Articles like this one tell people on a regular basis that a storage unit is an unnecessary expense and is contributing to the “clutter” in your life.

And that might be true if you are living in a home with lots of space and have storage space in it. But the reality is that buying a bigger home for your children, your spouse and all your stuff is outside of many people’s budget.

So what do you do when you need extra space, but can’t spring for a larger home?

Your rent a storage unit.

Sometimes you can’t afford to not have a storage unit.

You having growing children.

Being frugal often means saving clothes and toys from your first child for all future children. Sure, you could throw the old ones away and buy all new clothes and supplies for each child as they come along, but with the price of clothes and how rapidly children outgrown them, it often makes more financial sense to put them away until they’re ready for the next child.

You live where weather is seasonal.

My husband and I live in a fairly large space for two people, but we still store our seasonal clothing in a storage unit. Why? Because who wants to dig through hats and gloves to find your jacket in July? And who wants to see the swimsuit mid-January and be reminded how far away warm weather is?

It also gives us a built in time every year to sort and purge our clothes, getting rid of stuff that is older, out of style, worn out or just not something we love any longer.

Seasonal weather also means seasonal equipment. Our storage unit has our grill and cooler in it. Yours might have sleds and skis or life-jackets for the boat, but it has things you don’t want to replace every time you use them.

You have things you use once or twice a year.

My luggage lives in our storage unit because we only use it a couple times a year. Because it’s not shoved in a closet, it remains in nicer condition and my house remains neater. Likewise, the turkey roasting pan, cookie cutters and other dishes I use only during the holiday season. I don’t need them cluttering up my kitchen year-round, but I also don’t want to replace them annually and foil pans just seem to collapse.

These are just my examples of why you might not be able to afford to give up your storage unit. What are yours?