March 20, 2017

Minimal Monday: Storage

We live in such a weird society. It's been this way for awhile and we are the reason it has become so overwhelmingly habitual. You drive past houses and see it. You go on trips and see it. You even know someone that's doing it right now. Worst part about it is, people pay hundreds of dollars for it a month without batting an eye. What is it? Storage.

From self-storage to mini storage, we either have it, or know people that do, and for what? Hanging onto items that we don't use is a growing epidemic. In the United States alone, the self storage industry is one of the fastest growing sects of the commercial real estate market over the last 35 years, with annual gross revenues of 22.45 billion dollars. The self storage industry is considered to be “recession resistant” by many Wall Street analysts since one out of every 10 homes currently rents a storage unit, there are about. 2.3 billion sq. feet of rental space, which is roughly three times that of Manhattan island. To put it another way, there is 7.3 sq. feet of self storage space available for every person (man, women, and child) in the nation. Operators of self storage facilities report occupancy levels to be at 90%. (source) And if you're a storage facility owner that means huge bank on people's obsession to "hold on."

With those numbers it's no wonder hoarding, hanging onto, and emotional attachment are an issue. People seem to feel possessions are something that have "feelings" and with that they need to hold onto them for whatever reason that has been created in the mind. Emotional attachment to items is something that everyone has felt and knows what I'm talking about. The movie tickets from a special date, the dinner napkin from a night out, or how about your high school yearbooks, or even baby items (the baby is 16 now). There's always a reason we give ourselves to hold onto something. But that's just it, holding onto "something" isn't the issue. It's holding onto hundreds of "somethings" that's causing the issue.

In the town we live in there is a little over 15k in population and the town currently holds four separately-owned storage facilities. In the SNS household we used storage when we first moved to Oregon and we had items in our storage that we didn't even remember packing when we moved. We moved everything into the rental home we were in and then turned right back around and packed up the nonessential and stored them. We were paying for end-of-service bills from Arkansas, current bills in Oregon, as well as a storage facility bill each month. We were on such a tight budget at the time I have no idea how we made it. The storage facility bill was $75 a month and we had it for about three years. If you think $75 isn't much, think again. *gulp* To make this story even worse is the fact that after those three years, we ended up selling everything in the storage building in a yard sale and only making back $200.

So in order to not repeat what we did and end up losing money completely on a service that is really unneeded, the best way to do it is to not do it. Don't store items you don't even use. If it has a value, sell it. If it can be used, donate it. If it has no value, recycle it/discard it. Don't pay for someone else's retirement, life, or vacations through a storage facility. Storage unit owners make a lot of money off of people that put emotional attachment on things.

Here is the best advice I can give you on getting rid of your storage unit:

• Conquer it immediately. Use whatever time you have off and get it done. Make a time frame of two weekends in a row, or three, or even four if needed. Allot that time to just sort things out.

• Use the storage building.  Pull items/boxes out one-by-one and sort right there on sight. You've rented the space, use it. Sort into piles of what is important and what isn't. Get rid of the "not important" pile immediately. Then deal with the "important" pile.

• Sort immediately. Sort the remaining pile into smaller piles and be strict about it. Sort into piles of "Keep," "Donate," "Gifts," etc.

• Just let it go. Get rid of the donate pile immediately. If you get rid of these piles immediately then you aren't prone to hanging onto them longer.

•Finish it up and close it out. Give gifts to the person right away, and the "Keep" pile should only contain items that are of everyday importance, or add value to your life in some way. Everyone's "Keep" pile will contain different items, but make sure everything has some sort of value and earns its place in your home. Make one last sort of the "Keep" pile and see if you can't part with a few more things in the end.

Once you have sorting everything and the only pile left is the "Keep" pile, your storage unit should be empty. Cancel that lease and say goodbye. It may seem easier said than done, but keep in mind it was a chore to fill that unit up in the first place, so it will take time and effort to empty it, but you can do it! It took us about two straight weekends to empty ours and during the time we were cleaning it out, we were selling items of value in our yard sale. It was a task, but I am so glad we did it. Keep in mind that these same principles can be applied to any other place you are storing items-basement, attic, garage, etc.

Be practical, think practical, and live practical.

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