Britain is a nation of hoarders. Whether we like it or not, we collect things as we progress through our lives – and evidence suggests we accumulate things faster than we can get rid of them. If you need to have a clear out, you’re faced with two options: sell it, or store it. Storage can help you keep your hands on items even when they’re kept out of sight (and out of mind!)
Do we have too much stuff?
According to research done by Oxfam, Britain has an average total of 143 unused items per home. Items such as CDs and DVDs, now almost obsolete thanks to the rise of digital streaming, are the worst offenders. Oxfam’s study found if you piled those items on top of one another, they’d stretch 7,641 miles into space. The chief offenders are clothes, then CDs, books and toys. Another study back in 2014 found that we have an average of £514 worth of unused goods around our homes, per person.
It’s up to you whether you want to keep your unused items, but doing so might be hindering your home and your happiness. As Britain’s houses get smaller (new builds are now an average of 10sqm smaller than those built in 2003) we need to be mindful about how much we own. One of the most extensive pieces of research into contemporary life was conducted by the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), concluding that we now live in “the most materially rich society in global history, with light-years more possessions per average family than any preceding society.” The same study found that people who have clutter in their homes have higher levels of cortisol, a stress hormone associated with chronic fatigue and post-traumatic stress.
Dealing with ‘stuff’
When it comes to actually removing the unnecessary stuff you have around the home, you’ll have your work cut out. Many people hold onto things for sentimental reasons – or because they might ‘need it later.’
The first stage is to get rid of things you know you’ll never need again. Consider donating them to charity or selling them. Going back to the Oxfam study, CDs and DVDs are our main unwanted items – so start with these. Smaller items that can be replaced with digital versions don’t have the same ‘I might need this in the future’ sentiment.
Clothing is harder. Some, like wedding clothing, are kept for sentimental reasons. Others in case you may wear them in a different season or see yourself wearing them again further down the line. Here, it might be a good idea to consider storage.
Self-storage is often associated with furniture – and for good reason. If you have a piece of unused furniture in your current home, storing it and then using it again when it becomes needed can be much better for you financially than selling it and having to buy a new piece of furniture once you need it. Storage, however, can be used for clothing too – and any other household item you’re unsure about. If you suspect you’ll need something again, perhaps when you’re older, have children or move homes, self-storage is a great way to keep stuff and de-clutter your current living situation.
Should I use self-storage?
The choice is completely up to you – but for people living in apartments who aim to buy a house, or people who have clothing they’d like to keep but won’t need for the foreseeable future, self-storage is a great option.
Selling pros and cons:
- Selling can generate profit, but requires time and effort
- There’s no way to re-acquire items you sell other than buying them back
- Selling often means having to organise a means to actually get the items to buyers – whether that’s carrying them yourself to a shop or posting them when selling online.
Storage pros and cons:
- Self-storage incurs a fee, but offers high security and is an affordable way to increase space available to you.
- You can decide at anytime when you’d like to use your items again.
- Storage also means you don’t have to decide which items to get rid of. You can store them and make a decision later in life when your circumstances change.