why people use storage

Have you ever wondered why self storage facilities have been popping up all over the place? What could people possibly be putting inside those storage units? Why do people use storage, really?

We had a general idea of who our customers were and why they needed to rent from us, but we decided to find out more. In a resulting survey, our customers told us the main reason they needed extra storage.

A whopping 41% of customers surveyed said they needed storage for moving. The next largest pool was 17% of customers that said they used storage for de-cluttering purposes. Want to know what other reasons people use storage units? Keep on reading to find out.

1. To offset the stress of moving.

Moving Checklist - Life Storage Blog

There are so many different circumstances we find ourselves in when we move. Regardless of we’re moving to another state or into our first home, moving tends to be a stressful process.

Sometimes temporarily renting a storage unit can provide an answer to some common moving problems. Read on for some of the common reasons people might rent a storage unit during a move.

Moving scenarios that might require self storage:

  • Downsizing. If you have to move into a smaller home quickly, you might not be able to sort through all your belongings promptly. Instead of making hasty decisions you might regret later, put the excess into a storage unit to sort through once the move is over.
  • Staging a home for sale. Have children or pets? You might have a lot of things in your home that don’t necessarily look ready for a real estate showing. Many realtors suggest renting a small storage unit to keep some clunky items off-site during the selling process.
  • Closing date pushed back. If you need to be out of your apartment by February 28, but your closing date won’t happen until March 15, a storage unit is going to be almost a necessity. It is inconvenient to have to move twice, but at least you know your stuff will be kept safe and sound in the meantime.
  • A transient job with no permanent residence. If you are traveling overseas or are in the military, having a storage unit with your home base items might be commonplace. Once you are in a better position to put down some roots, the storage unit can be replaced with a longer-term home.
  • Consolidating homes. This process can happen when a couple first moves in together or when an elderly parent moves in with a child. In either situation, there is likely to be a lot of excess stuff. A storage unit can give you and your family time to get through the transition.

2. To provide more space at home.

top reasons people rent storage units

Even before the dawn of the Marie Kondo era, people have had a strong desire to declutter. However, sometimes we aren’t in a position to get rid of belongings. They might belong to another family member that is out of town, or we have a sentimental attachment.

Many people will temporarily rent a storage unit so they can slowly go through the decluttering process and keep their home tidy. People who have a knack for interior decorating also may utilize storage units to house decor they can switch out from time to time.

Read Also: How to Use the Four-Box Technique When You Have Too Much Stuff

3. To keep vehicles safe in the offseason.

why people store cars

Customers store more than just their cars. RVs, motorcycles and boats can all be found at self storage facilities during the offseason. Most people don’t have a large enough driveway or garage to keep their toys, so storage units are often one of the more affordable storage options.

There are more ways to store a car or vehicle than inside a standard storage unit.

Most self storage facilities provide the following options:

4. To help organize a home renovation.

You might not be moving, but you decided to tear off the back of your house and build an addition. Storage units allow homeowners to empty the space needing renovation so they can work freely.

5. To store a loved one’s belongings.

people needing storage during estate planning

When a loved one passes away, going through their house is not the first thing on everyone’s to-do list. However, there’s usually a push to get the house emptied so it can be sold or rented.

If your parent or grandparent didn’t downsize in their later years, sometimes the amount of stuff can be overwhelming. Customers who are dealing with a loss might put items into storage and process them when things are a little less raw.

Waiting for a short period before sorting through a loved one’s belongings will help emotions run a little less hot. An item you would have fought over might be handled with a bit more grace and less anger when people have healed more emotionally.

6. To empty a dorm room in the summer.

using self storage for college students

Kids who go away to college are often left with a dilemma of what to do with their stuff during the summer. Storage facilities near college campuses are packed with college students and their families who come every June. It beats having to cart a dorm room full of belongings back to their childhood bedroom!

Storage Tip: If you find yourself needing a storage unit near a college university around that time, considering renting a month in advance to ensure you get the size you need.

Sometimes storage facilities will offer deals on the first month of rent, so you could end up saving money. If you wait too long, all the standard sizes may be occupied and you’ll be forced into a larger unit than you need.

7.  To keep businesses inventory organized.

small business inventory management

Ever try to start a business and have it take over your entire house? At first, it seems like a smart way to save some cash, but eventually, it starts to wear on your sanity. Many small business owners rent storage units as an affordable way to keep track of inventory.

Some common businesses that find value in storage units include:

  • Carpenters and contractors
  • Antique and book dealers
  • Retail shop owners
  • Sales and service professionals

Read Also: Working Out of a Storage Unit: Do’s and Dont’s

No matter why someone decides to rent a storage unit, their reasons for doing so are valid. Before someone passes judgment on renting storage, they should consider what type of life transition that person is going through. More often than not, it’s more complicated than being materialistic and wanting a ton of stuff.

What other reasons can you think of for why people use storage? Let us know on Twitter!

This post originally appeared on the Life Storage blog on 9/4/14 and was revised on 2/27/19 to provide new information.

About the Author

Lauren Thomann

Lauren Thomann has written about self storage and moving since 2015, making her our storage expert. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in English and Linguistics and has published over 150 articles on moving, storage, and home organization. She is also a contributing writer at and Martha Stewart.

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