A house packed with stuff, even when it’s useful, like extra toilet paper and cans of tomatoes, is dangerous. Animal infestations, fires, and disorganization can cost you a lot more money than securing a space for your stuff.
Rodents and birds are a fact of life for most homeowners. Mice are tiny and can go unnoticed for months, until someone finds the telltale bite marks on the corner of a bag of rice. They thrive in a quiet environment with many nooks and crannies for them to hide in, like a garage filled with Costco purchases, or a closet filled with long-forgotten winter clothes. A storage space is cleaner, better lit, and better patrolled for animal infestations than your gorgeous mid-century home or weird 60’s housing bloc apartment. When an animal infestation is less likely, it’s also less likely you’ll spend hundreds on an exterminator or be forced to throw money away when animals ruin the things you bought.
Animals aren’t the only things that thrive in close-packed environments: danger does, too. Old wiring and bad toasters are just a couple of the things that can cause accidental sparks that can send your belongings up in a blaze. Often, when boxes are stored at home, they get shoved wherever they fit. Sometimes this is in front of faulty plugs, or balanced precariously atop shelves that can’t bear the weight. Emergency room visits, fire fighters and insurance are expensive. It makes more sense to put your things in an unadorned concrete (read: almost fire-proof) space than risk a fire or fall.
Of course, fires and falls are extreme cases. More likely is that you’ll just forget where you put things you store in your house. Under the bed, in the back of a closet, and above the garage have a funny way of becoming “Right over there, I think?” when you’re looking for manuals, coupons, tax forms, family pictures, and other important documents that you don’t use on a daily basis. The cost of misfiling your taxes or further breaking an appliance you don’t know how to fix properly are huge in comparison to the slight cost of having a designated space for these things. Some items, like family pictures, a wedding dress or baby shoes, are irreplaceable when lost to the hungry back-of-the-closet monster. You may find them when you move out, or when someone’s excavating a closet in search of something else, but why not just have them all in one place, at the ready? It certainly costs a lot less of your time, which is valuable. Perhaps even more valuable than money