Costs of Storage vs Decluttering

You have extra stuff in the house: files, books, clothing, old furniture, the kids’ old toys . . . Do you store it for later? There is a cost of storing stuff.


1. Renting Space is Expensive
About 9% of Americans rent storage units. In the DC area, renters typically pay $75 per month or $900 per year for a 5X5X8 unit that can hold about 16 cubic yards.

Storing items needs to be a temporary solution and you need to have an exit strategy. If not, you are most likely wasting money.

2. Filling your Garage or Basement is Expensive
When you fill your garage or other living space with stuff, you are using an expensive asset. Depending on your neighborhood, your existing space is worth $80 to $150 per square foot. Additions can cost $125 to $250 per square foot.

This month, we decluttered a finished basement in a nice neighborhood in Fairfax. We effectively reclaimed 600 square feet of space for the owner. That space was worth at least $72,000. (If you live in Arlington, you can double that figure.) Consider the costs of owning that asset. The principle, interest, taxes, and insurance on a $72,000 real estate asset would run at least $330 per month – almost $4,000 per year.

Clutter in the home also adds to the costs of maintenance because clutter collects damaging moisture and attracts pests.

3. Decluttering is the least expensive alternative.

As a rule-of-thumb, the cost of disposing of unwanted items is equal to about 6 months rent to store them as a self-storage unit.  You need to ask yourself, “Is this stuff is really worth the cost of storage?  And how long?” Should I just rent a dumpster and be done with it all?

As a rule-of-thumb, the cost of disposing unwanted items is equal to about 2 months of the value of the asset used to store the items.  A storage facility actually makes better economic sense than using your expensive real estate as a storage unit.

Decluttering is the most economical way to acquire more living space. The 600 square feet we cleared involved 60 cubic yards of unwanted debris. The total cost (labor, trucks, and disposal) was about $1,500 the cost to build 600 square feet of finished basement would run around $72,000 or $330 per month for 30 years.

If you are having a hard time deciding what stuff is really unnecessary, a professional organizer can help. We can refer excellent organizers.

When you are ready to reclaim your space, call Junk King Fairfax (703) 455-3861. We will work with you to get the best outcome.