Chapter 15 of The Life-Changing Magic River of Money that Flows from Tidying Up
Save Money by Avoiding or Terminating Self-Storage Contract(s)
Few expenses endured by Americans are more foolish than those for the rental of self-storage units.
They cost more per square foot than some apartments.
If you are not familiar with self-storage units, they are individually controlled storerooms, typically accessed by sliding overhead garage doors and protected by special locks and keys, security fencing, lighting, and cameras.
Self-storage is also referred to as mini-storage and temporary storage.
The problem is not so much that we never have the need for temporary self-storage. The problem is that we tend to use it on a non-temporary basis. Surplus possessions, once out of sight, become out of mind. But the rent goes on.
Which is why the worse thing you can do is put self-storage rent on your credit card as an automatic charge….
Better you should write a check each month specifically for it, and have at least those reminders of your foolish nature.
If you are renting a self-storage unit, its entire contents should be among the first items you review for clutter to be gotten rid of.
Units are of various sizes and geographic location affects monthly rental rates, so it is hard to pin down a dollar amount. We once paid $250/month for two years, $3,000 per year, for a 10 X 10 X 8 unit with a sliding metal door and a lock and a key.
As a result, for roughly $6,000 we stored a few family heirlooms and a host of typical household goods that might as easily have been donated to charity. Our stored possessions were worth approximately $3,000 if sold as used goods in the marketplace.
We bled, in other words, but, compared to others, we soon stopped the hemorrhaging. It’s not unusual for a customer to store a thousand dollars worth of household clutter … and still be paying self-storage rent ten years later. Meanwhile, the items stored grow less valuable with each passing year
There are better uses for your money:
You can buy an inexpensive new or nearly new car for $250 per month.
You can lease a moderately expensive new car for $250 per month.
You can keep yourself in groceries for $250 per month.
You can pay off a student loan for $250 per month.
Purchased early enough, you can buy long-term care insurance for $250 per month.
Or by making some common sense decisions about what to own and what to get rid of, and taking the lot out of self-storage, you can simply pocket $250 per month.
Maybe you don’t know it, but self-storage is primarily an American industry.
Of roughly 60,000 self-storage facility locations worldwide (with facilities often offering hundreds of individual self-storage units), 50,000 of them are in the United States. Together they provide more than 2.5 billion square feet of rentable self-storage space for Americans.
The industry is so big, it has spawned its own reality-TV show, Storage Wars, about the auctions of storage unit contents by landlords for failure of their tenants to pay rent. The show began its 6th season in November 2014.
What’s at Stake?
The money you pay and/or the money you can avoid paying for leasing self-storage.
In other words, an ongoing stream of cash on which the income taxes have already been paid—that you could invest or use for other, better purposes.
If you lease a $250 per month unit for three years, you will spend $9,000.
You have the opportunity, by decluttering and organizing, to stop this monthly expense on a dime.
This is easy money and much more certain than the stock market.
Copyright © 2015 Ryan Lee Petty