If you drive around the Capital Region (or anywhere!) you will find storage facilities popping up ALL over.  I often wonder how do they fill them all?  Is there really a need for all those units?  Well, I guess so!

Recently listening to a podcast by The Minimalists they had some current interesting facts about these units.  For one, it is a very profitable industry! The storage facility industry was valued at $48 billion globally in 2020 with a profit margin of 41%.  And the US has 90% of them! That translates to 52,000 businesses and growing – which is 6x the number of Starbucks in the US.  Now that is a lot of space!

Storage facilities most definitely have their benefits.  I am a big fan of them when used to solve short term problems.  These short term reasons may be… you are moving and going in to temporary housing, you are renovating a space in your home and need to move out some of your items while doing this, there is a death in the family and everyone can’t take what they want for some time, but the house has to be sold, or lastly, you are selling and less IS more to properly stage your home.  Having staged many homes, depersonalizing and decluttering are key to selling fast. Another great use is starting a business and not having a space yet, but you have inventory or need a space to put together product.  A rental cost for a unit is usually much less than a retail or warehouse rental fee.

If moving, also consider “mobile storage units” like Pods.  They serve the same purpose as temporary storage, but since they are delivered to your new home - then shortly thereafter picked up - it forces you to unload it.

A major negative is getting one and not planning on an end date.  Or having any plan at all for what will go into it.  Storing stuff when it is stuff that should just be let go of, is a costly mistake.  Moving unwanted items out of your space doesn’t solve the problem that you are holding onto unwanted items.  You have pushed the problem to an unseen location that is now costing you money.  Most times, after 3-6 months, the value of the items in the unit is less than what you have paid in fees.

Do not place the “just in case” items in there. Do not place actual trash or broken items you will never fix. Do not box up papers that should just go to the shredder. Do not put anything in there that you do not want but feel guilty letting go of.

Also, be careful to choose the right unit for the type of stuff you will be putting in them. If your items can’t be subjected to extreme heat or cold, you will need a climate-controlled unit.  Do some research based on what you are choosing to place inside.

Lastly, don’t forget the organization of the space as well – make a list of what you have in there. Consider investing in some shelving to organize what is in there especially if it is inventory for a business.  Items you won’t need access to at all during storage should be at the back and items you may need to grab towards the front.

Storage units can be and are, a strategic solution for a specific need. Without a plan, it is an oversized junk drawer with a bill attached to it. Choose and plan wisely.

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