A Real Weddings Study conducted by the XO Group Inc. (the folks behind TheKnot.com and WeddingChannel.com) found the average marrying age to be 29 for brides and 31 for grooms.
If you and your soon-to-be spouse mirror this statistic, I’m willing to bet you’ve both accumulated enough stuff to pack a pair of storage units. From the hand-me-downs provided by your parents to cheap furnishings purchased with your first post-college paychecks, you — if you are anything like me — have a hard time decluttering. A ratty t-shirt, threadbare armchair, or battered Sociology notebook can hold some sort of sentimental, “hey, you never know” sway over you.
But now you’re getting married! This means that your wedding registry is not simply a wish list of small kitchen appliances. It’s also the anticipated remedy for the tarnished, mismatched silverware, beat-up bath towels, and a increasingly careworn household items in dire need of replacement. It’s the hope that you can stick the couch you found on the curb into one of your storage units so your younger brother can live the dream someday, too.
Between finalizing the reception menu and cropping the invite list, you may not have given serious thought to how you’ll handle the influx of gifts and — if you’ve never lived with your spouse-to-be — how you’re going to merge your possessions. “We’ll just toss them into one of our storage units,” you tell yourself. But shouldn’t you have a plan?
Yes, some things like the scratched-up cutting board and shabby doormat should have been thrown away two, three, or 10 years ago. What remains is still usable – but maybe not what you want around the house. What to do?
Here are some solutions that don’t involve the dumpster:
Donate. Charities are in need of second-hand goods. Check out the miss minimalist blog by Francine Jay for ideas. Her list of a whopping 101 places that accept used items identifies who wants your dusty Gameboy to places who accept your old greeting cards. Sure, you could keep that stuff in storage units, but it’s nice to know that it’s helping someone out.
Pass along to a friend in need. Another form of a donation, but with a twist. Use your social networks for good by offering your excess stuff for free. As the cliché goes, one’s trash is another’s treasure — and you’ll take more joy seeing that cool old lamp more at your buddy’s house than you will at the back of your storage units.
Sell. Who couldn’t use cash? According to the XO Group study, the average wedding budget in 2012 (excluding the honeymoon) was $28,427. Craigslist, eBay, newspaper classifieds — these are your new best friends.
Pack it. Box your items and move them into storage units, such as the self storage facilities at Life Storage. Rather than unpacking the new dinnerware pieces, bedding set, and decorative accents immediately, house them in a mini storage unit as small as 5’ by 5’ while you settle in from the hectic wedding and its aftermath.
Whether you do so before or after your nuptials, take time to savor those moments as you sort through the items of your single life. Marriage is a new beginning – you’re never going to need that beer pong table again…
…and if you do, it’ll be safe in storage.