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Are You Hostage to a Self-Storage Money Pit?

November 19, 2015 at 12:00 AM

It’s estimated that Americans spend more than $20 billion a year renting space in a self-storage facility. According to the Self Storage Association, the number of households renting out a storage facility has grown 65% over the past 20 years. It’s hard to drive more than a few miles in urban areas and not spy at least one self-storage business (and often more). The aggregate land mass for U.S. storage facilities spans a total of 78 square miles, or more than three times the size of Manhattan.

If you’re part of that growth story I think there’s a pretty good chance you are wasting a lot of money.

The average rental cost is about $120 a month for a basic 10x 10 space that isn't climate controlled. That’s $1440 a year! And if you’ve got a larger space, or a climate controlled unit you are shelling out even more.

I have two basic questions for anyone with a storage unit:

  • Can you tick off a complete inventory of what’s in storage right now?
  • Is every item a necessity, or of significant sentimental value?

If you have lost track of what you have in the unit, or can’t honestly remember why you put it in storage in the first place that’s a sign you are throwing money away.

Money that both you and I know could be more strategically used. How about being able to send an extra $120 a month to pay down a credit card balance? Or being able to set aside $120 a month more in your emergency savings fund? Or managing to save $1,440 a year in a Roth IRA?

Those are some seriously great financial steps that are easily within your reach if you simply decide to get rid of possessions that you no longer use or need. Not only will you save money, but I bet you will feel so much better once you have committed to some long overdue purging.

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