Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom – Have Storage Will Clutter, part 2

Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom

When Colleen wrote Have Storage Will Clutter, I assumed it would be about storage units, which exist all over the US, some row after row of garages, and others (literally) high rise buildings with full heating and air conditioning services. Some people’s junk in the US lives better than many citizens.

Recently I was  at a class with my eldest daughter and was telling one of the fathers about the blog. He immediately told me that his chore for that day was cleaning out the garage. The coach then approached and asked if we were talking about cleaning out a storage unit. The man said, “No, but we have one of those that needs to be emptied too.” Then the coach shared that she has three storage units. She is going on a trip to Europe soon and noted that the units cost about a European trip per year. She claimed that she intends to clean out one unit when she returns (although I have to say, her commitment to this seemed very half baked, like one of those things that you just get used to saying like “I’m going to start exercising”). I challenged her to empty all three units. Bizarrely, she then said, “Oh no, I’m a minimalist” but had to return to coaching before I could find out how in the world having three storage units and being a minimalist could possibly be related. (Ok, truthfully, I was too busy trying not to snort loudly and rudely to find out more.)

I asked the father why he had a storage unit. He said that they intend to turn half of their garage into an exercise room. In order to work toward this goal, they’d cleaned out part of the garage and put it in storage. At least some of the stuff in the storage unit are items that will be in the exercise room. He told me that the unit was about a cheap as they come at $110 per month (about the same AUD, 81 Euro) and that he’d spent over $1000 (741 Euro) on the unit so far. One thousand dollars and no exercise room yet. The gym closest to my house is $70 a month for a family membership. They could have been working out for the past 14 months for the money that’s gone into this storage unit.

The last example of Have Storage, Will Clutter is a couple I know. Their adult children live in Texas. The parents thought that they would move from California, more than 1000 miles away, to Texas. When one of the children got a long-term overseas assignment, the parents packed up their belongings, sold their condominium, and move into their son’s house. Because the son’s house was fully furnished, they kept some of their personal items, and the rest of their belongings went into storage. This makes sense to me. Having their items in storage was cheaper than continuing to pay for a whole condominium for them, and they knew that their living arrangements were temporary. Eighteen months later, their son returned, and the parents moved back to California, leaving their stored items behind. For a while it was unclear what would happen next, but now more than five years have passed. The parents definitely aren’t moving to Texas, and their belongings are still here, still in storage. They don’t seem to have any intention of repossessing their items, which include furniture, clothing, household items, and collectibles, nor do they seem to have any intention of paying to have these items moved to California. Every year when they visit Austin for two or three days, they visit the storage unit – presumably to get something out of it, but I really don’t know. (Maybe to put something in!!) If the average unit is $100 a month, five years of storage comes to $6600 (4890 Euros). In the meantime, they’ve purchased replacement furniture and electronics for their home in California. My estimate is that this folly has cost them at least $10,000. I don’t really know what to say about this story. It truly mystifies me, but I do know that if storage units weren’t so convenient, something else would have been done with these belongings, rather than just having them sit in climate-controlled comfort year after year.

If you have a storage unit, my first advice to you is to leave the house alone and declutter the storage. You’re throwing money away when what you need to do is make some hard choices and probably many easy choices and live within the space you have available to you. All those “valuable” items you may find hard to part with because “they cost good money” are getting more and more costly each day that you pay to store them. Have storage, will clutter, indeed!

Today’s Declutter Item

I bought this carry file about 15 years ago when working as a teacher’s aide in my children’s first school. That was seven schools ago and it has hardly been used for its intended purpose since. I think it is well past time I let it go.

 

I

File Folder Bag

Something I Am Grateful For Today

I had a wonderful day today giving a friend a belated birthday treat. We had a coffee, went to the Hunter Valley Gardens (first time for both of us) and had our favour Tom Yum soup for lunch. Everything was perfect including the weather. See photos below.

