Hard Decisions: Which Items to Store in a Financial Crisis

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Monetary struggles can happen to anyone; what you need now is time to get back on your feet financially. If you find yourself without housing, ask family members or friends if you can stay with them on a short-term basis, or look for another source for temporary housing. During this transition, there are some items you’ll need during your stay, but other items can be stored until you find a permanent home.

What to Take with You

  • Important documents. If you’ve been through a foreclosure or a bankruptcy, you’ll need records and documentation with you in your temporary home so you can get back on your feet. If your financial hardship came after the death of a spouse, you’ll need access to several pieces of paperwork during this period of transition. “These include your spouse’s will and other estate planning documents (e.g., trust), insurance policies, bank and brokerage statements, stock and bond certificates, deeds, Social Security number, birth and marriage certificates, and certified copies of the death certificate,” report the advisors at Good Wealth Management.
  • Bring clothing for the current season. Keep in mind that you might have to minimize your wardrobe while you stay in your temporary home.
  • Kids’ toys and supplies. Age-appropriate toys, baby gear, diapers, sippy cups, schoolbooks, and the other items children need should be brought with you.
  • Kitchen gear. If your temporary home doesn’t have kitchen equipment, bring knives, measuring cups and spoons, cooking implements, and dishes. You’ll save big bucks by eating at home, so make sure you have access to basic kitchen supplies.
  • External hard drive. It’s unlikely there will be room for your electronics; a good compromise is to use an external hard drive to back up all your computer files. This will allow access to your files, but you won’t have to set up your computer. It is recommended that you make sure the hard drive you have is compatible with the computer system in your temporary home.
  • Critical. You need a way to reach people, and they need a way to reach you. 

What to Store

  • Duplicate items. If the place where you’re staying has a well-stocked kitchen or plenty of furniture and linens, there’s no reason to add your items in the mix. Use storage to hold items you’ll need again, but that you may not use during the current season.
  • Out-of-season clothing. If you won’t wear it over the next few months, pack it away to save space in your temporary home. If you stay in temporary housing longer than you anticipate, you can always go to your storage unit and rotate your wardrobe for the new season.
  • Consider borrowing books from your local library.
  • Outdoor furniture and lawn equipment. If there is outdoor space in your temporary home, they likely already have the equipment they need. Store your belongings to save space.
  • Unless it’s something you can’t do without, keep it stored in a temperature-controlled environment.

Storage Tips

If you’re living with friends or family, or even if you quickly downsized to a smaller place, expect to be in and out of your storage unit to retrieve needed items and to put away items you decide aren’t critical to have. One way to quickly locate the boxes you need (and make it easier to unpack when you get to your permanent home) is to color coordinate your boxes. “Use different colored packing tape or markers for each room so that once you pack the boxes in a van and unload them at your new apartment or home, you know with one glance that red boxes go to the kitchen, yellow to the bedroom, etc.,” advise the writers at ApartmentRatings. “A color coordinating system can save you hours when you unpack.”

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Another timesaver is labeling each box on two sides. “Mark every box with its contents and destination (kitchen) on more than one side. Also note if contents are fragile,” recommends Marni Jameson of the Denver Post. “Though movers likely won’t care, you’ll know to go easy on them.”

financial hardship storage

Try, Try Again

A financial hardship can really take a toll on your wallet and your sense of self-worth. Take time to get back on your feet and don’t be afraid to try again. “The average millionaire has had approximately three devastating financial experiences in his life,” Brad Klontz, a financial psychology specialist and associate professor at Kansas State University, tells Forbes. “You have to look at failure as a learning opportunity, so you know what to do differently the next time.” 

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