The Top 5 Best Alternatives to Storage Units

We all face storage problems, whether it’s having a cluttered room or a full closet, finding the right place to store your belongings can prove to be difficult at times. One of the most popular solutions to this problem is to rent a storage unit. Even though this can solve your storage issue, there are plenty of better alternatives to storage units.

Storage Unit Disadvantages

Storage units can be good for storage, but they come with many of their own issues from security to limited access.

Lack of Organization

If you’ve ever rented a storage unit before, you know that the inside is an empty cube, typically with smooth metal walls and concrete flooring. Now, this is great for storage, until you begin to fill it up and everything is a cluttered mess. Then finding anything in there becomes a mission.

Security Issues

Even though a storage unit company may do countless background checks and screenings for their employees, at the end of the day, you are trusting your belongings with strangers. This makes you susceptible to multiple issues from theft to damage to your property.

Storage Restrictions

Depending on what you’d like to store in your storage unit, you must be careful as there are many items prohibited from being stored in a storage unit. These items include unregistered vehicles, furs, tires, money, hazardous materials, weapons, food, and more! These restrictions may vary between different companies.

Financial Burden

The average cost of renting a storage unit is around $180/month. You may be thinking, “That’s not too bad.”, but you’re paying $180/month for temporary storage. That’s $2,160/year that won’t even go towards something you can keep. You’d be better off paying for a rent-to-own shed.

Limited Accessibility

If you ever decide that you need to grab something you put in your storage unit, be ready for a journey. First, you must leave your house and get to your storage unit, whether that be walking or driving there. Then, you need to open the unit and search in between everything else that you stored in there. Not only do you have to worry about the commute, but not all storage units are 24/7 so you must work around the company’s schedule as well.

The 5 Best Alternatives to Storage Units

Now that we’ve gone over the disadvantages of storage units, let’s go over your alternatives.

1.     Rent-to-Own Sheds

At the top of our list, we have rent-to-own sheds. These are hands down the best storage unit alternative. They are cost-effective, secure, and organizable, and that’s just the beginning.

Here are some reasons rent-to-own sheds are a better alternative to storage units:

Cost Effective

Rent-to-own sheds are more a cost-effective alternative to storage units. For example, you can get a 10×10 storage unit in Louisville Kentucky for $164/month, or you can get a 10×12 rent-to-own shed from us at Esh’s Utility Buildings for $166/month. That’s $2 extra per month for a whole extra 20 square feet of space, and the best part is that once it’s paid off, it’s all yours to keep your belongings safe for years to come!

Becomes an Asset

Unlike a storage unit where you’re paying for something that you won’t keep, once you finish paying off your rent-to-own shed, the shed belongs to you and can be your storage unit for a long time. This also means that you now have a shed on your property, which is known to add to your property value! Experts estimate that a shed can add up to $15,000 to your property value! Learn more about sheds and property value here!

Convenient & Easily Accessible

A rent-to-own shed as a storage unit alternative provides unparalleled convenience. Need to grab something from your storage shed? Go take a walk to your backyard instead of driving miles away to your storage unit. Not to mention that there’s also no closing time for your storage shed, you can come and go as you please. Unlike storage units which may be closed during certain hours.


Since a rent-to-own shed will be stationed in your backyard, you can ensure its security. When you leave your belongings in a storage unit, you don’t know what’s happening to your stuff or who’s around it. But, if you want to check on the safety of your storage shed, all you must do is look out the window, or even install some security cameras.

No Storage Restrictions

As you may know, there are many restrictions on what you can store in a storage unit. You can’t store unregistered vehicles, money, furs, tires, weapons, and more. But you can store anything you desire in your storage shed. That rusty old axe that you barely use anymore? No problem. Your old motorcycle that doesn’t seem to work anymore, sure, why not.


Unlike a storage unit that has smooth walls and flooring with no organization methods, a rent-to-own shed is fully customizable! You can install shelving, drawers, wardrobes, and many other types of organizers. Here‘s an article about shed shelving for some ideas!