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow


Continue reading with these posts:

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  • Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom ~ Count the Mintues Cindy's Weekly Wisdom Last week, I wrote a post praising the wonderful feeling of getting old to-dos done. As I suspected, I was not alone in 1) having pletny of old to-dos that needed […]
  • Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom ~ Going to the Flea Market Cindy's Weekly Wisdom Last month the family and I went to a monthly event, The City-Wide Garage Sale. Ever since one of my staff members bought a really cool old stove at the sale, I'd […]

Comments

  1. The gardens are spectacular. Thank you for sharing your photos.

    • Hi Cindy,
      it was a beautiful day and those gardens are beautiful. I will make sure I go again sometime.

      Your post today was great. I for one really don’t understand storage units except in exceptional circumstances or emergencies. I am in the middle of writing a couple of posts at the moment that really are raising questions for me as to how we got like this. Where we require storage units, garage sales, eBay and other mechanisms of dealing with our excesses. Now I have something else to write about. One post just seems to lead to another lately.

      I agree wholeheartedly with you that if any readers out there have a storage unit draining their finances it is time to stop cleaning out the house and take care of the unit first. What an enormous waste of money paying a company to store stuff people should never have wasted their money on in the first place.

      • Colleen – I’m pleased the posts are coming easy to you. I remember in the past you had some stressful times, so it’s nice to know it’s all progressing nicely!

        • Hi Snosie,
          the ideas for posts are coming easily to me at the moment, however the time to write them has been a struggle this week. It is worth every minute of it though to hear the great stories of those I have helped.

  2. Truly unbeleiveble, those storage units have sprung up a lot round here latley, honestly, i ddn’t know that people used them long term. I assumed (naivley) that they are used for short periods, say for instance someone moving back in with parents whilst finding somewhere else or commercial purposes. I’m astounded that people pay just to store!

    Beautiful pictures Colleen, looks like fine weather too.
    Sharron x

  3. I tried to find statistic on long-term v. short-term rentals for these units with no luck. I think using them for a short period of time, as you suggested, is completely appropriate. But using them as a second (or third) garage is crazy.

  4. I was lucky enough to learn from my parent’s mistakes regarding storage units. My mom paid $250/mo CDN for a large indoor storage unit for years when she took a job up North. After a few visits it was 1/2 empty and she continued to pay it’s rent. I finally talked her into getting a smaller one (less than 1/2 the price) and she maintained that for a year or 2 as well. It was just old gardening equipment in there and a few boxes of mystery cables. I asked her if I could just take the stuff to my garage for her to sort next vist and close the unit. She finally agreed. She was paying over $100/month for some things that could be replaced at a thrift shop for about $50! Insanity.

    My Father in law had a different issue. His mother had passed away rather quickly and since he was the closest relative, he got stuck with dealing with the lion’s share of the sorting, etc. He took her passing very very hard and after the house was sold, he had to divy up what was left with surviving relatives. The jewelry and photos were easy, everything else was left. He rented a huge storage room and stacked everything from antiques to clothes to pots and pans into it. He wasn’t emotionally ready to deal with it and no one else was volunteering.

    2 years later he was on hard times and let the unit payments go into arrears for too long. The storage place called my husband (next of kin) and warned him if the bill wasn’t paid the whole lot would go to auction. What could we do?! We scrounged up the $1600 (and we were a young single income family paying student loans at the time!) and bought it with no place to put any of it. We rallied the family and loaded it onto our lawn one sunny afternoon. Decisively we found homes for about 50% of it, and donated or trashed another 25%. My husband and I kept the family antique diningroom set (after all we paid for it) and a few good quality kitchen gadgets. What was left went into my FIL’s 2nd bedroom, and there it stayed… it’s been 15 years in piles taking up that room, he still can’t face it.

    He has said thank you to us many many times for rescuing his mom’s things from auction, but somettimes I think it may have been easier to just let it go (for all of us).

    • How sad for your FIL. I’m sure by now he’s very used to just keeping the door shut on that room. You were kind to rescue her (his) belongings. I hope you made up the money you invest getting it out of hock at the garage sale.

