Self-Storage Facilities Grow, Keep Our Useless Junk Out Of Sight

Image courtesy of (me and the sysop)

Americans own a lot of stuff, and we don’t like to get rid of it. While it’s admirable to keep your old things in place of replacing them with new things, that is not exactly what we’re doing. The growth of the self-storage industry tells us that what we’re actually doing is packing away the items we can’t bear to part with but don’t want to trip over on a daily basis.

This is an amazing country, after all: a place where we don’t just have a self-storage industry, but we have an multiple television shows about people who buy items that storage unit renters have left behind.

Bloomberg Businessweek called our attention to this growing sector of the economy and of the suburban landscape, and to an incredibly weird statistic provided by the self-storage industry’s lobbying association:

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.

Yes, they are saying that it would technically be possible to lock every person in this country inside of our self-storage facilities. Actually, U-Haul tried that with one of our readers back in 2009 (not on purpose).

According to the Self-Storage Association, almost 9% of households in this country have a self-storage unit. That’s rather impressive, especially since the size of average homes has grown significantly during the last century. While being able to store items long-term is important, it does raise the important question of what we’re keeping in there. While many people who currently live in tiny apartments might have inherited their grandmothers’ sideboards, that can’t be everyone.

Hoarder Nation: America’s Self-Storage Industry Is Booming [Bloomberg Businessweek]
2013-14 SELF STORAGE INDUSTRY FACT SHEET (as of 11/22/2013) [SSA]