Storing people's 'stuff' is booming national business

Thursday, January 4, 2018

“A house is just a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff.”
— George Carlin

But what happens when your house runs out of room for more stuff?

Hoarders aside, there’s a big market in helping people solve that problem.

Google lists seven storage facilities in McCook, and while at least one of those was incorrectly listed, we’re sure there are others that didn’t show up on the map.

Older people downsize, move into retirement housing or pass away. Younger people move to new communities for new opportunities, and while they want to hang onto that couch, there’s not room for it in the new apartment.

Those and many other situations call for temporary housing for our physical possessions.

It’s a booming business, judging by the number of new storage facilities we see being built around the area.

SpareFoot, an industry organization that tracks self-storage statistics, estimates the industry was worth about $36 billion at the end of 2016. A 2014 estimate counted 2.63 billion square feet of rentable self-storage space nationwide, and it’s only grown since then.

That year, developers spent an estimated $590 million building new self-storage facilities.

There’s a reason for the boom.

SpareFoot doesn’t list specific prices for McCook, but the average price of a storage unit in Nebraska climbed from $58.61 a month in 2012 to $74.88 in 2017.

Papillion had the highest average price, $92.47 in 2017; Gering the lowest at $55.

That works out to about 72 cents per square foot that the average consumer paid in the year just ended. Nebraskans, on average, shell out $43.25 a month for a 5x5 unit, and $104.18 for a 10x20. A third of all units in Nebraska are the 5x10 size, which go for an average of $49.15.

June, August and September are the busiest months for renting storage units, according to SpareFoot.

Some vacant retail and motel properties are being turned into self-storage units, a sign of shifting economic conditions.

Anyone who has helped a friend moved, or been in charge of dealing with a loved one’s property, or forced to drastically downsize, knows what an inconvenience dealing with all that “stuff” can be.

Perhaps it’s time to be more careful in our purchase decisions and a little more ruthless when it comes time to pare down our property.


Check out Nebraska’s storage rental scene here.

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