This article is not a knock on public storage. I, myself, have rented storage space for my inventory until I could build my own storage. When I had a temporary overseas assignment, I rented storage space for my furniture, until my return. Note, in both cases, the decision to use temporary storage had a specific exit strategy, and I had specific uses for the items stored.
The Self Storage Association reports that 50% of storage unit renters store what won’t fit into their homes. 1 out of every 11 Americans rents storage. However, too many of those people use public storage to store junk – stuff they’ll never use again. They do not have an exit strategy. In effect, they use public storage to postpone the decision to get rid of unused furniture, junk, and clutter.
Public storage isn’t cheap. In the DC Metro Area, a 10 foot by 5 foot climate controlled storage unit (about the size of a walk-in closet) costs $75 per month, or $900 per year. In addition, you provide the labor and hauling to move your stuff to the storage unit.
As an alternative, getting rid of the unwanted items requires decisions, time, labor, and often some expense. A 10 foot by 5 foot unit with an 8 foot ceiling packed tightly holds about 16 cubic yards. You can rent a 15-yard dumpster for around $450, and you provide the labor. You can hire Junk King to perform all the labor and remove the unwanted items for less than $450.
As a rough rule-of-thumb, the cost of disposing unwanted items is equal to the cost of 6 months’ rent to store them. A lot of people opt for the “free” first month of rent and slow $75 bleed than paying the cost for disposal. The problem is that at the end of 6 months rent–$450–you still have the unwanted items and you face the same decision: pay to dispose or pay to store.
If you need help solving this store vs dispose dilemma, you may want to engage a Professional Organizer. These professionals are excellent at helping people prioritize. Check out the National Association of Professional Organizers, or contact us for a referral.
Finally, here’s an enlightening case study written at another blog. This person spent $48,000 over five years to store junk.