Self-Storage Units Are A Temptation You Should Resist!
This is #8 of 10 Things to Expect When Downsizing. See links to additional posts to the right or below.
Often when people begin the process of downsizing the idea of renting a storage unit is tempting. When tasked with going through your own items or those of a loved one, the process can be overwhelming. You must decide what to keep and what to gift, donate or consign. The thought of having to touch every item and make a decision on what to do with it, is daunting! It is inevitable that, at some point in the process, you will begin to look for a quick fix. Easier solutions typically come in 2 forms; hire an auction house or estate sale company to come in and handle the whole thing, or, move it all to a storage unit and deal with it later.
The Auction/estate sale option is tempting and can be a good choice if the items left in the house are not current or not going to bring much money. The biggest benefit of using an auction house or estate sale business is that they will come in and handle the whole sale, leaving you with an empty house at the end of the sale. Most estate sale businesses will donate what is left after the last day of the sale. We have had customers with both good and bad experiences with this process. If you pursue the auction or estate sale option, be sure you do your homework. Ask for references, and then call people that have used them. Check with the Better Business Bureau in your area and do all you can to confirm that the company is reputable. It is imperative that you read the fine print before signing the contract and understand the process. Ask about price reductions and understand how your items will be priced. In our experience, customers that have been happy with auctions and estate sales have gifted and consigned their best furniture pieces prior to the auction. The customers that have been unhappy are those that felt their items went for pennies and were drastically reduced too quickly. Remember and Estate Sale or Auction is typically a weekend event and items will be marked down quickly. It is important to know the current market value of your items so that you and the person helping you are on the same page.
Self-Storage units are a temptation that can be costly. Consumer Reports says, “The average national monthly cost of a climate-controlled rental space is expected to reach $1.63 per square foot this year, according to Marcus & Millichap, an investment real estate company that tracks the self-storage industry”. To justify the cost you need a good reason to self-store! If you are moving and know you will be back to get your items within a certain time period, a storage unit can be a great option. If you are a college student going home for summer and moving in fall, Military personnel, or building a house and need a temporary place to hold items you know you want to keep, a storage unit can be a wonderful option. The key here is temporary. You should only rent a storage unit if you know the true end date that you will be removing your items. The self- storage industry is making a lot of money off of people that simply did not want to deal with their stuff. The problem has become so vast that there are now television shows featuring pickers buying storage lockers sight unseen. Our propensity to hold on to stuff we do not need has created a whole new industry and become fodder for reality TV. In an article from New York Magazine, a storage unit customer remarked, “This stuff’s gotta go.” Everything here, he told me, was worth less than what he had paid to store it. “Storage is always a bad investment, any way you look at it,” he said. See full article here
The self- storage business is booming in the USA in particular, because we have a plethora of stuff. Consumer Reports says that: By 2007, a full 15 percent of customers told the Self- Storage Association they were storing items that they “no longer need or want.” It was the third-most-popular use for a unit and was projected to grow to 25 percent of renters the following year. The line between necessity and convenience — between temporary life event and permanent lifestyle — is totally blurred. See full article here
It is too easy to rent a seemingly affordable storage unit, place items inside, and forget it. The Storage company will be glad to charge your credit card once a month for a long as you will allow. The problem is once the items are out of sight they are often out of mind. It is common for people to leave items in a storage unit for years, getting used to the monthly payment. After all, if you release the unit you will have to once again find a home for all that stuff. Often once items are in storage, it is easier to make the payment than to make a decision about what to do with the contents. Now you have postponed the inevitable and paid a significant price for your procrastination. “Human laziness has always been a big friend of self-storage operators,” Derek Naylor, president of the consultant group Storage Marketing Solutions, told me. “Because once they’re in, nobody likes to spend all day moving their stuff out of storage. As long as they can afford it, and feel psychologically that they can afford it, they’ll leave that stuff in there forever.” See full article here
At Interiors By Consign, we commonly pass on furniture that has been stored too long. Often these items have gone out of style or have been damaged in storage. Many would have sold at the time the house was originally cleaned out. In an article in New York Magazine, The marketing consultant Derek Naylor says: people stockpile furniture while saving for bigger or second homes but then, in some cases, “they don’t want to clutter up their new home with all the things they have in storage.” So they buy new, nicer things and keep paying to store the old ones anyway. Clem Tang, a spokesman for Public Storage, explains: “You say, ‘I paid $1,000 for this table a couple of years ago. I’m not getting rid of it, or selling it for 10 bucks at a garage sale. That’s like throwing away $1,000.’ ” It’s not a surprising response in a society replacing things at such an accelerated rate — this inability to see our last table as suddenly worthless, even though we’ve just been out shopping for a new one as though it were” .More here
Furniture continues to be one of the items most often placed in self-storage units. Before you take this step, ask yourself why you are choosing to store it. Is it something you love and know you will use? Are you keeping it because it belonged to a loved one and you are emotionally attached? Are you truly saving items for someone that will definitely want and use them within a defined timeline? If you are saving your items for your children, be sure to confirm that they will want what you have. “You may be very disappointed when you find that your kids don’t want what you have saved for them! Believe me, you are not alone. Every day in our store we have consignors bring us items that they envisioned going to their children. It is very common to save furniture, china, and keepsakes, thinking the items will be treasured by the next generation. Often the realization that your kids don’t want what you have saved for them leads to a lot of family drama and frustration”. “Your Kid’s Don’t Want Your Stuff”
If you are paying to store your items be sure you have them in the proper environment for safe keeping. There is no sense in keeping photos, keepsakes or even furniture that are then ruined in the storage process! It is wise to use plastic seal-able containers for small items and always wrap your furniture. If you are going to self-store, rent a climate controlled space and be sure you have insurance on the contents. Better yet, gift, donate or consign your items now. It will save you money, give you closure, and provide peace of mind that procrastination will not!
10 Things to Expect When Downsizing!
2) Letting go means you lose control! Link to – Letting Go …
3) Your kids don’t want your stuff! Link to – Your Kids don’t want you stuff!
4) China and crystal and silver—oh my! Link to – China And Silver…
5) Your mother’s Mid-Century furniture is coming back! Link to – Your Mothers Mid Century…
6) Unfortunately, the antique market is struggling! Link to The Antique market is …
7) Collections are harder to sell than you think! Link to collections
8) Self-Storage Units are a temptation you should resist!
9) Donations: How to find a non profit Donations
10) Get a plan – read #10 Get a Plan!