Blog, Renting

Could You Save On Rent By Downsizing And Using External Storage?


Rent prices in the UK are up 5.1% (as of June 2023) and sadly they are showing no sign of stopping. With this increase being the highest it has been for decades, everyone is looking for some way of cutting the costs of renting. But could downsizing and storing your extra stuff provide the solution?

According to research from Compare My Move, external storage could help alleviate costs for renters across the nation.

The average rent in the UK for one room as of June 2023 is £704 per month, according to Spare Room. That’s a whopping £8,448 spent per year, on average, for just one room. If you need more than one room, because you have too many belongings, then this price will double to an average of £16,896 per year.

How Can Storage Help Save You Money?

The average annual cost of storage in the UK is £27.19 per square foot. If you would like a storage space the same size as the average UK master bedroom (143.9 square feet) it will cost you £3,912.64 a year.

When you compare this to the cost of adding an extra bedroom to your property search, which will set you back an average of £8,448 a year. This means you can save a massive £4,535.36 on your rent if you opt for storage space instead of an extra room. Not only that, but it could potentially make your property search easier by opening up new search options with less space.

Despite this, the SSA has surveyed that 36% of the public think that self-storage is too expensive. However, in the same survey, 17% of people say that their need for self-storage has changed due to the cost of living. This is reflected in the number of people using self-storage, with 68% of self-storage customers having never used self-storage before.

Things That Impact The Cost of Storage

The average UK storage cost of £27.19 per square foot. However, it does vary from region to region.

Other factors that will determine storage prices are:

  1. The price (per square foot)
  2. Location of the storage unit (if the unit is close to the city centre, it will probably be more expensive)
  3. Length of the rental
  4. Insurance costs
  5. The level of security

How to Choose the Right Storage Unit Size?

Choosing the right storage unit size will depend on the items you’re storing. Below we’ve listed the common uses for storage to help determine the size you’ll need:

  • Personal storage – Many people store personal items such as important documents or photographs. This tends to be smaller items so a storage locker or a small storage unit will be best suited.
  • Student storage – Students are often in between accommodation so short-term storage is common for many. 25 sq ft units are ideal for students as most accommodation will come furnished.
  • Climate-controlled storage – Temperature-controlled storage helps to protect items like vinyl records, antiques and artwork. This is often flexible in size so will depend on the volume of items needed for storing.

How Much Storage Do I Need?

You may be wondering how much storage you actually need. Here’s a guide:

Small Units

Smaller storage units are roughly the size of an average garden shed, so are ideal if you are storing the entire contents of one room. They are roughly between 25 square feet and 50 square feet. The contents of a unit this size will approximately fill half the size of a transit van.

A small storage unit will typically hold: garden supplies and equipment, small furniture items (side tables, small chairs, etc), seasonal decorations, camping gear, sport and fitness gear and bikes.

Medium Units

A medium storage unit is approximately the size of a single garage. This could fit the contents of one-and-a-half Luton vans. The size of this unit is between 75 square feet and 150 square feet.

A medium storage unit typically holds a double bed, wardrobe, three-piece suite dining table and chairs, larger sports equipment, garden and landscaping equipment.

Large Units

A large storage unit is ideal for the contents of a 4-5 bedroom house. It is also suitable for businesses for additional stock and office equipment. These units are roughly the size of a double-car garage.

For transportation, the contents of a unit this size will likely require a 7.5-tonne box lorry. In this case, contacting a removal company is highly advised.

A large storage unit usually holds large beds, furniture sets, pianos and other large musical instruments, refrigerators and large freezers, retail inventory and business stock and construction supplies.

Should You Downsize And Turn To Storage To Save Money?

David Sayce, co-founder of Compare My Move, says: “The UK self-storage association has revealed that 30.3% of all people who rent storage do so to create more space at home – therefore not only is it a great idea to cut the costs of rental space, it is one that is already being implemented throughout the UK.

“The SSA has also revealed that around 62% of self-storage customers live less than a 15-minute drive away from their storage with 23% of storage customers visiting their storage once a week or more. This is an important statistic, as many people perceive self-storage as a lockup for unwanted items – yet it’s more akin to an extra cupboard that’s a little bigger and a short drive away.”

Times are hard at the moment. Perhaps self-storage is one way for renters to save money.

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