Money & Career

Self-storage: Are you spending thousands to hang on to the past?

Putting stuff in storage costs a lot of money, especially when you add up all the months and years it stays there doing nothing.

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Self-storage is great if you need a quick place to stash your stuff – when you’re staging your home to sell it or when you’re in the middle of moving. A lot of storage companies even offer special deals to lure you in, like giving you your first month for $1. Putting your things in storage is just so tempting especially today, when many of us are living in smaller spaces than ever.

But self-storage is also a big trap – it makes it easy to hang on to old items from your past you don’t use anymore or don’t have room for. And while it’s fine to pack that stuff into an attic or basement, it’s not fine to leave it hanging in storage year after year.

Why? Because putting stuff in storage costs a lot of money, especially when you add up all the months and years it stays there doing nothing.

Have you ever seen Storage Wars? It’s so sad to see those people digging through someone’s garbage bags filled with useless stuff like broken toys and old cassette tapes. But what’s saddest of all is how much it costs to hang on to all that stuff – literally thousands of dollars a year, depending on where you stash it.

Here in Toronto for example a 5×10 storage unit downtown goes for around $130 a month – that’s $1560 a year. Leave it in there for five years and you’ve spent $7,800 on storage costs alone.

$7,800!! Even a cheaper unit is going to cost you big time over the years.

Right now some of you are probably thinking: “But wait – I have a great couch and some chairs in storage waiting for me in my storage unit. Why throw out good furniture when I can use it one day?”

That’s all fine – but add up the costs to store it and consider whether you could have bought an even better couch, jacket, table, chair etc. for all the money it cost to store the old one for a long time.

I’d also argue that storage causes waste and consumption – for every item you can’t easily access in your storage space, you’ll probably buy another just to replace it.

If you can’t find a place in your life for something, then stop paying to hang on to it. Let those memories go, clean out your space, and breathe easier in 2012. 

Do you have stuff in self-storage? If so, how long have you been hanging onto it? Share your experiences below.

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