How Can I Get a Discount on Self Storage Units?

Written by: Editorial Team - Published: May 20, 2024


Buying extra storage can get expensive. Larger units might cost hundreds of dollars each month, especially if you need state-of-the-art security and climate control. But paying less is possible if you do some research before you sign on the dotted line — in this guide, we’ll take you through a dozen particularly helpful tips for finding inexpensive self-storage options in your area.

Key Points

  • 1 Don’t buy too much space. With storage, you pay by the square foot, so a smaller unit is less expensive.
  • 2 Expand your search area. Convenient locations may come with premium prices. To find the most affordable unit, search in a wider area.
  • 3 Ask about discounts. Some providers offer new renters great terms for the first few months, and discounted rates may be available for students and military members.
  • 4 Get a long-term discount. If you need long-term storage, be upfront about your needs and ask about extended rates. Many facilities offer discounts for long-term customers.

1. Get the Smallest Unit that Works

Size is usually the biggest factor in self-storage unit pricing. The larger the unit, the more you will need to pay to rent it. If you can pack your things into a smaller unit, you can save a significant amount over the course of the rental. When packing your storage unit, think in cubic feet since you can stack your belongings up to the ceiling. Packing into stackable containers like plastic totes protects your belongings while also making it easier to get everything into the unit. Additionally, you can label each storage tote in order to keep everything organized. To help you determine how much space you might need, the table below breaks down what you can fit into some standard-sized storage units:

Storage Unit Size What You Can Fit In The Unit
5′ x 5′ This 25 square foot unit usually accommodates small pieces of furniture like an end table or dresser and some boxes. These units are ideal for seasonal items like holiday decorations or lawn care equipment.
5′ x 10′ At 50 square feet, this unit is equivalent to a large walk-in closet. You can fit in a mattress set, sofa, and plenty of boxes. Essentially, if you can squeeze it into a cargo van, it will likely fit into a 5′ x 10′ unit.
10′ x 10′ A 100 square foot storage unit can fit the entire contents of a one-bedroom apartment, complete with appliances.
10′ x 15′ All the furnishings from a small house or two-bedroom apartment can fit into this 150 square foot unit, but the appliances likely won’t.
10′ x 20′ Everything from a standard two- to three-bedroom house or apartment can fit into this unit. Essentially, the contents of a 24′ moving truck should fit comfortably into a 200 square foot storage unit.
10’ x 30′ If your belongings fit into a 40′ moving truck, they will fit into a 300 square foot storage unit. Generally, this size accommodates a four- to five-bedroom house and all of the appliances.

2. Minimize the Amenities

Climate control adds to the price of a unit. If you are renting short-term storage during mild-weather months, there’s no need to pay extra for heat or air conditioning. Even if you are using self-storage during winter or summer, you should consider whether climate control is truly necessary for preserving your items.

3. Be Flexible About Location

Where you rent a unit can also dramatically impact the cost. If you don’t need regular access to the contents, consider shopping for a unit further away from your address. Look for rentals at new locations that may be trying to fill spaces or in areas where the real estate prices are lower. Lower housing costs often translate into lower costs for storage units.

4. Load-in Via an Elevator

Drive-up access may come with premium pricing. It certainly is more convenient to load-in directly from your moving truck — but if you’re willing to deal with an elevator or flight of stairs, the price of the unit usually drops.

5. Work with Limited Office Hours

While it might be more secure to have a manned desk operated during all open hours, it is also more expensive. Units that offer limited office hours often cost much less. Plus, you might be able to still get 24/7 access to your unit, all with a lower price point. You should strongly consider this option if you only plan to store items of limited value in your unit.

6. Drop the Security Concerns

This is another good option for those who only plan to store items of limited value — units that feature security measures such as reinforced steel fencing and 24/7 video monitoring tend to cost more. And even if some of your storage unit contents are valuable, you should compare the cost of high-security units to the cost of a strong insurance policy. If you are paying to insure the contents of your unit, you may not need a state-of-the-art security system. After all, if your policy covers loss, theft, and damage, you may be reimbursed for any replacement items you need to buy. But if insurance is prohibitively expensive, then a more secure facility might be worth the extra cost.

7. Pay All At Once

When you can pay for your entire rental term upfront, many places will offer a discount on the total cost. For example, some facilities might offer six months for the price of five. Other units might have move-in specials that give you a break on the first several months if you pay in advance. By paying in advance, you also avoid the risk of a missed payment and foreclosure that could put your unit up for auction.

8. Rent for a Longer Term

The longer you rent the space, the less you might pay per month, particularly if you can pay for the term in advance. Year-round renters might only pay for ten months or may get a rolling discount on space. Be sure to ask about extended-term rates when signing for your storage unit.

9. Ask about Available Discounts

Student, senior, and military discounts are often available at self-storage providers. Military service members might get as much as 15% off the cost of their unit. Some employers may also have promotional rates negotiated with a local storage facility. Check with your work and school to see what might be available to you.

10. Take Advantage of Referral Programs

Self-storage providers often offer discounts to any existing customer who can successfully refer new customers to their business. If you know anyone who is also planning to move some items into storage, you should take advantage of such referral programs. 

11. Look for Service Bundles

Some storage facilities maintain their own fleet of moving trucks and provide new renters with free access to these vehicles. If you can deduct the cost of a moving truck from your total expenses, you should see some significant savings. A moving truck can cost hundreds of dollars, so a service bundle might make a slightly more expensive unit a better deal than your other options.

12. Compare Prices

Many facilities post their rates publicly, so you can do some comparison shopping to find the best prices. Be sure to expand your search area to include more distant units and sort the results by price. Facilities that specialize in unusual sizes may have a unit that is more affordable than one that specializes in larger units or lockers.

Available Storage Discounts

In addition to those helpful tips, we can also provide you with some direct resources for saving money on storage. Below, you’ll find links to the discounts that are currently available at five of the country’s top self-storage providers:

  • Public Storage: You may be able to pay just $1 for your first month’s rent at Public Storage, though it should be noted that this promotion is only available at select locations.
  • U-Haul: Your first month of self-storage is free at select U-Haul locations.
  • SpareFoot: This provider also offers one month of free storage at select locations. If you’re a AAA member, you can also get a $20 Amazon gift card in addition to your month of free storage.
  • Life Storage: Depending on the location, you may be able to get up to three months of free rent at Life Storage. There’s also a 10% discount available for college students.
  • CubeSmart: This provider offers discounted rates for active military members and college students, and you can also get a $25 discount through their Refer a Friend program.