According to the New York Times, the number of self-storage units in the United States is on the rise. Unfortunately, most people really don’t need self-storage units. They are usually a waste of money and can contribute to debt. Dumping the storage unit can offer you instant savings.
There are very few smart reasons to have a storage unit, and the majority of these require only temporary storage. For example, if a family is moving to a new home and is temporarily renting a furnished apartment while they wait to close on the new house.
Renting a self-storage unit year round is just adding to the stress of more debt. If someone has been surviving many months without the items stored in the unit, then do they really need to keep those items at all? In the case of items being saved to be used as replacements should something break, well, might it not be cheaper to buy the items new anyway?
A good example of this is a woman who was storing furniture that had been handed down to her until she could move into a larger home. She stored the furniture for more than two years, spending $200 a month in storage fees. Once she did move, she found that the style of the furniture didn’t fit with her home, and she needed to buy a new set. The woman spent more than $4,800 to store furniture she eventually sent off to the Goodwill.
A storage unit full of stuff is hard to get rid to part with. After all, the stuff must hold some meaning for the owner if he or she is willing to spend hard earned money to keep it stored. The task of dealing with a storage unit can seem overwhelming, but with a few solid steps, you can dump the unit and get out of debt.
1. Imagine what you will do with the extra money you’ll save. Could you pay off a nagging debt, build an emergency fund, use some of the money for a great vacation. Is the storage unit worth giving up those other options? A tangible goal can give you a lot of motivation.
2. Take a weekend to visit your unit and go through the stuff. Sometimes we hold on to things because we have an emotional attachment. That is okay. Take photos of special items if you must, but realize that the memories are stored inside you and not the stuff.
3. If you are storing items for other people, put those people on notice that they have a limited about of time, let us say ten days, to claim their stuff before you get rid of it.
4. Anything really valuable, such as expensive jewelry, that you don’t want to store at home should be stored in a safe deposit box. Not only will this cost less than a storage unit, but it will be more secure.
5. Make a solid date to sell usable items at a yard sale, or arrange for a charity truck to meet you at the unit. The cost of the items you donate can be written off on your tax returns. Apply any savings from the sale of your items directly to your debt.
6. Enjoy your new found freedom and the extra money you will now “earn” each month.