You may feel trapped by self-storage, but we have some organization ideas that can free you. The self storage industry is booming. If your have stuff in storage, you are in very good company. About 10% of the population of Fairfield County have their stuff in self-storage. I have mentioned this statistic before, but it bears repeating. According to a Cube Smart study, for every McDonalds you see there are THREE storage facilities!
In most cases, you need storage in life transitions, but too often it’s just a monument to postponed decisions. In both cases, your storage is out of sight, out of mind, except when that monthly bill comes in. That’s a painful reminder, which tends to go away quickly enough. But even if you did want to do something about making that monthly bill go away, it’s not so easy. You have to find the time, do a lot of physical work, and make a lot of tough decisions. That last part is the hardest.
The challenge with self-storage is that the contents can get far too comfortable, at your expense. They take up residence, like a freeloader in an apartment, who doesn’t pay the rent. It makes a difference when you think about it that way, doesn’t it? So, because the problem is intransigence, the solutions is movement. Here are some tips to get things moving.
1. Know the scale
Like any big challenge, a full storage unit can feel overwhelming. And like any organizing solution, a mountain must be broken down into stones. Before that can happen, you have to understand the size of the mountain. It is very to underestimate AND overestimate. Start with a simple inventory, ideally when the items go into storage. I say “simple” inventory because it is very easy to overthink this and, therefore, not do it. Bring a clipboard and just write 12 boxes of holiday items, Mom’s dining room set, 6 bins misc., etc. You can’t move something until you are clear on exactly what you are moving.
2. Clarify next steps
Related to know-the-scale is clarify next steps. For example, Mom’s dining room set might be a potential sell. Maybe you took it, because you were hoping to fit it into your next home. You finally get your new home, it doesn’t have a dining room, and you realize you don’t need one. So a next step may be extracting your dining room set, so that you can get a decent photo. When you have that photo you have the ability to share it with potential buyers. Understanding this next step will get things moving, so you can untangle this puzzle.
3. Moving shelves
Identifying contents as Holiday items will also help get things moving. You have identified a category that is seasonal and often contains low value items. You make decide that the quantity of low value items can be reduced during a seasonal visit. You may also decide that you will need the seasonal keepers to be more easily accessible. So even if items are not moving out yet, they should still move easily inside for easy access. For this I recommend standing shelves with wheels. Maintain at least one open aisle and you can roll out the decorations without grief.
4. Settle for reduction
Perhaps the moving shelves sounds like surrendering to storage. Not at all. It’s part of recognizing that decluttering may need to be done in stages. That’s still a win, because at each stage, you can potentially see a savings. Perhaps, after selling Mom’s dining room set and a few other items, you can go from two storage units to one. Then, after you reduce some holiday items and review the “miscellaneous” boxes you can transfer items from a large unit to a smaller unit. At each stage you save money.
Perhaps what you need, to remove the final items in storage, is applying some of these principles at home. Then you would have room at home to accommodate them. A plan for movement is the key to getting organized and staying organized. Circulation prevents accumulation.
If you would like to experience our best self-storage organization ideas and need the physical help, you’re in luck. This month we are featuring The Store-No-More special at mattbaier.com.