What is that storage unit costing you?

The true cost of storage units.

Earlier this summer, I noticed some development happening near our house. Each week as I drove by I wondered what was being built.

A new restaurant, I hoped. Or a new coffee shop (Gastonia needs a cool coffee shop).

Up went the foundation along with a sign.


I almost choked on my green smoothie. You cannot be serious I thought to myself. Another storage unit facility?!

"We are going the wrong way” I mumbled as I drove by with a frown on my face.

The size of self storage units have tripled since 2015 equating to over 68 million (MILLION) square feet, according to statista.com.

Utilizing a storage unit is great when you are in a bind. For example, you are renovating your home and you need to move out the contents for a few months. Perfect.

Or your mother in law is moving from her leased apartment to assisted living and you need to clear the space quickly and don’t have time to sell or donate the furniture. Got it.

But oftentimes we lean on storage units for a long-term solution to a lack of space and too much stuff.

Let’s take a poll: Raise your hand if you have a storage unit or have had one in the past.

Now, keep your hand up if you moved stuff in there temporarily, yet that was more than a year ago.

Let’s break this down with an actual example.

Penelope (not her real name) leased two storage units in a climate controlled facility to house her furniture after her parents passed away. She lived in a small town home and didn’t have room for the furniture right away so she tucked them away in a safe place. Her plan was to buy a home and combine all the pieces once she had the space.

Fast forward two years and Penelope gets married to Steven (not his real name). Steven was 10 years her senior and didn’t need another stitch of furniture in his mid-century modern home where he had lived for the last 45 years. Penelope traded out some of her furniture and his, and they live happily ever after.

That is, until the bank statement arrives every month shining a bright spotlight on the cost of her still-in-use storage units.

$250 to be exact.
Penelope is desperate to rid herself of this commitment but overwhelmed at the process of HOW to actually do it. Enter Jennifer, stage left.

In four days we clear out her storage units; furniture is donated, items she wants to keep is tucked away at her new home, and a big “see ya later” letter written to the storage unit facility.

Penelope spent $15,000 on storing her stuff for 5 years; do you want to know how much of that stuff she actually kept?

Why do we waste resources (money, the land these units are built upon, time) storing stuff we potentially don’t even want?

Because we want to defer the decision.

Out of sight, out of mind.
If we keep our stuff locked away off site, then we won’t have to go through the process of deciding, “do I want this? Yes or no?”.

Yet it’s never really out of mind, is it? That monthly debit is a nice painful reminder of our put off decisions. What a price to pay!
Not to mention, we become even more attached to it because of the increased investment. By storing and paying, we add to the cost, or better yet we subtract from the value, of what we are storing.

Ask yourself - if I have to put it in storage, then why do I have it to begin with?

Is it worth it to me?

Is it that important?

Jennifer Burnham