We’ve all heard of the BBC’s Cash in the Attic programme, but how about using your attic to earn some cash? One website is helping homeowners turn unused space in their property into income by bringing them together with people looking for an alternative to dedicated storage services.

Money can be made from your spare space, no matter how large or small, according to Ben Rogers, director of storemates.co.uk. His company lists whole double garages, large spare rooms and huge attics, but also cupboards and even space under the bed, popular with people living in cramped flats looking for somewhere to keep their Christmas decorations or small suitcases. If you have a large area to spare, you may think about converting it into a climate controlled self storage unit and that might result in more profits. A climate-controlled storage unit could be necessary for people who need to store their belongings for a long time, and chances are likely that the temperature will fluctuate widely, causing them to be damaged. In ideal situations, people might prefer to store any delicate items in a storage unit with a safe temperature so they will not be affected by extreme temperatures. Having your items stored in a climate-controlled unit (visit https://www.boomboxstorage.com/climate-control-storage-benefits for more information) can ensure that they won’t distort or crack in extreme heat. This can give you peace of mind knowing that your items are safe and secure in your storage unit. Having said that, it might be best to convert your storage space into a climate-controlled one if your area is already prone to high temperatures and humidity. Changes like adding insulating bay windows can help with temperature control, and you can also invest in air conditioning units to help maintain the temperature that your clients are paying for. However, you might want to check up on the physical space and its condition before making any such decisions. For instance, you might want to call in mold damage restoration services to check for any water damage that the space might have.

“Storemates is about half the price of commercial storage, saving money for the user, while the host makes money from otherwise unused space in their home, bringing in extra income for effectively doing nothing,” said Rogers. “The ultimate winner is the environment, as this is about using existing space rather than wasting valuable real estate on large storage warehouses.”

Although the money on offer is unlikely to match what you could get by letting a room to a tenant, that suitcase in the attic will not use up all your hot water or lose your spare key.

Among those using the service is Jennifer Thompson of Streatham, south London, who is retired. Three people are separately renting space in the loft of her three-bedroom home, paying her a total of 25 a week, which supplements her pension. “Storemates slots beautifully into my philosophy of helping people and minimising waste,” she said. “It brings in a little pocket money and I am happy to make use of otherwise wasted space in my house to benefit members of my community.”

How does it work?
If you have space to let, registering on the site is free: you give details, ideally with a picture, and a price for a week’s storage. A glance at the site last week revealed a variety of offers, from a 150 sq ft garage in Waltham Cross, Hertfordshire, for 41.13 a week, to two shelves in a cupboard in Battersea, southwest London, priced at 5.82 a week. Storemates takes a 15% cut.

To put that into context, 150 sq ft in a Big Yellow Storage facility can cost 169 a week, though it does offer a 50% discount for the first four to eight weeks, depending on location.

Both parties sign an agreement that sets out terms such as the level of security and access rights. Storemates emphasises it won’t allow anything to be stored that may put you or your property at risk; you won’t be expected to store barrels of flammable liquid, for example.

Storemates also offers a protection guarantee that covers losses due to theft or damage of up to 10,000.

Any money you make is taxable (while you can earn up to 7,500 tax-free by letting out a room, this concession does not apply to boxes or suitcases), but that may change this autumn. The government has announced plans to introduce a tax-free allowance of 1,000 year for “micro-entrepreneurs” who make extra cash from activities that include letting out storage space.

The measure was initially in this spring’s budget but was dropped when the general election was called, and would be backdated to the start of this tax year.