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Why More Senior Housing Doesn’t Provide Storage Space

Have you been looking around at senior housing options and wondering why it’s so dang hard to find communities that offer a decent amount of storage space? It’s not a coincidence. There are a couple different industry-based factors that make extra storage space a hard sell for most senior living communities. In fact, by understanding why personal storage tends to be so limited, you may realize that onsite storage isn’t as important as you first thought.

Revenue per Square Foot = Quality of Life = Less Storage

The industry’s model for success has long boiled down to revenue per square foot. It might be easy to think this leads to tiny living quarters, overcrowded common areas, and jam-and-cram building design. But revenue per square foot isn’t nearly so simple: In a senior living industry that did away with institutionalized nursing homes a long time ago, people actually have to want to live there—which means both at your facility and in your community.

Instead, the answer to revenue per square foot lies in smart, comprehensive design. There is no wasted space; everything feels like it has a place. It’s like you and 30 of your neighbors hired an interior designer to come in and just really do a number on both common areas and living quarters that are just barely big enough for everyone to be happy. Put another way, revenue per square foot isn’t so much about packing residents in like sardines as it is maximizing the space the facility has to work with. This also helps explain why revenue per square for assisted living providers is positively correlated with quality of life for individual residents.

Indeed, it’s not that senior living communities fail to recognize that some of their residents could use extra storage space. Rather, it’s that a row of storage units tend to be closer to the bottom of the list in terms of the potential use of any particular space. This probably reflects your own criteria for choosing a community to join: A lot of people looking around at different senior living options have storage space on the list of things to ask about, but it’s not usually at the top of the list. Put another way, if you find a senior living community that “checks all the boxes” except storage, chances are you could do a lot worse.

Closetbox has a Solution for Everybody

It’s not like we invented storage itself, but we did kind of invent hassle-free, reasonably-priced storage. Here’s how it works: We pick up your boxed items, furniture, and larger stuff. We haul everything back to our climate-controlled warehouse. Then, we create a digital inventory of everything you have stored with us.

Why this matters? For individual seniors, it matters because people don’t want to think that putting items into storage means you’re never going to see them again. Your storage items are always readily accessible with Closetbox. You simply tell us which items you want returned, and we’re on it.

For senior living communities, it matters because it makes the facility itself that much bigger. Think of it this way: Personal storage items can be removed from the immediate grounds and returned on any particular day. You can’t do that with a media room, lounge and dining areas, shuffle board, swimming pool, grill and picnic tables, shopping areas, koi pond and gardens.

Senior Housing is Just Housing

If it makes such good economic sense, why don’t other apartments, condos, and residential communities do it that way? Increasingly, the answer is they do. In addition to senior living communities, Closetbox provides a lot of storage for apartments and condos, especially in high-density urban areas where property values are high and every square foot counts. Condos in many Boston neighborhoods, for example, are valued at a couple thousand dollars per square foot.

We can also draw a similar parallel when it comes to hotels and apartments and wait lists for senior housing. While some people are loath to leave their home for a retirement community, others can’t wait…except for the fact they have to. Sure, generally speaking, the best communities tend to have the longest wait times, but reducing the vacancy rate as much as reasonably possible also helps stretch dollars for both facilities and residents.

For residents, the best outcomes depend on knowing what’s most important to you and which tradeoffs make the most sense for your individual needs and personal wish list.