    • Hi Creative Me,
      what a mixture of cases of “This is what you should not do!” Wow! And your dear father-in-law, how tragic. My heart goes out to him.

  5. I once read a good quote in some newspaper article some years ago (so sorry, no source here and only a crummy translation):

    “Attics and basements are the landfills antechambers”

    Got me really thinking back then, nodding (but unfortunately not acting … as I have compartements in both and they don’t cost extra so I filled them up … )
    I guess the storage units then are like the luxury antechambers (with the according luxury rent …). I think the writer of the article referred to the fact that in basements or on attics most things go bad because of the temperature and humidity conditions and we therefore deliberately turn them into junk by storing them there too long and inappropriately. But of course we can also turn things into junk by just waiting … Fashion and technology are cruel in which speed they make themselves ridicolous. Videocassettes, anyone?

    • The luxury antechamber: I love it!

      I have an attic with a limited amount of things stored in it: various holiday decorations, a couple of fans that come down for the summer and go up when its cool, our hard camping equipment (the cloth items are in the air conditioned comfort of a closet to preserve them), the clothes my eldest will hand down to my youngest, and the left over tile from our remodel. This, of course, will stay behind if we ever sell. In writing down what’s up there, I see the attic is used for seasonal storage or for very, very long term storage. Both seem like good solutions to me.

  6. Woooow. We had a storage unit for a few months and we paid $60/month. That seemed like a lot! We had just come from Georgia and were staying at my mom’s in their “spare” bedroom until my husband found a job and we got a place to live. That made sense.

    If we kept the storage unit any time past that, I would have regretted the expense. Why pay to keep stuff?

  7. Lovely pictures! I can’t even imagine paying for a storage unit. I think the storage issue applies to our homes as well. Empty shelves – hmm, they need something on them – etc.

    • Have a space, fill it. You’re right, that is often the thinking – both in the house and outside of it.

  8. It’s really bizarre to me too to pay to store stuff you are not using.
    We have an attic and a cellar. The cellar is used by SIL and in the attic we keep just a little stuff. There was a time when it was stuffed with junk that we were too lazy to deal with, but a couple of moves took care of that.
    Now, I do pay to store my paintings, which seems so stupid too. :/

    • My neighbor’s brother is in the same fix as you regarding the art. He inherited sevearl hundred paintings from their grandfather, and he pays to have them stored in climate controlled glory. It seems to be that both of you need to display your art, share it, or sell it.

  9. I never had a storage unit. But I have a 2,000 sq feet home and we are a family of 4. There is a lot of space that is not needed and that is costing us much more than $100/month (mortgage, tax, insurance, heating, maintenance…). I really want to downsize as I feel this is a waste of resources. But first, I have to get rid of a lot of stuff, so we won’t have to rent a storage unit when we move in something smaller! Although you got me thinking that it might be cheaper to downsize asap and rent a storage unit for a few months if I am not done with the decluttering, than keeping our current home.
    Lovely pictures Colleen.

    • You could be right. The ecomony could be better paying for a storage unit and moving into a smaller home quicker. Ideally, though, you’ll get a bee in your bonnet about moving and start decluttering aggressively prior to the move. A pared down house is easier to sell, as well.

      • That’s for sure! We rented a storage unit for 4 months as we were sprucing up our large house to sell while our new, smaller home was being built. The storage unit contained all our off-season stuff, then the contents of the workshop as we re-made it into a rec room, plus the lighting and plumbing fixtures we were picking up for the new house. Painting and refurbishing was a breeze with the extra space. House sold in three weeks. Worth every cent.

