By Nicole V.
Have you ever watched the reality television programme â€œAuction Huntersâ€? I remember watching a couple of episodes before getting bored of it, but it did leave me amazed at the amount and type of stuff someone could store in a self-storage unit (SSU), and even more amazed that the stuff could sit there for years, to be eventually abandoned. I wondered whether the stuff inside was stuff that the owners could not bear to declutter or the stuff that they still had no space for even after decluttering. Was the SSU perceived as an extension of the home? Does someone rent an SSU to make space at home, and does that space then get filled up with other stuff? Do they really need the extra space or do they just need to reduce the amount of stuff that they have? Isnâ€™t it somewhat universally acknowledged that unless one is vigilant, stuff has an unerring ability to fill up any available space that one has?
According to the Self-Storage Concepts website, self-storage started in Texas, USA in the 1960s, before moving on to Australia in the 1970s, the UK in the 1980s, the rest of Europe in the 1990s and Asia in the early 2000s. The Australian self-storage industry is expected to earn $753 million in revenue this year, according to an April 2015 market research report on the IBISWorld website and the UK Self-Storage Association website states that the UK self-storage industry generated Â£355 million in revenue in 2013, with over 250,000 customers. And when it comes to the self-storage industry in America, the following information from the Self-Storage Finders website (in Stacy Kressâ€™ article of 2 September 2014, entitled â€œ5 Little-known facts about storageâ€) reveals some astonishing statistics:
The industry earned more than $24 billion in 2013.
An astounding 10.85 million people rent an SSU, which is almost 9 per cent of all households.
An amazing 2.3 billion square feet of stuff is being stored, which translates into more than 78 square miles, which is three times the size of Manhattan.
Surprisingly (or maybe not?), 65 per cent of those who rent an SSU have a garage, 47 per cent have an attic and 33 per cent have a basement.
You know how people often remark that there is a McDonaldâ€™s around every corner? Well, that might have to be amended to there is an SSU near you instead, as according to Dan Rafter of REJournals.com, there are more self-storage facilities in the USA than there are McDonaldâ€™s restaurants, with 48,500 such facilities in 2014, compared to 14,350 McDonaldâ€™s restaurants. Thatâ€™s mind-boggling, to say the least, and makes me wonder whether there is a â€œSelf-Storage Nationâ€ book and movie in the offing.
One of the more memorable snippets of information that I came across about the industry was about a British businessman and his SSU containing Â£60,000 worth of Star Wars memorabilia. He apparently pays more than Â£150 a week to rent the 600 square foot SSU because his wife objected, after their loft at home was filled up with his Star Wars toys (which he began collecting when he was five) and he got a life-size Yoda for their home lounge. He has stashed his other life-size figures of Jar Jar Binks, Darth Vader, Princess Leia, C-3PO, R2-D2, and Darth Maul (what, no Han Solo or Luke Skywalker?) in his SSU, which he visits weekly. Strong in this SSU, the Force is â€¦ yes, hmmm.
The reasons people give for renting an SSU include having insufficient space at home, because of home renovations or extensive remodelling, moving house, having to work overseas for several years, deciding to travel the world for a few years, needing to store tools and machines, changes in family, employment or financial situations, and having to downsize in a difficult economic climate. I wonder whether many of them begin renting with the intention of it being on a temporary basis, but then as the months stretch into years, they somehow end up paying several thousands of dollars. I have read about people who, after paying hefty storage fees over many years, finally declutter their unit and find lots of junk, several damaged items and only a few things that they ultimately end up keeping. It makes me wonder whether some people even forget what they have put into storage and simply stop caring after some time (especially when it becomes a financial drain), as they donâ€™t bother to return to collect their stuff. What do you think about the usual reasons given for needing to rent an SSU? Have you ever decluttered an SSU or helped anyone to do so?
If you have rented an SSU before, was it helpful? Do you have any tips to share for someone who might really need one? Was your rental a short-term measure or is your stuff still sitting in it, out of sight and out of mind? Do you think itâ€™s worthwhile to rent an SSU, taking into consideration that the stuff inside may be damaged and depreciate in value and possibly become outdated? Do you think that an SSU can be used â€œwiselyâ€? Would you rent one again?
And for those who havenâ€™t, would you ever consider renting one? If you had an exciting opportunity to live, study or work abroad for a few years, how would you go about decluttering your possessions and reducing your stuff so that you are left with only your precious keepsakes and essential items for the home? And if your family and friends were unable or unwilling to help you store your stuff, what (if anything) would you put into storage, what would you get rid of and what would you bring with you? Iâ€™d like to hear what you have to say.
Today’s Mini Mission
Declutter any item from your office and/or craft room.Â These rooms are combined for us.Â We have books that need to be given away.Â I have a desk that I want to declutter as soon as we are sure when we will be moving.Â In the meantime, all of this clutter drives me nuts.Â It needs to go.
â€œIf we do not feel grateful for what we already have, what makes us think weâ€™d beÂ happy withÂ more?â€ â€” Unknown