Watching people’s junk has got me hooked

Kate Mason, My Style column. Picture: Marie Caley D5417MC
Kate Mason, My Style column. Picture: Marie Caley D5417MC

It’s no secret that we are a nation of hoarders.

And these days actually having the space to put our ever expanding pile of stuff simply isn’t an issue.

Self storage units have sprung up all over Britain and stashing items in containers behind lock and key is becoming a way of life.

In fact the UK self storage market has become the biggest in Europe.

I can see the need for that extra space in certain scenarios, but thousands of people are paying hundreds of pounds each month to stash away items that they don’t even need.

Self-storage started in America in the early 1960s, and today the business is booming all over the world.

And strangely our burning desire to have and to hold has become the subject of my new guilty pleasure.

I’ve often wondered what kind of things people keep in these units so imagine my delight when I stumbled across a TV show dedicated to snooping through other people’s storage belongings.

Storage Hunters is my new favourite show and I’m developing an unhealthy obsession with it.

The programme follows a unique group of Americans who make their living from buying repossessed storage lockers.

It’s like a tacky, modern day, Americanised Antiques Roadshow and I can’t get enough of it.

The kooky characters on the show travel the country from auction to auction risking their hard earned cash to get their mitts on the units that will bring them the biggest return.

The catch is the bidders have just seconds to glance at the contents from outside the unit and ever truly know what they are bidding on.

The competition is fierce and the bidders often nearly come to blows as they desperately try and strike gold.

From flame throwers to sports memorabilia, the storage hunters uncover all manner of weird and wonderful items in these forgotten lockers.

And with the bidders just as weird and wonderful as the items they are buying, it makes for compelling viewing.

I know it sounds strange but I’m hooked on it - I even find myself predicting how much each unit will sell for and totting up the profit or loss they will make.

Thankfully it seems it’s not just me who has an unhealthy interest in storage shows as the programme attracts just under a million viewers, and other shows on the same theme are starting to pop up left right and centre.

From Storage Wars to Auction Hunters it seems it’s the new hot topic that is enticing viewers.