I have spent my money on a lot of stupid things over the years. Recently, the stupidest thing was a storage unit.
For almost three years, I paid $230 a month for a 10 X 15 unit at a Life Storage facility in Brewster, New York. That comes to $8,280 dollars to store things I don’t want or need.
Consider my dining chairs. I bought them at an estate sale fifteen years ago in the tony New York suburb of Bedford, New York. The house where the sale was being held was massive and grand and the chairs were super cheap, $1200 for the entire set because I had wandered in just as the sale was ending and really, how many people need eight formal dining chairs? But I did. For years, the chairs sat in our dining room where they looked gracious and majestic during many festive holiday meals. Some of the people who sat on those chairs are dead now and whenever I look at the chairs I feel a mixture of pleasure over my bargain and a sting of nostalgia for those now gone.
In 2014, we sold our 6,000 square feet, put everything into storage and began looking for a much smaller house. I don’t even want to think about what we spent on those damn PODS. A year later we found a lake cottage that was about 2,000 square feet. That left 4,000 square feet that once been furnished and no longer was. I threw a lot away but not the chairs. And certainly not the 150 boxes of books containing my husband’s 40 year old philosophy texts from when he taught at Oxford University. Or my undergraduate copies of Cervantes.
America is currently in the grip of a tiny Japanese lady who barely speaks English because she is challenging these nostalgic ideas ideas we have about stuff. The chairs will not bring back my dead relatives. My husband’s books will not magically transport him to London in the early 1970’s when he was young and the world was ahead of him. Almost ten percent of Americans currently have a storage unit for which they pay an average of $91.14 a month. Last year, the business raked in $32.7 billion dollars. Got a storage unit? Don’t be stupid. Make this the year you let it go.