The State of Storage: OSSD Style

ChecklistI was recently given a spreadsheet with lots and lots and lots of information on it. Normally, this type of thing would frighten a History/English teacher who moonlights as a writer.

And this time was no different.

Regardless, though, I dug in.

After numerous Google searches and frantic Facebook status posts asking friends to help me remember all the great spreadsheet tricks that I’d either forgotten or that I’d neglected to learn over the years, I am able to present to you an overview of the storage world, as it appears from this particular corner of that world.

Also, this is just data from a couple of months, so it’s just a little taste. A small spoonful, if you will.

But enough jibber-jabber. Time to list things:

Bookings by State

Which states book the most storage units? I don’t think that the answer will surprise you much:

Texas: 9.6%

Florida: 9.5%

California: 7.5%

New York: 6.3%

New Jersey: 5.8%

I feel like I’m supposed to make some sort of bridge scandal joke here, but I’m not sure that I have it in me. Instead, let’s analyze this in an incredibly simplistic way. These are five of the largest states in the country (the 2nd, 4th, 1st, 3rd, and 11th, to be exact), and they have the most bookings. Ok then. A special commendation to New Jersey for storing way above its weight here. Nice job there, for sure.

Just as interesting to me, though, is the opposite. Which states used OSSD the least in recent months?

Wyoming: 0%

Montana: 0%

South Dakota: 0%

North Dakota: 0%

Hawaii: 0.1%

Alaska: 0.1%

DC: 0.1%

What’s going on in the Mountain West? What did we ever do to you guys? You got beat out by Washington DC? On one hand, it’s possible that there’s just so much space out there that they don’t have much need for storage. On the other hand, no state has more empty space than Alaska. I got nothing.

Bookings by Population

This is where things start to get more interesting. I decided to sort the lists by the population of each state, then determine how many people there were in each state per unit booked. Then I divided the numbers to make them easier to deal with. I’m still a writer and not an accountant, after all:

New Jersey: 54.3

Vermont: 62.6

Massachusetts: 64.2

Delaware: 66.9

Florida: 71.5

Now that’s a more interesting spread. It looks like the East Coast loves us!

How’re things on the other end?

Alaska: 1593.3

Arkansas: 729

Hawaii: 453.4

Kentucky: 434

New Mexico: 343.2

Alaska… whatever happened to us? I thought we had a good thing going, you know? We paid a pretty penny for you in 1867… You made Seward’s Folly look pretty damn smart. And we love that about you. It’s not just oil, earthquakes, and ice. It’s natural beauty, and it’s… come on, Alaska… I guess it helps when you never have to store your winter clothes…

The Cities

States are so big, though… so impersonal. Even little Rhode Island seems mammoth compared to Providence. So, let’s break it down a little bit further. Which cities are the most OSSD friendly?

Houston, Texas: 1.4%

San Antonio, Texas: 0.98%

Tampa, Florida: 0.94%

Phoenix, Arizona: 0.86%

Orlando, Florida: 0.79%

Austin, Texas: 0.67%

Los Angeles, California: 0.67%

Tallahassee, Florida: 0.67%

Remember that this only includes the city itself, without any suburbs. So, Lynbrook, Hollis, Yonkers, Jamaica, and the Bronx are all highly ranked, but they’re all separate, not collected under New York City. Similarly, Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas will be separate. Plus, keep in mind that we had bookings in thousands of cities nationwide, so making up 1% or more is actually pretty impressive. No system covers all eventualities, especially if it’s a mathematical system that I come up with. On thing is sure, though: the system that we have, though, says that the South is king when it comes to booking with OSSD.

The Wrap

So, what have we learned? If I had to guess, the answer would be “not a whole lot.” Must everything have a valuable lesson attached? Do we always have to learn something that is striking and new and deep? I think not.

In this case, we learned that states with more people use storage more, and that they are led by cities with more people. We also learned that when you control for population, the answers change.

As Jeremy Clarkson would say, “and on that bombshell… good night!”

2014 in Storage: The Year Ahead in Review

I only look like this on weird, weird days.

This is the time of year when everyone either looks backward to review the previous year, or forward to preview the new one.

But I like to be different.

So, I’m going to review the upcoming year instead. How can I do that? Magic. Pure, straight up, no questions asked magic.

Also, a giant load of bull. So, here’s the 2014 Storage Year Ahead in Review.

January 2014

Giant snowstorms in Buffalo, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Detroit show the importance of getting climate controlled storage in some areas of the country. A giant ice storm in across the Northwest and Great Plains shows the same thing. Temperatures in San Diego dropping below 60 degrees is just confusing.

February 2014

Theodore Sampson, Jr., co-manager of A Storage Inn outside of St. Louis, is again frustrated by his birthday. Since he was born on February 29, 1976, his mother refuses to give him any birthday gifts – or even to call him – unless it’s actually February 29. Though he knows that he’s 38 years old, deep down he wonders if his mom is right… maybe he really is still eight…

March 2014

A new tradition is accidentally begun in Chicago. Each year, they dye the Chicago River green for St. Patrick’s Day, but the truckload of green dye for the River collided with the truckload of orange paint for the new exterior facade of the Metro Self Storage Facility. The collision on the LaSalle Street Bridge led to an atrocious blending of colors in the river that reminded many of the colors of 1970s era shag carpeting. The new tradition is that the dye will be carried by train forever more.

