The Most Interesting Thing We Do With Stuff, Store It

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I’m a hypocrite. 

Just thought I’d let you know that up front.

My stuff is not scattered across any one country, but around the world.


Somewhere in Houston, Texas (I honestly don’t know exactly where), our family has a piano and a curio cabinet.  Those where two items we decided not to bring to Papua New Guinea when we moved here.  I think they are in someone’s house somewhere. 

Last May, I intentionally left a suit, dress shirt, and dress shoes at a house in Houston.  My theory was that I wouldn’t need that gear until I was back in Houston.

In Cheyenne, Wyoming, I have a few boxes of winter clothes.  I figured if we ever end up there in the winter, I wouldn’t need to go out and buy any more clothes for the arctic weather.

In Ontario, Canada, I have what was once some of my most valued stuff – collectors sports cards.  They’re probably worth a lot of money now.  Perhaps I should install a video camera to be sure my parents aren’t digging through my boxes. 

I have one small room in my house that I call the “storage room”.

The reason why I’m a hypocrite is that paying money to store stuff just seems silly.  That’s why I prefer to freeload and have friends and family keep my stuff.  :)

How important is your stuff?

I did find the following quotes from MSN money:

The self-storage industry grew from about 289 million square feet in 1984 to nearly 2.2 billion square feet by the end of 2007, according to the Self Storage Association.

It took 25 years for the industry to build its first billion square feet of storage space. The second billion square feet was added in just seven years, from 1998 to 2005, according to the Self Storage Association.

The average American home has grown from 1,400 square feet in 1970 to 2,300 square feet today, but the average size of the household has shrunk from 3.1 to 2.5.

Does that make anyone else shake their head and verbalize a little tsk tsk sound?

I find it so interesting that we pay so much to store things.  You can’t play with it in storage.  You can’t see it in storage.  So we pay all this money for it to sit in a big box on someone else’s property. 

What does this storage trend teach us about ourselves as a culture?

  1. Part of who we are is connected to our stuff.  In 1992, my parents gave me a Bible.  That is still the Bible I carry with me.  I have two small figurines that used to belong to my grandparents.  I have fond memories tracking down those sports card.
  2. We find it hard to say goodbye to stuff.  Because of the first point, we hate to get rid of anything that carries sentimental value.  But the list of what qualifies as sentimental keeps growing.
  3. We fear that we might need it in the future.  This is the biggest reason I hang on to stuff.  What if … However, more often than not, when you part with your stuff, you come to find out that it really wasn’t that important.

Perhaps we should learn to declutter our homes.

What else do you think our storage unit obsession teaches about our culture?


  1. says

    I have been down sizing our possessions and this article speaks the truth! All I have been doing is storing things that others need. Well, no more. It is all going to a local thrift store charity benefiting women with addictions who are in recovery (church run).

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