When housing costs are a challenge, living space at home is at a premium. While household items can be stored by adding cupboards and shelves, accommodating vehicles is more difficult. Apartment dwellers without a parking spot may already keep a car at a nearby storage facility, but there are many more ways you can use self storage to make your family’s vehicles, your lifestyle and your budget all fit together.

Even if you live in a house with a garage, chances are it only has room for a car and a couple of bicycles. However, as well as the essential commute-mobile, family members may all insist they need their own wheels, and then there are the vehicles for vacations and fun at the weekend. Self storage can help with all of this! It can even let you turn a garage into an extension of your living space. We present 10 ways in which you can use self storage for all the vehicles your family needs, and so maximize your home and your lifestyle.

1. The vehicle you need most is safe in self storage

The good ol’ family sedan is needed for commuting, school runs and shopping trips, and it may be the one vehicle currently occupying your garage, if you have one. However, if you have a self storage facility just around the corner, you could consider keeping your car safely in a 10’x20’ storage unit there at a reasonable cost, freeing up your garage for other uses. And if you live in an apartment, this option could definitely be preferable to parking on the street.

2. Businesspeople own large vehicles they have trouble parking

If you own a business, you might have another essential vehicle, perhaps something large for transporting materials and equipment. Keeping it at a self storage facility makes a lot of sense — chances are it is robust enough to stay outside in a parking space there, maybe with a roof to keep the weather of it. In this way, in order to keep your work vehicles secure, you don’t need to own or rent a plot of land with a solid fence around it near to where you live.

3. Valuable vehicles deserve special storage options

Chances are somebody in your family loves cars for more than just their practical purposes! A stylish open-top for showing off on the weekend, perhaps a valuable vintage model, might warrant a storage unit with climate control to keep it in tip-top condition. The temperature and humidity levels in there will be kept at levels that ensure the tires and paintwork do not deteriorate over time. So, if you’re storing the Corvette you used on your first dates, self storage has got your back!

4. Motorhomes and campervans need appropriate storage spaces

The RVing trend increased considerably during the last couple of years — in a motorhome, families can vacation together and even work online while on the road. A compact camper might just squeeze into a single-car garage, but most RVs don’t, and there wouldn’t be room for much else. Instead, many self storage facilities offer units big enough to hold RVs, such as the 10’x30’ storage unit type. They also have outdoor parking spaces, covered or uncovered, where vehicles as long as 50’ can be kept.

5. Many types of vehicles can help you enjoy weekends

For recreation, sometimes only a large motorcycle ticks the boxes — mid-life crisis, dad! Or perhaps a motor scooter would help his daughter feel like she was in a cool old Italian movie. Then there are fun vehicles like ATVs that can be taken out on trails on the weekend — a towed trailer would also be needed, but both these items could fit into a 10’x20’ storage unit. Alternatively, a small boat might be accommodated there, so the whole family can go fishing whenever they want to.

6. Diverse families need a wide range of vehicles

Families can be diverse, and multigenerational, with each member keen to get around exactly as they wish. After mom and pop’s transportation requirements have been addressed, the youngsters and seniors will want their say. Bicycles are great for helping kids get around and keep fit, and cycling can also be a family activity with every member having one — a 5’x10’ storage unit would be suitable for storing them all, plus the riding gear and tools you might need.

7. Electric cars can be stored if charged properly

In line with the increasing trend for green technology, a self storage facility would be a good place for any electric car an environmentally aware family member owns. Before you leave the car at the facility, make sure the battery is sufficiently charged, certainly above 10%, and perhaps way above 50% if it will be in storage for a long time. Some electric car manufacturers recommend keeping the vehicle plugged in, if possible — they should have a system in place to ensure the battery doesn’t get overcharged.

8. Changing times may motivate smaller vehicles

Microcars have room for a couple of people, are economical, and are now also manufactured in electric-powered versions. They have not been as popular in the U.S. as in Europe, for instance, but this may now be changing as they are predicted to win a larger share of the market — rising gas prices alone could fuel this segment. As these vehicles are often less than 10’ in length, they are easy to park. One might fit into a 10’x10’ storage unit, but it would need to have drive-up access, of course.

9. With vehicles in self storage you can repurpose your garage

If you have a garage, and are still keeping your most essential vehicles in there, you could now consider taking the next step by repurposing it to give you more living space. You may need to increase insulation, raise the floor, install different doors, and hide essential features such as water heaters behind new partitions, but this type of project can still be a lot cheaper than constructing a new building. The finished result could be a home office, a guest room or a kids’ play area.

10. Consider a hybrid solution to converting your garage

Even if you need the vehicle you use every day within a few steps of your front door, there are still ways forward. Riding a bicycle to work can be a faster commute through traffic and will keep you fit. Or you could consider swapping the sedan for one of those microcars — perhaps keeping a larger car you use less often at your storage unit. With these solutions, you could convert a part of the garage to residential use. Whatever type of project you opt for, don’t forget that you will probably need a zoning permit first.

Garage renovation

Keeping cars, RVs, bicycles, motorcycles and other vehicles in self storage helps you maximize the mobility and lifestyle of each member of your household. You might even be able to increase your living space by finding another use for your garage. By renting a nearby storage unit of the right size, you can have access to a range of vehicles at a low monthly cost. You might also like to think again about which vehicles you own — or even about expanding the selection, now that you have discovered the possibilities that self storage can offer you!


Francis Chantree is a writer and editor for Yardi, focusing on real estate and lifestyle content. He is a former programmer and researcher who exchanged computer language for his greatest passion, human language! When not writing and proofreading text, he can be found gardening and reading.

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