Sunday, September 20, 2009

Self-Storage: The Museum of Me

Ventura Boulevard, Sherman Oaks, CA, August 2009

While I have no financial interest, or known relationship to the owners of McGee's Self-Storage (pictured above), I do have an abiding interest in the intersection of personality, self-identity and expertise.

So I was happy when we were able to snap this photograph where those three elements come together, and even more pleased when journalist Jon Mooallem took up the topic of America's pre-occupation with self-storage in a recent feature in The New York Times' Magazine earlier this month.

Self-storage is something we've discussed on this blog before, but Mooallem's analysis linking American identity, consumer culture, and the proliferation of self-storage companies nationwide was a welcome and extended commentary.

Mooallem shows how self-storage companies profit by creating a space where we can preserve our multiple selves, a sort of uncurated private and enclosed museum of me.

And now the mini-storage industry even offers to bring us happiness: this, from the downtown 3 train on the IRT this past week . . .


Anonymous Brain said...

Having worked as a manager of a large storage facility in Chicago, I can tell you that such a place would make THE BEST basis for a TV sitcom. There is a lot of pathos at such places: divorces, evictions, double-lives, struggling businesses, etc. We also rented Ryder trucks. The two businesses fed each other. We also had one of Chicago's first large wine cellars for the richer customers. Lots of crazy stories.

11:29 AM  
Anonymous Glenn said...

I used to play a video game named Gauntlet. It featured a hero named Questor the Elf. I really associated with the guy because despite his small size, he could amass a lot of stuff in short time.

One day while driving around similar to you, I saw a warehouse where the first 'S' was missing. So it read "Elf Storage." It then dawned on me that's where I could store many of my things since I was running out of space in my apartment.

Want to know the interesting payoff of the self storage? When I've moved certain things to storage and haven't seen them day to day like I used to in my apartment, I no longer want them. So I either sell them or donate them.

Weirdly, I consider sElf Storage an investment.

2:55 AM  

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