What if I told you there’s a way to save hundreds of dollars a month? Intriguing, right? Well if you rent a storage unit to store your possessions, it’s time to clean it out so it doesn’t clean out your bank account. You’re paying up to thousands of dollars a year to store things that can easily be replaced—that is, if you even need them at all. That’s money that can be spent on a pretty nice vacation instead of keeping your old Fiona Apple CDs stored away.
Think about what’s sitting in your off-site storage. Is it clothing from your kids that you may use for another baby? Or boxes upon boxes of memories? Or even videocassette tapes, CDs, and DVDs that can be digitized? Don’t let what you’re holding onto hold you back. Lighten your load and free yourself from the monthly payments associated with your stuff. Less is more: more happiness, more freedom, and more money!
Sure, it’s easy for me to say get rid of your storage unit, but where do you put the things you’re storing? Most things can probably be tossed or donated. Chances are, if you’re living without it, you don’t need it. What you’re left with after this challenge should easily fit into your home—on top of a closet, in the garage, or under the bed. If you ever need those bags of baby clothes, chances are you’ll look through it and discover the yellowing that occurs on those onesies over time. You’ll want to shop for new things for your bundle of joy, and now you’ll have more cash to do it. As a bonus, many organizations will give you a receipt for the items you choose to donate, which can result in additional savings on your tax return!
- Look at your possessions with a critical eye. If you were shopping today and you wouldn’t buy it again, don’t keep it! If it’s stained/torn/worn, toss it. If you can replace it easily and cheaply in the future (think power strips, flower-store vases, bedding, towels), donate it so someone can use it today. Stop paying storage fees on out-of date clothing, worn items, old magazines, and inexpensive and easily replaceable items.
- Digitize everything. CDs, DVDs, VHS tapes, photographs, and books can and should be preserved digitally. I recommend downloading your music collection to iTunes so you can access it from your phone. Scan photos to share with your friends and family, rather than having them collect dust and even mold in a storage unit. It’s easy to digitize your media, either yourself or by a professional.
- Keep the highlights of your memories. Pare down your memories to only those that are specific (for example, plaques that have your name vs. just plaques with “First Place”), and memories that hold significant meaning. Chances are, you’ll find things in your memory boxes that you don’t even remember why you kept! Or there may be multiple mementos from a single event where you only need to keep the best of the best. Most importantly, get rid of any items that bring up bad memories, or that just don’t move or interest you anymore.