It seems like on every street you see storage units for rent. There are more self-storage facilities than the combined count of Starbucks, McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Pizza Hut and Wendy’s restaurants! Almost 10% of households in the United States are currently renting a self-storage unit. Are you one of them?
If you are one of the 10% or are considering renting a unit, I would first ask one question – “Why?”.
Consider a unit as an addition to your home. You are paying monthly for this addition. What is the purpose and function? Is it to:
1. Store holiday decorations and off-season items because there is no room in your current home/condo?
2. Does it hold items from your last move that you do not currently use but think you or someone else in your family might someday use?
3. Is it holding items from your home while your home is getting a renovation or going through a staging process?
4. Are you traveling or in a job that has no permanent residence?
5. Are you in the process of de-cluttering your home and just want to get the “stuff” out of your home while you decide what to keep?
6. Has a loved one gone to assisted living or died and you are storing their belongings?
Knowing your “why” keeps you clear on if this unit is helpful or hurtful. Having a unit for a period when going through a transition can be helpful. If you are using the unit to store stuff because you don’t know what to do with it can be hurtful.
I have often worked with clients to help them declutter their homes and they may often say, “Oh, and I have a storage unit.” I then ask, “What do you store in that unit?”. Often, they are not sure and often they have not visited that unit for years. It’s an “out of sight, out of mind” situation and the monthly payment is usually automatic, and they just forget about it. Think for a minute about what you could do with an extra $100 a month.
Treat the unit as you would any other zone in your home. Determine the purpose of this zone. Store like items together. Have an inventory of what is in the unit. If the unit is for storage of items you use every year when you visit the unit notice if you are still using that holiday wreath or Santa village. If you have stopped using items, let them go. If you are storing items here because you just don’t know what else to do with them, spend some time making decisions. Remember that the deferred decision making is costing you money each month. Schedule a time at least once a year that you go to the unit, do a deep cleaning, and update your inventory.
Knowing your motivation will let you know if this unit is helpful or harmful for you.
Either way, happy decluttering!