Americans are obsessed with stuff.
We buy things we don't need to impress people we don't like with money we don't have.
That's how we got ourselves into this recession.
We forgot that cash is king. We thought trend lines only went up. We thought there would always be new construction of homes, stores, office buildings, golf courses and waterparks becuase, well, because we couldn't imagine it any other way. And the financial community couldn't imagine it any other way.
"Leverage yourself up with as much as you can. Your income will always go up. Your house value will always go up. Buy it now. You deserve it."
We fell into idolatry. Worshiping stuff.
If you need proof of our stuff gathering, there is one industry that continues to fare well. Self-storage.
In 1984, there 6601 self-storage facilities in the United States with 289.7 million square feet.
By the end of 2008, there were 51,250 facilities with 2.35 billion square feet.
What is in those units?
Stuff we don't use alot.
Stuff we don't care much about.
Stuff we can't bear to throw away or give away.
Stuff that doesn't fit in the garage, basement or attic, cause those places are full of stuff.
Stuff that doesn't fit in our downsized homes or apartments that used to fill our 5,000 square foot palaces.
Stuff purchased with credit cards that we are still paying on at 18-22% interest.
Stuff that one day our kids will have to sort thru and throw 99% of away.
There are RV's and boats parked in many of them. Parked because we can't afford to put the gas in them to go use them.
There are clothes, shoes, baby furniture, mattresses, toys, wine, furniture, crap and stuff overflowing. We could have one giant yard sale and feed all of Africa with the proceeds.
If a meteor shower fell and took out all 51,250 self-storage units, would we really miss any of that stuff?
The older I get, I realize the less stuff I need.
A clean bathroom, a comfortable bed, and I can live out of my suitcase.
Just don't take my Harley or my flat screen. Those I really need.