Storage Units - Worth it or Waste?

Recently, I was reading statistics on the public storage space industry.  At the end of 2009, the United States had 2.4 BILLION square feet of space.  One in ten people pay to store excess things.  As far as I'm concerned, that's way too many. If there is one thing out there that I think way too many people waste their money on, it's storage units.  It's been a VERY rare occasion that a friend, family member or client was able to give me a good reason why they needed it.  One time to be precise.  Quite frankly, if you asked a person when the last time they visited their storage unit was, they're most likely going to tell you months or years if they remember at all.  No surprise there - finding and getting things from storage is a huge hassle.  It's rare that the person has an inventoried list and organized space to make it easy to find things.  After all, if you really needed it then it would be in your home, not a storage unit. 

Storage units are a black hole for your money.  Costs range from $40 to a couple hundred dollars.  So let's take a middle stab and say you're paying $150 a month and you keep the unit for 5 years.  That's $9,000 just tossed into a black hole never to be seen again.  That's a car, or money towards a home or college.  But instead, it went to house things that you may have never touched during that entire time. 

Now I believe that we all fall into the storage unit trap at one point in time or another.   It always seems like an excellent game plan at the time.  I too have used a storage unit.  Quite a few years ago, I had a unit for two years.  $1,800 was wasted and when I got rid of the unit, I got rid of every single thing in it.  I didn' t even look first.  I hadn't seen anything in there for two years so it was obvious that I didn't need any of it.

This goes back to my "just-in-case" vs. "get-when-needed" theory I talked about in an earlier post.  People have told me that they didn't have any money for x, y or z, yet they're spending over $200 a month on storage of things they're keeping "just in case."   If you're not spending the money on storage, you'll have it to spend on something you actually need.

Your items deserve respect and to be treated well.  They should have a home that isn't an ignored storage unit.  I'll bet you a cocktail that if you needed something, you're going to purchase it because you forgot you had it in storage.  Do yourself a favor and let go of the storage unit and it's contents.   You'll feel better and free up some spare cash.