earlier this month, the new york times ran a piece on self-storage units in the united states of america. while reading the story, i was again reminded of how much we love our stuff. just notice some of these highlights:
- the united states now has 2.3 billion square feet of self-storage space. (the self storage association notes that, with more than seven square feet for every man, woman and child, it’s now “physically possible that every american could stand — all at the same time — under the total canopy of self-storage roofing.”)
- fifty percent of [self-storage] renters are now simply storing what won’t fit in their homes — even though the size of the average american house had almost doubled in the previous 50 years, to 2,300 square feet.
- by 2007, a full 15 percent of customers told the self storage association they were storing items that they “no longer need or want.” it was the third-most-popular use for a unit and was projected to grow to 25 percent of renters the following year.
- between 1970 and 2008, real disposable personal income per capita doubled, and by 2008 we were spending nearly all of it — all but 2.7 percent — each year. meanwhile, the price of much of what we were buying plunged. even by the early ’90s, american families had, on average, twice as many possessions as they did 25 years earlier. by 2005, according to the boston college sociologist juliet b. schor, the average consumer purchased one new piece of clothing every five and a half days.
- “human laziness has always been a big friend of self-storage operators,” derek naylor, president of the consultant group storage marketing solutions, told me. “because once they’re in, nobody likes to spend all day moving their stuff out of storage. as long as they can afford it, and feel psychologically that they can afford it, they’ll leave that stuff in there forever.”
you can read the whole article here: the self-storage self.