Let’s take a look at why people use self storage, and why it is a growing market.
1. Your space is worth more than a storage unit
Depending on your location & living situation, you could make a lot more money by clearing out a spare room, putting the contents in storage & renting that room to someone else.
Storing the contents of a spare bedroom would cost you about $205/month1. Renting that spare room to someone could net you a lot more; in my case (I rent out my spare room) it nets me $800/month.
2. Storage during renovations & construction
Building a new house? Renovating an old one? Self storage ensures protection of your assets while you work on improving another. Again, only a temporary use for self storage, but a use none the less.
3. Storage in inner-city areas
Let’s say you own a boat, motorbike or quad bike that you use on the weekends for a bit of fun. You live in an inner-city area and there’s no room to store it near your apartment. On-street parking is sometimes available, but the cost of insurance skyrockets because the chances of it getting stolen in the middle of the night are quite high. It’s far cheaper to put it in storage.
Insurance rates for parking the item in a secure storage facility are much, much lower than they would be for parking a boat & trailer on the street & insuring it appropriately with a third-party insurance company. Furthermore, some facilities are starting to charge only while the vehicle is actually in storage – so if you take it out all weekend, you won’t have to pay storage fees for it.
4. Changes in family or financial situations
If something in your life changes, it can be beneficial to use self storage as an interim measure. A death in the family means that often time is needed to sort through affairs and belongings, and a few months of storage can help to relieve the pressure during this difficult time.
A divorce may also lead to a drastic change in living circumstances – goods can be placed in storage while the situation is settled. Should you change jobs and need to move interstate, or even a loss of job & the need to downsize living quarters temporarily, can all lead to the need for a self storage facility. Store your goods temporarily as you sell them off & move house, etc.
5. Moving back home
The kids have just turned 18 and they’ve left the nest. A year later, you get the call: “Mum… it hasn’t worked out. Can I move back in?”. This one’s pretty self-explanatory!
6. Not everything needs to be on-hand 24/7
Storage can also be used for wine, data & record-keeping or documents. If you run a small home business, you’ll need to keep all of your documents & invoices on file for a certain amount of time (a legal taxation requirement in most countries). Whether you run a home accounting business or are a graphic designer with a home office, you’ll need somewhere to put those documents.
Keeping these files in a small self storage locker (as opposed to one or two large filing cabinets in the home) is a cheap, cost-effective way to un-clutter your home office & leave room for other things like a second desk for a co-worker, a bookshelf for reference materials or a more appealing & presentable office if you have clients over.
Whether it’s a model train set or playing on your own flight simulator (see below), most hobbies take up space. Besides, a hobby can bring great joy. A lot more joy than a room full of accounts for the home business.
As you can see, it really depends on your circumstances, your reasons for using self storage and the amount of space you rent2.
1. This is the average monthly fee for a 9sqm storage unit in a capital-city based storage facility. Source: Self Storage Association of Australasia Almanac (2010 edition).
2. The number of storage units has increased steadily each year, since 2005. However, the size of units has decreased since 2006, showing that there is a greater demand for smaller units & that people are storing less than they used to. Source: Self Storage Association of Australasia Almanac (2010 edition). Again, it all depends on what you’re storing, the amount of space you’re paying for in storage Vs. the amount of space you’re saving at home for other (better?) things.