Is self-storage a bad investment?

Placing your household items in a self-storage facility can be a brilliant solution in a number of tough transitional situations when you need more space to temporarily store your possessions. The convenience behind the idea of self-storage is indisputable: it’s like having a resizable extra room in your home where you are free to keep all the things you don’t need at the moment but still intend to use in the foreseeable future. For a monthly fee, you get that secure and easily accessible space (often 24/7) at your disposal and can get your current project underway without worrying about your excess stuff at the moment.

Yes, the practical side of self-storage facilities becomes visible every time two households are to be merged into one (marriage), one household is to be split into two (divorce) or during other defining moments in life (downsizing, retirement, college, renovation projects, etc.). However, this largely useful and seemingly problem-solving idea can easily turn against you and hurt you if you neglect, mismanage or abuse it.

Here are the top reasons why self-storage can be a bad investment.

Financial burden

How much does self-storage cost? The prices for self-storage units can differ greatly from city to city and from state to state. A score of factors can influence the monthly rent, such as self-storage company, location, security, 24-hour access and so on. Generally speaking, the tiniest unit you can hire (5’x5’) can start from $60 and go up to $100, or even more. And let’s face it: that much extra room won’t fit too many of your excess household items (5’x5’ is nothing more than having a second home closet), so you’re probably going to need to rent more space. Let’s assume you’re paying an average of $80 for the smallest self-storage unit. Then, that’s $960 per year for storage space which could hardly fit a mattress set. And more space equals more money.

Dubious security

Yes, security is important. After all, you’re not organizing a garage sale but simply placing valuable possessions in storage – stuff you do intend to use and would hate to see damaged or find missing. Ideally, your self-storage facility will provide an outstanding level of security – cells of solid materials, weatherproof and climate-controlled storage space, gated and closely monitored premises, as well as experienced guards. However, not all facilities meet the above-mentioned security standards and you should do well to research self-storage centers thoroughly before you decide to use their services.

Access time and costs

Another common self-storage problem is the loss of time, and time is always a factor to be reckoned with. A self-storage unit is similar to having an extra room but that additional storage space is never inside your own home. When considering your options, don’t forget to account for the time you will need to reach the self-storage facility, to search through your stuff for a specific item you may be needing at that moment or to leave extra items in the cell, and then to drive back home. When calculating the lost time, add at least extra 30 minutes for unexpected time-wasters (traffic, inclement weather, car issues, etc.). Of course, the math will not be right if you don’t include the fuel cost and the vehicle depreciation into the equation.

Depreciated value

Speaking of depreciation, self-storage can be a bad idea simply because the value of any items placed in storage depreciates with time. This fact is especially true for long-term storage instances when we’re talking about months and even years. Needless to say, some sentimental possessions don’t lose their value through the years, but if you’re renting a storage unit only as a temporary decluttering solution, then do consider selling or giving away some of the household items as it is most often the better option. The rule of thumb is that if you can do without a specific item for over a year, then you don’t really need it and consequently, the smart choice would be to just get rid of it unless you have a strong emotional attachment to it.

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