Follow the Decluttering:
How much is all that stuff worth that you have shoved in storage containers? Have you ever thought about how much the space in your home is worth? According to Realtor.com, the median price per square foot of homes in Michigan is $61. For desirable neighborhoods though, it can easily surpass $200 per square foot. Is that box of old magazines worth that much?
Let’s keep the math simple and assume your house is 2000 square feet and cost $200,000, or $100 per square foot. When we talk about square footage for a house, we generally discount the basement and garage where people often store the most stuff. If we want to include these, let’s assume a 24 ft x 24 ft two car garage (576 sq ft) and a basement of 1000 square feet. That’s a total of 3,576 sq ft. I guess the math isn’t quite as easy now, but that comes to $56 per square foot.
The storage container of choice in my house is these 18 gallon Rubbermaid Roughneck storage boxes. They are about 24 inches by 16 inches, or a little more than 2 1/2 square feet. By our cost per square foot calculation, whatever is inside that container should be worth about $140. Admittedly, ours are generally stacked about 3 totes high so let’s say each one should hold about $47 worth of stuff. We could get carried away and go into cost per year over how many years you store this stuff, depreciation, loss of use for that space, but that’s too much work.
Incidentally, if you are looking to buy some storage containers, I can’t necessarily recommend the 18 gallon Rubber Maid ones. They are definitely sturdy and have held up well over the years, but unless you label the container, you will have no idea what’s in it later. Personally, I would recommend these Sterilite containers so you can see what’s inside. They’re made in the USA and about the same size as the Rubber Maid.
How many people have a garage filled with stuff so that they have to park their car outside? I see it frequently. From our estimates above, a 12 ft x 24 ft space for your car (288 square feet) should be worth about $16,000. My own car is worth less than that. I don’t want to scrape ice off my windows in the winter and I hope I never have $16,000 worth of crap filling up my spot in the garage.
The point of this little exercise was to get you to think about all that stuff you’re storing and its real value, given the amount of living space it occupies. Most of us don’t need a bigger house, we just need less stuff in the one we have.
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Copyright Dave Lubke and www.davelubke.com, 2020
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