Renting a storage unit is a waste of money, although I can see why many use such facilities. Storage units proliferate our country now, although they did not even exist until the mid-part of the 20th century. These storage facilities are convenient, fairly secure and moderately priced, when you consider just the monthly cost. I can see why many rent a unit when faced with the difficult question of what to do with excess items that are cluttering the home. But before signing on the dotted line for a storage unit rental, consider the benefits, along with the likely long-term costs. When doing so, I propose that, most of the time, renting a storage unit is a waste of money! Below are some pertinent questions to ask.
1. Why do you want to keep the items that you’re storing?
Are you keeping the items because of sentimental reasons?
If an item has great sentimentality, then why are you considering stowing it away where no one will see it? Why not find a place in your home to display the item? Another option is to take a photo of the item where you may look at it and recall a pleasant memory, then sell the physical object itself. A photo is much less space consuming than the physical object itself.
Are you keeping the items for future needs?
For several years we held on to our children’s baby bed, thinking we would use it for a grandchild in the future. But as the crib sat in the garage, collected dust and inhibited my movement around the front of my vehicle, it occurred to me that by the time we have grandkids, the wood could be dried out and the bed likely damaged, given how we had it stored. I also reasoned that our grandchildren’s parents would likely reject such a bed anyway, because I am confident there will be safety concerns in the future that were not considered when the bed was built. So we sold the bed for $100. We brought in a hundred bucks and freed up more space in the garage. How many items are you keeping for future needs that are a bigger hindrance than a help?
Are you keeping the items because of their value?
If you are keeping items simply because of their intrinsic value, then consider selling them or donating them. We have sold hundreds of items on Craigslist, Ebay, Amazon, Facebook, etc. And after doing so, I am still glad we did!
2. How much will storage cost?
Estimate the value of your goods and then calculate what will be the cost of renting a storage unit for years and years.
It is easy to move a lot of “precious” items into a storage unit, thinking that it only costs, say $100 a month. But then the months turn into years, and years may turn into decades. $100 per month turns into $1,200 per year and $12,000 per decade. So is the stuff being stored worth that cost? Would you be willing to spend $1,200 or $2,400 or $3,600 or $12,000 for the same stuff, if you didn’t already own it?
If the items are indeed worthy of storage, consider buying a storage building, provided you have a backyard.
At $100 a month, a $3,600 storage building would pay for itself within three years and would then add value to your property.
So, I would argue that renting a storage unit is indeed a waste of money! Now some may object with a potential exception. Granted there may be a few exceptions. I could see a college student possibly renting a unit to store furniture while he returns home for the summer, only to take the goods out once the next semester begins. Renting a unit for a few months may be justifiable in such a situation. But, for the most part, probably 9 times out of 10, when being considered, renting a storage is a waste of money!
Below are related books that I have benefited from greatly!
Lessons of St. Francis: How to Bring Simplicity and Spirituality into Your Daily Life – by John Michael Talbot
Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives – by Richard Swenson
photo credit: Mike Mozart, Storage Units via Flickr cc License – 8/14/17 with no changes