2.     Your House

You’ve probably considered this already but take a minute to think about the space in your home. Maybe there’s space somewhere that you haven’t thought about yet, like an attic, a basement, or even a spare room that can be used for storage. Another option is to get rid of stuff you don’t find useful anymore to clear some space for storage.

Here are some reasons why at-home storage is a better alternative to storage units:


Using your house as a storage unit alternative is convenient because everything you store is within reach in the comfort of your own home! No need to take trips to your storage unit miles away when you can just walk downstairs to your basement.

No Storage Restrictions

When it comes to storing things in your home, you can store whatever you’d like with no limitations, unless of course whatever you’re storing doesn’t fit in the house. Unlike a storage unit with many different restrictions on what you can and cannot store.


Your home is a great alternative to storage units, especially when it comes to security. This is because in your home you know everyone that comes in and out (hopefully). So, there is no worry about someone stealing or damaging anything that you’d have if you used a storage unit.

No Cost

Storing your belongings in your home is also good because it’s practically free. Of course, you must pay for your house and living expenses, but the storage comes at no extra cost to you. Unlike storage units that can run around $180/month, you can use your house as an alternative for free-99!

3.     Lend to a Friend

Storing your stuff with friends or family can be a great alternative to storage units. Not only is it safer as you know whom you’re trusting with your belongings, but it can also be free! Also, depending on what you give them to store, they may be able to make use of it, it’s a win-win!

Here’s why friend/family lending is a great storage unit alternative:


Depending on your relationship with the person you decide to lend your items to, storing your items with them can cost little to nothing. This definitely beats paying upwards of $100 per month for a storage unit!


Rather than locking away your belongings in a storage unit to collect dust, giving them to a friend can allow them to be used. Now you’re able to store your stuff and your friend has something they can make use of!


If you ever need to grab an item you lent your friend, it’s as easy as making a phone call for them to drop it off, or for you to go to their house and pick it up. No commute to a storage unit or tricky business hours.


Since you know the person that you’re entrusting with your stuff, this should provide you with a decent sense of security (depending on the person). I’d prefer this over storing my stuff with strangers any day.

4.     Donate

If you don’t know what you want to do with those extra items of yours, you can always give them to someone who may need them more than you. Donating your extra stuff can go a long way as it will help someone in need and help reduce waste.

Here are a few reasons why donating your stuff is a great storage unit alternative:

Helps People

By donating your stuff, you can help someone who needs those things more than you. For example, clothing and equipment are ideal for donation as somebody will find a use for them. This can also give you a sense of happiness as you make a positive impact on people’s lives.


Why would you want your items to sit in a storage unit doing nothing, when you can instead have them being used, making a positive impact on someone’s life? Therefore, donating your belongings is a great alternative to storage units.

Reduce Waste

Donating your items can also help to reduce waste. By giving your unneeded items to someone else, you essentially help reduce waste because you’d probably end up tossing out those items sooner or later, and now you’ve given them to someone who will make use of them.

5.     Repurpose a Shipping Container

Perhaps one of the least common options on this list, repurposing a shipping container is another good alternative to storage units. A shipping container can run you a few thousand dollars and provides you with a secure metal box that you can lock. While it may not be the prettiest choice, it’ll get the job done.

Here are a few reasons why repurposing a shipping container is a good storage unit alternative:


You can purchase your shipping container and keep it in your backyard. This allows for easy and convenient access whenever you’d like.


A shipping container is a large metal box, but that’s not all, you can also place a lock on your shipping container to protect whatever you decide to store in it. If someone tries to break in, it probably won’t be too hard to hear.


Now you know all the alternatives to storage units and can make the best choice for your situation! Considering your options, a rent-to-own shed is the best decision financially and physically, but the choice is yours. We hope this article helped you in one way or another, and we wish you luck in finding the perfect storage solution! Also if you liked this article, check out our rent-to-own sheds and learn more about how RTO works here!