Now that the new year is upon us maybe you made a resolution on saving more money. Did you know the average monthly cost for a 10’x10’ self storage unit is $115/month and $146/month if the unit is climate controlled, according to the Self Storage Association. This monthly expense can add up quick – a potential yearly fee of $1,700 – think of what other uses this money could be spent on: a weekend away, home improvements, or money you can add to your retirement fund. There are many folks that may find self storage units a necessity due to downsizing or relocating, but for others it just becomes a dumping ground for unwanted/needed stuff that you will most likely never use again. The U.S. self storage industry generated more than $24 billion in annual U.S. revenues in 2013, that is a lot of money spent on unwanted and unused stuff. Take charge of your unwanted stuff and stop the financial drain today by using the following steps to clean out your self storage unit.
- Check your contract– Every contract is different and sometimes the contract states you need to give notice before you can cancel it, so make sure you follow the guidelines to cancel.
- Take inventory– Go to your self storage unit and take inventory of what you have. If you had organized things and labeled boxes prior to storing your stuff this step could be quite easy. If not, you will need to carve out a couple of hours to organize your things. It is best to divide your items into four piles: keep, give away, sell, or throw away.
- Plan– Once you have a good idea of what you have and what you would like to do with it you can start planning your exit route. Find local charities that you would like to donate to and remember that charity donations are tax deductible. Make room in your home for items you would like to keep. Figure out how you will sell the items that you think are saleable, check into pawn shops, social media selling sites, local flea markets, etc. Finally figure out where you will take items to be thrown away remembering that certain larger items need to be recycled.
- Removal– Now that you have an inventory and an exit strategy you will need to consider how you will remove the items. If you have a car or truck and a lot of small/medium sized items you can take multiple trips to the different places you are taking the stuff (i.e. charity, home, recycle center). If you have larger items you may consider renting a truck or van, or you could consider hiring a junk removal company that can not only haul the items away, they will recycle the items for you as well taking away that extra burden for you.
- Review your savings– Now that you are self storage unit free add that extra savings to your monthly budget to see what you would like to do with it. Investing $100 a month in your retirement for 18 years can yield $48,000, assuming an 8% average annual return – according to CNN.com.