Author Topic: Americans spend $22 billion a year on storage  (Read 7819 times)

FireLane

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Americans spend $22 billion a year on storage
« on: November 14, 2015, 08:22:49 PM »
Yep, that's right. Americans spend $22 billion dollars a year just to rent space to store all the extra crap they buy and can't use!

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/oct/20/consumption-consumerism-americans-buying-stuff

This article also taught me something I didn't know: average American houses have almost tripled in size since the 50s. That made me feel good to read, since the place I own is about the size of a 1950s house. :)

Quote
In 1950 the average size of a home in the US was 983 square feet. Compare that to 2011, when American houses ballooned to an average size of 2,480 square feet almost triple the size.

I've seen this trend myself. There are a bunch of McMansions under construction in my neighborhood, some of them on lots whose owners tore down perfectly good houses just to build these monstrosities.

I cringe thinking about how much money they must be spending. Besides the raw costs of construction and the extra mortgage payments, they take more time to clean, more energy to heat and cool, and they're a constant temptation to buy more useless stuff to fill up all that space. But hey, if you want to work an extra twenty years to flaunt your little faux castle to your neighbors, have fun.

UnleashHell

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Re: Americans spend $22 billion a year on storage
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2015, 04:40:38 AM »


I've seen this trend myself. There are a bunch of McMansions under construction in my neighborhood, some of them on lots whose owners tore down perfectly good houses just to build these monstrosities.

I cringe thinking about how much money they must be spending. Besides the raw costs of construction and the extra mortgage payments, they take more time to clean, more energy to heat and cool, and they're a constant temptation to buy more useless stuff to fill up all that space. But hey, if you want to work an extra twenty years to flaunt your little faux castle to your neighbors, have fun.

Loads of new houses near me being build. here's an example. Single story (no stairs or basement)

3 bedrooms.
because bedroom 4 is now a game room (250 sqft)
theres a kitchen/dining/family room. the family room alone is 400 sqft
a formal dining room because one dining area isn't enough  (320sqft)
theres also a club / library room (and damn I'd love a library but...) an extra 250sqft.
The formal family room (again why stop at one?) is 460 sqft

total living area under AC - 3,700 sqft.
plus the outdoor living area and garage.
Thats gonna take at least 2 large AC units to keep that cool here in FL

How the hell do people fill these places and then have to put stuff in storage? Do you have seasonal furniture? Its stunning. oh and this isn't even the largest house they offer.


I have been to the display homes (I had to look). What I don;t understand is why they build all these different sized homes but put the low end appliances in the smaller homes. I'd far rather have a smaller home thats carefully laid out and fitted with good quality stuff than a large one. and the design of the kitchens is generally horrible. forget the extra rooms. give me a really good walk in and climate controlled pantry (it is florida) so I can buy stuff in bulk and store it. and not generic shit that ends up in a storage locker!.



Zamboni

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Re: Americans spend $22 billion a year on storage
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2015, 05:09:41 AM »
Based upon watching a few episodes of the show Storage Wars, it appears many people rent extra storage spaces, fill them up to the ceiling, and then either forget about them or die without telling anyone else about their storage unit.

I have an embarassingly and unnecessarily large home . . . or at least I thought . . . apparently it is just average.

Tigerpine

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Re: Americans spend $22 billion a year on storage
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2015, 05:17:09 AM »
When my brother returned stateside after his tour in the army was over, he had no place to put his belongings, so he put them in a storage locker.  Unfortunately for him, he lost the key.  I think it was a year or two later when we finally found the key by accident.  It wasn't long after that when he emptied out the locker.

lakemom

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Re: Americans spend $22 billion a year on storage
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2015, 01:41:17 PM »
Its all good!  That's how I make my living....own a self-storage facility.  If not for the rampant consumerism I'd be out of work.

Uturn

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Re: Americans spend $22 billion a year on storage
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2015, 01:44:08 PM »
Its all good!  That's how I make my living....own a self-storage facility.  If not for the rampant consumerism I'd be out of work.

I can't tell you how many times I have thought of this.

marty998

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Re: Americans spend $22 billion a year on storage
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2015, 05:00:32 PM »
When my brother returned stateside after his tour in the army was over, he had no place to put his belongings, so he put them in a storage locker.  Unfortunately for him, he lost the key.  I think it was a year or two later when we finally found the key by accident.  It wasn't long after that when he emptied out the locker.

Do you not just go up to the desk attendant and say "Hi mate, I lost the key, here's my ID so you know it's mine, can you call a locksmith?

