When we start working with a client, it’s not uncommon for them to reveal to us that they have stuff in an offsite storage unit. And frequently, they haven’t accessed the unit in quite some time, feel paralyzed by the prospect of reviewing everything that’s in there, and keep putting it on their “someday” list. Meanwhile, storage fees keep piling up and increasing over time. And with charges automatically hitting a credit card each month, it’s easy to lose sight of exactly what the storage unit is costing you.
That said, there are times when a storage unit can be an effective part of your organizing or relocation strategy. Here are my top tips when it comes to managing your storage instead of letting your storage manage you:
Consider WHY you are using offsite storage. Are the things you are putting in there just a delayed decision? If you are thinking to yourself, “I can’t deal with deciding about this right now; let’s put it in storage,” then you’re likely setting yourself up to pay a lot of money for postponing a decision.
Think about the value of things you’re keeping in storage. If you’re holding on to furniture that might be useful someday but paying $400 a month to store it, it’s likely that you’re going to spend WAY more on storage than the furniture would cost to replace. Consider only storing things of high sentimental value or that you use regularly.
If you’re limited on storage space in your home and can factor the cost of external storage into your monthly housing costs, having a place to rotate through seasonal items can be a great use of storage.
Self-storage, where you have regular, 24-hour access to your things will cost more than storage options where your items are held in secure vaults or pods. If you need to put something away for long periods of time and don’t necessarily need to access things regularly, this can be a way to save money.
Short-term use of storage can be an important and effective part of a relocation strategy. If you’re renovating your home, staging it for sale, or transitioning from one home to another, using storage to help ease the burden of figuring out where to put things is smart.
Be mindful about the size of the unit you are renting. Most storage units aren’t packed efficiently, and it’s also difficult to make use of all of the vertical space without using shelving units or stacking things precariously. Often, you are paying for space that you can’t or aren’t using.