Up until now, my only experience with self-storage has been the occasional viewing of the TV show “Storage Wars”.
As much as I have witnessed self-storage facilities sprouting up throughout the city at a crazy pace, I never really gave them much thought as I assumed that they were just for people with too much stuff.
When my real estate agent suggested that I needed to edit out some furnishings to help certain rooms feel bigger, I didn’t really resist the idea as I trusted that my agent knew best.
Frankly, I relished the idea of trying out the self-storage solution as I knew that this would be an interesting new adventure for me.
Shortly after we put the offer on the house, I called the storage facility company to check on availability, knowing full well that I may need to do some editing. Last summer, a friend of mine was put on a waiting list because demand was so high at that time, so I worried that might be the case for me as well. My fears were put to rest as they said (at that time) that there were many spaces for rent in all sizes.
When the real estate agent gave me her official verdict on the staging situation, when I called to make arrangements for a space, the size I was looking for was no longer available, so I went with the next size up.
The day that the movers came to haul some boxes and the marked items to the facility was also my first time setting foot in the warehouse. With my signed contract already on file, it was just a matter of handing me the keys to my space, showing me around the facilities, and demonstrating the security features to access the space.
Throughout the grand tour, I was just so impressed by how well-organized and clean the facility was. I enjoyed the drive-through garage where you parked your vehicle to load or unload (without getting rained on). And with ample dollies waiting on the ground floor, there was no problem in getting things from the car to the storage space.
As I toured the facility, I don’t know why, but I felt like a kid discovering Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory as I ooohed and aaahed inside, trying not to look like I had just fallen off the turnip truck.
I now understood the attraction, the popularity and the practicality of the facility. The running commentary in the back of my head dwelled on how accurate the testimonials in their radio commercials were.
Then came the big reveal, when the storage facility representative opened the door with a flourish to my own 5 foot by 10 foot cubicle. To me, it was like the big doors opening on The Price is Right.
“Wowww!” I thought to myself. “My own little storage locker!”
I don’t know why I got so excited inside, but I did. I know it’s just an empty storage locker amid hundreds of other storage lockers, but I think the “Type A” in me was thrilled to have a space where I could put not only the items identified by my agent, but anything else superfluous that could distract the eye from the clean lines of my newly empty countertops.
I was also reassured in knowing that my belongings would be fine for the few months they’d be here.
As my movers unloaded my belongings onto dollies, I looked over at the other “storage people” to see what they were hauling. People were loading and unloading such a variety of items, there really wasn’t any common denominator. The only thing that we had in common was the need for temporary space.
The writer in me was fascinated as I imagined the reasons and the stories behind each person’s need for a self-storage space.
When my belongings were safely locked up in my space and my movers were on their way, I drove back to the house, relieved that another big step in preparing the house for sale could be scratched off the to-do list.
As I walked through the rooms where my agent recommended I edit the furnishings, I couldn’t get over how spacious those rooms felt. This measure would indeed help buyers see the potential for these rooms, and to help them see themselves in this house. Mission accomplished!
Unfortunately, my elation was short lived.
When Ivy the Wonder Cat walked in the room, my heart sank. She stared into the empty room where her favourite wing chair once stood. She then walked into the other empty room where her afternoon nap sofa had disappeared as well.
I could tell that my cat who lives for structure was not happy about the changes.
That evening, Ivy was stuck on me like a piece of Velcro, as if looking for comfort as we embarked upon this big transition. Taking an evening off to give Ivy all the attention and petting she needed was a welcomed break for us both after a busy week of preparations.
But I knew that the inevitable was just around the corner. For the next part of the transition, it would soon be time to bring Miss Ivy to her cat hotel for the duration of the showings and open houses.
Even though she was so contentedly napping in my lap, I missed her already.
To return to Episode 3 of the Housing Market Roller Coaster, click here.
To read episode 5 of “The Housing Market Roller Coaster”, click here.
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