8 Storage Alternatives before Renting A Storage Unit

As storage units are not always affordable and they sometimes require lots of involvement, you should consider alternatives before renting one. Here are 8 storage alternative ideas to save money while keeping your items safely stored.

Do you have too much stuff and no room to store them? Do you think that renting a storage unit is the only way out? Well, think again. There are numerous alternatives for self-storage solutions that may prove better than simply packing everything and transporting it to a storage unit.

Storage units are not for everyone. They require a lot of involvement ranging from their expensive price, moving things in and out of the unit, monthly storage fees, and security deposit, which can equal up to 1 month’s rent. If any damage is done to the property, the owner will charge it, including replacement costs plus repairs cost.

Self-storage alternatives such as a shed, a garage, personal space or storing with friends and family are an excellent solution. If you want to save money while keeping your items safe, go for the storage unit alternatives.

So if you have too much stuff but storage units are not for you, consider these storage unit alternatives and save yourself from all the hassles.

1.  Use Your Current Space to Store Your Stuff

This is one of the most popular and obvious storage unit alternatives. If you have a basement, attic or even some extra room in your apartment, then use it to store your stuff instead of renting any self-storage units for this purpose. Make sure that you also clear out space for new things that come into your life, so they don’t lack space.

A small divider stick on the wall with books and TV on top.
Use extra space in your home to store some of your belongings.

Also, use spaces such as on top of your cabinets, under the bed and table to keep your stuff safe. You should also look for other storage space options such as shopping bags and plastic containers. These can be used to store clothes, shoes, bedding, and keep your home organized.

2.  Store Your Stuff with Friends and Family

If you do not have the luxury of extra space or other things already occupy it, consider storing your stuff with friends and family. But before then, ask for their permission. This is the best storage unit alternative, especially when you’re moving and even renovating and redecorating your home. Make sure they have enough space for your stuff, and don’t overwhelm them with a lot of stuff because they also have their own.

3.  Keep Everything Organized and Neat

Perhaps the most important thing that you need to do is keep everything in order. Don’t just shove things into boxes. Neatly place them inside the box and carefully stack them on top of each other. The reason for this is that you will be able to easily take things out once you’re moving back again. If everything is properly organized, it’s easy to find and retrieve the stuff that you want.

Make sure the surfaces you’re storing your items are also clean to wane off any dirt-building element. It’s also a good idea to put away mops after cleaning. And make sure to cover the areas where you are placing your items. Put a plastic covering on these areas so that no dust can get inside them.

When cleaning, start with the rooms that you spend most of your time in.Transfer your stuff to ensure you wipe down every surface, return them to their designated home storage and have an organized storage room.

4.  Build a Shed

Buying or building a shed is a good storage unit alternative, especially if you own a home. With a shed, you can put away all the items that you don’t use often. A shed also gives you the privilege of organizing an area wherein you can store anything that is not used often or needed.

A shed on construction.
Building a shed is an excellent solution for storing some of your extra items.

Relatively, building a shed is cheaper than renting a storage unit. When choosing the location of your shed, choose an area that is off the ground. To be more cautious, anchor it down with concrete blocks and nails if there are strong winds during storms or hurricanes.

5.  Reuse Shipping Containers as Storage Unit Alternatives

Another rising storage unit alternative is the shipping containers. These containers have been used to ship large items such as furniture, cars and appliances. Using these storage units is a great idea because they are already naturally waterproof, fire-resistant and durable. Keep in mind that there are different shipping containers, so you need to do your research on which size fits your needs.

A large shipping containers.
Use larger shipping containers (those used for cars) as your storage unit alternatives.

You can also customize your container to fit your needs. If you want to make your container secure, you can add locks or even a security camera for extra precaution. As with any other storage alternatives, ensure that your shipping container is insured against damages and leaks. Lucky enough, you can find an already camouflaged container that blends well with your compound.

Another thing that you can do to protect your container is to place it on a concrete slab. This will make sure that moisture does not affect its durability and prevents the ground underneath from being cracked or damaged.

6.  Build an Attic in Your Home

Again, if you own a home, think of building an attic in your home. An attic will not only give you more space to store your stuff, but it also adds value to your home. It’s a cheaper alternative, and you can always get the attic room finished regardless if you plan to use it for the long run or not.

A garage can also work to offer great storage for the stuff that you’re not planning to use. You don’t need to have a car to build a garage at home. Despite providing extra storage space, a garage and attic also add great value to your home. You can customize them to fit your storage needs and preferences.

7.  Lend Your Stuff Temporarily to a Friend

Why pay for a storage unit for things you can temporarily lend to someone? If you have a lot of extra stuff, why not lend it to someone temporarily? You can even ask your friend if they are willing to pay for the storage unit.

It may take some time, but when you get back the things lent to them, you have already saved money that can be used somewhere else. For example, lend that wardrobe that couldn’t comfortably fit in your space instead of taking it to a storage unit. Let your friend hold on to it until the day you’ll need it.

Some things may even end up costing you nothing. For example, if your friend is a cook and doesn’t know how to use seafood grade knives that are perfectly fine for some kitchen tasks, you can lend them out in exchange for food or help with cleaning. Maybe your family member temporarily needs a couch, and you happen to be renovating your home, so you need to store it. Lend it out instead of wasting money on a storage unit.

8.  Donate or Give Away

Sometimes, you may hold items that you no longer use but could be of use to other people. Like with the storing, you can try and get some value for it before donating away stuff instead of throwing it straight out as garbage. Why hold on to an old receiver or a decent computer that has no use to you anymore? Give it away when someone in need comes your way?

A group of persons donating.
Donate the items you no longer use to free up some space.

You don’t have to hold on to old things after purchasing new ones when there’s someone you can give. Failure to give out will leave you with no choice but to keep them in a storage unit. Give out items with the knowledge that they can still be used, and be lucky to have someone take off your hands. So instead of letting your old stuff sit in a storage unit for years, give it to your friend or family member in need.

Related Questions

Are storage units worth it?

Renting storage units has always been an option for people who have too much stuff. And while you may be intimidated by the prospect of paying for a rental storage unit, remember that there are options to explore.

A climate controlled storage unit.
Storage units can be beneficial in some instances.

Storage units can be beneficial in some instances, but it is not always the case. If you’re moving, and you still have unpacked boxes after several months (or years) in your new home, renting a storage unit may be worth it. However, if you’re just trying to get rid of old furniture, appliances and other household goods that you no longer use or need, there are far better options available.

Is storing stuff at home a good idea?

On the off chance that you own a home, then you can think about storing stuff in your attic or garage. However, if you just don’t have enough space, and no longer need to keep certain things around, then using storage units is a good option.

Should I rent or buy a storage unit?

Many people are confused about whether buying or leasing makes more sense. Both have their benefits and drawbacks.

If you want to own the storage unit, then buying is for you. However, if all you need is a place to keep your stuff temporarily, leasing should be fine. Just make sure you’re comparing prices correctly: some facilities try to deceive customers with low monthly fees but high rental rates in the long run.


When it comes to storing your items, storage units are not the only option out there. Self-storage is sometimes a better alternative. It will save you money, time, and peace of mind to store your items all by yourself. At times, you might even find it much better to sell or donate those extra items instead of letting them fill up your space or dry your pockets as you pay for their storage fees.

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