Pros and Cons of Living in a Storage Unit

17 December 2015 by

When you think of storage units, you don’t generally tend to think of living in them. Instead, you imagine stacks of old comic books, wardrobes from the ‘70s, and exercise equipment with the price tags still on them.

But when you consider that there are 2.3 billion square feet of self-storage space in America (which means 7.3 square feet of storage for every single person in this country) with monthly rental prices ranging from $50 to several hundred dollars, you can see how it might be tempting to set up camp in a storage facility.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of living in a storage unit:


  • It’s cheaper than an apartment. In Los Angeles a small studio in a bad neighborhood miles away from the nearest Starbucks is still going to be 3 or 4 times more expensive than a storage unit.
  • With an abundance of storage facilities in every town, they’re convenient.
  • Because storage units are for material goods, you won’t have to worry about noisy neighbors.
  • Rental agreements are on a month-to-month basis, which is perfect for commitment-phobes.
  • Many facilities rent out mailboxes with a street (not P.O. Box) address, so you can still conduct your business.
  • Lack of space will force you to downsize your life and, as a possible bonus, turn into a Zen Buddhist Monk.


  • It’s illegal.
  • No running water or plumbing.
  • No electricity (unless you run a very long extension cord out the unit and down the hall), which means when your smartphone battery dies you’ll have to deal with the panic attacks that come from being addicted to your phone.
  • No electricity also means no heat or air.
  • No shower. Which is directly related to the point above.
  • No light. So, it’s basically like camping without the bears. Unless you count rats….
  • You won’t be bringing a date back to your pad.
  • It’s illegal.

No matter how many pros there are to living in storage, it only takes one con—it’s illegal—to tell you that it’s a bad idea.

However, there’s another angle to living in a storage unit: take the unit out of the facility. Check out this great infographic called Living In Storage: New Architecture with Old Cargo Containers.

Apparently, there are 300 million empty shipping containers just sitting in ports because it’s cheaper to leave them there rather than ship the empties back to the country of origin. Some creative architects have turned them into snazzy houses, orphanages, and other livable spaces. Recycling at its best!