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Money Leaks: Unnecessary Storage

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

Apparently yes [3] – 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 [4] 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 [5] series.

The key to avoiding this money leak is to reduce your clutter [6] 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 [7])