Based upon watching a few episodes of the show Storage Wars, it appears many people rent extra storage spaces, fill them up to the ceiling, and then either forget about them or die without telling anyone else about their storage unit.

I have an embarassingly and unnecessarily large home . . . or at least I thought . . . apparently it is just average.

People just forget about the money being debited from their account each month?

Bigger question is why do I keep being surprised by this?

Tigerpine

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Re: Americans spend $22 billion a year on storage
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2015, 05:44:08 PM »
When my brother returned stateside after his tour in the army was over, he had no place to put his belongings, so he put them in a storage locker.  Unfortunately for him, he lost the key.  I think it was a year or two later when we finally found the key by accident.  It wasn't long after that when he emptied out the locker.

Do you not just go up to the desk attendant and say "Hi mate, I lost the key, here's my ID so you know it's mine, can you call a locksmith?
You'd have to ask him.  I was out of the country at the time.

Metta

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Re: Americans spend $22 billion a year on storage
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2015, 06:03:41 PM »
How the hell do people fill these places and then have to put stuff in storage? Do you have seasonal furniture? Its stunning. oh and this isn't even the largest house they offer.

I have a colleague that has a 5000 sq ft house and has seasonal furniture and decor items so that she doesn't have to live with the same look all year long. She also tells me sadly that she doesn't understand how anyone can ever afford to retire, especially if they have children.

Goldielocks

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Re: Americans spend $22 billion a year on storage
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2015, 06:20:00 PM »
How the hell do people fill these places and then have to put stuff in storage? Do you have seasonal furniture? Its stunning. oh and this isn't even the largest house they offer.

I have a colleague that has a 5000 sq ft house and has seasonal furniture and decor items so that she doesn't have to live with the same look all year long. She also tells me sadly that she doesn't understand how anyone can ever afford to retire, especially if they have children.

Seasonal decor ---me too --  sandals strewn across the floor in the summer....   boots and mitts strewn across the floor in the winter.


pachnik

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Re: Americans spend $22 billion a year on storage
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2015, 07:02:09 PM »
Seasonal decor ---me too --  sandals strewn across the floor in the summer....   boots and mitts strewn across the floor in the winter.

I laughed when I read this.  This is kind of where I am at as well.

The only 'seasonal decor' I have is my Christmas stuff and it all fits into a banana box.  Well, actually I up-sized last year and bought a fake wreath for the front door.  I've never been into a Crate & Barrel store but from what I see in its flyers it is full of seasonal decor. 

Villanelle

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Re: Americans spend $22 billion a year on storage
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2015, 07:28:38 PM »
OTOH, there are people who buy all new seasonal decor every year, every season, and then throw it away (or donate it) and do it again the following year. 

rockstache

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Re: Americans spend $22 billion a year on storage
« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2015, 07:30:38 PM »

OTOH, there are people who buy all new seasonal decor every year, every season, and then throw it away (or donate it) and do it again the following year.

Really? Really? Holy cow.

Villanelle

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Re: Americans spend $22 billion a year on storage
« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2015, 08:48:42 PM »

OTOH, there are people who buy all new seasonal decor every year, every season, and then throw it away (or donate it) and do it again the following year.

Really? Really? Holy cow.


 Yup.  I was shocked the first time I heard about this, but it seems not-uncommon.  My parents had neighbors who every year would buy a professionally decorated tree, and after Christmas, they put the whole thing out on the curb, ornaments and all.  So not only did they pay someone to hang stuff on their tree, they threw it all out (didn't even donate!).  Each and every year. 

gooki

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Re: Americans spend $22 billion a year on storage
« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2015, 01:32:06 AM »
That's $70 per person per year/$178 per household per year.

Assuming $40 per month for storage, that means one in three American households are paying for storage.

Note: this all assumes the 22 billion is for residential storage.

Metta

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Re: Americans spend $22 billion a year on storage
« Reply #15 on: November 16, 2015, 06:22:22 AM »
How the hell do people fill these places and then have to put stuff in storage? Do you have seasonal furniture? Its stunning. oh and this isn't even the largest house they offer.

I have a colleague that has a 5000 sq ft house and has seasonal furniture and decor items so that she doesn't have to live with the same look all year long. She also tells me sadly that she doesn't understand how anyone can ever afford to retire, especially if they have children.

Seasonal decor ---me too --  sandals strewn across the floor in the summer....   boots and mitts strewn across the floor in the winter.

LOL! I like your look!

Reynold

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Re: Americans spend $22 billion a year on storage
« Reply #16 on: November 19, 2015, 03:24:13 PM »
Assuming $40 per month for storage, that means one in three American households are paying for storage.

