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Sort – Don’t Store

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Storage LockersAt CMFTO we feel strongly that storage is not a solution to clutter management. This week in Declutter Made Easy we’re addressing the instances in which storage is and isn’t appropriate.

To begin, off-site storage is a great solution in three scenarios:

  1. When you’re running a business and need a site to store supplies and big bulky items. Climate-controlled storage facilities are great for this purpose, as long as they have good access hours, are secure, and you rent the smallest space necessary to meet your needs. Otherwise, you’re paying for unused space and that financial resource could go toward something else.
  2. When you’re preparing a home for market. As a short-term solution during the staging process, we often use off-site storage to quickly edit a home to prepare it for market. We pack up the items no longer needed for staging, but wanted in the new home, and store them. This is money well spent, because it is actually part of the move process.
  3. When you’re in transition between homes and need a temporary solution to your move. The key word here is “temporary.” We know not every move happens in a day. There are times when you may have to rent a place while work is being completed, but you still have to vacate your other home. Off-site storage is the perfect solution for this problem, and now there are companies that specialize in exactly this type of move.

For everything else, off-site storage is not the best solution. Here’s why:

Storage SearchThe storage industry generates approximately $38 Billion in revenue annually. In order to do this, they are banking on most owners forgetting about their off-site storage for months and then years, as rental rates are often increased several times throughout the year.

Statistically, if something stays in storage for more than 12 months, most owners forget about it. Have you seen the TV show ‘Storage Wars?’ This is where they make their income: from forgotten storage units filled with Great Aunt Sally’s living room set.

Storage UnitMost people see off-site storage as a solution, because it allows them to defer the decision-making process on what to keep, donate, discard, or share. We know sorting through our belongings (or our relative’s belongings) can be an emotional and time-consuming process. But the process doesn’t change whether it’s today or two years from now.

So, if you’re considering storing something off-site, it would be helpful for you to ask yourself these questions:

  • Why am I keeping this, if it doesn’t fit in my lifestyle?
  • When am I going to use this in the future?
  • What memories or value am I attaching to this that are influencing my decision to hold on to it and PAY to store it?

If, after answering these questions, you feel that off-site storage is the best solution for you, then it’s important to make a promise to yourself that you will revisit your decision in six months, otherwise, you’re committing to holding on to things and draining your bank account, indefinitely.

Alternatively, if the process of sorting simply feels too overwhelming to deal with, hire somebody to help you. At CMFTO, we help individuals every day that are making decisions between keeping or letting go of items. We love what we do because we help people minimize the time spent on this decision-making process.

All my best,

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