How much does a storage unit cost?

If you're searching for a safe place to store your belongings while you move, have surplus business inventory, or simply have too many things to fit in your home, you might want to look for a storage facility. These places hold your items in a secure unit for a monthly fee. The cost of storage varies across states, depending on factors like the demand for storage in the area and housing costs. According to Lifestorage.com, the average cost of storage in America is $76 a month as of 2018.

There are many factors to consider when looking for a storage unit, such as whether or not you need climate-control to protect your belongings, the location of your storage facility and what size unit best suits your needs. Every choice you make impacts the cost of your storage unit. Read on to learn what costs are associated with renting a storage unit, as well as the average cost by region.

Key Points

  • 1 Storage costs can vary depending on where you live.
  • 2 The main factor that determines the cost of a storage unit is its size.
  • 3 Ask the storage facility what discounts they are presently offering for new customers.
  • 4 Save money by finding boxes from your local grocery or wholesale store.

The Cost of Storage Across America

Storage costs can vary depending on where you live. The average monthly cost of storage in California in 2017 was $119, while monthly storage costs in Texas are slightly less than the national average at $83 a month. Prices in other states vary greatly, for example:

  • Florida’s average cost of storage is $92 a month and was lowest in Tallahassee at $76 month
  • Storage averages $74 a month in Ohio
  • Washington has a high monthly average for storage at $119

Often, a high population can drive up the cost of goods in an area, including the price of storage units. If you don’t require local access to your things, consider storing them in a nearby town that offers lower costs for storage.

To give you an example of how much you might be able to save by looking for storage in a neighboring town, consider the differences between the average rate of storage in metro areas versus their rural neighbors:

  • In Los Angeles, storage facilities cost an average of $246 a month compared to Anaheim, where storage units average $120 a month. Available 5′ by 5′ storage units are as low as $42 in Anaheim, while Los Angeles’ prices range from $104 to $468 a month for the same size units.
  • Looking outside of the metro area can save you money in Tennessee. While highly populated areas like Nashville have an average cost that is much higher than the national average at $92 a month, rural areas like Clarksville have a lower rate of $70 a month.
  • New York is another state that has less expensive storage options in rural areas. New York City averages at $188 a month, while Syracuse averages the lowest in the state at $129.

Why Is Storage So Expensive?

The costs for a specific storage unit vary depending on many factors, including the area of town and climate control, which ensures units are air-conditioned in the summer and heated in the winter and monitors humidity levels to prevent environmental damage of your goods. Outdoor units tend to cost less than those inside storage facilities, and security measures can also increase the price of a storage unit. Facilities that have state-of-the-art monitoring systems and round-the-clock office hours will charge more to make up for the cost of extra manpower.

The main factor that determines the cost of a storage unit is its size. The price of storage units by size varies greatly across the nation. The national average for a 5′ by 5′ unit is $41 a month. Larger sizes cost more:

  • 5′ by 10′ units average at $59 per month
  • 10′ by 10′ units cost about $95 per month
  • 10′ by 15′ units average $113 per month
  • 10′ by 20′ units $133 per month

For a comparison, you can fit a room’s worth of furniture in a 10′ x 10′ unit, while a 10′ by 20′ unit holds the furniture for a two- or three-bedroom home. For those with furnishing and appliances from a 1000 square foot home, a 10′ by 15′ unit may be the best option as they are the size of two bedrooms. A small 5′ by 5′ unit can typically hold two small tables and around six boxes or totes.

Cut Your Storage Costs by Taking Advantage of Specials and Recycling Packing Materials

Ask the storage facility what discounts they are presently offering for new customers. In order to attract the most customers, storage facilities often offer discounts on the first month’s storage. Look online in your area to see if any facilities nearby offer the first month’s rent for free or as low as one dollar. There are also opportunities to save on storage costs if you are a member of a club like AAA or the AARP, who often provides discounts by teaming up with local partners. They may also run specials for new customers like including hand carts at no extra charge with a storage unit rental or a truck rental.

Storage facilities will also offer insurance packages to their customers, and these might be mandatory depending on local laws. Make sure to pay close attention to what coverage is included in the monthly fee and see if your homeowner’s insurance includes out-of-home storage. Your present policy may be cheaper than the one the storage facility offers.

One of the costs that can easily add up when renting a storage unit is in the supplies you use to pack your things. Many storage company offices feature an area dedicated to selling supplies like boxes, packing tape, and packing peanuts. However, these items are often sold at a premium price. Save money by finding boxes from your local grocery or wholesale store. Ask staff what day is best to collect unwanted boxes before they are discarded. Make sure you collect enough free and discounted supplies before packing day, so you don’t end up overspending at the storage facility.

Tips for Safely Storing Your Possessions

When you need to put your valuables into the care of a storage facility, make sure you take the time to prepare your things for the journey. Here are some tips to help you ensure your items are safe in storage:

  • Clothes can be stored in bags or boxes with mothballs or cedar planks added to keep pests and insects away.
  • Delicate items that may scratch easily can be protected by soft items that you need to store. Try wrapping your fragile possessions in old clothes or towels to protect them from scratches.
  • Make sure to clearly label every box and bag to save yourself time when you need to get your items out of storage. Also, write FRAGILE in large print on boxes with glass and valuable electronics inside.
  • While it may be tempting to reuse old boxes and save yourself a trip to the store, make sure every box you use is in perfect condition so that they don’t fall apart over time.