Storage…a place where people like to put their possessions when they run out of room; sound familiar? On average…1 out of 11 Americans are paying for storage so they can keep all they own, and more. Construction Data from the 2017 U.S. Census clearly shows that it was a record year for self-storage construction, especially in the city of Austin, Tx. However, there are many other places around the U.S. vying for a close tie or second place, when referring to storage construction. Everywhere you go today, it seems like another facility is quickly being built, right before your eyes in a neighborhood near you.  Annually, self-storage has become a $38 billion-dollar industry and shows no signs of slowing down; storage facilities are booming across America.

Industry experts believe that revenue will continue to grow, at a close 3% rate through 2020. I know where I’m currently residing there are multiple storage facilities going up, and wasting no time doing it. I’ve had to wonder…how much stuff do people really own(?) Take a look in your closets, garage, sheds and any nook & cranny you have where you’re living; most likely there’s a lot of stuff. Most people accumulate more than they need, and it seems to be the American. However, not all storage units currently rented are being used for the sole purpose of storing personal items. Rented units apparently have many uses…so I find it interesting that they’re popping up literally everywhere today. The question remains…what are they being rented for, if not for personal storage(?)

Storage units in the past have been known to shelter homeless people; individuals that may have moved and have nowhere to go. I’ve heard stories from storage owners that their cameras caught someone plugging in a lamp or sandwich maker and using the unit as a one room place to live. Often one might be able to find an outlet nearby, giving one access, but newer facilities are using motion sensors inside, hoping to cut electrical costs; especially in the desert regions. I’ve run across individuals who use large units to house their equipment for their businesses; some are running a business straight out of their unit. I was surprised in the beginning, but it shouldn’t surprise me anymore. One day there were men setting up shop for the day, answering phones while the other was cutting plywood on their folding sawhorse; all kinds of crazy stuff happens in some of these facilities. I’m also aware that musicians have been known to use a large unit to play their music instead of someone’s garage…hence the name ‘garage band.’ I’ve had the pleasure of hearing a group play in a storage facility and they weren’t bad at all. People who sell on eBay regularly rent units to store items, it’s just like having their own store, I guess.

Whether you use a storage unit as a temporary place for personal items, downsizing or moving, just know that you are not alone…you might end up next to someone’s ‘start-up’ or established business. What’s more interesting to me, are the personal stories you hear of while renting a unit; some happy, some sad and even disturbing. It’s amazing what you can learn from somebody renting a unit close by, but beware…there are a few weirdos out there as well. Always be observant when going into a facility, I’ve already been watched, which was the creepiest thing ever; I immediately went to the desk to report this individual lurking around corners, staring. So, for what its’ worth, with so many storage places popping up, check sizes, prices, management on-duty and times (open & close) as well as security and cameras; you should feel safe at all times.

Make your week count.