by Mark Lusky
In between the holiday shopping, cooking, entertaining and eating, most of us devote some time to that most noble of traditions-New Year resolutions.
This year, be a go-to resource when people resolve to de-clutter, organize, or downsize the contents in their homes. While many people want to accomplish one or more of these goals as part of a New Year fresh start, time challenges often subvert the opportunity.
Here's one prime example: A longtime "clutterbug" decides to clean up his/her act this holiday season in response to a long-suffering spouse who's begging for a way to walk between rooms without having to dodge stuff. Despite good intentions, the clutterbug simply doesn't have the time over the holidays to sift, sort, sell, and throw to the degree that would be meaningful. Then, it's back to work and a regular routine that leaves even less time and energy for accomplishing what can seem like a Herculean task.
Enter self-storage. While not a solution for the sorting, self-storage offers a fast way to get stuff out of the house and into a centralized "holding" area for later decisions and dispositions. Here are some themes that can position this opportunity to prospects:
1. Give your partner some space this holiday season. Develop a promotion that discounts rates and possibly ties in added perks (e.g., free/low-cost transportation to the unit). The promotion enables renters to buy a gift card or some other tangible item representing the gift of storage-which can be given to a partner, kids or other household members as a holiday present.
2. Offload, then organize. Establish a relationship with an area organizer specialist, who can work with the tenant to go through unit contents and make decisions about what stays and what goes...and where. The key here is to make the combined self-storage/organization offer attractive financially and logistically. In part, this means working with a strategic partner willing to trade some or all normal fees for exposure and free marketing opportunities gained by working with your self-storage facility. Combined properly, this is an "offer you can't refuse!"
This provides a strong incentive for the renter to get the unit AND deal with items in a timely manner-likely working them out of your space, but placing you in their hearts for helping them through the process. This type of word-of-mouth likely will lead to abundant ROI.
3. Staging a sale. Homeowners wanting to prep a home for sale, even if they're targeting springtime, can get a huge head start on staging for optimum showings by reducing possessions to a minimum. By moving stuff into a storage unit at the first of year, the home already is cleaned up and ready for any needed staging. This will make the task much easier and faster than trying to stuff items into nooks and crannies and/or trying to spruce up/paint/repair in an obstacle-laden space.
Then, once the sellers have selected a new residence, the organizer can work with the tenants to deal with their stuff before they make their move.
This one-two punch not only makes the home more saleable, but provides a clean, fresh start in a new home, condo or apartment.