There’s a fair number of financial advice sites that will tell you that renting a storage unit is a waste of money, but the truth is that renting a storage unit can save you money, if you do it right.

How does that monthly fee save you money? You might be surprised.

Your storage unit allows you to keep things you only need occasionally.

While my house isn’t exactly small, I don’t have space to store all those things I use once or twice a year. Not just holiday decorations, though that is definitely one of them. I’m also talking about suitcases, coolers and the roasting pan you use for holiday dinners. If you had to run out and buy a disposable cooler every time you needed a cooler, that cost would add up pretty quickly.

And if you bought a new roaster every Thanksgiving, you’d be adding $40 to the cost of the holiday, but who has room to keep that in their kitchen year round?

Your storage unit allows you to buy in bulk.

Last year for New Year’s Eve, we had friends over. For the same price as 20-25 paper cups, napkins, paper plates and plastic utensils that I needed, I could get 500 of them. But I didn’t need 500 of them, at least right now. Because I have a storage unit, I could pay the same price and get more. Now, every time we need party supplies, I just run and get them off the shelf in my storage unit.

We also use our storage unit to store bulk buys of paper towels, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, and whatever else we will use that is available cheaper in bulk. As long as you keep the storage unit organized, it operates as a spare pantry, letting you stock up when things are on sale cheap for when you need them later.

Your storage unit allows you to find things you own.

Before we got our storage unit, I had all my clothes stuffed into my small closet and dresser. That meant t-shirts were stuffed in with sweaters and sweatshirts and God forbid I needed to find a specific item of clothing. Now, I can take my off season clothes to storage and only keep the things I need for now at home. My clothes are kept in better shape, I save time and money not having to re-wash or iron clothes stuffed too tightly in a closet, and I can keep track of what I have. No more accidentally buying a sweater I already have because I haven’t seen it in months.

These are just some of the ways I save money by having a storage unit. How does your storage unit save you money?