Most people have the need to declutter, move, or use a self storage unit at some point in their lives. Why is this? Maybe it’s the lasting influence of the depression era generation, who taught us to save everything. Maybe it’s our consumer culture that emphasizes spending and acquiring goods, perpetuating the belief that “he who dies with the most toys, wins” - and we just don’t have enough space for all of our toys. Regardless of why we have too much stuff, it is a commonly held belief in our modern culture that art imitates life, so it’s not surprising that themes and situations relating to self storage would appear from time to time in (arguably) the most popular form of “art”: TV and film.
Although the topic of self storage might seem dry and boring to some, it has obviously inspired the imaginations of many people. A storage unit just seems like a good place to hide a horrifying secret, or perhaps a safe place to store sentimental keepsakes and priceless treasures. Even though storage units in many films and television shows are presented as ominous, secluded, frightening, and even dangerous places, this isn’t always the case. Peruse the list below to learn about some of the most interesting and entertaining moments featuring self storage in TV and film:
In this episode of cult sitcom “Married With Children,” Jefferson stops paying for his storage unit, which just happens to be where Marcy was storing her sentimental childhood items. Peggy comes to the rescue to help Marcy recover the items that were auctioned off. Among the items they are trying to track down is a pink desk that she desperately wants to find.
In this 2003 film that is based on actual events, serial killer Aileen Wuornos (Charlize Theron) has fallen on hard times and is just trying to survive. When she finds herself homeless, she keeps her belongings in a self storage unit while doing whatever it takes to get back on her feet.
In this episode of Lena Dunham’s hit HBO series, Hannah returns to New York after dropping out of grad school to not only discover that Adam has moved her stuff into a Fort Greene storage unit, but that his new girlfriend has already moved into her old apartment with him. After refusing to leave her former bedroom for an entire day, she retreats to the storage unit to sleep on her old couch.
Michael suspects that his father, George Sr., is conducting business from prison, so he follows his mother’s housekeeper to the family’s storage unit to find out more. The storage unit has been burned down, and his mother, Lucille, was likely the arson. Michael and his son, George Michael, decide to teach George Sr. a lesson by burning down the banana stand, oblivious that George Sr.’s statement that “there’s always money in the banana stand” was actually more true than they originally thought.
This Hungarian drama follows lonely real estate agent and divorcée Mate as he is tasked with selling a suburban storage facility that is filled with semi-legal Chinese goods and occupied by Wu, a man who lives in one of the units. The two men form an unlikely friendship and a rivalry for the heart of a pizza delivery girl.
Ladies’ man Jonathan Younger, played by Donald Sutherland, is the owner and operator of a storage facility in the 1993 fantasy comedy-drama Younger and Younger. When a mishap with a Wurlitzer organ triggers his wife Penny’s heart attack and results in her sudden death, Jonathan and his son (yep, that’s Brendan Fraser) are left to manage the storage facility on their own. Penny’s ghost, who is strangely younger and more attractive than she was when she died, haunts the facility.
Rust Cohle, played by Matthew McConaughey in the haunting first season of HBO’s True Detective, puts a new spin on the occasional crime connection to storage units: he uses his self storage unit as a home base for solving the decade-old murder of Dora Lange, and to seek out the elusive “Yellow King”.
Rosebud...didn’t you know that even the 1941 film Citizen Kane, considered by many movie buffs to be one of the best films of all time, references self storage? When they first meet, Charles Foster Kane tells his future mistress, Susan Alexander, about putting his mother’s belongings into storage “out west” after her death and reminisces about memories of his mother.
Who could forget the giant pile of money Skyler was keeping in a storage unit to show Walt the magnitude of his illegal earnings? Of course, there’s no way a car wash could serve as a front to launder that much cash.
This Academy Award winning film features the ultimate self-storage event of cinematic history. Audiences today still watch in horror as Clarice Starling crawls under the door of a downtown Baltimore storage unit, prepaid for an entire decade by “Miss Hester Mofet”, having no idea of the horror she would find inside. (Of course this is #1. What did you expect?!)