You may be as surprised as we were to find out that approximately 10% of homeowners in the United States rent a storage unit, despite an average home size of 2,600 square feet! But, considering the average household in the U.S. has about 300,000 things (yes, 300,000!!!) it’s no wonder people want some of their stuff out of the house and out of the way! It can be easier to store items than to get rid of them, and people often put things in storage units with the intention of going through it all later, only to have it sit there for years. We hang on to the thought that “this will definitely come in handy later!” (not!), and we certainly can’t let go of sentimental childhood items!
So, now that we understand that we all have a little bit of The Hoarder spirit in us, let’s talk about better solutions for storing our things. To be clear, storage units do have a time and place and can be legitimately useful for a short period of time, such as in between homes, but for the most part, we’re throwing our money away by storing random things in dark rooms at odd locations we rarely ever go to. Additionally, when we store things out of sight, they’re also out of mind, and this actually encourages us to buy even more.
Of the 10% of homeowners who rent a storage unit, about 65% of them have access to a garage. The garage is one of the most underutilized (and most cluttered) spaces in the home. Considering the average storage unit costs over $1,000/year, it makes a lot more sense to use your money wisely to upgrade your garage with storage solutions that will last a lifetime.
Not only does this provide you with extra space to store your things, but it will also allow you to organize your garage and create a more functional space.
There are several affordable options for adding storage to your garage. Overhead storage allows you to store boxes of sentimental or seasonal items you don’t need easy access to, like old family photo albums, your favorite childhood stuffed animal, and holiday decorations. For items you do need access to, adding cabinets to your garage will give you a neat, organized area to store all kinds of tools and recreational equipment. With this option, you’ll actually be able to move even more stuff out of the house than you thought of, knowing you don’t’ have to drive to storage to get it when you need it. (Bonus!) You can even use your garage walls for storage by adding slatwall and racks, which lets you get things off the floor and out of the way.
Attics and basements are also obvious storage choices if you live in an area where these features are common, but chances are if you’re thinking of renting a storage unit, you’ve already occupied those spaces.
Whatever you choose for your storage solution, another useful option is to practice the “art of letting go” and donating items to people in need. There are many donation centers in most major cities, such as Goodwill and the Salvation Army.