Not to mention all the other stuff that we all accumulate, that over time loses usefulness and context and becomes kipple. Not garbage - wrappers and wet lettuce leaves and coffee grounds - but ancient electronic gadgets and kitchenware, broken toys, old shoes, lone socks. And so on, and so forth. Stuff we should throw out or sell on eBay or give away but can’t because it still wakens a little emotional throb when we find it after a year or ten. I’ve just thrown out a computer mouse. It sat in a box for three years, it didn’t really work very well and besides, I have two other perfectly good computer mice. But I used it to write four novels, and it took some effort to get rid of it. Ditto the two dozen Zip discs from the back of a desk drawer. I don’t even have a Zip drive any more. And all of the data on them is archived and backed up elsewhere. Why did I keep them?
At least I haven’t yet been driven to rent storage space. Before the recession bit, according to this excellent article, most rented storage space contained stuff people didn’t need, but couldn’t bear to throw away.
“There’s a lot of junk stored in our properties,” Ronald L. Havner Jr., Public Storage’s chief executive, told a symposium in New York in June. Walking through his company’s facilities around the country, he explained, “I’ve sometimes said that we could put a torch to this building and it would have zero effect on the local economy — because that’s how much junk is stored in our properties.”But now, with in the US (and probably here, too, on a smaller scale), more and more people are renting storage spaces because they have lost their homes and need a space to park the stuff of their lives while they regroup, or are being rented by endangered businesses, for the same reason.
By shaking up the composition of renters, and their reasons for renting, the recession could be quietly tilting the character of American storage closer to what it was originally: a pragmatic solution to a sudden loss of space, rather than a convenient way of dealing with, or putting off dealing with, an excess of stuff.Puts my own little problem in stark perspective. Anyway, before I go down the storage space route, I should really get around to building some shelves in my loft...