While sharing a storage unit makes sense for a family, it can be tricky to share self storage with friends. Yes, it saves money, but there are a lot of things to consider, and you need to be aware of the risks.
The sharing arrangement usually starts as a favor or a common interest. Maybe a close friend needs self storage after an unexpected flood or another mishap, and you have extra space. If you share a hobby with a friend it makes sense to share the cost of storage. Helping your buddies and enjoying common interests together is fine as long as you’re cautious and sharing with a responsible person.
Benefits of Sharing a Storage Unit
The obvious benefit of sharing a storage unit is saving money. College students on a tight budget may need a small storage area, but not an entire unit. Hobby enthusiasts, as well, may need some extra space, but can’t justify spending the money when they aren’t filling the storage unit. Self storage is the perfect solution for hiding and wrapping Christmas gifts, but be warned that this may turn out to be a permanent situation (we’ll get into that later).
Sharing Organization and Cleaning Duties
If both parties are responsible and willing, it’s great to be able to share the burden of keeping the unit clean and organized. Designate space and establish ground rules from the beginning. This is especially important if you’re sharing space for your joint hobby. If you’re using your unit for crafting as well as storage, carefully stash those hobby items in the appropriate place when you’re finished creating.
Best Practices for Sharing Self Storage
Depending on your relationship, sharing a storage unit with a friend can be either pleasant or disastrous. Everyone enjoys saving money, but no one enjoys having an arrangement with an irresponsible person.
Signing the Contract and Setting Up a Payment Plan
Before renting a storage unit, you need to decide who will sign the contract. Only one person will be able to sign, making that person responsible for the monthly lease payment. Be sure to set up a detailed payment plan so that, as the responsible party, you’re not paying the entire rent every month.
Sharing Keys and Codes
The person who signs the contract is free to share the space, the key, and any security codes with the other partner in this plan. If there is only one key, a schedule of visits will have to be determined.
Don’t take anything for granted when you’re setting up rules for joint occupancy. It may be obvious to you that you absolutely never borrow each other’s things without permission. Your friend or family member may not be on the same page with that thinking.
Organize to Suit Your Needs
Keep in mind that everyone doesn’t have the same habits or ideas of organization. Be ready to compromise, and organize for easy access. Divide the unit appropriately. If one person uses more space, that person pays a larger share of the rent. This decision should be made prior to renting the unit or as soon as possible afterward.
Be Aware of When to Walk Away
If at any time during the process you begin to feel that this arrangement isn’t working, trust your instincts. Either find another friend or family member to share your unit or scrap the entire idea. Try saving money by renting a smaller unit for a short time. You can always upsize if you need to. Most facilities lease on a month-to-month basis that allows for flexibility.
Drawbacks of Sharing Self Storage
It’s Never Temporary
If you let a friend, significant other, or family member share your unit during an emergency or for what is supposed to be a temporary arrangement, be warned that it will probably turn out to be permanent. You can’t transfer the unit to this person unless he or she agrees to take over the rental. Now you’re stuck with their stuff and on the hook for what should be their share of the rent. Unless you can work out some sort of an agreement, this uncomfortable situation will probably lead to ending the relationship.
A shared unit may cost less, but talking about expenses can be uncomfortable if the other person is behind on payments. You don’t want to have to continually pay the entire bill each month to keep the lease from being placed into arrears and the unit going to auction.
Freedom to Organize Your Way
You may have to compromise on the way the unit is organized. Everyone has different ideas on the way a unit should be set up, and your idea of easy access may be different than that of your friend. Try to keep an open mind and read Pack and Organize Your Self Storage Unit Like a Pro for some tips and tricks.
A Messy Unit
It’s necessary to clean the unit several times a year so that you’re not dealing with dust, mold, or mildew. Unfortunately, everyone doesn’t share the same standards for cleaning, and you may be left dealing with this by yourself. This discussion should take place before any sharing arrangement.
Sharing a self storage unit comes with some risks and considerations that you don’t always think about until you’re in the thick of things. Sharing a unit can be a great experience if you know and trust the person with whom you’ll be sharing. Take time to ask the right questions, and don’t take anything for granted. Be cautious and share with a reliable person.