If there’s one thing that makes me crazier than people who text while driving, it’s when people throw away their hard-earned money in order to store “stuff” in an off-site storage unit. And you thought Bernie Madoff was a crook?
Trust me when I say putting your grandmother’s chipped, scratched and non-dishwasher safe Limoges china in storage will NOT increase its value, and storing your son’s old mattress and oversized bookcase for the 4-plus years he’s in college won’t make them any more appealing when he graduates and moves into an apartment on his own! Renting an off-site storage unit is akin to flushing money down the toilet.
I know a woman who used to have three 10’ x 20’ storage units, which were filled with hundreds of boxes filled with old hotel amenities, including an assortment of hotel soaps – used and unused – bottles of shampoo and conditioner; body lotion, shoe horns and polishing kits, combs and throw-away terrycloth slippers.
At an average of $247/month, multiplied by 12 months, she was spending approximately $2,964 per unit/per year; take that number, and multiply it by 3 (the number of storage units she was renting) and you’ve got $8,892/year for all 3 units; times 10 (the number of years she had been renting the units) and you’ve got $88,920. I don’t know about you, but I think that’s a lot of money.
In terms of value-cost averaging, renting a storage unit is never a wise investment, even if you are storing something more valuable than boxes of hotel amenities.
When contemplating whether or not to use off-site storage, the most important questions are: a.) Can you afford it and b.) Do you need it? Although one decision does not necessarily predicate the other, once you consider the cost, I’m hoping you’ll agree; renting an off-site storage unit is usually not a good idea.
In Southwest Florida, the average cost for a small/10’ x 10’ (1-bedroom) storage unit, runs about $161/month ($1,932/year). Average prices for a medium/10’ x 15’ (2-bedroom) storage unit run about $225/month ($2,700/year) and for a large/3-bedroom unit, the average price/month is $247 ($2,965/year). Nothing speaks louder than the facts, agreed? (Costs may increase for interior, climate-controlled units, as well as for insurance and 24-hour on-site security.)
Remember, if you can’t afford the payments, don’t do it! If you miss even one payment, you’ll run the risk of losing everything.
The question is: should you or shouldn’t you rent a storage unit? Bottom line; no matter what the circumstances, if you decide to rent a storage unit, limit the rental term to no more than 12 months – max! Still not sure if you should or shouldn’t rent a unit; take a look at the following tips, which should make the decision-making a little easier.
- You SHOULD rent a storage unit if you are moving from one home to another, but staying somewhere else in the interim.
- You SHOULD rent a climate-controlled unit if you’re staging your home and need to store items for a short time, but be sure to add the cost of moving the items, as well as the additional insurance, into the equation. In other words, it might be time to sell the items outright instead of storing them.
- You should NOT rent a storage unit just to store the things you don’t have room for in your house or apartment, such as shoes, clothes, fur coats, themed holiday decorations, the old Victorian couch your great grandmother gave you or your kids’ college yearbooks and you definitely should NOT rent a unit to store old records, comic books, Barbie dolls, Beanie Babies and other what-not that you think will increase in value – they won’t.
- Speaking of sofas, if you’re thinking of reupholstering Granny’s old sofa, it’s probably cheaper to buy an entire living room set than to reupholster one sofa! And how about that baby grand piano you moved into your storage unit 5 years ago? The cost of moving the piano from point A to point B to point C is simply not worth it, especially if you don’t play the piano!
If the majority of what you keep in storage belongs to your kids, maybe it’s time to cut the proverbial umbilical cord and let them pay the rent?
Finally, if you’re really serious about downsizing, it’s time to make some tough decisions and unload the things you will probably never use again.
Remember the adage, “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” well, the same can be said for what goes in storage stays in storage!