I find a great deal of inspiration for my writing via the “reality” shows offered on channels such as A&E, TLC, HGTV, and a host of other acronyms. Granted we have no television we are inundated by commercials when watching something on HULU.com or even cruising sites like Facebook. This week I am fascinated by a show that is (unfortunately, I am sure) still on the air – Storage Wars.  The show claims to follow four professional buyers and their teams as they scour repossessed storage units in search of hidden treasure. That is what we, in America, call it, right? Treasure! Whether it be bags of our children’s clothes, an old artificial Christmas tree, dishes we were given a few years back, or frames that we will one day put our precious pictures in, we clog our lives with stuff!

Okay, so maybe Storage Wars wasn’t the only reason a few more square feet have been at the forefront of my mind lately. It may have something to do with the fact that with a baby on the way and with a large farmette to tend to, we have our share of items that need to be, well, stored.

I am not the only one that seems to need a little extra storage though. A couple years back the New York Times ran a piece on self-storage units (something that runs rampant in the outer boroughs) in the U.S.A. From that article and a few other sources I realized:

  • the US now has in excess of 2.3 billion square feet of self-storage space. In fact, 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.”
  • 40% of [self-storage] renters are now simply storing what won’t fit in their homes — even though the size of the average american house has almost doubled in the previous 50 years, to 2,300 square feet. Another 12% store items they once held in their homes but no longer have a home in which to store.
  • By 2007, a full 15% of customers told the SSA they were storing items that they “no longer need or want.”
  • “Human laziness has always been a big friend of self-storage operators,” says Derek Naylor, president of the consultant group Storage Marketing Solutions, “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.”

So how do we build a small storage shed (or storage closet as I refer to it) in the form of an outbuilding without allowing ourselves to fall into some sort of hoarding downward spiral? I don’t know yet. And maybe I won’t know when our 8′ x 4′ storage closet is finished. Maybe I’ll never know. But you can count on it not being the shirt I bought at the 1997 Aerosmith concert I went to in Hampton, VA!