7 Insights: Why Is Storage So Expensive? Unpacking Costs

Discover the Economic and Technological Factors Driving Up Storage Costs in Today’s Market.

Before storage space is even on the table, you may want to consider scaling back. Getting rid of some stuff can make self-storage unnecessary.

But not everyone can do that, and storage seems to get more expensive by the month.

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Is it worth having a storage?

The best sort of storage is short-term storage. Otherwise, you’re just dumping money into an extra closet across town.

But there are legit reasons why you may want storage.

  • Storage is often a have-to situation when you’re moving, buying, or selling a home.
  • Storage can save you money by taking on some of the clutter that doesn’t fit in your current home.
  • Some people have assets and heirlooms that require special storage
  • Business owners tend to have storage because file cabinets and paperwork storage takes up needed space.

Is self-storage a terrible idea?

Sometimes, self-storage is a waste of money.

  • Keeping things you don’t need is the biggest waste when you go through renting storage space.
  • When short-term storage turns into long-term, it’s putting off the inevitable and stealing your money.
  • If there’s any chance of missing a storage unit payment, you’re risking losing your things. 
  • Self-storage is an incredibly poor use of land with a massive carbon footprint.

5 Reasons Why Storage Is So Expensive

It makes very little sense why something that the size of a walk-in closet costs an arm and a leg. But, alas, storage is expensive for various reasons.

Per Square Foot

Of course, size plays a factor in the price. You will pay a set price for square footage. For example, an average 50-square-foot storage unit will break down to $3 per square foot.

You’re Paying for Other Services

When you start doing the math on square feet, the price doesn’t add up. It’s because they charge you for every service, even those you aren’t aware of.

  • You’re paying for the trolleys that tote your things from your car to the unit (whether you use them or not).
  • Most storage facilities allow 24/7 access to your stuff, which adds to the overall price.
  • That close to the building parking comes with a cost.
  • If the place has a covered loading area, you’re paying for that.
  • Part of your fees is for security, such as keypads. It’s one of the few parts of storage that makes it worth the expense.

Double-check the contract or agreements for hidden costs and features.

The Location of the Storage Unit

You always pay for the location in every aspect of life. Storage is no different. The closer the facility is to a residential area, the higher the price will be.

If you don’t mind a little drive and want to save some change, check the outskirts of town for an affordable unit.

The Length of Use

Typically you can rent storage on a week, month, three months, six, months, one-year, etc., basis.

The first thing to know is that if you’re planning on long-term storage, going with an annual agreement will save you money in the long run. 

When you go with short-term, remember you’re setting a deadline that you may or may not be able to meet.

Convenience and Peace of Mind

Storage facilities bank on you using a unit out of pure convenience – and, to be fair, it’s easy to delay decision-making when you’re looking at the overflow of stuff.

And, you know, the likelihood of your things being safe is pretty high, so you’re not worried about all walking away, either.

How much does storage actually cost?

You’re looking for a storage unit anywhere between $100 and $300 a month.

The price ranges because of all the factors that go into the total cost.

How can I reduce my storage costs?

If you absolutely must utilize a storage unit, you do have ways to reduce those costs.

Toss It or Donate It

Everyone has their own rules when it comes to weeding through what we need vs. what we don’t need.

But you don’t need it if you’ve not touched something in a year. It’s time to have a garage sale or bag it up for Goodwill.

Oh, and when you donate, you get a charity tax deduction.

Does it cost more to store or replace it?

You might think you will need a specific item in the future. But will it cost more to store or replace it when you find a need?

Go Small

The easiest way to cut storage costs is to rent the small space possible. It means you might have to cull some items, but it will be worth the saving.

Pack it in tight. It helps if you pretend you’re playing Tetris in your head.

Garages and Sheds

Garages (and crawl spaces) work well for temporary storage. But, eventually, you want the freedom to park inside of it.

Investing in a small shed long-term is more cost-effective if you own property.


You’ll want to research a little – check around, get quotes, and look at reviews. You can typically find a storage facility that offers discounts or move-in specials. 

A lot of storage facilities offer veterans special discounts, gift certificates, no rent when deployed, etc. 

Friends and Family

Most of us aren’t so lucky to have family or friends that are willing to store our stuff in their homes, especially long-term. If you do, offer to pay them for rent, and they’re less apt to toss your stuff out.

Ask friends and family if they’re interested in sharing a storage unit with you. When more than one person is utilizing the unit, it means more than one person has to pay the entire bill.

Don’t Buy Anything Else

If you’re looking to curb storage needs, suspend yourself from buying stuff for a while. At least wait until you’ve started sorting through what’s already there.

But you aren’t getting rid of things to replace them with new things. You want fewer reasons to rent storage, not more.

Why are storage spaces so expensive?

Storage spaces are often expensive due to the presence of hidden costs. Many storage facilities require additional fees for services such as climate control and security. For instance, you may have to pay an extra $10 each month for climate control. Additionally, some facilities impose a one-time administrative fee.

What is the cheapest type of storage?

The cheapest type of storage includes utilizing storage facilities such as U-Haul, Extra Space, and Public Storage, as well as employing storage websites like SpareFoot. Another cost-effective option is purchasing an overseas container for storage purposes. Additionally, one can consider using a consignment shop for temporary storage or lending/making a temporary “donation” as a means of affordable storage.

What should you not put in long term storage?

The question is: What should you not put in long term storage?Rephrased answer: Items that should not be placed in long term storage include perishable food, live animals and pets, dangerous or combustible materials, important documents and files, items requiring regular maintenance, illicit items, and family heirlooms.

How much stuff can you put in a 10×10 storage unit?

The amount of items that can be stored in a 10×10 storage unit depends on the specific facility, as the ceiling height may vary. However, most 10×10 storage units have 8-foot ceilings, providing renters with 800 cubic feet of packing space. To ensure accuracy, it is recommended to check the ceiling height at the nearest Public Storage facility and measure accordingly.

How do you calculate storage cost?

The calculation of storage cost involves multiplying the rental rate per square foot by the required square footage and then adding the costs of utilities and operations. Additional expenses may arise if there are specific requirements such as refrigeration.

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