Storage Unit Transformation

Did you know that there are more storage facilities in the US than Starbucks? That means there are more than 50,000 storage facilities and over 23,000,000 individual units.

And if you lined up every storage facility side by side and put the entire population of the US inside, there would still be room for at least double the population.

Yes, DOUBLE!

The statistics are truly mind blowing.

If you have ever watched the show Storage Wars, you clearly understand what is going on. But even with the best of intentions to use them for temporary purposes, most of the time people usually end up needing to a professional organizer to coordinate a purge/sort/sale/giveaway scenario or hiring a hauling service to come and just take it all away...often after spending not just months, but years paying rent. 

This particular client?

Her mother needed to go into rehab in the spring of 2020 and she had put all of her belongings temporarily in storage from her home just until she transitioned to assisted living. Unfortunately her mother never made the move to assisted living and, sadly, passed away in July 2020 from Alzheimer's.

So when faced with the volume of "stuff" the family had packed somewhat haphazardly (again, they anticipated she would fully recover) and put in storage, they simply wanted to let it all go.

They could have just called a junk removal company to haul it all away and not even bother with a service like It's Just Stuff. But, as we often preach to clients, there are so many people desperately looking for even the most basic household items and furniture. Therefore, whenever possible we always tries to get those items directly to anyone who truly is in need in our local community.

While we tried to sort and organize everything in the unit over the course of about 5 hours, the reality was there was simply too much “stuff” to get it to the point where everything was visible for the following day when we invited the public via social media to come and take whatever they wanted.

 

Instead, we did the best we could given the confines of the walls of the unit to stage things by categories...

books

furniture

kitchen items

artwork, clothes

and, most importantly, penguins

Yes, PENGUINS!

The client’s mother had a massive collection of them in all shapes, sizes, materials and mediums. And, is often the case when going through anyone’s lifetime of “stuff”, there was a significant story about the penguins. But in this particular case it was AFTER the transformation. It’s a great story but one that hasn't been published yet so stay tuned!

Meanwhile, when the first “giveaway” day arrived, there was quite the lineup of cars for the first few hours as we could only allow a few people inside the unit at a time to follow COVID safety precautions. But everyone was incredibly patient and respected what we were trying to accomplish...giving everything away for free...no questions asked!

Was there a risk that some people were loading up their cars to turn around and sell everything on Ebay or Facebook Marketplace? 

Sure...but we cannot police that type of activity. And it is possible that the people who were going to sell the items they took really needed the money for basic necessities so who are we to question anyone’s motives?

That said, we did ask if anyone could make a donation, no matter how small, in memory of our client’s mother to the Alzheimer Association. And we are proud of the fact that many people did and our client was incredibly touched.
 

Biggest tips/takeaways?
 

  • Decide in advance if your goal is to try to sell everything or give the vast majority, if not all of it away.

  • Make sure you have plenty of bags, boxes and bins not only for sorting everything, but also to make it easier for people to “shop”.

  • Have a hauling company lined up to remove any trash or items not claimed at the end of the day.

  • Make sure the storage facility management is aware that you are conducting a sale or giveaway. They generally don’t care, but would like to know that the gate code has been given to non-renters so they can update it at the end of the day.
     

  • Have a sense of humor...you will definitely need it!