Should you rent a storage unit?

The short answer is, probably not.

Using a storage unit is fairly common for people living somewhere temporarily and needing to store furniture and belongings. If, for example, you are having a home built and live with a friend for a year or stay someplace that is furnished on a temporary basis, having a storage unit is understandable. Most of the time, however, people are just saving things they might want or need later.

With all of the television shows about finding treasures in them, you might think that everyone rents storage space. A lot of those great finds are planted, yet another way that “reality television” is anything but. We do not all need a storage space, in fact most people do not.

Storage units are a nice place to put things you rarely use – but wait – I always say that if you have not used an item in two years, you should sell it, donate it or trash it. Why hang onto a lot of things that you do not use?

Keep in mind that storing belongings costs money every single month. On average in the Baltimore area, an 8 ft. x 10 ft. space costs $120/month or more. Not to imply that what you have is not valuable, but do you really want to pay to keep furniture or other items that you are not using?

How about turning that around 180 degrees? Sell your excess furniture or donate it, and save the money you would spend on a storage unit. If you had a small 8 x 10 storage space, you would save $120/month or $1,440 in a year – more for a larger unit. Add the money you may make selling some things and you could come away with a couple thousand dollars or more.

For those of you who feel that you “might” use the antique dresser or “might” make tons of money from the old trains, gently force yourself to make those decisions now. The money you save on monthly storage fees will likely more than cover replacement costs, in the event you actually need another antique dresser. If you are sentimentally attached to the antique dresser, take a picture of it.

Take a vacation. Buy a new tv or computer (and donate or sell the old one). Put the money into a CD. Make a donation to your favorite charity. Take all of your friends out for a night of fun. Think of all of the great things you could do. You would be free of the burden of paying that monthly fee and you would feel wonderful about doing something good with the money.

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