Half of storage unit renters pay more than items are worth to store them


The self storage industry is booming. Its success is driven by the pandemic, rising costs of living, and new investment into the space. 

But, is spending money on self-storage really the right move for most Americans? As many have pointed out, Americans have a clutter problem. Is it possible what many need is a more aggressive spring cleaning regiment and some tips from Marie Kondo?

StorageUnits.com surveyed 1,200 Americans who are current, long-term storage unit renters to find out what they’re storing, how much they’re spending, and whether or not they could improve their home’s organization. 

Key findings:

  • 32% are storing less than $500 worth of stuff
  • 84% say they likely won’t use one-quarter or more of the things they’re storing
  • 58% admit they buy more than they need
  • About one-third buy new clothes, toys, furniture, home decor, bulk foods weekly
  • 76% say they could eliminate need for storage unit with improved home organization

1 in 3 are paying to store less than $500 worth of stuff

Interestingly, many are paying more than their items are worth to store them. In fact, assuming they are renting the unit for at least one year, at least 45% of storage unit renters are spending more than items are worth to store them.

81% of Americans are storing less than $2,000 worth of items, 45% less than $750, and 32% less than $500. 

So depending on the monthly cost of the storage unit, which for 43% is $200/mo or more, they could rather quickly be paying more to store items of lesser value.

8 in 10 say they likely won’t use one-quarter or more of the items they’re storing

The majority of long-term storage unit renters store furniture, clothing, home appliances, seasonal items. But most say they’re not likely to utilize all of these items in the future, which begs the question, why are they holding onto them? 

Only 16% say they’re likely to use 100% of the items they have in storage in the future. Forty-seven percent say they’ll use 75% of what they are storing. The remaining third say they’ll likely use half or less of the items they’re storing in the future.

When asked why they’re storing items they’re not likely to use in the future, the top reason respondents gave was ‘there is a chance I’ll use them’ (60%). Additionally, 45% say the items have sentimental value, 30% say the items are for sale, and 21% simply don’t want to part with the items. 

Storage unit renters collect new items weekly

Despite the fact that 83% find the concept of minimalism appealing, and 82% have an interest in reducing the amount of items they purchase, only a handful of storage unit renters aren’t purchasing new items on a monthly basis. The vast majority acquire new home decor, toys, clothes, furniture, and foods in bulk each month. 

More than half (58%) admit they are buying way more (20%) or more (38%) than they need.

The reasons respondents say they shop excessively include, ‘it brings me joy’ (56%), ‘i think I need it‘ (49%), ‘it’s a habit’ (45%), and ‘I can’t stop making purchases’ (18%).

1 in 8 Americans say their garage is overflowing with stuff

The majority of storage unit renters have areas in the homes traditionally used for storage, such as an attic, basement, and/or garage. Yet, they still need to purchase extra storage space because for many these rooms are packed with items.

Many say these rooms, particularly closets and the garage, are ‘extremely full.’ Our survey defined ‘very full’ as as hardly being able to open the door. 

3 in 4 say they could eliminate need for storage unit with improved home organization

According to the survey, it appears that improved home organization could eliminate the need for storage units for 76% of renters. Overall, 27% say they ‘definitely could’ eliminate the need for a storage unit and 48% say they ‘probably could.’ 

Over 90% say they would be able to improve the organization for their home, but many would also be willing to ask for help. In fact, 71% would be willing to pay a professional organizer.

Nearly 1 in 5 admit their home is disorganized. On the other hand, 51% say their home is ‘somewhat organized’ and 32% say ‘very organized.’


All data found within this report derives from a survey commissioned by StorageUnits.com and conducted online by survey platform Pollfish. In total, 1,200 U.S. hiring managers were surveyed. 

Appropriate respondents were found via Pollfish’s screening tools a screening question. To take the survey respondents had to answer that they are a current, long-term renter of a storage unit.

This survey was conducted on October 26, 2022. All respondents were asked to answer all questions truthfully and to the best of their abilities. For full survey data, please email [email protected].