$40/month for storage?  In the Northeast US, a 10x10, no climate control, is easily $150/month, and with climate control is more like $220/month. 

Incidentally, I am friends with a couple who had 4 climate controlled storage units in the town they moved out of, some 6 hours away from their new place, so were paying over $1000/month for storage.  They accumulated these over about 10 years.  Four years after the move, they are now making periodic weekend trips back to unload/clean them out, and have made great progress, in only a year, they are down to 3 storage units!  Just a few more years to go!  So they are doing THEIR part towards the $22B, even if I'm ashamed to say I'm not. . .  :)

I did suggest to them that they rent a house with one more bedroom, and put the stuff there, and it would be climate controlled and much cheaper, but apparently then getting rid of the stuff would be overwhelming, and they (well, she, the wife is a bit of a control freak) would never manage it. 

And I can tell you it is a good business, I just had to arrange for transferring stuff where I work from a more distant to a closer, larger storage unit, and the place I was going into, which has probably 100 units in the building, says they have maybe half a dozen vacancies a year, with waiting lists for most of them.  Ditto from another facility I evaluated, about a mile from the first one.  Climate controlled is in particular demand. 

MakingSenseofCents

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Re: Americans spend $22 billion a year on storage
« Reply #17 on: November 19, 2015, 04:43:18 PM »
I really don't want to admit this but we are a few months away from putting the majority of our belongings in a storage unit so that we can live full-time in our RV. That being said, most of the things we're keeping are photo albums (my dad left me over 100 albums after he passed away) and they take up a TON of room so obviously we can't put them in the RV. We plan on cutting back, selling stuff, and donating a ton though so that we can get the smallest storage unit that we can, though.

onehair

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Re: Americans spend $22 billion a year on storage
« Reply #18 on: November 20, 2015, 11:03:36 AM »
My mom keeps trying to talk my aunt into getting rid of her storage unit.  She keeps yarn, Star Trek mementos, and more than likely various purchases made from QVC and HSN her favorite hobbies.  In spite of all her self made issues she persists in patronizing QVC and the other one. 

pdxbator

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Re: Americans spend $22 billion a year on storage
« Reply #19 on: November 20, 2015, 12:14:24 PM »
My parents still have the 5 bedroom house that I grew up in (probably 4500 sq ft). They are in their 70s now. It's too large to manage but they can't see leaving it. A number of years ago my dad had so much stuff he actually bought a small building several miles from them for storage. I haven't been there in years but I think it is pretty full. I shudder at the thought of having to deal with all the STUFF. Meanwhile I live in a 1500 square foot house and take anything unnecessary to Goodwill or to the curb for someone for free. I can't stand clutter or stuff hanging around.

Elle 8

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Re: Americans spend $22 billion a year on storage
« Reply #20 on: November 21, 2015, 02:40:19 PM »
Based upon watching a few episodes of the show Storage Wars, it appears many people rent extra storage spaces, fill them up to the ceiling, and then either forget about them or die without telling anyone else about their storage unit.

My brother-in-law owns a few storage facilities.  He says most of the abandoned units are due to the owners being in prison.

paddedhat

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Re: Americans spend $22 billion a year on storage
« Reply #21 on: November 23, 2015, 05:09:47 AM »
I really don't want to admit this but we are a few months away from putting the majority of our belongings in a storage unit so that we can live full-time in our RV. That being said, most of the things we're keeping are photo albums (my dad left me over 100 albums after he passed away) and they take up a TON of room so obviously we can't put them in the RV. We plan on cutting back, selling stuff, and donating a ton though so that we can get the smallest storage unit that we can, though.

We spend well over half of our time living in our motorhome. I am also gifted, plagued and blessed with the family photo albums. I have five, twenty gallon "totes" full of the damn things. This winter, I'm dragging them all south, on our annual migration. I'm going to spend the time to scan everything, and put it all on at least three types of media, like a memory stick, CD and the cloud. I'm not sure of the details, but I know that I'm done being burdened with this headache.

 We live in a new, small house. I put a small attic over the one car garage, and it's probably got two modest pick-up truck loads of stuff piled up there. In reality 95% of it could be in the dumpster, and we would never miss it. That said, I doubt that we own 40% of the "stuff" possessed by a typical North American family of our demographics. While raising the kids, we spent time with another family that owned a fairly large storage complex. It was a sweet money maker, and always resulted in some interesting stories. Like finding a significant weed growing operation in a unit. Finding a huge stash of weapons in another. Or deciding that an impressive collection of (used) sex toys were best tossed in the dumpster, not offered at auction. People are strange.

paddedhat

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Re: Americans spend $22 billion a year on storage
« Reply #22 on: November 23, 2015, 05:13:09 AM »
My mom keeps trying to talk my aunt into getting rid of her storage unit.  She keeps yarn, Star Trek mementos, and more than likely various purchases made from QVC and HSN her favorite hobbies.  In spite of all her self made issues she persists in patronizing QVC and the other one.

