Speaking of Stuff

I came across a thought-provoking article in this weekend’s New York Times magazine titled “The Self-Storage Self” by Jon Mooallem and you can read it at www.nytimes.com. Whether or not you use self-storage (I do not), there is no denying the behemoth of a business it has become.

One of the more compelling points of the article captures the sheer size of the self-storage movement: “After a monumental building boom, 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.’)”

As the article further suggests: “Maybe the recession really is making American consumers serious about scaling back, about decluttering and deleveraging. But there are upward of 51,000 storage facilities across this country. Storage is part of our national infrastructure now. And all it is, is empty space.”

I can’t speak for others, but it sounds to me like people need to discipline themselves when it comes to acquiring stuff. Despite average home sizes doubling to more than 2,300 square feet, many people apparently have trouble fitting it all into their super-sized McMansions (that many also have no business buying).

I recently heard that for the typical buyer of a NEW Rolls Royce, it is the 17TH car in their collection! When the vast majority of the world subsists on about a dollar a day, I can’t help but think that too many of us have our priorities out of whack. I personally subscribe to the philosophy that “less is more” and am reminded of the admonition to “live simply that others may simply live.”