There are pros and cons to renting a storage unit.
Pro - convenient and secure
Con - expensive
Is a storage unit really the solution to your clutter problem? Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you sign the contract:
What's it worth to you?
Storage units can easily run you $100 or more a month. Add that up over a year and you're easily plunking down $1200 a year to store your stuff.
Now is the time to take a step back and really look at the stuff you want to store. Is it really worth $1200+ a year in rental fees? Probably not.
Can you store it elsewhere?
Many people miss the storage potential of their house. Boxes can be stored in the back of closets. Durable, water-proof items can be sealed in plastic bags and stored under your house, tucked into corners of a crawlspace, or placed in the attic. Take a moment to look around and see what's available. It could save you some serious money!
How long will you have to store it?
Some storage companies have different pricing depending on your storage needs. Short term or month-to-month is usually more expensive while a long-term rental will tie you to a lease for months (or maybe years) at a time.
Some people do have valid reasons for needing short-term storage - they're moving or between homes and will be homeless for that short period of transition or Grandma died and they need a place to stash her things until they have time to sort through the mess. Just make sure that you keep to your timetable - letting storage stretch on for months or even years will not help you bottom line.
How much space will you really need?
The amount of stuff you want to store will determine the actual size (wall-to-wall) of the storage unit that you will need. This is a really important step that could save you some money or cause you some serious heartache. For example, renting a 10' x 10' storage using to store a few boxes is not economical at all….but then again, who wants to arrive at the storage place to find that their truck full of boxes won't fit in the 3' x 3' closet they rented?
Do not trust the size estimates you find at storage sites (their goal is to get you to rent a large unit, right?). Your best bet is to pile your stuff up in one area and then take a critical look at it. With everything in one place, it will be quite evident what size of a storage unit you'll need.
Do you need a climate-controlled or some other special unit?
Are you planning to store valuables that can deteriorate over time, such as fur coats or valuable books? Don't think that just because you're storing important files that you have to have a climate-controlled unit. Your tax returns or paid bills will not rot because they're placed in a regular unit.