Driving around town, I noticed that Durango has an incredibly high number of storage units. Are we the Storage Capital of the United States? If so, this would nicely complement Durango’s distinction of “Worst Dressed Town in America.” Maybe it’s because we store all our crappy outfits in plastic tubs stashed away on the outskirts of town. – Pack Rat
When it comes to storage, you need to think inside the box.
So Action Line poked around for facts and figures, eventually finding treasure chests of information at the SpareFoot and Simply Self Storage websites.
Dang, there are more storage-industry statistics than there are broken NordicTracks, old dinette sets and Hummel figurines gathering dust.
For instance, there are 50,000 “storage facilities” in America. That’s more than two times the number of McDonald’s and Starbucks locations combined.
About 9.4% of U.S. households rent a storage unit, paying an average $89 monthly for items that aren’t used or needed.
The crazy thing is that 67% of storage renters live in single-family homes, so you’d think there would be ample space.
Moreover, most storage renters have a garage and a third of them also have a basement in their home.
And if you really want to put the “numb” in numbers, consider that there are more than 1.7 billion square feet of space for rent nationwide.
That’s a staggering 5.4 square feet of storage for every man, woman and child.
Now consider that average American house was 1,660 square feet in 1973.
Today, the average size of a newly constructed home is 2,602 square feet, according to the National Association of Home Builders.
Meanwhile, the average number of people per household shrank from 3.01 in 1973 to 2.53 today.
So let’s sum this up: Houses got larger. Households got smaller.
And somehow we still need 1.7 billion square feet of storage space?
Comedian George Carlin was right. We have too much stuff!
Recall his famous routine: “That’s what your house is, a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get ... more stuff! Sometimes you gotta move, gotta get a bigger house. Why? No room for your stuff anymore.”
Meanwhile, closer to home, there are 37 “storage facilities” in La Plata County, which amounts to one storage business per every 1,503 local residents.
Compare that to our unctuous sister city Boulder and its namesake county. There, you have one facility per every 1,203 residents.
But the King of Storage crown doesn’t go to any town in Colorado.
Florida, Texas and California have the most self-serve storage space per capita.
That leaves one remaining question: How many armadillos are stored at Armadillo Storage?
“That’s a prank call I get a couple times every year,” said Jason Fisher, manager of the business located on U.S. Highway 3.
The name was inspired by his family’s Texas heritage. But armadillo was also the byproduct of a Fort Lewis College education.
“One of the very few things I remembered from a marketing class was that businesses named after animals, or ones that have an animal mascot, get remembered more,” he said.
That and the fact armadillo starts with “A” so it would be first or second in the phone book.
“That was back in the day when people actually used the phone book,” Jason said with a chuckle.
The ironic thing is that inside one of the 715 Armadillo Storage units, you’ll probably find a cardboard box marked “Kitchen” containing some old Yellow Page directories and a phone you plug into the wall.
Email questions to email@example.com or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. You can request anonymity if you buy storage accessories – in other words, stuff for your stuff.