Did you know that in the US, nearly 1 in 10 households rents a storage unit?
Those self storage facilities have enough square footage for every man, woman, and child in America to stand in them at the same time. It comes at a hefty price.
Last year we paid $22 billion to store our stuff in self storage units.
It’s not even possible to calculate how much we paid in higher mortgages for extra rooms in our houses to store extra stuff.
Storage units can provide a valuable service. I’ve used one before. The problem is what happens when they are filled with things that we don’t miss and won’t use.
Storage units should be temporary in most cases. But we all know they are easy to fill up, and then hard to go back and empty out, even if we do have the best of intentions. (That’s why so many companies offer the first month’s rent for free.)
It takes time to go back and decide what to do with that stuff, and then make the effort to sell or donate it. It’s much easier to delay the trouble of making decisions and simply pay the fee for just one more month’s rent.
I don’t have a storage unit. I’m trying not to keep the extra stuff.
I’ve been listing some stuff on Craigslist lately. Yesterday as I watched my husband sitting outside with my old TV, waiting for someone to pick it up, I felt a tiny bit of loss. Mostly good feelings, but still a little bit of risk.
What if I needed it someday? What if one day we moved into a house and we had an upstairs playroom for the kids and we would want a TV to put in there so they could watch a movie? If we wanted one, then I wouldn’t need to buy one because I already had it.
But then I saw the hundreds of other used TVs on Craigslist, and suddenly letting go of it didn’t seem like such a bad idea. There is no shortage of used TVs.
I don’t need to keep one just in case. If I want one, I can always buy another one, from someone else, who is selling their used TV set on any day of the week.
A few months ago we bought a baby swing for Tom, but he’s already starting to grow out of it. It’s a nice one, and I almost thought about saving it for a future baby. It takes up a lot of room though, and I’ve been to baby showers. There’s no shortage of baby swings either. It will be no problem to find another one in the future.
(Since we bought it on Craigslist for $25 in the first place, and we can sell it again for $25, I’m glad I don’t have to worry about getting my money’s worth from it.)
I’ll happily keep my cash in my pocket, instead of my stuff in my storage.
There is no shortage of:
small kitchen appliances
Videos and DVD movies
old washing machines and dryers
The list is endless.
Is there something you’ve been hanging on to, just because it’s easier than getting rid of it, or in case you or someone you know “might need it later?”
What have you been spring cleaning lately?
Source for statistics: The Self Storage Association