  10. I know people who have paid for storage units for years. they are full of all sorts of junk. Once every few months here in the US they will have auctions where they auction off the contents of units where people have either run on hard times and couldn’t pay the rent anymore or where people have forgotten they had them. Can you imagine? I know other people who buy sheds to put behind their houses and fill them with all sorts of things. I know one couple that now has three huge sheds like this. Don’t they understand that having things go through the changes in temps from very hot to very cold wreaks havoc on the items? It could be a silver chalis from the time of the Roman Empire but if it is left in a shed or storage unit it will eventually deteriorate. If it can’t be used in the home then it needs to either be given to family who wants it, sold, or given to a thrift shop. None of this hanging on to it. My aunt has barrels of “keepsakes” from my grandparents that have never been out of the barrels in the 40+ years they have lived in their present house. She says she will give them to the kids in her will. Well, why not give them to them now–they are all adults with families. Actually, I doubt they will want them anyway. Do they even remember them?

    • There was an article in our newspaper in the past year about storage unti auctions. The bidders aren’t allowed to enter the unit! Everyone stands outside and shines their flashlights in. Maybe you’ll see good furniture; maybe you’ll see boxes full of mystery. Who in the world would bid on boxes of unknown stuff? Think of the crap you could end up with!

      I think the wisest course for older people is to distribute what they can while they’re alive. I really, really wanted a dresser from my grandparents, and it’s sweeter to me that they gave it to me face-to-face while they still could, rather than leaving a note saying I could have it.

      • My Grandpa did this in the year before he died. He gave away his prized possessions to family members and friends himself when he could be thanked and know it went to the person he wanted it to go to. Unfortunately his slipping memory made for a few mistakes that led to some hurt feelings but there we sorted that out ourselves and didn’t add to his suffering.

    • I am amazed at how many people must have double or triple garages and don’t use them except to store stuff. Some people use their garage as a gym, office, workshop or party place (like me) but for a lot of families it’s just a clutter spot.

  11. Great post with a wow factor Cindy. It seems incredible doesn’t it that poeple will PAY to keep stuff they clearly don’t need! (Not talking about short term between permanent accomodation situations).

    I was able to have a much needed conversation with my m -in-law last week as theyhave a lot of clutter, to gently suggest they need to deal with it sooner rather than later because it will overwhelm my husband when they are gone: combine his grief and his horder tendancies plus his parents in rented accomodation I can forsee a storage unit situation coming on. They have started trying to deal with it, I just wanted to encourage them they were doing the right thing. She seemed to take it on board…I just hope they are able to do a lot over the next year. 1/2 of it is from her parents that they never dealt with…

    We do still have too much in the attic. Fortunately we don’t have a basement:O). My husband’s stuff is unlikely to ever get smaller but I can still do more with my own. Next time I have a ruthless phase (they come and go, it’s no use trying to force one) I’ll be up there.

    Today I have decided I need to get rid of more of the kitchen plastic storage boxes – I have too many of differnt sizes. It works better if I just have 3 sizes(titchy/medium and a few large) and nothing else because storing a greater variety is just messy and I think half of them don’t get used as I just use my favourites.

    • I sort of replied to your post when I responded to Deb J above.

      As for the storage containers, I think a few matching or interchangeable choices is the way to go. I have lunch-sized containers, left-over sized containers, and a few really big containers for when I make and freeze a big pot of soup, but they’re kept way up in a cabinet. I have to get a stool to access them, which is fine because I probably use them less than once a month.

  12. A few links I wanted to share on self-storage

    NYTimes: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/06/magazine/06self-storage-t.html
    Slate: http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/2005/07/selfstorage_nation.html

    Furniture is the most commonly stored thing in America. Why? Because people buy new stuff, but refuse to part with their old stuff. If you paid $1,000 for a table, you can’t bear the thought of selling it for less.

    #10 on Inc.’s list of “The Best Industries for Starting a Business In 2010″
    There are already 2.2 billion square feet of self-storage in this country, according to the Self Storage Association. That translates to more than 7 square feet of storage per U.S. resident. But the industry is far from saturated, thanks to the insatiable appetite of American families for acquiring stuff.

    • Great links. Your reserach skills are better than mine! I particularly like this quote from the first article.

