In the 2016 movie The Accountant, Ben Affleck’s character has what we’ll call an “ill-advised” use for his storage unit. It sorta makes you wonder what uses people have for their space, other than, well, you know, storing stuff.

5 creative and unconventional ways to use your storage unit (4)

Of course, storage units are popular to use when you’re moving or staging your home to sell; when you need to store your dorm room contents somewhere during the summer; or when you’re trying to downsize or just get rid of clutter.

Here are five unconventional uses we found:

Young woman doing sport

An At-Home Gym

Sometimes you have to move stuff out to create ample room for what you want to do. That’s what Skylar K. found when she realized that her kitchen table and chairs were being used more as step stools and mail drop zones than an actual dining set. She decided to move them into storage to make room for an at-home workout area.

While the space isn’t huge, there’s plenty of room to lay out a yoga mat, a couple of dumbbells and resistance bands, she says.

The best part of the new gym space?

“My excuses for not working out pretty much vanish as soon as I walk in the door and see my little set-up,” Skylar says.

However, if you want to maintain that “excuse potential,” another option is to flip this idea and store your workout stuff at the storage unit, clear some space and get your sweat on there—that is if it’s permitted by the owner.

Maker Space

Why not turn storage space into a make-shift workshop? Elio F., a chef in Los Angeles, has a side hustle upcycling antiques and furniture to sell online. His storage space offers the perfect location for sanding, painting and refurbishing the furniture. Having a separate space disconnected from his home has helped him turn enough of a profit that he is planning an upcoming trip to Europe or Thailand.

Self Storage Gallery

Art Gallery

Fridge and walls full at home? Finding a place to store your child’s artwork for posterity – you know, just in case he becomes the next Monet — is a great use of storage space.

But Derek Donnelly, an artist in Miami, has elevated storage containers to an “art form,” you might say, using them as an art gallery space in the arts district of Pinellas Park. The gallery is created from three containers that include a studio space, while other containers serve as his apartment.


Practice Studio

Neighbors tired of your late-night practicing? It happens. But why disturb the peace when you can move the rehearsal to a storage space? While “storage unit band” doesn’t quite have the same ring as “garage band,” it might be worth it to have a place you can play undisturbed, depending on the location and rules of the storage unit you choose.

Bridge Storage and Art Space, just outside of San Francisco, even advertises itself as a place to rock out, with special sound-proof rehearsal spaces that allow musicians to practice and record and even includes access to an “artist’s lounge.”

Hand completing Emergency Preparation List by Equipment

Emergency Cache          

To start with, you can store food and other items there to retrieve as needed and avoid taking up precious space in your home or garage. In fact, key to successful emergency planning is storing items in various places so you can access them even if you can’t get home, and a storage unit is a great choice.

The city of Cannon Beach, OR, has another ingenious suggestion for storage. It encourages residents of the beachside town, which is located in a tsunami zone, to rent space and leave it empty and available to drop off items from their house if they need to flee.

Cathie Ericson

One comment

  1. I have tried all of these! For over six years I have been seeking space in Columbus, Ohio to use as work space for office/workshop/art studio. These are my “brick walls”
    1. This”always boggled my mind: Billboards boast “have your extra space as a work shop!” Hummm..where is the electricity to have light, to operate tools?
    2. How about storing paints in freezing weather?
    3. What about having works of art and food in a unit, when it is prohibited?
    4. Most facilities have now, unfortunately, removed dumpsters and/or have restricted use.
    5. Has anyone ever been inside his/her unit during a fierce downpour? NIAGRA FALLS?

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