We always joke that about a month after the MIL passed, QVC held an emergency board meeting and everyone sat around the table, looking at sales figures, saying "we aren't exactly sure why our numbers have tanked?"

MayDay

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Re: Americans spend $22 billion a year on storage
« Reply #23 on: November 23, 2015, 07:05:00 AM »
My SIL lives with my MIL and FIL in a large house with a basement- maybe 3000 sq ft with the basement, maybe even bigger, 4 bedroom total. 

SIL rented a storage unit when she moved in to store all her shitty furniture, for when she moves out. 

1.  You could buy all new furniture on CL, and probably actually brand new, for the cost of multiple years of storage.
2.  You have raggedy old furniture anyway.
3.  You work at an assisted living facility that has annual furniture sales of VERY NICE nearly new furniture for like 25$ a couch. 
4.  There is a giant basement right under you that you could store it in.

None of our logic worked. 

She is also storing a broken fridge in their garage.  Because apparently if the fridge is broken now, you are totes going to fix it in 5 years when you move out. 

protostache

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Re: Americans spend $22 billion a year on storage
« Reply #24 on: November 23, 2015, 07:19:57 AM »
I feel like there's an opportunity here. Not necessarily opening your own storage center, but there are several large publicly-traded REITs that operate storage centers. For example, Public Storage is a $41bil company that just operates self-storage facilities. They're included in Vanguard's REIT fund, for those of us that index.

Alex321

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Re: Americans spend $22 billion a year on storage
« Reply #25 on: November 23, 2015, 11:20:07 AM »
Its all good!  That's how I make my living....own a self-storage facility.  If not for the rampant consumerism I'd be out of work.

Public Storage is one of the largest holdings in my REIT. Another is Simon Properties (shopping malls).

So Americans on Saturday are buying stuff from my malls, then on Sunday they're putting it in my storage units for safekeeping. :)

MgoSam

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Re: Americans spend $22 billion a year on storage
« Reply #26 on: November 23, 2015, 11:29:38 AM »
Another is Simon Properties (shopping malls).

So Americans on Saturday are buying stuff from my malls, then on Sunday they're putting it in my storage units for safekeeping. :)

Are malls still banking money? For some reason I am thinking that they might have declined in value due to e-commerce.

Alex321

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Re: Americans spend $22 billion a year on storage
« Reply #27 on: November 23, 2015, 11:34:17 AM »
Another is Simon Properties (shopping malls).

So Americans on Saturday are buying stuff from my malls, then on Sunday they're putting it in my storage units for safekeeping. :)

Are malls still banking money? For some reason I am thinking that they might have declined in value due to e-commerce.

The parking lots sure are crowded still. People go for recreation.

MgoSam

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Re: Americans spend $22 billion a year on storage
« Reply #28 on: November 23, 2015, 11:43:33 AM »
Another is Simon Properties (shopping malls).

So Americans on Saturday are buying stuff from my malls, then on Sunday they're putting it in my storage units for safekeeping. :)

Are malls still banking money? For some reason I am thinking that they might have declined in value due to e-commerce.

The parking lots sure are crowded still. People go for recreation.

Fair enough. I should say that I loathe shopping so the only times I've been in a mall for the past year have been to eat dinner at one of the restaurants or to see a movie. If I want to shop, I usually have gone to a Savers or the like, as I don't really care much for clothes...am seriously thinking of going the Jim Harbaugh route (wear kakkis every day with a polo just to save myself thinking about what to wear).

Alex321

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Re: Americans spend $22 billion a year on storage
« Reply #29 on: November 23, 2015, 11:50:13 AM »
Another is Simon Properties (shopping malls).

So Americans on Saturday are buying stuff from my malls, then on Sunday they're putting it in my storage units for safekeeping. :)

Are malls still banking money? For some reason I am thinking that they might have declined in value due to e-commerce.

The parking lots sure are crowded still. People go for recreation.

Fair enough. I should say that I loathe shopping so the only times I've been in a mall for the past year have been to eat dinner at one of the restaurants or to see a movie. If I want to shop, I usually have gone to a Savers or the like, as I don't really care much for clothes...am seriously thinking of going the Jim Harbaugh route (wear kakkis every day with a polo just to save myself thinking about what to wear).

