‘Project Runway’ Becomes Latest Show to Hop on the Self Storage Reality TV Bandwagon


storageunitStorage units have made another appearance on reality television, and this time, it wasn’t on Storage Wars. In fact, it was on the reality show you might least suspect: Project Runway.

That’s right, the Heidi Klum-helmed show where designers race against the clock to create stylish clothing out of unconventional materials, or in unconventional circumstances, this time got its inspiration from within a storage locker.

The concept of this particular challenge was that teams of contestants had to bid on five self-storage units in a warehouse. They then had to use only the materials from within their units to create their designs.

The first unit contained piles of chairs and old furniture, the second was full of children’s toys, and the third had nothing but a table with a moving blanket and a dresser. The fourth unit was full of all sorts of random fabrics and textiles, including a wedding dress, and the fifth unit contained lots of leather and some hunting and fishing gear.

This is actually a pretty good representation of the kinds of items commonly stored in these units. Furniture is the most commonly stored item, along with electronics, off-season items, appliances, and even motor vehicles.

Storage units come in all shapes and sizes, with various features that make the perfect location to store everything from furniture to wine to boats. Self storage is mainly a U.S.-based industry, with 46,000 storage facilities across the country, but people all around the world are turning to self-storage facilities to safely store “treasures” of their own.

“Storage units are a good solution because it allows you to keep your extra ‘stuff’ for later use without cluttering your home – you may never know when you might need it,” says Victor Dante, CEO and Founder at US Self Storage.

Storage facilities first became a surprising setting for reality TV with the premiere of Spike’s Auction Hunters and the hugely successful A&E series Storage Wars. This episode of Project Runway is obviously a takeoff on this popular reality show gimmick.

In these series, which both premiered in 2010, professional buyers bid to purchase the contents of auctioned-off self-storage units. These series have not only increased the attendance at storage auctions across the country, but have also inspired storage unit renters to make their rental payments on time, to avoid their belongings being auctioned off to the highest bidder.

Most storage units are not quite as exciting as those found on reality television (though there have been allegations that some of the finds in the lockers on Storage Wars are planted), but that’s not to say that there are no valuables stored inside storage lockers in real life. Many collectors store items like artwork and other valuable items that they don’t have room for in their homes.

While most people would be at a complete loss to create something out of children’s toys and hunting gear, the Project Runway contestants really made the most of what they had.

Some of the final looks included a trench coat made from the moving blanket, a dress created from a lampshade, a vest fashioned from couch upholstery, and a dress made out of — believe it or not — soccer balls. Some pretty creative upcycling of what many people would consider junk.

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