Is it Time to Clean Out Your Storage Unit?

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What Are You Using Your Storage Unit For?

This post explores the pros and cons of having an off-site storage unit. If you have one, should you keep it or should you clean it out and let it go?

It often depends. What you are using your storage unit for? If you’re like many others, an answer you might give is that you are holding on to it in case you “might need the stuff inside someday”. Other responses include saving furniture and other household items for kids or grandkids, storing overflow from the home, and simply not wanting to face the task of cleaning it out.

What do you think? Are these reasons good enough to hold on to it? If you’re not accessing your things regularly or using the stuff inside, perhaps there’s a better use for your hard earned money. According to an article that I read on sparefoot.com, the average cost of a 10 x 10 square foot unit is now $96.09 per month, and a 10 x 20 is $137.06 per month. Can you think of a better use for that money each and every month, year over year?

There are good reasons to rent overflow space. I’ll get to those in just a bit, but first, let’s take a look at some interesting facts and figures.


Self-Storage Statistics

The self-storage industry is big business. Spending on construction of units has risen from about $20 million in 2010 to over $280 in 2017.

  • There are over 54,000 self-storage facilities in the U.S.
  • There are 2.63 billion square feet of rentable self-storage space in the U.S. (as of 2014)
  • There is enough self-storage space in the U.S. for each and every citizen to have 8.32 square feet to themselves (as of 2014)

Good Reasons to Rent Self-Storage Space

It’s not a bad thing to rent space. There are actually really good reasons for when a unit can come in handy. Here are some ways I think having one makes sense:

  • You are selling your house and need to simplify it for showings
  • You’re in between homes and are living with your in-laws for a few months while you home search
  • The floors in your place are getting refinished and you needed to remove everything
  • You’ve got some remodeling going on in part of your house
  • Tiny or minimalist living is now your thing, so seasonal items go in there
  • As a business owner, you don’t want to live with your inventory and equipment, but you still want it accessible

These are just a few uses. Do you notice anything in common among the reasons listed above? All illustrate either temporary, short-term usage, or there’s fairly frequent access going on.

Try thinking of your storage unit as a tool you use to facilitate the life you are living now. What if “someday” were now?


Storage Unit Clean Out

Time to let it go? Get started with these tips

So, how do you start to tackle this monster? Here’s a few tips:

  • Don’t go it alone. Grab a supportive friend or two (or hire a professional organizer like me) to help you sort through it all
  • Have a plan. What types of items can be trashed, donated, sold, given to family and friends?
  • Be realistic about time. If your storage unit is a large unit filled to overflowing, it will take several sessions
  • Gather supplies such as boxes, garbage bags, packing tape and a marker to clearly label where items are going
  • Contact a charity of your choice to see if they can provide pick up service. I’ve used GreenDrop several times for clean-outs and they offer an amazing concierge service

Here’s a short video at the very end of a storage unit clean-out project I worked on. Take a peek!


Source: Fitzgerald, Jay, et al. “Self-Storage Industry Statistics.” The SpareFoot Storage Beat, 25 Aug. 2017, www.sparefoot.com/self-storage/news/1432-self-storage-industry-statistics/.


Do you rent storage space now? What do you use it for? Have you ever gone through the process of a clean-out? Share your thoughts and tips below:

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Michelle is passionate about supporting and motivating people to live the lives they envision for themselves. As the owner of Hop To It Organizers, LLC and a pro organizer, she achieves this by collaborating with clients to deliver customized solutions. Her clients enjoy her empathetic and positive-minded nature when working with her.

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