We’ve all seen those storage units around town — sometimes it seems like there may be more storage units out there than houses! In reality, you’ll find that self-storage spaces are in high demand and most of those storage facilities rarely have vacancies.
So why is self-storage so popular?
Residential / Personal Storage
For a number of reasons. If you’re like many of us, you may have more stuff than your home comfortably allows you to store. Maybe you don’t have a basement. Maybe you’ve downsized your home but not your endless totes of Christmas decorations. Maybe you’re in transition, renting a small house while waiting for your larger home to be built.
Whatever the reason, we have a lot of stuff and it doesn’t always fit into our homes. Self-storage allows people like you and me keep all of our precious stuff without sacrificing space in our homes. And it allows for us to keep control of that stuff. Unlike full-service storage centers where you have limited access to your property and someone else may decide how the items are actually stored, self-storage offers a lot of freedom and flexibility.
A million years ago (give or take…), I managed a retail gift store that had a ton of inventory, much of it seasonal. Have you ever wondered why stores have Halloween stuff out right after 4th of July? It’s because everything arrives from the vendors a season in advance. And if their storerooms are as small as mine was, you have little alternative but to put it on the sales floor earlier than you may have wanted.
Self-Storage is a cost-effective solution to this problem. It was well worth the $100 per month that we paid for our large storage unit. Apart from having the extra room, it allowed us to keep things well organized, safer (no stacks of boxes teetering in the corner!), and make effective use of the space that we did have.
Small businesses often need a place to store extra inventory that they can have access to on a whim, which makes self-storage an ideal solution. It’s also a great way to store paperwork and supplies that take up unnecessary space if you’re not accessing or using these items regularly.
Up here in the northwoods of western Wisconsin, we love our outdoor recreation regardless of the season. However, storage of all our summer toys can sometimes be difficult during the (endless) winter months. So many people turn to self-storage units as an inexpensive, convenient way to keep the ATVs, boats, and campers safe and dry for next year.
Self-storage units play home to vehicles of all types, such as boats, snowmobiles, jet skis, ATVs, campers — even classic cars. We know a business owner with a deep love of vintage cars and race cars who actually built his own mini-storage unit to house them all!
Use of self-storage for non-traditional reasons has been on the rise over the last few years. You may have seen folks running thrift sales and flea markets out of them, which is a great idea if there’s good access and visibility (and the facility rules allow for it).
People are also using self-storage units for band rehearsals to keep costs low and avoid irritating the neighbors. We’ve also seen people use storage units as creative work spaces, running pottery wheels and setting up easels to work on their projects. The most creative? A gym away from home where a boxer was training with a heavy bag and speed ball.
The possibilities are endless but before running out to rent a storage unit to start your candle making business, be sure that local and state laws will allow you to use the space in an unconventional way. You’ll also need to verify that the facility will permit you to use the space for anything other than cold storage.
What does it cost to rent a self-storage unit?
You’ll find the prices vary widely from region to region. For example, your standard 10′ x 20′ storage unit in western Wisconsin will run between $50-100 per month but that same unit in New York City can cost over $300 per month. However, within your geographic area you’ll generally find that prices from one building to another will be very similar.
Choosing a self-storage unit
First you’ll want to consider what size unit you need. Are you just looking to store some boxes and totes? Or do you have a top-of-the-line behemoth RV that needs a home? This is going to make all the difference in what options are available to you.
Most self-storage units are going to be a set size, with the most popular being 10′ x 10′ or 10′ x 20.’ We have a new self-storage building going up right now that has movable walls. This means that we can take our 10′ x 10′ units, take a few walls out, and turn it into a 10 ‘ x 40’ unit. This is a new way of creating custom spaces — if you’re checking out buildings that were recently constructed, be sure to ask if this is an option.
What you’re storing will also determine if you must have an indoor, climate-controlled unit or if an outdoor unit will meet your needs. It will also help you decide the level of security that you need. Are you storing priceless family heirlooms? If so, you may want to seek out the facility with the highest level of security. Your jet ski and Christmas decorations will likely fare just fine in an outdoor unit with an industrial lock.
How often you will need to access the storage unit should also impact your decision, although our best advice is not to make that a top priority. Sure, it’s close to your house but if it’s barely a step above a run-down shack, is it really worth it? Driving an extra few miles for a more secure facility may be well worth it in the end, especially if you will only be accessing it a few times per year.
Other questions you should ask include:
- What kind of security system is in place?
- Who has access or keys to my storage unit?
- What are the lease terms?
- How well do they maintain the grounds and facility?
- What are the gate hours and the office hours?
- What happens if you are accidentally late with your rent?
The bottom line is that storage units are an extremely cost-effective way to free up space in your home (and allow you to pick up that boat you’ve always wanted but have nowhere to store it). Look up available rentals in your area and find the one that’s right for you.
If you are located in or around Eau Claire, Wisconsin, our new storage building is going up on Hastings Way right now. It should be ready for rent by the end of August and will feature flexible unit sizes from 5′ x 10′ to 10′ x 40′. We will also have outdoor storage space available with rates starting at just $35 per month. Contact us today for more information!