To Store or Not to Store

George Carlin once said, “That’s what life is: finding a place to keep your stuff.”

Well, too many of us use storage, in the basement or the attic or in a storage facility, to hold the things we can’t find a place for.

In 2007, The New York Times reported that rentals of self-storage units had increased by 90 percent since 1995, and more than 11 million American households rented outside storage space.

Derek Naylor, president of Storage Marketing Solutions, a consulting group, says, “Human laziness has always been a big friend of self-storage operators.” That’s because once their stuff is in storage, most people leave it there forever.

Are you thinking about storing some of your stuff?

Here are some questions to ask yourself before you move something to storage (even if it’s a move to the attic or basement):

– Do you love the item? (If so, then why not use it?)

– Is it a duplicate of what you already have? (If it is, then why do you need another one?)

– Does it need repair or is it broken beyond redemption? (Give it away or throw it out.)

– Do you feel obligated to keep it? (Why? Whose decision was that?)

– What would be the cost to replace it? (Can you buy another one if you discover later that you need it?)

As we said in our book (Moving On: A Practical Guide to Downsizing the Family Home): be honest. Are you storing items simply because you cannot make a decision about them? If so, how will putting them in storage help you?

George Carlin was right: We do need to find a place to keep our stuff. But that place doesn’t necessarily have to be in our home. We can find other homes for our stuff by giving it to friends, donating it to charity, or reusing it creatively.

We would love to hear your stories about storage: good ones, not-so-good ones, and even disheartening ones!


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