April 2014

A cold front following a warm front following a cold front over Kansas led to a tornado breakdown unlike anything seen for generations. Amazingly, no one was hurt, although police in Kansas are considering opening an investigation after a young girl woke up and described a haunting experience involving three grown men dressed in costume leading her to a man behind a curtain. The girl and her dog were unharmed, at least physically. Mentally, though…

May 2014

Ted Cruz, Paul Ryan, Michelle Bachmann, and John Boehner got together and declared that they would only follow President Ronald Reagan, regardless of the fact that he left office in 1989, or the fact that the Constitution prohibits serving more than two terms, or the fact that Reagan died in 2004. Boehner embarrassed Ohio’s 8th District and the GOP by crying whenever Cruz said the word “Reagan.” Ryan and Bachmann hired Rob Portman to make Boehner disappear. Portman, however, refused to be a part of the scheme, so Bachmann called Rob Ford, figuring that a Rob was a Rob was a Rob. Ford, for once, was predictable, and the ruse was uncovered when he stopped at every corner announcing, “My name is Rob Ford, and I’m the best damn mayor Toronto has ever had! I demand crack cocaine!” When they were pulled over, about six minutes into the drive, Boehner was discovered in the trunk of the car, bright orange and crying.

June 2014

The Cubs are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, sending a wave of apathy across Wrigleyville for the 106th straight year. Later in the month, the Astros are also eliminated, but no one in Houston even notices, including several players and coaches, as well as the manager. The St. Louis Browns are discovered cowering in the back corner of a storage locker at the corner of Grand and Dodier, hiding from the Senators and wondering what the hell Twins have to do with baseball. Not surprisingly, they too are eliminated from the postseason.

July 2014

Nothing happens in Miami. Frankly, it’s too hot. Nothing happens in August, either, really. Because… I mean… it’s just freakin’ hot. Climate controlled storage seem optional to you? Seriously? I mean… come on now… I’m sweating just thinking about it, and there are four inches of snow on the ground just a few feet from me. (Ok, a few feet to my right, through the wall, and down about fifteen feet, but it’s still snow, amiright?)

August 2014

Franklin P. Solinquester attempted to become the first man to unicycle from San Diego to Cleveland. He started at the beach at LaJolla before realizing that he couldn’t think of a single good reason to leave Southern California for Cleveland. Not a single one. He spent the rest of the day SCUBA diving and marveling at the incredible scenery around him, both natural and human. At the end of the day, he returned to his home in a beautifully maintained 10 X 5 locker – the nicest “apartment” he could afford in LaJolla as a professional unicyclist.

September 2014

It’s time to start class at colleges all over America! Storage lockers from Portland to Portland are emptied and dormitories are filled while storage facility managers start focusing on the important things: annual maintenance on their facilities, restocking locks and boxes, and finding a way to bolster their fantasy football team’s running game before the weekend.

October 2014

October, of course, means playoff baseball! Except on Chicago’s North Side, where October means bratwursts. Nothing major happened in the storage world this month. What was important was watching the Cardinals defeat the Tigers in 6 games in the World Series.

November 2014

A turkey named Samuel regrets turning down an offer from his cousin Joel. Joel said, “let’s go backpack Europe for a year,” and Samuel was all like, “no, no, no… I’ve got a life here… I can’t just pack up and go….” Samuel, by the way, was delicious.

December 2014

Baseball fans in Houston taunt a group of Cubs fans in a bar. A brawl nearly broke out. Luckily, though, the bartender was from St. Louis and informed them that the season ended months ago and that the Astros and Cubs combined to win six games fewer than the Cardinals. After the Cubs fans went home, they demanded to see the 1908 World Series trophy, and were informed that the Tribune Company had it buried with Ernie Banks. When the fans pointed out that Banks was still alive and well, the Ricketts family admitted that they had stored the trophy in a small locker outside Joliet to protect it, but that the unit had been auctioned off when the family of billionaires forgot to pay the $31 per month rent for more than six months.

The Wrap

Trust me. I’m a doctor. Well, I’m a teacher, but… just forget it. Happy New Year!

University of Houston, is self storage easy to find?

The University of Houston is a public state research university and is the flagship institution of the University of Houston system and was founded in 1927. It is Texas’s third largest university. The University of Houston is notable for its diverse student body, and U.S. News & World Report ranks UH as the second-most diverse research university in the United States. The University of Houston has been classified by the Carnegie Foundation as a Tier I research university and the U.S. News and World report ranks the University No. 184 (Tier 1 in its National University ranking) and No. 103 among top public universities.

Some of the noted alumni are Bonnie J. Dunbar, former NASA astronaut, Jack Valenti, long-time president of the Motion Picture Association of America, acclaimed artist and filmmaker Julian Schnabel, Tom Jarriel, longtime ABC News anchor, Alice Sebold, a noted novelist, Matt Mullenweg, creator of WordPress and Jim Parsons, star of the television series, The Big Bang Theory.

Officially adopted in 1938, the Seal of the University of Houston, is a stylized version of the coat-of-arms of General Sam Houston. The official colors of the University of Houston are scarlet red and albino white. These same colors were the colors of Sam Houston’s ancestor, Sir Hugh, and were adopted by the University of Houston at the same time as the official seal. Scarlet red symbolizes courage or inner strength to face the unknown, and the white, which symbolizes the goodness and purity of spirit, which is embodied in helping one’s fellow man. The official mascot of the school is a cougar and the University of Houston had a live cougar, but this tradition was ended in 1989.

Some of Houston’s major employers are Exxon Mobil, Kroger Company, Continental Airlines Shell Oil Company, Memorial Hermann Healthcare System, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Baylor College of Medicine.

As an international university, and a wide range of opportunities both in the city and elsewhere, students often find themselves looking for affordable and convenient self storage. There are plenty of self storage units available close to the University of Houston. Students can find gated self storage facilities that offer 24 hour access that provide direct drive up to storage units near 77002. These units can probably be found in the range of $12 to $38 and this would probably be a 5’X5′ size storage unit. It will typically hold the contents of a dorm room. Another option that might be considered is to obtain a bigger unit and share the costs with a friend.