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Life Lessons

Life Lessons: Storage overload

They’re blooming like wild flowers nationwide. In just ten years, from 1999 to 2009, self-storage units exploded in growth by a whopping 47 percent. There’s a reason why it’s so easy for us to store, but so hard to throw stuff away.

Homeowner Amanda Hampton has never used her two-car garage for what it was intended.

“I moved from Holland where we lived in 1,000 square feet. I never had a garage so it was sort of like wow! This extra fabulous space," Hampton said.

But soon, "stuff" shoved her car out of her garage and onto her driveway, where it was stolen.

“It made me realize before I invest in a new car, it would be best to create garage space where the car can go so its inside and it’s a bit more secure," Hampton said.

Enter professional organizer Leah Friedman, owner of Raleigh Green Gables.

She says typically she has three kinds of clients: people with deceased parents, people who hold onto furniture and people who can’t part with their children’s things.

“We don’t have to hold onto boxes and boxes of Bobby’s artwork from when he was in third grade so I encourage them to get rid of it or send it to Bobby’s house,” Friedman said.

It doesn’t make any difference where people keep things. Friedman says the problem is the same - people just don’t want to make a decision.

“I walk around with them and I give them permission. That’s basically what they’re looking for, permission to get rid of this stuff.” Friedman explained.

Friedman’s is a two-pronged job: part organizer, part counselor.  And she loves both.

“I also tell people, what happens is you die and it really ends up, not to be morbid, but it ends up being your children’s problem. So I always say, be kind to your children and start getting rid of the stuff now," Friedman stated.

Besides, renting storage space is often throwing away money.

“Unless you have a Monet, your stuff is not appreciating.” Friedman joked.

One more thing Friedman tells her clients: clear out your lives and more good things will arrive and maybe they won’t take up space! America has more than 78 square miles of rentable self-storage space. To put that in perspective, that's an area more than three times the size of Manhattan.


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