Self-Storage or Storage Shed: Which Is the Better Choice?

If you’re like a lot of people, you have way too much stuff and not nearly enough space to store it all. Something has to be done about it, right? You could donate it to a church or charity, or you might try to sell items online or in a consignment store. A lot of it you could probably just throw away.

The problem is: What if you want or need to keep some of the stuff that’s cluttering up your life? It’s fine if you do, but it could mean that—like it or not—you’ll need to pay for extra storage.

So what do with all the stuff you just can’t get rid of? You have a few options:

• Option 1: Live with the Clutter

If you have an attic, basement, or garage, you can continue piling stuff up in those areas. But attics and basements are not always climate-controlled, and if your garage gets filled up, then there’s nowhere for your car to go except outside in the driveway.

• Option 2: Rent a Self-Storage Unit

You can store your belongings in a facility across town, pay a monthly fee, and rely on strangers to safeguard your stuff. What could go wrong?

• Option 3: Purchase a Shed of Your Own

You can buy, finance, or rent-to-own an outdoor storage building shed on your property, put your stuff in it, and keep an eye on it as well.

Obviously, option 1 isn’t a good one for you, or you likely wouldn’t be reading this post. Therefore, your best options are 2 or 3; but which option is best: Self-storage or a shed of your won?

With more than 54,000 facilities in the US, self-storage is big business. If you’re looking to store some of your belongings, you might choose a self-storage unit because it seems like a good alternative to the clutter. Maybe you just don’t have time to sort and sell your items—or you plan to get to it later—and self-storage will do for a “temporary” fix.

Self-storage is a popular choice for many people, but how does it compare to having your own outdoor storage shed in your backyard? It largely comes down to a question of convenience and cost.


Self-storage might be a practical solution for a short-term need, but it can still be a big hassle to drive all the way to the unit just to retrieve that one thing you need right now. In addition, lots of other people use the facility, and your belongings are only as safe as the security the facility provides. Typically, there are caps on how much your homeowner’s insurance will cover on belongings stored offsite, as well.

A backyard storage shed is much more convenient. You can quickly move stuff from the house to your shed without having to load up a vehicle and drive to the self-storage facility (or vice versa). You get to reclaim your attic, basement, or garage, and if you need something, it’s right there waiting for you in your own backyard. No need to wait until you can get to the storage unit to recover what you need.


Convenience is certainly an important consideration for many people, but the cost difference between renting and owning is where things get crystal-clear.

The fee for a self-storage unit is usually determined by the unit size, the location of the facility, and whether or not the unit is climate-controlled. Rates can vary wildly from area-to-area, but on average, Americans will pay anywhere from $40–50 for a 5x5-foot unit, up to $225 or more for a 20x20-foot storage space. That’s every month!

Over the months and even years that you store your stuff, the monthly charges can become a huge expense, comparable to a car payment, a utility bill, or even your weekly grocery budget. Depending on how long you rent the unit, you can potentially wipe out any savings you might recoup by keeping the stuff that’s “too important or valuable” to get rid of.

As an example, a 10x15-foot self-storage space can cost $100–125 per month on average (more for climate-controlled), meaning that after four years, you’ve paid the storage facility somewhere between $4,800 and $6,000 or more, and you have nothing for it except a big hole in your bank account and a unit full of your stuff.

By comparison, you can finance a brand-new 10x12-foot quality-built wood storage shed from BackYard Storage for around $75–80 per month (depending on style and features) with payment terms of 48 months. At the end of four years, you own that storage shed—it’s yours!—for around $3,600 to 3,800 in total cost.

Owning a storage shed instead of renting just makes sense.

Curious what a shed might run you? Check out our inventory of new and pre-owned outdoor storage buildings , or you can even design a custom shed to your exact specifications using our handy online configurator tool.

If you’re considering renting a self-storage unit, contact us or come by one of our convenient locations before you do. We’ll help you find exactly the storage solution you’re looking for at a price you can afford.

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