There is this line from “Fight Club” – “The things you used to own, now they own you.”
This never becomes more true than with a storage unit. Like a lot of people who hit the road, I left a ton of sweet gear in a storage unit. It would be more expensive to replace it after all…
At least that is the thinking. But really a storage unit is like a neck wound on your bank account…it bleeds you a little bit every month.
Most storage units end up costing at least a thousand bucks per year. My friend has had a car in a storage unit for nine years or something. It's an albatross around his neck. He has spent over nine grand storing a car that is worth less than five!
We live in an age where very few things that require sentimentality actually require storage space. You can store all your movies and images and memories digitally.
I kept my storage unit for more than two years before I finally had my bookkeeper clear it out and sell off everything. I made back FAR less than I had spent on storage fees.
A storage unit is really an anchor. It's a way of saying that if you don't make it in your travels you can come back. It's like leaving a stepping stone in place for failure. It is a demonstration of a lack of faith in your ability to succeed.
Honestly, whether you are traveling or staying right where you are, you need to control how many things you possess. Possessions have this strange ability to hold power over us.
Study after study has shown that the fear of loss is stronger than the desire for gain. So we let the fear of losing “all that great stuff” control our behavior. It's the number one reason that people send so much good money after bad. They want to save what they have already lost.
If you have stuff in a storage unit or an overly filled garage right now, I can't stress enough how valuable it is to get rid of all that stuff. Right now our house is filled with a bunch of clothes that my daughter has grown out of. My girlfriend was keeping it in a part of the house that I rarely go to. It's there “just in case” we have another child.
And I think that is one of the main reasons we hold on to stuff. We want to be prepared “just in case” we lose weight, gain weight, decide to start riding horses again or go back to our martial arts school. We try to have all this clutter to prepare us for scenarios that will never actually happen.
If you're problem is more severe and you need to declutter your house, then I recommend you take a look at my book on decluttering. I wrote it under a pen name but it's very powerful and can help you to organize your house.
I'm a strong believer in minimalism, but that requires perpetual vigilance. I honestly own a lot of stuff right now. For a long time I only owned a suitcase worth of stuff, but now that my family has set down roots and it's more than just me, we have about a van load of stuff. And not a white panel van either. That's way too much.
You never want to let your decisions be affected by your possessions. If you can't travel somewhere or do something you want to do because of your ‘stuff' then you definitely want to take a hard look at who is in control in your house.
If you have something that you haven't worn, used or touched in two years, then you definitely need to say goodbye. That's a pretty good rule of thumb and as strengthen your minimalist muscle you can shorten that time span to one year, six months and then three months. Then you'll know that all your possessions are useful.
They say that cleanliness is next to godliness and I'm not one to disagree. When my house or office is disorganized I find it very difficult to focus. It's easy to clean when your house and mind are not cluttered.
In case my stance wasn't clear, I think that a storage unit is nearly always a waste of money that in the end most people end up abandoning or regretting. That's why there are so many TV shows where people buy up old storage lockers just to sell off the few valuable things actually in there.
What do you think? Is there too much stuff in your life? Let me know in the comments below.