Wednesday, July 20, 2005

On the "Self-Storage Nation" and moving

Tom Vanderbilt's June 18 Slate story, "Self-Storage Nation - Americans are storing more stuff than ever", had a special resonance for me when I came across it yesterday. I have never rented one of these little units, but it's been a consideration from time to time.

Moving looms on the horizon here, and as I look at all of the junk (*cough*, errm, crap) we (*cough* ok, I) own, I can easily see how people can get sucked into the continual accumulation of meaningful/less clutter. I've actually got tons of stuff that can fit into that category, as anyone who has been in our dwelling spaces over the past nine or so years can attest. I can't get rid of, for example, my mother's yearbooks, but really, now, what on earth can I do with them? As the story points out, houses these days don't have attics to toss junk into, and I think we're still several years away from home ownership and even a basement we can hide junk in. Anyway, we continue to accumulate clutter and things and stuff, consumerist junk or weird family kicknack (and I've got some doozies that fit into the nicknack category, for sure). We can't get rid of it. So we pay money to put it into a dark void for extended periods of time.

In some twisted way, it makes sense, it's comforting. On the other hand, it's an obscene waste of money and resources - we still have some open land that, as the article points out, may be "less desireable" as far as real estate goes, but for how long? And isn't there anything better to do with this land than put up fields of garages to store our landfill-bound junk, stuff that either we, if we're lucky and young and motivated, or our heirs, if we're older, less lucky, or too lazy to deal with our own junk, are going to one day paw through and, in all likelihood, just pitch.

I've been encouraged, in the course of our last several moves, to thin out the crap, to let go. I have done a little bit of that on each move. I hope to do more on this one (for example, I have a very large bin of clothes that the 18-to-22-year-old me fit into and felt comfortable wearing that the I've-had-one-baby-and-am-approaching-30 me has realized won't ever be worn again). The bin is getting emptied and the older-and-wider, uh, -wiser me is going to make a careful accouting of what goes in, estimate resale value, donate, and get a receipt for - so I can use it as a tax deduction. The bit of the eighteen-year-old me that still resides somewhere inside screams and kicks in protest, but she does that about just about everything, so I don't listen to her too much anymore.

As fun as this contemplation of clutter and storage units has been, blogging won't get packing done, and packing (and weeding out the stuff not getting packed) will have to take priority for some time now - so, if I revert back to my once-a-month posting pace, rest assured, I am here, doing work of some sort, and I'll resurface eventually, just like always.

- posted by laurie @ 7/20/2005 02:26:00 PM
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