“Where do we put all of our STUFF?!!”
Transitioning into an urban lifestyle can be challenging to the “hoarder” in each of us. Some of it is easy and logical, like “where do I keep the lawn-mower?” …duh, you don’t need one anymore. The garage in your old suburban home was probably filled with lots of things that you can jettison as you transform into an urbanite. Weed Eaters, fertilizer, garden hoses, and hammocks will no longer gather dust in the nether-regions of your new urban digs. But many of us have hobbies that require us to hang onto things that don’t look good in the living room and may not fit in the closet. Bicycling, Fishing, Bow-hunting, or Kayaking to name a few. You’ll need additional storage outside of your condo unit for many of these things.
There are some other items that cry out for storage outside of your living space:
- Holiday Decorations
- Heirloom furniture that doesn’t fit in the condo but that you will never part with
- Boxes of memorabilia, baby photos, little league trophies and your butterfly collection
- Art that you love but don’t want to look at every day
- Records and files
The list could go on and on, but you get the idea. Some of us live very lean in the “STUFF” category and others not-so-much.
There are 4 options as I see it:
- Purge, purge, purge
- Get off-site storage at a mini-warehouse
- Stuff every nook and cubbyhole in your swanky new condo with storage solutions from The Container Store®
- Find some on-site storage offered by your condo association
This is by far my preferred solution. It’s difficult in the beginning but by the time you have parted with approximately half of your stuff, it becomes liberating. The mindset is key here, like when you diet and convince yourself that food is just fuel and not for enjoyment. Have you ever lost everything in a house fire or ugly divorce? ….use that. Knowing this sounds harsh I’d like to offer that most people recover nicely from either of these events and I have heard many survivors proclaim that the experience liberated them to move on to something better that was waiting for them. House-fires and divorces would both turn out better for us if we were more prepared.
Moving to a condo is not as sudden and unexpected as either of these, so let’s plan for it! First, sit down and make a list of the stuff (possessions) in your life that you truly could not do without. Examine the list carefully and you will be surprised to learn that it is truly not as large as you first imagine. For me, it really has nothing on it but little tiny things that trigger great memories, like photos, a letter written by my grandmother to me, a few favorite books, and the magic tricks I collected as a kid. The list got so small that I don’t really need off-site storage at all, just a couple of boxes in the closet.
Sports equipment is something that I don’t own much of but I do sometimes miss my big power tools. I figured out however that all of these things can be rented (or borrowed) often for a lower cost than the cost to purchase and maintain them, AND they aren’t all dusty or broken when I need them. I closed one of my restaurants in 2000 and stored all of the fryers, grills, tables, chairs, and other equipment for $300 per month in a mini-warehouse. After 3 years I put it all on eBay and ended up getting $3,000 for all of it – after spending almost $11,000 to store it. My motto became “If I don’t need to use it regularly, then I don’t want to own it”.
The hardest part of downsizing is getting rid of things that provoke strong memories.
My 3 solutions:
- Give the item to someone whom you love knowing they will cherish it as much as you have
- Give the item to someone you don’t know who needs it more than you do
- Sell it on eBay
Finally, keep an album of important things that you once owned. Before you give granny’s china set to your niece, have a big dinner, setting the table with all of the pieces, and take some photographs. This is even a better idea if your memories of granny are evoked by something bulkier like the giant cabinet where she KEPT the china… photograph it and then give it away.
1. Off-site Storage
Listen, in my experience, it is just a bad idea. Unless you are in business and need a place to keep your inventory paying for storage is losing.
2. The Container Store®
Yes, I love that place. How much cash have you got? Seriously though, they have some very nice and clever stuff. As an aside, I exercise my Williams and Sonoma® muscles whenever I am in the container store by finding what I like and then going home and locating it online for two-thirds off. All of the clever storage devices will ultimately fail to solve the problem of having more stuff than space to keep it in.
3. On-Site Storage
Many condominiums have on-site storage. Sometimes it is included with the unit like deeded parking spaces. In many cases, it can be rented month-to-month or purchased. Every condo property is different so I have this guide to Storage Options in Downtown Fort Worth Condos.