Whenever you move house, renovate, have a baby on the way or just need somewhere to store furniture or other belongings then storage units are an ideal option. Low cost, secure and spacious they satisfy most people’s needs. But they aren’t always just used as intended.
TV reality shows such as Storage Hunters UK and Storage Wars are credited with introducing a new generation to interesting alternative ways these facilities can be employed. Couple this inspiration with the creative flair and entrepreneurship of us Brits and it’s not surprising we find innovative ways in which to repurpose them! Let’s take a look at some of the weird and wonderful alternative uses people put self storage units to.
Modern housing with its increasingly smaller rooms makes space such a premium that the ‘home gym’ is beyond a lot of people’s means. So it’s little wonder that there is a growing trend of installing gym equipment in a lock-up. And by getting a few friends to chip in you can all work out competitively and share the cost. A typical unit can house rowers, exercise bikes, weights and training benches with ease.
Another recent trend is upcycling – taking old or discarded household items and giving them a new lease of life through repurposing or overhauling. A self-storage unit makes for an ideal workshop with a plenty of space for your ‘to-do’ collection. Walls can be put to shelving use to further bolster your capacity to stash future project parts, tools and restoration equipment.
The eBay start-up seller can use storage for their products. Not everyone wants to use their home as their eBay stockroom. Aside from space concerns, there are home insurance implications and the increased risk of making your house a target for burglaries. Self-storage facilities are a staffed and safer option for your goods.
In the UK, government cutbacks have resulted in the depressing closure of a number of community amenities. Trying to hire a hall or building for your group to jam is getting harder. And you often need to travel further afield for the privilege. Storage facilities can be a great place to practice without disturbing the neighbours and have enough space for your whole group. Look for premises that have electrical outlets if you need power for amps and keyboards.
Sound and Visual Effects studio
With some computing and audio equipment you could produce your own music or create show reels for drama schools or YouTube videos. The commercial or industrial setting also makes for superb garage or grunge. In addition they lend themselves to indie video locations.
War gaming and clubs
Games Workshop, Dungeons & Dragons, and Star Wars X-Wing have a loyal and ever-growing number of fans who can struggle to find space to play their miniature-based war games. Often benefiting from tables sized 6’ x 4’ or larger and requiring scenery pieces, the miniatures themselves and room to assemble and paint, a storage unit makes for a useful base of operations for you and your friends. Choosing a facility near food outlets and shops is a good idea too, after all snacks and supplies are essential to any good gaming venue! You could also use the room for poker nights’ card tables, pool tables or darts practice.
Arts and crafts
One aspect of arts and crafts most hobbyists will agree on is the sheer amount of paraphernalia you accumulate for your projects. Rolls of fabric, boxes of sequins, paints, canvasses, brushes and even googly eyes eventually take up a lot of space. Most enthusiasts stockpile and collect all manner of items and these usually rapidly fill the space you have at home. Aside from cats making off with your wool, dogs hiding food in your baskets, and children getting covered in glitter and glue a storage unit offers a place for you to craft in peace. Sculpting and pottery is also a popular activity in a unit – the concrete floors are easy to sweep and wash clean. Just think how all that dust, stone fragments and wet clay would otherwise ruin carpets and laminate flooring.
Writing is a solitary experience, once which requires peace to formulate ideas, expand thoughts and plan. For some they take to libraries, secluded country spots or box room studies. But now a few are experimenting with the confines of a self storage facility. The freedom to isolate yourself in a room away from home or work can allow the creative juices to flow. Thrillers or intense claustrophobic pieces can be enhanced by the atmosphere you can make for real.
Although a more common practice in the States, some individuals this side of the Pond have also taken to outfitting their storage units as survival shelters. Water recycling units, dehydrated army rations and waste processing machines somehow find their way inside. Foil lined interiors, hermetically sealed tents with their own air supply, and entertainment centres add to the astounding array of apocalypse survival tools. Occasionally the units are booby-trapped with smoke grenades or worse which we don’t recommend at all.
Trying to hide Christmas presents from your children or wanting to keep a large gift like a car hidden from your significant other? Then renting storage for a month or so is a great way to keep a surprise a surprise! It’s really only in the last few years that self storage has become more fashionable as a short-term option; typically users in the UK store their possessions for around 6 months or more at a time.
Over the course of this article we hope we’ve given you some inspiration too on how having a self storage unit in your life can make a big difference to your hobbies and interests and perhaps give you the chance to indulge in something totally new, something you had thought about but always ruled out due to lack of space or availability of local amenities.
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