Many of us are suffering from the same environmental malady: too much stuff, too little room. Whether we live in a house we’ve outgrown, or we’re in a tiny apartment with next to no storage space, we’re busting at the seams. This calls for temporary storage or going in for storage space for rent.
One smart solution is to store seasonal items off site. Clothing, out of season sports equipment – even that snazzy little Miata convertible – can be stored efficiently and inexpensively in a good self-storage unit. Proper use of the storage place can be a great organizational tool that simplifies your life tremendously.
The first trick in renting a storage unit is to figure out how much storage space you really need. Take a look at what you own, and decide, first, whether you need it at all, and second, whether you need it now. That pair of size 4 bell bottoms from 1968 will never fit you again; pass it along to your daughter or granddaughter, or donate or sell it to a vintage clothing store. You probably aren’t going to need downhill ski equipment in April, unless you live in the Rockies; that two-seater kayak probably won’t be used in the winter months. Move ’em out! Decide what you want to keep and where it will go in the storage unit, and estimate the space you’ll need.
Too many people, once they’ve rented a storage unit, just start piling stuff in, shoving stuff into the back and then moving forward, until they’ve basically transferred their disorganized mess from home into the storage unit. Don’t do that! When you rent your storage unit, take some time to think out an organizational plan. Store all the ski equipment together; the boating equipment together; the clothing together, divided into a separate area or container for each person in the family. Check with the storage facility to find out whether you can attach shelving, pegboard, or hanging units to the inside of the unit to help you organize. Try to provide the same type of storage capability within the storage unit that you would provide if your home storage space were optimal. Don’t forget to allow enough room to easily move around within the unit.
Do you have a family member away at college, or for another reason, for an extended period of time? Depending on the circumstances, you may want to use their room for another purpose, temporarily (as long as it won’t cause hurt feelings!). Pack up their belongings, organize them so that you (or the family member) has easy access, and stash them in your storage unit. If you want to, provide them with their own key to the unit.
If you own your own home, check with your insurance company to find out whether it covers the belongings in your storage unit. If you rent, you may want to buy renter’s insurance, and make sure it covers the belongings you’ve stored off site. Or ask the self-storage facility if it provides insurance, either free or for a fee.
Use your self-storage unit, not just to store your stuff, but as an organizational tool that allows you to live your life more efficiently and more enjoyably. A little thought will go a long way toward making that happen!