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While I am not sure I pass as a true minimalist, I do live with a minimalist mindset. The famous declutter, Marie Kondo, asks us to consider whether a possession “sparks joy” when we are considering what to do with it. I have to say I don’t look for joy from any of my stuff (except maybe the contents of my liquor cabinet 😉). In fact, I get joy when I am cleaning and getting rid of belongings no longer relevant to my life. So, last week, I got a little judgy reading an article in The Wall Street Journal entitled, “Is There a Limit to Americans’ Self-Storage Addiction? Billions of Dollars Say Nope.” The article is primarily about investments in the self-storage business and the great returns to be had from it, but it had some other interesting takeaways: Market researchers estimate that more than one in 10 Americans lease storage space. In June storage customers paid an average of about $165.55 a month, about 20% more than in June 2019. For many storage customers, they are willing over time to pay far more than the value of whatever they are storing. According to the self-storage industry, there is over 2 billion square feet of rentable self-storage space in the US. 2B SQ FT!! Yikes!

I get we love are stuff, but I had no idea of the extent we go to keep things that aren’t even within our living space. I want to be clear that I understand there are many good reasons for needing a storage facility, but I am going to lean towards attachment as the biggest reason for all this off-site stockpiling. And it is really this issue of attachment that has me disheartened. For me, clutter and possessions can be burdensome and distracting (on site or off!). They can be obstacles to clarity, freedom, and connection. My wife, on the other hand, thinks my “minimalism” is not only unhelpful, but a pain in the ass. She considers my lack of connection to things unfeeling and lacking sentiment. See…stuff getting in the way of a relationship! Where are you on this issue? Collector or Purger or something in between?


  • Rob Rubin says:

    The fear of loss is stronger than the desire for gain – is a truthful human tendency and the self storage industry is cashing in on that. I do struggle to differentiate between what is important and what is trash. I will save things for decades which I am not sure of the importance. That uncertainty may be a bit of a freeze trauma response. When I reflect, my traumas may stem from fear of failure, a scarcity mindset, and a perfectionist tendency. I do see generational patterns of this in my family. I don’t rent a storage unit and after years of increased consciousness about the weight stuff has on my life, I do make more of a practice to clean out the clutter more often, but it is definitely a continual struggle for me.

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