“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…”
With all due respect to Thomas Jefferson, any storage facility manager will tell you that all storage renters are not created equal. In the same way that everyone’s office looks different, their storage lockers look different as well. Follow me to learn about six different types of storage users:
The Neat Freak
The Neat Freak is organized. Ridiculously organized. His co-workers prank him by moving his pen three inches to the left after he leaves for the night. His storage unit is lined with identical modular shelving systems. His shelves are lined with color-coded and carefully packed plastic bins. He has an inventory list that is maintained and regularly double-checked for accuracy. He occasionally wonders whether he should issue QR codes to his belongings in order to more carefully track his items. He sweeps, vacuums, and dusts.
The Newlyweds rent a storage unit because Wife is not willing to allow Husband’s furniture in The Newlywed’s house, and Husband is not willing to allow Wife to throw away his stuff. Here you will find a lumpy, well-worn couch and recliner. You will find a coffee table with well worn beer rings. You will find an old mattress from a queen-sized bed. You will find an unopened 1989 Upper Deck set, with Ken Griffey, Jr. rookie card. You will find a carefully alphabetized collection of beer bottles, each unique, from every corner of the world. And you will find cobwebs, because no one will ever visit.
The Hoarder is a special breed. They had a plan. Really, they did. They would stack a few things away in the storage unit, just to free up a little space at home. Just a few things, really. But then it became a few more things, then a few more, then two adjacent units, then a third. Opening the door has become difficult without being buried in an avalanche of musical playbills from 1974-1989, a collection of bowling trophies from every state, the cutest pot holder that you’ve ever seen, and seven very confused mice. This storage locker gets paid for every month because no one in the family has the heart to tell Grandma / Mom / Sister / Aunt that there’s no purpose in keeping any of these items. It’s just not worth the fight over those “his and hers” wicker wastebaskets from that great flea market in 1993.
The businessman has two types of units. Businessman 1 (B1) has a unit to keep surplus inventory. It’s organized with shelving units and labels. Businessman 2 (B2) has a unit to clear out space in his office or store room. This unit is filled with boxes of paper and files. There is an old office chair teetering dangerously on another old office chair. There are three boxes of 2009 calendars that never quite got mailed out to clients. B1 and B2 may very well be business partners and friends, but they definitely don’t share an office.
The Student will only be gone for a few months, so you would think that this unit would be extremely organized. Not so. This unit is filled with hastily packed boxes and gym bags sitting on one old couch, with a TV leaning precariously against the arm. The boxes are primarily labeled, “MISC.” because what else do you label a box that contains two sweatshirts, the remote controls, about ⅔ of the silverware, and all of the spare toiletries? The Student shares this unit with two other Students, who all used the same “system” to pack, and complain about how messy the others are.
The New Parents
The New Parent storage locker is an interesting place to be. All comers recognize immediately that something significant has changed. The New Parent storage locker is the remains of the man cave that has now become the playroom. In this locker, you’ll find a foosball table with dart boards stacked carefully on top. In the corner, you’ll find the handmade bar that New Dad built when they first bought the house, and the set of matching bar stools. Neon Budweiser signs long to be plugged in to flicker once again. All that’s missing is the big screen TV, which was left in place to replay Sponge Bob DVDs, SportsCenter. New Mom loves the new playroom. New Dad loves the new playroom, but secretly misses his man cave. This is actually the Newlyweds a few years later, but now New Dad/Husband has officially lost the war.
This is not all… not by a long shot. There are as many types of storage users as there are storage users. To bring things full circle, let’s hear what Thomas Jefferson might have said about modern storage users: “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are… is that a leather couch? Because I’ve been looking for one and I would love to… I mean, if you are thinking about selling it, I don’t want to step on your toes or anything, but if you would consider selling… or a swap? I’ve got a nice TV stand that I could part with…”