      “Human laziness has always been a big friend of self-storage operators,” Derek Naylor, president of the consultant group Storage Marketing Solutions, told me. “Because once they’re in, nobody likes to spend all day moving their stuff out of storage. As long as they can afford it, and feel psychologically that they can afford it, they’ll leave that stuff in there forever.”

    • Amazing articles. Thanks for the links. I am german, and I have never been to the states. I dont know any way or place to store something here or in another european country (although probably possible), and I think its one of the most bizarre things to pay for valuable items instead of selling them. especially if its a price around 200 $ a month. This world needs to change.

      • Hi Lena,
        I can imagine how bazaar this must seem to you. It seems that some countries need to change a whole lot more than others. I think the World Financial Crisis is taking care of that sadly enough.

        • I really do hope that people learn from this. Although I have the feeling those, who should change their behaviour, wont be hit hard enough…
          I make a start by using less and the right way… maybe it helps if I can encourage others to do so too, which is acutally possible if you bring up the topic once in a while 😉

          • Hi Lena,
            if each one of us can impress upon two other people to be more conscious about how they consume and each of those two people spread the word to two others etc etc… surely the world must become a better place for everyone.

  13. We are in the US and storage units are almost as abundant as Starbucks. It saddens me that we waste so much time and money on these things! And I completely agree–many people in other nations live 10+x worse than people’s stuff in storage. Sickening, isn’t it?! If everyone here took the money they spent on a storage unit monthly and donated it, the world would be a much, much better place!

    • You have that right Megyn. We in the US are mostly spoiled rotten and selfish. We give heavily in some ways but we also spend unwisely, buy things we don’t need and waste, waste, waste.

      • I read in the NY Times article that 1 in 11 Americans has a storage unit and that we have enough storage space for every person in the US to stand inside of one with four feet of personal space. That’s a lot of unnecessary storage.

      • Hi Deb J,
        I actually believe that Americans overall are a very generous people. I think sometimes the richer minority of the American Society who make generous donations overseas should consider the alternative of paying better wages through their companies to their own countrymen so that a third of the population aren’t forced to live below the poverty line.

        • I think we are a very generous people in a way. But we don’t sacrifice to give and we are very good at giving money but not time and energy. I guess I always think of the old saying, “Give a person a fish and they have a meal. Teach them to fish and they can always feed themselves.” We are good at bandaid giving. Whatever is easy and suits us.

          • Hi Deb J,
            from my experience of living in the US for 7 years I saw a lot of evidence of both generous giving of money and of time and energy. Perhaps it depends on where you live.

    • Here here!

    • Megyn, According to the NY Times article, there are MORE storage units in the US than Starbucks!

  14. I’ve been speechless over this for a bit. Wow. All that waste of money and stuff.

    My dd had a storage unit for about 5 months to keep some things we didn’t have room for when she moved in with us after a divorce. It was temporary and probably worth the money considering she wasn’t ready emotionally to deal with the stuff and some was furniture she is still using. That’s about the only reason I can imagine for a storage unit. (Although we stored a few boxes of things like wedding gifts and keepsakes and photos in someone’s garage for a few years while we were out of the US–at least they had room for the boxes)

    And Colleen, your day sounds perfect!

