Sunday, December 5, 2010

Day One Hundred Ninety Seven

Whoa, these are staggering statistics:
There are approximately 58,000 self storage facilities worldwide, of which 50,000 are located in the United States. According to a report by Mintel Consulting and in collaboration with the Self Storage Association of the United Kingdom space available for rental in the USA is approximately 1.6 billion rentable square feet, against 22 million rentable square feet in Australia and around 20 million in the United Kingdom. The report also states that there are around 41,000 facilities in the USA, 1,000 in Australia, around 700 in the United Kingdom and 220 in France.

Self storage facilities now cover more square footage in the United States than McDonald's.  I noticed a TV commercial for a reality show called "Storage Wars" the other day.  It highlights the lives of professional teams who earn their living by bidding on repossessed storage units.  They capitalize on all the stuff people can no longer afford to store.  I sit here on an acre of land with a 2360sf house with a three car garage that I've let go of 985 items from and still feel completely crowded by things.  How did it get this way?  Where did all this stuff come from?  Confucius said, "Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated."  I gotta hand it to the guy on this one for I agree wholeheartedly.  I would never describe myself as acquisitive, nor would anyone who knows me and yet, here I am.  It is hard to understand where it all came from and horrifying to think what it all cost.  Part of it can be explained by having four kids, all those stretchy book covers for example.  When I was a kid we had the same requirement to cover our textbooks but we used paper grocery sacks and tape.  I know the tricky fold for the corners and everything.  Why didn't I do this with my kids?  They would have been humiliated to have that when all the other kids had stretchy book covers, thats why.  The pressure to have what they have is immense.  In conversation it came up yesterday that children are having body image issues as early as preschool now.  How is that even possible?  Can it all be explained by the evil media?  The MTV culture?  I think that as parents go I get a good solid B, maybe even an A- and yet I bought the stretchy book covers.  My kids completely understood my moral stand against the paper towel and I bet I could have made them love the grocery sack book cover.  
Today's five items are:
1.  Four plastic easter eggs
2.  Sebulba's pod racer from The Phantom Menace
3.  Yet another pair of kids sunglasses
4.  A men's blue button down shirt with white pin stripes
5.  A brown twin bed dust ruffle


  1. I've thought for years how ugly the storage glut is in America (we actually park two cars in a two car garage, blasphemy! I know, right?). That we have to have so much stuff is, well, just "ewww." I've also thought about how ugly the diabetes epidemic is. In both cases, I've also thought what a great economic opportunity presented by overindulgence of stuff and food. Can't help it, I'm an entrepreneur at heart. I remember making paper bag book covers. We actually tried it ONCE with one of the daughters instead of buying those heinous stretchy thingies -- there are no more of those in my home, over the years, I've tended to be very good at purging. The very day our 18 year old moved out, her room became a gym (like within an hour!). So, I'm trying to save myself from storage units AND diabetes! Now, about those ideas, shall I invest in Pfizer?

  2. Pfizer and UHaul, they are the major player in the storage industry. It occurs to me that bidding sight unseen on the contents of a storage unit is a modern day form of treasure hunting. A way to hit a "little lottery" with much better odds. I can see why it attracts people.



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