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Hoarder Nation: America's Self-Storage Industry Is Booming

Hoarder Nation: America's Self-Storage Industry Is Booming
Photograph by Getty Images

It’s the time of year when American households are filling up with stuff. Your living room is piled with boxes from your Black Friday haul, or your porch is creaking under the weight of UPS deliveries. While retail analysts are obsessively tracking buyer behavior to gauge the impact of Cyber Monday on store earnings, one industry that will surely benefit from the binge—eventually—is the storage business.

The country’s accumulation of things is outpacing our capacity to keep them in our homes, as the growth of mini-warehouses attests. The number of self-storage establishments more than doubled, to 15,000, from 1998 to 2012, according to Census data, dotting the landscape with faceless buildings full of objects we don’t want to see but can’t bear to toss.