The other day I had a reader share her personal story with me and asked me the following: ” My question as a new subscriber is this: Is it ever a good idea to have a rented storage unit? I live in a small house with no basement or attic, and even though I’ve always been careful to keep down the clutter in my house, I’m having trouble finding room to set up an area to begin learning to oil paint. ”
Now to give you a little background, this reader has been debt free for over 30 years. Debt is not an issue for her, and she’s always been careful to keep her clutter to a minimum.
Related: My Debt Free Journey
So, Is It Ever Ok To Rent A Storage Unit?
Although I believe in frugality, I also believe in enjoying your life.
Life can’t be anything but rules and stringent guidelines that you never do anything fun, entertaining or educational.
I’m fortunate that I’ve landed at a place in my life that I plan for and spend money on things that are important to me. For example, this year I spent a good amount of money on camera and lightening equipment because I want to practice my photography. Some of it will surely show up on this blog, but I want to explore recreationally photography. So spending the close to 1K on this equipment is ok with me. I’m using my camera regularly and have enjoyed learning about the different aspects of photography.
So, if you’ve also come to a place in your life where you’re debt free and have very little overhead, it might be perfectly fine to rent a storage unit so you can paint in the comfort of your home. My guess is this reader wouldn’t need a very big unit.
But what if the readers circumstances were different? What if she had debt?
It’s likely that if she were in debt, she would probably have excess clutter in her home as well. Statistically speaking, the majority of people with excess clutter in their homes have credit card debt.
Related: The Shocking Truth About Clutter
With that being said, if you have debt and need a storage unit to put your things to make room for your art supplies, I’d stop and handle a few things first.
1. Purge Your House
Go through your home and declutter. Go room by room. First, throw away all the obvious stuff that is just junk. This includes broken items, items with missing pieces, or things you just don’t like. You make the rules by which you’ll throw something away.
2. Identify Things You’ll Give Away
Next grab a box or garbage bag or both, and put in them all the things you’d like to donate to your local charity. Call and make an appointment for the items to be picked up, or better yet, drop them off yourself.
3. Sell It
There may be things you don’t like or want anymore but still have value enough to sell. In this case, put aside those items and begin to sell them in the most appropriate manner. Some might be good for a yard sale, and others may require a listing on ebay.com; craigslist.com; or on an app like Offer Up or Gone. Immediately start selling those items, and keep at it until all the items you want to sell are sold.
4. Put Money Toward Debt
Every penny of the money you’ve collected from selling your unwanted items needs to go towards paying off your debt. Don’t use it for anything else. You want to rid yourself of this debt as quickly as possible.
5. Expand on Your Debt Payoff Plan
Are you using a budget? Tracking your income and expenses? Are you paying all your bills on time? If you’re not using good money habits and have a well-established debt payoff strategy, you need to consider what’s holding you back and then attack the plan head on. The sooner you develop your plan and pay off the debt, the faster you can get on with enjoying your life.
Related: Managing Debt
[tweetthis]I’m not saying you can’t enjoy your life at all. You can, by budgeting for it.[/tweetthis]
If you’re not budgeting, you have no idea if you can afford this hobby.
When I wrote to the reader, I suggested she go through her home one more time and decide if she wanted to keep what she was planning on putting into storage. If she did decide to keep these things, then a storage unit (the smallest one) might be a good idea for her.
Hopefully, my reader Janet has made her decisions on what to keep and what to store and is now happily painting in a corner of her home.