Using Your Balcony for Storage

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Using Your Balcony for Storage

Lisa Bernstein · Oct 23, 2009

Balcony storage may be one of your only options, if you live in a tiny apartment. Many older apartments, or those found in urban areas, are short on closet space. Creative use of space is a must in such situations.

Getting Permission

Your apartment building has rules, typically found in your lease or among the documents that you received when moving in. Usually, safety and aesthetics govern whether you’ll be allowed to use your balcony for storage. Condominiums tend to be more strict about the appearance of your building. Be certain about the rules pertaining to balcony use before making any decisions.

Your Balcony Storage Plan

When using your balcony as a storage area, consider the size of the space and the type of items you want to store there. Your climate, and whether the balcony is open or enclosed, will also factor in to your decision.

In cold or inclement locations, store items that can tolerate cold temperatures, as well as those that would not be harmed if they got wet. Mild climates offer a wider choice of what you can store on a balcony.

Storage Containers

With the exception of furniture and other bulky items, you’ll need to store items in containers. Look for storage containers and organizers in home centers and department stores.

For clothes or smaller items, you can choose between wardrobes or storage towers with shelves or drawers. Also consider purchasing plastic boxes with tight-fitting lids, for protecting items from the effects of weather.

Strategies

Even a small balcony can be converted into an extra closet, with a little ingenuity. If the space is narrow, but high, look for a tall, slim storage unit in order to use its height to store more items. Alternatively, locate narrow boxes or stackable storage cubes, to create personalized configurations, for the greatest flexibility.

Another strategy is to use your balcony for seasonal storage. To do so, identify items you use at particular times, by season or holiday, and plan to store them on your balcony during the off-season. This will allow you to reserve your indoor closet space for frequently used items.

Disadvantages of Balcony Storage

While there are many good reasons to use your balcony for storage, there are a few negatives to contemplate as well. Your balcony is outdoors, and as such, is subject to different considerations than indoor closets.

Weather can be unpredictable. Items you’ve stored on a balcony might fall over, or blow away in gale force winds. Heavy rains could saturate or penetrate storage containers that you thought were water tight, damaging the contents.

If your balcony is located on a lower floor, or within reach of an adjacent apartment, theft can be a problem. As a general rule, it’s best not to store your most valuable items on a balcony.

By carefully weighing the pros and cons of balcony storage, you can create a customized storage area, and free up closet space inside your apartment.

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Lisa Bernstein: As a long-time apartment dweller and seasoned condominium trustee, I have dealt with numerous landlord-tenant, property management, and day-to-day apartment complex issues. My extensive, direct experience has led to invaluable insights into apartment life from both the tenant and management perspectives.

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