In recent years there has been a boom in the use of home storage units. The growth of inner city apartment living amongst the young and upwardly mobile combined with retirees downsizing from large family homes after their children have flown the nest has resulted in a explosion in home storage.
The UK has more self-storage units than the rest of Europe combined. With living spaces growing ever smaller and our hoard of lifelong acquisitions showing no sign of being relinquished any time soon it begs the question, just what are the strangest items lurking out there in storage land?
In 2009 the children of a reclusive Dr Carr discovered a long forgotten and rare 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante. The car had lain untouched for more than half a century and would net more than £6 million pounds. It is not uncommon for cashes of treasure to be found at storage units. Long disused units are often auctioned off and an unsuspecting bidder can be in for a welcome surprise. One such man who bid over $1000 dollars for an abandoned unit was delighted to find over a half a million dollars’ worth of rare gold coins in addition to gold and silver bars!
A Florida grandmother spent 16 years in a storage unit after her family could not pay to have her buried. After spending the weeks in a trailer the grandmother was transported to the unit which became her resting place for nearly two decades. Financial hardship and shame meant that this secret was not discovered until the unit was due to be auctioned off for non-payment. This is by no means an isolated incident. An 80 year old man in Maine died of natural causes and took a secret to his grave. The body of what appears to be his girlfriend who vanished in 1983 was found in a chest freezer.
While these cases are exceptional many people store the ashes of loved ones or their pets in storage units. For some they even become shrines, quiet, peaceful, windowless and most importantly an escape from the hustle and bustle of the modern world.
The peculiarity of what people treasure knows no bounds. Of the more pungent variety, used nappies have been stored on many occasions in many locations. One of the worst cases of animal hoarding took place in California where a woman had stored 240 cats of which 36 were dead.
While these are some of the more unusual items to be stored it is a testament to human nature that we are reluctant to throw things away. Either because it may have some use or value in the future or merely because it is a piece of our personal history.
Writing here on behalf of Adams Self Store LLP