"I said I would go through it someday. I know I don’t need it all. But there it sat for over 15 years while I paid for the storage. I couldn't even remember what was in storage, much less enjoy it.” That’s what one Arti Community member of the boomer generation told us recently. We know she is not alone.
According to AARP magazine (April/May 2021) review of commercial storage trends, the older you are, the longer you keep items in storage. And, on average, boomers only visit their storage units once per month. How critical is that storage? How much cost and uncertainty does it create?
“Our family moved a lot over the span of 20 years, and I was in constant survival mode. There was no time to ponder what we kept and what we let go of much less the good stories to pass on,” said another Arti Community member.
He was trying to justify to himself why he and his partner kept moving the same ‘stuff’ from house to house, even if only to put back in storage in the next garage, closet, and attic. (And that eventually became a downsizing adventure of epic proportions. Read about it here.)
We have also heard from people who held onto items and expressed some version of, “Surely it will still be worth something, and I can sell it,” only to find it degraded over time in the hot attic, the style or material was no longer in vogue when recovered from the dusty bins, or some other reason meant that no, it was a lost cause. Think you're immune?
How to Make the Most of the Money We Do Spend on Storage
Keep in mind, storage is not always at an offsite property where you pay a monthly fee. Want to talk about expensive storage, consider the climate controlled space you live in!
#1 KEEP TRACK OF WHAT YOU STORE
If nothing else, make a list or take pictures of the bulky and or valuable, to you, items. Better yet, Artifct what you store. Otherwise, you know what they say, ... out of sight, out of mind.
When you create an Artifct for the items that go in, you can also affix a QR code to the box to help you easily recall what’s inside each box or bin when you scan the code in its storage location. Tag Artifcted items with two tags: one that's simply #Storage and a second that's the specific location, such as #attic, #fronthallcloset, or #storageunit. That way with a single click on any #storage tag you can easily review what you're storing, and second click #attic, and "Oh, yes, that's what's up there. Maybe it's time to come out and get used."
If you're working with a professional moving and storage company, they'll usually create an inventory list for practical and insurance purposes. We encourage you to consider this the "if nothing else" bare minimum. You deserve more than an inventory of stuff.
#2 THINK AHEAD TO CAPTURE USEFUL DETAILS
Photos of the objects, for sure, but also a video snippet that gives a 360-degree view if an item is particularly special or valuable. Grab approximate dimensions and weight, too. This will help whether you need to move it again or decide to sell it. This is why if you ever meet up with an Artifcts team member in person, you'll catch us handing out pocket-sized tape measures.
#3 ASK BEFORE YOU STORE, THEN STORE, AND STORE SAFELY
We know it might be hard to let go of that piece of furniture that's been in your family for decades or even generations. Likewise, those bins of old papers and photos that you know tell your family's story. Oh, and the collections that snuck up on you and now when you see it all together brings back so many memories. Yes, all very tempting to store for someone someday to enjoy again.
- If you Artifct it and share it, with one click you can ask someone if they want the item if you do not. No? Let it go to a new home.
- If you elect to store it, and let's assume that space is climate controlled, please still think about what boxes and bins you are storing them in. So many of the popular bins will let of gasses ("off-gas" in archival terms) and ruin photos, film, and documents. And without proper care, textiles can also be a lost cause. You don't want to realize you lost the history and stored what's now trash. Use archival quality materials. Monocurate, and similar archival services, offers great tips and supplies.
What's In Your Storage?
Don’t wait. Find out. Record it. Artifct it. And think about whether it still belongs!
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