The World of Self Storage Garages

If there was ever a poster child for modern society’s affluenza of over-consumption, it would have to be self storage garages, right? People have SO much stuff that they can’t fit it into their homes – despite the average living space doubling over the last 40 years.

A friend and I met for lunch recently at a wickedly greasy steak place and he talked about a storage garage he had rented to store stuff while they put their house up for sale. It is a 5′ x 10′ space that rents for an incredible $75 per month. I was shocked at how much it cost, although it has security, 24 hour access, and climate control. You could store a boat for a lot less than that somewhere, but you wouldn’t have all of the niceties.

A quick Google search revealed these amazing statistics: Almost 9% of Americans have a storage garage rented at any given time. It’s a $22B industry in the US with 58,000 rental facilities averaging 586 units each. That’s twice as many storage garage facilities as there are chain drug stores – which seem like they are on every block.

I think it’s interesting that 65% of storage garage renters have a garage, 47% have an attic, and 33% have a basement. Still, people have much more stuff than they have space. The storage industry has grown an amazing 75% over the last 10 years.

Self storage garages are so ubiquitous and so many people have abandoned their units that a whole industry has popped up around buying the crap that people leave in them. There are now dozens of websites where you can bid for garage contents online. Annually about 150K storage units get sold at auction with an average bid of $425.

My brother and I split a storage garage for a couple years when we were moving between places after college, but we’ve never had one since. While I’m sure they make a lot of sense for someone on the move (like military) or someone that needs to store things for a business, looking at the garages that are being auctioned on TV it just looks like a lot of extra crap that people didn’t have a place for.

Do you keep a self storage garage? Is it temporary, or have you had it a long time?

12 thoughts on “The World of Self Storage Garages

  1. Wow, really nice analysis!

    I don’t have a Storage Unit, but I know people that do and I wrote a post awhile back about one couple. They are keeping old furniture for their daughter that probably doesn’t want the stuff. It’s crazy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We don’t have a storage garage, but we DO also have furniture stored (in the basement) for our son. He too, doesn’t really seem to want it, but we’re hoping he sees the value in a few years!


    1. We almost got one when we were moving between houses, it found a rental house with a huge garage to utilize.


  2. I used storage garages (smaller size than full width) when I went home during the summer from my out of state college. Living off campus was cheaper than campus housing, but paying rent during the summer was not. The unit I used was about $45 each month. I can’t imagine using one now that I have a house. There is nothing that I would want to keep that we can’t fit in the house. We also have a one car garage that we actually use for the car!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In addition to college, they are great for folks in the Military that may be away on a mission for a period of time.


  3. When we moved from DC to Charleston,SC we had some beautiful furniture/items that would not fit in our new cottage home. Our kids did not want the stuff. Goodwill,Salvation Army, etal made out like bandits. To store the stuff our 1 daughter wanted us to store it for a year so she could take it to her next place because she would have more room there. To store it for a year would be $2000. She said forget it, “ send her the $2000” and she would get her own stuff. Gave the furniture to our church to give to immigrant members who needed help.Did not give daughter cash, but did help pay for her move.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. $2000 is an amazing amount of money for storage. Sounds like you made the right decision all around!


  4. If I ever go this route, please smack me over the head? Because something has gone terribly wrong!
    Side note, we have family that rents one, but she downsized and temporarily moved to Asia for travels and volunteering. This was the cheapest way to store her stuff while away. That I find smart thinking.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are certainly smart reasons to have a storage garage, but that doesn’t mean that everyone that rents one is smart! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes – I have a former colleague who got into the storage garage business more than a decade ago. My under standing is that he has done very well with them.


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