A Cautionary Tale:
In general, it's best not to move three weeks after giving birth. Finding ourselves in this situation and needing storage, my husband chose a storage unit based on one fact alone: Price. This made sense as we were collectively running on 2 hours of sleep, calculating the cost of diapers over a year’s time while trying to estimate what our AC bill would be like in a house vs an apartment. Whew! I'm stressing myself out just thinking about it.
But the reality is that storing everything you own, for the frugal buyer or new parents, can feel a little bit overwhelming. So, as you can probably sense, my husband searched storage in Nashville and Murfreesboro storage centers and rented the smallest conceivable unit that would technically fit everything we owned. We were supposed to only need the storage unit for two weeks, so I happily boxed most of our belongings and he spent an entire day stacking boxes to the ceiling on some sort of jenga-inspired warpath.
The long and short of it is that we ended up storing for four months and approximately 90% of everything we owned was stacked floor to ceiling. Getting to anything at the bottom or the back or even the middle of the storage unit was an exhausting, puzzle piece exercise. On more than one occasion I bought brand new items that I knew were already in the storage unit because, when I mentioned going to the storage unit to find something, my husband broke out in a cold sweat. Through this experience, I have learned some important things I will apply the next time I use a storage unit.
Cheaper is NOT Necessarily Better
Had we taken the time to talk with a Storage Consultant (a trained professional like they have at StorPlace Self-Storage ) they would have helped us choose the right size and type of unit for our needs.
Learn from my Mistakes
Here are some questions to ask yourself before choosing your unit size:
- Will I want access to anything in this storage unit in the next year or two?
If the answer is yes, then get a unit big enough to make a pathway down the middle. I say 'want' because you'll probably make the totally necessary things accessible, but there might be other things you want more than you realize. For example, I really wanted my knitting needles and expensive yarn that were buried in the far back corner of our storage unit. That is not a 'need' (I didn't put my toothbrush in the unit) but it was a big want. I had no idea I was going to want it when I boxed it up with a newborn in my arms. I also thought I would only use the unit for two weeks...
- Is the unit big enough for me to find what I need?
How hard will it be to get to the bottom box? If you stack 6 boxes on top of it the answer to that question is: too hard. If you have several things you want to be able to find again you should think about upsizing your storage unit to keep things you need to find at or below eye level.
- Is the cost of upsizing less expensive than the cost of re-purchasing items I can't find?
This is a big one! Often the cost of upgrading is only $10 or $20. That is really worth it if you consider the money you might spend (Like me) buying new clothes or new kitchen appliances because yours are lost in a storage unit purgatory.
Will it give me peace of mind?
This one seems silly but, in my experience, it actually was the most crucial. We used a storage unit in a time of great transition in our lives. Having everything we owned so tightly packed and difficult to dig out added extra anxiety to an already tense time in our lives. It might be a first world symptom, but we are often grounded by our stuff. I feel at home using my favorite mug every morning and sitting in my favorite chair. Just because I can technically do without them doesn't mean they aren't comforts worth preserving. Make sure you pick a storage unit that will truly make your life more comfortable, not less.
Here's to the peace of mind that comes from being organized and “right sized”! I hope you enjoyed reading along. If you’ve ever made an insane move and have a crazy story to tell about it, follow us on Facebook and share your story.