Using Storage for Non-Traditional Purposes

By Emily Butz,

Anyone who tells you that self storage is just for keeping the junk you can’t get rid of clearly doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Check out these examples of storage facilities and their tenants who thought “outside the box” and converted their storage units into something completely new.

Office Space

If you’ve ever worked from home before, you know that it can be difficult to buckle down and focus—especially if there are any kids or pets around. Renting an office space in a business park or corporate building gets expensive when it’s just for one person.

Many storage facilities are helping professionals solve this problem by allowing their tenants to set up a small office in climate-controlled storage units. All you need is standard office furniture and a unit that has access to electricity and Wi-Fi.

Band Practice

Being in a garage band is so lame when you could be in a storage band! Sure, it’ll stink having to pay rent, but if you’re in a busy metropolitan area, the rent at a storage facility will be far cheaper than the rent at a true practice hall or recording studio.

When you practice at a storage facility, there’s no time wasted on setup and takedown—you just show up and rock out, then leave everything there when you’re done! An added bonus? No parents or neighbors telling you to keep it quiet. When your band perfects that new hit single, you can take that practice space and turn it into an all-out…

Popular L.A. Music Venue

Yep. Rumor has it that Hinckley’s Self-Storage in Los Angeles plays host to The Propinquity Space—a hot new music venue. Lines start at 8 a.m. for a 9 p.m. show, as “The Prope” only has three seats (The venue’s popularity is based on its exclusivity).

The venue’s founder, Tyler Stevens-Tyler originally rented the storage unit as a practice space. Now, up-and-coming bands can showcase their music, and the fans get the unique experience of being mere inches away from the act. But don’t take this example too seriously—it was posted on L.A. Weekly’s website on April 1.

Personal Gym

You know that bulky exercise equipment taking up all that space in your living room? Well, throw it in a climate-controlled storage unit, and you’ve got yourself your very own personal gym.

At a Safestore facility in Reading in the United Kingdom, tenants Catherine and Philip Edge took their gym to the next level. They now operate a fully functioning mixed martial arts gym out of two adjacent 880 square-foot storage units. The couple has around 80 active members, and they teach over 300 students.

Studio Space for Budding Artists

The “starving artists” of the world face the same problems as work-from-home professionals and garage bands—the creative juices won’t flow at home, and designated studios are too expensive.

Treasure Island Storage sought to solve this problem for artists in New York City by converting a floor of its storage units into an open workspace. Artists have 24/7 access to the TI Art Studios space, which includes a ceramics arena, spray room, roof deck, and a designated gallery.

If you’re not in the NYC area, start your own studio space by renting a climate-controlled storage unit near you. Throw down some canvas drop cloths and put up a few lights, and voila! Once you finish your pièce de résistance, hang it up, add some extra décor, and your storage unit instantly becomes an…

Exclusive New York Art Gallery

Throughout the month of April, Manhattan Mini Storage in New York City was home to Juicys Gallery, a pop-up style exhibition. The gallery founder, Rachael Cohen, knew that traditional gallery and storefront spaces would be too expensive, so instead he went with a 35-square-foot storage unit at $29 per month.

The first exhibit, A Taste of Spring by Lily Wong, ran until April 23 and was a simple, intimate show of three ink paintings. As a pop-up gallery, Juicys will be traveling around Manhattan, and showcasing artists at a new storage facility in each neighborhood. You can keep up-to-date by checking out the Juicys Gallery website.

Clearly, there are several non-traditional uses for storage units. All it takes is a little creativity (and the permission of your storage facility manager, of course). So what will you do with your storage unit? Let us know in the comments below!