Do you have one? A storage unit that is. If you do, you have space in one of the approximately 48,500 storage units in the United States. And that number is if you just go by the commercial storage units, not the ones you may have purchased to sit on your own property or that extra room or shed that store your beloved items. However, today I’m going to encourage you to get rid of the storage unit (or free up that extra room or garage!). You’ll save money and enjoy having less “stuff” to weigh you down.
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I’ll be the first to tell you I’ve never actually paid for a storage unit. However, I have had my share of bigger homes and apartments, and I’ve used my parents shed as storage. I’ve had plenty of “stuff” over the years.
But a few years ago that changed. First I moved from a large three-bedroom house with a lot of closet space to a two-bedroom apartment with almost no closets. A year after that, I moved into an efficiency apartment. You know the kind – no bedroom door. Just a couple of rooms with a bathroom (that thankfully DID have a door!).
But let me be completely honest. It took one comment from an ex-boyfriend to really help me evaluate my “stuff”. After that, I slowly started purging. When Andrew and I started dating, I got rid of even more.
Now – four years later, I have much less “stuff” than where I had been. And we go through our things at least twice a year (although informally we get rid of items monthly) to donate or sell anything that we no longer use.
So let’s talk about the benefit when you get rid of the storage unit.
The idea of paying money for a storage unit is foreign to me, but the concept of hanging on to all that stuff isn’t. I used to have closets FULL of items from everything I’ve ever owned from my teen years until now.
If you are actually paying to rent a storage unit (and not just using something already in your home or on your property), the prices can vary greatly each month. This article says they can range anywhere from $20-$300 per month. Obviously that will depend up on the size of the unit, your location, whether it’s climate controlled, and other factors.
But let’s do a little math. Twenty dollars each month is $240 a year. While that’s not a lot of money, it still adds up. I’m guessing you’re going to drive to that storage unit at least a few times a year. So it’s easy to say you’re spending $300 or more each year on the smallest space.
At the other end of the spectrum, if you’re spending $300 per month that’s $3,600 each year. WOW! I’ve had car payments less than $300 a month. Actually, every car payment I’ve ever had (two in my lifetime so far) have been far less than $300 a month. I’ve got much better things to spend $300 a month on than a storage unit.
If saving a little (or a lot!) of money isn’t reason enough for you to ditch the storage unit, let’s look at something else.
Less Stuff = More Happiness
Let’s face it. People today are often unhappy. We need a fix, tip, or hack for everything. We run around at morph speed, we buy more than we need to, we eat more than we should, yet it doesn’t satisfy our happiness.
At least for me, the key to finding this happiness has been to slow down in life and simplify things. One way I’ve been able to slow down is by becoming a SAHM, but today’s article is more about simplifying our life. For our little family, this has meant getting rid of our “stuff”. If that shirt no longer fits, it goes to a thrift store. The toys our son doesn’t play with – same thing. The items in the back of our closet that we haven’t used (let alone really even seen) in a year, they get the boot as well.
Over the course of the last four years, Andrew and I have gotten rid of a lot of “things”. Ok – maybe I’m the one who got rid of a lot. It seems like men tend to hoard (on average) less than women.
Enough already, Heather. Just tell me how to get rid of the storage unit!
So how do you actually get rid of the storage unit? I’m going to lay it out for you in six simple steps.
1. Set aside an entire day to go through your unit. Better yet, set aside an entire weekend.
Yes, that seems like a lot of time but think about it… When you organize a closet (and I mean really organize it, clean it out, and make it look great), you have to set aside a few hours. If you’re going to tackle an entire storage shed (or bedroom or garage), you need some serious time to go through everything. If you can’t commit to an entire day or weekend, have a plan for getting it taken care of. You don’t want this project to last months. (Remember, the longer you put off getting rid of the storage unit, the more wasted time and mental energy you’ve used!)
2. Make up a few rules.
Create a few rules before you even get started. (Here are four easy ones!) If necessary, write them down. For instance, you might say something like “anything that’s broken gets thrown away”. Or “if I haven’t worn it in one year, I’m giving it to a thrift store”.
With a few simple rules, it frees your mind to view things as “stuff” and not the sentimental attachment we often have to items.
3. Have a system.
Figure out how you’re going to tackle the project. Yes, this is a project. If you have enough stuff to fill an entire storage unit (or garage or room!), then you need a system. This might mean you’re literally going to empty every box and go through every last thing until you’re done. Or it might mean going through things one box at a time. Figure out what works best for you and the space you’re in.
4. Enlist help (or not…)
If you have a ruthless friend or family member (like me!) who won’t see the sentimental value in something, see if they’re willing to help you out. However, if you know having someone help you is going to lead to a bunch of side conversations and wasted time – this may be a project better left done by one person.
5. Be prepared.
Bring along garbage bags. If necessary, rent a dumpster or borrow that buddy’s truck to haul things to the dump or recycling place. Have some totes along for the few items that you will be keeping. Keep a few extra boxes for things you plan to donate.
6. Just do it.
Yes, Nike said it well. At some point you have to stop thinking about how to get rid of your storage unit and just do it. Plan it out, figure out a system, and get to work. Yes, it’s going to be work, but in the end you’ll be so happy to get rid of the “stuff”!
With these six simple steps in hand, you will be able to get rid of the storage unit in no time! And then there’s a good chance that you’ll want to continue the de-cluttering of your home (at least that’s what happened to me!). When you get to that point (or if you need some help to get you there), I strongly recommend this book “Freed From Clutter” by Becky Mansfield. She’ll help you go through your home room-by-room and get everything under control.