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Money Leaks: Unnecessary Storage

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Storage UnitsWe all know that clutter can be a pain, but can it really cost you a lot of money?

Apparently yes – especially if your clutter is put into storage for eight years!

While I can understand the author’s position (she was living in a one-bedroom flat on the Upper West Side of Manhattan), I know there are plenty of people who have storage units and are also living in single family homes. The reason is because storage is, on a monthly basis, somewhat cheap and it’s cheaper than deciding what you want to do with all your extra “stuff.” While I’ve never rented a storage unit, I’ve gone to storage unit auctions to see what they were about. Despite what those reality television shows may show you, most storage units are filled with other people’s junk. Junk that is being stored at $30, $50, and $100 a month.

This is the latest edition of our Money Leaks series.


The key to avoiding this money leak is to reduce your clutter and make decisions about your stuff. I personally try to go through a room a week and do a little decluttering and picking up so that things don’t accumulate. It isn’t a wholesale cleaning or decluttering of the room, but I pick out a few things and make a decision as to what I want to do with it.

For example, in my office I’ll just look in the bookcase and pick out a few books. I’ll decide whether I want to sell it, donate it, or trash it (usually sell or donate, there’s no reason to throw out a book). While it’s only a couple books a week, about an inch or two of bookcase real estate, it’s enough to keep things in check. I’ll peek into my closet and just take a quick inventory of the stuff inside, from the box of cables to the bag of bubble wrap; just enough so that I don’t fall behind and discover I can’t close my closet one day. It doesn’t have to be an arduous multi-hour task – a little bit each day is enough to chip away at it.

Ultimately, it comes down to deciding what you want to do with it and that’s a hard decision. It is, however, better to decide now than spend a ton on storage.

(Photo: zapthedingbat)

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6 Responses to “Money Leaks: Unnecessary Storage”

  1. Salvatore says:

    One of my favorite stories about storage space is that someone I know moved from Buffalo to New York City, eventually he and his wife had to look into storage space in NYC. After shopping around, they realized that if they just bought a house back in Buffalo, after the down payment, the mortgage payment for an entire house was comparable to the storage payments!

  2. mannymacho says:

    We recently cleaned out my in-laws’ storage unit: they had it for more than twenty years, FIL refusing to ever look at it for knowledge of how daunting a task it would be. And when we finally emptied it, virtually everything was thrown away. That’s a pretty clear lesson in my mind.

  3. TaJ says:

    I used a storage spot as essentially “temp space” during a move. But the move took a lot longer than anticipated… and despite the fact that some of the stuff in the storage unit was reasonably valuable, I could have just thrown it all away and *bought the same stuff again new* for the amount of money I spent storing it all.

  4. Well it is very simple – do not buy anything new, till there is a space available. Perhaps it is even more revitalizing decision, that trying to throw stuff away.

    I do it with the books – buy whatever I want and nothing else till I finish them. Just maintain the wishlist.

  5. Shirley says:

    A grandson was going to be out of the country for 18 months minimum. He checked on a 8×10 storage unit and found that it cost $50 per month.

    He bought a 10×10 storage shed for $599 and we had it put at the back of our backyard. It is metal, waterproof, baked on enamel cream colored finish and not at all unsightly. We also keep our garden tools in it in the winter. Great deal all around!

  6. skylog says:

    i guess i never was in a position where this was needed or even a thought, but this just seems crazy to me. i tend to think i have too many things (something i have been working on)but to pay huge sums for things that are not “needed” or in “use” is certainly a money leak.


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