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How to Empty Your Storage Unit of Clutter

Updated on December 3, 2012

Many people put their stuff in commercial storage units and forget about it. Except it costs money. Every month you get a bill to pay for the use of that storage space and eventually you pay more for the space than the value of what your stuff is worth. This hub is aimed at encouraging you to reduce what is in your storage space and aim to get rid of it altogether. I’ve written this hub for my friend Virginia, in the hope she will reduce her two storage spaces to one and then to zero.

How much is it costing you?

How much is the storage space costing you each month, multiply that by 12 and find out how much it’s costing you per year. Think what you could do with that money if you didn’t have the storage space. I was once buying and drinking one coffee a day at $3.50 a day. When I realized that was the cost of a laptop once a year, I soon gave up coffee.

How much storage space do you have?

Do you have a large unit that is half full, or two storage spaces? See if your stuff can fit into a smaller space or if two units can be consolidated into one.

Know what is in there

Most people claim to not know a lot of what is in their storage space. They don’t even know what they are paying for each month. So, visit your storage space and make a list of what is in there. Don’t take too long, just say 1 box of papers, 2 boxes of books, 3 piles of clothes that are too small, etc.

Think how you will deal with your items

Many people put items into storage because they don’t want to deal with them. But someone has to deal with them sometime, are you going to leave all your stuff for your children to deal with after you’ve gone, or are you going to face up to it and deal with it yourself? For each pile or box ask yourself what you are going to do with it, keep, donate, trash, etc.


Are you waiting for something that will never happen?

Do you have furniture that is waiting for when you buy your own home? Do you have clothes that are waiting for when you’ve lost all that weight? Be realistic, will you ever use what you have stored? The main thing is, is the cost of the furniture worth the cost of months of storage space fees? Would it be cheaper for you to donate the furniture, keep the storage space fees and put it toward new furniture when you do get your own home?

Visit your storage space every day

The first thing to reducing your stored items is to visit your storage space every day. Then look at what you have and plan how you will reduce it.

Reduce what you have one box at a time

Try to remove one box at a time. Take it home with you and deal with it and return the next day for another box. Even visiting your storage space every other day will really help. You don’t deal with your stuff because you don’t see it, you need to see it regularly.

Consider Portable Storage Rental

Portable storage rental units are when you rent storage space and it’s placed in your driveway. This is really useful if you are remodeling or moving and the storage space is easily visible and therefore you won’t be tempted to keep it for a long time.

What is the proper use of storage space?

There are times when the use of storage space is a good idea, if you are remodeling or moving, or if you have seasonal items such as Christmas lights. But to leave stuff in storage space year after year is just a waste of your money. You have to face it sometime or later, so why not do it now?


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    • profile image

      Denise 6 years ago

      How generous of you to care about those of us who

      were so sick with problems we simply paid the bill

      and stopped facing what needed to be let go of in storage. Peace!

    • profile image

      Diane Baker 7 years ago

      Thank you...this is what I needed to hear.

      Starting today...Visiting my unit everyday and take

      something and get rid of it!!!!

    • profile image

      Lauriella 7 years ago

      >>The main thing is, is the cost of the furniture worth the cost of months of storage space fees? Would it be cheaper for you to donate the furniture, keep the storage space fees and put it toward new furniture when you do get your own home?

    • profile image

      Virginia 7 years ago

      Hi Tina,

      Thanks for writing these instructions in my behalf. I am honored. I think you need a picture of what I have to deal with so you can see what a travesty it truly is.

      I love your list of instructions. They are quite practical and make good sense. So box at a time...decisions, decisions...should it stay or should it go. My daughter says when you look at it say to yourself...can you live without it? The answer is usually "yes". Sounds so easy, but it really creates a little war inside the brain. The stuff has the winning edge, but I think with everything throw I away, it will get a little easier as I begin to see space. I first have to realize that the world will not come crashing in on me when I throw something out. I'm really convinced that it is a sickness or a mental disorder created from a set of circumstances that occurred earlier in life. See you on Wednesday.