In tough economic times, individuals will seek ways to cut expenses and find affordable housing, and some of the ways they choose can be extreme. One way some people are choosing to find affordable housing is to live inside storage units. While it is hard to determine just how many people are living in storage units, it is estimated to be in the 500,000 range. While this may seem like an ingenious way to find affordable housing, there are many reasons why this is not a good idea, and they are listed below.
Storage units are designed to keep your belongings safe while you are moving, or if you don’t have enough room in your home to store everything. It is essential to point out that storage units (even climate-controlled ones) are not meant for anything living, just belongings. It is illegal for anything living, even an ant farm, to be stored in a storage unit. When you sign up for a storage unit, the contract will clearly state that living inside the storage unit is strictly forbidden and if you are caught doing so, you can be evicted and face fines and criminal charges specially if you are found living in the unit with children and animals.
Living in a storage unit is not only illegal; it is unsafe. Storage units are designed to hold items and belongings, not anything living. Storage units are not adequately ventilated; the temperatures can vary widely depending on the time of the year; there is no running water, and no sanitation facilities. In addition to the necessities that are needed for a building to be safe for human habitation, living in storage can cause your death. Storage units are locked from the outside, and even if you leave your unit unlocked so, you can enter and exit, someone may pass by unit and think the unit was opened by accident and they may lock you in the unit. Without any way to leave the unit you could be trapped in there for any length of time, and it could be possible lead to your death.
Other Options to Consider Before Living in a Storage Unit
If you have fallen on hard times and are finding it difficult to pay your bills, including your housing expenses before you make the terrible decision to live in a storage unit, there are other low-cost options available to you that are much safer. Listed below are some safe alternatives to living in a storage unit:
Friends and Family
While it may be embarrassing to have to call on friends and family and ask for help with a place to live, it is better than putting your life at risk by trying to live in a storage unit. Everyone has experienced financial hardships at one point in their lives, and your friends and family will understand that you just need some help to save up and get back on your feet and will be more than willing to help you out.
If you find you are having a hard time paying your rent or can’t find a place that fits your budget, consider having a roommate. Roommates can split the expenses and make apartments or homes that would usually be out of your budget affordable. If you find you are renting a three bedroom/3 bath apartment for $1200 a month and split the expenses three ways you are looking at $400 a month. The chances of you finding an apartment or home to rent for $400 a month is slim, but by choosing to have roommates, you will find you can afford a nice place to live.
Rent a Room
If you find that you are having a hard time meeting your monthly living expenses and have an apartment or home with more than one bedroom, consider renting out the other room. By renting out a room, you can earn extra income while remaining in your home or apartment. Many people are facing the same financial issues as you are, and by renting out a room you can not only help yourself, you can also help someone else.
Before putting you live at risk by trying to stay in a storage unit, you should call your local YMCA and see if they have rooms for rent. Staying at the YMCA is more than just a favorite song; you can find affordable rooms that start as low as $10.00 a night and will provide all the necessities you need.
Another way to cut expenses and still have an affordable place to live is to try camping. Whether you are using a tent, truck/van, or recreational vehicle camping can be an affordable and safe way to find a temporary place to stay. You can find campgrounds that are as little as $20 a night, and they provide facilities to use the restroom, shower, electricity, and other amenities depending on the campground and how much you are willing to spend.
While internet articles or YouTube videos showing how people have saved money by living in storage units may seem appealing, they are dangerous and under no means should anyone attempt to live in a storage unit. Not only are you putting your life at risk, if you are found living in a storage unit, but you can also face criminal charges and fines. Storage units are designed to store things, and belongings, not people, and any money you may save by trying to live in a storage unit can be overshadowed by the risk you are putting yourself in. If you find that you are having a hard time financially, some alternatives are available and safer than living in a storage unit.