Photo from a costume house located in Turkey
Just before seven a.m. on Sunday, an octopus walks into the station. Well, it is actually a woman dressed like an octopus. ... This is Mrs. Zenga, whose house was gutted by a kitchen fire a few days ago.
She plucks at her tentacles. "This is the only clothing I have left. A Halloween costume. Ursula. It's been rotting in a U-Store-It locker in Taunton with my Peter Paul and Mary album collection."
-- Jodi Picoult, My Sister's Keeper
Losing all your possessions in a fire is no laughing matter - and too many people in my part of the world had that happen just recently. (If you want to donate to help these folks, San Bruno's web site tells you how.) Still, I love this quote for what it says about the stuff so many people keep in self-storage facilities.
Yes, self-storage units sometimes serve a good purpose. But then there are stories like this one from Malusinka:
I stuck stuff in self-storage 15 years ago and moved abroad. Luckily, my husband's company picked up the tab as a moving expense. We were just recently graduated and saved the hand-me-down sofa, IKEA treasures and sidewalk finds we might need some day. Now, we're in a completely different income class and have probably paid (and been reimbursed for) at least ten thousand dollars of storage fees for furniture we'll throw out when we finally retrieve it.According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, "almost one in 10 U.S. families rents a storage unit, according to the Self Storage Association, a trade group, up from one in 17 in 1995. ... All told, last year there were more than 50,000 public storage facilities across the U.S."
And it's not just the U.S. where self-storage is booming. An article in the Mail Online from July says: "In 1995 there were a mere 60 self-storage sites in Britain. By 2000, that number had risen to 187 and today there are no fewer than 800."
For a beautifully written piece on what sometimes goes into those self storage units, and why, I recommend reading the article by Boris Johnson in the Telegraph. Here's just a snippet:
We can’t quite summon up the necessary ruthlessness to send those snot-smeared children’s books to be pulped; and as for that distressing oil painting of a naked woman, done in a fit of adolescent depression, the humane thing would be to burn it. But we can’t.
Each of these items may be junk, in the eyes of an impartial observer. But to us they are symbolic of our history, and our family’s history. They are an affirmation of our existence on earth, a semi-Shinto connection with our ancestors. So they go into storage.
Self Storage - A Growing Business
Storage Units: Ads and Anecdote
Self-Storage Units: Sometimes a Great Notion (But Often Not)
Renting Self Storage Units Can Be a Big Mistake