The Psychological Reason Behind the Self Storage Mania

If you rent a self-storage unit to keep all your junk, then you're why there's a boom in the self-storage business: there are over 50,000 storage centers in the United States and a growing number in the UK.

Sure self-storage is a convenient method to store your stuff when you're moving, but for a growing number of people, storage rental has morphed from a temporary fix to a more permanent thing. Tom de Castella and Kate Dailey of the BBC News Magazine explains:

Oliver James, psychologist and author of Affluenza, says that the self-storage phenomenon can be explained by consumerism's effect on how we view ourselves.

Our identity has increasingly become associated with products, he argues, and not just the mortgage and the car, but smaller items. "We've confused who we are with what we have," he says.

It explains why we're so reluctant to throw things away. "We feel it might come in handy one day. It feels like it's a little part of yourself even though it's just tat. You wouldn't want to throw yourself away would you?"

Link (Photo: Shutterstock)

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Is this surprising?

The way things work today: it does not pay to make products that are long lasting. The capitalistic system in place today is based on growth. (Never mind that infinite growth is impossible in a system with limited resources.) Which means you need to keep selling and selling and selling. So you get a society obsessed with consumerism. People CAMPING in front of an Apple store to buy some gadget that will be outdated by the time they unpack it.
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I grew up on the east coast, where nearly everyone has an attic and basement for storage. Houses would be passed down and stuff would pile up. New households were furnished with things from Grandma's attic. I remember visiting relatives as a kid and having a ball exploring all these amazing treasures. We'd play dress up and have incredible adventures.

Out west, most houses don't have attics or basements. There's no place to store anything. I think it's sad that everything is considered disposable now.
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What's with all this "how WE view ourselves", "OUR identity", "WE'VE confused who we are"? I can't stand social commentaries that say "WE as a people" and "OUR minds" in the first person. Leave me out of it, psych-speak!
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