On NPR the other day, we heard a story about the effect of the economic downturn on self-storage units. Many people who can't afford to pay their fees have defaulted on their spaces, so storage providers are auctioning off the contents. The catch? You don't really know what you'll get...
The units are auctioned off "blind," meaning that buyers can't open boxes or examine units to see what they're bidding on. If you win an auction, you're responsible for hauling all of it away. Auction winners may find treasures or trash, and a lot of the time the stuff people choose to store is pretty mundane: papers, magazines, containers, children's toys, broken electronics.
When we wrote about storage industry numbers two years ago, 1 in 11 households rented a storage unit, with the numbers on a steady rise. Since then, the economy seems to be having an adverse effect on the industry. Although we don't have the most recent numbers, perhaps we will see a drop in storage units as fewer people commit to paying for the extra space.
Hear the entire story on NPR here.