Obsession with things? Examining Self Storage Units.

I have noticed quite a few new self-storage facilities being constructed in my area.  It made me wonder if that many people are moving and need temporary storage, or if people have so many things they can’t keep them all at their house.  I have used a self-storage facility once when I was in college to keep my items safe when I was away for the summer, but have not used such a place outside of that time.  So let’s examine…

Self Storage Statistics

Being an engineer, I like numbers to understand situations.  I found industry statistics on statisticbrain, so let’s examine:

  • 8.96% of households rent a storage unit
  • There are 58,000 storage facilities, with an average of 566 units at each facility, which equates to 32,820,000 storage units in the US
  • Total square footage available is 2,300,000,000 sq ft.  Dividing this by the number of storage units is an average of 70 sq ft/unit.
  • $1.42 is the average revenue per square foot.  This equates to an average cost of $1,192.80/year.  I compared that to local prices, and it is in the ballpark.

So ~9% of households pays approx $1,192.80/year for the opportunity to store things!  Now there are good reasons to use a storage location, especially as a temporary storage around life changes (moving, marriage, family treasures handed down, etc.), but I know a number of people who have storage units just because they have a lot of junk and no room at their homes to keep it all.  Take a look at neighborhoods, how many people actually park cars in their garage vs. storing things?

We live in a consumer society, with constant pressures (advertisements, peer pressure) to buy the latest and greatest items.  Do you really need the latest phone?  Do you really need a 4k TV when most broadcasts are not in 4k yet?  Do you really need a new kitchen table and chairs…and need to keep the old set?  It doesn’t make sense to buy something and then add clutter.  It especially doesn’t make sense to pay someone to store your things.

So consider this as millions of people spend a lot of money (and time!) shopping during this time of year.  Do you really need the item…or are you just buying something to keep up with your friends and neighbors and will eventually pay someone to store it for you?

Also, if you have something you don’t use, consider donating or selling it so someone else can use it.

4 Replies to “Obsession with things? Examining Self Storage Units.”

    1. No doubt! I don’t want to think about how much is spent on items that are just stored. There is event a TV show on this (Storage Wars)!

  1. They’re incredible investments, especially now with price transparency through Spare Foot and some other sites. I’m personally shocked people pay to store stuff though!

    1. I haven’t thought about investing in them. With the baby boomers potentially downsizing, there might be an opportunity for additional demand. Do you invest in them?

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