At the February meeting of NAPO Houston, we watched a documentary called Store. It’s about self-storage units and how people use them. The filmmakers interviewed dozens of renters about their stuff and why they pay to keep it in storage. The interviewees offered all the common reasons: they moved to a smaller house, inherited stuff from a parent, or just accumulated too much to keep at home. But there were some less common reasons, too.
One retired man had been collecting items from garage and estate sales, and he believed that his children’s inheritance was somewhere in his “collection.” Some day they would open his unit, pull out the junk, and find the treasures they’d inherited. Burglars had broken into the unit once, only to walk away empty-handed because the unit was too stuffed full of junk to bother robbing.
Another interview subject, a divorced mother, was storing a huge collection of stuffed animals. She said that she couldn’t throw away “anything with eyes.”
The movie was a fascinating commentary on how tightly we cling to our stuff. Once we’ve claimed something as ours, we have a hard time surrendering it, even if it’s no longer useful. Our desire to maintain ownership is so strong that we’re even willing to pay for it—we’ll rent a truck, spend a Saturday afternoon loading and unloading, and sign a rental contract with a hefty monthly fee that goes on to infinity. Isn’t that an awful lot to invest just to keep “anything with eyes”—or whatever it is that you can’t let go?
Storage may seem like a convenient way to defer the decision to let go, but do you want to keep things so much that you’re willing to pay for them again? Would you go back to Macy’s and make monthly payments to keep a dress that you already bought? Of course not! So why pay for a storage unit? Why not spend your time, energy, and money on the finite task of letting go of some things?
You can watch a trailer for Store on the movie’s web site. We’ll keep you posted when the documentary shows up in general release or becomes available for download.
This article was featured in our February 2010 e-mail newsletter. To subscribe to our newsletter, please use the “Subscribe” form, above right.
Do you need to extricate yourself from a storage unit?
The Clutter Fairy provides one-on-one organizing help. We’ll visit your storage unit and design a plan to set you free from that excess stuff. Call 713‑816‑9505 or send e-mail to schedule an appointment.