I am now moving back into a house soon but I thought I would throw together a quick post of my experience using a storage unit as a Home Gym!
Read on to see the final result!
Scroll to the end of the article to see my thoughts on a Home Gym in a Storage Unit two years later…
Why Did I Build a Home Gym in a Storage Unit?
Here are some of the main reasons:
1. The Pandemic
Now, I built my storage unit gym before the Pandemic started actually. But it turned out to be very valuable during the height of the pandemic as I was not shutdown from working out like a lot of other people!
2. I hate globo-gyms
Call me weird but I hate chain gyms like 24 hour fitness, LA Fitness, LifeTime Fitness and all the others. Maybe I am anti-social but I don't like working out around others. I have always hated lines and nothing annoys me more than waiting for my chance at a piece of equipment.
3. I move a lot
I move a lot for work. I must have moved 8-9 times over the past 10 years. Usually I buy or rent a house wherever I go and setup a new home gym.
I always sell the heavy equipment (squat racks, benches, etc) and move the smaller more mobile things like bars, plates, and dumbbells. Because of this I have had a LOT of different racks.
This is one of the reasons why I started my site. To pass on some of the knowledge I have gained. Also because of all the shitty review sites I saw recommending crappy squat stands on Amazon as “the Best Power Rack”.
4. I now live in a very urban area
About a year ago I moved for work and moved into a high rise in a very urban area. The view was amazing but space was at a premium.
I thought I was going to have to go back to an expensive Globo-Gym where I would have to wait 20 min to get a chance at a squat rack.
A Crazy Idea Forms
An idea started forming in my head though. It burrowed in and took hold.
Could I simply rent a storage unit and work out in it? I could and I did.
I ended up renting a 10×10 unit at Public Storage in my area for less than $60 a month during a great sale they had going on!
Tips on Building a Home Gym in a Storage Unit
Here are some tips and random advice I have for people looking to do the same:
- Does a storage unit make sense? Make sure it’s not more economical in your area to simply rent an apartment with an extra bedroom to hold your home gym. In mine, it wasn’t but YMMV.
- Check with the manager of the storage units and make sure they are fine with you working out in the unit. Sometimes they are not.
- Get at least a 10′ x 10′ unit. In a 10×10 you can keep a small full rack and maybe a bench. A good half rack might be a better option though.
- Understand that not all units are accessible 24-7. Check with the hours before you lease.
- Public Storage seems to always be the cheapest option in my area but it could be different in yours. Just know that there can be a huge price difference between the different storage providers in your area.
- Get a climate controlled unit. You don’t want to workout in 130 degree storage unit when it’s 110 degree outside. Make sure you visit the unit in the hottest part of the day to make sure the AC units work.
- It’s worth it to wait for a good deal. Storage Units regularly have sells where you can find units at half off their normal rates.
- Rates can be changed at will. Be aware that Storage Units can raise their prices whenever they want. Mine raised the price on my “great deal” by $6 within less than 3 months. Check your contract.
- Elevators are helpful. If you get a non first floor unit then make sure the building has an elevator and carts available to move in your heavy equipment.
- Storage People. Depending on your area, prepare to meet and interact with some unusual people. For a few weeks a guy “moved in” to the unit next to mine and bugged the hell out of me every-time I stopped by to workout. He said we were going to be life-long friends and then gave me a card with a link to his album. Eventually he disappeared. Still waiting for that album to drop.
The Final Result
Here is a picture of how my Storage Unit Gym turned out:
So it's been more than 2 years now since I had that Storage Unit Home Gym.
I have moved to three different houses during that time (I am a real estate investor on the side), and each one I have setup a home gym there.
I would say overall that a Home Gym in a storage unit is a great option if you have no other choice! However, keep in mind the logistics of it are a bit of a pain and you are probably better off trying to purchase a space with room for a gym if you can.
Here is a quick list of some of the Cons:
- Some storage units (especially in urban areas) will not allow you to work out in your unit. They will be worried you are living there.
- Storage units are often poorly cooled even when they say they are climate controlled
- Trying to get items delivered to the unit are a pain. Most storage places will not allow deliveries.
Alternatives to a Storage Unit Home Gym:
- Setup a home gym outside
- Put a Home Gym in your living room
- Invest in a home with space for a gym
- Rent a garage if your complex allows it