FYI Your Space

What Are the Most Stored Items in America?

popular storage items by region graphic
Written by Carolyn Albee

What's in your neighbor's storage unit? We surveyed 1,300 Americans to find out what, exactly, people are keeping in there. The answers ranged from cool to unexpected, but some categories stood out more than others. Here are the top 4 most popular storage items in America, sorted by region.

The West: Photos and Kids' Toys

Those who live west of the Rockies are a nostalgic bunch—they're more likely than any other region to store family photos and kids' toys. Maybe it has something to do with their pioneering nature; whether following the advice "Go West, young man!" or flying in from parts abroad, the West is a magnet for wanderers. But that doesn't mean they want to forget where they came from.

Toy storage tip: Make sure to clean kids' toys and baby items thoroughly before storing. We've got ideas on baby-safe cleaning products for toys and clothes.

The Midwest: Clothing

Midwesterners are crazy for clothes: 1 in 10 respondents said they store clothing in their storage units, more than any other region. Maybe this has something to do with the many, many places to go shopping. In the Windy City, shop ‘til you drop on the Magnificent Mile and at Randolph Street Market, then take it all back to your Chicago storage unit. Shipshewana, Indiana is home to Shipshewana Flea Market, the largest in the Midwest. And of course, we can't forget the iconic Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota.

Clothing storage tip: The best way to store clothes in a storage unit is in an airtight container, for example, by vacuum sealing. You can also use acid-free archival boxes. Check out our blog for more tips on storage of clothes.

The South: Furniture

Southerners aren't about to throw away a perfectly good bedroom set: 26 percent said they use their unit for storing furniture. The region's record-breaking shopping opportunities certainly don't cut down on the clutter. Furnitureland South in Jamestown, North Carolina, bills itself as the world's largest furniture store. And in Canton, Texas, First Monday Trade Days claims to be the oldest and largest continually operated flea market in the U.S., with 6,000 vendors hawking more beds, bureaus, and bookcases than you can dream of.

Furniture storage tip: With large items like furniture, it's especially important to make the most of your storage unit space. We'll show you how.

The Northeast: Recreational Equipment

Just over 15 percent of Northeasterners used their unit for sports equipment storage, more than any other region. In winter, there's skiing and snowmobiling to enjoy. Come spring and summer, Northeast residents are headed to their jet ski storage units to prepare for East Coast Watercross races and busting their bicycles out of bike storage for New York's Tour of the Battenkill. With four seasons to enjoy and plenty of nature to explore, the amount of recreational equipment in Northeast storage units comes as no surprise.

Sports equipment storage tip: Removing stains and keeping equipment fresh is just the beginning. We've got all the best tips on cleaning and storing sports gear.

What's in your storage unit? Let us know in the comments!

About the author

Carolyn Albee

Carolyn is a writer, editor, and fan of the Chicago Manual of Style. She's based in Southern California (the greatest place on earth), but she lives by the belief that every city, and every person, has a story to tell. When she's not telling those stories, you'll find her visiting craft breweries and exploring new hikes with her best friend—her dog, of course.

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