin collection was appreciated but foreign coins that are not silver or gold were sold to the coin shop for 1 cent each, regardless of what they were. My dealer is quite good and was able to pull silver coins out of the pile and made my visit worthwhile.
Fair question, but we're not that old yet. I expect within 2 years all items will all be in use in our next, larger house. When we're gone, family can take what they want and pitch or donate the rest. Enjoyment in the next house is all we're shooting for, and what will make it worth it to us.

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