You and I both. I've become a big fan of Land's End at Sears. I like to get in and get out, maybe with a quick stop at Auntie Anne's for a pretzel and lemonade.

Making Cookies

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Re: Americans spend $22 billion a year on storage
« Reply #30 on: November 23, 2015, 01:48:33 PM »
I have been to the display homes (I had to look). What I don;t understand is why they build all these different sized homes but put the low end appliances in the smaller homes. I'd far rather have a smaller home thats carefully laid out and fitted with good quality stuff than a large one. and the design of the kitchens is generally horrible. forget the extra rooms. give me a really good walk in and climate controlled pantry (it is florida) so I can buy stuff in bulk and store it. and not generic shit that ends up in a storage locker!.

Until recently - I figure they did the same thing with cars in the USA.

Now there are several brands and models to choose from that are fun to drive and reasonably comfortable.

If the cheap gas persists I expect the old small car mentality to return to the American consumers.

- - - -

As for a house I agree with you. Smallish, nice lot, higher end quality and materials, done... My dream home isn't that big - it just has 10 acres plus of land and trees. We choose to live in a smaller town so the commute to such a place isn't so long or the prices so high. We visit the big city occasionally and I'm glad it appeals to the people who live there so my town isn't as crowded. ;)
« Last Edit: November 23, 2015, 02:04:22 PM by Joe Average »

Making Cookies

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Re: Americans spend $22 billion a year on storage
« Reply #31 on: November 23, 2015, 01:55:16 PM »
OTOH, there are people who buy all new seasonal decor every year, every season, and then throw it away (or donate it) and do it again the following year.

Heck I know a few folks that buy an endless stream of decorating items. The new gets set up around the house, the old goes into the garage for the annual cleanout/donation pile. Makes them happy.

When they get tired of seeing the pile in the garage of stuff (clothes, decor, appliances, etc) they announce it's time to clean out the garage and shed. They are always chasing sales in the newspaper circulars.

I was a very minor version of that person when I was a teen so I don't want to seem too high and mighty. There are still things (a few) that get purchased by me when the price gets low enough (hobby supplies). My hobbies are cheap. ;)
« Last Edit: November 23, 2015, 02:05:20 PM by Joe Average »

Sibley

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Re: Americans spend $22 billion a year on storage
« Reply #32 on: November 23, 2015, 01:57:40 PM »
My parents still have the 5 bedroom house that I grew up in (probably 4500 sq ft). They are in their 70s now. It's too large to manage but they can't see leaving it. A number of years ago my dad had so much stuff he actually bought a small building several miles from them for storage. I haven't been there in years but I think it is pretty full. I shudder at the thought of having to deal with all the STUFF. Meanwhile I live in a 1500 square foot house and take anything unnecessary to Goodwill or to the curb for someone for free. I can't stand clutter or stuff hanging around.

All I can say is good luck. My parents aren't that bad (or that old), but they have more stuff than they could possibly need. I try to chip away at it when I visit. Every little bit helps.

MakingSenseofCents

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Re: Americans spend $22 billion a year on storage
« Reply #33 on: November 23, 2015, 10:27:56 PM »
I really don't want to admit this but we are a few months away from putting the majority of our belongings in a storage unit so that we can live full-time in our RV. That being said, most of the things we're keeping are photo albums (my dad left me over 100 albums after he passed away) and they take up a TON of room so obviously we can't put them in the RV. We plan on cutting back, selling stuff, and donating a ton though so that we can get the smallest storage unit that we can, though.

We spend well over half of our time living in our motorhome. I am also gifted, plagued and blessed with the family photo albums. I have five, twenty gallon "totes" full of the damn things. This winter, I'm dragging them all south, on our annual migration. I'm going to spend the time to scan everything, and put it all on at least three types of media, like a memory stick, CD and the cloud. I'm not sure of the details, but I know that I'm done being burdened with this headache.

 We live in a new, small house. I put a small attic over the one car garage, and it's probably got two modest pick-up truck loads of stuff piled up there. In reality 95% of it could be in the dumpster, and we would never miss it. That said, I doubt that we own 40% of the "stuff" possessed by a typical North American family of our demographics. While raising the kids, we spent time with another family that owned a fairly large storage complex. It was a sweet money maker, and always resulted in some interesting stories. Like finding a significant weed growing operation in a unit. Finding a huge stash of weapons in another. Or deciding that an impressive collection of (used) sex toys were best tossed in the dumpster, not offered at auction. People are strange.

I've had many people tell me that I should just scan the images, but since the photo albums were left by my father after he passed away, I have an attachment to them so it's not something I could ever do.