From the desk of Lori Aufderhar, Summit’s Director of Operations/Retirement Coach:
Storage …. Sounds like a great option, doesn’t it? Let’s get this stuff out of here and sort through it when we have time. The problem is that “someday” never comes, and the decision to pay for storage is typically done when overwhelmed with stuff.
Now that this accumulation of stuff is out of the home, it’s out of sight and out of mind…it’s a “someday” thing. Month after month goes by, life happens, and suddenly you realize this stuff has been in a storage unit for a couple of years.
What’s the cost of that storage? Let’s say it’s $50 per month – for 2 years that is $600, 3 years is $900, and so on. What could you have done with that amount of money?
Most often I find that the stuff you’re storing and paying for really belongs or belonged to someone else. When we live in a home for many years we accumulate our own stuff, like when the kids are growing up their stuff accrues and then they don’t take everything with them when they move out. We may accumulate things from our parents when they are downsizing or pass away, and the attic, basement, garage, and any spare rooms can become clogged with all this stuff.
When I hear clients talking about this accumulation of stuff, it’s usually when they want to downsize. Even though it’s overwhelming, I recommend to deal with it right away, don’t delay the inevitable. Save yourself money. Save yourself the time and energy spent packing it and storing it in the storage unit.
In my book, “Not It” An Approach To Life, I recommend in the chapter Your Home that you create a staging or sorting area where you take the items from various places in the home to sort into “Put away, give away, toss” categories. This area is a great space to contemplate the ambiguous items that may be can be repurposed later.
Include friends, put the music on, and take breaks with some fun food. Clean up and redecorate the space once you’ve cleared it.
A tip for items belonging to someone else is to give them a time limit to pick it up before it gets donated or tossed.
Did you know you can donate lighting, paint, mirrors, window treatments and the like to stores like ReStore, which supports Habitat for Humanity?
Some items can be sold and money brought in instead of spending money. Beware of time and effort put into a garage sale … often I’ve found that the effort isn’t worth the work. When you have something marked for 50 cents they’ll ask if you want to take a quarter for it instead. The pricing can put you into analysis paralysis and can be agonizing for some folks.
Whether you store, donate, sell, or toss…Whether you spend money or make money on your stuff…Whatever you do, keep what you love that works with your space and do what you can to make the process of going through things fun.