Are You Spending Money to Keep Stuff You Don't Need?

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It's estimated that more than one in 10 Americans leases a storage unit. In June 2023, the nationwide prices charged by self-storage facilities averaged $165 per month, after rising 20% over the previous year.1 Storage renters may pay more than that for large spaces or climate-controlled units, and at facilities in high-cost cities such as Los Angeles and New York.2

If you keep excess belongings stored away from home and well out of sight, this recurring monthly expense may not stay top of mind. However, finding the motivation to empty a storage space could create breathing room in your household budget and/or yield savings over time that helps you make progress toward important financial goals.

Reasons for renting storage space

Source:, April 25, 2023 (does not equal 100% due to rounding)

For example, if you were to invest that $165 per month in a college savings or retirement account, the balance could grow to $28,559 in 10 years or to $85,953 in 20 years (assuming a hypothetical 7% annual rate of return).

This hypothetical example of mathematical principles is used for illustrative purposes only and does not represent the performance of any specific investment. Fees, expenses, and taxes are not considered and would reduce the performance shown if they were included. Actual results will vary. Rates of return will vary over time, particularly for long-term investments.

Clearing space at home

It may not be your favorite way to spend a weekend but decluttering your closets, garage, and living spaces would be a good place to start. Prioritize and make room for the possessions and keepsakes you love most but resolve to let go of things that may not be worth keeping, especially if you must pay for storage indefinitely.

Try to sell furnishings, housewares, toys, or clothing that you don't use regularly for some extra cash by posting ads with photos on resale apps, websites, or social media, or possibly by having a yard sale. If you can't sell certain items, you can feel good about giving them away to friends, neighbors, or a local charity.

1) The Wall Street Journal, August 26, 2023
2), April 25, 2023