Public Storage promotion
"We never anticipated having a storage unit for long but month after month (and 1 1/2 years later) we found we were still shelling out $77 every month for it (!). So we paid $1,386 to store our crap. Talk about a waste of money!" — Anna, from her blog entitled And Then We Saved, found via Donna Hoo
"You know you're going to use that practically new exercise equipment some day — you just don't have room for it right now. So, like one in 10 households, you cave and rent a storage unit. Next thing you know, you've paid $2,000 to keep a 10-year-old Soloflex." — Melody Warnick
Storage units are often a waste of money — but under certain circumstances, they can also be a worthwhile investment. I've recently read four articles about self-storage, and thought I'd share them with you.
Erin Doland of Unclutterer explains how her family made good use of a self-storage unit:
When we sold our last house, we rented a small, off-site, storage space for three months. We put all of our personal items into it — family photos, kid's artwork, etc. — so potential buyers could "see" themselves in the space. We also swapped out a few chandeliers and window coverings that we had purchased and wanted to take with us instead of leaving in the house (we bought new ones and installed them before anyone came through the house). Finally, we put into storage a few things that just didn't make the home look like a magazine — a chair that made a room look too crowded, our bikes and golf bags from the basement storage to make the room look bigger, etc.
Once the house was sold, we moved all the stuff into our new home and closed up the off-site storage space. For a temporary purpose, I think storage lockers can be a good idea. Our house sold in 10 days and we got the asking price, so the couple hundred we spent on the storage space was well worth it in our minds.Here's another, very different story of storage unit use, from Julia Ann Miller writing in The New York Times, and found via Margaret Sullivan, the paper's public editor. This is just the beginning of the article; if you're interested, go read the whole thing. In this case, the need seems to be emotional rather than purely logical — and that can be OK, too.
I pay $189 a month ($2,268 a year) for my Single Girl’s Starter Kit. My Single Girl’s Starter Kit is a storage facility I keep in Brooklyn. I recently moved in with my boyfriend of seven years. Giving up my low-rent apartment in Park Slope is as serious a commitment as I’ve ever made to any human being.Christine Bilger wrote an article on Consumerism Commentary that lists many reasons not to use self-storage lockers, and she notes the potential problem of unpaid bills:
In my starter kit, I have: one single girl’s bed, one set of flannel sheets, one pillow, my grandmother’s afghan, one each of various kitchen utensils, one tool kit, one ladder and one box of love letters from past admirers. Everything I’ll need in case my boyfriend and I ever break up. My Single Girl’s Starter Kit is the opposite of a hope chest.
It’s important to consider that there are many unfortunate circumstances which can easily lead to unpaid bills, and therefore, cause your items to be sold without your knowledge. If you become severely ill, for instance, you might not be able to get your stuff out before it’s too late. If you pass away, your loved ones may not even find out about the locker before the items are sold.Note: If you do have a storage unit, make sure you note that that when you pull together your estate-related information for the person with your financial power of attorney, and for your executor.
And finally, here's an article positing an alternative to the traditional storage unit, from Rob Pitingolo, found via Unclutterer. Again, this is just the start of the article; if you're intrigued, go read the whole thing. (Added note: OK, the real point of his article is to ridicule local parking rules, not to suggest an alternative to a storage unit.)
Occasionally I joke on Twitter about my plan to buy an old, beat-up Chevy Astro Van, park it on the street near my house, and use it exclusively as storage space. It sounds ridiculous, but it's actually an interesting thought experiment.Related Posts:
Renting Self-Storage Units Can Be a Big Mistake
The Stuff That Resides in Self Storage Units