Whether you’re a Harry Potter fan or not, you may be quite envious of the Room of Requirement in the Hogwarts castle – “a room that a person can only enter when they have real need of it; sometimes it is there, and sometimes it is not, but when it appears, it is always equipped for the seeker’s needs”. If only you had access to such an adaptable extra room when downsizing, moving into temporary housing, renovating your home, or on any other occasion when you need to get some of your possessions out of the way but want to keep them for later use!
Since there is no chance of having such a magic room in your home though, you need to find another solution for storing away your excess items. A self-storage unit may be your best bet – you get a safe and easily accessible storage space where to keep your stuff until you can take it back.
This seemingly perfect solution, however, comes at a cost – you need to pay a monthly fee for your storage unit and the prices can add up to thousands of dollars a year. So, when looking to expand your storage space, you need to consider the storage unit cost first.
How much does a storage unit cost, indeed? The prices vary according to size and location, but you can get an idea of how much you’re going to pay for storage when you know exactly what type of storage unit you need and what factors determine the cost of a storage unit.
Factors that influence storage unit costs
Storage rental costs depend on a variety of factors, including the location of the storage facility, the available extra features, the size of the unit, and the length of the rental period:
Size of the storage unit
Size is the main determinant of storage unit rental costs – naturally, the larger the unit, the higher the monthly cost will be.
Storage facilities usually offer storage units in various sizes to accommodate different storage needs. The smallest ones cost about $30 – $50 per month, while larger units can be $300 a month.
So, when looking for a self-storage unit, you have to know how much space you need first. Sort through your excess household items, asses their value, and decide which of them are really worth keeping (the more stuff you decide to put into storage, the more space you’re going to need and the more you’re going to pay). Sell, donate or give away everything you won’t be able to use in the foreseeable future (the value of any items placed in storage depreciates with time) and keep only items of great sentimental value you don’t want to part with and items of great practical value you’re going to use sometime soon. Measure and weigh the items you intend to put into storage to find out how much storage space you need. Look for a storage unit slightly larger than what you believe is necessary (you may not be able to optimize the storage space well enough or you may need to add some more items in the near future).
Location of the storage facility
Just as real estate costs, storage units’ costs vary from place to place. Self-storage in large metropolitan areas is much more expensive than in small towns due to the higher demand. Cheaper cities offer cheaper storage options because of the lower costs of living in the region. Downtown storage facilities tend to have higher rates than similar facilities located in the suburbs or outside the city because of the higher desirability of the area.
A small storage unit in Portland, OR, for example, costs about $110 per month, while a unit of the same size in Memphis, TN, is about $50 a month.
You will most certainly want your self-storage unit to be in the city where you live in, but you can save some money by choosing a facility located in the suburbs (unless you need frequent access to it).
Climate control is an extra feature that has a tremendous impact on the storage rental cost. A climate-controlled storage unit is likely to cost about 15%-25% more than a non-climate-controlled unit.
So, when choosing a storage unit, do not opt for one with climate control unless you really need it – otherwise, you will be paying for storage amenities you don’t actually use.
Whether you need climate control or not will depend on the type of items you intend to put into storage and the climate in your area. If you live in a place with extreme weather conditions or if you intend to store expensive electronic equipment, artwork, musical instruments, delicate items with high sentimental value, antique or leather furniture, or any other items that are sensitive to temperature fluctuations, you definitely need a climate-controlled unit.
High-end security features – video cameras and surveillance systems, strong fences and guarded gates, secure locks, fire alarms, etc. – will ensure the safety of your items while they’re in storage. The more secure the facility, however, the more you will pay.
The type of storage facility (outdoor or indoor), its age and overall condition, the level of customer service, the type of self-storage access, and the available extra amenities (loading docks, wheeled moving equipment, illumination, etc.) also affect the storage unit prices, so you need to know exactly what you need when looking for storage options in your area.
Last but not least, the cost of a storage unit depends on the length of time you rent it for.
Most self-storage facilities offer month-to-month services which allow customers to store their items temporarily without making a long term commitment. While this is the most convenient option possible, it is also the most expensive one. Smaller rental time results in a higher monthly storage unit cost – renting a storage cell for three months, for example, is going to cost much more per month than it would cost when renting the same unit for an year.
To save on storage costs, you’re advised to rent a unit for at least six months at a time (or for as long as you’re sure you’ll need it). Going for a long-term rental is a shrewd financial decision as you’ll not only pay lower monthly fees, but may even get the first month for free.
What’s more, paying up front will most probably earn you an ample discount as well. So, consider paying in six month increments, if applicable in your case.
You need to take into account all of the above to get an accurate idea of your self-storage costs. Then, you can look for different ways to get good deals on storage units.
Average storage unit cost
So, all things considered, what does a storage unit cost? How much is a storage unit per month? It depends on your particular needs (size of storage unit, additional amenities, rental time) and the area you live in, but storage unit prices per month run like these:
- 5’X5’ (25 square feet) storage cells typically cost between $35 and $85 per month. They are about as big as a large closet;
- 5’X10’ (50 square feet) cells tend to cost about $55-$125 per month. They can fit the contents of a small room;
- 10’X10’ (100 square feet) units cost about $100-$180 per month. They are about half the size of a standard garage;
- 10’X15’ (150 square feet) storage units usually cost between $120 and $200 per month. They can accommodate the contents of two full rooms;
- 10’X20’ (200 square feet), units can cost anywhere between $150 and $300 per month. They can fit the furnishings of a 2-or 3-bedroom home.
To find out what size storage unit will best suit your needs, you’re advised to make a complete inventory of the items you intend to place in storage. The inventory sheet will come very handy when purchasing insurance for your stored items as well.
Whether you need to put your belongings into short-term or long-term storage, whether you need storage-in-transit while moving house or a safe place where to keep your belongings during a renovation project or a temporary relocation, make sure you explore all the storage options in your area and choose a safe, convenient, and affordable storage unit for your excess household items. It will be just like having the Room of Requirement at your disposal.
See also: Is self-storage a bad investment