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Americans are joiners. We form clubs, teams, associations, and organizations at the drop of a hat. Some of these are small, informal groups like a book club or knitting circle. Others are more organized, like a baseball team or Girl Scout troop. In most cases, organizations will have few possessions, maybe a record of meeting minutes or club roster or even a trophy or award. There are, however, clubs that have records and objects that require careful storage. Figuring out when all that property requires a storage unit versus other storage options, can be confusing.

Here are some questions to ask your club leadership or general membership when considering whether to invest in a storage unit.

What Inventory does Your Club Have?

trophiesThe amount, size, and inherent value of the objects to be stored are all important considerations. If there are only a few file boxes of records and trophies, it might make more sense to have the club secretary keep possession. If your club holds an annual event and has decorations, tables, and other large objects, the stuff probably won’t fit in someone’s garage or closet.

Be sure to consider the value of your inventory. If your club has a a stock of items that it sells as part of a fundraiser or is entrusted with archival items like books or memorabilia, putting the collection in an insured storage unit is better than giving that responsibility to an individual club member.

How Many People Need Access?

Official club records that only need to be seen by the officers on occasion can easily be kept in someone’s home office. Items that need to be accessible to lots of different people at different times would be more suited for a storage unit. This way it is not dependent upon the availability of the homeowner to grant access to the club’s stuff. Instead, all the appropriate officers can have a key to the unit and be listed on the rental agreement as having access.

How Long Do You Need to Store It?

If your club has a fundraiser twice a year and the rest of the year the stuff just collects dust, then putting it into a storage unit is probably a good idea. This keeps it out of the way and safe until it is needed again.

Short-term storage may also be called for in some instances. Say your club is getting ready to sell t-shirts or ball caps and needs a place to store the inventory ahead of time. Renting a storage unit for a month would provide a clean, secure place for to stash the inventory.

Do You Have the Funds to Cover Storage?

club memorabiliaFor most clubs it will come down to whether the treasury can afford the rental fees associated with a storage unit. Armed with answers to the previous questions that prove the need for a unit, club leaders can then find ways to pay for the rental. This may involve adding a line item to a fund raiser that covers the cost of storage between events or taking budget from another area, such as marketing or parties. Other options including asking for people to donate specifically to the storage budget or raising the annual dues of every member by a fraction.

It is unlikely that the need for storage will arise overnight. This means your group will have time to realize that getting a storage unit will be needed in the future and will be able to plan for costs and shop around for the best facility well in advance of signing a lease and actually moving your stuff.

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