Should You Share Your Self-Storage Unit with Family or Friends?

It is certainly a good thing to help others when they are in need, especially family and friends. Always do what you can to help, of course, but be warry of what you are really giving them in terms of aid. If you have family members or friends asking to borrow space in your self-storage unit, then do not be too quick to say “yes.”

Taking your time to consider what sort of a request your family or friends are asking of you is important. Their request is probably innocent enough: “I just need you to house these items while I am going through renovations;” or, “I just need you to store my items while I shuffle between apartments.” As innocent as these requests are, that does not mean the hand you do give them will be as simple as their “just this.”

Anything can happen between now and their renovation completion or apartment move, and both of you should think this agreement through a bit further. Indeed, just because they want something apparently simple and short-term, does not mean that the arrangement won’t extend further than either of you intended at the outset.

Here are a few important things to consider when sharing your self-storage unit becomes a question.

Access to your storage unit

Unless you are starting from scratch and renting a new self-storage unit under your name and the name of the individual who wants to share the locker with you, be aware that only you have access to your storage unit. The self-storage facility is not going to grant access to anyone other than you, which means that if you decide to give up some of your space to family or friends, you will need to be there every time they want access.

This is particularly difficult if you intend to go away. If you aren’t around, it will be very difficult for your family or friend to gain access to the self-storage unit; and if they absolutely need something while you’re away, this could be very problematic for them (and in all probability, annoying for you while away).

Getting around this would include a restructuring of your rental agreement to include the new individual on it, and that may be a painful process – or not possible at all.

“Just this” may be a lot more

While your family member or friend may request a certain length of time and really mean it, they are not in complete control of that time. Renovations are often longer than first quoted. A shuffle between apartments can take longer than intended. A move to another city may result in them staying in that city much longer than they first imagined.

If extensions occur with something like this, can you afford to give up that space for longer? If you’re planning a trip, can you afford to switch the date in the event that you will need to grant your family member or friend access at that later than intended date?

Whatever length they give you, you should add at least another month to the timetable to be safe.

“Just this” may not be “just this”

You can certainly trust your family and friends, but that does not mean that they know everything about their own items. They may be totally trustworthy, but that does not mean that they are totally aware of the condition of their item(s) and/or the impact their item(s) will have in your storage unit.

It’s maybe “just” a mattress, but what if it’s infested with bed bugs? It maybe “just” a few boxes out of his or her kitchen, but what if some of those boxes contain food that may encourage an infestation of ants or the like in your self-storage unit?

It might all be a quite innocent request from your family or friend, but if they haven’t done their homework properly, then you may be the one who suffers. And truthfully, you never know what’s inside a box unless you’ve filled that box yourself.

It’s never “just this.” There’s always more to an equation of this sort. While we always do try to help our family and friends when they need it, there is nothing wrong with investigating their request further, and turning it down if you can foresee problems.

We at Real Storage are here to make sure you help your family and friends in a way that keeps your items and self-storage unit safe, while also keeping your rental costs and time spent on the project at a minimum.

Often, it is “just” better for your family member or friend to rent their own unit. Real Storage has many unit sizes that can be rented for short terms. Instead of giving your family or friend a hand by opening up and sacrificing the space you’re renting, point them in the right direction towards their own self-storage unit. In the end, this will be easier for all involved.

Using the above to guide your considerations and understanding of your family or friends’ requests to share your self-storage space will help prevent any unforeseen circumstances from harming your self-storage experience.

For further advice on sharing storage space, or any other self-storage concerns, please speak to your Real Storage agent today.