  15. Hi mini’s,
    Here’s one for you all! My brother, bless his cotton socks, has all the intelligence in the world! BUT absolutely no COMMON SENSE and I’ll hasten to say I tell him that everytime I see him! 12yrs of having a storage unit to store what eventually turned out to be CRAP!
    He was a Sergeant in the Army for many years and over the course of that time he moved around a lot and gathered a lot of STUFF! Paperwork, equipment etc add to that all the STUFF from houses and past relationships etc etc! Now as much as it pains me to admit this I had no idea that this was going on for as long as it did and that my beautiful parents had taken over the rental payments for him when he was between jobs! He started a business and then added more STUFF! Technology changes so he added MORE STUFF! Never mind about the money side that was covered and became 2nd nature to my parents.
    This unit got used by my sister when she went overseas and thats when I became aware of this unit because my hubby & I hired one to hold our furniture & STUFF! till our house was built and we could sell the other. (Smart move and it made for a smart, Quick move). Fast forward to 2009 and muggins here is unloading the unit coz I found out all of the above and went %$#*&^)@%$& nuts! Plus Mum & Dad were moving and my brother was going with them! Anyway suffice to say I threw out (and I mean threw out) 97% of the CRAP re-assigned 1% to my brother and donated 2% I FREAKIN’ WELL KID YOU NOT!!!!
    Then after all this was done I did the maths and came up with a total spent in the area of $17, 500 that my hard working Dad had paid out for CRAP! Don’t get me wrong it was affordable but to what end? Well in 2010 my DAD passed away very suddenly and as distraught as we all were we had to kick into gear because of funeral arrangements etc! Now I love my brother but when (after going through my Dad’s financials) I discovered that my beloved Dad had stopped paying into his Funeral Fund and some small insurance Fund to help my brother in his shortfall! Now I am not a nasty person but I must admit I got quite a bit of satisfaction out of handing over the ‘WHOLE’ Funeral & WAKE accounts to be paid by him! I said to him to call it payback for the time Dad helped him. Now whenever I hear him say something like ‘put it in the cupboard’ or whatever ‘I’ll sort it later’ I gently remind him that it COSTS a LOT to STORE STUFF!!!
    Wishing you all a clutter-free day x

    • My God Dizzy that was quite a story. I have been accused of being a tight-ass at times but at least I can say I have common sense when it comes to money. $17,500 worth of storage for a load of crap, the mind boogles.

    • Dizzy, you did a good thing both in cleaning out all of that stuff when you learned about it and in giving the bill to your brother for your dad’s funeral. I am amazed at the things I see people do like that. But then I am amazed at a lot of things people do period. I think common sense has gone to the dump along with the trash in many people’s case.

      • Hi Deb J,
        that was an amazing story from Dizzy and she certainly brought it to the perfect conclusion. I don’t imagine her brother had the nerve to complain about that outcome.

  16. Though none of my family members ever rented extra storage, most own their own houses, so there is enough storage room like attics, cellars, spare rooms and the like. My Dad did not only manage to fill his house (in which he lived on his own at the time) but also the attic of my granny just with his stuff. I think he never really got rid of ANY old furniture, instead he is storing it. I mean, if you store an old sofa for 20 years (a cheap one that is, dating from his college times), it should be ovious that you don’t really need it?

    However, this is the reason I guess, why I never wanted to start storing stuff at all. We have a “storage room” within the flat here, which is also where the washing machine is standing (the room has no window, so I don’t like being in there exept for the loading of the machine). I have my cleaning supplies in there as well as the seasonal stuff, stocks of self-made jelly and the like. It’s a reasonable amount of space for these things and I can get to them quite easily (without having to climb stairs), so we don’t use our cellar compartment at all. (I made that a rule, as anything that you don’t feel the need to access regularly probably is excess) That came in quite handy, when the cellar of our apartment building was burglared. It was quite nice to NOT have to check if anything was stolen, contact the insurance etc.

    • You must have felt a little smug when you didn’t have to worry over the burglary. Good job in keeping your stuff to the necessary.

  17. Hi all!

    I’ve been a lurker on this site for quite a while now. But the storage unit thing really struck me. I’ve been slowly but steadily decluttering over the last few years now. Coming from a family of hunter/gatherers (hoarders, but my mom will cry if I call them that) I used to have, aquire, keep and store loads of stuff. Growing up I thought it to be normal and good to have as much stuff as possible. Years later I’ve seen the error of my ways. It all started when I met my boyfriend (of many years now) for he then had only what he needed and I thought he’s house was spartan, to say the least. Now several moves and living in small houses/appartments have tought me to reconsider my need for stuuf, and I’m slowly but surely letting go of things I don’t find beautifull or need. My parrents have long since taken over my old room at the house and have rented storage unit several years ago. And a few weeks ago they moved the stuff to a bigger storage. They also have a 40 m2 garage, a 30m2 attic and a 200m2 house! And now they are complaining that my stuff ( a cupboard we stored in their garage for the duration of our house remodel and 2 or three boxes of old school stuff I threw away a few years ago, but which my mom rescued for me) is in their way. I’ve gotten so fed up with their expanding clutter that we don’t won’t to celebrate christmas with them anymore. And I hope that If my parents decide to move or pass away I will be at the other side of the world so I will not have be the one to deal with it.

