If you’ve watched the first series of comedy-drama Atlanta, you’ll remember Childish Gambino sitting on a camping bed in his storage unit, counting the first amount of serious cash he’s made since becoming a music manager. 

While this paints a blended picture of grit and cool, the reality of living in a storage unit is more the former and rarely the latter. 

Why’s that?

In this article, we’re going to outline four key problems with living out of a storage unit.

1. It’s Illegal and You’ll Most Likely Get Caught

Is it illegal to live in a self storage unit?

Yes. Self-storage facilities have specific terms in their contracts which prohibit renters from living in the units. These units are built for keeping people’s possessions safe and in good condition, so in the eyes of a storage locker provider you could pose a risk to that.

Take the case of this guy, who thought he could live in his storage unit and simply pay his $200 rental fee in place of living in proper housing. While his series of Youtube videos were fun to watch, he was eventually found out by the service provider, evicted from the locker, lost his locker usage, and almost served some jail time. 

2. Lack of Comfort

While some people believe you can make a storage unit a home, you really can’t. 

Sure, you can have a running supply of electricity and furnish your unit, but practically speaking a storage unit is not a fun living experience. This is never truer than when the cold winter nights come rolling in, and you find yourself sleeping in what is effectively a tin can. Freezing doesn’t begin to describe this. 

Size-wise, storage units are not big enough. Staying in a storage unit means you’ll have no space for moving around and being able to separate your living space from other areas, which can have negative psychological effects after a while.

Speaking from a logistical standpoint, likewise, a storage unit won’t come with its own unique address. This makes administrative processes like setting up a bank account, receiving mail, or registering for services a near-impossible task. 

All in all, living in a storage unit does not make for a happy home life.

3. Danger to Your Health

Your mental and physical well-being should be a serious cause for concern if you’re considering how to live in a storage unit.

As we’ve alluded to above, the size and dimensions of storage lockers means that medical conditions like claustrophobia and extreme anxiety can be exacerbated or even onset by living in them. There’s a real lack of natural light in storage units, furthermore, which can be detrimental to your mood and motivation.  

A lack of access to running water can lead to poor personal hygiene and also dehydration. There’s likely no space to do exercise in the unit also, so gaining weight is a real possibility. 

4. There are Other Alternatives

If you’re seriously questioning whether or not you can live in a storage locker, it may be because you feel you don’t have many choices left.

Redundancy or a tough financial situation are often the trigger, but, no matter your situation, this is never a good option.

What’s more, no matter your current situation there are always other living arrangements available which will keep you safer, healthier, and on legally-solid ground:

  • Shelters – Shelters are generally run by charities and nonprofits for people who can no longer afford housing. Organizations like the Salvation Army provide shelters up and down the country.
  • Government housing – Government-subsidized housing is built specifically for people who are unemployed or on a low income. Visit the government website to find affordable housing options and other housing resources.
  • Food banks – If you’re having to choose between paying the rent and being able to eat, reach out to a food bank for support. Websites like Feeding America have a food bank search engine that’s dedicated to showing you where your nearest food bank is.  
  • Crisis loans – Crisis loans exist to help people out who find themselves in difficult financial situations. Check out the government website to find out which grants, benefits, or loans you may be eligible for.

Can you live in a storage unit?

In a nutshell, no. 

Living in a storage unit can put you at real risk under the eyes of the law, as well as being an unpleasant living situation. Moreover, it can cause lasting damage to your mental and physical health, things that you should never compromise unnecessarily. 

If you do find yourself faced with no options, let someone else know. Systems exist for people in your exact position, especially if you don’t think you’ve got enough money to make ends meet. Ultimately, our message is to avoid storage units as a place to lay your head at all costs.