Lately we’ve had several clients struggling with the issue of storage units. It makes us realize how important it is to think through the decision about renting one before you make the leap.
When we feel compromised for space the appeal of an extra garage is enticing. There are valid reasons for needing and using storage but if you don’t have a planned exit strategy and timeline for emptying it, the long-term cost will far outweigh the benefits.
Don’t let the perception of a low monthly cost cloud the reality of how much you’ll really be paying over time. According to the Self Storage Association, in 2013 the asking rent for a 10’ x 10’ unit was $115/mo. That comes to $1,380/year. If you can afford that much would you be better off spending higher rent or mortgage to get a larger living space? Would the money be better spent processing and organizing the stuff so you don’t have to store it?
Still think it’s a great idea?
- Some stored objects depreciate or become obsolete (computer equipment, appliances)
- If you’re holding onto things because “they might be valuable one day,” the storage cost will greatly offset your profit
- If you can store it for years, you can probably live without it
- If the storage bill is unpaid, the contents will be sold to pay the fees and you will still be liable for the balance of the bill
- Having more storage promotes acquisition
- Inadequate security can put your items at risk of loss
- Climate issues – damage can occur to furniture/art/photos/papers due to moisture and heat; climate controlled units are more expensive
Understand that the main cause of clutter is unmade and postponed decisions. Getting a unit emptied will require many decisions about what to keep, what to let go of, and how to let go of items. Having an exit plan is essential for controlling your costs. Decide a date for when the unit will be empty and plan a timeline accordingly.
First step is usually to sort the contents. Options for getting items out once you’ve sorted:
- For furniture, art, and collectibles – have an estate sale person come and make you an offer
- Some storage facilities offer eBay selling services
- Schedule a charitable donation pickup
- You many need to hire a mover or hauler to get rid of large items or trash; storage units generally don’t let you use their dumpsters
- If all else fails, leave the unit unlocked and the door ajar
Take a hard look…do you want to spend money on keeping things in limbo or do you want the clarity and peace of mind of having made sometimes tough choices to free up your resources for better uses?