Sell it or store it? Self-storage can be easy

Sell it or store it?

Moving to a new apartment can require downsizing. If you’re ready to purge, it’s a great opportunity to rid yourself of that shaky Billy bookcase you’ve had since college. But what to do about that comfy sofa that almost matches your armchair – or your collection of Nancy Drew mysteries? You might consider joining the millions of North Americans who would rather rely on self-storage than say goodbye to their beloved belongings.

So what does it cost to store your stuff here in Canada? In any of our major cities, you can expect to pay anything from $90 – $220 a month, plus taxes, for a typical five-by-10-ft. (50-sq.-ft.) unit. That’s just enough space to store the contents of one bedroom or living room.

Vancouver, unsurprisingly, is the most expensive city for storage, with an average cost of $177 per month. Toronto comes in second, at $156 per month, with Calgary close behind at $153. Montreal is a relative bargain, with an average price of only $118 per month – even in the city centre. Winnipeg and Halifax are also more reasonable, ringing in at $114 and $109 per month, respectively.

Many of the larger storage companies offer rental incentives such as first month free, or a small discount (five to 10 per cent) for payment six to 12 months in advance. You can also save a lot by choosing a facility on the edge of town or in a rural area, but these drive-up spaces are often less reliably serviced for pests, and can be plagued by the dust of gravel parking lots.

You could pay to store your lovely Ektorp sofa for a year, which will run you $2,124 in Vancouver, or $1,308 in Halifax. When you weigh that cost against selling it for a couple hundred bucks and buying a brand new one for $450-ish, it doesn’t seem like that much of a bargain. Unless the items you’re holding onto are incredibly valuable, it might be wiser to seek out new digs that feature storage – or even an extra bedroom.

Storage is cost-effective in the short-term, but make sure the cost of storing something isn’t going to run you more than it would to replace it when you’re ready to use it again (and just when are you planning that next move?). Besides, if you’re not saving money, and it’s not a family heirloom that carries great sentimental attachment, wouldn’t you rather just buy yourself a new one to suit your style the next time you move?

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