It's Not Even Really About the Stuff


You’ve seen the show “Storage Wars”.  Enterprising resellers look for great finds in storage units that go unclaimed.  This is a big industry.  We buy and keep so much stuff that we can’t fit it all into our home The problem comes when this stuff causes a monthly financial obligation that you don’t want or need to pay anymore.

Frequently, I work with clients who have things in storage. Whether their reasons are lack of space or need for a temporary overflow space, it's interesting to me what we discover when we have a conversation about the storage fees and their budget.

One client I recently worked with has a storage story that was deeper than what it appeared to be on the surface so I thought I would share.

She had more stuff than space. She rented a small storage unit for a reasonable monthly fee. We worked together for a while on her budget and debt reduction and this storage remained a fixture the entire time.  We would talk about how she could have bought all new things for as long as she had paid the monthly fees, she would say "I know… I know" and that would be the end of it.

Since she was making such great progress on every other debt reduction and budgeting strategy, I was baffled by her resistance to get rid of the expense.  So I dug deeper. She finally acknowledged that there was this one photo in the storage that she needed to dig and look for.  It carried many feelings and histories behind it. The person in the photo was treasured and dear to her. For so long she focused on the work needed to get the storage unit cleaned.  That was daunting.  Each budget was a reminder of what she paid for that unit. That was depressing.  And yet the vision she needed to really clean out and get rid of the unit was the treasure located inside.  That picture should have been hanging in her home the entire time.

The point here is that we often hang on to stuff...and pay a price in dollars, time, and lost opportunities or potential positive experiences. Take a look in your own life. What are you holding on to? Why? Do you have buried treasure in a garage, storage unit or some other space? Maybe tackling this issue is just what you need to move closer to a less expensive and more fulfilled debt-free life.