I’ve often said that “Organizers are hoarders with bins.” This is because I believe that plastic bins and storage units allow us to keep more useless stuff for far too long. All they do is keep us from having to make a decision about the items that go inside them.
Stick it in a bin, stack the bins in an offsite storage unit, and forget about it. Well, forget about it until the next rent payment is due. And there’s a good chance we will forget about it. Ever see the television show, “Storage Wars”? It’s where a group of hopeful treasure seekers bid on abandoned storage units. They aren’t allowed inside the unit, or to touch anything, before bidding. If they can’t see behind the mattress, they’re basing their bid on what they can see, or how full it is. Every once in a while, there are real treasures to be found.
I always wonder why someone would just stop paying for valuables, unless they just passed away and the family didn’t realize there was a storage unit. Maybe there was no family. Had the original owner sold the items, they would have been able to pocket the cash from the sale, AND saved the years of paying the monthly storage fee.
Whatever goes into an offsite storage unit becomes the most expensive stuff we own. Each month it sits there, we are buying it again. Over and over again. And it’s not even our favorite stuff. The stuff we like, need and use is usually around us, where we live. This is also true about items in our basement storage. If it’s in the basement or attic, it’s not our favorite.
If the items belong to family members who have passed, why are we paying money to keep something that isn’t important enough to incorporate into our home? It isn’t a crime to have taste that is different from a relative. Nowhere is it written that we must become the curator of the family museum.
Who are we saving the items for? The kids? Trust me, they won’t want grandma’s sofa. If we’re thinking they’ll use it after college in four years, it makes more sense, financially, to sell everything, then give them four years’ worth of rental storage fees to apply to whatever they want to buy, when they’re ready.
Many of us live with the mistaken belief that if we own something, we must keep it forever. Well, we don’t. We’re not buried in pyramids. 99% of everything we own in this lifetime will end up in a landfill or with strangers. Kind of a sobering thought when you look around at your filled shelves, closets and rooms. If you aren’t saving it for you, you can truly let it go.
Does it ever make sense to rent a storage unit?
When getting the floors redone, it makes sense to store everything for a week in a portable unit in the front of the house.
When selling our home to upsize into a bigger home, it makes sense to temporarily store the big toys, the bins of children’s clothes not yet grown into, and the crib for a baby we may or may not decide to have later. By storing large items, we have more space in our outgrown home, which will help us sell it. Also, it won’t be in storage that long because we’ll move it into the new home soon. A storage unit will pay for itself in this scenario.
When selling our home to downsize into a smaller home, that’s where we get into trouble. We might think, “I don’t know where I’m going to live, and what I’ll need.” We find our new home, select one item from the storage unit for the new home, and are now stuck emptying it.
Option 1: Dig out the items, photograph them, post them for sale, coordinate purchases with buyers at the storage unit. Inconvenient, and potentially unsafe.
Option 2: Hire a mover to haul everything to our garage where we’ll finally deal with it. More money spent. And what if we can’t sell it? Pay someone to come haul it away?
I work with downsizers by helping them get clarity about their next home. Even if you have no idea what your next home will look like, you can still make clear decisions when you have the right information.
One client was moving from a very full house to a much smaller two-bedroom bungalow with a one-car garage and no basement storage. She was overwhelmed by the limited space and was afraid of getting rid of something she would later regret. I gave her a few transformational concepts to think about and she became unstuck. We created a plan, and she was able to easily offload everything else prior to moving, without having an estate sale. She saved a lot of money and countless hours of hassle. She loves her new home, and the creative solutions I provided for her limited space.
Too often, we use storage units because we don’t want to make a decision about the items. Essentially, we are paying for the luxury of indecision, not for the actual stuff. After we work together, you discover that it’s not so hard to make decisions after all. This is why I don’t call myself an organizer. I’m a freedom fighter!
Reach out and let’s chat about your situation to see how I can help!
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Copyright © 2022 by Cynthia Gentry Black, Home Staging by Cynthia, LLC in Kansas City.
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