Pulling up to the gate and entering your super secret code can make you feel like you’re On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. But storage units can cost you big bucks, and unless you are Goldfinger it may be smart to rethink your self-storage strategy. Watch this video to refine your storage needs, and soon you will have your own Quantum of Solace.
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Hi. I’m Lorie Marrero, creator of the Clutter Diet book and on-line program, and today we’re going to talk about the shocking truth about storage units. I just looked at some statistics; I was really blown away.
One in 11 households in the U.S. has a storage unit, and of all the storage units worldwide, 89% of those are here in the United States. So, I know we have worldwide viewers; you guys are off the hook. I’m going to pick on the United States today. We keep way too much stuff. In the U.S., we have 21 square feet of storage space for every household, and that means it’s about seven square feet for every man, woman, and child in the United States. In fact, it is physically possible, if it could happen, for every American to simultaneously stand underneath the canopy of a self-storage facility. So, that’s a lot of storage. And we have big houses here, so what is up with this? Let’s talk about the reasons why we may or may not need one.
Now, people use storage units usually in a period of transitional life change. Death, divorce, maybe a move. Moving is a great reason to do this. So, if you’re building a house or if you have some kind of lease terms where you’re needing to get out of one place and stay somewhere temporarily before you move into the next, this makes tons of sense to have a storage unit. But if you have temporary housing for a very extended period, you have to do the math. So let’s do the math.
So, you might think that you’re going to keep this unit for a very short time. Now, 13% of people think they’re going to be using the unit for three months; 18% use it for three to six months; another 18% use it for about seven to 12 months; 22% of people use the storage unit for one to two years. And here’s the kicker: 30% of people use a storage unit for over two years. Here’s where the math comes in with the money. The average medium-size storage unit in the U.S. is about $125 a month. So if you keep that for two years, that’s $3,000 that you’ve spent keeping this stuff. Now, the larger storage units can be around $250 a month. If you do that, you’re going to be spending about $6,000 over two years. So imagine that you have something like a treadmill and a sofa and a mattress and a few other miscellaneous things. That could be $3,000 right there. So if you keep that for two years, you’ve already paid what it would it cost to replace all of those items. And then when you get them back, they may be damaged by pests or by the climate – by the heat or the cold – or by water damage. So remember, at some point, the cost of the unit exceeds the replacement cost of the items.
Now, another reason people might have a storage unit is because of an inheritance. They have a sudden influx of stuff they were not expecting, they don’t have a place to put it, and they’re not prepared. Okay, that’s great. I really do understand that. But, if you put that stuff in a storage unit, please have accountability to a deadline with somebody. Hire someone to help you go through it, bring in family members to help you do that, but do it soon because remember, it’s costing you money every month. And when you inherit a big windfall of stuff, and you get all these boxes, and you don’t necessarily know what’s in them, you’re going to find out when you go through it, a lot of it, you’re not going to want to keep, and then you’re going to feel very foolish for having paid all that time for those things that you consider probably as junk.
Now, on the flip side, if you are keeping all that stuff for your kids, we have another video about that. In my experience, they don’t want it. So please do not pay the storage unit cost to keep that stuff for your kids that they’re just going to say no to later.
Another reason that people have a storage unit – and I’m just going to be blunt with you guys – I love my viewers, but listen, it’s laziness. Okay? You don’t have time to go through your stuff, you’re going to have a garage sale one of these days, and so you put it all there, because you haven’t taken the time to maximize your own storage space that you have. Here’s some more shocking stuff about storage units – 65% of the people that have a storage unit have a garage; 47% of you have an attic; and 33% of you have a basement. So you have storage. Maybe you just haven’t gone through your stuff and you haven’t gotten realistic about what you really need, so now you’re creating a personal annex of your belongings that you’re having to pay for all the time.
Now, a work-around for this is garage racks. We have another video about that. I had some put in my own garage. I love these things. They are an absolute quick fix miracle for garages. You can gain, like I did, 128 cubic feet of storage in your garage with these overhead racks. So try that instead of paying for the storage units and having the rental go on and on.
So, in the end, we have really three reasons why it’s a good idea to have a storage unit. 1) If you truly have maximized your storage space and you really need to have another place, you’ve done the work, and you really have the stuff left, that’s fine. 2) If you truly have a temporary situation where you know you’re not going to have this unit for very long and you need the space to stage out things in transition. Or, 3) If you have items that are very difficult to replace. Maybe they’re antiques, maybe they are things you’ve collected around the world that you could never collect again; I understand that too. So, there is a value there that’s beyond the replacement cost of the actual item.
So, those are the three great reasons to have one. Most of the time, it doesn’t make sense. And when you see those statistics, the shocking truth is, it’s a cost that most of us can’t afford. So think about that and we’ll see you next time.
May you always be happy and grateful for having more than enough.
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