I have recently been hearing about many people reading Marie Kondo’s #1 New York Times bestselling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and the Netflix show “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo.”

Marie Kondo has developed the “The KonMari Method™”:1

The KonMari Method™ encourages tidying by category – not by location – beginning with clothes, then moving on to books, papers, komono (miscellaneous items), and, finally, sentimental items. Keep only those things that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy. Thank them for their service – then let them go.

I recently did some early spring cleaning in an effort to organize my closet and only keep the items that bring me joy.

Now how does this blog post relate to property insurance?

Many people have a lot of stuff that they think brings them joy, and not only store personal property at their primary residence, but they often do so at an off-site storage facility. It may seem crazy, but people pay money to make room for more stuff. Statistics show that the use of storage facilities is increasing.

According to the Self-Storage Association:2

  • There are now over 48,500 “primary” self-storage facilities in the United States as of year-end 2014; another 4,000 are “secondary” facilities (“primary” means that self-storage is the “primary” source of business revenue –US Census Bureau)
  • There are approximately 60,000 self-storage facilities worldwide as of Q2–2015; there are more than 3,000 in Canada and more than 1,000 in Australia.
  • Total self-storage rentable space in the US is roughly 2.5 billion square feet [more than 210 million square meters]. That figure represents more than 78 square miles of rentable self-storage space, under roof –or an area well more than 3 times the size of Manhattan Island (NY)
  • The average (mean) size of a “primary” self-storage facility in the US is approximately 56,900 square feet.
  • There is a total U.S. self-storage space capacity of about 21 sq. ft. per American household.
  • There is 7.3 sq. ft. of self-storage space for every man, woman and child in the nation; thus, it is physically possible that every American could stand –all at the same time –under the total canopy of self-storage roofing.
  • About 13% of all self-storage renters say they will rent for less than 3 months; 18% for 3-6 months; 18% for 7-12 months; 22% for 1-2 years; and 30% for more than 2 years.
  • Some 68% of all self-storage renters live in a single-family household; 27% live in an apartment or condo.
  • Some 65% of all self-storage renters have a garage but still rent a unit; 47% have an attic in their home; and 33% have a basement.

Insurance coverage for belongings that you keep at a storage unit is typically provided by the “off-premises” personal property coverage in a homeowner policy. The Insurance Information Institute3 has explained that covered perils typically include fire, lightning, theft, and vandalism.

But before you start storing valuable items off-site that you have decided you want to keep and that bring you “joy” you should check your insurance policy to make sure you are properly protected. First, you will want to check your policy to see if you have the off-premises personal property coverage. Assuming you do, you next want to know your personal property coverage limit and whether your policy has a lower limit for items located away from your home. As an example, you might have a $100,000 personal property coverage limit, but coverage for your personal property kept off-site might have a $10,000 cap. Now is a good time to check your policy or call your insurance agent to find out how much coverage you have for these items.

I will leave you with this quote:

“The more storage you have, the more stuff you accumulate”
—Alexis Stewart
1 https://konmari.com/pages/about
2 https://www.selfstorage.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=fJYAow6_AU0%3d&portalid=0
3 https://www.iii.org/article/which-disasters-are-covered-by-homeowners-insurance