Adult male cougars roam widely, and maintain a home range of up to 150 square miles.
As these muscular, solitary, and covert animals are prowling their range, 1 out of every 11 American humans is paying monthly rent … for his stuff.
Collectively, we dedicate 2.3 billion square feet to storing our extra stuff, which is roughly equivalent to the entire area of a typical male cougar’s home range. But unlike the cougar, who gets to enjoy the elements, our stuff is locked away in cool, dark cubes, and is lucky if it gets to see the light of day once a year.
Self storage has been enjoying a boom over the past decade and it is now a 38B per year industry.
The people who are buying storage are spending an average of $1094 per year ($91.14 per month) to keep their things in these cool, dark cubes.
But just because it is out of sight, does not mean it is out of mind.
The accumulation of stuff is a psychic burden.
Every time we buy another thing, we are giving away more than our money. We are giving away our freedom.
In the words of Tyler Durden, “The things you own, end up owning you.”
A car is not just a car. It is a monthly debt that must be repaid. It is an insurance policy. It is a thing that must be maintained. It is an object that must be worried about, and cleaned. And the nicer the car, the bigger the burden across all of these dimensions.
The same is true of most things we acquire, and the things we keep … just in case.
The cougar is unburdened, free, and alive.
The modern American human is the anti-cougar. Burdened with debt and stuff. Tethered to jobs and places that are unfulfilling. Medicated by devices and Netflix and caffeine and alcohol and the accumulation of more stuff, and dead to the day-to-day intensity of the earthly experience.
No matter where you are on the spectrum, most of us would do well to channel our inner cougar and take action.
p.s. If you live in a city you might have noticed more self-storage popping up to fuel the booming demand. We find this to be an especially depressing use of urban land that is absolutely counter to all of the elements that make a great city.
p.p.s. Good rule of thumb: If your stuff has been in storage for more than a year and you haven’t fetched it or missed it, then let it go and stop paying the rent on your storage unit. Put that 1000/year toward something that will actually make your insides flutter with the zest of life.