Sunday, April 06, 2008


I’ve been driving by the new storage units that are going up at Miles Crossing and I think of all the storage units in Gearhart and Warrenton. It makes me wonder what the hell is so important that it needs to be kept, while unimportant enough not to be kept at home.

I can understand using a storage unit if you are in transition between homes or if you will be traveling and you want to return to an area and not pay rent or a mortgage while you are away.

What I can’t understand using a storage unit for is because you have too much stuff to fit in your house. Really, if you have so much stuff you will feel much better selling or donating it. These storage units aren’t cheap. About fifteen years ago I had to rent one for some stuff we needed to find homes for when we moved two homes into one. It was an eight foot by ten foot room with a light bulb which went for $50 a month. We had everything given away within two months.

Just for shits and grins (that’s a Gearhead phrase, by the way), I looked up some prices for storage on the Internet. I kept coming up with a five-foot by five foot spaces renting for about $60 a month. 5 X 5 is 25 square feet and you usually get a door and a light fixture. Now let’s say an average apartment is 800 square feet. At storage prices you would be paying $1,920 a month for an apartment.

If you want to get into business, don’t buy an apartment complex because not only will you have to deal with tenants, but you also have to deal with plumbing, heating, sanitation, safety and so on. As a mini storage owner you can charge twice as much and provide only a cement floor, a door, a light bulb and minimal climate control.

You should consider selling all your junk and cashing in on the junk of others and their obsessive compulsion to hoard.


Blogger Auntie said...

I know of a person who comes from a very poor war torn country who recently came to the US. When my friend was explaining the usage of "storage units" he absolutely didn't understand how americans could have so much that they had to store things. And pay to do it. His question was why wouldn't people that had too many of something (like furniture) share with other family members? My friend explained that they probably all had enough stuff too and maybe stored extra items as well. This displaced person just shook his head and still doesn't understand.

Only in America.

6:02 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

Storage units are an up and coming business in this area. Desirable neighbourhood but minimal storage (i.e. small or no garages).
Confession - we have a storage unit full of furniture the boys used while living at university - just waiting for them to move out and use all that stuff again!

7:25 AM  
Blogger Jaggy said...

My parents are "storing" some of their stuff in my apartment while they try to sell their house. So now I have a coffee table, a lamp, and other odds and ends that don't match anything. The good news is that I needed a coffee table, and I'm not sure how I'm going to feel about giving it back! :P

Nothing like having Dad-crafted furniture. Nothing.

7:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know someone who owns 3 storage unit complexes, she says the amount of default is HUGE! And what people abandon can be amazing. A lot of people running small businesses use them for overflow of products and when the business tanks abandon it all.

She is a good person and give folks a lot of chances to pay off and reclaim before she sells their stuff, but most don't. Some years she said the money she gets for selling the contents is way higher than what was owed.

They also have RV and Boat Storage, abandonment of those isn't real high but it's definitely not rare.

8:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Auntie's friend is right. Most Americans have too much stuff. Paying for storage is a trap for many. Usually intended for a month or too at first it often drags into years at a cost far exceeding the value of the items as they slowly deteriorate. I learned this 1st hand and have since made a pretty good living selling 2nd hand goods through two retail outlets and online.

10:20 AM  
Blogger Mom of Three said...

Guy, you know I could have written this same article. Beth, you're in transition in the sense that you have households coming up that will use that furniture. But you know what hoarders do? They leave all that junk to their kids to sort through. That's why there's so much default. On the other hand, you can get some sweet deals when they auction off the contents of unpaid units.

So long as it's not Hannibal Lecter's.

9:53 PM  
Blogger Hahn at Home said...

Here's my take: I distilled a lifetime's crap into eight little file boxes that are easily stored in the closet. That's little trinkets and papers from school (so I can relive those moments I hated anyway), Christmas ornaments, kids' stuff that they might want, legal documents, and photos. Then, I have just the stuff I use in the house. Everything else is gone. It was one of the most freeing things I ever did. Something comes in, soemthing goes out. That's my rule.

When I hear of people who do this (and I know many), I wonder what I could do with the money they wasted to store stuff they will never look at again.

6:55 AM  
Blogger Mike S said...

They just opened a small one near here, not many customers though. When in FL I had 2 large and a small all in a row way at the back of the storage 'complex' that I used to restore and repaint antique vehicles. The small one held tools, work bench, welder, etc. For (at that time) $150 per month with 'free' electricity it was great. Only thing I added was a small generator to operate the larger welder.

And we sold/gave away nearly everything like Lori did when we moved back here. Terrific feeling, got nothing now but necessary stuff & small collectible stuff.

2:47 PM  

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