While getting organized is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions, many people stop short of putting their self-storage units in order. Often people will find it easier to just go buy a new seasonal wreath for their front door and a few hats and mittens for their kids, instead of wading through the self-storage unit to find the old ones, says Amber Kostelny-Cussen, owner of Chicago-based professional organizing company Amber’s Organizing.

If the idea of sorting through the items in your self-storage unit leaves you overwhelmed, a professional organizer can provide relief. Here are seven times when you may want to bring a professional organizer into the mix.

When you don’t have time to do the job.
Organizing a self-storage unit can take hours or days, depending upon how much stuff you have inside. If you can’t take off work or get away from the kids long enough to see the job through, a professional organizer can handle many of the time-consuming tasks, said Monica Friel, president of the Chicago-based organizing company Chaos to Order. While you need to be on hand to determine what stuff stays and what stuff goes, once the weeding-out process is done, the organizer can take care of the rest.


When you can’t make a decision.
“A lot of people use storage units as a way to delay making decisions,” said Janine Adams, founder of Peace of Mind Organizing in St. Louis, MO. If you’re downsizing but don’t know what to keep, or you’ve dumped a truckload of items in a storage unit after a traumatic experience such as a divorce or a death, a professional organizer can help you go through the property item by item to determine whether it is something that should be trashed, donated, recycled or kept.

When you’re thinking about renting a second unit.
If your belongings are outgrowing the self-storage unit that you already have, that’s a sign that you may need to start purging or making better use of your space, said Mary Cate Claudias, founder of Charm City Organizers in Baltimore, MD. “We’ve had people call for our help because they have five or six storage units,” Claudias said. If you’re constantly amassing more things yet failing to discard older belongings in the process, you may be exhibiting hoarding tendencies, Claudias adds.

When you don’t remember what’s in the unit.
Often people have had storage space for so long that they have no clue what is in it, said Barry Izsak, past president of the National Association of Professional Organizers and author of “Organize Your Garage in No Time.” If the belongings in your self-storage unit are a foggy memory, you may want to bring in a professional organizer to help you take an inventory of the unit and re-evaluate whether the items you’re storing still have the same value to you.

When you want to have a self-storage sale.
Sometimes people need an emergency infusion of cash or they simply realize they no longer want the stuff that’s stored in their unit. There may be consumers willing to buy your stuff if they can see what you have. “A professional organizer can come in and stage it so it can almost be set up like a retail store so people can see what they’re buying,” Claudias said.


When you’re using your unit for business.
Sometimes business owners such as doctors or lawyers will use self-storage units to safeguard records and other items that must be kept for tax or legal purposes. If your business property is disorganized and you’re wasting five hours looking for a client file, it’s costing you not only time, but money, Izsak points out. An organizer can help you determine what needs to be kept and come up with a filing system that enables you to easily find the records you need.

When you want to save money on self-storage.
One of the benefits of storing items in an orderly manner is “things take up a lot less space when they’re organized,” Friel said. By consulting with a professional organizer before you start storing items, you’re less likely to run out of space and you may even find that you need a smaller self-storage unit to begin with.