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Five Reasons You Should Get Rid of Your Storage Unit

Nearly 11 million U.S. households, or almost 10 percent, rent a storage unit, according to the Self Storage Association, up from 6 percent in 1995.

And these businesses are busy. In 2015, the occupancy rate for self-storage facilities was 90 percent, an increase from 87 percent just two years before.

Those numbers have grown during the last two decades -- even as our houses got bigger. We might have more space, but we’re accumulating more stuff than we have room for.

There are plenty of reasons why people might need a self-storage unit. Maybe they’ve downsized to an apartment during a home construction project. Maybe they’ve moved temporarily across the country. Perhaps a business needs it to store work-related pieces.

But, let’s face it, many of those units are filled with items we just aren’t sure what to do with. Family heirlooms that you don’t really like, but you can’t bear to part with. Boxes of books you have no room for. That wool coat from 1997 that you might wear -- someday.

Storage units might seem like a convenience, but, in reality, for many, they are a big money drain.

Here are five reasons why you should get rid of your storage unit:

  1. They aren’t cheap. According to Storage Talk, the price of a typical 10×20 unit is about $100 a month. Prices can range anywhere from $40 to $200 a month depending on the size, whether it’s climate controlled and where it’s located. That means you’re likely spending anywhere between $480 and $2400 a year to store stuff you might not even need.
  2. You could reach your financial goals more quickly. If you’re working hard to pay off debt, increase your emergency fund or save for a big vacation, that storage unit should be an easy line item to slash from your budget. The average American has about $4,700 in credit card debt. If you are paying the average of about $1,200 a year for a storage unit, you could pay off 25 percent of that debt just by getting rid of the unit.
  3. You don’t need the stuff. According to the Self Storage Association, 30 percent of storage unit renters expect to use it for more than two years. If you filled up your space two years ago and haven’t returned, it’s time to reconsider whether all of that stuff is really important to you. If you’ve been able to live without that old couch or wardrobe box of clothes for a year or more, it’s likely you won’t ever really need them again. Ditch the unit.
  4. You could make money selling the stuff. Is Aunt Susie’s fine china and Grandpa Bob’s baseball card collection in storage? You could be sitting on a goldmine -- or at least some cash to get you closer to your financial goals. Sure, it can be hard to get rid of sentimental items. But, if they’re sitting in a storage unit, you’re not really cherishing them. It’s a good bet that Aunt Susie and Grandpa would prefer you sell their old items so you can move forward with your own life.
  5. You’ll be happier: Just the thought of attempting to clean out a storage unit might seem like a drain. But it’s likely you’re also worrying about whether you’ll ever pay off that debt or take that dream vacation. Getting rid of the stuff in that storage unit -- and that monthly bill -- could make a big difference as you work toward your goals.

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