Cheapest Storage Options

When it comes to cheap storage, 7-foot moving containers and small mini-storage units are convenient and inexpensive.

With the latter, first or second-floor units without climate control are the cheapest, as are ones outside urban areas like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles where demand and prices are high.

But thankfully for cash-strapped families looking for bargains, there are even more affordable options.

Here we’re talking about:

  1. Eliminating storage altogether
  2. Storing items at your home or business
  3. Storing items at somebody else’s home or business – like a friend or family member’s
  4. Storing items in a storage facility like U-Haul, Extra Space, and Public Storage
  5. Using a storage website like SpareFoot
  6. Using a container service like PODS
  7. Buying an overseas container and using it for storage
  8. Using a consignment shop for temporary storage
  9. Lending or making a temporary “donation”

Whether you’re storing a boat, priceless antiques, important business documents, or construction equipment during a home renovation, finding suitable storage space can be tricky.

11 Ways to Make Storage Cheaper

If storage is part of an upcoming move, using a moving cost calculator is a great way to get the process started.

Now let’s look at the cheapest storage options.

1. Just Say “No” to Storage

How it Works

The best way to reduce pricey storage is to eliminate it altogether.

Easier said than done, right?

Maybe, but a little soul searching may help you realize that you don’t need and won’t miss most the items you’re planning on storing.

When downsizing, consider the 6 Month Rule

If you haven’t used or thought about an item in 6 months, it should probably be donated or discarded.

Helpful Tips

  • Start this process in your garage, attic, or basement
  • If downsizing and decluttering are too overwhelming, get help from patient friends, coworkers, and family members
  • Don’t rush the process or start at the last minute – doing it in small doses over multiple weeks is better

2. Store Things at Your Home or Business

How it Works

This one is pretty straightforward.

If eliminating storage isn’t an option, you can save tons of money in the long run by downsizing and storing items at your home or business.

Attics, garages, basements, guest bedrooms, and offices often have unused space that’s perfect for household goods, and hearty items like boats, tools, and construction materials can be stored in sheds or under decks.

Helpful Tips

  • Consolidating attic and basement contents may free up sufficient storage space
  • Sensitive items like antiques, important documents, and artwork may not do well in attics and garages where humidity and temperature fluctuations are highest
  • When storing items outside, use tarps and pallets to protect them from the elements and ground moisture

3. Store Things at Someone Else’s Home or Business

How it Works

This is exactly the same concept, but instead of using your own free space, you use somebody else’s.

Start by asking close friends and family members, then broaden your search with a Facebook post or two if that doesn’t work.

Helpful Tips

    • When asking, include a definite time period like 3 months max

Sweeten the deal with free lunch, dinner, or a movie

  • Consider bartering, like – “If you store my living room set for three months I’ll clean your gutters in the spring”


4. Store Your Items at a Public Storage Facility

How it Works

Though it’s not the cheapest option, public storage is one of the most convenient because storage facilities are everywhere, and getting prices online, in-person and over the phone is easy.

Just like you would with movers, get multiple quotes, and make sure you’re comparing apples to apples – all first floor, 6 x 9, climate controlled units.

A few of the largest storage providers are –

Helpful Tips

  • Check for storage discounts on Groupon, and in the free magazines in the front of grocery stores
  • Ask about special rates for active or ex-military personnel, law enforcement, teachers, students, and senior citizens
  • Ask about promotions like first month free, or a no-cost upgrade to climate-controlled storage if you sign a long-term contract

5. Use a Website That Finds Storage for You

How it Works

SpareFoot’s motto is – “Find your stuff a home.”

In other words, they’re like the Airbnb of the storage world, and for busy consumers, their services can be huge time and money savers.

Other industry players include and Storage Seeker.

With each, just plug your address, city, or zip code into their website, and… BAM!

Multiple instant quotes, just like that.

Helpful Tips

  • Listings include tons of helpful information like hours, security, whether units are climate controlled, and if they offer contactless move-ins to reduce the risk of contracting Covid-19
  • Searches may not include every storage facility in your area – only the ones that they partner with
  • You may get a better deal by contacting the facilities on their websites directly

6. Use Container Storage

How it Works

Talk about easy.

With container storage companies (like UPack and PODS), you choose the container size you want and call or schedule your delivery online.

The company then delivers an empty container to your home or business, and once it’s loaded you’ll have the option of leaving it on-site, having it taken to the company’s secure facility for local storage, or even moved to another state.

Top Moving Container & Storage Companies

Helpful Tips

  • Some container storage companies have limited service areas compared to others
  • Ask if the companies you’re considering have pick up, delivery, and fuel charges
  • Consider moving during the non-peak season between September and March for the best rates
  • Look for moving container discounts

7. Buy Your Own Overseas Container for Storage

How it Works

According to Western Container Sales, not-so-gently used 40-foot shipping containers cost between $1,200 and $3,000 depending on age, condition, and supply and demand in your area.

You can also buy “one-trip” containers in like-new condition for between about $4,000 and $7,000.

Of course, you’ll have to pay for delivery too, but if you have the space and need long-term storage, buying your own container is a great option.

20-foot containers may be significantly less expensive than their big brothers, and they take up way less space.

Helpful Tips

  • Shop around for the best container deals
  • In some cases, buying from a neighboring state with more supply and less demand may be cheaper, even when delivery charges are factored in
  • There’s no guarantee that your container won’t leak, so plan on doing minor repairs to bring it up to snuff

8. Use a Consignment Shop as a Free Storage Facility

How it Works

Consignment shops are businesses that sell items for you and take a commission from the proceeds.

Most are antique or thrift shops, but some sell items on websites like Amazon and eBay too.

Either way, they may hold onto your items during the sale period, so they not only free up space but may make you a few bucks in the process.

This option only works if you’re on the fence between selling items or putting them into storage, but it’s definitely worth considering.

Helpful Tips

  • Only consign items you can live without, because somebody may buy them
  • Consignment shops are better for large items like antiques
  • Businesses that sell items for customers online may charge extra for taking photos and writing product descriptions, so ask before committing

9. Make a Temporary Donation

How it Works

Donations are usually final, but that need not be the case.

Consider this –

Your church has a new rec room but there wasn’t sufficient money in the budget to buy much furniture.

If you’re considering storing an old living room set or a patio table and chairs for 6 months, you could save yourself a few bucks by temporarily donating them to the church until you’re ready for them again.

Sure they’ll get some wear and tear, but think of all the money you’ll save.

Helpful Tips

  • Make it clear at the outset that your donation is temporary
  • This probably isn’t a great idea for expensive, breakable, or one-of-a-kind items
  • Later on you may decide to make your donation permanent, in which case you’ll be supporting a good cause

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