You may be as surprised as we were to find out that approximately 10% of people who own their own home in the United States still rent a storage unit, despite an average home size of 2,600 square feet!
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 may feel easier to store items than to get rid of them, so people often put items in storage units with intentions 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!
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 encourages us to buy and consume way more than we need.
Understanding that we all have a little bit of The Hoarder spirit in us, let’s talk about better solutions for storing the things we truly want to keep. Out of the 10% of people mentioned above who rent a storage unit, about 65% have access to a garage. 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 permanent storage solutions that will last a lifetime.
The garage is one of the most underutilized (and most cluttered) spaces in the home and adding smart organizational solutions not only 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.