This is a post by husband Aaron. I love it when he writes posts:D – Anna
Humans have been finding ways to store items for various reasons since the beginning of time. The Egyptians stashed bodies, entrails and other goodies in the Great Pyramids. The ancient chinese buried seeds and other treasures in terra-cotta pots in large underground storage areas. Pirates knew the benefits of hiding one’s plunder at remote, exotic locales. We often even go into death with some of our most prized possessions by our side in the last storage unit we’ll ever know… the coffin. In modern times we store our excess collectibles not in pits marked with an “X” on the map, but in huge, over-priced climate controlled buildings with big orange doors.
Do you have too much crap?…
It’s no secret that we humans are pack rats, we are hardwired to collect things because of the notion that in American society, more is better. The more we own the more successful we feel. Due to the human need to collect stuff a whole new industry was born. Self-storage. It’s hard to pin down an exact date when the first self storage unit popped onto the scene but the general consensus seems to be that the first official modern storage unit open in Texas in the 1960s and were little more than prefab tin garages built on the outskirts of towns. Others say the first open in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 1958 and, apparently, it is still in business today. The reason self-storage units came into existence is a debatable subject as well, but the driving factor is consumerism. We Americans spend more money on consumer goods than any other country in the world. We have collected so much stuff that we can no longer contain our possessions in one spot. We are forced to rent out a few extra square footage at some off site storage facility and go visit our precious items on the weekends. We essentially have begun renting our useless stuff their own little apartments, complete with climate controlled environments (our house doesn’t have central air, let alone guards and security monitors). Isn’t it a strange concept that our junk would reside in a safer, more comfortable environment than we do?
According to the SSA‘s (Self Storage Association) website the self storage industry is one of the fastest growing sects of the commercial real estate market in the US over the last 35 years with annual gross revenues of 22.45 billion dollars. The self storage industry is considered to be “recession resistant” by many Wall Street analysts since one out of every 10 homes currently rents a storage unit, and as of June 6th 2012, there are about. 2.3 billion sq. feet of rental space in the US, which is roughly 3 times that of Manhattan island. To put it another way, there is 7.3 sq. feet of self storage space available for every person (man, women, and child) in the nation. Operators of self storage facilities report occupancy levels to be at 90%.
All this makes me think that we all just have too much stuff. Think about how much time, energy and money is wasted housing objects that we care so little about, we don’t mind if they are sitting across town in a dark (albeit air-conditioned and secure) storage unit.
Do we own our possessions, or do they own us?
Simplicity, needs over wants, and frugality can all keep us from living under the control of our possessions and from being shackled by our debt.
Do you really need everything that own? Do you have a storage unit? And have you determined how much it’s cost you to store your stuff?
(We were shocked when we added it up for our old storage unit. See this related post: Cleaning Out the Storage Unit to Save)