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  • Writer's pictureMJ

If you gotta store, store smart

The average length of stay for items in a storage unit is 14 months for residential customers. But many customers will keep a unit for many years, even decades.

Baby boomers, a group with higher disposable incomes and more “stuff” they believe to be valuable, are using storage as a lifestyle management tool - putting off emotional decision making and renting a unit from month to month.


Let’s do a quick calculation. The cost of a 10 ft x 20 ft unit is $150 each month. You have the unit for three years. That’s $5,400 you could have used for something else – a vacation, to pay off a bill, or a charitable contribution. Are the items in the storage unit worth the cost?

Whether you need a storage unit long-term to house items you’ve inherited from a family member or collected over decades, or just short-term to prepare for an upcoming move, follow my 10 steps to successful storage:


  1. Find a storage unit close to home so you can retrieve items quickly.

  2. Know your inventory. Review the contents so you are paying only to store items you need or love. If you cannot see yourself using the items in the future, sell or donate them.

  3. Use shelving that is lightweight enough for one person to move on their own.

  4. Group similar items together and store in airtight containers.

  5. Label all containers, and shelves too, if necessary.

  6. Keep a clear walkway to the back of the unit.

  7. If you visit the unit frequently keep basic supplies such as trash bags, notepad, markers, Post-It Notes, a box cutter, tape, and more.

  8. Remove trash and recycling regularly.

  9. If the unit does not include lighting, invest in a good LED lantern.

  10. Tape a list to the wall that indicates what is stored in each box or bin. Use an easy numbering system everyone can follow.

When it’s time to organize your excess belongings – or save some money and completely let go of this lifestyle management tool – I can help. I’m scheduling spring projects now so contact me at (608) 345-1836 or to get started.


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