Storing Crap

On the radio show, This American Life, there was an episode about people who bid on the stuff in unpaid storage lockers. It turns out storage companies auction off a delinquent client's stuff. The winner gets everything in the locker.

The winning bidder hopes they find something of great monetary value amidst the stuff. But the truth of it is, the highest bidders said most of the things are worthless crap.

I know this from experience. I've helped many clients clutter bust their storage lockers. Often they haven't taken a look at what's in there for more than a couple of years. It's common for my clients to have a fear of what's in their storage locker. I think there's a sense that it was an expensive un-emptied trash can for them. They feel embarrassed having paid so much money for nothing.

At the same time, it's a cathartic experience. By taking an honest look at their things that have been squirreled away for years, they begin to break their compulsive need to hang onto things.

I remember one client uncovering many years worth of his old clothing. The clothes were worn out, out of fashion, and no longer fit him. He couldn't believe that he had felt the need to store and pay for his old clothes to live in this tiny weather controlled space. We packed them up in plastic bags and later brought them to a charity.

The storage locker companies present themselves as an organizing solution. But they are taking advantage of our addiction to our stuff.

It helps to take care of the problem ourselves by asking what's serving us and what's not. If something is no longer a part of our life, it doesn't deserve to receive the alimony of living separately from us in a temperature controlled, security protected storage locker.

It's okay to say no to things that are no longer a part of our life. This is going to give us the peace of mind that a storage locker can't.