    Long story short: have storage will clutter is the best frase ever!

    • Hi Hunter xs,
      first of all I would like to say welcome to 365 Less Things. Even though you have been lurking for a while I feel the need to welcome all my readers who honour us with their presents in the comments section. Thank you for sharing your clutter storage story with us. Oh my! I can understand your dread of having to spend Christmas among the clutter at your parents house and I pray that they see sense and reduce the clutter before the time comes when you are left to deal with it. It must have been fate that you met your boyfriend who was so different from the way you were brought up.

      Please don’t disappear back into obscurity, stay with us and keep us updated with your clutter experience. I feel inclined to challenge you to bring up the subject with your parents about how sad it will be to lose them and have to spend your grieving time trying to work out what to do with all their stuff. Sometimes people don’t even consider this scenario and maybe if you brought it to their attention they may look at their stuff in a whole different way. What you could do is go to their home to declutter those few things of yours that are “in their way” and ask them how in the way they think all their stuff is going to be when you are forced to deal with should they pass away. Good Luck and happy decluttering.

  18. I think I’m going to buy a plot of land, put some storage units on it and get rich very easy. Too bad I don’t have starting capital. It would have made lot of easy money. 🙂

    I think I would rather use my room at my parents hous for storage (as in, during remodeling, etc.). I wouldn’t like to spend money on my stuff.

    Do you know what I also find a waste of money? Online games where you have to pay a monthly subscribtion fee, like WoW. If I already have paid for that game (starterpack about 40 EUR), I might buy an extension pack (20 EUR), but I really don’t like if I have to pay an addtional fee of 40 EUR for 60(!) days! Luckily, I don’t play such games. First of all, I find it a waste of time, and second, I really don’t want to spend (40+280(8 times the 40 EUR)=)320 EUR on a game!

    • Hi Nurchamiel,
      I hope that people come to their senses and the storage unit industries dies away. Good Lord how crazy are some folks with their money. An enterprising couple in Australia have started up OpenShed where you can hire stuff from other folks in your area. People place the stuff they don’t use all the time but still want up for rent. This way it is getting used more often, others don’t have to buy one themselves for one off circumstances and everyone is happy.

      The thing i hate people wasting their money on is Poker Machines. It is an epidemic in this country and it is time the government made clubs cut back and they are actually attempting to change the laws now. Thank goodness!

      • I think the storage units should go back to what they are ment for: for temporarily storage. Nothing more, nothing less. It is just clutter, and storing clutter isn’t worth the money.

        I realy like the idea that your government is attempting to change the laws, unfortunatly, our government (the dutchies) are horrible making decisions. I do like the fact that they are debating wheter or not the royal family (queen beatrix, prins willem-alexander and his wife maxima) needs to pay taxes. (Actually, I think that they should follow the english royals and take the lead when it comes to downsizing the income from taxes). I hope that that plan succeeds.

        The council of my village is discussing one silly road for more that 10 years. No big changes there.

  19. Storage units here in the US really blow my mind. Turning open urban spaces into storage units to store our crap just “ain’t” right, either from environmental or from ethical standpoint. My journey toward minimalism has just begun, but there’s one thing I have sworn never to do: rent a storage unit unless for a very short term. If I had to move temporarily and sell my house, I would rather use it as an excuse to sell or donate most of my stuff. Truth be told, I don’t even like most of my furniture anymore, except for a large desk, two simple bookcases and two rolling cabinets. I would probably feel different if the furniture was inherited from a beloved grandparent.

