When I lived in Ohio, it was customary for some storage unit companies to run notices in the newspapers when a tenant had failed to pay the storage unit rent and the stored items were being forfeited to the company for auction.

I don’t know whether that was the law in that area, or just a common business practice. But I was startled one day, about 15 years ago, to recognize the names of a couple I knew in one such notice.

Perhaps I shouldn’t have been too surprised. That couple’s home also had been foreclosed on.

I wondered what stuff they had tried to save in that storage unit. Was it keepsake items that could, or should, have been given away to relatives? Things they might have been able to resell at a garage sale or in the classifieds for cash? Or was it junk that should have been thrown in a trash bin during the move-out, rather than wasting money on a storage unit?

On that topic, the Michigan State University Extension Service has a packet of handouts prepared by its Washtenaw County office called “Options in Foreclosure.” The handouts were available at the Mortgage Solutions: Your Home, Your Family, Your Future seminar held Saturday at Monroe County Community College. One of the handouts in that packet is called “Let Foreclosure Happen.”

And here’s one of the tips from that title:

Do not rent a storage unit. Recovering from a crisis takes time and finances will be tight. Many people end up losing their personal possessions they store due to non-payment on the storage unit. Sell your possessions or store at a friend or relative’s home for free. Concentrate on the essentials!

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