There are many reasons why people rent self-storage space – some of the most common are:
- They don’t have enough room in their homes for all of their “stuff”.
- They inherited or were given items they don’t know what to do with or have space for in their homes.
- They’re storing items until they can afford a larger space at some unknown point in the future.
- They need temporary, short-term storage as the result of moving or changing jobs or due to a death, marriage or divorce or because they’re subletting, renovating or selling their home.
As you can see, the most common reason that people rent storage space is to deal – or rather avoid dealing – with their clutter. Simply put, clutter is the result of people’s postponed decision making about what to do with their possessions and the self-storage industry thrives and counts on people’s inability and/or unwillingness to make the decisions necessary to deal with and dump the clutter in their lives.
In our humble opinion, the only valid reason on the above list to rent storage space is the last one. Unless self-storage is a temporary, short-term solution, it is – unfortunately and more often than not – a losing proposition financially for the renter and a huge windfall for the self-storage industry, which is almost a $1 BILLION business in Canada.
If you can’t comfortably fit all of your possessions into your living space – and you aren’t planning to move to a larger space any time soon – you need to take a hard look at your “stuff” and your life and be honest about whether holding on to items that need to be stored off-site truly makes sense.
Needing to rent additional space to store items long-term is a red flag that you should pay attention to, not ignore. If your items can’t be kept in your home where they can be used, enjoyed and appreciated, then, really, how important are they to you?
Simply relocating your clutter from your home to a self-storage unit – which costs you money every day, month and year that you rent it and, over the years, can add up to costing you A LOT of money – is not a wise, long-term strategy for managing the “stuff” in your life and can be very hard on your bank balance.
And here’s something else to consider: should you ever default on your self-storage payments, the contents of your storage unit can be auctioned off to satisfy your unpaid debt.
The bottom line is that renting self-storage space is rarely ever a good idea.
In order to avoid the necessity for long-term self-storage, go through your possessions and downsize them. Keep only those items that you use or love. Don’t keep an excessive number of items out of guilt or sentimentality.
Ask yourself why you’re keeping an item from the past and if it doesn’t truly support your physical or emotional needs and goals in the present, let it go. Just because you inherit or are gifted an item, does not mean that you’re obligated to keep or maintain it.
And, even if you agreed to keep or maintain an item, if your ability or willingness to do so changes over time, give yourself permission to dump, sell, donate or give the item away to someone else who can use it and don’t feel guilty about it.
Remember, no one who truly cared or cares about you would want you to be burdened by an inheritance or a gift from him or her. Also, avoid the “maybe someday I’ll need it” clutter trap.
The reality is that most often “maybe” never happens and “someday” never comes, so don’t waste your money, time and energy storing items you’re unlikely to need or use. In addition, consider what will happen to items you have in storage should you pass away; don’t make disposing of them someone else’s burden to bear.
Living in the past or dreaming about the future prevents you from living in the here and now. Remember, the past is gone and the future is not guaranteed. The present is all you have, so focus on making the most of it. Commit today to getting rid of your long-term, storage space, once and for all. Examine all the items you have in storage.
Can you use them in your home now? If not, sell, donate, give away or trash them. It may not be possible or realistic to empty out your storage space in one go unless you enlist the help of a junk removal service to haul it away but if you diligently chip away at its contents a little at a time, you will make progress and soon be able to relinquish your space.
As an incentive to get the job done quickly, keep reminding yourself that when you’re done you’ll be able to put the money you’re now spending on rental fees to better use by paying down your mortgage or other debt or investing or enjoying it and that you’ll get to experience the welcome sense of relief that clearing out the clutter from your life brings!