  20. One more comment… Ironically, the stuff we buy is so easy to get and so hard to get rid off! I like to donate some things and to sell others. I have started listing my books and things on Craigslist and Amazon but have only sold a few, and not nearly for the price I paid for them. Goods loose their actual and perceived value so freakin’ quickly. Sometimes even giving stuff away for free is a chore. Perhaps that’s why folks prefer to store rather than to let go.

    • Hi Lana B,
      with a little practice it becomes a lot easier. Eventually you find the best way the works for you. I find Craigslist useless because no one uses it where I live. I find ebay to be a pain but now that they offer 30 insertion fee free auctions each month I am finding it a lot more agreeable. I have to pay higher selling fees but at least that is money spend on money made not money wasted on things that don’t sell. I have made about $450 on ebay in the last month. Freecycle has been a bit hit and miss with people not showing up lately but I keep trying. I figure that the stuff has sat around here for years now why should I suddenly be so impatient to see it go. The thrift store has received the bulk of my stuff and now that I volunteer there I get the pleasure of seeing it walk out the door with a new owner and I see the money go in the register for a good charity. It is like everything else in life ~ The amount of effort you put into it = The amount of success you get out of it. Compare how much time people spend at the shopping mall acquiring all this stuff in the first place with the amount of use they get out of it and the amount of effort they are prepared to spend looking after it or getting rid of it and I think you will find a rather large deficit. Good luck and I hope you find your best methods of disposal soon.

  21. We have a large house with some basement storage but my husband is really hard on me storing things so I don’t. My sister, on the other hand, tried to get me to rent a storage unit and use it for all my sewing stuff but I didn’t want to have to go somewhere else to find what I needed. Plus, I didn’t want to pay for a storage unit so ended up just keeping my things somewhere in our house. I am still working on cleaning up some of these items. She, on the other hand, went a different route. She first got a small shed for her backyard to hold the kids treasures and odd and ends for holidays – stored in plastic bins. When that shed filled up, she and her husband bought a larger one and put that in the yard. Now, there was only the backporch for cookouts and playing space for the kids.
    Fast forward 20 years, both sheds filled to overflowing and her husband leaves her. Now, she has to sell the house because she cannot afford it by herself and move the stuff in the sheds. She gave some to her kids – they did not want much of all the treasures (?) she saved. Some went to her husband, but his apt did not have much room so he took very little. So, she had a monster yard sale and got rid of most of it. And the rest, she kept. She got another home and a few years later, remarried the husband that left and they moved into another house – much smaller than their first one. She doesn’t even remember half of what she gave away or sold and they seem to be much happier without the burden of 2 sheds. I know there are some things she regrets selling but most went to good homes or the Salvation Army. They have only a small storage area in their new house but I see them stacking and buying more storage containers. There is no room for sheds at their new house. I try to remind her of the burden of keeping so many things. But, I am trying to declutter my house, now, and am having a hard time. I should follow her example. Pretend I am moving to a smaller house and just let it go.

Trackbacks

  1. […] At the end of my time in Iowa, I had a small pile of treasures – some useful items and some keepsakes – that I loaded into a picnic basket and shipped home to myself. Plus I had a wedding ring that belonged to my Great Grandmother. I put the wedding ring on my ring finger, and it’s stayed there ever since. (Ironically, I’ve learned since that she and her husband were hoarders, with the sort of house you had to weave a path through!) The rest of the stuff was waiting for me when I got home. Without opening it, I put the picnic basket in the bottom of my closet, and there it sat – noticed but unopened – for eight years. Why? I’m not sure. I can’t claim I forgot about it: My closet isn’t deep, and it sitting right there, in front. At first, I was sad about the passing of two of my favorite people. Then I guess habit just took over, and the picnic basket sat and sat, until last week when Audra wanted to see what was inside. I confess: It was as much of a treasure hunt for me as it was for the girls. (It occurred to me that on a very small scale, this picnic basket was a lot like some of those storage units that we discussed last week.) […]