Lending Club Blog

Ditch the Storage Unit and Its Contents

Covering portable storage as a viable moving option in a recent post, Using Portable Storage For Your Move] reminded me to discuss the use of storage units in general. Such units promise to give you the extra space you need for a low monthly fee.

In a few cases, these units are a great option. This is typically true when the unit is needed for a limited duration, such as during a remodel, move, or anytime when space is temporarily limited. As a place to store all of the junk that no longer fits in your overcrowded house, the storage unit is a terrible solution. Unless you live in a real estate market where housing prices preclude you from having enough space for basic necessities, a storage unit is often an out-of-sight, out-of-mind way to conceal your over-consumption.

When I was packing to move for a second time in two years, I realized that I wouldn’t miss any of the items that were still packed from the last move. Storage units can have the same effect. If you do use one for a short time, keep track of how often you access the contents. Anything that isn’t touched in a few months can probably be sold, donated, or discarded.

Storage units cost you in multiple ways. In addition to the monthly rental cost is the depreciating value of the contents. If you’re not using an item, selling it as soon as possible generally gets the highest price. The obvious exception would be collector’s items that appreciate over time, but such valuable items are likely stored in your home. Insurance for your storage unit as well as the costs to drive to and from the facility also add to the expense.

With few exceptions, renting a storage unit is a real waste of money. It can also indicate a poor financial mindset. Excess contradicts frugality. Simplifying your life and eliminating unused possessions (and the resulting costs they incur) is more in line with the lifestyle I hope you all try to achieve.

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008 at 9:40 am

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