packratism is on the rise

the new york times has a piece today on the booming self-storage business, and how it is a gateway to the accumulation-of-more-crap addiction.

Storage-space users have traditionally rented for short periods, Mr. Scanlon said, most commonly during life changes like divorce or relocation. But in recent years a new kind of renter has emerged, one who rents for longer periods, sometimes paying thousands of dollars a year, sometimes for units in faraway cities. These new renters seem compelled to keep trading up, from a cozy “personal closet,” say, to a garage-like room, and then to a second unit or even a third. They represent what Diane Piegza, a spokeswoman for Sovran Self Storage, which owns the Uncle Bob’s chain of storage facilities in 22 states, calls “a segment of the population that has truly embedded storage into its lifestyle.”

For many, the appeal of renting storage space is the way it seems to represent the pursuit of simplicity: by transferring excess stuff to a storage unit, people can free their basements, attics and living rooms from years’ worth of clutter, and create the impression of a pared-down life.

i’m going for the real thing right now, not just the impression of a pared-down life. i especially liked the phrase “perceived delusional value” in that article, because i find myself doing that with everything. “wait a minute, i better not throw out these boxes of marine hardware,that shit was expensive, and you never know when you will get the next boat.” yeah right, but a new boat ain’t gonna need that box of crap from the old boat.

more and more stuff each day is going to the dumpster or to “out of the closet”. i recommend it, the feeling of lightness and freedom is really sweet. seriously, throw some crap out.

another thing i am noticing is that i like my apartment and the bay area now a lot more now that i am seriously thinking of leaving. the grass is always greener.






2 responses to “packratism is on the rise”

  1. Michael Avatar

    I’m right with you, Eric! Instead of New Year’s resolutions this year I decided to try one new thing each month. In January it was no alcohol. In February it was a fish-only diet. Now in March I’ve been going through Apartment Therapy’s Eight Week Cure which is largely about getting rid of things. So far it is improving my mood…

  2. eric Avatar

    yeah it’s pretty amazing how strong an effect making changes can have on mood. it is somewhat counterintuitive that getting rid of stuff makes me feel happier. after all, america is really about accumulating stuff.

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